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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?

Chapter Text

I’ll do my best
To woo your lady. Yet a barful strife!
Whoe’er I woo, myself would be his wife.

Act 1. Scene 4.

“Master, are you—are you sure?”

Anakin sighed and sat beside Ahsoka on a low rock outcropping to swing his legs over the waterfall’s edge. Beneath their boots came the pounding roar of the water in the crystalline pool below, stirring up clouds of fine mist and the sharp smell of the lush and humid life filling the greenhouse.

“It’s for the greater good, Snips.”

The look of pure incredulity she leveled him could have withered a gundark to dust. “I’m not talking about the galaxy, Skyguy. What about you? Don’t you think you’ve already sacrificed enough?”

Underneath his leather glove he clenched his durasteel hand, his constant humming reminder of weakness and failure, just like the jagged line down his face. His scars incited pity from those around him, his master, his padawan, the council. Poor Anakin Skywalker, who bore the marks of the darkside and its corruption. But he knew of what it truly spoke, not enough—not strong enough, not alpha enough.

“It’s not a measure of sacrifice, padawan. A Jedi does not stop serving when they reach a quota of protecting the galaxy.”

Her large eyes softened though she cast her gaze away to stare determinedly at their bouncing feet and the white froth below. “It’s different, Skyguy. It’s personal and you know it.”

“Have I let you down as a master?”

She jerked her chin up to glare at him defiantly. “What? No of course not!”

“Do you think by marrying I will let you down, will fail your training and as a ma—”

“How can you say that?” She demanded. “Of course I don’t think that!”

“Then Snips,” he wrapped an arm around her narrow shoulders and tucked her into his side, “please trust me.”

She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed, taking in his scent as he wrapped them in the comfort of the force, so easily reached and caressed in the light of the room of a thousand fountains.

“The council lets you get married in the name of galactic peace and you’re going to go off and fall in love with some omega and leave the Order.”

The words were spoken bitingly though she meant them as playful, a moment of levity that they often lauded on one other. His little padawan, all spitfire and youthful pent up alpha. He knew why she spat the word omega. She sensed some unseen threat towards her place in Anakin’s life, a faceless foe to pit her anxiety and fear of the unknown against. Understanding didn’t stop the little lurch of hurt he felt at the way she rolled the word with derision.

But in the peace and echoing light around them, hurt washed away in a moment, as easy as the water cascading below. Here the force filled him with endless hope and soothed his ragged edges, the cool touch of bacta to the aches and sorrows he kept stowed away in his bleeding heart.

“It’s a beta, actually. Master Windu told me Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi volunteered.”

“Hmm—” she refused to look at him. “So, you’ll leave the Order for a beta then.”

“Snips,” he laughed. “I was born to be a Jedi. It is the will of the force and there is nowhere else in the entire galaxy I would rather be than with you. Even covered in mud in the Outer Rim getting shot at.”

“You don’t even mind getting shot at. What about stuck in the desert with me, up to your neck in sand?”

He sighed melodramatically. “Fine, there’s nowhere I would rather be than with you, even up to my neck in sand.”

She grinned and the force settled between them, sweet and gentle. But Anakin had never been talented at meditation or sitting still to let the quiet be.

He knocked his elbow against hers. “Nothing’s going to change, Ahsoka. I’m still a Jedi, still your master—”

“Still an alpha, still a bantha brain,” she sang. But then her smile twisted into fondness laced with a gentle sorrow brimming in her eyes. “But master, you’re wrong, this changes everything.”

He took a deep breath and looked to the transparsteel domed ceiling high above them and the hazy morning sunlight filtering through to bathe everything honey hued. Something deep inside of him snarled at the idea, a cornered animal of fear. Sometimes the years which stretched between him and the scorching heat of Tatooine seemed to fade away and lay bare the slave still cowering inside of him. Attachment to the past only wrote his own quiet misery, but then, that was the nature of attachment, the difficulty of letting go.

“Maybe,” he conceded. “Or maybe I’m going to smear your montrals into the practice mats later and we won’t think about senators or war or the fate of the Republic.”

She scoffed. “As if, Skyguy. I’m gona’ waste you so bad Master Yoda will demote you back to padawan from shame.”

Anakin hissed a shaky sigh from behind his teeth and wiped a sweaty hand against his robe before knocking on the Chancellor’s door in a fluttery rap which sounded as panicked as his heartbeat.


He pushed into the large office and the staccato of his pulse ratcheted higher to throb in his ears and fingertips. Despite his desperate grasp to control himself and his sheer nerves, there was no doubt he oozed panic through his scent and into the force. Thankfully in this room he only needed worry about the nervous sweat lacing his scent and underlining the false alpha musk he produced from his implant. His own earth scorched scent always made his nose wrinkle, the odd curl of woodsmoke when he got worked up, warning his brain of wrong and alpha.

But all worries of scent and any form of higher thought flitted away at the sight of Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi’s darkened silhouette against the Coruscant lit backdrop of windows. Despite that he didn’t keep up with the holo very well on the warfront, he didn’t completely live on an asteroid in the unknown regions. When the council informed him Senator Kenobi had agreed to enter the political marriage, he knew very well of whom they spoke.

Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi was probably even more famous than Anakin Skywalker on the Holonet. Never mind that he was Senator of Strewjon, a Mid Rim solar system with only two planets and hardly bearing any consequence to the wider galaxy. But the young beta senator made himself famous within a year of his first term for taking the Senate by storm—violent storm. Despite his designation and unassuming background, he was known for his take no prisoners and hellfire approach to politics.

The holo called him The Negotiator, but even though Obi-Wan Kenobi always got his way, it seemed to stem more from his ability to absolutely steamroll and decimate an opponent rather than any equal give and take to true negotiation. He joined the Antislavery Committee, the Ethics Committee, and the Loyalist Committee, even in the same turn that he often aligned with the Reformist Party, who were often known for apposing the Chancellor’s policies.

The last Anakin heard on the holo, Senator Kenobi was personally responsible for over two thousand bills sent to the Senate floor in the past four years. He was young, fiery, idealistic, infamously charming, and obscenely well dressed. The galaxy adored him.

It came as little surprise when master Windu told him. Obi-Wan Kenobi made a far better choice than he did, and since his padawan days and Master Jinn regaled him the stories of his diplomatic missions with the senator, Anakin had been in awe of the man who fought with Jedi against slavers and Separatists.

The senator cut even more an intimidating and regal figure in person than he did in image. He wore a gold banded circlet with a halo of sunlit rods fanning behind his head, like the Old Republic oil paintings of angels and demigods. When he stepped forward to shake Anakin’s hand, gleaming strands which hung from the the circlet swayed and glinted against the high-necked metal chest piece he wore. He moved with a sigh of sheer black fabric, which draped from the copper around his neck, and from the gold band around his hips.

Senator Obi-Wan

“It’s wonderful to finally meet you in person, Senator Kenobi,” Anakin managed to say, even as the beta reached to shake his hand in a firm, warm grasp, leaving him only a second’s hesitation. With the upward swing of his arm, and the sweep of dark cloth, the senator’s faint scent drifted to him. Beneath his blockers and the sharp overtones of soap and cologne, came the pleasant notes of young unmated beta, warm and spiced like the tea found in the Tatooine markets.

To his credit, Senator Kenobi only smiled at him, all crinkled blue eyes and gleaming radiance brighter than binary suns, even as he shook glove and metal. “You as well Knight Skywalker. Though I would prefer you call me Obi-Wan, if we are to be husbands.” His hand squeezed Anakin’s tighter for the briefest of moments, the durasteel joints shifting and realigning to distribute stress and the nerve relayers signaling crude conceptions of pressure to his brain.

He lowered his hand and locked his knees so that he did not take an instinctual step backwards. He recognized the performances of dominance so many outside of the Order stepped into, the baser assertion of will and power. It was not the Jedi way to give in so easily to the unchecked aggressors. Lucky for him, his problem as a padawan had been feigning this particular flavor of aggression, rather than trying to control it.

In odd moments like these, when he recognized the stability of his alphaness being tested on a first meeting, that he felt a grounding thankfulness for his long suppressed but ever-present designation. Most alphas might have taken the bait and immediately met aggression with aggression, crowding into the Senator’s space and attempting to loom or make themselves known. He had no such instinct to fight against and so he simply stood his ground and smiled.

“And I would prefer you call me Anakin.” He tore his gaze away from Obi-Wan to grin bashfully at the Chancellor sitting quietly behind his desk and regarding him with a playful gleam in his eye.

“I’m sorry sir, I’m being terribly rude, how are you?”

The Chancellor laughed and beckoned them to sit down. They did, the sweep of their robes stirring up the scent of wood and spice.

“You mustn’t apologize my friend; you did just meet your future husband.”

Anakin couldn’t help but nervously flit his eyes to Obi-Wan beside him at the word. Obi-Wan met his gaze with a look of cool assessment beneath all the burnished gold.

“I won’t demean you both by asking how prepared you feel with your speeches, but I do wish you two the best of luck. I wanted to personally thank you both for agreeing to such an important task, the fate of the Republic may rest on you two.”

Anakin thought faintly, that while the Chancellor meant well, his words only filled him with foreboding and dread.

“Don’t thank us just yet,” Obi-Wan said around a rueful smile.

The Chancellor scoffed, “As if you two could ever fail me.”

Roiling anxiousness had been his constant companion the past many days, and it gave a sick turn in his stomach now.

“We won’t let you down, sir.”

The Chancellor smiled and clasped his hands under his chin. “No, I don’t believe you will, my dear boy. But on to much happier matters! Senator Kenobi agrees with me that your marriage ceremony should be before the Senate, what do you think?”

He blinked between the two politicians, askance. “I—uh, will defer to you both entirely in these matters. I’m afraid I don’t have much knowledge or talent for politics.”

The Chancellor chuckled and waved a hand, silver rings on his fingers glinting in the light. “Oh yes, our poor dashing alpha general. How out of your element from the glories of war in the Outer Rim you must feel?”

 Though Obi-Wan’s expression kept neutral, Anakin had the oddest sense of disapproval radiating from him, all tilted eyebrow and thinned lipped.

“Ahh—I wouldn’t say glory, sir. But yes, very out of my element.” He glanced between the two betas and swallowed, feeling like he was being forced down a tightrope by the prodding of a blaster on both ends.

“It is decided then,” said the Chancellor. “The ceremony will be before the Senate and we can broadcast live on HoloNet News for the people of the Republic. If you do not have any complaints of course, dear Anakin.”

“No of course not.”

“Excellent,” he clapped his hands together. “However, the Council tells me you are being redeployed to the Outer Rim, such dreadful timing.”

“How rude of the Separatists to disregard our wedding plans,” Obi-Wan said dryly.

His tone seemed to arc completely over the Chancellor’s head and Anakin forced the grin threatening to break out on his face back into an appropriate expression of weighted seriousness.

“I am, sir. The 501st and I are to retake Mygeeto if all goes well.”

Both politicians’ eyes went shrewd and calculating, weighing any myriad of choices and counter-choices which would affect the Marriage Bill in ways Anakin could not guess. Politics always made his head spin.

“How long will the reclaiming of the planet take?” Asked Obi-Wan.

The Chancellor spread his hands genially. “Surely no longer than a week or so, and the ceremony can take place when you return?”

Anakin suppressed the immediate urge to snort. Politicians mocked his ignorance of diplomacy and the subtleties of negotiations, but civilians could be shockingly ignorant of war’s realities.

“Ah, no sir. I expect the siege will last a month at the very least. The Seps fought long and bloody for Mygeeto and they know the Republic depends on the crystal trade to bankroll our side of the war. This isn’t going to be an easy fight.”

Both the Chancellor and Obi-Wan made similar displeased noises.

“A month? Oh no no no, that won’t do at all,” the Chancellor said, leaning back in his chair to rub a hand down his suddenly exhausted face. “You must understand—the unification of the Senate and Jedi Order is of the utmost importance right now. This cannot leave this office, but I am deeply worried by the actions taken amongst the Traditionalist Party, and I am even more afraid of what they might call for soon if they do not believe the Jedi are being held in check. Fear runs rampant, gentlemen, and we must not let fear destroy our allyship against the Separatists.”

Obi-Wan sighed, tilting his face into his open palm to drag fingers down the bridge of his nose and across his mouth to stroke his russet stubble. “You’re proposing we marry before he deploys?”

“Uhh—” Anakin straightened from his slouched sprawl. “Sir, I leave tomorrow.”

The Chancellor and Obi-Wan glanced at one another, and then both to Anakin. He flickered his gaze between the two, unsure though attempting to keep his scent steady and his shoulders from curling in self-consciously. He thought of his old master in this moment, of how he always held himself in times of crisis, spine straight and shoulders relaxed, radiating alpha calm and control, both in scent and through the force. Qui-Gon was the standard he always held himself to, and always fell short of.

“Oh,” he said, straightening even further, letting his hands settle onto his knees. “Oh, you’re saying we should marry today, in front of the Senate.”

Obi-Wan continued to stroke his jaw, and the threads of gold hanging from his circlet tinkled with the movement. “It would certainly be dramatic, the holo will eat it up.”

Anakin didn’t know whether he felt resignation or horror at the thought of being married in the next hour. He mostly felt unsteady, off centered and freefalling, as if he had been shoved from a great height and the past two weeks were his careening and flailing descent. The council had surely not thought this through, all of the intricacies and difficult realities of a Jedi war general marrying, let alone marrying a high-status senator.

What did their marriage entail, when he spent the majority of his life on a Star Destroyer or in sieges or assaults on foreign planets far flung in the distant reaches of the Outer Rim? What little time he did spend on Coruscant was given to furiously catching up with Ahsoka’s training. He did not understand why the council placed such faith in him for this, when he had the makings of a terrible husband, political alliance or not.

“Yes,” said the Chancellor. “An unexpected declaration of unification before the galaxy and then our brave young alpha goes off to fight in the war, risking his life to protect the freedoms of our Republic. It can only garner support for our cause.”

He mentally squirmed uncomfortably under two scrutinizing gazes. “And being deployed for so long immediately after will not pose a—problem?” He asked Obi-Wan.

The senator raised his eyebrows. “On the contrary, it will give you and I time to find an accordance, don’t you think?”

An accordance, perhaps it gave him time to figure what in the sith’s hells he would do about his designation, which loomed menacingly and all consuming in his thoughts.

“An accordance,” he echoed faintly. “Of course.”

“Stars, the time. I am terribly afraid I have another meeting before the Senate convenes. Please do not let an old man keep you.”

“Of course,” Obi-Wan said smoothly, rising from his chair in a graceful cascade of rustling fabric. “I presume you will do us the honor of officiating, your excellency.”

Anakin stood far more stiffly, again feeling startled and wrongfooted, the force unsettled and pulsing around him.

The Chancellor stood and reached out his hands to grasp Anakin’s between his warm fingers. “It would be my greatest honor,” he said with a beaming smile.

Anakin walked out of the office in a daze, trailing after Obi-Wan’s curling spiced scent, which carried notes of black pepper and cardamom, his own tells of unease. He kept glancing to the senator stalking beside him, and the sway of his black robes and the gold from his headpiece. He walked like a Jedi, or a war general, or even an alpha, chest forward and shoulders slanted back so that all of his momentum swung from the sway of his arms and his core.

It had taken years of self-conscious mimicry for Anakin to master the same swagger and suppress his instinctual softer and more graceful movements. Even after countless hours of tilting his shoulders and chin just so, a shadow of Master Jinn, the other Jedi often commented on how watching him duel with his saber felt like watching a ballet dance. It didn’t matter that he chose the most aggressive form, Djem So, that he always poured every ounce of energy and violence he had into the strength and power of his movements. It was his grace they always commented on, his agile athleticism and finesse.

It left a bitter taste in his mouth, that this beta moved with more instinctual alphaness in a quiet moment than he could after a lifetime of sweat and pain and pretense.

They exited the Senate Office building to cross the crowded street to the looming behemoth of the Senate Dome.

Obi-Wan finally broke the stilted silence which had followed them since they left the Chancellor’s office. “I am sure we can discuss this much further over holo, but I presume you have items to move to my apartments?”

He thought of his cluttered rooms in the temple, stuffed full of battleship models and droid parts on every surface, not to mention his worktable, spread with electrical panels and half-finished prototypes of updated prosthetics and lightsaber hilts. He thought of the piles of screws and coils, haphazard stacks of circuits, spools of wires, the disassembled cleaning droid on his meditation mat, and the piles of long dirty robes and tunics which sat on the end of his bed and festered between missions.

“Uhhh—I’m not sure if that’s—”

Obi-Wan cut him off, voice brisk and no-nonsense. “I do not expect you to leave the temple entirely, only, we must share a space to some degree on behalf of the holos. What is the purpose of a union if we do not actually collaborate on integration?”

They stepped into a marble atrium, echoing with the voices of hundreds of gathered senators who stood in robed and jewel toned clusters.

“Yes, of course, only I—”

“Senator Kenobi!” A sweet and musical voice called above the roar. They turned to an approaching brunette woman, who swept across the marble in a cloud of burgundy silk, the long train of her dress dragging behind her.

Obi-Wan smiled and stooped to kiss both of her cheeks. “Senator Amidala, what a wonderful surprise, I heard you were delayed on Naboo.”

She beamed, ethereal and pink cheeked. He parted his lips to take a knowing scent, tasting the sticky sweetness of an omega fresh out of heat. It left a cloying aftertaste in the back of his throat, thickly coating his tongue with her flowery and nectar like smell.

She continued smiling, amusement curling at her full lips and in the glint of her eyes. “Yes, but I heard a rumor you have something far more exciting in store for us than a speech today. I couldn’t very well miss that.” She tilted her head to smile up at Anakin, all round eyes and flushed cheeks. “And you are the famed Anakin Skywalker, it is so lovely to meet the man who will marry this nerf herder.”

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “Anakin, this is Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo.”

He reached out with is gloved hand to gently lift her delicate fingers to his mouth. Against his lips her scent was nauseatingly sweet and strong, and he quickly dropped her hand after the kiss. “It’s an honor.”

She flushed violet and he grinned crookedly. Through the cloud of omega pheromones, he caught the faint trace of toasted cardamom, Obi-Wan’s annoyance cutting and sharp in his nose.

He tilted his chin to smile at his future husband, bright and innocent, subtly exposing the skin behind his jaw in deference. These altercations he had no answer for, no easy way to juggle or dispel. It always lanced a sorrowful ache in him, his long-suppressed yearning making itself known amongst his remembered loneliness and isolation. Even in the Order, omegas were rare. They were especially rare in the military, and nonexistent amongst the beta clones and on the battlefield. He seldom saw an opportunity to speak with another omega, and when he did, it often played out like this.

The omegas only saw his towering height and wide shoulders, only scented his manufactured hormones so that they blushed and lifted their jaws to expose the columns of their throats in invitation. He couldn’t resent them for it, he understood how he looked and smelt. But even more frustrating came the subtle posturing or aggression from the other betas or alphas around him in the presence of an omega.

Obi-Wan saw an alpha intimidating or infringing in on his vulnerable omega friend, still ripe and ready to be picked right out of heat. It ached, this constant loneliness and longing for omega companionship he carried. But it was the price he paid, the price his mother paid.

The roar of voices swelled as the Chancellor entered the atrium and the gathered groups began to disperse towards the inner Senate Chamber and their delegate platforms.

Obi-Wan inclined his head to the retreating figure of the Chancellor amongst the crowd. “Shall we?” He asked, a certain sarcasm thinning his mouth into a wry line of pressed lips.

Senator Amidala tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and smiled at them, though she dedicated most of her attention to Anakin. “I wish you both the best of luck and—may the force be with you?”

He couldn’t keep the wide smile from his face even if under blaster fire, his heart suddenly feeling unreasonably lightened and buoyant. “And may the force be with you also.”

HoloNet News Chanel One Live Galactic Broadcast


“My sons and daughters of the Republic, children of galactic freedom, Senators of the Core, the Mid Rim, and the Outer Rim, we are here today, to bring unity! No longer can we let the pull of disunification threaten our measures to fight threats of the Republic, and to battle Separatist forces!”

[The camera pans across the Senate Chamber, the crowd roars in applause]

“We are here to see unification between our own venerated and honored Senate, who have protected the voices of the people of this Republic for a thousand years, and the Jedi Order who have brought peace and freedom and justice to our galaxy! We will stand together! We will stand united! With this marriage the power of the Republic and the faith of the people shall be unshakable, unbreakable! With the might of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, brought together to crush those who threaten our ways of life, the peace and order of our government, and the foundations of what we believe, we will stand undefeated and victorious amongst the ashes and ruin of our enemies!”

[The crowd roars, the Chancellor steps back from the podium. Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi of Stewjon steps forward]

“Senators of the Republic, I am here today to protect our Republic, because I hold the ideal of democracy so highly. I believe in what this Republic stands for, in the protection and rights we give to the citizens of this galaxy, and I further believe we cannot do this alone. The Jedi have long kept the peace and acted as the guardians of our people, without claim to power, without claim to glory. I am here, because we need them, because we cannot and should not fight this Separatist threat alone. I am here, to bind myself in marriage to Anakin Skywalker, because my full and utter faith lies with the Jedi for our future. Senators—the dissolution of our alliance with the Jedi can only bring ruin, and I urge you, I beg you, to give us your own faith, to trust in the success of this alliance and the future it calls to.”

[Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi of Strewjon steps away from the podium to the cries of support from the Senate. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker steps forward to the podium]

“I—people of the Republic, I am here to do nothing different than what I already do every day. I am here, to do what a Jedi does, to serve, to protect, to give myself entirely unto others, in any hope that I can further bring light and custody to this galaxy. I am a guardian, a soldier, it is all that I am to protect you, to defend you, to guard you. The Jedi will always fight for the people of this Republic, and if to continue fighting you wish us to unite, then we will do that also. I am here because of love, because the Order can only love, it is who we are, and without love we are lost in the dark. The Jedi are the light, we are the constant and everyday fight for good. Senators—people of the Republic, dark or light is not a feeling, it is a choice, and I am here today, because I choose to continue my post, my guardianship. I am here today to marry Obi-Wan Kenobi and fully surrender myself to the will and protection of the people.”

[The camera pans across the Senate as applause, but also a roar of voices breaks out in the dome. The Chancellor and Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi of Stewjon step forward to the podium. Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker takes Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi of Stewjon’s hands and they stand before the Chancellor. The Senate falls into immediate and stunned silence]

“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Senator of Strewjon, voice of the people of this Republic, do you swear to unite and forever bind yourself to Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, to bring unity and peace to this Republic? Do you swear to fight for balance, between the powers of the Senate and the powers of the Jedi Order? Do you swear to uphold your vows and ensure equal allyship between the Jedi and Senate? Do you swear to take this man as your husband, to forever forsake all others in the name of this Republic, and in the name of peace and freedom and democracy?”

“I swear it.”

“Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight and General of the Army of the Grand Republic, protector of the people of this Republic, do you swear to unite and forever bind yourself to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Senator of Strewjon, to bring unity and peace to this Republic? Do you swear to fight for balance, between the powers of the Senate and the powers of the Jedi Order? Do you swear to uphold your vows and ensure equal allyship between the Jedi and Senate? Do you swear to take this man as your husband, to forever forsake all others in the name of this Republic, and in the name of peace and freedom and democracy?”

“I swear it.”

“Then repeat after me. I Obi-Wan Kenobi, do take this man, to be my husband.”

“I Obi-Wan Kenobi, do take this man, to be my husband.”

“And before the Galactic Senate of the Republic, I swear to uphold this union, and the alliance between the Senate and the Jedi Order.”

“And before the Galactic Senate of the Republic, I swear to uphold this union, and the alliance between the Senate and the Jedi Order.”

“I Anakin Skywalker, do take this man, to be my husband.”

“I Anakin Skywalker, do take this man, to be my husband.”

“And before the Galactic Senate of the Republic, I swear to uphold this union, and the alliance between the Senate and the Jedi Order.”

“And before the Galactic Senate of the Republic, I swear to uphold this union, and the alliance between the Senate and the Jedi Order.”

“Then by the powers given to me by the people and the Senate, as the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, I pronounce you husband and husband by the will of our people and the will of the force.”

[The camera shakes as the Senate rises to their feet, erupting into thunderous and triumphant applause]

Chapter Text

Your lord does know my mind; I cannot love him:

Yet I suppose him virtuous, know him noble,

Of great estate, of fresh and stainless youth;

In voices well divulged, free, learn’d and valiant;

And in dimension and the shape of nature

A gracious person: but yet I cannot love him;

Act I. Scene IV.

Anakin Skywalker was everything and yet somehow nothing like what he expected. He stalked into the Chancellor’s office, tall and broad shouldered and smelling of dry cedar and the anxious acridity of woodsmoke, all crooked toothy smiles and alpha musk. It made his hackles rise, his scent and easy demeanor setting him on the defensive despite himself. Anakin’s presence should not have made his alpha snarl so. He held far more self-control than that; interacted with a plethora of other alphas every day that never set his teeth on edge just so.

But realistically, he knew why. The knowledge that he would be tied to this man, forever linked and bonded in some way if only in words; as the beta expected to submit and bare his throat for his virile alpha partner, made squeamish unease rise up in him. That unease bubbled past his skin to make itself known through his own ridiculous alpha posturing, stepping into the Jedi’s space to squeeze a hand he recognized as durasteel beneath the glove.

But Anakin Skywalker surprised him, when so very little did anymore, after years of galactic politics and intrigue. The Jedi general, darling of the Holonet and Republic, in all his swaggering, rakishly scarred, and golden curled glory, merely quirked an easy smile and lowered his hand. But then, the Jedi and their calm, inner peace, always managed to surprise him. When he worked with the knight Qui-Gon Jinn several years before, the Jedi’s unfazed and always serene demeanor went against almost every alpha stereotype he knew and himself had worked to fight through the years.

The ideal Jedi alpha: tranquil, harmonious, levelheaded, patient, is what he had striven for, and often failed to be, throughout his years in hiding. And now his husband, his alpha husband, only further reminded him of what he failed to be when he let Obi-Wan posture like a fool and smiled his golden smile, even when he smelt of forest fire and anxiety. It shamed him and angered him all in one. Because irrationally, Anakin Skywalker’s mere existence put his alpha teeth on edge like nothing else, put a furious fire in his veins that urged him to push, to assert his control and power, to make Skywalker submit. He would have made a terrible Jedi, but then, he figured quite wryly, it was fortunate he never had the choice.

And then his husband spoke of protection, of guardianship and love, and Obi-Wan wondered, despite the way he fought to bare his teeth and spark the Jedi to violence, if they could make it work through the delicate and fibrous understanding that the Republic came first. And then his husband left. They said their vows and Anakin smiled the same crooked grin from the Chancellor’s office, and then he left to fight a war lightyears away that he might never actually return from.

While he spent half his career pushing the Senate’s alliances with the Jedi Order, and he understood quite intimately what they faced with the GAR against the Separatists, the knowledge that any stray blaster or shrapnel could take Anakin Skywalker out and destroy the knife’s edge of their alliance set his nerves alight.

Obi-Wan did not watch the holos, but he did now, simply because he could not be compromised and have anyone else know of Skywalker’s death before he did. He let it play endlessly in the background on his office desk. The official News Channel One broadcasts with Tracene Cane and Alton Kastle animatedly gushing over the dramatic footage of Anakin Skywalker and the 501st legion fighting through enemy fire, and the live feeds which played on the secondary channels straight from the reporters stationed in the Open Circle Fleet droned on.

 He flipped through the gossip channels too, observing opinions and tabloid reactions to their surprise marriage before the Senate, and the holovid drama of Anakin shipping to the front right after. On the secondary channels the topics of discussion gravitated towards the public’s fascination with their dynamics, the strong and athletic alpha with the poised and refined beta. They dissected Obi-Wan’s clothes and Anakin’s expressions in news footage from the front. What did Obi-Wan’s headpiece mean, what did Anakin’s pinched face convey? That he hadn’t realized he would be married in the halo circlet and that Anakin led a war, but people took relishing joy in their analyses and at least anti-Jedi rhetoric charted lower on the channels because of it.

It set his teeth on edge worse than scenting Anakin’s charred cedar musk, the incessant morbid obsession and speculation while he furiously read through proposed legislations and the final products of passed bills and paperwork in need of rubber stamping. He sat surrounded by datapads, hands in his hair and a stabbing headache throbbing behind his right eye socket when his personal holo chimed with an incoming call.

He answered without lifting his head from the damned Garoob lawsuit taking up most of his perfectly good morning. “Senator Kenobi here.”

“Ahh—hello?” Came Anakin Skywalker’s very unexpected, lilting voice.

He jerked his head up in surprise and blinked at the blue outline of his husband, who looked exhausted and worn beyond measure. “Anakin, I apologize. I wasn’t expecting the fleet would be able to push personal comms through.”

The day they met and married before the Senate, Anakin wore the traditional Jedi tunics, tabards, and belt he recognized from his time with Qui-Gon Jinn and from the rare glimpses of the Jedi high council on the holos. Now he shimmered blue and a little jerky from the lag of their impossibly distant connection, wearing a thick chest plate and shoulder pauldrons emblazoned with the emblem of the Jedi Order.

Anakin rubbed the back of his head and grinned. “I managed to piggyback off a sister ship a few parsecs between us to boost the signal.”

“Impressive engineering, is something the matter?” His voice came out sharper than he intended, mind already leaping to contingency plans and damage control.

Anakin cast his eyes offscreen, tilting chin down so that he did not meet Obi-Wan’s eyes. “No, I just assumed we should have some form of contact before I return.”

“Oh,” was all he thought to answer with, “—it looks like you and your men have taken promising ground?”

Anakin’s mouth thinned, the cobalt shadows under his eyes somehow deepening. “Is that what the holos are saying? Well kriff-all what they say, I’ve lost hundreds of men this last week.”

“I am sorry,” he said, rubbing the heel of his palm against his browbone, willing away the lancing pain behind his eyes. “Do you not believe the engagement will be a success?”

Anakin sighed, rubbing at his own eyes. “No, I’m sorry. I didn’t comm you to complain. Listen I—you wanted me to move some of my things to your apartments, but I’m not really sure how long this assault will last. My padawan, Ahsoka, can bring some of it to you if that is alright?”

“Yes of course, if you give me her personal comm we can arr—” But Anakin’s end of the connection erupted into the furious static born from deafening noise and his blue outline tilted sideways, cutting him off mid-sentence. Anakin scrabbled for the projector as a deep grating noise filled his office, the sound of metal scraping and painfully groaning cut through with more furious white noise.

“Fuck! We’ve been—I’ll—you—” Then the call disconnected, leaving him stunned and wide eyed at his desk, the sudden silence of his office ringing in his ears.

He stayed there for the rest of the day, halfheartedly flicking through bill packets and legislations while he kept most of his attention on holo updates, which he realized were delayed and mentioned nothing of an explosion on any of the fleet’s destroyers. Anxiety twisted his stomach into nausea, and his headache bloomed so that his entire skull felt as if it radiated a feverish aura of pain.

If Anakin Skywalker died, the entire Jedi/Senate alliance stood to collapse in on itself like a dying star. Everything he had worked for, that the Chancellor worked for, stars what the Jedi worked for, could crumble away as if the marriage never occurred. The legislation was too new, their allyship far too precarious and its roots young and green, barely seeded into the ground. Why had the Jedi Council picked a war general who faced live combat and mortal peril constantly to represent their half of the alliance? It was dangerous and unwise, ridiculously so. But Skywalker had never been his decision, and now the entire future of the Republic stood to shatter like spun glass if the young alpha died.

A knock on his office door, well after the sun set, finally broke his attentions from his pads.

“Goodness Obi-Wan, I’ve seen slaves look less exhausted than you.”

“Padmé,” he greeted tiredly, “it has been a very long day.”

She drifted into the office and sat across from his desk in a graceful fall of silken fabrics, and the honey sweet scent of her eased some of the pain behind his eyes. “So I see. It’s not on the holos, but I trust you heard of the attack against the Open Circle fleet?”

“My comm with Anakin was cut short but I haven’t heard anything more.”

Her scent, although still sticky sweet, curled overwarm like burnt sugar. “We lost two destroyers.”

He leaned back in his chair and sighed, and they sat in silence gazing at the blinking skyline of Coruscant outside his windows for several weighted minutes.

“The Council are fools. Almost any other Jedi would have been a better choice than Skywalker, even Qui-Gon Jinn,” he said.

Padmé laughed. “A man over twenty years your senior who would rather wrestle a gundark than listen to the Council, let alone the Senate? He doesn’t play by anyone’s rules, Obi-Wan. You know why they chose Anakin Skywalker.”

“I hope they are quite pleased with their decision when the Republic falls around our ears because they wanted a young alpha to represent the order on the holo.”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, not because every child in the galaxy worships him? Not because they call him the hero with no fear and even half the Traditionalist party likes him? They chose him because he’s a soldier. He reminds people that the Jedi are guardians and here to protect us. His speech was quite brilliant you know, what he said about love.”

“Yes, it was perfect actually. Too bad he’s probably dead. You don’t suppose the Chancellor has a backup husband for me, I hear Master Yoda is available?”

Padmé burst into loud laughter and covered her mouth. “You’re terrible. But I’m sure—well surely the Jedi are hardier than that?”

As if summoned, his holo trilled with an incoming call and Padmé raised her eyebrows at him when he hesitated to answer. Perhaps it made him weak, the dread which sparked his pulse, the apprehension of what news awaited him, awaited the Republic. But he jerked his hand forward, and Anakin Skywalker’s blue projection blinked into existence.

He couldn’t hold back the audible breath of relief hissed between pursed lips. “You’re alive then, I am glad to see.”

Anakin looked beyond exhausted. The blue of the long distance holo carved sharp hollows under his eyes and in the cut of his cheekbones. He looked emaciated and ghostlike, and at his right temple his hairline appeared matted down and dark, most likely with blood but there was no way to tell through this type of communication.

“You thought I was dead?” He asked, voiced high with incredulity.

“Senator Amidala received news of the two destroyers and gathering the way our transmission ended I assumed a call from either the Chancellor or you.”

Anakin crossed his arms. “I’m a lot harder to kill than that, I assure you.”

It put his hackles up. Why did alphas think they always had to argue? He wasn’t looking for a fight here.

He gritted his teeth and swallowed down his dry response. His mouth often led him into trouble. Although his instincts to needle and antagonize served him well in politics, they surely could only clash with Anakin’s same instincts. “So I see,” he said instead. “I surmise your flagship remains intact then?”

“Oh she’s alright, a little jostled but should be fine through the campaign. She’s due for a grounding and larger repairs when we get back to Coruscant anyway.”

It appeared Anakin was a spaceship kind of alpha, stars help him. “Glad to hear of it, though I am sorry for the loss of your men, general.”

His expression shuttered and he flickered his eyes away from Obi-Wan, as if steeling himself, before he lifted his chin to make eye contact again. “Our duty is to serve the Republic, senator. My men died—” he seemed to choke on the word, “—valiantly, and for peace and freedom.”

He sounded as if he stood on trial, facing a court martial. He wondered if his husband’s interpretation of support as condemnation stemmed from actual military briefings and experiences within the Jedi Order, or if they were some innate alpha insecurity, already a part of him. “Of course they did, and I’m sure you led them to the best of your abilities. But I often find it is when you give your all and fail anyway, that loss can hit the hardest.”

Anakin’s face crumpled, expression bleedingly open and vulnerable for a heartbeat, before he pulled his features back into a smooth mask, controlled and contained, the perfect alpha Jedi. “I appreciate your concern, Senator. I gave Ahsoka your comm, though I warn you she’s more likely to show up unexpectedly than to contact you first.”

Anakin ended the transmission soon after, swaying on his feet with exhaustion before Obi-Wan pushed him to end the comm before he dropped dead on the holo. He blinked at Padmé, his vision dark and fuzzy in the dimness of his office after staring straight into the light of the projector. “At least I needn’t worry about finding another Jedi to marry.”

She scoffed, rising from her seat. “He gets on your nerves and yet you fuss over him like you’re his mother.”

He grimaced and stood to kiss her cheeks in farewell, the taste of honey lingering on his lips after. “He’s twenty-two and responsible for half of the GAR. Am I supposed to be indifferent to that?”

“No,” she smiled, “it’s only that your kindness still manages to surprise me sometimes.”

The senate let out of session well into midday after keeping for the entire morning and dense clouds hung low and oppressive as he walked to his office. The heavy sky cast the day gray and somber, the gloom only deepening his weariness. The Colstev Trade Agreement Act, at least had ratified, and his afternoon promised one less datapad on his desk for it.

But outside of his office door stood a female togruta, still young by her height though she smelt of earth and musk, an alpha past puberty. She wore Jedi tabards and a string of beads from her montrals that swung with the movement of her straightening from her slouch against the wall.

“You must be Ahsoka.”

“Senator Kenobi,” she greeted. “I’ve brought some of my master’s things.”

He unlocked his door with the swipe of his commlink past the sensor and Ahsoka followed him into the room, her scent drifting curious and foreign around him. Against his thoughts, in the space of his skull where a headache already sat lodged in his sinuses, an outside warmth pressed, sparking a deeper ache than before.

He winced. “Please, none of that. I’m in quite enough pain without you mucking about in there.”

She jerked, gazing at him with inhumanly large blue eyes. “You’re force sensitive?”

“No, but I’ve been trained to recognize someone else trying to sort through my thoughts like laundry,” he said, the corner of his mouth pulling into a wry smile.

Unlike Anakin, who ducked his eyes away often, unwilling to maintain a gaze for long, Ahsoka met his stare head on, her mouth puckered and defiant.

“I have a speeder outside with my master’s things.”

He slid the datapads on his desk into his briefcase and brushed invisible lint from the front of his brocade jacket, meeting her haughty gaze with a matching one of his own. “Oh I’m quite ready when you are.”

She drove like a crazed Aiwha, zipping at breakneck speed and perilously close to colliding with other traffic, pedestrians, and buildings. Obi-Wan guided her with breathless directions, in-between interjections of, “Are you trying to get us killed?” And, “for kriff’s sake!” She only laughed, young and bubbling full of life.

They came to a screeching halt outside of his apartment high-rise and he slid off the bike, raking his hair from his eyes. “Does your master approve of you driving like that?”

She threw her head back and howled laughing. “Oh my master is the one who taught me to drive, to fly too. He’s lightyears worse than me, just you wait.”

She handed him a stack of two boxes from the speeder’s storage compartment and they rattled and clanked in his arms. “Are these—droid parts?”

She lifted the other boxes, which overflowed with dark linen tunics and a pair of leather boots that threatened to topple from their perch onto Ahsoka’s head. “A few, it’s mostly his backup prosthetics and an extra diagnostics kit for his hand. I think I threw a couple of his saber hilt prototypes in there too.”

She followed him inside and into the transparisteel turbolift, which shot them into the thick of the day’s low hanging and rain burdened clouds. The surrounding buildings disappeared into the soupy fog and the enclosing gloom cast the inside of the lift into shades of grayscale.

“He sounds as if he likes ships as well. Your master seems like quite the mechanic.”

Half hidden behind the boxes, Ahsoka’s eyes flickered, and in the tight choking space of the turbolift, her scent slanted both dry and sweet, like smoked butterscotch. “He is, he’s a genius with machinery. He built his first droid when he was nine, won a podrace too. He’s the best pilot there is, and you should see him build a lightsaber.”

The turbolift opened to his apartment and Ahsoka continued to praise the glories of her master as she followed him into the main living space.

“I mean I’ve never met C3PO, he’s back on Tatooine with Anakin’s mom, but can you imagine building a protocol droid at nine? The temple doesn’t even go to anyone else for security protocols for our droids when—”

“Would you like some tea?” He managed to interject, though he wondered if she might pass out from lack of air at any moment.

“—Oh yes please. I’m sorry, Master Jinn tells me I can talk at lightspeed.”

She followed him into the kitchen after they set the boxes aside and watched him put water to boil and measure delicate leaves into the strainer of his teapot. “Qui-Gon Jinn?”

“He was Anakin’s master, which makes him my adopted master, sort of.”

“I worked with him on several diplomatic missions when I was first elected as senator.”

She laughed and her padawan beads swung sharply as she hopped to plop happily on his countertop with all the politeness of a dewback. He only barely refrained from baring his teeth at her and insisting she remove her backside from his kitchen surfaces.

“Master says Qui-Gon doesn’t have the good sense the force gave him. But my master has the self-preservation of a gnat and I’ve heard plenty of stories to know they were the council’s bane of existence until he was knighted.”

He regarded her happily swinging her feet against his cabinet and felt a sudden fondness come over him. He smiled and leaned against the opposite counter. “Only until he was knighted?”

“Someone else kind of always has to be the anchor with master Qui-Gon, and Skyguy has always carried the weight of the world, even before the war, I think. I remember him from the temple when I was a youngling. He was solemn even then, thinks he has to be stronger than everyone else, being the Chosen One and all.”

He frowned, but the water boiling distracted him for a moment, and he filled the teapot, steam curling up around his hands. “What do you mean the Chosen One?”

She blinked at him, her already large eyes going especially big and round. “Oh—I thought—well, there’s an old prophecy that a chosen one will bring ultimate balance to the force.”

“Is this why the council selected Anakin for the marriage?” He demanded.

She shrugged, narrow shoulders shifting underneath her striped montrals. “I suppose they could have. He said the council told him it’s because he’s already prone to attachments and has a better understanding of how non-Jedi balance emotions. He came to the order really old. The rest of us don’t remember our families.”

“Yes,” he said, stroking his short beard, “my parents called the Jedi baby snatchers.”

Her expression went thunderous and he felt her anger pushing against his mind, as biting as the scorched heat in her scent. He could understand the sentiment, as it was the same reaction he often felt before they died. He sometimes wondered, if their anti-Jedi rhetoric bled into Stewjon, and if the many problems in stamping out Jedi fear and Separatist loyalties in his system was born from his parents’ governance.

He held up his hands placatingly. “I do not agree with the sentiment, merely repeating.”

“Do you even like the Jedi?” She demanded.

He couldn’t help but laugh and her expression darkened further, as if she thought he mocked her. “Yes, I like the Jedi, very much. I have fought with and for the Jedi for six years, but more than like, I believe in the Jedi. I volunteered to marry Anakin because I believe in the Jedi, and the Republic, because without your order I think our Republic will fail.”

She sniffed and surprisingly averted her gaze, glaring down at the teapot, which glistened with condensation and curled lazy steam from its spout. “You’ll look after him, right, when he’s away from the temple and I can’t? He’s—”


“No,” she snorted. “Skyguy is as tough as it gets. I was going to say he’s lonely.”

Two lonely, exhausted, alphas locked in a political marriage where one ran himself into the ground leading armies and the other did not sleep to battle politicians and his own designation. What a pathetic and miserable pair they made. They deserved one another if only Anakin’s scent didn’t stir an itch in him to throttle his husband rather than fuck him.

“Your padawan hates me.”

Anakin grinned at him through the holo. He looked only slightly less exhausted than their last transmission, although that said little when Anakin had been half blown up and bleeding before.

“She doesn’t. Ahsoka loved you, wouldn’t stop going on about how nice your apartments are and that she demands visitation rights when I get back to Coruscant.”

“Wonderful,” he drawled. “So I can have two alphas having my home smell like a sunbaked desert.”

“Oh don’t say that, I hate sand.”

He leaned back in his chair and snorted. Talking with Anakin like this was easier, when his alpha presence and scent couldn’t drive him to immediate aggression. It made him uncomfortable with guilt, the sentiment of being grateful that Anakin’s placement in a war zone at least delayed the inevitably of them trying to take each other’s throats out. Lightyears between them seemed best, even when Anakin might die. The marriage could end either way, with his husband’s demise or because some innate part of Anakin’s designation might drive him to violence. At this point he trusted the Separatists more than he trusted himself. It was ridiculous, weak, his own mother would have called him uncivilized and shameful.

He finally came to the tentative, “I trust the assault has taken a turn for the better?”

Anakin sighed and picked up his holoprojector, his image jerking with the nauseous sways of his footsteps as he carried his comm to a new location in his cabin, sat, and began unbuckling his pauldrons from his shoulders. “Theoretically, ground assaults took a good chunk of the planet yesterday. Rex and his men captured one of Grievous’s bases, but our losses are still far too high. I need another general for this, but everyone else is tied up in the Outer Rim.”

He didn’t need to know Anakin Skywalker past a single meeting to understand the fervor of the protectiveness in his eyes. If they stood in the same room, he knew without a doubt his husband would smell of smoke and fire, all alpha rage devoted to keeping those around him safe and guarded. He felt the same devotion to his people, to Padmé and the other senators who faced danger to push new legislations with him. He felt it for the Jedi too, a quiet yet fierce protectiveness for the knights who gave their all and left their backs open for attack. He could, in turn, only stand by them and guard them to the best of his abilities, even when that meant binding himself to another alpha. Sacrifice, after all, did not belong entirely to the Jedi.

“Not to nag, but the Chancellor has been breathing down my neck about us making public appearances for the holos when you return. At what point should I begin accepting social invitations on your behalf?”

Anakin groaned, but he didn’t know whether it stemmed from the prospect of highly publicized gatherings with senators or from the relief of pulling off his durasteel armor. “If the assault continues on the same trajectory, I imagine we’ll be back to Coruscant within two standard weeks.”

“Do you have a preference for our first public appearance?” He flicked through the countless invitations on his datapad to cocktail parties, galas, operas, symphonies, podraces, ballets, balls, droid fights and any other number of holo famous social gatherings.

Anakin pinched the bridge of his nose and then waved a gloved hand dismissively. “Whatever you think will look best. I told you and the Chancellor I am not a good judge of these things.”

“No mind for politics?” He asked amusedly.

“No refinement, I’m just a soldier who grew up on a dirtball in the far Outer Rim.”

And yet you are the Chosen One, he thought, or so Ahsoka said.

“My good friend, Senator Bail Organa, is throwing a party to celebrate the passing of the Colstev Trade Agreement, which I will be attending. I can let him know to expect you if the fleet is planetside at the time.”

But Anakin’s attentions were elsewhere as he rubbed at his eyes and thunked his head against the surface behind him, his eyes closed and underlined with dark bruises. With his soft features and youthful curls, the alpha always looked startlingly young on the news, especially when he flashed his trademark beaming smile. But in the slanted navy shadows of the holo, alone in his cabin and weighted after battle, he looked far older than twenty-two, as if he somehow carried three lifetimes of memories within him.

Obi-Wan stared at his husband for a moment and pitied him. Pitied the man who would still be a boy if he were anyone else in the galaxy. But these were the roles given them, the responsibilities doled to them by the force. When he fell to despair, drowned by the sea of his loyalties and duty, he comforted himself that surely, his place in the galaxy was precisely chosen by the force. But maybe that’s not how the force worked, he didn’t know, but it comforted him all the same. That same sentiment whispered to him, that surely the force chose this boy to carry the universe on his shoulders because he could withstand the burden. At least he hoped, for if no greater hand played a role, he worried the alpha looked ready to shatter.

“You should rest,” he said softly. “We can stamp out logistics later.” But Anakin didn’t reopen his eyes, somehow already asleep within seconds of closing them. Still and washed out in the light of the holo, he might have looked like a corpse slumped against the wall except for the subtle roving of his eyes behind their lids. He blinked at the Jedi, more pity welling within him, before he cut the comm to leave him in peace.

Damn the Chancellor and damn the Jedi Council as well.

He turned back to the datapads on his desk and the missive forwarded to him by Padmé on the notable rise of anti-Jedi and anti-Republic propaganda circulating in the Chommell sector. Much of the phrasing rang similar to the propaganda he fought in his own system; the Jedi were war mongers and indoctrinated cultists who kidnapped children and brainwashed them, the Republic sought to strip its citizens of their rights and freedoms and reenact slavery to fund the GAR.

They couldn’t identify where the rumors stemmed from, though the systems facing the worst of the backlash were under the representation of senators who promoted pacifism and often supported the Jedi/Senate union. It stunk of meddling from within the senate, though the promotion of anti-Republic beliefs felt extreme, even for their fiercest opponents within the Traditionalist party.

Padmé attached a separate document to the missive that enclosed the notes of Senator Satine Kryze of Mandalore. It confused him as he scrolled through the pages of commentary noting similar problems within the Mandalorian system. The promotion of propaganda in the Chommell sector and Stewjon system made a certain grim sense, but Mandalore, who recently threatened neutrality? He knew little of Senator Kryze beyond her staunch pacifism and acquaintance with Padmé, but if the Mandalorians faced outside pressures through similar channels, he feared the Separatists had moved the first chess piece in a game the Republic did not realize it played.

Chapter Text

If you will then see the fruits of the sport, mark

his first approach before my lady: he will come to

her in yellow stockings, and ‘tis a colour she

abhors, and cross-gartered, a fashion she detests;

and he will smile upon her, which will now be so

unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a

melancholy as she is, that it cannot but turn him

into a notable contempt.

Act II. Scene IV.

“Kiss your husband hello for me.”

Anakin gawked at Rex incredulously and then laughed. “Perhaps you should try it yourself, he might take to you better than me.”

Rex chuckled as the docking doors grated open, clouds of exhaust from their landing flooding the transport’s hold.

“Several of the men have made bets, on whether you’ll actually fall for that fancy, dolled up senator.”

“You can tell Fives if he wants to make a bet, he should be brave enough to come to me.”

Rex grinned from ear to ear as they clomped down the docking ramp, durasteel bowing and vibrating under the heavy footfalls of their boots. Rex’s smile only widened at the sight of Ahsoka bouncing on her heels in the hangar.

“Heyah Snips!”

She bowled into Anakin and wrapped her thin arms around his abdomen, squeezing so tightly his ribs throbbed in protest. He shifted, adjusting the slung strap of his bag and wrapped his own arms around her narrow shoulders.

 “Master! You frightened us all, glad to see you’re in one piece.”

He tugged on her padawan beads and she butted her montrals against his chest, filling his nose with the smell of her young alpha scent. “I know, I’m sorry, Snips. But Rex kept me perfectly safe, not a scratch on me.”

She pulled back to glare up at him. “That’s not what Obi-Wan said.”

“Oh, do we immediately trust the word of Obi-Wan over the long-forged bond with your master now?”

Rex cleared his throat and shifted the helmet tucked under his arm. “To be fair, sir, you certainly had more than a scratch.”

“Traitor,” he muttered, but a long familiar scent, dark and thick like molasses, interrupted his thoughts.

Qui-Gon Jinn’s looming frame stepped through the crowd of troopers spilling from the docked transporters in a sea of white. He smiled serenely and sprinkled happiness freely through the force, his signature humming bright and balanced, just like always.

“Anakin,” he clapped him on the shoulder with such force he locked his knees to keep from staggering forward, “it is wonderful to see you, my padawan.”

“And you Master Jinn, how long have you been planetside?”

“A couple rotations, though I leave tomorrow for Onderon. I must give you my congratulations on your marriage. I had no access to the holos until I returned, and it was quite the surprise, though Obi-Wan Kenobi was an excellent choice.”

“He was chosen by the Chancellor,” he said, fighting down embarrassment.

“Oh, then the fool has at least an atom of sense left in his body. How are you finding marriage my apprentice?”

Ahsoka and Rex both smirked at him and he fought to keep his shoulders pulled back and his chin raised. “I’ve only met him the once, master. But I—uh, don’t think he likes me very much.”

“Nonsense, a well-balanced alpha like yourself would make for an excellent partner. Have you attempted any courtship rituals?”

Master,” he said plaintively, “I really should meet with the Council for my debriefing.”

“Force preserve me, you’re willingly going to meet with the council?” He clapped him on the shoulder again and he stumbled forward, unprepared for the casual strength his master so thoughtlessly exhibited. “Perhaps we can catch up over some drinks before I leave, we have much to discuss.”

“Of course, master,” he said faintly.

Qui-Gon disappeared back into the throng of troopers, already distracted or pulled in some distant direction, most likely to the archives to pour over ancient texts and scrolls. Anakin watched him with a shake of his head but turned his attentions back to Ahsoka.

“You,” he said, eyes narrowed, “have some explaining to do about your division of loyalties.”

Her eyes went huge and round with faux innocence. “But master, he is your husband. Surely my loyalty to him just means I’m loyal to you too?”

He shifted his bag and shoved a gloved durasteel finger in her face while Rex laughed, deep and booming in his chest.

“This isn’t over, Snips.”

He knocked on Obi-Wan’s apartment door, his apartment door he supposed, and stamped down squirming nerves. He battled Separatists and droid armies, had even seen a Sith Lord before; there was no reason for him to be so anxious at the prospect of facing his husband, and yet, his own scent wafted singed and smoky in his nose, thick with apprehension.

Obi-Wan opened the door and they stared at one another for an awkward moment, before he stepped aside to let Anakin past him. The overwhelming cloud of his scent practically knocked Anakin to the floor, concentrated and pungent where Obi-Wan spent so much of his time. It curled warm and spiced around him; pepper overlaid with nutmeg and cinnamon and a dark, bitter note of something cloying and unnamable. Obi-Wan brushed past him, stirring up more of his scent, laden with cardamom and cloves. “I apologize for how strong it must be, I did try to air the place out,” he said dryly.

Anakin blinked against it, dropped his bag, and followed him into the kitchen to watch him put water to boil. He took in his long burgundy jacket which glinted with synthetic thread and made the copper in his hair glimmer like spun gold. Even in casual comfort he dressed far more lustrous than anyone he had encountered before save the Chancellor, though he did not know if this was the norm for any wealthy civilian outside of the Order or GAR.

 “I’ll acclimate, I’m just accustomed to the temple or shipside where it’s an ocean of scents. This might make for a nice change.”

Obi-Wan eyed him with a wry look. “Your burnt lumber smell might take some getting used to.”

He laughed. “You’re saying I stink?”

Obi-Wan busied himself pulling mugs from a cabinet. “And this doesn’t offend you?” He tilted his head. “Do you prefer tea or caf?”

Anakin leaned against the counter and crossed his arms against his chest. Qui-Gon had pointed out to him years ago it was a tell he revealed when he felt unsure. Qui-Gon had never understood his unsurety, as a towering, space-brained alpha, how could he? In moments when he felt bated with no idea how to respond as an alpha should, he missed his mother dearly. But no measure of unsurety could ever lead him to put her in danger, his life on Tatooine lay far in the past and buried where it belonged.

“Caf, but I take tea too, whichever you’re having is fine—and no, I’ve never liked my own scent, I don’t expect others to find it pleasing when I do not.”

How could he, when the musky stale smoke scent he emitted put his teeth on edge and warned his own mind of a hostile alpha? He didn’t even know what he actually smelt like, when the hormone implant had been in his arm since he was a toddler. After all, a child omega slave only wrote of misery and tragedy beyond comprehension.

He never knew how his mother afforded the black-market implant, and maybe he didn’t want to know. But it saved him, again and again. His own quiet sorrow wore his mind down, but no amount of heartache could counterbalance his mother’s sacrifice, could dampen his memories of her warnings that he must keep hidden, at all cost, no matter the sacrifice, even amongst the Jedi. And bore the sacrifice he did; going through puberty as an alpha when his body knew better. The hormones were only surface deep, suppressing his heats and changing his scent, but every instinct within him still rang as omega.

Obi-Wan pulled tea from a cupboard and shook loose purple leaves into a teapot. “It’s quite strong, even for an alpha.”

To his beta nose Anakin probably reeked of charred coal and smoking wood, overpowering and lingering. It was an unfortunate side effect of the implant, the strength of his scent.

“I can wear blockers and cologne if that will help.”

Obi-Wan crossed his own arms over his chest and leaned against the counter behind him. “That might be prudent, there is some in the fresher should you need it.” They stared uncomfortably at one another until the water boiled and Obi-Wan dedicated his attentions to filling the teapot. “I am glad to see you’re alright,” he finally said.

The tense line of his shoulders and stiff way he held himself suggested entirely otherwise, but then, he didn’t have a supposed alpha who reeked of musk and forest fire invading his personal space. He thought of the way Qui-Gon had always flippantly entered his personal rooms in the temple during his padawan years and the way his towering alpha presence made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end if he didn’t expect the intrusion. He stepped a little further away from Obi-Wan at the reminder and leaned against the opposite side of the marble countered island.

“And I’m grateful to be alive, though the force wills what it will.”

Obi-Wan quirked a small smile at that. “Qui-Gon would say that on our diplomatic missions.”

“Yes,” he answered dryly, “he would tell me the same thing when he sold my robes or put me in a horrendous position because of his gambling or supposed negotiations.”

This elicited an actual laugh from him, wide-mouthed and dimpled. He laughed like Anakin did, with all his teeth bared in a flashing white grin so wide it revealed the points of his canines. It made his blue eyes twinkle. Anakin glanced to his clasped hands on the counter, feeling suddenly shy.

“Yes that sounds very much like Qui-Gon,” Obi-Wan said around another laugh and stroked his auburn stubble.

“I didn’t realize you had worked with the Jedi as much as you have.” He found his eyes drifting back down to his gloved hand, unable to make eye contact in the face of his golden lit joy, which brought out the youthfulness in his features and only emphasized how astoundingly handsome he was.

“Since I was elected to the Senate, though my allegiances have always been with the Jedi,” he said softly.

“Which is why we’re here.”

“Which is why we are here, yes.”

Anakin dared to glance up through his lashes and met his searching gaze.

Obi-Wan frowned. “I still have a hard time believing the Council allowed the Traditionalist party to bully them into breaking with thousands of years of Jedi belief.”

“The stance against attachments and marriage hasn’t always applied as far as I’m aware, it would be impossible for complete stagnation over such a long period of time. In the Aionomica, one of our sacred texts, the ancients wrote about gods we worshipped, and that has changed too.”

“Why forbid it then? Surely allowing Jedi to marry and procreate would ensure new generations of force users within the Order?”

Anakin grimaced, “What, to breed soldiers like clones? We are not the Republic.”

Obi-Wan’s scent sparked earthy and dry with annoyance and he poured their tea silently, parsing his words so as not to snap at him as he so obviously wanted to do. Anakin took the mug slid to him across the counter. Steam curled from the violet tea though he felt no heat through his hand’s sensors or the leather or his glove.

“How closely do you follow legislation in the Senate?” He finally asked carefully.

He blew into his mug and inhaled the tea’s oddly buttery smell. “Only what the Council forwards me, mostly anything to do with the GAR, or the Marriage Bill recently.”

“Then you might have seen the petitions for the protective acts of the clones that Senator Amidala and I have been fighting for the past two years?”

He saw his conversational misstep and grimaced some more into his raised mug. He should really be used to sticking his damned boot in his mouth by now. “I wasn’t implying you condone the mistreatment of the clones, but surely you see the corruption too?”

“I love my Republic,” Obi-Wan said softly, “and intergalactic peace means everything to me. I fight everyday against corruption in the Senate to protect the people of this galaxy.”

“As do I,” Anakin countered. “The Jedi put their lives on the line everyday to fight for this galaxy. I’ve watched countless of my fellow knights die like common soldiers, blown apart in the Outer Rim for this Republic.”

“You keep saying that, soldiers, but I always understood the Jedi as peacekeepers.”

“Maybe we were, once. But there’s too much blood on my hands, too many battles fought, for me to ever be called a peacekeeper. I’m a soldier sent to the front to die for the Republic, just like my men.”

Obi-Wan’s eyes crinkled under his furrowed eyebrows. “You agreed to the Marriage Bill. I find that very within the actions of a peacekeeper.”

“Because marriage is such a sacrifice,” he snapped.

“It is when it’s to me.”

They blinked at one another, the tension so palpable between them he felt it through the living force, weighted and stifling. But the tension buckled and they both cracked grins across the counter at one another.

Obi-Wan drug a hand over his face and sighed, “I apologize, I hadn’t planned our first true meeting to go like this. Perhaps we are both in desperate need of some relaxation, we should both be getting ready for Senator Organa’s dinner party tonight.”

Anakin thought of the quick sonic and change into a clean tunic and pants that constituted his process of ‘getting ready’ and stifled a laugh, though he quickly agreed if only to escape from Obi-Wan’s annoyed scent suffusing the kitchen.

Anakin squeezed the stem of his wine glass in a sweaty grip and eyed the dimly lit rooftop patio like he eyed a battlefield. Amongst the low strung glow lamps, groups of senators and their friends and spouses congregated in silken clad clusters or lounged on low settees, drinking from transparisteel goblets. This high on one of the tallest central apartment complexes of Coruscant, the exhaust smells of traffic and ships and the dirty oil stench of the city were far below. Here on their open, lofty tower, the assembled party existed in another world of crisp, clean air and the scents of alcohol and expensive blockers and perfumes.

Obi-Wan had introduced him to Senator Organa, an exuberantly friendly beta who immediately slapped him on the shoulder and shoved Corellian wine into his hand. “It’s an honor to finally meet you Knight Skywalker! I’ve watched you on the holos for several years now, I’m glad you could be on Coruscant to celebrate our ratification of the Colstev Trade Agreement, it was kind of the GAR to lend you to us!”

Obi-Wan made a pained expression into his own glass of liquor. “He’s on leave to the temple, Bail, he isn’t Republic property.”

Something sour twinged in his chest at the thought. No, it had been many years since he was anyone’s property. “Just Anakin is fine, Senator. What is this trade agreement Obi-Wan has talked so much about?”

“Bail, please! Has your husband neglected to inform you of the historic measures he has taken in the Stewjon System to eliminate black market slave trading in their outer sectors? The Senate doesn’t usually like to deal with the Hutts in any official capacity, but the new trade statutes have brokered an agreement between Republic businesses and the Hutts to stamp out human trafficking.”

“Isn’t that just giving credits to the Hutts to fund their slave rings in other systems?” He asked slowly.

Bail tapped his temple and smiled. “Not when the Senate has also passed new funding for Republic Intelligence to expand our agents further into the cartels, another bill courtesy of Senator Kenobi here.”

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “You pushed the RI funding bill through with the other RA ratifications right under the noses of the Traditionalists.”

“So I did,” he said with a laugh.

But soon after, Obi-Wan and Bail drifted to other circles of senators to talk politics and he stepped outside the halo of strung lights to lean against the rooftop’s transparisteel barrier and watch the twinkle of other high rises and traffic below. But a familiar honey scent drifted to him and he turned his head as Senator Amidala leaned against the glass beside him, glistening under the lights in a silver cocktail gown.

“You look very out of place, Jedi.”

He thought of the look Obi-Wan had given him when he stepped out of the fresher before they left, arched amusement at his tunic and tabards and the chemically sharp blockers and cologne he wore that made him feel even more stiff and uncomfortable in his own skin than normal.

“Why Senator,” he said on a laugh, “what ever made you think that?”

She smiled and her scent sweetened around him with light floral notes, obviously pleased. “Don’t let Obi-Wan make you feel like an outcast, he has always been quite terrible at discussing politics on laymen’s terms. He has difficulty lowering his intellect to a capacity other’s can understand.”

Anakin glanced over his shoulder to watch Obi-Wan laughing with Bail, his head thrown back, and mouth split wide, lips pulled back to bare his top row of teeth in an almost predatory grin. He glistened under the glow lamps too, in his blue velvet cloak and pants, embroidered with silver thread and beads that shimmered like constellations when he moved.

“Oh he’s perfectly alright, I feel the same trying to talk about Jedi matters. There’s not really a lot for us to discuss, besides our support for the Republic.”

“That can’t be true, Obi-Wan loves the Jedi. He may not understand, without really knowing what the force is, but he would always be academically intrigued. Never fear of not having an ear to listen to your Jedi problems.”

“And what about you, Senator?”

“Me?” She blinked in confusion. “I’m sorry to say I have little interest in the force or other things outside my realm of understanding.”

“No,” he grinned crookedly, “what is it that you like, besides politics I mean?”

“I’m afraid very little of my life exists outside of politics, such is the way of the life of a senator. I was elected Queen of Naboo when I was fourteen, before I came to the Senate. You could say my life has always been in serving the Republic.” She sounded wistful and her scent curled amber gold, tinged with sadness.

“Surely there are things you care about, things you want outside of being a senator?”

“Of course there is,” she said, voice a little sharp. “I love Naboo, I miss my home, and my family, I miss my parents and my sister and my niece. I want my own children, that doesn’t make me weak.”

“Love isn’t weakness,” he scoffed. “You’re a kriffing Senator, who would possibly think you are weak?”

She eyed him for a moment, examining him as if he were something rare and odd. “And what do you want, now that you can have things outside of being a Jedi?”

“There is nothing outside of being a Jedi, it is all that I am. It’s—the force is everything for us, and everything is within the force. There is no part of me, no part of my life which exists outside of the force and outside of what that makes me, even my marriage to Obi-Wan. But now that I have the choice, of not forsaking my vows for it, I want a family too.”

She scrunched her face. “Do the Jedi not have families?”

He glanced back over his shoulder to watch Obi-Wan again, who looked flushed from alcohol and golden under the warm, yellow toned lights. “We do, though we remain distant so as not to create outside loyalties from the Order which might conflict with our duties. You understand from your life in politics, it is difficult to balance your dedications, when so much of your life is dominated by what you are. But my situation is different, I can have—we could adopt—children,” he swallowed, “if Obi-Wan were to want them.”

She glanced over her own shoulder to watch Obi-Wan and Bail tell an animated story to raucous laughter from their rapt audience and then back to him with a mischievous smile. “He’s very private. Even though we are good friends I wouldn’t know his opinion on things like children. You like him though,” she said knowingly.

He blushed and hid his face by taking a large swallow of his wine. “He is very handsome,” he admitted, choking on the words.

She laughed, uproariously, “Oh he certainly is at that. You know, I heard a curious rumor, through the shameless gossip of my fellow politicians, that you requested a beta for the marriage?”

He went truly scarlet then and even from under the expensive blockers and awful cologne he wore, his scent rose smoky and mortified, sparked by the nervous sweat that gathered under the layers of his tunics. “I’m not—very…drawn…to omegas,” he finally strangled out.

Rather than offended, utter delight filled her scent and lit her face with a rosy glow. “You’re not attracted to omegas?” She demanded.

“No?” He hedged, confused but at least relieved at her lack of vitriol.

His underwhelming interest in omegas had sparked many an offence and plenty of disdain on missions during his padawan years. Qui-Gon, of course, endlessly praised his balance, proud of the level head he kept around heat scents and alphas posturing to protect their mates. But it was praise unearned, and always made him squirm with guilt. He lacked plenty of restraint, in his own way, but never received chastisement for it, his own internal struggles always gone unnoticed by the other Jedi, even the Council in their wise and force enhanced observations.

“We could be friends then, true friends, and I wouldn’t have to fear your unwanted attentions?”

He lit bright and excited in understanding. “Oh,” he breathed, filled with thoughts of possibilities, of companionship he so longed for, “yes of course, I would—I would like that very much.”

They grinned at each other, giddy and swimming in a cloud of their scents suffused with joy. When they returned to the rest of the party, they still smelt of sun warmed happiness and Obi-Wan kissed Padmé’s cheek, his mouth twisted oddly.

“What have you two been conspiring about?”

With Padmé tucked against Obi-Wan’s arm, they both shimmered silver under the lights. They made quite the dazzling pair and Anakin shoved aside the instinctual feeling to crowd closer, to lead her honey rich scent away from him.

“I have blackmailed your Jedi into having lunches with me when he is on Coruscant.”

Obi-Wan arched his eyebrows acerbically. “I see how fickle your loyalties are, passing up old friends for the far more exciting prospect of befriending a Jedi knight.”

Their little circle laughed, all tipsy and easily amused with alcohol warming their scents and loosening their stances. Anakin smiled into his own wine glass and wondered if this would become normal, if his wrongfooted feeling from staying outside of the temple and away from the comforting auras of other force users would lessen over time. Already he longed for the familiar spark of his padawan against his mind, and for the presence of Rex and the other familiar life forces of the clones.

But here Obi-Wan and Padmé’s scents, each lovely in opposite ways, filled him with a separate comfort. For the first time in his life, he suddenly understood the Council’s warnings against attachments and split loyalties. He felt abruptly caught, tugged between his yearning for two separate worlds. But he didn’t need to feel torn, not when the Council themselves had asked him to do this. But for the strangest reason, that knowledge didn’t dampen the uncertainty inside of him, or the sudden unfocused longing that filled him, though for what he didn’t know.

Chapter Text

What I am, and what I

would, are as secret as maidenhead; to your ears,

divinity, to any other’s, profanation.

Act I.  Scene V.

His apartment smelt like someone had lit a bonfire in his kitchen, doused it, and then left the charred smoke stench to settle into the walls and furniture. It left him on edge and irate beyond measure, and when he sat in his senatorial office and could still smell Anakin’s seared alpha musk in his clothes, he gritted his teeth against the snarl caught in his throat.

It didn’t seem to matter how many blockers or how much cologne he wore, Anakin’s scent permeated every inch of his living space with the same obstinate fortitude that seemed in character with the rest of the alpha. If he were actually a beta, the strength of his scent would have surely been immensely attractive. A shame he wasn’t a beta then.

It was an unneeded distraction when far more pressing concerns sat on his desk. He didn’t have the time to be annoyed by the presence of his husband within his space, especially when he requested the Jedi stay with him for the sake of public image on the holos in the first place. He didn’t need the Chancellor calling him into his office with that furrowed look of his, because he feared the marriage came to nothing when the public couldn’t actually see any collaboration between them.

So he stewed at his desk, swimming in another’s alpha scent, even though Anakin hardly seemed to spend a spare moment in the apartment when he wasn’t sleeping. Catching up on training Ahsoka, he said, to make up for his long stretches of time spent fighting in the fleet. But he couldn’t blame him if it was also simple avoidance, when he told the Jedi to his face, he thought he smelt awful.

What came over him? It shamed him, the ease that his politeness and self-control crumbled away near the other alpha. It was unbecoming of someone of his rank and birth, and even more so, it went against every iota of self-control and balance he held himself to and had worked towards his entire life.

His mother would have slapped him were she still alive to see him act like this. And especially when Anakin returned his abhorrent rudeness with all Jedi deference and ease, smiling in good nature and offering to wear blockers when he knew very well the Jedi disliked wearing artificial scent dampeners because of the way they clouded their connections to the force. It flummoxed him and angered him all in one.

It angered him when everything about Anakin Skywalker spoke of dangerous and competent alpha, except for his easy docility towards him. It felt placating and only drove his long-suppressed instincts to snap back, the frothing mouthed cornered animal snarling against the coos of gentleness proffered to him.

Something about him just dug under his skin—and dug and dug and dug, some itching insect burrowed against the base of his skull to scuttle down his spine. It made him more aware, of himself, of Anakin, and threatened to crack open that part of his mind he fought so hard to wrangle under control.

His private comm chirped with a direct message from the Chancellor. “Senator Kenobi, could you spare a brief moment for an old man?”

He bit back a long-suffering sigh, already standing from his desk. “Of course, your excellency, I’ll be right there.”

The Chancellor beckoned him further into his office with a wane smile, pale and drawn from exhaustion. He prickled with guilt from his previous annoyance and sat across from the beta, searching for patience and calm as he always did in the Chancellor’s well-meaning presence that grated on him all the same.

“My dear Senator, how are things going with young master Skywalker?”

His frustrations multiplied and he stomped his flare of short-tempered annoyance down. It wasn’t the Chancellor’s fault his self-control had failed so spectacularly, or that no matter what Anakin did, his casual alphaness irked him to his very core. By all rights their marriage should be going spectacularly. The entire Holonet—sith’s hells, the entire karking galaxy, would kill to have a shot with Anakin Skywalker, not just the picture-perfect example of a strong and beautiful alpha, but a kriffing Jedi knight and war hero as well.

 He had seen the holos of the alpha in action. The most famous that still made constant rounds on the secondary channels was live footage of Anakin stepping over a makeshift barricade of downed battle droids stacked high, emerging through a cloud of smoke backlit by the orange-hued flashes of distant blaster fire. The blue glow of his lightsaber reflected off the white, plastoid-alloy armor of the unconscious clone trooper thrown over his shoulder. It always caused quite the stir, that footage, billions swooning over the mythically heroic alpha knight.

It haunted him further that as far as he could tell, that maudlin sense of self-sacrifice and zealous heroism was genuine. When they did speak, Anakin always fell back to praising his soldiers, constantly voicing his reverent and adoring accolades of his troopers, his master, his padawan. Loyalty seemed ingrained in every cell of his body, in the very air he breathed. It was humbling, Anakin’s all-consuming devotion to those around him. Humbling and guilt inducing, for he certainly respected and admired the young man, but he may have been the only fool in the galaxy not gagging to take the gorgeous alpha’s cock.

“Things are going amiably,” he said carefully.

The Chancellor nodded and rubbed at his eyes, looking thoroughly unconvinced. “Forgive my surely most unwanted meddling in these matters, senator, but the holos are beginning to speculate the match ill suited.”

He staunched further irritation as if trying to clot a bleeding wound. He knew the problem lay with him, that if everything fell apart the blame solely rested on his shoulders. But ultimately, he didn’t know what to do, how to shove aside his true nature to allow the alpha close, to submit to him. It made him twitch, even thinking of it, of submitting to another alpha’s bite as if he were an omega, as if the mark would take to his skin.

“We have been very delicately working on adjusting to each other, your excellency,” he finally said. “Anakin is a Jedi unaccustomed to responsibilities outside of the Order and I have been solitary my entire adult life. With all due respect he has only been back on Coruscant a week.”

The Chancellor sighed. “Kenobi to nag you like a mother is the last thing I wish, please know that. But it is my duty, as protector of this Republic, to at least inform you of how delicate both of your images on the holo are. This marriage, as we both know, was to assist the Jedi’s public image, but it can only do more damage if the galaxy sees a strained alliance.”

“Sir, it has only been a handful of days—” he protested weakly.

“A handful of days they expected the couple of the century to be seen flaunting their partnership at every publicized event they could manage. Obi-Wan,” he said carefully, voice laden with hesitation, “you need to be seen at galas, balls, operas, for stars’ sakes, the lower level podraces will do.”

He groaned, his composure finally cracking. “I know, force, I know. I apologize your excellency, all fault lies with myself, I have no excuse for why this adjustment has been so difficult for me. You are, of course, utterly correct. Anakin and I will make more public appearances until he returns to his fleet.”

The Chancellor smiled gently, all elderly kindness and patience born from carrying the weight of the entire galaxy on his shoulders. “Kenobi—marriage is no light thing, even a political one. No one would fault your difficulty to adjust, you are only a man. Although—I am a little, ah—surprised I suppose, that you have not taken to Skywalker as I expected.”

He flushed, horrified and shamed all in one. “I—he—well I—”

“It is not an attack, senator, merely an observation when I am told the alpha is quite a catch. I am not a very good judge, you see, as I have never felt a particular attraction to alphas, but I am told he is the pinnacle of alpha beauty.”

He felt suddenly sick, nausea turning his stomach. “I—no—the issue is not that, he is—quite lovely,” he said through his teeth.

The Chancellor arched his eyebrows at him, his mouth curling from a suppressed smile. “Kenobi for such a talented politician you make for a terrible liar. Perhaps we share similar predilections for something more yielding?” He lilted, all saccharine sweetness. “I am sorry the attraction is not mutual; I would have chosen another beta who does enjoy alphas had I known.”

“No,” he protested, sweat pricking under his jacket from his body’s panicked and horrified full body flush. “I assure you my—attraction,” he choked out the word, “is not an issue. I can only beg for your trust, your excellency, and your patience. I will resolve the issue I swear it.”

“Good,” the Chancellor appraised him. “I have full confidence that you will not disappoint, senator.”

He sat at his desk and glared at his datapads with a roiling headache throbbing in his skull, a great bubble of pressure ballooning behind his eyes. But fretting over missives and even more reports of deepening anti-Jedi propaganda served no ultimate good and only made the ache behind his eyes deepen to an acute hurt so visceral his vision swam with it. He finally abandoned his office late into the evening and hoped Anakin to be at the temple on Jedi business, as he most often was since his return to Coruscant a week previous. But he keyed his apartment door open and inhaled Anakin’s thick and present scent. For a moment his headache sharpened when met with such a strong smell, but then all at once, even with the alpha’s presence, in the face of the comfort and security of home, the pressure diffused.

But a moment later, beneath the cloud of brush fire, rose the scents of younger alpha and Padmè, almost unnoticeable buried under Anakin’s overwhelming musk. He followed the noise of laughter into the kitchen to see his husband, Ahsoka, and Padmè all around the marbled island, holding their sides and giggling like children.

“Obi-Wan,” Padmè beamed, “we were beginning to think you wouldn’t make it for dinner.”

“I did not realize I was expected.”

Anakin grimaced uncomfortably and the stifling scent of charred coals and smoke thickened. “Kriff, I’m sorry Obi-Wan, I forgot to tell you I invited them.”

He expected his presumption to spark his temper, just another assumption from the foreign alpha, that he could invade and dominate his space however he saw fit. But Padmè was his closest friend, aside from Bail, and he could never be angry at her unexpected presence, and Ahsoka’s young alpha determination only called his own fondness to answer it.

“No matter,” he dismissed, “the both of you are always welcome.”

Padmè kissed his cheek sweetly in answer and patted his shoulder. Her honeyed scent washed over him like a cool breeze in the midst of a desert and he relaxed against her hand, finally smiling.

“You smell very tense,” she said. “Please tell me you took some breaks between those missives I sent you today.”

“It wasn’t the missives,” he admitted, “I met with the Chancellor today. It seems the holo is not very pleased with mine and Anakin’s lack of public appearances.”

Anakin crossed his arms and glowered, though he looked less menacing and more petulant in the soft light of the kitchen, even swimming in his dark and dominant scent. “I’ve only been back to Coruscant a few days. I am still a Jedi and have responsibilities outside of holo appearances.”

“As if I do not? We knew when we agreed to this it would be placing us both under the galaxy’s attentions.”

Anakin rolled his eyes, his arms still crossed across his broad chest, his shoulders seeming ridiculously broad by the illusion of his leather tabards jutting from his arms. He looked less petulant then, or maybe his own alpha instincts recognized the anger in his scent, the building threat in the room which made his hackles rise.

“You and I have both been in the hololight for years, this is different. Does the Chancellor not realize the alliance is more than drinking wine at parties for the holos?”

His anger flared, sudden and sharp and he found himself pushing into Anakin’s space, glaring down the alpha even when he stood over Obi-Wan by a good two inches. Anakin didn’t budge and only glared back; his arms still crossed.

“You knew perfectly well what was expected of us when you agreed to the marriage.Perhaps the Jedi should have been more particular about what type of war mongering alpha they chose to represent them to the public.”

The corner of Anakin’s mouth quirked, even though every other facet of his body language translated to anger and aggression. His eyes flickered to Obi-Wan’s mouth, down and back up in half a second. He realized, with heat bolting up his neck, how horribly he had invaded the alpha’s space, practically toe to toe with Anakin leaning haughtily against the counter.

He stepped back, letting his shoulders loosen despite the tension brimming within him. He dragged his hand over his face and huffed, suddenly tired beyond measure and sick of the entire galaxy. “I apologize—that was, terribly rude. I’m afraid I make for poor company tonight, if you three would excuse me.”

He retreated to his private rooms and collapsed on the end of his bed with his face in his hands, wondering what in the kriffing hell was wrong with him. Beneath his frustrations and anger and exhaustion sat an ever deeper and more weighing emotion, fear. He felt his control slipping, something he never lacked. He wondered, for maybe the first time, if his parents had been right.

No—no, it was utter contrived nonsense as a child, and he knew still, their paranoias were unfounded. If not, well, his entire life’s work, every sacrifice he ever made, rang untrue, felt mute. But this was despair, and he had no such time or space for the sentiment.

Anakin found him hours later, despairing all the same. “I’m sorry,” he said, coming to lean against their balcony’s railing beside him. “Qui-Gon always told me I have a temper, and a contention with authority to match it.” He grinned wryly.

Halfway up the high-rise, his apartment balcony did not sit tall enough above the city’s smog clouds to escape the ever-present tang of machine and oil which saturated the air. Cruisers zipped by in the dark, bright pathways of light in the skylanes that cut between the buildings and the atmogrid above, where space vessels descended through the atmosphere to dock planetside.

Despite the ever-looming polluted air which stank of exhaust and oil, a cool breeze carried through this part of the city tonight, and for once the soupy smog hung thinner, less dense and solid between the buildings. Here in the brisk open air, Anakin’s smoky scent felt less aggressive, it did not shroud him in its claustrophobic grip. It certainly wasn’t Stewjon, with its heavenly clean air and the scent of mountain laurels which always carried on a cool wind, but it was enough to lessen the throb behind his eyes, to relax the achy tenseness in his neck.

“You weren’t the one to invade the other’s space like a youngling ready to brawl, as I recall.”

Anakin laughed, strangely bashful, or maybe everything just seemed softer in the dark. “No, but I know my mouth gets me into trouble.”

“As does mine I’m afraid.”

“I—” Anakin began hesitantly. “I think I am just so used to being at war that I don’t know how to not fight anymore. My life has been nothing but a constant battle since—well—since I can remember. I had to fight as a child, as a teenager, and now, every day is a new fight and I’m so used to being a general, to being in charge and having so many depend on me that I—kriff, I don’t know how to back down, and I’m sorry. I think I had it in my head that this is how an alpha should be because I have to always advance, have to always take new ground-new planets-new victories, and I realize now, outside of the GAR, outside of war, that it isn’t normal.”

“And you realized this from one conversation?” He bit, still prickly.

Anakin shrugged against the railing, looking out to the heavy traffic clogging the lightlanes. “Over several, you don’t like me,” he said matter-of-factly. “You don’t like when I act like an alpha.”

More guilt gnawed at him and then anger followed close on its heels, that he must feel guilt over his own nature. “I do like you, actually,” he finally said. “Or at least, I admire you.”

“No, you admire the Jedi. You tolerate me because I am one.”

They both stared at the traffic in silence after that, discomfort sitting between them as they leaned against the durasteel side by side.

“I’m sorry,” he confessed, “this is what the Chancellor was berating me for today. The whole galaxy thinks you the biggest catch in the Inner-Mid-and Outer Rims combined.”

Anakin chuffed. “Except for you.”

“No—” he stuttered, “I’m sorry.”

Anakin shrugged, not turning his head from where he still watched the lights. “We didn’t marry one another to fall in love, and you certainly didn’t choose me.”

“But—” he began. Anakin did turn his head then, and he could see his mouth twisted oddly, though it was mostly hidden in the dark.

“You’re attracted to me though, aren’t you?” He felt an odd flip of squirming embarrassment at the thought, because if Anakin knew, knew he wasn’t a beta, he would no doubt be repulsed with himself, horrified to have felt any pull towards another alpha.

“I am,” Anakin said, the words sounding wrenched from him unwillingly. For how confident and self-assured he seemed, in all his war general and Jedi competence and expertise, he curled in on himself now. “I’m sorry,” he spilled the words out quickly, “I won’t—please don’t think I will press you.”

He straightened, as more discomfort settled in his gut, the thought of the alpha pressing him to submit flipping his stomach in revulsion. “You most certainly will not,” he snapped. “If you do, I will not hesitate to bite your throat out.”

He expected hostility, or posturing, or at the very least offense, what he did not expect, in any capacity, was the sudden sharp scent of molten metal, as if durasteel had been heated to its liquid form. It tasted like copper on the back of his throat and smelled thick and heated. Arousal, he realized faintly, he was smelling Anakin’s arousal.

“Ahh—” Anakin drew away from the railing, embarrassment quickly clouding his scent, as if the steaming smell of fire and magma were never there. “Sorry—I’m just—I’ll go inside now.”

They eyed one another over the counter like military hostiles the next morning, Obi-Wan with a cup of Pernish tea and Anakin with a cup of caf, standing in complete and horribly uncomfortable silence.

He finally sighed and set his mug on the counter. “Ahsoka told me you are a gifted mechanic?”

Anakin startled and set his mug down too. “Well—I mean, I am a mechanic?”

“She said you build droids?”

He watched Anakin’s entire body light up as his scent curled, less smoky, perhaps a little more clean and clear, as if a light rain had fallen over the singed forest of his smell,though he still smelled of wet charcoal. “I repair and modify droids mostly, though I built a protocol droid when I lived on Tatooine. I like ships—and taking anything apart I can put back together.”

He regarded his husband then, the tiredness rimming his eyes in dark bruises, the curls at the nape of his neck caught under the collar of his tunic, the way he held his gloved hand behind the counter as if to draw less attention to it. An alpha that made his skin itch, but a run ragged and weary one who drank his caf like it might be snatched from him if he let his eyes off of it all the same.

“Oh, you’re from Tatooine.” He felt like a floundering fool, blindly groping for conversation as if he were cornered at a force forsaken gala for the first time, with no idea how to divert the conversation as he should, as he was long practiced at doing. “I’ve never visited the Tatoo system.”

Anakin glowered into his coffee and his scent slanted back into its regular smoky haze. “It’s a miserable dirtball in the deepest pits of sith’s hell and I’ll never go back if I ever have a say in the matter.”

He instinctually drew himself up at the venom in his tone, straightening his spine and laying his hands on the counter as if bracing for a fight he knew Anakin had no intention of engaging in. “That bad I take it?” He queried wryly, utterly at a loss at what else to say.

Anakin stared blankly into his caf and then downed the rest of the mug, even when the liquid still wafted steam and surely scorched on the way down. He gravitated back to the half full cafpot, like an insect drawn to light. “There aren’t words in basic to express how bleak and miserable Hutt space is, especially when you’re a slave.”

He felt his spine had been flash frozen in carbonite and the hair on his arms stood on end as if all the warmth were sucked out of the room. “You were a slave?”

Anakin furrowed his eyebrows over the rim of his fresh cup of caf. “I assumed the Chancellor or someone on the Council briefed you. I was, until I was nine when Qui-Gon found me.”

He blinked at him and then took a sip of his tea, at an utter loss of what else to do. “I never thought—” but there was no point in finishing the statement, there were many things which never crossed his mind, that his husband was a former slave only one of them.

“That a Jedi might have been a slave?” Anakin finished for him. “No, most people don’t. I’m not like the others—they found me later, accepted me when anyone would have been turned away because Qui-Gon vouched for me, or well—threatened for me really.”

“Because of Qui-Gon or because you are the Chosen One?”

He set his cup on the counter with a crack and clenched his jaw as he stared distantly out of the windows beyond the living area, which revealed the congestion of morning traffic outside of the high rise, glinting and illuminated by the rising sun.


He made an affirmative noise. “She idolizes you, thinks you hung every moon and star in the system.”

“It’s what padawans do,” he said, eyes terribly soft and fond. “I wish she hadn’t told you about that bantha shit prophecy though.”

“Is it bantha shit?”

The tendon in his jaw bounced as he turned a dark expression into his cup. “I don’t know.”

“Doesn’t Qui-Gon believe you are?”

“Qui-Gon Jinn once lost both mine and his robes at a drunken game of sabaac, he’s my master, but he isn’t irrefutable.”

“So you do not believe you are this Jedi Chosen One, then?” He asked.

“I think I’m tired,” Anakin said, “so terribly tired.”

They did do as the Chancellor asked and attended the Galaxies Opera House, in a parade of flashing holocameras and reporters, all salivating in their eagerness to catch the first footage of them in the public eye after Anakin’s return. The Chancellor, so relieved when he admitted his concession, had offered his own private box to them for the night, the poor old man’s eternal thanks for their minimal cooperation.

Anakin dimpled at the holocameras beside him, effortlessly charming in his Jedi tunics, all unkept curls and rakish scars with his lightsaber clipped at his belt. Anakin had made it apparent, quite openly, that he bore no mind for politics, but even so, his disregard for elitism and fashion only served their agenda ridiculously well. It never crossed the alpha’s mind to wear anything beyond his simple Jedi attire, and the holo would eat it up; the symbolism of the knight in his masculine silhouette beside his purposefully outlandish splendor carrying great appeal.

Politics were, after all, sometimes only about image, about façade and lies. Perhaps in his ultimate deception, it was why he fit in so well within the Senate. He wore all gold. He remembered the frantic commentaries of what his gold headpiece from their wedding ceremony meant and liked the illusion of a purpose to his wardrobe choices for that day. So gold he wore, a long tunic and draping cloak of spun sunlight, woven in sparkling sinth-thread and embroidered with scarlet.

Anakin smiled white and blinding for the flashing cameras, though he kept cutting his eyes, with a flicker of incredulity, to the golden feathered headpiece he wore, great gilded plumes fanning high from the crystal circlet on his head.

“Just say it,” he snarked, as they ascended the hall’s infamously grand staircase.

Anakin cut him a side glance and then broke into a gleeful grin, full of childish and impish delight. “Isn’t it heavy?” He finally asked.

“Terribly,” he admitted, aware of the crown’s weight around his head. “But the Chancellor wants the holo’s attention on us.”

“It is attention grabbing,” Anakin agreed.

“Oh I’m sorry, would you have preferred to wear it?”

Somehow, his splitting grin deepened as his eyes danced in the hall’s ambient lighting, smoky scent curling light and pleased. “Oh I’m alright, thank you.”

They sat in the Chancellor’s private box, looming high and all seeing over the great hall and red curtained stage below them. Anakin peered over the edge and then slid back in his seat, only to lean forward again, almost as if he couldn’t help himself.

“What are you looking for?” He finally laughed after watching him teeter back and forth undecidedly.

“Oh, I’ve just never been in an opera house before. It’s terribly large isn’t it?”

He blinked at the Jedi and then glanced to the glimmering crowd below them with fresh eyes, examining the hundreds of rows of seats, the intricate carvings in the walls, and the dripping chandeliers high above them. “Yes, I suppose it is.”

“I don’t speak Corellian. I’m not going to understand a word of this.”

“The music is quite arresting on its own, I wouldn’t say you must understand the words to admire it.”

The lights dimmed and the crowd’s chatter fell away like mist on a shore and then the curtain rose, and the orchestra lifted their instruments and music sang in the air. He hadn’t lied to Anakin, this opera’s score in particular always managed to stun and awe him with its beauty, and as the music swelled he couldn’t help but glance to him to see the blue of his eyes shining wide and amazed in the hall’s soft glow.

Anakin glanced to him, spilling with excitement. “What are they saying, what’s happening?”

“A chorus of angels are praising their god, the creator of their world. But one of the angels is angry and prideful and fallen to darkness, and he tells their god that the humans of their world are so lowly, they are beyond the worthiness of being pulled to the darkness by him.”

Anakin fell forward against their booth’s low wall, half draped onto its edge where he watched with glowlamp lit eyes and bated breath. He couldn’t dedicate his full attentions to the music continuing to swell and swell, like a great wave, so occupied with Anakin’s arresting and euphoric joy.

The opera’s prologue drew to its finale and the air went oddly hot and staticky, brimming with a charged undercurrent, a purr or hum of rising power. He knew it was Anakin, could feel his euphoria and sorrow all in one, as only this kind of music could pull from a person. He turned to him then, and Obi-Wan realized, tears gathered full and glimmering in his eyes.

“What are they saying now?”

“The angels are praising their god, praising the light.”

He watched, a little shaken, as Anakin turned back to the triumphant final crescendo of the music with open tears on his cheeks, looking grief stricken and hollowed out. His scent bloomed around them, charged and sharp with the smell of ozone, like a bolt of lightning ready to strike.

They sat silent when the curtain fell and glow lamps brightened for the intermission and he glanced to Anakin again, though his tears from the prologue had long dried. “Are you alright?” He finally asked.

Anakin smiled and ducked his head, seeming embarrassed from his previous open crying. “I can feel the living force in the music—it’s, I don’t have words really—just, thank you, for bringing me here.”

“You can—feel the force through music?”

He laughed, breathy and still sounding shaken or maybe flustered, and his scent, for just a moment, seemed inexplicably sweet like green buds in spring.

“It’s shattering—I’ve never felt it just surge like that. I’m sorry,” he said, bashful, “I’m going to pieces on you.”

“No—” he eyed him, feeling odd and moved and uncomfortable, “no you’re quite alright.”

Chapter Text

Nay, if you be an undertaker, I am

for you.

Act III. Scene IV.

“General Skywalker?”

He groaned into his pillow and reached blindly through the dark, fumbling for his comm sitting somewhere on his nightstand. It clattered to the floor and he groaned louder.

“General Skywalker, sir are you there?”

He pulled the comm to him with the force and mumbled into its speaker, voice croaky and dry from half woken sleep. “I’m here, Rex, what’s going on?”

“Sir, I’m sorry to wake you at this time of night but the seps have attacked Malastare. The 501st is being emergency posted asap sir. The Resolute and the rest of the fleet will be ready for launch within the hour.”

He groaned and slung his feet over the bedside, grumbling even as he stumbled out of bed and began pulling on a clean pair of pants and set of tunics from the dresser. “Alright, thank you Captain, I’ll be dockside in thirty.”

“Yes, General.”

Still blurry eyed and fumbling through the dark he hopped into boots and belt and snapped his lightsaber to his hip. Halfway out the apartment door he spun on his heel with a curse and knocked on Obi-Wan’s bedroom door. He stood for an awkward minute, shifting from foot to foot before thumping his fist against the door again, urgency lending extra weight behind the knocking.

Obi-Wan wrenched the door open with a tired scowl, copper hair mussed and a deep pillow crease lining the left side of his face. “Anakin, it’s three in the morning, what in the hell is going on?”

He reeled back a little from the deep, rich smell curling from the cracked door, Obi-Wan’s spiced scent especially dark and thick uncovered by his usual expensive cologne and built up from sweating in his sleep. He swallowed around the boulder lodged in his throat, jaw aching from the saliva pooling under his tongue.

“Ahh—” he finally managed, stuttering over his words, “I’m sorry. I just thought I should let you know; I’ve been called out to Malastare with the fleet. I’m leaving right now.”

Obi-Wan’s expression darkened and his scent curled deeper, black pepper filling the air. “I see, you will comm me when you can, to notify me that you are safe, yes?”

He knew Obi-Wan only thought of the alliance, of preserving the Marriage Bill at all costs and worried, rightfully so, about the political tightrope the Order and Senate walked. If he died it put everything at risk: the war, their victory against the Separatists, the future of the Jedi, the future of the very Republic itself, he understood where Obi-Wan’s focus and dedication lay. The Chancellor chose him specifically for his unwavering loyalty and commitment to his causes and beliefs.

But knowing and understanding his husband’s unshakable allegiance did not soften the deep inner ache he felt from knowing Obi-Wan looked at him and saw nothing but a means to galactic stability, saw nothing but a nuisance he barely tolerated in the name of the Republic.

“Yes I will—I—will you check in on Ahsoka while I’m gone? She’s going through another growth spurt and she doesn’t eat enough.”

Obi-Wan’s eyes softened then and he smiled slightly, just a little tilt at the corner of his mouth. He may only barely tolerate Anakin’s existence, but he couldn’t deny a softness for his padawan.

“Of course I will, though you know—you won’t be able to keep her here much longer, while you are away fighting a war.”

He didn’t know how Obi-Wan did that, was so sharply perceptive it sometimes made his heart skip a beat from embarrassment or surprise. He always did it like that too, with the soul cutting stare of his icy-blue eyes, delivered calm and cool, as if he weren’t slicing into him with his words.

It was how he looked at him that night on the balcony, when he poured his stupid weeping heart out to the beta, and his husband curled in on himself, horrified by Anakin’s attraction. And then he made it worse, arousal spiking through his gut when Obi-Wan snarled and threated to sink his teeth into his throat. There was nothing inherently sexual about it. The words were meant as a threat, as if Anakin might try and press him into submission.

But oh how those words lit fire in his veins, the imaginings of his husband who smelt like earth and spices, pressing his teeth into the delicate pale skin over his jugular. The very thought made him want to sink to his knees and bear his throat, to offer himself for an omega’s mating bite. It was a deep instinct he had never faced before, the furling, heated want to be brought to submission.

He took a deep steadying breath that didn’t help very much with Obi-Wan’s heady scent brimming around him and clogging the inside of his skull. He pulled on the force then, letting it wash over him with its cool, gentle hand to steady him, steady the way his heart was trying to climb out of his mouth. “I—I know,” he finally admitted.

Obi-Wan measured him with that ever-cool gaze and then nodded. “May the force be with you.”

Anakin stared out the Resolute’s command deck shields, hands clasped behind his back and the force pulled taught and staticky around him. Clones bustled around him; relaying take off commands through the ship’s comms as the orbital alarms screamed overhead with the red flashing of the undocking lights. The deck swam with a sea of tense beta scent, sharp and focused, though the many layers from so many beings with the same purpose made his head swim. The force sang with it, the tightening in his chest, the anticipation and single-minded drive before battle. His men thrived off of it, and in turn, basking in their scents and energy emitted through the fabric of the force, he thrived off of it as well.

Rex stepped up beside him and they both watched Coruscant’s lit cityscape bleed away through the layers of the atmosphere and the darkness of space bloom in the viewport.

“Sorry to wake you like that, sir. Orders from the Chancellor were quite urgent.”

“No you made the right call, what’s the status with Malastare?”

Rex widened his stance, falling only slightly at ease at the prompting of his casual tone. “Recon reported a whole division of clankers moving to take the Northern Malastarian fuel refineries. Command pulled the 501st and the 212th to converge on the Hydian Way since we were the closest legions. Comms haven’t managed to patch General Vos through yet though, we keep getting interference.”

“Alright, let the men know this campaign has jumped straight to tera maneuvers, I want every battalion kitted for ground assaults and boarded on transporters when we drop to real space. Speed is our only asset when they’ve already taken ground and dug in, I want our transporters dropped the second we come out of lightspeed.”

Rex snapped back to attention. “Yes, sir. What of the 212th, general?”

“I’ll see what I can do about slicing us through to Vos, I may be able to get past that convenient interference we seem to be having.”

Rex grinned, sharp and amused. They both always took a special kind of pleasure at circumnavigating obviously set traps. “Yes, sir.”

His comm chirped soon after they jumped to lightspeed and Ahsoka glared at him from the blue light of his portable holo. “You left?” She snarled. “You left without saying goodbye! You can’t just keep leaving me here, master! I’m sixteen, I’m not a youngling!”

He winced, turning away from Rex to skulk to his private quarters. If he was going to be yelled at by his padawan he would do it in peace.

“Listen here, little one,” he began.

“Don’t you listen here to me!” She yelled, the comm’s audio warbling with distortion from her volume. “Master I’m the only padawan my age who gets left on Coruscant like this! It’s mortifying, do you really not think I’m ready?”

“It’s war, Ahsoka, you shouldn’t be so eager to join it.”

“I’m not eager,” she snarled, “I want to fight by your side, to help protect you!”

“You’re helping by keeping yourself safe!”

“That’s bantha shit,” she hissed. “You don’t have anyone watching your back in the field. You’re the only general in the entire GAR without a partner, you can’t keep this up, master! I can see how exhausted you are, you need someone to help carry this burden! Just because you’re the Chosen One doesn’t mean you’re above sharing the weight of your duty!”

He made a frustrated noise as he slammed into his quarters, throwing his door closed with a heavy bang behind him. “I don’t think I’m above it, Ahsoka. I do have people watching my back, I have Rex and the entire 501st.”

Her face gentled then, or at least, her voice quieted to a decibel just below an ear shattering screech. “Master, I love Rex and all of the men, but they’re not Jedi, they can’t keep up with you like I can.”

He sagged a little as he sat on his bunk, feeling utterly wrung out and exhausted, his body helpfully reminding him it was four in the morning and he was running on only a couple hours of sleep after a lifetime of too little already.

It wasn’t even the thought of Ahsoka in battle that made him want to bear his teeth and hold her back. He did trust her, knew her capable and more than competent to raise sith’s hells at his side. It was the aching grief in his own mind, the nightmares that rattled him awake at night, drenching him in cold sweat with thorns of terror rivetted into the soft tissue of his brain.

It was the blood and internal organs he scrubbed from under his nails, the innocent civilians he held in his arms as he felt their life forces dimming like dying stars. It was the bleakness inside him that ate away at any peace or gentleness or kindness the force offered him. He hated to admit it, but sometimes coming back to Coruscant and the temple was the worst part, living like a bleeding wound while everyone else moved untouched around him. It only made him feel even more alone than he already did, more alone than a silent omega amongst thousands of beta brothers, even when he felt their joy, their love, their pain. That is all they knew in this war, brothers, and duty, and death.

“Are you really so determined to be scarred like me?” He finally asked, weariness pulling his words slow and sad.

“Master, you’re the one that told me a Jedi does not stop serving just because it is difficult, that sacrifice cannot be measured when our very oaths are to serve. Master Yoda always says light is a choice. I watch you make it every day. You have to let me make it as well.”

Tears pricked his eyes unbidden and he broke eye contact with the holo, cutting his gaze to the stack of datapads full of tactical information sitting on his desk that needed examining.

“Alright,” he said, unable to bear looking at her as he did, “alright you’ll join me on the next campaign, if that is what you wish.”

“Thank you, master.”

He felt overcome with defeated sorrow and still couldn’t make himself meet his padawan’s eyes, even as they said their goodbyes and he promised to comm her the moment they broke battle with the Separatists.

Hours later after collapsing into his bunk for stolen sleep, between changing into his heavier linen battle tunics and tabards and pulling on his armor, he managed to finally patch himself through to the 212th.

Quinlan Vos grinned at him through the holo, arms crossed, and chin tilted high. “Good to hear from you, Skywalker. We seemed to be having trouble reaching you.”

“I wonder why?” He grinned back. “Thought we were going to have to come rescue you.”

“Rescue,” he scoffed, “don’t let your pretty little alpha brain get too far ahead of itself. I hear we’re in for a glorious ground assault.”

Vos, out of all the Jedi generals leading GAR clone legions, had come to the position probably the latest out of all of them. The famed alpha maverick’s capabilities and talents were best aimed at solo missions, mostly bounty hunting and tracking. Only desperation as the war progressed and the Council watched more and more Jedi die, did they pull Vos from whatever Outer Rim hellhole he skulked around undercover in.

They worked well together, both unconventional, or as Master Windu liked to say, loose ion cannons. His own master, after all, loved nothing more than to oppose the council and wreak delighted havoc, and no matter how much he tried to reign that in during his padawan years, he could also admit his own delight in that type of cavalier freedom.

Vos postured a lot, very much the self-assured and cocky alpha, but he also deferred to Anakin’s skills as a tactician, which made leading as co-generals quite fluid, in the rare circumstances they did get to fight together.

“I have my men ready to deploy ship to ground the moment we drop out of hyperspace. I don’t like the looks of the land around those refineries though, it’s too karking open.”

Vos hummed and examined a datapad from his side of the connection, frowning and rubbing a thumb along the yellow stripe of his tattoo. “How many droids did intel report was already planetside?”

“An entire division is all I know, but that could be anywhere from ten to twenty-five thousand.”

“Hmm,” Vos agreed, “numbers don’t look good, that’s for sure. How the hell are we supposed to break through the tank perimeter they already have dug in? This is an absolute mess; how did intelligence not get word back before now?”

He pinched the bridge of his nose and glared at his own retrieved datapad. “Something to do with the comms they’re blocking I’m sure. We haven’t been able to reach the Dug Council on Malastare either, so we don’t have any eyes on the ground. It’s a right kriffing wreck we’re walking into.”

They poured over strategies for several hours, long enough that his eyes ached from staring so long into the blue of the hololight and his mouth felt dry enough to remind him of hazy memories from Tatooine.

Rex interrupted the comm with a call to the bridge, where he was met with a separate holo from the Chancellor, projected on the command deck, brighter and with far better color than any personal or portable comm he carried.

“General Skywalker, I have been notified you and your men might be walking into a difficult situation.”

He puffed up indignantly at any thought of his men not being able to handle a simple planetary ground assault. It may have been an especially dangerous one, but it was a ground assault all the same. “I have full confidence in my men, your excellency, I have little doubt of our success between my own men and those of General Vos.”

The Chancellor huffed a gentle laugh. “It is not your clones’ capabilities I question, general, merely my concern I show. Have you heard of the experimental electro-proton bomb?”

“No, sir.”

“It emits an electromagnetic field capable of dismantling a large perimeter. Think this could help you with your little droid problem, general?”

He grinned, suddenly giddy and sparking with possibilities. “That it would, sir.”

The Chancellor dimpled a smile in return. “Good, seeing as I took the liberty of making sure The Resolute left with one. I trust you can find a good use for it.”

He ended the comm and turned to Rex, who answered his own manic grin with a dangerous one of his own, all teeth and pleased menace.

“Get me your commanding officers, and I’ll repatch us through to the 212th, I have an idea.”

“This was you plan?” Screamed Quinlan Vos.

Anakin dove behind a pile of downed battle droids, blaster fire grazing so close over his shoulder the heat of it singed his neck hairs.

“Where’s your sense of adventure, Quin?”

Quinlan rolled his eyes as he bounced to his feet, darting behind the next downed stack of droids, a parade of blaster fire zig zagging on his heels and pock marking the ground with zinging puffs of stirred up dirt. Anakin darted after him, weaving between orange bolts of particle energy and slid to his side, knocking against the electro-proton bomb Quinlan held against his left side.

“Easy,” Quin yelped, “who knows what this thing does! I want to walk away from this with all of my bits still attached you know!”

He peered over the stacked droids, to see the complex’s primary Malastarian rig and the entrance to the central mining shaft, guarded by the looks of a battalion of battle droids and at least an entire tank platoon.

“If we can plant the bomb near that main rig the electromagnetic pulse will be dead center to their lines.”

Quinlan popped his own head above the droids and groaned, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You know, I could still be in the Outer Rim over this, drinking Jabba juice and playing Sabaac with spice lords.”

Anakin slanted a grin over his shoulder, “Did the Council ever manage to get any actual use out of you or were you just kicking your feet up and paying Twi’leks to curl their lekku at you all those years?”

He grinned in delight. “Now there’s a thought! Gods and now I’m stuck here with your alpha stench, my how our fortunes betray us.”

“Come now,” Anakin patted his shoulder consolingly, “race you to the rig. I have a husband back home I’d rather be smelling a million times over your awful musk anyway.”

Quinlan laughed, boomingly and full bodied as they leapt to their feet and darted to the next point of cover, lightsaber blades unsheathed to deflect fire in bright arcs of jolting light. “Yeah explain that one to me, Skywalker! How is it you got the Council to go against a thousand years of the Jedi code, just so you could fuck a beta politician? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a kriffing pretty one, serious props for the audacity, but I’m kind of indignant here.”

He pivoted sharply, sidestepping a heated jolt of plasma which clipped off his saber blade to careen past his face and scoffed to Quinlan running behind him. “Really Vos, all I had to do was ask nicely, maybe the Council just doesn’t like you?”

“I’ll tell Windu you said that the next time I see him.”

They managed to dart behind a pair of tanks parked at conveniently odd angles, which shielded them from the admittedly dull attentions of the on-watch battle droids. Any stragglers behind the Separatist perimeter who made the unfortunate mistake of noticing them met the quick end on a lightsaber burst.

Anakin took a running jump and scaled half of the rig in one smooth leap, quietly scurrying up the rest of the durasteel cabling as fast as possible to go unnoticed, though the droids’ attentions below them were pointed outward, rather than within their own lines. Quinlan heaved the bomb up to him and leapt close behind, swinging somersaults over cables and beams to balance like a lothcat beside him.

“Show off,” he muttered.

Quinlan grinned, white teeth flashing bright against the contrast of his dark skin. “You make it easy to show you up, Skywalker. You’re getting slow, marriage is softening you up.”

He hiccupped a laugh, privately thinking how much Obi-Wan would hate the Jedi and all his alpha bravado and turned his attentions to the bomb between them. “You think a ten-minute timer ought to do it?”

He shrugged. “Don’t see why not, should give us enough time to get out of the blast radius, if there even is one.”

They set the timer and silently descended the rig, darting back through the enemy lines and slithering past the tank barricade. Almost immediately after retuning to the radius where the piles of downed droids began, the sparks of blaster fire picked up again to snap at their heels, biting and with stinging heat.

“Rex,” he panted into his comm, “you’ve got five before our friends get fried. Make sure you keep the men back in case of a blast radius.”

“On it, sir.”

Behind him Quinlan snapped his arm out to deflect a blaster bolt from colliding with his spine, heat hissing along his green lit blade.

“Listen Skywalker, your royal married highness, I can’t be covering for both of us here.”

He ignited his own blue blade and grinned apologetically. “Sorry, Quin, I was thinking of going home and making love to my Council approved husband, were you saying something?”

Quinlan chortled beside him, “Making love, how disgusti—”

They both stumbled forward, the ground shaking with an ear shattering rumble. A moment later and his lightsaber dropped to the ground, his prosthetic arm gone dead limp and completely useless. “Oh kark,” he grumbled, grabbing up his saber with his left hand, his mechno-hand swinging heavy and unfeeling from his elbow down.

Quinlan laughed at him, deflecting another blaster bolt. “Guess we didn’t think of that.”

They kept running, but the quaking of the ground beneath their feet never died away and the rumbling only grew louder, ringing in their skulls, more grinding and absolute

“For force’s sake, is that a sinkhole?”

Quinlan peered over their shoulders to where the ground steadily crumbled away behind them, great plumes of dust and rubble rising in a ginormous, mushroom like cloud above the disintegrating earth.

“This was your idea!” He yelled. “I want that to go in our report, this was all your idea!”

They did manage to outrun the blooming perimeter of the collapsing ground, and they both stopped to heave deep shuddering breaths and evaluate the catastrophic damage behind them, where nothing was visible except for a haze of dirt and dust.

“Well,” Anakin coughed, “we don’t have to worry about the droids, that’s for sure, but I don’t think the Senate is going to be too happy when they find out we blew up one of their best Malastarian refineries.”

“Oh fuck off,” sneezed Quinlan.

But between their coughing and gagging, a deeper rumble seemed to rise up from the great pit of sunken ground behind them, a rumble that carried a higher note, like something shrieking or squealing. A great barbed and plated arm curled through the dust then, as the shrieking grew louder and then a rearing head rose like a dragon of old through the brown painted air, snapping its jaws to reveal two giant rows of razor-edged teeth.

Quinlan turned to him with an incredulous look on his face, his force signature lit bright and indignant. “Do you see what you’ve drug me into?”

“A Zillo Beast,” Obi-Wan said flatly.

He patted his chest and attempted to clear his throat, dust and debris still caught in his lungs, though the only result of the action was dirt puffing from his tunic. He coughed again and couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for himself. His ribs ached terribly from being thrown by one of the Zillo Beast’s armored claws and his right arm still hung limp and embarrassingly useless at his side from no time to change out prosthetics.

Onboard The Resolute, he and the rest of the 501st were too occupied by the karking Zillo Beast stunned unconscious and restrained on the main flight deck to have time for anything like changing or getting a new stupid arm that worked. He knew by the way his lungs drew shallow breaths behind the searing hurt of his sides that at least one rib was cracked, probably more and his left ankle throbbed with every step, his tendon either strained or ripped. All in all, he felt quite worse for wear, and Obi-Wan’s expression as he stepped aside from their apartment door only enhanced his maudlin self-pity.

“Yes, a Zillo Beast,” he agreed. “I’d say you should see it compared to me, but I think it won this one. Did you know their body plates are resistant to lightsabers?”

“No,” Obi-Wan regarded him as if he might start frothing at the mouth at any moment. “I thought they were extinct.”

“Yeah so did we, but it turns out there’s one left at least.” He coughed again and winced against the lance of pain in his ribs, though when he went to clutch his side his arm only hung limp and useless. He blushed and scowled, marching for his room.

Obi-Wan jolted after him, movements jerky as if his body moved without his mind’s consent. “Stars Anakin, how are you still in this state? Did a medic not look you over?”

He rummaged through the still unpacked boxes of bits and parts on his dresser and pulled out his newest prosthetic prototype, which glinted black and gold, durasteel ligaments and joints spindly and spiderlike in the dim light.

“No,” he finally answered, “there wasn’t time. I’m alright I think, definitely cracked a few ribs though.”

Obi-Wan muttered something indecipherable under his breath and stroked his short beard. “You’re gone five days, and this is what you come crawling back like. I thought the GAR had better regard for their generals.”

“Well,” he said dryly, “we can’t always anticipate Zillo Beasts you know.”

One corner of Obi-Wan’s mouth curled into an amused smirk and he held his hand out. “Come along then, the light is far better in the kitchen.”

Anakin blinked at him and resisted the urge to step back and hold his prosthetic protectively against his chest. “Ahh—I’m used to getting these on and off myself.”

He didn’t lower his open hand, his face neutral and strangely patient. “Yes, but you can barely move right now, let me help you.”

He swallowed and plonked the weight of his prosthetic into Obi-Wan’s waiting hand and then retrieved his diagnostics kit with his stomach twisting on itself in squirming knots. Obi-Wan left the room without a word, his silken robe fluttering soft and light behind him. Anakin trudged after him, slow and with an obvious limp from the twinge in his ankle now.

“This might be easiest if you sit on the counter.”

He cringed but heaved himself with his working hand to collapse onto the marble, every bone between his shoulders and hips throbbing hot and fiery with marrow deep agony. Obi-Wan watched him hiss from behind his teeth and then stepped forward to release the pressurized seal of his glove and pulled it from his limp arm.

“How easy is this to detach?”

“There’s a release mechanism inside the forearm here that demagnetizes it from the implants at my elbow, I’m not sure if the electromagnetic pulse corroded it though.”

Obi-Wan stepped closer to him, practically pressing against his thigh to lift the dead weight of his arm and begin working off the side plate with the screwdriver Anakin handed him.

“What electromagnetic pulse?” He questioned.

“From the explosive we used to take out the droid division, an experimental electro-proton bomb.”

Obi-Wan’s scent rose suddenly thick and angry in his nose, though he continued unscrewing the plate and his face remained perfectly calm. “The Chancellor did not have the approval of the Senate to allow that bomb’s use by the GAR. It was still being tested and because of its unknown capabilities, its use is therefore defined as a war crime.”

Anakin stiffened and curled his flesh hand into a fist against the counter. “We were outnumbered and taking up ground against a deeply entrenched defensive position. There would have been a bloodbath without it.”

Obi-Wan made an irritated noise and pulled the plate off. “I’m not condemning you for using it. I just can’t believe—the Chancellor knows better than to approve an untested weapon for use. It could have been catastrophic for your men; it obviously went horribly wrong judging by the emergence of this—this Zillo Beast! What does this release mechanism look like, there’s so many wires in here?”

Anakin peered down at the open guts of his arm and grimaced at the sight of Obi-Wan’s hand nimbly fingering between the wires. The open mess of his arm might as well have been a grossly on the nose metaphor for how raw and exposed he felt emotionally in this moment, vulnerable and at his husband’s mercy.

“It’s the blue plug attached to the green wire.”

Obi-Wan hmmed and detached the release mechanism, though nothing shifted, and his arm stayed magnetized to his elbow. “That didn’t seem to do anything.”

“Try tugging on it.”

He did, though the only thing it did was spark more hot pain down his side. He clenched his teeth against the jolt and turned his head away from Obi-Wan, seething with his head canted to the side.

“What do I do now?”

He dug through his diagnostics kit and pulled out a spool of wire. “Wrap the base of the prosthetic in this and here—” he pulled out a spare durasteel battery from the kit, “attach the ends of the wire to this.”

Obi-Wan took the items from him without comment and began cinching the top edge of his prosthetic in the wire with a deep look of concentration. “How in the stars did you find a Zillo Beast anyway?”

“Damned bomb caused a sinkhole; it came out of the ground like something out a story to scare younglings. Quinlan is never going to let me hear the end of it, he bitched from Malastare to the temple.”

“General Quinlan Vos, with the 212th legion?”

“Yeah, do you know him? I figured you would have killed him if you ever met him.”

Obi-Wan suppressed a grin, his eyebrows raising comically with the effort. “Only by reputation.” He finished wrapping the wire and attached its ends to opposite ends of the battery. The wire and his arm hummed and then it detached from his stump with a thud.

“Huh,” said Obi-Wan, and he moved aside the mess of useless prosthetic and wires. “How do I attach this one?”

“Switch is on the servos inside the forearm there, power cell is inside the thumb.”

Obi-Wan fitted the curved ridge to his stump and slid the arm gently till its inside cup pressed against his skin and reached through the skeletal structure of the arm’s mechno muscle and tendon to attach the magnetizing switch and then drug his fingertips along the inside of his forearm to activate the power cell. Despite that he couldn’t actually feel the touch, he shivered at the sight of Obi-Wan’s pale fingers dragging down the inside of his black and gold skeletal arm. It felt horribly intimate, and his stomach flipped nauseous at the image.

 The flesh part of his arm that remained tingled and then the arm attached, the synthennet neural interface linking with his own nervous system. His brain buzzed jumbled and confused before he raised the arm and curled each finger experimentally, testing the dexterity of the spidery gold digits and adjusting to the feedback of feeling and movement his brain managed to stumble over every time between new prosthetics.

“It’s quite striking,” Obi-Wan said, still standing close and examining the arm. “Is that gold interlaid with the durasteel?”

He twisted his hand to expose the sturdier backside of the prosthetic to Obi-Wan, tops of the gold fingers plated in matt-black between the knuckles and joints. “The gold relays electrostatic impulses which signals the neural interface, means I can actually feel with it.”

“Oh—” Obi-Wan reached out then and fluttered a barely felt touch along the ridges of his knuckles. His gut squirmed and he swallowed around a mouthful of ash at the featherlight sensation.

“Can you feel that?” He asked, inquisitive and expression rivetted on the intellectual mastery before him.

“I can,” he rasped.

Obi-Wan looked up then and must have taken in several things all at once; how close they were, the intimacy of Anakin’s thigh pressed against his side, the heavy lidded want probably playing across his face, and the horribly embarrassing notes of heated metal rising in his scent. He stepped back, all at once, and cleared his throat with a pained expression.

“Anakin, I’m only trying to help you—you’re hurt and I—”

“I know,” he said uncomfortably, “you just smell—so good.” He snapped his mouth shut and curled his mechno-hand against his side, holding the feverish warmth of his burning ribs. “I’m sorry.”

Obi-Wan still looked deeply uncomfortable with a frown etched deep between his brows, but he nodded and flicked his eyes up to his, if only briefly. They were steeled and resolute, conveying all of the disinterest he felt, as if the black pepper in his scent didn’t speak enough on its own, but oh stars they were so so blue.

“Get some rest, though I recommend the sonic first, you smell like a dead bantha.”

Anakin grinned and slid off the counter, still holding his side, “You only say that because you haven’t smelled a Zillo Beast.”

Obi-Wan’s eyes softened, his guard slightly lowered, and he quirked a small smile, golden and twinkling like starlight.

Chapter Text

For him I imitate: O, if it prove,

Tempests are kind and salt waves fresh in love

Act III Scene IV

Obi-Wan stared down at his datapad, brow furrowed heavy and bewildered.

“What do you make of it?” Asked Padmé.

He leaned back, rubbing at the ever-present ache behind his eyes. “That our missives are being sliced and decrypted. Have you spoken with Senator Kryze about this, or Senator Organa?”

She frowned. “No, I came straight to you, surely this is something the Jedi Council should know?”

He glanced to the datapad again and dug his fingers against his browbone, willing the throb in his skull away. “We don’t know if this concerns the Jedi yet. At the moment it is the concern of the Senate, and our concern specifically. Is Senator Kryze planetside right now?”

Padmé’s frown deepened as she leaned forward in her seat. “Obi-Wan,” she said, voice laden with caution, “if there is a Separatist plant in the Senate, surely you should at least tell Anakin, it is why the alliance exists isn’t it?”

“Tell him what, that information is being leaked and used against us to spread anti-Republic and anti-Jedi rhetoric in our systems, but we do not know who or how or why?” He quirked his eyebrows in answer to his own question, illustrating how ridiculous the sentiment sounded to him.

She huffed and leaned back in the seat, circlet of draping diamonds tinkling with the movement, and her honeyed scent curled dry and annoyed through his office. “Obi-Wan,” she said in a voice that promised impending guilt on his part.

“We should meet with Senator Kryze,” he said.

“I can comm her now, it is urgent.”

Mere minutes later the senator swept into the room, chin lifted high and pale blonde hair styled high and tight away from the sharp cut of her cheekbones and narrow chin. From the way she held her shoulders and tilted her face he knew her to be an alpha the moment she stepped though his door. The musky notes of her orange peel scent which followed her into his office only confirmed it. She sat beside Padmé and the two exchanged familiar smiles. For a moment Padmé’s scent tinged sweeter and floral and Obi-Wan tilted one eyebrow at her, to which she glowered back.

“Senator Kenobi,” she said, “Padmé informed me of an urgent matter at hand.”

“Senator Kryze, I’m afraid our files are being decrypted and leaked.”

Her expression did not change, and her chin remained high and poised, fingers clasped over her crossed legs. “Someone has been slicing into my files for months now, this is hardly news. I am sure the two of you have been tracked just as long as I, especially you Senator Kenobi, when you are such a known source of trouble to the enemies of the Jedi.”

“And you didn’t think to tell us this?” Demanded Padmé, voice high and indignant.

Her expression did flicker than, though her scent remained unwavering. “I assumed you both intelligent enough to have known already. I apologize, it was certainly not a purposeful withhold of information. This doesn’t bode well for us though, when all three of us who share similar ideals and goals are being watched.”

“The four of us,” said Obi-Wan, “I’m afraid Bail Organa’s maneuverings are also being tracked.”

She hummed and looked to Padmé. “How did the two of you come to this discovery?”

“A minor mistake in the rewritten code of our last missive, the slicing was a little sloppy and our helpful friend misspelled Nabooian, harmless enough but a mistake neither Padmé nor I would make.”

Senator Kryze laughed then, dry and amused. “Minor indeed though I suspect our friend is several in fact, if all of us are being so closely watched. Neither of you have noticed anyone following you, anything misplaced in your offices or homes, anything amiss with your husband?”

He rubbed against the lance of pain in his temple and sighed. “Nothing of the kind, though Anakin only returned to Coruscant from the field last night.”

“I would keep a close eye on him,” she warned. “Your position is especially tenuous I fear, when you were already known for your pro-Jedi policies and now you are married to one. It would not surprise me in the least if the Separatists went after you or General Skywalker.”

“That is also hardly news,” he said dryly. “I understood perfectly the dangers of marrying him and it comes as no surprise that our enemies would work against an intergalactic alliance. My question is, senator, why are you also being so closely monitored, when your planet has been threatening neutrality for half of the war and you are a declared pacifist? What could the Separatists possibly gain by obviously interfering, when surely that would only deter Mandalore’s separation from the Republic?”

Senator Kryze’s expression slanted cool and sly and she grinned, heavy lidded and pleased. “That you think my planet still considers neutrality is why they bite at my heels so. The little mongrels still think they can herd us as they like. I may be a pacifist, but I am no fool, Kenobi. Neutrality only welcomes Separatist powers to think they can take my planet, and every Mandalorian would sooner take their last breath inside their beskar than let those weaseling foreign invaders step foot on their home world. This is our way, Senator, and taking a fool’s neutrality will only invite the war and violence I have fought against my entire life.”

The Senator may declare herself a pacifist, but the passion in her blue eyes and the fire in her words marked her as a true Mandalorian. The two words might have been opposites to the other, but a warrior’s spirit could fight for peace just as strongly as it fought for war. He smiled at her and watched Padmé gaze at her warmly out of the corner of his eye.

“I am glad to hear it, though I still do not understand why our enemies are pushing their anti-Jedi propaganda so strongly on Mandalore in addition to the Naboo and Stewjon systems.”

Her smile darkened. “My people have old and long remembered grievances with the Jedi. I may be a strong defender of their order but Mandalorians always remember their wars, and the people I represent do not see it as I do.”

“That was nearly four-thousand years ago,” said Padmé incredulously.

“I did say long remembered.”

Obi-Wan rubbed his eyes and tamped down the strong urge to groan melodramatically. The Jedi he loved, but their long-passed wars he had no time or patience for. “The problem at hand is we have no secure channels to communicate through and not a clue in the entire galaxy who is behind this.”

“It probably is unwise for us to meet in our public offices,” said Padmé. “Perhaps in the future we may discuss our shared problems at my apartment or somewhere else private.”

They did move their ridiculous little clandestine meeting to Padmé’s apartment and he couldn’t help but feel like a socialite playing at intrigue as they drank red wine at her table while they hunched over their datapads and theorized over motivations and reasoning for such virulent seeds of rhetoric being planted.

“I just do not understand,” he said, with one hand rubbing at his temple to alleviate the throbbing behind his eyes, while the other held the stem of his half full wine glass, “why they are going to so much trouble to push these anti-Jedi sentiments when in a large portion of the galaxy the Jedi are revered and on good standing with the public. Recent problems with the order have been through the Senate and with politicians, not with ordinary people. They watch the holos and see heroes, they see my idiotic husband saberfighting Zillo Beasts and fighting droids.”

“A Zillo Beast?” Padmé said incredulously.

He thought of the way Anakin limped into his apartment the night before, cradling his limp arm and reeking of smoke, though not from his own scent. He carried the memories of battle in his clothes, the sharp smell of burnt electrical wires, that particular singed scent he had come to know from his years previous with Qui-Gon that spoke of droids taken apart by the heat of a lightsaber. The children of the galaxy looked to the holos and saw a god or hero when they looked at his husband; as he delicately dug his fingers into the open circuitry of his arm and looked up to the alpha on his counter, grimacing in pain and exhausted, he wasn’t sure that he didn’t see the same thing.

He had no good explanation to address Padmé’s words, and so he forged on. “Even though this poses problems in our own systems, it only minimally affects the wider galaxy when popular sentiment is in favor with the Jedi Order. My question is whether the Separatists are stupid enough to squander resources on a Sisyphean task, or if we are in the dark to something larger at work which they are laying the groundwork for, something catastrophic which could turn the galaxy’s opinion of the Jedi and the Republic?”

Senator Kryze drained away her glass with a tired expression. “I rather thought it obvious. They are expecting your marriage to Anakin Skywalker and the Jedi-Republican alliance to fail.”

Some cold dark feeling curled deep in his stomach, fed by guilt and apprehension. He thought of the Chancellor begging him to be seen in public with Anakin, of the holos which speculated drama and tension in their marriage from their lack of statements and appearances, all because he couldn’t control himself, couldn’t tamper down his own selfishness and wants. It put him to shame, when he had sworn to make whatever sacrifice for the good of the Republic. Oh how he failed in such a breathtakingly short span of time.

“Lucky for us they have a difficult job ahead of them,” he said dryly.

Padmé eyed him over the rim of her wine glass as if she knew exactly the turmoil roiling in his mind. Perhaps it seeped into his scent, slipped past the medical grade blockers and beta cologne he wore, a curling tell of regret and unhappiness.

They came to no satisfactory conclusions, no explanations for how to proceed beyond communicating entirely off of their datapads and channels, with the plans to meet again at Padmé’s apartment again like a younglings’ club to swap Jedi trading cards or gush about the latest fixations of their romantic interests.

He returned to his apartment late into the evening with the same headache from earlier in the day throbbing behind his eyes, only worsened by his thoughtless consumption of red wine and no dinner to absorb it which made his skull throb like a drum. The apartment swam with Anakin’s smoky presence, and he found the alpha laid out on his couch with his boots hanging over the armrest and his mechno-arm thrown over his face.

He paused in the archway of his living room and watched the steady rise and fall of his chest, watched the evening’s long shadows play across the dark bruises under his eyes and in the gaunt hollows of his cheekbones. He looked a measure better than the night before, he at least didn’t still carry war on his clothes and the apartment didn’t ring with his wet coughing from debris caught in his lungs.

Something in the force or some unknown Jedi sense seemed to alert Anakin to a hovering presence or the feeling of being watched and his eyes flew open as he jerked up on the couch. He caught sight of Obi-Wan and grimaced with his teeth bared against the obvious jostling of his ribs and settled back into the couch with a sigh.

“How long have you been there?”

“Only a moment, I just returned home.”

Anakin grimaced more as he stood, clutching his side with the glint of his black and gold-plated hand. It was quite striking, the hand, alluring even, in an odd spindly sort of way. It lent him an aura of lethality, of hardened strength and experience no twenty-two-year-old should have, especially when combined with the pink scar down his cheekbone.

“You’re in pain,” said Anakin. “Is your head hurting again?”

Obi-Wan gave ground, retreating to the kitchen as Anakin stepped close to him. He only followed after him, close on his heels like a small animal trailing behind.

“How would you know about that?”

“You radiate pain when you hurt, I can feel your head throbbing through the force.”

“A convenient trick,” he muttered, rummaging through the cabinet for tea. He shot up stiff and straight when Anakin stepped close to him, his smoky scent curling thick and potent around them. He blinked at him, discomforted and hyperaware of how similar their positions mirrored the night before, when they pressed close and Anakin’s scent slanted dark and steaming with the notes of heated metal. His scent now curled with its regular tinge of smoldering cedar, almost comforting in its steadfastness and evolving normalcy in his home.

“What are you doing?” He asked stiffly.

Anakin reached his flesh hand out between them, hovering it close over his forehead. “I can help with the pain. I’m quite terrible at healing,” he said with a quirk to his full lips, “but I can lessen the hurt a little at least.”

He nodded, even more discomforted as Anakin placed his warm fingertips against his temple and a sensation of cool water trickled behind his eyes, the hot throbbing pain in his browbone gentling like a soothed burn.

Anakin’s brows furrowed and he stepped closer, the heat of his body bleeding through his under tunic and Obi-Wan’s own embroidered coat, making his neck prickle, especially when his scent darkened, not with the smell of liquid durasteel, but spiced bewilderment and then unhappiness.

“You have the strangest feeling to your aura—it—why do you smell like another alpha?”

He pulled away from the clammy heat of Anakin’s fingers and retreated to put some semblance of space between them. “I met with Senator Kryze today, you would like her I think.”

His expression smoothed neutral, though the wafting hint of charged,burnt air still lingered in the air, a tell of some dark emotion he could not decipher brimming in Anakin’s eyes. “The senator from Mandalore? I have met her before, on a diplomatic mission with Qui-Gon when I was a padawan, she is—passionate.”

He thought of the righteous anger which had threaded every word she spoke during their meeting, not unlike how Anakin spoke when he felt some act of injustice towards his men, or towards the innocents he fought to protect. The Senator may be a pacifist, and Anakin a war general, but a similar golden cord of strength and fire wound through their personalities.

He smiled, fond at the notion. “She is, I imagine it is a relief to have a representative in favor of the Jedi on a planet with such a long memory of past wars and enemies.”

Anakin frowned and crossed his arms, gold prosthesis catching the warm evening light. His gaze fell to it, even as Anakin grumbled, “Mandalore is the least of the Jedi Order’s worries.”

He raised his eyebrows and crossed his own arms. “I didn’t realize you would be the sort to hold a grudge.”

“I couldn’t care less about the Mandalorians,” he said, defensive and churlish. “But what does Stewjon have to do with them?”

The ache behind his eyes threatened to bloom again and he pinched the bridge of his nose, even as his eyes traced the spidery lines of black and gold. “A shared Separatist pest problem.”

Anakin held his stare, expression slanting even more defensive and wary. “You’re staring.”

“I apologize, I am used to you wearing your glove.”

He pulled it closer to his side, lips pressed pale and thin. “It seemed a little pointless here, when you’ve touch—seen it entirely. If it makes you uncomfortable, I’ll cover it.”

It soothed him in some embarrassingly instinctual way, his husband’s entirely unintentional exposure of weakness, of the tender softness of his underbelly that he did not reveal willingly to others. “No, not at all. To care over such a matter seems entirely uncouth.”

His shoulders visibly loosened then, though he still held the prosthesis close to his side, possibly more to gentle the movement of his ribs then out of any anxiety or stance of self-consciousness. “You would be surprised by people’s prejudices. I fight droids, work with them too, build them and fix them and a few are my friends. I think some see I’m part metal and think I’m less human for it too.”

“Ignorance does lead to darkness, does it not?”

Anakin tilted his chin in a gentle smile to that, dimpled and pleased. “I should have guessed you would know the code.”

Yes he knew the code, though its words only filled him with a life old and achy longing. Obi-Wan shifted, uneasy by the tinge of faint sweetness in his scent. “Have you eaten dinner yet?”


“Good, I might consider a bantha I am so hungry, and we should be seen taking dinner on the holo.”

Anakin sighed but hobbled behind him without complaint as they left the apartment, holding his arm close to his side, guarding his ribs as they climbed into Obi-Wan’s personal speeder.

“It’s just as well,” Anakin said despondently over the sound of the engine starting, “the Chancellor was on my case again about us not showing off for the holos enough.”

Some dark, ill feeling turned over in his stomach and the anger from the night before returned hot on its heels. “You met with the Chancellor today?” He said calmly.

Anakin shot him a look despite his even tone. “You’re still angry about the bomb? It saved a lot of lives, Obi-Wan, saved the lives of my men.”

“That does not excuse the Chancellor’s reckless and unsanctioned approval. It could have gone terribly wrong and it put not only your men’s lives at risk, but yours as well. Look what it did to your arm.”

Anakin shrugged. “My arm gets destroyed all the time, my lightsaber too. They’re replaceable, especially if it helps my men.”

“But you’re not,” he said hotly, “you must think of the alliance, Anakin. You must think of the danger to your order and to the Republic if one of us were to die, or if our marriage were to fail.”

He slumped and his scent clouded smoky, losing its lighter notes of cedar to be covered entirely by the smell of burning wood and forest fire. “Yes of course,” he muttered.

“Do you not see,” Obi-Wan said slowly, “that what the Chancellor did put everything at risk?”

He thumped his head against the seat, closed his eyes, and sighed. “Do you really think the morality of a decision like that is wrong? That a dangerous or ill-advised action isn’t justified by the success of its results?”

“Anakin,” he said aghast, “the ends do not justify the means. Isn’t that precisely why you think the treatment of the clones is wrong? Isn’t it why we fight to protect people, so that innocents are not caught in the tide of war, to be baseless fodder for a just end?”

“But that’s exactly what war is,” Anakin said, voice strained and pained, “a horrible means to an end. The Jedi do not believe in immoral action and yet we fight in a war because we must, because there is no other choice to defend the end means, the survival of the Republic. We are meant to be peacekeepers and yet the means for peace in recent years have themselves been acts of war and violence. Can you tell me there is a right choice?”

Obi-Wan said firmly, “of course there is, to protect as many innocent people as we can. As a peacekeeper you are not in a position to be a pacifist, not in the current state of the galaxy when the Jedi have been left with no other option, by the Senate or their own creed as guardians. Isn’t that one of the tenants of your code, that the light side of the force is the only right choice to make? It is why your order is what stands between the darkness and degradation of a reality in which Separatist forces control the fates of the very people you are sworn to protect.”

“What would you know of the light side of the force?” Anakin snapped.

He stared resolutely forward, a keen pain flaring behind his breastbone at the alpha’s sharp words. Anakin didn’t pull out of his strange sulk until they exited the speeder after sitting through the rest of their ride in silence, when he quirked a curious expression as they walked through the restaurant’s laser sensored entrance. Above them a holo projected sign glimmered in the twilight, depicting stormy seas beneath a flying formation of GAR ships.


“If it is not to your taste, we can go somewhere else of course.”

They sat at a low wooden table beneath a dimly tuned glow lamp, intimate and more fussy than he usually preferred, but the food was some of the best in the sector and the atmosphere would look good in the holo images sure to crop up from their outing. A droid whirred to their table, requesting their drink orders in a stilted and programmed greeting.

“No—I’ve just never had Corellian.”

“Well,” said Obi-Wan, “I recommend everything but the Fleek eel.”

Weeks passed, filled with clandestine meetings and the surreptitious passing of flimsiplast documents, brimming with their actual assessments and notes, rather than the mis-directives they exchanged on their datapads. No matter how many times they met at Padmé’s apartment, he never failed to feel like a child playing at espionage, and the sense of spectacle and unreal ambiance to the entire affair did not lessen as time passed.

Neither did Anakin’s fowl mood, which had seeded the day after his return from Malastare, and only grew worse as time progressed. Obi-Wan first attributed his glowering countenance to his broken ribs and the excruciating pain he thought a rightful and understandable cause for his temper. But his ribs healed, and he returned to his diligent training with Ahsoka at the temple, though the practically tangible black cloud above his head only thickened, ready to spill with turbulent rain at any given moment.

He found himself avoiding the apartment, Anakin’s presence and dour moods only gave him lancing headaches, and there were far too many other matters which required his attention besides his inexplicably cantankerous husband. It did leave him confused though, when Anakin had never exhibited such base and stereotypical alpha behavior before, and when, after months of tension between them, he thought they had come to an accordance, or at least a truce of some kind.

He found Anakin’s dogging when he did see him irksome, the narrowed line of his blue-eyes sparking his own urge to snap at him. The scent he finally thought himself growing to long-sufferingly tolerate thickened to a cloud of ash and coal, overbearingly dark and lung searing to be caught in for too long. It made him feel waspish, edged out of his apartment while the larger problems he faced were on Anakin’s behalf, on the Jedi’s behalf.

Over a late-night meal shared over the datapads they scoured through, Padmé propped her chin in her palm and leveled him an amused expression. “I can’t help but notice something has been bothering Anakin.”

He did not look up from the missive he read, lines of cramped text swimming before his tired eyes. “Your guess is as good as mine. When you discover the answer to his temperamental tantrums be sure to relay it to me.”

She laughed, hand over her mouth and eyes skewed up to crinkle at the edges. “Obi-Wan,” she said, exasperated, “you cannot be this dense when I know you are far smarter than this.

He did look up from his datapad then. “What in the stars are you talking about?”

“Oh no,” she said, “I won’t betray the poor dear, but I want it in writing that I retract my statement of your intelligence.”

Another week passed in the same strange tide of charred cedar scent and the ever-present ache behind his eyes as he poured through datapads, reviewed legislations and sat through Senate meetings filled with the Chancellor’s calls for new actions against the Trade Federation and the Traditionalists’ rising cries of dissent. War and yelling—war and yelling—it sometimes seemed to fill every crevice and crack in him, to ensure he never felt a moment’s inner peace or calm amidst the tempest he felt caught against.

Senator Kryze knocked on his office door after one such meeting, interrupting the very productive activity of him slumped over his desk with pain behind his eyes while he flipped through missives sluggishly and allowed himself a short moment of self-pity. She shimmered resplendent in high necked blue, long earrings catching against the blonde curls framing her face.

“Senator Kenobi, I am glad to have caught you. Would you care to catch some fresh air and take a walk through the botanical gardens?”

“Of course.” He stood, brushing away the wrinkles in his velvet tunic, and joined the beautiful alpha on a meandering walk to the capital botanical gardens just outside of the Senate building. Inside the transparisteel domed structure the air steamed humid and thick with the smells of damp soil and green life. He inhaled, slow and full, taking in the rare moment of sanctity amidst the turmoil of the past month.

“What is it you wanted to discuss, Senator Kryze?”

She laughed and hooked her arm through his so that they strolled amongst the leaves arm in arm. “I think we have reached the point in our acquaintance that we can call each other by our first names, Obi-Wan?

“Oh—yes I suppose so. What is it you wished to discuss, Satine?”

She glanced over their shoulders briefly, the only flickering sign of any unease she felt. “Bail Organa thinks he has discovered something suspicious within the changes made to the clone legislations the two of you have been working on.”

He veered them away from the main circular path in the dome, to follow a winding lane through thicker trees and hanging vines. “That comes as little surprise. The Chancellor and the reformists can proclaim their support all they want but control and credits still line their pockets and they are loath to relinquish that to the clones at every step we push.”

“Mmm,” she agreed. “He did not say what curiosity caught his eye, but it did not sound like the regular contention you two face in your fight for the legislations. He mentioned missing files from Kamino.”

“Missing files, of what kind?”

“That is all I know; he was rather tight lipped on the subject. But truthfully, Bail is not why I need to speak with you. There is another problem, one on Mandalore.”

“More anti-Jedi movements?” He sighed. “To be honest I am losing all patience for dealing with this problem, senator.”

She throatily laughed. “I as well, but my problem is something more—nebulous. Something dark is on my planet, Obi-Wan, some unseen and malicious force is corrupting my people and leaking poison into the very air we breathe.”

“I do not think some storybook horror is the cause for your people’s corruption and distrust of the Jedi and the Republic,” he said dryly.

She stopped, her arm looped through his pulling him to a halt at her side as they stood under a copse of Bafforr trees, whose leaves shimmered obsidian under the rays of light basking through the transparisteel as they shivered in a nonexistent breeze.

“I am not laying the blame for the actions of my people on a fantasy,” she snapped. “I came to you because I know the stories of what follows the darkness I have felt, and you must tell the Jedi that some threat is gathering.”

“Satine—” he said haltingly, “I have no more influence on the actions of the Jedi than you.”

“You are married to one,” she clipped archly.

“To a war general yes, who has fought in the Outer Rim half our marriage and who is not under the authority or the obligation to follow the needs or wants of senators, he is a Jedi knight, not a servant of the Republic.”

“Obi-Wan—I am not inflating some minor creation of my imagination. I may have no proof beyond what my heart tells me, but please believe me, there is something evil taking root on Mandalore.”

He looked into her wide imploring eyes and sighed, stroking his beard in thought. “Do you think it the doing of the Separatists, when they are vying so hard to pull you into neutrality?”

Her mouth twisted and she lifted her pale eyes to the glittering, ebony canopy shadowing them from the sun. “No, I think this has nothing to do with the Separatists, which is why I think it a matter for the Jedi.”

“You think it is some darkness in the force?” He asked incredulously.

Satine narrowed her eyes. “Well I certainly do not think it is the light I have felt.” She stopped and looked closely at him. “You think because we are not force sensitive that we cannot feel it, is this why you do not believe me?

“I don’t—I’m not sure, the force is unclear to me. Who am I to say you can not feel it? It seems rather narrow minded to say such a thing.”

“Then you do believe me?”

“I believe you are telling the truth.”

Her eyes narrowed to thin slits as she gazed at him with an imperious look. “Will you speak to the Jedi for me or not?”

Obi-Wan sighed. “I will speak to Anakin.”

That night when he returned to his apartment, weighed heavy by exhaustion and splitting pain in his skull, Anakin took one look at him as he stepped into the kitchen and bared his teeth.

“Long day?” He asked, tone nothing but ice and vitriol.

Obi-Wan took a step back, holding himself at bay despite the urge to snap it turn, to squeeze his fingers against the back of his neck and push the alpha to yield, to bend his obstinate hard-headedness and listen to him. “Yes,” he said shortly, “it rather was.”

He wondered, during altercations such as this, if the blockers and cologne he wore was worth it, if the tightrope of lies he walked even mattered enough to put up with this level of karking nonsense. He blamed his parents with a piercing hatred in his darkest moments, though he fought to never let the sentiment linger. These difficulties he faced, may have been their fault, though if he were stronger, if he were less unsure of the punishment he might face, perhaps he would be brave enough.

Fear, what a powerful and dark thing. He felt sick of its control, of the tight grip it kept around his heart.

Anakin’s scent coiled heavy and stinking of melted plastisteel, wound tight and ready to strike. Obi-Wan held up a hand as he took another step into the kitchen. Anakin did not move from where he leaned against the counter with his arms crossed against his broad chest, his expression viperous.

“Anakin, what in the stars is the matter? You have been like this for a month and I do not understand what has you in such a state. If this is about our discussion about the force—”

He barked out a laugh as his lips twisted into a grimace. “You know perfectly well why I’m angry.”

He floundered, sorting through their interactions since his return from Malastare, of some deep grievance or gross misstep he committed though he still came back with empty hands. “I genuinely do not. Will you please tell me how I have offended you so?”

For a brief moment, his eyes softened, a small revelation of hurt before his expression hardened back into a picture of fire and fury. “You smell like her. You always come back smelling like her.

He stepped closer to Anakin; his hands raised in appeasement between them. “Like Padmé? You smell of her too you know, we both do, she is our friend.”

“Of course not Padmé,” he snapped. “Of Senator Kryze, for a month you have skulked back here reeking of another alpha.”

Everything in him bristled, white hot and instantly furious. He had no patience for mindless jealousy, for another alpha’s urges to control and possess him. He was not Anakin’s and Anakin not his beyond the vows they spoke before the Senate and their promise to protect their people.

“Of course I smell like Satine, she has been working with Padmé and I on matters of the Senate.”

“Oh Satine,” Anakin spun to grip the edges of the marble counter in a white knuckled grip. “Well you smell like you rolled in her sheets.”

Anakin,” he slung his name like a weapon, fueled by adrenaline buzzing anger and Anakin flinched against it, as if the razor’s edge to his tone cut against his skin like a physical thing.

“I thought possessiveness was not the Jedi way.”

The look he flickered to Obi-Wan over his shoulder snuffed out his anger in a pulsebeat, the naked hurt so clear and obvious it embarrassed him to see it.

“No—but I make for a terrible Jedi sometimes.”

He moved forward to lean against the counter beside Anakin, not so close that the other’s presence rankled, but enough that he could see the blue of his narrowed eyes. “How dare you.”

Anakin straightened, throwing him a startled look. “Excuse me?”

Obi-Wan frowned, stern and all manner of indignant and disapproving. “How dare you accuse me of jeopardizing the alliance we have built. Do you really think me capable of undervaluing our sacrifices in such a base and uncivilized manner? I am a damned senator of the Republic and you are a Jedi Knight; I would not throw away everything we have fought for a—for a roll in sheets.

“Why have you been so secretive then? I’m not stupid, I see the late hours you have kept and when you come home at night you smell like her, like another alpha.”

He dragged his hand over his eyes, exhaustion seeming to pull against him like an anvil tied around his neck. Anakin’s interest and whatever capacity his romantic emotions took only complicated and put in danger the entire alliance. He did not have the ability or the inclination to return it, not for another alpha. But more than that, he worried if Anakin found out about his true designation, that he was an alpha as well, it would only light the deepest fury and betrayal in him. A betrayal and disgust so deep it could threaten their marriage, threaten the bill and alliance they signed.

 “Anakin, you must know that I do not return your feelings and that you cannot conduct yourself in this way simply because I smell of another. But Padmé did urge me to tell you, but I thought it imprudent with so little information. I see now that was entirely the wrong decision.”

Anakin hung his head for a moment between the arched points of his shoulders where he braced his hands against the counter before he sighed and then looked to him. “I am sorry, my master would be ashamed of me if he saw me acting like this. I don’t know what’s come over me. Tell me what?”

“Bail, Padmé, Satine and I are all being tracked through our datapads. Padmé and I discovered someone has been slicing our documents for some time. We know there is a Separatist plant within the Senate, more than likely several in fact. The four of us have been working together, pulling on resources through the Republic’s intelligence to see if we can discover who is keeping an eye on us and why, especially when our systems are being the hardest hit with anti-Jedi propaganda.”

Anakin’s expression went furious and his scent grew thunderously dark and heavy, almost suffocating in its intensity. “Why didn’t you tell me? This puts you all in danger and this concerns the GAR as well, do you not trust me with something as simple as this?”

“Of course I trust you, it just—it seemed unwise to concern the Jedi with a problem I saw no solution or answer to. It only felt like a distraction to me, and I would never wish to burden the order in times like these. All I have ever done is fight for the Jedi.”

Anakin threw his hands in the air and Obi-Wan’s hackles rose, muscles instinctually tensing against the jerky motions as if his mind prepared for a fight.

“I don’t understand you, not at all, Obi-Wan. I knew your policies before we married, I knew the laws and beliefs you fought for and that you have always been a supporter of the Order, but Jedi this and Jedi that, I have never seen someone so protective of us,” Anakin’s voice rose to an exasperated yell. “Why do you care about the Jedi so much anyway?”

Caught like an insect in Anakin’s blue eyes and suffocating under a blanket of his smoke and flame laden scent, he felt choked, pinned even though the alpha didn’t have a single finger raised against him.

His heart hammered as he stared wide eyed back at his husband and he heard himself gasp as if the words were wrenched from him by an unseen hand that pried his lips apart to dip his voice unbidden from his lungs, “because I should have been one.”

Chapter Text

A murd’rous guilt shows not itself more soon

Than love that would seem hid: love’s night is noon

Act III Scene I

Anakin reeled back as all his white-hot fury went out as if doused by a wave. He blinked at Obi-Wan, whose chest rose and fell unsteady under the lines of his velvet tunic.

“You’re—” he finally managed to choke past the white noise swarming in his skull, “you’re force sensitive?”

Obi-Wan cast his eyes aside, lips pressed thin under the coppered shadow of his beard. “I am.”

“But—I haven’t felt you—how have you—” he trailed off with a stunned realization, “the headaches, you’ve been suppressing and shielding—but how—why?”

Obi-Wan grimaced, “your scent is very strong still, let’s take this to the balcony where I can think straight.”

He flushed, contrite as he realized the kitchen swam with the smell of melted plastisteel, the remnants of his jealousy and anger. And how that jealousy had filled him to the brim, so that for weeks his only thoughts were on the smell of orange rinds on Obi-Wan’s skin. He still felt soured inside, raw and unsure from night after night of watching Obi-Wan slink back to the apartment well past dark, smelling of foreign alpha.

It was the alpha part that smarted the most. He knew that Obi-Wan did not return his heated looks, that some instinctual part of him did not crave to press against him and taste his skin, to weave his fingers into Anakin’s hair and kiss him as he so longed to do to his husband. He also knew that Obi-Wan coiled away from him when he acted his alpha part, that he hated the strength of his woodsmoke scent. Something deep, so terribly deep inside of him took hope from that, maybe his husband was the sort of beta who only felt attraction for omegas, and not for the alpha he marioneted and felt hollowed out from playing.

But then he came back to their home, smelling like her, like another alpha, and he kept coming back, night after night, drowned in the scent of orange peels and musk. It ate at his heart like acid, that deep aching sense of betrayal. Because if his husband smelled of another alpha, it didn’t mean he turned him away because of his designation, it meant he turned him away because it was singularly Anakin he disliked and felt repulsed by.

He followed after the dark silhouette of Obi-Wan’s strong shoulders and stepped out onto the balcony, taking in the smells of the humid Coruscant night and the drifting curl of orange peel marring his husband’s usual spiced scent.

Obi-Wan leaned against the durasteel railing and sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose even as he radiated pain from the ache which lived in his skull, an ache he now understood. “It is a complicated story and not a particularly happy one.”

Anakin leaned cautiously beside him, careful not to press too close and make him uncomfortable, not when he’d already made plenty a fool of himself already. “Why did you not join the Order then, at least tell me that.”

Obi-Wan frowned and watched the darts of light in the oil-soaked air, traffic and the city full of energy and life beyond the placid darkness of the balcony.

“My parents were politicians and before the democratic changes of planetary leadership in the Senate after I was born, they by all accounts ruled Stewjon as supplementary monarchs.”

He felt his eyes go large and round. “You’re royalty?”

Obi-Wan laughed and black pepper rose in his scent. “Perish the thought. But my family did hold an incredible amount of power and money. My parents were traditionalists, extremists really. They were elitists, xenophobic, distrustful of the Republic even, though they hated and feared the Jedi the most.”

Anakin startled, straightening against the railing. “What did they have to fear from the Jedi?”

The smell of black pepper deepened as Obi-Wan’s profile scowled. “Nothing of course, but they hated anything they didn’t understand. I think the idea of the force terrified them more than anything in the galaxy, because it was the thing they could least comprehend.” He sighed. “So you can imagine their inconsolable horror when I was born and my genetic tests informed them of a significant midichlorian count.”

His stomach turned and he asked, “they hid you, didn’t they?” Though he already knew the answer.

“Oh they certainly hid me,” he said, voice laced with bitterness. “They called the Jedi baby snatchers, never mind that the Order would never take a child against its parents’ permission. But they were terrified and horribly disillusioned and monstrously stupid on top of it. They faked my death and created an entirely new child, one—wholly opposite of their son before.”

Obi-Wan went silent and Anakin watched his still form in the dark, mouth dry and with nothing to say in return. How odd fate could be, that the two men chosen for a political marriage both had lived lies since they were children.

“I’m thirty-two, not thirty-one, since my mother faked an entire pregnancy and kept me hidden away in our estate like some ridiculous fairytale. I was born Ben Kenobi, not Obi-Wan.”

A soft ‘oh’ fell from his lips at that. “Would you rather I called you that?”

Obi-Wan snorted. “It hardly matters. I have no association or memory of it.”

Anakin thought of the ache he so often felt from Obi-Wan in the force, of the pain he leaked and the briefest oddness, some strange glimpse of light he saw in his aura when he eased his hurt. He winced. “I think I’ve been the reason for your headaches, though you’ve obviously been trained to shield yourself from being sensed.”

“I was taught to shield my mind and suppress my connection to the force by a monk of the Guardians of the Whills. He was the only outsider that ever knew, and he was all I knew of the force, until I was older and came to Coruscant.”

“The Guardians of the Whills,” he said, twisted up in confusion, “the shamans from Jedha?”

Obi-Wan shrugged. “You know more than I do. My parents only ever allowed me to see him twice. But how have you been causing my head pain?”

He blushed then and rubbed the back of his neck, an apology thick and ready on his tongue. “I’ve been told I’m quite-ah-forceful with how I project. If you already dedicate a great amount of mental strain to shielding yourself, I can’t imagine I’ve helped by bludgeoning against your mind. I’m—stars I’m sorry—if I’d known I would have taken care to guard myself around you—you haven’t—heard anything from me, have you?”

He laughed, “I hardly think I’m trained or familiar enough with the force to catch your thoughts, Anakin. All I know of the force and the Jedi comes from my missions with Qui-Gon.”

“I can train you,” fell from his lips as easy and careless as the wind.

Obi-Wan made a tight, wounded noise. “I am not a Jedi.”

“The last I checked; you don’t have to be a Jedi to train in the force.”

Something inexplicable blossomed in Obi-Wan’s scent at that. It brought back a long dimmed and early memory of Tatooine. The deserts on his planet did not see monsoon season like other worlds, but in early spring, for a few short rotations, rain came and made the desert bloom. The tender flowers of the rarest living things, which somehow struggled to dig and crawl from the barren earth, furled open to the binary suns and the perfume of their green, slimy nectar rose with the breathless, sharp smell of cool rain turning to steam against the hot sand. Those two short weeks of life made him ache with the deepest yearning as a child, to see green like that again for more than a heartbeat in the planet’s cycle. The cool earthen notes in Obi-Wan’s scent escaped definition, but it tasted liked the rarest green of Tatooine in his mouth all the same.

He peered at Anakin then, with a mulish set to his mouth. “I’m not sure that it is a good idea.”

“What are you afraid of?”

“I’m not—”

“—You are, but you want it too, I can feel that.”

His expression went sharp and furrowed in the deep shadows of the dimly lit balcony. “And what would you know of what I want?”

He felt slapped and reeled from the cruel jab, his heart leaping into his mouth.

Obi-Wan’s expression instantly softened. “That wasn’t fair, I’m sorry. I just—I spent so many years being taught to be afraid and the rest have been in longing for what I could have—for what could have been I suppose.”

“Is this why you became a senator?”

“Well—no,” Obi-Wan admitted, “I never expected to even meet a Jedi, never imagined I would work with the Order, let alone—” he trailed off on a laugh, “marry one. I went into politics to fight for democracy, to protect people, to try and undo the kinds of wrongs my parents were so callously capable of committing.”

Those words again, democracy, protect, right and wrong. From the moment he met Obi-Wan the man, with an unconscious and inherent ease, was more the alpha and the Jedi than he could ever be. His entire life had been the internal struggle to wrangle himself into the ill shaped mold of alpha, to squeeze his softened edges into a foreign sharpness that exhausted him to keep honed. And yet Obi-Wan, a beta, with such poise and intrinsic skill, moved and held himself, talked and laughed and breathed with a quiet but resolute dominance.

 And his goodness, his moral conviction, his passion and sense of duty to protect, all signifiers of a great Jedi, and now he knew he could have been one, should have been. He wondered if they might have been friends, or if Obi-Wan’s effortless control and mastery of himself would have filled him with hateful envy. But he was older, he wondered too of an alternate timeline where Obi-Wan might have been his master. He shivered at the thought, a dangerous and longing heat curling in his gut that he stomped down before it filled his scent with magma and shame.

He finally asked, “what happened to them?”

“Dead,” he said shortly, “assassinated by Stewjoni nationalists, can’t say that I blame them.”

Anakin peered through the dark at the flat line of his mouth, the play of shadow between his furrowed brows. He didn’t often let himself think of his mother, when the wound of leaving her behind still filled him with guilt, but he missed her then. He missed the maternal warmth of her beta scent, the feel of her hand tracing his cheek to soothe as she cooed desert lullabies to him at night.

He cleared his throat. “Does anyone else know, that you are force sensitive?”

“No,” Obi-Wan turned to him sharply, “and it will remain that way. I cannot have any of my enemies in the Senate think I am a Jedi spy; it is why I have kept my secret so long. I have been in the public eye for too long, if the information were to come out now the holos would all suspect corruption, or at least that the Marriage Bill was staged.”

“So the Chancellor didn’t choose you because of it?”

Obi-Wan turned and to his surprise stepped closer to him in the dark, reaching out to take his durasteel fingers in his so that Anakin had no choice but to look into his wide, earnest eyes with his pulse throbbing loud in his ears.

“Anakin, you must listen to me. We cannot trust the Chancellor.”

“He is my friend,” he protested hotly, even as he felt the heat of Obi-Wan’s hand might sear into his gold fibrous nerves and short circuit his prosthesis from the inside out.

“Anakin,” he said again, tugging him closer so that he could see the turquoise of his irises glinting in the moonlight, “please, you cannot tell him anything he does not already know. He is corrupt and we cannot trust him with our secrets.”


Obi-Wan squeezed his hand with such strength the joints in his knuckles grated at the pressure and he titled his chin, every line of his body turned into Anakin’s orbit. “You must promise me, please,” he implored, voice thick with desperation as that same Tatooine green from before filled his scent. Obi-Wan was playing wholly unfair, though with his husband pressed close and gazing wide eyed at him in the night, he could never tell him to stop.

He swallowed thickly, “yes alright, I promise.”

Obi-Wan dropped his hand and smiled. “Thank you.”

“Are you quite sure this is how it’s done?” Obi-Wan asked with a quirked smile.

Anakin sighed and slumped forward, leaning to brace his elbows on his crossed knees. Obi-Wan blinked serenely back at him from where he sat opposite of him on their living room floor, legs crosses and hands resting in his open lap.

“I’ve never been any good at meditation,” he admitted. Not when the very act of it required a deep centering, an internal balance and seeking of further balance with the force around him. It baffled Qui-Gon, his inability to find peace in mediation, when in so many other ways he went beyond his master’s expectations for being a controlled and balanced alpha. But inside he felt no true balance, no inner peace or harmony with himself. How could he, living a lie?

If his master, the Order, knew him as an omega, they could have guided him better. It would have made his time as a padawan lightyears happier, with the proper support and direction, with the connection to other omegas and Jedi who understood. By his teens he knew it was ridiculous to keep living as an alpha, not when the Order would only have guided him by better means. But always that fear, the memories of his mother telling him to keep hidden no matter what, no matter the cost. And perhaps she never imagined a life for him amongst the Jedi, where he could live freely as an omega without consequence or fear. It was the world of Tatooine and the life of slavery that shaped her words, shaped her terror that her omega son would be taken by the Hutts to be used as the worst kind of slave imaginable.

Living as an alpha only weighed on his shoulders as if he carried a star destroyer around his neck. It brought him imbalance, dissatisfaction, loneliness, and confusion. But oh that soul deep fear, his mother’s words written into his bones and soldered into the meat of his heart, keep hidden, keep safe. Something buried in the very core of him, something so sequestered away and hidden in the dark whispered to him that his mother was right, that even the Jedi could not be trusted, that they would treat him different, think him weak and take his freedom away. He feared slavery, the return to that cage. But that was the cost, to live a life like this, for it was its own kind of cage.

And now he could never come clean, never reveal himself. Not with his face plastered across the holos from an intergalactically famous marriage that held the alliance between the Senate and the Jedi together by a gossamer thread. To drop away his alpha veneer like a shroud would be the greatest betrayal of his life, to let the good they fought for crumble away for the sake of his own happiness. It was not the Jedi way, the opposite of the light side of the force in fact. To seek personal gain and want above the needs of others only spoke of the dark side and the ways of the Sith.

Obi-Wan laughed. “Why does that not surprise me? Should we have started with this then?”

“It will help center you before attempting to reach out with the force, especially when you have been shielding for so long, at least—theoretically.”


“Well, meditation has never helped me, at least this kind. I prefer moving meditation, practicing forms with my lightsaber but I—ah don’t think we should be starting you off with a lightsaber before you can really connect with the force.”

They both snorted and then Obi-Wan took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Alright, Qui-Gon always told me it was an act of looking inward, though—I’m not quite sure what that means for this, logistically speaking.”

He let his own eyes fall shut and snorted another laugh. “Neither do I. But relax, let your heartrate slow, let yourself feel the power of the force inside you. When I sit still like this, I always feel myself drift outwards, beyond the limit of my body. You can feel yourself connect with the force around you, the energy in the air, from the light through the window, from me if you can stretch yourself that far.”

He let his own pulse settle and steadied his breathing to a deep and slow rhythm, lowered his most basic shields to let the sounds of the room’s energy slip into his mind. It thrummed inside his skull, a cacophony of white noise that drowned out all but the feeling of his heartbeat in his chest. His master told him the noise that roared in his ears marked him special, that the other Jedi didn’t hear a symphony if they opened the airtight sealed, durasteel doors of themselves to the raging solar storm of the force. Chosen One or not and whatever Qui-Gon believed, he knew one thing for certain, and that was how loud the world was.

He breathed through the tempest and settled deeper in his own body, listening to the force croon and sigh, caressing his skin and dragging the impression of gentle fingertips down his cheek. He startled and dropped his guard in surprise, only to feel blazing heat press against his mind.

It felt…incredible, an aching and tender brand of light searing into the matter inside his skull.

He groaned, audibly, “Is that you?”

“Oh,” Obi-Wan said breathless, “yes I think—I didn’t—is that you?”

Something in him shuddered apart and his own inner light surged past the confines of his bones and flesh to meet the press of warmth, to wrap itself in the feelings of Obi-Wan—the feeling of his husband. Distantly and far away his heart rabbited so heavily in his chest he felt the rushing waves of his pulse in his tongue and fingers. Then Obi-Wan’s light twisted deeper into a crevice between two shields sagging in his wondered distraction and he choked against the sensation of sunlight in the base of his skull, trickling down his spine.

He snapped back into himself like a band released and practically fell over in his haste to untangle his legs. Obi-Wan’s eyes flew open and he blinked, dazed.

“Was that supposed to happen?”

Obi-Wan was going to kill him.

“Ahh—well it wasn’t my intention.”

“Anakin,” he said, stern and alarmed. He knew this not from the tone of his voice but the impression of his emotions through the force, from where Obi-Wan’s shields had not fallen back into place.

He swallowed, feeling abruptly dizzy at the thought that it was Obi-Wan’s, his husband’s warmth pressed against him inside his mind. “It’s only a training bond, what masters and padawans use to make teaching easier, it just wasn’t—intentional, I’m sorry.”

Obi-Wan winced and pressed his palm against his forehead. “You are incredibly loud.”

All of his shields were up though he cinched them tighter, pulling them closer against his skin so that all but the dimmest light would be kept from the flickering bond, like the string of a spider’s web glimmering in the sunlight. It hurt to do so, to pull away from the golden dewed glow of Obi-Wan. Every part of him, the tether in his mind, the hollowed-out ache behind his ribs, the caramel thick heat in his gut, reached out, begged to feel his husband inside of him in every way.

He loved him, he realized.

He loved his goodness, his strength and the durasteel which must have lined every cell in his body to give him such resolve. He loved his sharper edges too, the angered spark in his pale eyes, the black pepper in his scent, all of the acerbic wryness in his tone which hid the much deeper kindness underneath. He loved—with such staggering strength in frightened him, that he could see the light of the force in him too, that in this at least, they could truly see one another. He did not have to hide from Obi-Wan in the force, and Obi-Wan in turn now shared the glow within him.

He did not take his trust lightly and without marrow deep gratefulness. It filled him with guilt also, that his husband was the one to lower his guard and finally allow his barriers to fall, while he still kept his own secret tucked dark and close. He couldn’t—not yet—not filled so full of terror at the consequences, at the repercussions he might face.

But he loved him all the same.


Ahsoka whooped in triumph, raising her practice sabers above her head, the blades crossed and crackling. “You’re sloppy today, master,” she crowed.

He disengaged his own blade, sweat crawling down his spine and slicking stray hairs to his forehead. He huffed, “don’t get too confident, Snips.”

She lowered her blades, smirk underlit by their blue glow. “I thought you said confidence gives strength to your fighting, master?”

He kicked his foot out, swiping her legs out from under her and sending her flailing to the mat. She glared up at him and disengaged her sabers, scent going tart and annoyed.

He crossed his arms and smirked back at her. “And too much confidence makes you cocky, I should know,” he said with a grin.

She huffed and bounced back to her feet and returned the practice sabers to their wall mounts.

“What’s really bothering you, master?”

He adopted a casual stance, watching her stretch out the tendons in her legs, cooling down from the several hour practice that left them both sweat drenched and wrung out. In many ways he took the deepest comfort that Ahsoka differed from him, in how she connected to the force, in her ability to search inward and find equilibrium. But her shared need for physical meditation, to work out excessive energy and restlessness by squashing it out willfully, lent them moments like this. Their mutual zeal and relish for a good fight and their adrenaline surging happiness always lit their training bond like a beacon, leaving them both calm and content.

“Who says something’s bothering me?”

She looked up from where she leaned into her extended leg and leveled him a look that silently spoke of how stupid she thought him. “You were the one to barge into my room right before bed and ask to duel, master.” She straightened from her stretch, mouth tilting into a frown. “Is it a new assignment? You know you can’t leave me behind again; I’ll stow away on the Resolute and Rex will help me,” she warned.

Force forbid the thought of his Captain and padawan conspiring behind his back. He attempted an innocent expression. “Oh is it against the code now to miss your padawan when you live away from the temple and don’t get to see her enough between your army and marriage?”

She looked instantly guilty before her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You smell sad and you’re all blocked off. Don’t make me get the sabers and finish beating it out of you.”

He grinned. “What do you say we grab some midnight grub from Dex’s?”

“Well obviously, but don’t think you’re getting out of talking to me, master.”

Later over a cup of jawa juice Ahsoka blinked her round eyes at him and pushed worry through their bond, laced with her unique bursts of emotions that always rode the heels of the one she meant to allow through the force, protective affection-exasperation-sisterly love. It was a penchant they both struggled to wrangle, the control of their emotions and the weakness of their shields within the bond. He couldn’t say it out loud, because he knew as a teacher he should correct her on it, but her openness to him in the force reassured him of their bond, reassured him that she cared for him.

“Master Yoda says we must be mindful of our emotions, master, and you’re obviously stewing.”

He pushed his own cup of jawa juice back and forth between his hands on the table, agonizing over the events of the day before; his uncontrolled anger and jealousy, Obi-Wan’s faith in him, his own force forsaken feelings.

“What’s having a training bond with me like?”

“Loud,” she said around a grin. “Bright, like having a loth cat always winding between my ankles.”

He tried not to feel offended when he asked in the first place, but something about his attempted neutral expression made her grin.

“Master,” she said fondly, “it’s not your fault you feel like a battering ram sometimes.”

He turned a miserable expression into his jawa juice, wondering how much of an invasive, crashing bantha Obi-Wan thought he was too.

Ahsoka sighed and laid a hand over his gloved fingers. “But you’re warm too, like a shooting star. It’s—” she seemed to search for the words, “like finding solace in a storm.”

He looked up from their hands, letting his gratefulness wash through their bond. “Thanks, Snips.”

She leaned back in the booth, dragging her jawa juice with her. “Will you tell me what’s wrong now?”

“I can’t tell you, little one.”

She scowled briefly over the old nickname, white stripes above her eyes pulled low and unamused. “Is it a Jedi thing or an Obi-Wan thing?”

He laughed and raked his hands over his eyes, “oh Ahsoka, it’s everything.”

Her scent seemed to curl around him at that, cradling him in the notes of concerned alpha-worried-fierce-protective. “This is why you need someone in the field with you.”


“No,” she said firmly, “you promised me I could fight with you. You aren’t meant to carry the galaxy on your own.”

“I never said I was.”

She raised the line of white stripes above her eyes, affecting an expression of mocking surprise. “Oh? Could have fooled me by the way you are trying to carry the whole GAR on you’re back, and an arranged marriage, and a prophecy, and—”

“Alright,” he laughed, “I get it. A promise is a promise. When the 501st ships out you’ll be there to torture Rex every step of the way with me.” She perked up at that, threading glee and anticipation through their bond.

They eventually finished their jawa juice and he walked Ahsoka back to the temple, much to the disapproving glances of the guards at the ridiculous hour of their return. Ahsoka squeezed his still tender ribs in a hug before murmuring goodnight, not saying another word of the unhappiness he felt to drag her out of bed for company.

His commlink illuminated the time as three in the morning when he unlocked the apartment door with it. He knew at this hour at least, he could avoid Obi-Wan since the beta preferred to wake early, rather than keep long nights. But as he stepped through the living room and passed the lit kitchen, he felt the tug of a warm presence and the drifting smell of spices and sun warmed sand. He paused and then poked his head into the kitchen, only to go as frozen as if thrown out an airlock at the sight of Obi-Wan half dressed and leaning against a counter drinking a mug of tea.

Well, he was dressed, technically, in a pair of low slung, black sleep pants and a gold silken robe. He made a sound in the back of his throat, unbidden, and Obi-Wan blinked sleepily at him.

“I could feel you coming back to the apartment,” he said. “Like a glowlamp turning brighter in my head.”

“Sorry,” he croaked as he edged further into the kitchen. When he drew closer his eyes traced the lines of gold silk over his naked pectorals, followed the shadowed ridges of his stomach and the sharp slash of hipbones just above the band of black sitting low on his hips. He swallowed around what felt like a ball of plastisteel lodged high in his throat. He felt helpless as he glanced at the loosely tied strap of gold banded across Obi-Wan’s ribs and then up the curve of his throat, the swell of his lips, the handsome planes of his masculine cheekbones and brows, and those gray-blue eyes that always hooked something in his stomach and yanked.

Obi-Wan met his gaze, catching his wandering eyes and cleared his throat, a subtle blush pinking his collarbone. “Will it always be this distracting, the training bond?”

“No,” Anakin rasped, “that’s what we can work on next, strengthening your shields to block me out.” It hurt to say, even as he felt Obi-Wan’s force signature warming the room and heating his spine like the blaze of a lightsaber. He felt like his insides were turned into honeycomb, liquid heated amber drizzling down his spine to pool in his gut, sweet and golden.

Even to his own senses, though distantly and foggily through the roaring in his ears and the mortified flush staining his whole face podracer red, he could smell his own scent of sparking, molten durasteel suffusing the air in the kitchen, strong enough that it overpowered Obi-Wan’s spiced presence.

Obi-Wan drug a hand over his mouth, looking both pained and flustered. “I’ll see myself to bed then, goodnight Anakin.” He left his mug of half-drunk tea on the counter and brushed past him without another word.

“Goodnight,” he grated out after the retreating silhouette of gold. He stood in the kitchen for a shaken minute afterwards, feeling poleaxed and wound tighter than the gravity drop of a ship falling out of lightspeed.

He walked to his bedroom with the feeling of boiled syrup poured through his veins, flushed and wanting and boiled alive from the inside out. He popped the metal buckle of his belt and jerked off his obi, pulled his linen tunic from his shoulders. He left a trail of haphazardly dropped clothes, shucking his undertunic, his pants and boots, leather glove and underclothes as he stepped into his sonic in a daze.

He raised his face to the fall of hot water, steam rising around him as fought to wrangle the want sitting heavy in his bones. But the naked lines of Obi-Wan’s chest, his hipbones, the branding feeling of his mind pressed to his, the sunlit warmth of him and his earthy-spiced scent overpowered any sense of control he ever possessed.

He gritted his teeth in a silent snarl under the water’s stream and wrapped his hand around his cock, arousal pulsing a heavy drumbeat to the tempo of his pulse. The too hot temperature of the water only matched how boiled over he felt as he finally let his thoughts slide to images of Obi-Wan licking into his mouth, grabbing the back of his neck to hold him in place as he caught his lips in the sharp edges of his teeth and tugged at the easily bruised skin.

He shuddered and fell forward to brace his mechno-arm against the sonic wall and dropped his forehead against it, working himself in the steam with his flesh fingers.

He couldn’t understand how he was so hard just from the glimpse of Obi-Wan’s skin, how after the first moment of squeezing his cock in his hand he felt so close to juddering over the edge.

This didn’t happen often, not with the way his implant kept his hormones so low. He seldom had the time or inclination, the need to touch himself and come so rarely clawing at his senses, not with a war, with the off balanced way he felt in his own body. But all of those things fell away under the spray to wash down the drain with the water under his feet.

But some deep and foreign ache built in him now, fueled by the thoughts of Obi-Wan behind him, reaching his own hand around to drag his fingers against the head of his cock. His mouth fell open on a groan kept silent and twisted into a breathy exhale, precome leaking into his fist as he rocked into his fingers, balls drawing up tight, already so close to breaking apart.

He imagined the feeling of his husband pushing him against this same sonic wall, still behind him, pulling his cheeks apart to rut against the seam of his ass. He tilted his face deeper into the crease of his elbow and caught his teeth into the meat of his forearm, to keep the keen building past his lips held in check.

He rolled his hips into the grip of his hand, imagining that forward tilting movement came from the grind of Obi-Wan rocking inside of him—oh—yes, of Obi-Wan inside of him. He had never thought too much of it before, since it was merely a thing he couldn’t have. He did not know the feel of someone else against him, inside of him. But now the thought took him, squeezing him with want so aching and sharp it felt like pure electricity arching down his spine to settle into a weird inner—emptiness?

He panted into his forearm, water running down his face to drip from his eyelashes, his nose and lips and chin. Oh and how he imagined the feeling of Obi-Wan pushing inside of him, pressing his cock up into his hips and then digging his teeth into the side of his neck, under the tender stretch of skin under his ear and biting.


He came abruptly, the orgasm wrenched so deep from him that he pulsed thick spurts of come into his fist, the strength of it spilling hot over his fingers as he shuddered through it, quivering with every jolt of his cock.

He straightened from his slouch against the sonic wall, dizzy and shaken as he rinsed his hand under the water. But then—he shifted, face scrunching as he put his full weight on his left leg and then his right. He shifted again—and then outright squirmed. He felt…weird?

He reached his flesh fingers and dipped them down the small of his back, past the cleft of his ass to dip between his cheeks, where he felt oddly leaking? His fingers met a slimy wetness, thicker and more viscous than water. He pulled his hand away and examined the string of slick caught between his fingers in utter bewilderment.

What in the fucking siths’ hells?

Chapter Text

'Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou
entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling;
thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my
presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.'
Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do
everything that thou wilt have me.

Act II Scene IV

He felt as if the inside of his own head were lit by a risen sun that had miraculously appeared in a forever dark night sky. The warmth of Anakin’s force signature suffused every shivering crack and crevice inside him, and he felt so brimming with his presence that every time he lifted his hands it surprised him not to see them lit from within and leaking golden light.

Somehow, over a span of a few short months, his world shifted to barely knowing Anakin from the holos to every nook and cranny of his life brimming with him. His apartment, their apartment now, smelt of banked coals beneath a barely contained layer of ash and lazily smoldering cedar. The living room caf table sat half covered in screws and springs and coils, all spare parts of whatever mechanical project occupied the Jedi’s barely held attentions.

Their laundry room filled with Anakin’s robes and tunics and tabards, and despite the diligence of their cleaning droids, the singed scent of his clothes bled into Obi-Wan’s, their apposing alpha scents of charcoaled cedar and spice somehow weaving into some new conglomeration he was despite himself, beginning to associate with home. Ahsoka, as an extended limb of Anakin, too filled the cracks and spaces in his life. Her spare tunics too found their way into their laundry, her young alpha scent suffused the spaces that his and Anakin’s did not.

And now the hot press of Anakin’s force signature filled his mind too, like honey oozing into the hairline fractures of a tree’s bark, to seep beneath the green meat of the trunk, thicker than his own sap and far more rich and cloying. There was no escaping from it, escaping from Anakin and the blazing forest fire of his scent and presence in the force. The walls that Anakin taught him to shield himself with put up no resistance to the feel of his blinding light. To think he felt bombarded and cornered by Anakin’s presence when he first invaded his apartment. That had been no invasion, only the whisper of the conquering he now surrendered to.

Anakin’s presence suffused everything, every spare moment that he did not pour over missives and datapads and afternoons yelling in the Senate or strategizing with Padmé or Satine or Bail. When he returned to their apartment and Anakin found time to flit away from his own responsibilities at the temple and with his 501st legion, they came together in the neutral sanctuary of the living room to meditate and to train. He learned to build better shields, to allow a slackening of the tension in his own mind so that his head no longer ached like a constant blackened bruise.

So he learned to navigate and fill the space inside his own head, learned that he did not have to keep durasteel bars anchoring his thoughts so deep and hidden inside him that to unclench felt like he might blow away. And then Anakin brought a bag of transparisteel marbles back to the apartment and he learned to lift them, one by one, until he could suspend all twenty-eight colored orbs with precise control so that they hovered at the same height without wavering.

Anakin watched him with a glint in his eyes when he learned to keep all of the marbles afloat while raising and lowering only the blue ones, or the red ones, exerting even more precision and minute manipulations of the force that continued to evade him.

“You will be much better at control than me,” Anakin said with a lopsided smile. “But that’s not surprising.”

He did not admit it, out of embarrassment or pride or some other complicated emotion, but he took the marbles with him to his office and spent long hours keeping them elevated while he read through datapads. He practiced until his vision swam and his muscles shook as if from physical exertion pushed to the breaking point. He practiced until his head ached all over again and his mind felt worn thin and elastic just like a muscle overused, again-and again-and again. That ache and exhaustion felt like a peace he had sought his entire life and only now understood how to take hold of.

He felt the force in everything and could hardly imagine how he lived before, without the life and energy and thrums of power that sang through the very air itself. Of course, it didn’t help that Anakin vibrated like a lightspeed engine in the force, as loud and noisy and attention arresting as a meteor breaking through atmosphere. Ahsoka, the other Jedi, they did not burn so hot and bright and he found himself thinking often of what it meant that the order called his husband the Chosen One.

The world, he realized, now sang, and while every day was its own fight of self-control and containment, the lilting voice of the force which now seemed to follow him ever present, offered new peace and harmony he never thought himself capable of. His pain and tension and always present urge to bare his teeth and fight eased, the constant hot breath of aggression which gusted damp against his neck fell away, or at least slackened its hold so that the control he had sought his entire life came now at least a little easier. He found himself far more capable of steadiness, of tolerating Anakin’s suffocating presence in the apartment without it sending cold chills scuttling down his spine.

“Explain something to me.”

Anakin glanced up from where he sat in the living room floor, tinkering with a mouse droid gutted and laid out across the caf table. He hmmed and turned his attentions back to the circuit board that curled the smell of melted plastisteel from his soldering pen.

This had been Anakin’s norm since the spark of their training bond, casual deference and cast away eyes. He seemed to sacrifice the intimacy of directness from their mental and emotional connection. Perhaps the raised jaw and toe to toe play for dominance they both circled around each other with seemed too absurd to him when they felt so warm to one another in the force.

Not to say that Anakin demurred, or that his ever-present assertiveness and sometimes off-putting directness faded away in the face of a training bond. But he seemed uncomfortable, wrongfooted perhaps, no—oddly bashful. Yes, bashful was the word, though his scent sparking with the smell of liquid durasteel as easily as the winds changing possibly explained that.

It was—flattering, he had to admit. Flattering and deeply embarrassing, humiliating even, when they sat cross legged and meditated and Anakin visibly shuddered and furled with the smell of pungent arousal at the press of their minds through the bond. It was embarrassing because the first time it happened, on the balcony, and then the second time, when he attached his prosthesis, and then the third time, the night Anakin’s eyes raked over his chest dark and hungry, he flushed flummoxed and horrified.

But the night he waited up for Anakin, the bond such a strong and noisy thing to him, when his husband traced the lines of his body with such open want that he stuttered and fumbled his way out of the kitchen to escape the searing brand of his lust, clouding as thick as the fumes from durasteel heated molten in a forge; that smell of metal from the earth, as fiery as the core of a planet, filled the entire apartment like the slow progression of magma escaping its planet’s crusts. He knew Anakin went to his room after and touched himself, worked himself over until the cloud of metallic smoke finally dissipated. But even more than his scent, he felt Anakin’s aching want like a florid coal in his mind, pulsing and needy. It horrified him, that Anakin probably came in his own hand that night to thoughts of bending him over and pushing inside of Obi-Wan. It made him feel helpless, out of control.

But the fourth time, and the fifth, and the sixth and on and on—something heated and shamed curled tight in his gut in answer, always remembering the burn of that white hot coal in his mind, the burn of what Anakin’s want felt like.

That smell, of ash and smoke and ruin, it should have invoked nothing but long suffering and begrudging acceptance. He felt conditioned, smelling magma and flame and something deep in him squirming in answer. Nothing about Anakin’s charred alpha scent should have made him want, nothing about the stubborn jut of his chin, nothing about his obstinate hard headedness or messiness or disregard for personal space or masculine dominance should have piqued his interest.

 But the heat in his scent stirred his own, and the flutter of golden lashes against high cheekbones and the sweetness in his blue eyes, that made him want. But humiliation and shame always followed close on the heels of the bolt of want. What was he doing, feeling this way towards another alpha?

 No other alpha had certainly ever turned his head, never stirred anything in him but brotherhood or tolerance or annoyance. But mostly he felt shame, not even for himself and his own turned over confusion, but of how Anakin would react if he knew, his horror, his revulsion, that Obi-Wan let himself want in turn when he knew them both to be alphas.

He watched the flutter of those long and almost girlish lashes against Anakin’s cheekbones as he methodically melted wires and spliced their singed ends on the circuit board.

“Every living thing has the living force in it and all components of the living force feed into the greater cosmic force, yes?”

Anakin blinked and flipped off the pen, furrowing his eyebrows in consideration. “Yes?”

“And the cosmic force is itself a living thing, something with a will, that wants the order of the universe to veer a certain way?”

He blinked again and said much more hesitantly, “…yes?”

“And some force users are given foresight, are shown what has not yet come to pass, which means the force knows what will happen in the future. Does this mean that our own lives are predestined, or that our actions are mute by the will of the force?”

Anakin made a pained noise as his face went aghast. “Obi-Wan, I’m no good with theoretic ideas or concepts.”

Obi-Wan made his own considering noise and leaned forward to brace his weight against his crossed legs. “See but by the Jedi’s teachings, the light side and following the path of the light side of the force is entirely made of choices, which means that our decisions cannot be mute. But I am caught on this cyclical concept of free will and predestination somehow coexisting, they seem to counteract one another and yet they must dually exist if the Jedi’s theories of the force are true.”

Anakin’s expression went even more pained. “I’ve always thought of it as the force always knowing what my choices to be, but those choices are still entirely mine to make.”

“Hmm, and what of time travel?”

Anakin outright let his face fall into his hands and groaned. “I am not equipped to have this conversation with you.”

“You said you would teach me.”

He raised his face and glared from between his splayed fingers. “Teach you what I know, but I’m not well versed in the cosmic force like my master. Did you never have these conversations with Qui-Gon on your joint missions?”

“None to my satisfaction. I am just curious about the concept of free will versus these predestined plans taking into the rare accounts we have of time travel. If it is the force who sends a Jedi backwards in their own timeline and they make different decisions, is that not the force intervening in the original choices of free will?”

“I think,” said Anakin grumpily, “that you’re making my head hurt.”

Many of their training sessions went like that, Obi-Wan asking questions and Anakin having no answers. He was not the type to ponder the more difficult theoretical questions. He was a man of action, of motion, of precision and wires and cogs and wheels, things of order that made sense to him. He thought, and maybe even understood sometimes, that perhaps Anakin was this way because of being raised a slave. Anakin made no more mention of his childhood since his brief reveal of an infancy in chains months passed, but Obi-Wan had not forgotten, rather, it occupied his thoughts often.

It lingered in his thoughts during the Antislavery Committee’s meetings, during the long hours of reading through missives and bills and petitions, when all he wanted to do was lay aside a datapad and rest his eyes. It plagued him even. He fought everyday to protect people, to bring freedom and peace to every living thing within his control and perhaps even beyond his control. And yet his husband was beyond that control, beyond his protection, his comfort even.

 How could he lend comfort for such a thing? I am so terribly sorry the Hutts control the Outer Rim and you were raised a slave and the only reason you escaped it was the Jedi? No, he remained silent on the matter, but it drove him anew, with a deeper fire, to fight harder for the bills he and Bail and Padmé petitioned.

The world needed to make sense to Anakin, each cog and wheel and mechanized component needed its precise place and order. In a galaxy of chaos and the hurricane of the force, Anakin sought understanding in the easily understood. To dig and question only brought more questions, how could life be so dark, so unfair, so cruel, and unjust and difficult? How could the force let it happen? How could free will and the choices of war and death have any part of the light side of the force? The gray in-betweens confounded him and Obi-Wan saw that, saw how desperately Anakin grasped at a world that looked black and white to him.

He asked, “do you not wonder about it?”

Anakin cast him a look, all tilted eyebrow, and pursed lips. “No, not really.”

“You must have made an awful student.”

Anakin gave him what felt like a mental flick in the force though he kept his eyes lowered to the droid parts laid out before him, mouth quirked in a lopsided smile. He sat on their living room floor, legs crossed and dressed down in a pair of linen pants and a tunic, burnished curls hanging into his eyes and catching at the nape of his neck. Even without his tabards he sat broad shouldered, hunched over the caf table and smelling of his usual smoking tinder.

There was nothing in his strong jawed, musky alphaness that he should have found alluring. And yet, he sometimes caught himself tracing the pink curve of his feminine lips, the arch of his strong eyebrows and girlish lashed eyes, the masculine line of his throat, his wide shoulders and narrow hips.

He wondered, watching his nimble fingers splice wires and attach circuits, when Anakin had become beautiful to him.

The entire HoloNet called the Jedi general beautiful, not just the secondary gossip channels, but the official news coverage too. Billions of citizens within the intergalactic republic ogled his curls, lusted after his famed full mouth, and shamelessly panted after his physique from live battle footage. They called him the perfect alpha, all muscled strength and fearless bravery. But he wasn’t—or at least wasn’t their stereotype or facsimile of what an alpha should be.

He was…something much better, the kind of alpha Obi-Wan strove to be, even when no one in the galaxy could know he did strive for it. He was the Jedi Obi-Wan might have been too. The protectiveness in him, the vein of want to save everyone, to soothe every hurt, win every battle, to completely rid the galaxy of slavers and injustice and wrong birthed his pain but also the flame inside him that made him such a Jedi. He admired his zeal, his passion, the smoke in his scent that constantly reminded those around him that he was a wildfire that could not be put out.

He didn’t find it remarkable the entire HoloNet obsessed over and adored Anakin Skywalker, but despite the alphaness, despite his smell of charred forest and fire, despite the way he still made him want to dig his teeth into him; remarkably and despite designation and responsibility and his greater duty to the Republic, Anakin’s greater duty to the Jedi, he too saw the alpha’s beauty and allure.

Bail always did love to throw a party and he reveled in the spectacle for the same reasons Obi-Wan enjoyed loosening the durasteel control on his alpha instincts to verbally spar with his opponents. They both ultimately reveled in picking a fight and pissing people off. He watched Bail do just that from afar, gesturing emphatically at a Utapaun senator who looked less than enthused to be caught under the fire of his tirade. Under the warm light of the glow lamps strung across the rooftop, he vigorously gestured, somehow managing to balance his glass of Corellian brandy while doing so.

Satine made herself known at his side by a throaty chuckle, shimmering like a glass of spilled wine in burgundy silks. She lifted her own glass of coppery brandy to her lips and her scent of orange peels drifted over the sharper tangs of alcohol and exhaust in the open air.

“He looks like he is enjoying himself,” she said around the rim of her glass, smile evident in the deep lilt of her voice.

“Bail can smell blood and weakness like a hound,” he said through his own suppressed grin.

They both watched Breha emerge from her own circle of admirers to pull Bail away and release the Utapaun senator from his pinned position.

Satine asked, “what has our friend in such a buoyant mood tonight?”

He glanced over his shoulder briefly to make sure no unwanted ears were turned towards where they stood apart from the others gathered on the rooftop. But the energy burned high in the air and though the sun still hung low in the sky, most of the gathered party already smelled like liquor and ripened fruit.

“One of his informants has a lead on the Clone files missing from Kamino, said it is tied back to whoever our friend is within the Senate.”

She raised one pale eyebrow. “Do you trust this informant?”

He stopped a passing serving droid and lifted a glass of port from its tray, if only to hold a drink and look less uncomfortable and out of place. These sorts of forays and evening parties were his normal territory. The Senate building may have been the official grounds for Republican senators, but the art of subterfuge and political maneuvering and negotiations at dinner parties and balls and galas was the true arena for their kind.

But the force sang loud and intent to him now and juggling the charming persona of flirtatious senator while truly negotiating and listening to the tugs and pulls humming in his ears felt exhausting. It was a learning curve that he relished in conquering.

“I trust Bail, and that should be enough for the both of us.”

Satine took a delicate sip of brandy without comment and surveyed the rooftop like a bird of prey, sharp eyed and dangerous in her strong alpha competence. “Is your husband not showing his very pretty face tonight?”

The thought of the two finally meeting filled him with dread. Anakin had kept to his word and restrained himself from acting like a jealous child when he came back to their apartment carrying the scent of orange peels on his clothes. It was an inevitability of his meetings with the Mandalorian senator and Padmé, though Anakin never gritted his teeth against a snarl when he caught the scent of honey on Obi-Wan.

Not that he enjoyed Anakin’s jealousy, but it surprised him that Anakin did not seem to share any of the same mistrustful sentiments towards Padmé, or any other omega for that matter. The discussion of dynamic preferences never came up between them, but it irked him that Anakin assumed him submissive, or at least a beta who preferred alphas. He wondered if Anakin realized his lack of attraction to dominance, if he might cease his ridiculous posturing at least.

“He had duties at the Temple to attend to first before he could make an appearance.”

“Ahh,” she said, “then I might ask him myself about the darkness on Mandalore, when you will not.” The sideways look she slid him could melt durasteel from a ship’s hull.

“Senator,” he said lightly, “I mentioned to Anakin what you told me. But even you must admit, you provided very little information or proof for the Jedi to act, especially towards a planet as hostile towards them as Mandalore.”

“How convenient that I have something more substantial to tell your husband then,” she said, tone polite though underlit with her annoyance.

As if summoned, he felt Anakin’s presence in the periphery of his mental scape, like a far distant sun rising on the horizon. The warmth in his awareness grew and then he stepped out of the turbolift, dressed in his dark tunics and tabards with Padmé dimpling a smile on his arm. Anakin didn’t even glance around the rooftop to find him, the heat of his mind brushing against Obi-Wan’s in the force as a caressing hello. When the pair drew closer, Anakin’s eyes swooped down the line of his body, from the high brocade collar of his jacket, to the line of his waist and the arch of his leather boots against his knees. He ignored the expression and swallowed against the feeling it sparked in his chest, and the shame and flustered embarrassment that always seemed to follow his little lurches of want hot on their heels.

Anakin grinned when they reached earshot, his scent curling full of cedar and only a little clouded by his normal smell of smoke. “I seemed to have picked up a vagrant along the way here.”

Padmé rolled her eyes and untangled their arms to lean forward and peck him on the cheek lightly, her honeyed scent washing around him like a gentle tide.

“Senator Kryze,” he said wryly, “this is my husband. Anakin, Senator Kryze, though I know you both have already met.”

He braced himself for Anakin to bare his teeth or pull some other unseemly alpha behavior, he braced himself even more for how Satine might bare her own teeth in response and the fallout of both their alpha aggressiveness. That sort of open snapping and encouragement for violence always dogged at him, like teeth at the back of his neck, urged his own carefully restrained instincts forward. A beta did not answer alpha aggression, but even more than that, a Jedi did not. A Jedi he may never be, but there was no reason for him to act lesser for it.

But Anakin merely flashed his teeth in a broad smile, with an unnecessary amount of canine perhaps, but his scent remained calm and he shook Satine’s hand with all the cool collectedness the Jedi were famed for. “A pleasure to finally meet you again after all these years. You haven’t aged a day, senator.”

Satine smirked, expression polite though sharp, as most of her expressions were laced with carefully curtailed danger. “What has it been, Skywalker, seven-eight years?”

He crossed his arms in his normal relaxed stance, that always drew the eye to his broad chest and ridiculous shoulders. He could never tell if Anakin meant the move as purposefully intimidating, or if it simply one of the idiosyncrasies of his nature.

“Eight, I think,” he said.

Padmé leveled a carefully measured expression between the two. “I didn’t realize you had met?”

Satine’s eyes softened as she took Padmé’s elbow to draw her in for their own greeting of gentle cheek kisses in hello. The silk of Padmé’s yellow gown complemented the burgundy of Satine’s under the dim glow lamp light, like the wavering hues of a shimmersilk flame.

“I was fourteen, I think,” said Anakin, “on a mission with Master Jinn.”

“And what fortunate timing we should meet again now. Obi-Wan tells me he mentioned Mandalore’s current problem?”

Anakin’s expression went openly skeptical then and he shifted, arms still crossed against his chest. “The gathering darkness you mentioned? Forgive me, senator, but I do not think a feeling of darkness is enough to incite the Jedi Council to action. We are stretched thin enough on the warfront as it is.”

Her icy eyes narrowed. “It is more than an ill feeling, Jedi. My men inform me of a Zabrak sowing discord amongst my people, of stirring up violence and darkness in the underbelly of Mandalore.”

Anakin’s expression went funny all at once and his eyebrows furrowed, eyes flickering unsure and confounded in the dim evening light, blue sparking in the glow of the lamps. “A Zabrak, are you absolutely sure?”

Satine saw the hesitation in his eyes like a predator, and her shoulders settled, her bait hooked and taken. “I am, red and black, a male omega.”

Anakin’s expression did not change, though his scent slanted ashy and thick, the dread heady and apparent in his aura as well, his apprehension heavy in the force like a storm cloud. “I’ll speak to the Council. It shouldn’t be possible, if your men are right, that particular darkness should be long buried in the past.”

Satine turned a satisfied expression on him and he resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He sipped at his port and continued to survey the crowd, watching to make sure any one pair of eyes did not linger on their group, or that their attentions did not snag for too long. Anakin brushed startlement against his mind though he did not turn his attentions away from Satine.

“Do you think your Zabrak problem is tied with all of your particular issues in the Senate?”

“I do not think our problem on Mandalore is deeply tied with the Separatists, but I have been wrong before. But I do believe that whatever Bail is uprooting on Kamino is interwoven with our persistent friend keeping such thoughtful watches on us. They are so desperate to make sure we are in the dark over something after all.”

Anakin straightened. “Have you and Padmé had any trouble beyond your datapad tracking? The Jedi can certainly assign guards for you both if you are in danger.”

Both women sighed and Padmé shook her head. “That is entirely unnecessary at the moment. After all, you said yourself, the Jedi are stretched thin enough as it is and have few knights to spare. We are perfectly capable of fending for ourselves, are we not Obi-Wan?”

He did not understand the expression she slanted him but he nodded his head in agreement all the same.

Hours later he and Anakin kissed both women’s cheeks goodbye and Bail slapped them on the backs in farewell as they departed the party early, returning to their apartment before the moon rose to its zenith in the polluted and smog gray night sky. He unbuttoned the cuffs of his jacket when they stepped into the warm smell of home while Anakin silently put the kettle on in the kitchen, still falling to that same strange bashfulness when they were alone. When he ducked his head and cast his eyes away from him in moments like these, his scent took on the faintest tinge of cedar sap, cool and peculiarly round in its green sweetness in his mouth.

“You were shielding us from the others at the party noticing us, did you realize?” he asked.

“No,” he said truthfully. “I was just preoccupied with making sure no one overheard us.”

Anakin shook his head, lips quirked in amusement. “Far better at control than me and far better at mind tricks too apparently. I would’ve loved to see a galaxy with you as a Jedi in it.”

Anakin meant it as a kindness, but it made him ache with such an old hurt all the same.

“What is the significance of this Zabrak?”

Anakin leaned against the counter and tapped gold tipped fingers against his crossed forearm. “It shouldn’t be feasible, but this war has taught me many times to not disregard the seemingly impossible. He was a Sith my master killed long ago, or was thought to have been killed at least.”

The Sith he knew little of, save for the evil and darkness they cloaked themselves in, and the death and destruction they left in their wake. “Count Dooku’s master?” he questioned.

Anakin shrugged. “Or apprentice, the Council has never really been sure. We thought Ventress to be his apprentice, but she is no true Sith,” he said sourly, “only a darksider who does Dooku’s dirty work.”

“I am not as familiar with Ventress,” he admitted. “She seems to evade the HoloNet better than Dooku, seems more a passing shadow.”

Anakin’s expression darkened as he traced the line of his scar through his eyebrow and just past the lashed corner of his eye. “She gave me this.”

Another small puzzle piece notched into the hazy image of his husband. “I assumed it came from the same fight you lost your hand in.”

The smell of acrid smoke brimmed around them and he sighed, moving to pour the roiling water from the kettle and make them both tea, though Anakin rarely actually drank his, merely held it till the heat seeped completely from the mug. He could never tell if Anakin did it to placate him or simply to occupy himself, always so uncomfortable and nervous when they stood and talked in the kitchen. He was always like that when still, Obi-Wan had come to realize, always so ready to crawl out of his own skin if kept from movement or some small thing to fiddle with, like his droid parts, or in these instances, a hot cup of tea.

“No,” Anakin gritted, “Dooku took my hand. They are both expert saber duelists, and Ventress is far more competent than Grievous, but she’s still no Sith. If the Zabrak is still alive there are still two Sith, a master and apprentice.”

He watched Anakin warily, aware of the anger in him and how fast that temper could ignite.

“And will the Jedi pursue this Sith, take out the master and apprentice together, do you think?”

“I aim to certainly take out one,” said Anakin blackly.

He sat cross legged, hands settled on his knees, deep in meditation with the force as still and placid as a sunlit lake around him. The very air drawn slow and steady into his lungs felt warmed with it, and his bones seemed light within his own body, his very soul buoyant with peace and placidity. It hurt that this was what he had missed his entire life, this resonance and synchrony with the very molecules that floated as dust motes around him.

It stuck him as strange that it was his soul he had always fought to bolt down to the ground for fear of it seeping away from him, but freedom in the force felt like his marrow being anchored to the soil, while for the first time, he knew the light caught behind his ribs wouldn’t flicker away if he let it breathe.

The sound of the door beeping open and Anakin’s heavy booted steps nagged at his attention and he blinked open his eyes to syrupy afternoon light spilling through the windows and washing the walls and floor in honeyed gold.

Anakin grinned at him from where he leaned against the hall’s entrance, his arms crossed oddly against his stomach rather than where he normally held them high against his chest. “I have something for you,” he said, practically bouncing on his heels. Even his scent tinged bright and excited, practically electric with an odd current of citrus on the back of his tongue.

He unfolded his legs and brushed his pantlegs off as he stood. “You are home rather early, is Ahsoka not missing her training?”

“I decided to let her torture Rex,” he said dismissively, stepping forward into the living room and reaching into his outer tunic. He withdrew the silvered handle of a lightsaber hilt and offered it out to him, mouth splitting into a blinding smile.

He buzzed oddly staticky, pulse going high and fast in his ears as he reached out, feeling slightly removed from his own body and took the cool metal into his hand. He swallowed, though his mouth clicked numb and dry.

“It’s a real decommissioned saber I fixed, so we’ll have to manually lower the laser’s settings for practice and it’s energy won’t resonate as well for you as if the kyber crystal picked you itself but it should do well enough for now. I tried to streamline the pommel from the monstrosity it was to better fit your hand size but I know it’s a preference only you will be able to perfect and if the balance is too off for you we can—” his voice trailed off from the lightspeed he charged through the explanation, obviously nervous even beyond the panic he leaked into their bond. “It will have to do for now I suppose,” he said worriedly.

Obi-Wan smiled then, maybe like he had never smiled before, because he surely felt broken apart from it. He realized, with some embarrassment, as he continued to grin and look dumbfounded at the lightsaber in his hand, that there were unshed tears brimming fat and heavy in his eyes.

Anakin blinked rapidly back at him, looking thunderstruck and alarmed and pleased all in one. The force felt like the surge of euphoria in the Senate Hall when a long fought for bill passed, as strong as the happiness of thousands, bubbling and exultant.

He traced the durasteel pieces, the curves and edges to the studded handle and rivetted pommel. He was still grinning, he knew, so wide his lips hurt from it. He managed to glance up from the slash of silver clenched tight in his fist to catch an odd expression flickering in Anakin’s eyes.

“What is it?” he asked.

Anakin pursed his lips in a lopsided grin, that same bashfulness which had dominated their every interaction lately seeping back into his frame, into the almost hesitant way he held is body, in the lowered cast of his eyes.

“You just somehow manage to show every single one of your teeth when you smile is all.” He blushed, bright and high on his cheeks and then cleared his throat. “You should ignite the blade, see how it feels.”

He thumbed the red button and took a deep breath. The force felt like a swooping fall in his stomach, and the very air crackled hot with energy as his hand, the saber handle, the particles split by the laser’s blade, hummed like whited out static. The blade glowed impossibly blue, almost eye searing in its brightness.

With delicate precision and carefulness, he arced the blade, aware of its lethalness and danger. But he felt no true danger from the crackling slash of cerulean he held, only strength with such fervor it burned with the deepest adrenaline-fueled rapture in his veins. Ever mindful, he spun the blade in a tight circle.

He felt…remade perhaps, or cracked open and reset like a wound long wrongly healed. He reached up and brushed a stray, traitorous tear away, which had escaped from the corner of his eye.

Anakin looked suspiciously bright eyed himself as his smile gentled to some tender thing. “Well Obi-Wan Kenobi, are you ready to spar?”


Chapter Text

Come away, come away, death,

And in sad cypress led me be laid;

Fly away, fly away, breath;

I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

Act II. Scene IV.

“Sure, you are?”

“Yes, master,” Anakin answered. “It seems too coincidental that Mandalore is facing internal darkness with the addition of an omega Zabrak spotted by Senator Kyrze’s men.”

“Many omega Zabraks, there are, and Sith Lords they are not.”

“No, master,” he agreed, “But it is something I think we should certainly investigate. If the Sith my master thought to have killed is still alive, then he is the master or apprentice we are looking for.”

Master Windu nodded, eyes narrowed in thought. “I can’t help but agree with General Skywalker, though sending troops of the GAR to Mandalore during these unsure times feels reckless.”

“I agree,” said Master Koon, “though an opportunity seems to be presenting itself. Only this morning we discussed posting troops to Denova to push against Separatists attempting to seize the baradium mines there. Instead of posting the 327th as we planned, the 501st could easily be deployed on planet and dually be at hand for Skywalker only a sector from Mandalore.”

Master Yoda nodded. “General Secura, needed more on Kashyyyk, fortuitous this seems.”

“Perhaps we are being paranoid during stressful times of war, but if we separate a General from his men for only a short time and with only the distance of a sector, than little shall be wasted if our fears are unfounded. If little else, we may rest at peace and put Senator Kryze at ease,” Master Koon said.

“Is the Council in agreement then?” Asked Master Windu. None of the other masters disagreed, either present or projected by holo. “Then Skywalker, you will leave with your men and divert from your legion once you reach Denova. This is to be a covert operation of the highest sensitivity and I strongly urge you to partner with a fellow knight, rather than taking any of your troopers. Report your findings from Mandalore before you act, if at all possible. This change in assignments will be kept confidential for as long as possible, though the Council has no mistrust for Senator Kenobi, we further urge you that this mission be kept confidential from him as well.”

Some cold, oily feeling coiled in his stomach and he bit down the snappish remark vying to crawl past his teeth “Yes, master,” he said, turning sharply on his heel.

“—Oh and Skywalker,” came Master Windu’s voice.

He paused and glanced over his shoulder, still fighting the ill feeling at being told to keep things from Obi-Wan, from his husband. He felt pale from it, at the thought of keeping more secrets. But Obi-Wan knew of Mandalore anyway, what did it matter?

“May the force be with you.”

He left the Council Chamber and marched through the halls, teeth clenched, and shoulders wound tight as he fought down more anger, more frustration. Ahsoka found him prowling like a caged animal as she poked her head into the hall from a study room, candy-striped montrals peaking around the corner.

“What’s wrong, master?”

“The 501st is being deployed.”

Her expression slanted furious and he put a hand on her shoulder, steering her away from the study room where a handful of other padawans sat crowded around desks with their heads bent over datapads.

“Hey, I wasn’t finished. You need to pack your bags; you’re coming with us.”

Her scent curled sweet and tart as the brightly colored candy sold in the street markets outside of the temple. “Really,” she demanded, “you’re letting me go out to the front?”

“Well,” he pulled her against his side, letting the tartness of her scent wash around him. “The 501st is being posted to the front. You and I have a covert mission.”

She narrowed her eyes. “I can’t tell if you’re teasing me or not.”

He squeezed her shoulder as he let go. “Just pack your bags, Snips. We leave tonight.”

He found Obi-Wan in his senatorial office, sitting at his desk with his chin propped in his hand, scouring through a datapad. The entire office smelt so strongly of spices and that ever growing Tatooine green that his head swam with it and he blinked against the haze.

Obi-Wan glanced up from his datapad and smiled. “What a pleasant surprise when I am in need of a break from these missives, care to take a walk?”

They both suspected his office to have unwanted ears and the routine of visiting with pertinent information from the Jedi Council for one of Obi-Wan’s bills had led them to taking what appeared as lunchtime strolls through the Capital Botanical Gardens outside of the Senate building. In the hall, as they stepped out of the office door, they both turned around to be greeted by the Chancellor, dressed in long crimson robes.

“Ahh! Excellent, what wonderful luck to have caught you both at such a time!”

“Your excellency,” demurred Obi-Wan, “Anakin and I were just to take a stroll. What can we do for you?”

The beta dimpled a grin. “I won’t keep you for long then, though it is quite wonderful to see you two getting along so well.”

Anakin shifted and squashed down the niggling instincts of annoyance and discomfort. He had no true right to dislike the Chancellor’s meddling, when he only had the good of the Republic in mind, the fate and success of their marriage and the Jedi/Senate alliance which led him to hound them so. It was the tenderness he felt, like purple bruised skin, with anything to do with Obi-Wan; with what a sham their marriage was, that made him wriggle with such discomfort when the Chancellor or the Council told them they needed to do better for the public eye. He knew they did, and he ached for it, to let the world see how he wanted to put his lips on his husband, drag his mouth, his tongue, against skin and taste the spices and petrichor green.

“I came simply to offer you two an invitation. I know making public appearances has been difficult as of late, with our alpha general always being taken away to the front. But if you can manage to be planetside in a fortnight, my boy, I am hosting a masquerade ball.”

He ground his teeth against the urge to snap that the Separatists cared little for his social plans but Obi-Wan ghosted fingertips against the small of his back, so light he didn’t truly feel it, but more felt his intent through the force. Just the impression of fingertips in his mind felt like a durasteel wire anchoring his jaw closed and he swallowed thickly around a dry tongue.

“Of course, we would be honored and love to attend,” replied Obi-Wan. “Permitting Anakin is planetside we will both be there.”

“Excellent,” the Chancellor beamed, “I’m sure the holos will devour the sight of you two. If I may be impertinent for a moment, but may I recommend you carry on with your gold theme at the masquerade? The holos do seem to love it so, and I think it will do wonders for your marriage’s appearance. You as well Anakin, I think the citizens of this Republic might faint at the sight of you out of your Jedi robes.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said stiffly.

They walked down the hall and to the gardens silently and he finally let out a deep breath when they stepped into the humid air within the transparisteel dome. The Chancellor had once been such a trusted friend, such a refuge against the stressors of the Order and his own hidden struggle, and yet how that friendship had morphed into an annoyance, a hindrance even. He hated to feel so mistrustful of the old man’s intentions, but Obi-Wan’s words stuck with him, burrowing deep enough that he couldn’t ignore them. He couldn’t be trusted, if only because the beta seemed at worst nosy and meddlesome, and at the very least naïve.

Obi-Wan brushed a hand down the front of his navy, collared cape and cleared his throat. “What is so urgent?”

“The Council has decided to send me to investigate Mandalore.”

He looked faintly surprised as he stroked his beard. “I cannot foresee the Mandalorians taking the 501st’s posting very well, supposed supporters of the Republic or no.”

“The 501st isn’t going to Mandalore. I am going alone, secretly, with Ahsoka.” He trailed his hand along the velvety petals of vermillion blooms as they strolled down the path, rubbing their waxy stickiness between his fingers.

“You really think this Zabrak is the Sith Qui-Gon killed so long ago?”

He sighed and glanced up from the flowers they passed by, silken petals and long grasses catching against their clothes. He noticed how the blue of Obi-Wan’s cape brought out the threaded copper in his hair and the aquamarine of his eyes, much like how the glow of his lightsaber blade did when they sparred.

“I have a bad feeling about it.”

Obi-Wan nodded, his scent curling with that tinge of black pepper he knew so well. “You should have Satine’s private comm so she may know what you find without going through me.”

“Alright,” he said hesitantly, glancing away from him. He hadn’t…quite known how to carry himself and be around Obi-Wan in the past weeks. Something had shifted between them, beyond their bond in the force, something more evanescent and indefinable. He felt—flayed sometimes, looking into Obi-Wan’s eyes, with the haunting urge that his husband could hear and feel everything inside him. Could he tell that something was wrong with him, that there was something so wanton and desperate in him that his suppressants were slowly failing?

His alpha scent still held, the hormones and subconscious chemicals others relied on to tell them, besides his height and the width of his shoulders, that he was an alpha. Nothing that others could see, or smell changed, but inside—something internal was shifting and it terrified him more than fighting Separatists or Sith, terrified him more than anything.

He had never spared much time for attraction, for letting his gaze or attentions snag on alphas or betas because what was the point? He spent his entire life biting and clawing towards becoming a knight-towards trying to leave his past as far behind him as he could. Too, the suppressants kept his wants and urges so locked tight they barely existed.

But when he was around his husband, his body somehow forgot the cocktail of hormones and synthetics lacing his system. Something about that spiced scent, the curve of his mouth, the glint in his eyes when he smiled, it put a hook deep in his stomach and yanked. He found himself full of nothing but want, but not the kind he was used to. In the past weeks, at night when he rolled onto his stomach and ground his hips against the bed, he was wet and aching inside.

It terrified him, that first night in the shower when his hand came away slick. It didn’t go away, wasn’t a freakish and one-time bizarre quirk of his body. The slick stayed scentless, or even still tinged with alpha musk, much like his precome and sweat. But all the same, late into the night when he pressed his face into his sheets and gasped around silent moans, dragging his cock for friction, all he could think of was what it would feel like for Obi-Wan to push inside of him and how wet he felt between his ass cheeks.

He didn’t dare reach behind and put his fingers inside himself as every atom in his body screamed at him to do. With the implant, alpha hormones had been in his body almost since birth, and he knew the biology of omegas, of course he did, but to feel himself ache to be filled and the slick in his ass, it terrified him. Terrified him more because these types of implants, the dangerous ones only found on the black markets that no doctor would ever allow, they were meant to last decades. But something was failing, and he had no one to go to, didn’t even know where or how to find another. They didn’t make these types of implants in the core worlds or the mid rim. They were only found amongst slave worlds, only worn by the most desperate, the most fearful. And oh how he quaked with fear.

In the light of day, when he wasn’t caught in the throes of throbbing want and plagued by the imaginings of his husband’s cock inside of him, he found it difficult to meet his eyes, to uphold the same level of alpha bravado as he had before. Sparring helped, the dance of push and pull, the acceptable way for him to work out energy and press close while the thick of Obi-Wan’s salt tinged sweat made his head feel stuffed with wool.

It didn’t hurt that Obi-Wan learned fast, stupidly fast, and within a few short weeks sparring took actual concentration and legitimate effort from him. It pained him to think of the Jedi Obi-Wan might have been, far better than him for certain.

“I feel it is dangerous taking a padawan to investigate a possible Sith.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and glanced to the tree branches arching over their heads and letting beams of light to filter through and dapple the plants beneath. Those dapples caught on Obi-Wan, making him glimmer as if he wore strands of gold threaded in his hair.

“You’re the one that told me I can’t keep her from the front forever. She’s seen war and action, killed even. She’s certainly ready, it was me who wasn’t, I’m too protective of her.”

It angered him that he knew why and couldn’t erase that part of himself. The likelihood of him bearing his own children was almost impossible after all; not when the galaxy thought him an alpha, not as a Jedi general, not with a husband who couldn’t stand the smell of him, and not after decades with an implant in his arm that meant he was almost certainly sterile.

“I know, I do not doubt either of you, but you are reckless, even more than your master and I was witness to some of the calamites he got caught up in.”

He glanced down from where he still gazed at the dome and sighed, “I will watch over Ahsoka. We are Jedi, this is what we do.”

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan said, reaching out to graze his fingers along his durasteel plated knuckles. “I—please be careful—.”

Something unnamable and shaky blossomed under his sternum, right next to where his heart felt like it might try and crawl out of his throat. He laid his flesh fingers over Obi-Wan’s before he could pull his hand away from his prosthesis.

“Obi-Wan,” he said, voice quavering, “I—”

He slid his hand out from under Anakin’s grip and huffed through his nose. “Anakin,” his voice cracked, “please don’t do this.”

He felt hyperaware of how heavy his heart was pounding under his collarbone, his throat, and in his tongue, which pulsed against the back of his teeth with the strength of it. He licked the backs of those teeth and swallowed, wetting his lips, and letting out a shaky exhale. “Why not?” He asked. “You know how I feel.”

Obi-Wan rubbed a hand over his face and winced. “I know—but you also know how I feel.”

“Do I?” He peered earnestly into the striking labradorite of his husband’s eyes. The copper of his eyelashes brought out the jade which starburst from his pupils and to his inner irises and made his eyes dance almost golden in their own right. “Do you really feel nothing for me?”

Those jade flecked eyes narrowed and Obi-Wan frowned, black pepper rising up under Anakin’s nose. “Don’t push this, you’re not going to like the answer.”

“Why?” He leaned towards Obi-Wan, invading his space so that he could taste that black pepper and the coppery bite of his sweat in the back of his throat. “Am I really so repellant to you?”

Something like fear flickered in his eyes. “We didn’t agree to this for love, Anakin, but for the Republic, for freedom and democracy, for the Jedi.”

“Will you kiss me?” Fell from his lips as unbidden as the way his pulse throbbed beneath his breastbone. A shuddery inhale followed the words, as if he forgot how to breathe with the panic threading cold and numbing through his veins. “Will you kiss me and tell me you don’t feel anything for me?”

Obi-Wan tilted his head and reached a pale hand up to drag fingertips against his cheekbone and traced the line of his scar past his eye. A faint, hurt noise wriggled out of him and he closed his eyes, savoring the warmth pressed against his skin.

“I can’t, Anakin.”

He kept his eyes closed and fought against the swell of prickly heat behind them. “Alright,” he whispered.

“May the force be with you, Anakin, be safe, please come back to me.”

Ahsoka bounced on her heels beside Rex and Anakin watched as the Captain tossed a fond look towards her where she couldn’t see.

“When we reach the Ojoster sector, Ahsoka and I will take a ship to Mandalore while the 501st deploys to Denova. Rex, you and your men will seize the Baradium Mines and entrench until the planet is secured. Intel reports that a fast attack shouldn’t see too much resistance, the Seps took easy enough control from the locals but there isn’t a significant amount of forces to face an entire legion, certainly not spread across so many mines.”

Ahsoka’s voice came snappish and full of annoyance. “Master, I wish you would just tell me why we’re going to Mandalore in the first place.”

“To investigate a Sith.”

Her eyes went perfectly round. “A Sith, not Count Dooku?”

“Indeed not, but possibly the Zabrak Master Qui-Gon thought to have killed.”

“Master Jinn is going to be terribly disappointed,” she said wryly, “if he turns out to not be the first Jedi to kill a Sith in a thousand years.”

Rex and Anakin both snorted before Rex turned an intense look on him. “Are you sure you don’t want to take any extra men, sir? It seems highly dangerous for you and Commander Tano to go alone.”

“No Rex, this is a covert operation and Ahsoka and I need to get in and out, unseen as fast as possible. If all goes well there will be no engagement, certainly not with any Mandalorians.”

“It’s not the Mandalorians I’m worried about, general.”

Anakin clapped him on the shoulder and grinned. “But Rex…Sith are our specialty.”

They entered the Ojoster Sector without issue and he and Ahsoka clambered into a private and unmarked ship and left the looming shadow of The Resolute behind them. It took less than an hour of lightspeed for them to drop out of hyperspace before the smog-gray mass of Mandalore, the aura of its glowing atmosphere tinged a sickly hue of polluted green.

“Where are we even landing on Mandalore, master?”

“Sundari, there’s been an increase in movements with some of their resistance groups there and with the cartels, one of Vos’s men reported that the Hutts have increased shipments into the capital.”

Ahsoka leaned onto the console and propped her chin in her hand, mouth tilted in a smirk as her young, alpha musk tinged tart and playful. “I wonder how Master Vos finds the time to keep such close ties with all of his old contacts when he’s leading an entire legion?”

“Kriff if I know, I can barely juggle you and Obi-Wan.”

Her eyes narrowed as he pulled up on the yoke, slowing their ship for an easy descent through the atmosphere. “Why master, I feel like you’re implying I’m something to be juggled.”

He glanced away from the viewport and grinned, “Why Snips, I would never.”

As they descended through the clouds of dust in the lower atmosphere and neared the looming dome of Sundari, their ship’s comm crackled with an incoming transmission.

“Republic vessel VCX-100/90071-B7 send your BoSS registration and access code for clearance.”

Ahsoka cracked her knuckles and leaned over the console. “Which code do you want to feed them, master? Are we going for sanctioned bacta drop-off or questionable spaceport dealers with a used ship license?”

Sometimes, his fondness for his padawan overwhelmed him and he had to let himself breathe through the staggering love and protectiveness he felt towards her. No seventeen-year-old liked to be coddled, especially alpha Togrutas who lived to stir up trouble and pick fights, and so he stowed the emotions away, mindful that she needed her space and freedom.

He grinned and punched in the pre-landing sequence while she hurriedly typed code to slice. “We’re questionable spaceport dealers today, Snips, we don’t want any attention and we both know—”

“—The way to avoid attention from authorities is being shady, since that’s what they expect. I know, master, I do listen.”

He grinned as she punched in the code and they awaited a response from the landing authorities.

“They’re not going to trust anyone strait laced working for the Republic. Senator Kryze and her party aren’t very popular here right now and the majority of Mandalorians would separate from the Republic. We wouldn’t gain any favors as outsider Republic sympathizers, not when Senator Kryze is off planet and her position of power is so unstable.”

“Would it not be easier to just pose as Separatists outright?”

“The Mandalorians don’t want to side with the Separatists any more than they wish to side with the Republic. It’s Mandalore they’re loyal to and Mandalore only.”

“Republic vessel VCX-100/90071-B7 you are cleared for docking, proceed to docking bay 48-C for landing.”

“Easy as jogan pie,” Ahsoka chirped.

Docking unfolded smoothly and with the surreptitious exchange of credits, as was expected for capital authorities to turn a blind eye against questionably obtained BoSS clearance and even more questionable cargo.

“I need to find Marg Krim,” he told the security officer as he passed the bucket head more credits. He couldn’t see the man’s face, but it felt unimpressed all the same.

“I don’t know a Marg Krim,” he droned through his helmet.

He pushed a little with the force as he leaned closer, muttering under his breath. “Listen friend, I have plenty of credits I’m willing to part with and you seem the sort to appreciate what credits can buy. I just need to find my employer, Marg Krim, to sell some top-grade spice. It’s good stuff, the best, too expensive for the Hutts and I need someone who knows their grades well enough to see what I got on my hands. If you point me to him, I’ll give you five percent of my cut.”

He stared between Anakin and Ahsoka for a moment without saying anything before he tilted his head, helmet gazing back blankly. “The 15th lower level, in the dha cabur sector. But you won’t find him, not if he doesn’t want to find you, aruetii.”

“We’ll see, thank you for your help.”

They left the docking bay and pulled their cowls over their heads as they descended into the mechanical maze of durasteel buildings and crowded streets, crammed full of civilians and armored soldiers in brightly painted beskar.

“Master,” Ahsoka said quietly, as they pushed through the crowd shoulder to shoulder, “who is Marg Krim?”

“One of the leaders of the Pyke Syndicate, but we’re not going to him. Before Vos got pulled to the 212th he helped Krim when his family was kidnapped by the Black Sun to convince him to merge their organizations.”

“What does this have to do with the Sith we’re looking for?”

“Vos thinks the Black Sun might be in league with him, or at the very least they’re working with some darksider, maybe even Ventress. One of Vos’s informants reported a spice deal went wrong with the Hutts, the bodies they dumped had lightsaber wounds. Where Marg Krim is the Black Sun will be close, and we’ll go from there.”

In the end their scouring of the crowded and polluted lower levels turned nothing up and they took up in a barely lit and dirty room just off the ‘trading’ sector on the 14th lower level. They slept on the floor rather than dare touch the bed that smelt like residual heat scent and alpha semen. It made his hackles rise defensively and Ahsoka paced the room, clearly agitated by the smell of another alpha’s marking. But the room provided a shuttered window that overlooked the street corner below and easy access to the roof if they needed a hasty escape route.

“I can feel the darkness,” Ahsoka said, peering out the window. “I know he’s close. Can you feel it, master?”

He could, the darkside of the force pervaded the air like oily black smoke and felt just as choking. It made his head ache and made concentrating as they prowled through the streets and alleys and tunnels immensely difficult. Every night he recorded a holomessage to bounce to the Resolute and be forwarded to Coruscant—and for five days the recordings were all the same—nothing.  

“Yes,” he said, “I can feel it. We’ll go deeper into the tunnels tomorrow, underneath the Palace. If we can’t find anything there, we leave after.”

The tunnels underneath Sundari were a crawling network of durasteel caverns meant to give unfettered access of Mandalorian troops throughout the city. They ensured quick movement of soldiers from the palace to the outer sectors bordering the biodome. They were also ancient things, dating back to the Jedi/Mandalorian Wars during the Old Republic, full of rust and the trickling rivulets of polluted water from leaking pipes that gathered in swampy pools. They smelt of algae and mold and the durasteel walls, if accidentally touched, were slimy and left goop on their hands stickier than bacta.

They sloshed through the muck as quietly as possible, their boots squelching in suspiciously thick water that smelt so strongly of stagnation that he couldn’t even make out Ahsoka’s alpha musk past it. But that ever-pervading sense of darkness grew, so that he felt nearly blind, both in scent and through the force. They crawled through those tunnels for hours, sloshing through murky water deep enough that it seeped past the tops of his boots at points.

Distantly, the overhead rumbles of the city filtered through the many levels of tunnels, reminding them of how many hundreds of millions of pounds loomed over their heads.

They emerged from the low tunnel they ducked through, which drained its sluggish trickle of water leakage with hanging moss and bulbous algae fronds over its culvert lip into the greater maintenance room beyond. Only the faintest light filtered between the labyrinth of pipes and grated walkways over them.

“Well—it took you both long enough,” came a gratingly deep voice.

They both spun, grabbing their lightsabers from their belts and igniting them in less than a second, plasma searing from their hilts with deafening gushes of energy and casting the durasteel walls around them in blinding light.

A red and black Zabrak stood high over them on a hanging, grated walkway and he leapt over the railing in one swift jump, landing amongst the stagnant water mere feet from them with a splash and a heavy enough clang of metal that he realized instinctively, his legs had to be durasteel prosthetics.

“Well,” Anakin sniped, “if we took too long for you, an invite would have surely speeded things along.”

He let out a throaty chuckle and grinned. “I don’t generally invite…Jedi to socialize with, so forgive my impoliteness. But my greater question—Skywalker isn’t it? Is why you are here?”

Ahsoka glared from behind the duel slashes of vibrant green lighting the white markings of her face in a luminous glow. “I find it strange that a Sith is asking that.”

He quirked a curious expression and lifted his hands. “Feisty, isn’t she?”

“And not friendly to darksiders,” Ahsoka snarled.

The Zabrak laughed and drew a saberstaff hilt from the back of his belt and it gushed with twin, scarlet blades. “A pity, I was hoping for Qui-Gon Jinn, not the pretty poster boy for your ridiculous order and his snarling little apprentice.”

“Well now I just feel awkward,” Anakin lilted, “when you seem to know us so well, but I don’t know your name.”

He pulled his lips back and snarled, golden eyes narrowing. “I suppose your master never bothered for the politeness of names before he severed my legs off. No matter, at least you will know the name Darth Maul before I cut you both in half.”

“I should have known that Count Dooku’s apprentice would pick something so self-inflated and ridiculous,” smirked Ahsoka.

Maul sneered and spun his saberstaff in a blurring arc of violent red. “That fucking buffoon? I laugh, truly, Dooku hasn’t delivered the adequacy to take on his own apprentice, let alone kill his master.”

Ahsoka’s blades lowered every so slightly as she glanced to Anakin out of the corner of her eye, confusion zipping through their bond. “You’re lying, there’s only ever two of your kind, Dooku said as much.”

Maul rolled his eyes and began to prowl around them, predatory and slinking as they balanced on their toes to turn with him, keeping their sabers high and at eye level, ready for his attack.

“Dooku doesn’t have the sense or the skill to sense my presence in the force. He would believe I died at the hands of Qui-Gon Jinn, just as your quaint little order would believe. They are all blind and their attentions easily clouded. Your funny little council has had a Sith Master under their noses for years without a clue in the galaxy.” He paused in his prowling to tilt his head and grin. “I am not the master or apprentice you seek. But that matters little when neither of you are leaving this planet alive. I failed my once master before, but I will rise above the master that cast me out, through power I gain victory and through my victory my chains are broken.”

“And here I thought your master took an alpha apprentice as an improvement from the omega failure from before,” Anakin taunted. “Are you really so sure you can take on two alphas now when one already cut you in half? And what of your old alpha master after that? Sith or no, it looks to me you’re grossly outmatched in an alpha world.”

Maul didn’t rise to the bait as his body slunk into movement again, circling them as if they were prey caught within his claws. “Alphas,” he spat, “think your status gives you power. Always so cocky, so full of hubris and ready to fall. That you think my old master, the great Sith Lord and emperor of darkness is an alpha—you reveal your hand, Skywalker, you reveal your own assumptions. A pity you can’t learn from it after today.”

He snorted and rolled his eyes, privately quite amused the Zabrak was so easy to bait. They had stalled long enough, and he nudged Ahsoka through their bond. A nudge was all she needed.

They leapt as one, their sapphire and emerald blades arcing in mirrored swipes. Maul spun his own staff, deflecting their assaults on both sides as he whirled between them. As the three of them spun in some facsimile of a dance, one Sith against two Jedi, two blades against three, the cavern of durasteel flashed from the clashes of their sabers of pure light. He recognized the Zabrak was good—very good, and he wondered how his master, all those years ago, managed to cleave him in two on his own.

The viperously quick striking movements of his staff and the perfectly tight lunges he dipped in-between the twirling arcs and parries of his and Ahsoka’s blades were the perfect example of Juyo and he couldn’t help but feel faintly impressed.

As if he could sense Anakin’s reluctant awe, the Zabrak flipped out from between his and Ahsoka’s pressing bodies, the force lifting his body far higher into the air than any normal sentient could achieve. They both spun away from the swinging reach of his staff as he flipped over them impossibly fast. Zabraks moved faster than humans and Togrutas; even without the aid of the force their two hearts pumped blood and oxygen far faster through their veins than other species. It made the lunges and thrusts of his Juyo form wickedly fast, and it was only the singing caress of the force thrumming high and steady in his ears that lent his body the instinctual movements to counteract and reply in time.

He had watched Master Windu practice Vaapad and even dueled against the variant of form VII as a padawan. His own internal imbalance made practicing the ferocious form immensely difficult and when Master Windu attempted to impart any of the form’s philosophical aspects it left him reeling and furious inside. Perhaps without suppressants, perhaps balanced, he could perfect the form as Master Windu. The fact that Maul, an omega, held such mastery of Juyo, which was even more unstable and difficult to control, impressed him, despite his opponent’s darkness, despite that it was a Sith’s scarlet blade he clashed against.

“Quite impressive,” Anakin grinned from behind the crossed lines of blue and red fizzing light, Maul’s face furrowed into a furious scowl on the opposite side. “For an omega,” he spat.

Maul made a seething noise and wrenched his saber out from under Anakin’s to parry Ahsoka’s double bladed attack from his left side. Plasma hissed between them in a biting crackle and he managed to bring one durasteel leg up to kick her back. She made a breathless noise as she fell back into the ankle-deep water and Anakin caught Maul’s saberstaff in a grounding lock, both of their elbows pulled tight and bracing their weight close to their chests.

This close, beyond the stench of green water and rusted durasteel, beyond the white-hot smell of clashing plasma, he could finally identity Maul’s faint omega scent. But much like Dooku and Ventress, his perhaps once refreshing scent of dry grass plains and sun warmed wheat stalks had charred to the scent of sun scorched earth and dried up crops. He smelt like drought and heat and the sorrow of what was once green.

And behind the hissing blades of light, some foreign and glinting glee entered the Sith’s golden eyes as revelation played clearly across his obsidian and scarlet features. “You can marionette your little facade all you want, Skywalker,” Maul snarled, “but your scent of smoke and pain isn’t enough to mask the fear and longing I feel in you.”

Some keening noise escaped his throat and he wrenched back, panic lighting up his mind bright and hot and making his thoughts stutter in blind fear as they never had in a fight before. Maul laughed, in that creaky and smoke burned voice of his, as if it pained him to do so, and maybe it did.

“You’re just like me,” he grated out, “a being of pain and anger. Your little Jedi vows can’t hide that, and neither can the scent of your burned-out soul.”

 Maul lunged, though his narrowed focus on Anakin blinded his attentions from Ahsoka springing to her feet and thrusting her right saber in-between his ribs where he held his arms braced high and left his side exposed to her attack for the descending swing of his saber against Anakin’s neck.

He made a short, pained noise, and scrabbled his hand around where her silver hilt protruded from between his ribs, where she had made a brilliantly clean thrust into one of his hearts. His golden eyes shone wide and afraid for just a moment as he looked at Anakin before they glazed over as he thrust his own blue saber into his opposite heart.

They both yanked their sabers from his body, and he slumped to the wet duracrete, the clouding darkness and mind numbing fear in the force dissipating as if it were never made of nothing more than a vapor cloud. Faintly and almost imperceptibly the coppery tang of blood rose up around them, Maul’s cauterized wounds only oozing the faintest trace of red into the water around him.

“Force,” Ahsoka panted, “I thought he had you for sure, master.”

He sheathed his saber, clipped it to his belt and tried to steady his racing heartbeat. “Master Windu is going to be furious with me. Call the Council before you engage, he said, this is a covert mission only meant to identify the threat, he said.”

Ahsoka blinked her wide blue eyes at him, the salt of her own sweat heightening the comfort of her alpha scent around him. “What did he mean, that you’re just alike, master?”

He made himself shrug as he dug in his belt for his comm. “Sith’s hells if I know, trying to taunt me probably.”

She seemed to hesitate for a moment as she sheathed her sabers and looked at Maul’s lifeless body in the shallow water. “You didn’t mean what you said about omegas…did you? I feel a little sorry for him.”

He grimly glanced at the dead Sith and then made himself turn away, searching out the pipes and grating overhead to make sure no one had witnessed their fight. Some ill feeling had settled in his stomach, making it turn over in faint nausea. “No padawan, not at all.”

She nodded and glanced to the tunnel they came from. “Do you believe what he said, about the other Sith Lord?”

“I do.”

His comm crackled and Rex’s voice filtered through the speaker. “General Skywalker, glad to hear from you, sir.”

“And you too, Captain, how is your men’s assault on the mines?”

“All in order, sir. The blockade and attacks have gone quite cleanly with minimal casualties. I predict we will have the planet under control within two standard rotations, sir.”

“Excellent work, Rex. Commander Tano and I shouldn’t be more than that before we return. But I need you to patch me through to Coruscant, Captain, it’s urgent I speak with the Council.”

“Right away, sir, just give me two clicks.”

Anakin turned to Ahsoka and put an arm around her shoulders, despite how they were both sticky and damp with sweat and stagnant water. “I’m so proud of you, Snips. You did incredible, Master Jinn will be very proud to concede this one to you.”

Her mouth twisted as she glanced down again. “Master—” she hesitated, “should we…make sure he stays dead this time?”

“Oh—” he frowned, “yes I suppose we should.”

Chapter Text

I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,

Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.

Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,

For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause;

But rather reason thus with reason fetter,

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

Act III. Scene I.

He knew, from the odd tone to Anakin’s voice, a little stilted and warped from the long distance of the holo transmission, that something had gone wrong on Mandalore. It was the tilt to his mouth when he said everything was under control and that the 501st were leaving Denova under GAR posting and returning to Coruscant.

In the days that passed, he thought of the way Anakin had looked into his eyes and begged him to kiss him. It ate at him, nagging and dogging and a haunting reminder for the tenuous thread he walked. Anakin wouldn’t like his answer if he kept pressing, because it could only end in heartache. Oh his horror, his confusion and betrayal when Obi-Wan finally admitted, he was an alpha and he cared for Anakin all the same, cared for his genius, his kindness and selflessness; for the stilted way he sometimes spoke and the scent of his ash and smoke.

They had the greater Republic to worry about, the Senate and the Jedi and the GAR combined. They still had the insidious propaganda against the Jedi, the Separatists poisoning the galaxy against them, the very reason for their marriage in the first place. If he gave into Anakin, and he kissed him and touched him as he wished, he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold back his alpha instincts. He wouldn’t be able to hold himself back from pushing and controlling and putting his teeth into him.

He couldn’t risk their marriage for such urges, the Jedi/Senate alliance when Anakin pulled back with revulsion, the very stability of what they fought for when Anakin demanded he could never be tied to another alpha. Anakin’s own Jedi alpha calmness and gentleness never failed to surprise him. It shouldn’t have, when he controlled himself with the same strength, but Anakin’s resistance to lower and baser instincts didn’t mean his understanding came never ending.

It hurt to turn him away, but duty came first. Protecting the Jedi came before his want to do nothing more than twine his fingers in Anakin’s curls and yank him forward and lick the taste of coal and melted durasteel out of his mouth. Serving the Republic came before his want to do nothing more than spreading Anakin’s pale thighs and licking even deeper to see if he tasted of coal and magma there too.

The thoughts occupied far too much of his time after Anakin left with Ahsoka and the 501st, in-between the Senate hearings and meetings with Satine, Padmè and Bail, even then, the thoughts butted in during the meetings too, when they were especially unneeded.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “what was his name again?”

Bail lifted an eyebrow as he lowered his datapad. “Nakadiun Blaze, you’ll meet him at the masquerade, says he has intel on the missing Kamino files of the highest importance, otherwise he wouldn’t risk a data drop off at a time like this.”

“And you trust him?”

“I hardly know him, but he’s one of Quinlan Vos’s best, eyeballs deep amongst the Separatists. He seems as slinking as they come but I suppose that is part of the façade, Quin says Nakadiun is quite cozy in Dooku’s inner circle.”

“That sounds like years of double agent work put on the line to come to Coruscant and risk getting caught on the holos with the likes of us,” Obi-Wan said dryly. “Why the masquerade?”

“A separate errand for Dooku apparently.”

He nodded and stroked his beard, glancing out the panoramic windows of the Organa’s high-rise apartment, thoughts sifting through missives and appointments and yet also lightyears away.

Bail sighed, “have you received any word on Mandalore?”

“Only that they are returning unharmed. The Jedi Council was especially keen on keeping this mission secretive and I think Anakin is wary of discussing it over such long reaching comms. He did leave Satine a very cryptic message apparently, that she also declined discussing.”

“Perhaps this means we are down to simply fighting one Sith Lord and the entire Confederacy of Independent Systems?” Bail said, eyes dancing as he held back a laugh. They both chuckled and Bail turned back to his datapad, though every line of his body told that his attention was elsewhere. “Will he be returned to Coruscant in time? It will certainly make relaying information to the Council easier if the intel turns out to be as important as Nakadiun says.”

“Trusting there are not any surprise Separatist attacks, the legion should be planetside tomorrow.”

Bail grinned then, slow but mischievous. “Please tell me you plan to get him out of those robes and into something fashionable.”

He arched his eyebrows. “Glad to see you’re worried about the important things.”

“Watching you swallow your tongue over your own husband is one of the important things.”

“Pardon,” Obi-Wan lilted, “I believe I misheard.”

Anakin rolled his eyes. “Don’t pardon me, you very well heard me, old man. Ahsoka and I killed the Sith Lord. He called himself Darth Maul.”

“I could have sworn the Council sent you to Mandalore for reconnaissance.”

The alpha huffed and crossed his arms. “Funny, that’s what Master Windu said. He attacked first and Ahsoka did wonderfully so you can stow that disappointed face away now. And as it would turn out, he wasn’t really the Sith we were looking for.”

Obi-Wan uncrossed his legs from his meditation pose and stretched out on the living room floor where Anakin had interrupted him as he clomped loudly into the apartment.

“You just said you killed a Sith Lord,” he said slowly.

Anakin folded into a pile of limbs across from him and propped his chin into his gold tipped fingers. “We did, or—re-killed him, I’m unsure of the technicality. But he was quite offended to be thought associated with Dooku, told us that there is another Sith Lord, Dooku’s master who has supposedly been under the noses of the Council all this time.”

“And you believed him,” Obi-Wan answered skeptically.

“I did,” Anakin said, eyes strangely solemn. “A Sith he may have been, but he wanted us to know the truth before we died.”

Obi-Wan nodded, “alright then, I trust your judgement. I suspect nothing will come of it, but it might we worth asking Quinlan Vos’s man at the masquerade. He is deeply embedded with Dooku’s faction.”

Anakin groaned and, legs still crossed, flopped back so that his shoulders rested flat against the floor. “I forgot about that damned party.” He lifted his head to pout unconvincingly. “And we still have to go to it?”

He shoved down the deep well of fondness trying to squeeze his heart behind the constricting hold of his ribs and ignored the enticing splay of Anakin’s thighs and the downward curve of his pouting lips. “Yes,” he laughed, “unless you want to personally tell the Chancellor of the Republic that you do not feel like attending the ball he personally invited you too.”

He groaned and let his head fall back to the floor dramatically. “I just killed a Sith,” he muttered, “and finished invading an entire planet.”

“Your dramatics are much appreciated,” Obi-Wan said dryly. “I suppose I should be grateful I am not the one to have picked your costume then, I can direct your whining elsewhere.”

Anakin brushed his own fondness through the bond, like the faint glance of knuckles against his cheek. “Foisting me off to Padmè?”

“Foisting,” he said indignantly, “now sacrificing to her fashionable talons, perhaps so.”

Anakin grinned. “Says one of the most infamously well-dressed senators in the entire Republic.”

“Yes well,” he tried not to feel flustered, “sacrificed to Padmè you will be.”

Anakin tilted his head to the side on the floor and cast him a fond smile, all crinkled blue eyes and flushed cheeks set against splayed curls. “Forced to go to a ball with politicians after I just came home is the true sacrifice. I hope you both are terribly happy.”

“Yes,” he sniped, “I am going to greatly enjoy listening to you complain the entire night. Do you even know how to dance?”

Anakin’s smile vanished as he sat, brows furrowing in a look of consternation. “No but I hardly planned to dance. You said so yourself, that we’re going to be busy meeting with Vos’s spy.”

“It will hardly take the entire night, Anakin. And the Chancellor invited us for a very specific reason; because he wants us to be seen on the Holonet, rather he wants us to look like a spectacle on the Holonet. We are going to be expected to dance.”

“Well then,” Anakin said in a huff as he pushed to his feet, “it looks like you will be teaching me to dance, husband of mine.”

For a moment, he hesitated to climb to his feet as well, apprehensive at the thought of putting his hands-on Anakin and the alpha pressing close in turn. But after all, as always, his duty came first.

“It is much like sparring, the give and take of fighting, the push and pull of movement, letting your body react to your partner.” He put his hand to Anakin’s waist and took his flesh fingers in his. “Here I will lead,” Obi-Wan said, “and you will follow.”

The corner of Anakin’s mouth quirked and he put gold tipped fingers on his shoulder, stepping close so that his breath fanned across Obi-Wan’s face and the alkaline smoke of his scent caught sharp and heady in his lungs.


Satine, in cerulean, Mandalorian silks and opals strung from her neck and curls, smirked at him from behind her silvered mask. “Darling,” she purred over the rim of a wine glass, “do try and look like you’re enjoying yourself. Your very pretty face is going to be plastered on every holochannel in the galaxy after tonight.”

He grimaced into his brandy and thought of the dozens of holoreporters toting their cams and weaving through the crowd of senators, officials, and celebrities. “That is precisely why I am uneased. There is an inordinate amount of holoreporters amongst this crowd and Bail is attempting to meet with a high-profile double agent, not to mention the number of enemies Anakin is sure to make tonight.”

It went unsaid that the force felt hot and prickly to him amongst the silken and masked crowd in the Grand Coruscant Ballroom. The grand room’s glowlamps were all dimmed to soft amber so that the towering hall looked cast in twilight. The crowd’s energy felt especially charged, already fueled by alcohol and giddy flirtations, especially emboldened when given from behind masks. It made the living force crackle in his mind, stinging and hot like a live wire and already he was sweating from the stuffiness of all the bodies and mixed scents and colognes. It made him worry if the heat persisted, that he might begin to sweat through his own blockers and beta cologne.

“Speaking of Anakin,” Satine laughed throatily, “where is your husband?”

“I sent him off so that Padmè could get him ready. I couldn’t bear his complaints of being forced into something appropriate.”

“Obi-Wan,” her red lipsticked mouth grinned underneath the silver curve of her mask, “he would hardly have complained if you were trying to take his Jedi robes off. Honestly, darling, it’s becoming embarrassing to watch him pine after you.”

“Yes well,” he gritted his teeth in irritation, “Padmè seemed the safer option.”

Satine gave him a knowing look and smirked into her wine. “If it is omegas you like, he seems to me the kind of alpha who might be—receptive to you.”

He bit back his immediate reply and gave her a sharp look from behind his own black and gold filigree mask. He was becoming increasingly tired of others sticking their nose in his marriage. They did not understand the veritable Star Destroyer crash that could unfold if he let himself act on his instincts, if he laxed his control and gave in to his desires. Anakin did seem to like his—fire and bite, but receptiveness to a beta’s assertiveness was not receptiveness to an alpha wanting to put a mating bite in another alpha’s throat. It was not receptiveness to letting his alpha husband spread his legs and push his cock inside him.

"Mmm—” she laughed, “well no matter, there he is now.”

He turned, despite himself, to glance over his shoulder where Satine looked to the Grand hall’s entrance above the vast, red carpeted staircase. Under the golden glow of the lights and the furious flashes of the holocameras, arm in arm Padmè and Anakin descended the steps, trailing swaths of black and sapphire behind them.

In his many years alive, there was perhaps a limited number of things that he could say had truly taken his breath away. As a child he saw a Sendotian sunrise, where the clouds of barium and copper chloride and high levels of strontium carbonate in the atmosphere lit the sky in violent shades of blues and purples that cast the morning neon and ultraviolet. On his missions with Qui-Gon he watched the Guntudi waterfalls that rose backwards due to the moon’s gravity wells and caught the twin suns in their rising mists to cast never ending rainbows. And on his own planet, a Stewjoni spring saw blooms of crystalline flowers that grew amongst the laurel and cast the mountains as glittery as diamonds. But nothing in all the galaxy quite knocked the breath from his lungs like the sight of his husband in obsidian and gold.

He wore a black robe that draped over one shoulder and left the chiseled lines of his chest and abdomen exposed, and on his shoulders draped a gold cloak that clasped at his collarbone. When they drew closer the details of Anakin’s ensemble filtered to him one by one, the delicate metalwork of his golden mask that fitted to half his face and seemed to accentuate the full curve of his lips and the jagged line of his exposed scar. In his curls glistened spider silk fine strands of gold and against the hollow of his throat, the rise of his chest, the cut of his cheekbone glistened more liquid, shimmering gold.

He felt like he might have been knocked in the head as he clenched his jaw against the unhinged noise trying to make itself known past his lips.

“Well I hope the Chancellor is happy,” sniped Anakin, “as we both most certainly wore gold.”

Padmè laughed as she disentangled her arm from his so Satine could kiss her knuckles in their own quiet hello. “But how splendid you both look, the colors will look magnificent on the holos.”

“If you two will excuse us,” Satine said, setting her drink aside, “but I promised this woman a dance.”

They disappeared into the crowd to find the middle of the grand hall and its dance floor, the raw silks of their dresses rustling like whispers amidst the music and laughter. Anakin turned his gaze on Obi-Wan’s own gold collar and obsidian glistening robes, eyes tracing the stretch of his exposed chest and stomach with unguarded hunger. It made the back of his neck prickle with more sweat and he turned up his glass of brandy to swallow down the rest of the liquor as a distraction.

Anakin rasped with dark and glittering eyes, “my dear senator, would you like to dance?”

They pushed through the crowd and stepped onto the marbled dancefloor and Anakin pressed himself close to him, winding his mechno fingers behind his neck so that they clinked against his gold collar and threaded his flesh hand in his. The familiar and sparking scent of him, laced with a dangerous vein of magma, made his head swim for a moment, in that way that only attractive and alluring scents managed to fog the brain.

“Is this good enough for the holos?” Anakin breathed against his ear.

He laughed and despite himself let the hand against Anakin’s clothed ribs to slide down and cup the small of his back. He tugged him forward so that their chests hovered so close he could feel the heat of him against his naked skin. Anakin swallowed thickly and he tracked the movement of his throat constricting, so close to his lips he could feel the warmth of his skin radiating there too. Anakin, only a few minutes arrived, had already began to sweat from the heat as well, and it slicked the gold dust on his throat into dew drops of sunshine and made him smell of animal musk and alpha.

They moved to the music in their practiced steps and just as it had surprised him when they practiced, it somehow surprised him again that Anakin allowed him to navigate their bodies so gracefully. There was a certain elegant give to him, in the lines of his shoulders and neck, in the way he felt so relaxed with Obi-Wan’s hand against his low back. He didn’t fight to lead their steps as Obi-Wan assumed he would, didn’t rankle against the guiding of his steps. He didn’t need guiding, not really. He was too well a combatant, too athletic and graceful and imbued with the force for him to not have picked up the steps of the dance immediately. But he allowed Obi-Wan to press his fingers to the damp curve of his back and fight the urge to sink his teeth into the glistening bend of his neck and guide their intimate dance all the same.

Between the almost nonexistent space of their bodies, the force thrummed and sang and crooned to the music around them. It whispered in both their ears and plucked the threads of their bond inside their chests like harp strings. It made him swallow down saliva at the feeling, as he fought to focus on anything besides the curve of Anakin’s full mouth and the gold and sweat glistening against the naked skin of his pectoral, or the smell of his sweat laced magma scent, or the branding singe of his mind rubbing against his in the force.

“You have to stop,” Anakin gasped against his ear.

“Stop what?”

The noise he made as he pulled back enough in their dancing embrace to look him in the eye sounded pained. “You have to stop smelling like that when you hold me.”

He dropped his hand from Anakin’s back and took a step to separate them. “I—” He didn’t know what to say to that, had no defense or denial at the ready for such an accusation. “I apologize—”

Anakin closed the space between them, the blue of his eyes as sharp as fire behind the cold metal grooves of his mask. “So you’re not even denying it now? You’re not denying that you want me?”

“Anakin—you do not understand, I—”

“Anakin my dear boy!” Interrupted the cheerful voice of the Chancellor. They both turned, the sparking and brimming tension between them slackening at the break of their attention.

Anakin’s mouth curled in a tired smile as he dipped his head. “Your excellency, it is wonderful to see you.”

“Ah!” He beckoned them away from the swirling path of the other dancers and they stepped away from the marbled floor to descend into the tighter pressed crowed around it of drinking and laughing senators. “It is I who am so happy to see you, as I did not expect the 501st to be returned to Coruscant so soon. I imagined such a sorry sight as Senator Kenobi here in gold by himself.”

Obi-Wan lifted a glass of Corellian brandy from a passing serving droid and took a long swallow to hide his grimace.

Anakin laughed and folded his hands behind his back, looking strangely boyish in the moment when he normally appeared so much older than his actual age. “I was emboldened by the thought of returning home, your excellency. I couldn’t let Obi-Wan represent the alliance alone for the Holonet tonight.”

The Chancellor chuckled and patted Anakin’s shoulder. “Good man, the noble alpha as ever. I am glad to see such a united front when the propaganda has been so venomous as of late. It is enough to be wearisome, I must admit.”

“Sir?” He queried over the rim of his glass.

Chancellor Palpatine sighed and turned a tired smiled on him. “It just grows terribly exhausting, my friend, but do not let my own tiredness bring down the night for you. I am so terribly happy to see you two getting on so well. I know this marriage is a thing born of politics and duty and you two are ever the servants of the Republic, but it wonderful to see young love birthed in its own right.”

“Ahh—” he choked out.

Anakin made a breathy noise and laughed uncomfortably; casting Obi-Wan a furtive expression of panic. “Your excellency—I’m not sure that we have given you entirely the right impression.”

The Chancellor scoffed with a grin and pulled them both closer, as if they were discussing some deeply conspiring matter. “No need denying, it my boy, you cannot hide attraction so potent—though—I cannot lie, I am but a little surprised. I had hoped you two to bond, for a friendship built on shared duty to form. But ahh—seeing as Senator Kenobi is the sort of beta to only feel attraction to omegas…well, I had written off romance entirely.”

Some alien and creaky noise escaped him as he said, utterly stunned, “your excellency this is entirely—”

Anakin’s mouth twisted into a thin-lipped smile and he put a hand on the Chancellor’s shoulder, wheeling him away from Obi-Wan to lead him away into the crowd. He tossed Obi-Wan an odd expression over his shoulder and then turned his attentions back to the old beta at his side. “May I have a private word with you, your excellency, if it is not too presumptuous of me?”

“Why of course not, Anakin, we are much better friends than that. You know you can come to me with anything,” he said as they pressed past a Twi’lek couple laughing at a bawdy told joke by a fellow senator.

He stood there, utterly stunned and feeling poleaxed with his brandy in hand. The force rang oddly in his ears and he jumped at the feel of a warm hand pressing against his shoulder.

“Obi-Wan,” Bail said, “if I didn’t know any better, I would say you just got kicked in the chest by a bantha. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so shocked, should I be worried?”

“The Chancellor of the forcedamned Republic just outed my sexual preferences to my husband,” he said blankly.

Bail made a pained face. “That poor Jedi, he has been pining awfully hard. Oh I’m glad I didn’t see it, I imagine it was like watching a lothkitten being dunked.”

“Has everyone been conspiring over my marriage?” He said irritably. He still felt stunned and achy inside, as if perhaps he was kicked in the chest by a bantha. He certainly felt bruised—overwhelmed. He knew that he could not give into his wants, knew that he could not give Anakin what he wanted, could not submit to him as he wished. But oh stars—why did it hurt so terribly?

He took a deep breath and centered himself, brushing away how shaken he felt and focused his mind, drawing on the living force around him to settle his pulse and calm the frantic feeling of panic trying to climb out of him. There were far more important matters to focus on.

“Have you made contact with Nakadiun yet?”

Bail inclined his head into the crowd. “Only briefly, we were interrupted by Senator Bak’saree sticking their nose in where it didn’t belong. I do believe I last saw him flirting at the bar.”

“Do not let me keep you,” he said absently.

Bail slapped his shoulder with a nod, “I’ll come and find you after.”

He made his own way through the crowd, stopping to say his hellos to fellow senators, dignitaries, and politicians.

“How is your husband?” They each asked. “How is the alliance?”

“My—my,” leered the Empress of Simocadia, “I never imagined a Jedi to look so—evocative.”

“He is quite uncomfortable with it,” he responded dryly. “Far more used to his armor.”

She blinked her bulbous red eyes at him and grinned. “Oh please do not take offence, senator. He is quite delicious in those tatty robes too. With a face like that I imagine he could pull off a plastisteel bag.

“Thank the stars he mustn’t fight in one then,” he answered straight faced. “If you’ll excuse me, your majesty.”

Padmè found him at the bar downing a rarely indulged shot of Stewjoni tujujju berry liquor. It burned like pure venom and lit his insides hotter than if he swallowed a flaming coal.

She raised one high eyebrow at him behind her bejeweled mask and leaned against the bar with a rustle of sapphire silks. “And I went through all that trouble to bait that beautiful man for you and yet here I find you, drowning yourself—gods what is that? It smells like acid.”

“Tujujju liquor,” he croaked around the burn in his throat.

“Well,” she answered primly, “drowning yourself in tujujju liquor. What in the stars is the matter?”

The force sounded like a podracing stadium of noise in his head from the crowd; there was a Separatist double agent risking his life under the nose of a possible close at hand Sith Lord, and the entire galaxy stood on the precipice of ruin. But more than anything he ached and ached and ached; from every lie, every failure, and every burden of duty that had never weighed as heavily as it did now.

“A headache,” he answered.

She gave him a soft smile as he led her back out into the crowd, her warm scent of spun sugar lending him gentle comfort. They stepped onto the marbled dancefloor and Padmè put a small hand on his shoulder and dimpled a glossy smile from behind her mask. “Why senator,” she lilted, “whatever will the holos say?”

“I have been terribly remiss as of late to tell you what a terribly good friend you are, Senator Amidala, and I am very grateful for you.”

“Don’t you dare make me cry,” she warned. “I’ll never forgive you if I am on the Holonet tomorrow because I was caught crying at the Chancellor’s masquerade ball.”

He grinned, though his attention snagged on the drifting scent of charred cedar and ash which drifted from the crowd.

Padmè laughed at him and shoved him away with a gentle push against his chest. “Off you go then.”

He found Anakin, laughing with his head thrown back and the open line of his throat bared as a dark eyed beta grinned behind his tilted wine glass.

“You did not,” Anakin said with sheer glee.

“I assure you I did. I got away with it too, jammed up the download interface for weeks and if only you could have seen his face.”

“I can hardly believe you stalled the entire update,” Anakin gasped around another laugh, sounding obviously impressed.

The beta, with his dark, narrow eyes rimmed in kohl and the sharp lines of his face pulled into a flirtatious grin, flitted a hand against Anakin’s arm as he said, “says such a renowned tech expert. You would have done it much faster I am sure.”

The beta smelt like cherry wine and pipe tobac, rich and threatening in every way. Obi-Wan stepped up to them and smiled calmly as he put a hand to the small of Anakin’s back. Anakin jerked and went stiffer than a battle droid before he caught his scent and tilted his jaw to him with a gentle expression.

“There you are, I thought you might have been eaten by that terrifying Simocadian I saw you speaking with.”

“The Grand Empress? She was far more preoccupied with how you look in your armor.”

Anakin’s expression soured before he turned back to the beta appraising them with a quirked little grin.

“Obi-Wan this is Nakadiun Blaze—Nakadiun, you know my husband I am sure, Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Nakadiun pulled his lips back into a sharp edged and wolfish smile. “Oh that I certainly do. You’re practically all Dooku talks about.”

“Me?” He said flabbergasted. “What in the stars for?”

“That almost every single one of your bills has thrown a wrench in Separatist plans with all manner of Trade Federations for one. And that you married, not just a Jedi, but one he was determined to make his apprentice, for another.” Nakadiun turned that sharp-edged smile on Anakin and his scent curled thick and furling, like an uncorked bottle or port or some other cloyingly rich liquor.

He didn’t know what he expected from Anakin; disinterest, amusement, any number of reactions that he always gave others who weren’t Obi-Wan. A posturing alpha he may have been sometimes, but a disloyal or flirtatious one certainly not. But Anakin’s scent deepened in turn, not much, probably imperceptibly to anyone who didn’t share a force bond with him, who didn’t live with him and wear his scent in their clothes. But it tinged with the barest catch of magma all the same and he kept an amiable smile on his face while he ground his teeth behind the pressed line of his lips.

“I found Nakadiun to ask him about our—ahh, new Sith problem,” Anakin said hurriedly.

Nakadiun shrugged, his wolfish smile dimming only the slightest. “I’m afraid even my position in Dooku’s court doesn’t allow me information on that level. I only know the threat is in the Senate.”

“Are you not risking everything by getting caught on the holocameras speaking to us?” He asked archly.

Nakadiun grinned at that, all teeth and squinting kohl rimmed eyes. “Why do you think Dooku sent me here? He is desperate to get his claws in the Chosen One, after all.”

Anakin rolled his eyes, embarrassed. “This is hardly the pressing matter at the moment. It’s the clones, this Sith Lord that we have to act on.”

With his hand still pressed to the small of Anakin’s back he turned a cool expression on the beta. “The intel you had for Bail? What do you know about the clones?”

Nakadiun looked unbothered, though his gaze flickered over Obi-Wan’s shoulder, watching. “Those loyal soldiers you love so much have chips inside their heads. The war goes too far in your favor, whatever plans this Sith has, when they’ve ripened it all goes boom. The switches in their heads get flipped and they kill every last one of you, every Jedi and Jedi loyalist.” He held up his hands in appeasement. “It’s all I know. Those missing Kamino files, you won’t find them. I’ve only got my own word.”

His ears rang with the buzz of the force and he realized after a stilted moment that he was feeling Anakin practically vibrating through their bond at his side. He held out a hand and Nadadiun took it, though rather than shake he brought the flesh fingers to his mouth and dragged his lips against his knuckles in a kiss. He clenched his hand against Anakin’s back and took a grounding breath, let the force wash over him as he fought for an inner calm and balance.

“Thank you for what you do know,” Anakin said, a little stilted from where Nakadiun’s lips were still pressed to his hand. “Truly.”

“Thank Quinlan Vos, he’s the one who earned by loyalty,” he said with a wink.

“I’ll do that,” Anakin laughed, “and may the force be with you.”

Nakadiun grinned at that, less wolfish, more pleased. “Ahh Jedi, may the force be with you.”

They found Padmè and Satine soon after and kissed their cheeks in goodbye.

“Tell Bail we left early when you see him,” he said apologetically.

Satine appraised them with sharp eyes behind her silver mask. “What happened?”

“Found a clue for your friend,” Anakin answered. “I need to make a holo transmission.”

In the pale, washed out light of the moon casting through the cruiser’s transparisteel windshield Anakin’s skin glimmered where he sat in the passenger seat. The smooth line of his exposed shoulder and chest rose and fell with the cadence of his breathing and Obi-Wan swallowed around the hungry and angry feeling in him that had clawed its way up in the ballroom. The silence sat heavier than a moon between them.

Even still, all he could think of was the way Anakin’s scent sharpened in answer to Nakadiun, to the calmness of his expression when the Chancellor so blunderingly revealed his dislike for alphas. Simply, Anakin’s understanding made this easier, meant he wouldn’t push any longer when he had fought so hard against his misplaced affections. But things were never truly simple.

“You’re angry with me,” Anakin said.

“I am not,” he answered, “why would I be?”

Anakin turned his head and the gold threaded in his hair caught in the dim light. He slipped his mask off and sighed. “Obi-Wan—you smell of nothing but anger.”

“It has been a trying night. You should make that call.”

“At the apartment. The last I heard the 212th were so far in the Outer Rim they’re practically in lost space. I wouldn’t be able to reach him on a handheld comm. But you still didn’t answer my question, why are you angry with me?”

“Again,” he said calmly, as his knuckles went white on the steering yoke, “I am not angry with you. I am merely—embarrassed I suppose.”

 “Because of what the Chancellor said?”

He took a grounding breath. “Yes, among other things.”

“The Chancellor may be the leader of the Republic but he’s a right karking moron sometimes. He didn’t smell you when we danced, and he can’t smell you right now. He doesn’t share a force bond with you—but I do. I know you feel something for me Obi-Wan, I just don’t understand,” he broke off, voicing growing hurt, “why you still deny it, still fight it.”

“I told you that you would not like the answer if you continued to push this.”

“And why is that?” Anakin snarled as he threw open the cruiser door the moment they stopped outside of the apartment high rise. Obi-Wan followed him into the turbolift and wrangled down the urge to snap back, to meet his rising aggression with his own.

Instead he answered calmly. “Perhaps this is a conversation we should continue later.”

Anakin seethed beside him, filling the turbolift with the boiling scent of smoke and anger.

Inside the apartment Anakin threw his gold mask to the counter with a rattling clatter and flipped on the holoprojector as he leaned against the island with crossed arms. Obi-Wan gentled his own black mask off and set it on the counter, reaching for strength in the force and taking a breath as he sought for patience.

The holo chirped as the call processed and they waited for the signal to reach the 212th millions of lightyears away.

Anakin’s scent did calm but just as the last beep rolled through the holoprojector he looked at Obi-Wan and said, “I know you were jealous of Nakadiun. I just do not understand why.”

A moment later the Kiffar general flickered into blue light and he grinned at Anakin with tired eyes. “Nice digs, Skywalker. I must be missing some kind of party.”

“Far more your forte than mine. Listen, we had contact with one of yours tonight, Nakadiun Blaze.”

“Blaze? He’s been in real deep; I haven’t been able to make contact with him in over a month. How did he surface, and on Coruscant of all places?”

“There by Dooku’s beckoning. He was making contact with Senator Bail Organa with intel about the clones—Quin—it’s not good.”

Obi-Wan stepped into the line of sight behind Anakin and Quinlan’s gaze flickered to him for a moment. “Senator Kenobi,” he acknowledged, “I’ve heard a lot about you, I’m sorry we don’t have the time to become better acquainted at the moment.”

“I’m sure,” he answered with amusement at the look the Kiffar gave him.

“But what is this about the clones?”

Anakin told him, voice strained and scent growing more distraught. It made him itch, made him want to put a hand to the back of his husband’s neck and force the same calm he so desperately sought.

“All of our men, Quin—they could be gone in a second. Your Commander Cody and Rex—” his voice broke.

“I can’t believe that son of a schutta got deep enough to dig up that much.”

“You’re the only one I know who might know someone to dig deeper,” Anakin replied.

“Have you gone to the Council yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Good,” the general answered, voice laced with worry, “Anakin listen, I know someone who—they might know—or they might be able to find out. But if I call in this favor, we have to get them out, they’ll have to be extracted from the Separatist fleet immediately if they can get the intel.”

Anakin grinned at that. “Quin, are you asking me to go on an unsanctioned rescue mission?”

“I am,” he said solemnly. “Stay by your comm, I’ll call you back the moment I have word.”

The holoprojector clicked off and the room went still, even the force stretching calm and placid between them.

Anakin looked at him and took a shaky breath as he took a step towards him, the gold on his skin catching the kitchen light in little shimmering sparks. “Tell me why you were jealous, Obi-Wan, tell me why you smelt like want when you held me, but you still won’t kiss me. Tell me why the Chancellor says you couldn’t feel anything for an alpha, but I know you feel for me.”


Chapter Text

Was not this love indeed?

We men may say more, swear more; but indeed

Our shows are more than will; for still we prove

Much in our vows, but little in our love.

Act II. Scene IV.

“Tell me why you were jealous, Obi-Wan, tell me why you smelt like want when you held me, but you still won’t kiss me. Tell me why the Chancellor says you couldn’t feel anything for an alpha, but I know you feel for me.”

Obi-Wan, with his planes of open skin beneath the gold around his collarbone and the glimmering black robes hanging from his shoulders and hips, had maintained the same drawn though measured expression the entire night. That measured expression tightened minutely as his jaw visibly clenched and the heady cloud of his spiced scent filled with more black pepper, just as it had with the Chancellor and with Nakadiun.

“There is a world of difference between feeling emotions and letting yourself act on them, as a Jedi you should know this better than anyone, Anakin.”

The same anger that had built and built inside him clawed its way back up and even he could smell his own fury filling the kitchen like a cloud of soot.  

“Don’t tell me about not acting on my emotions,” he snapped, “all I have done is not act on how I feel about you, because you told me they weren’t returned and that they would never be returned. You said again and again that it couldn’t happen. And yet you’re not denying it now. You had your hands on me and I smelled your want. But why won’t you—” his voice broke, “why won’t you act on it?”

And he had smelt his want, tinged with the salty smell of sweat as he put his hand against the small of his back and ghosted hot breath against his neck. The spices and the growing warm green of his husband’s scent parted for the heavier scent of cinnamon. As a child he never tasted the spice himself, as it was far too expensive and precious to ever waste on a slave. But in the open-air markets of Mos Eisley, beneath the stretches of shade tarps, traders toasted spices on iron griddles over beds of heat wavering coals. Next to Watto’s stall Ja’keem Neru’tai sold the smoked spices from earthen bowls and jugs and the smell of cinnamon always hung heavy and cloying, as dry as the sun warmed sand and as red as the binary sunrise.

Only years later on a mission with Qui-Gon did they venture far enough into the Outer Rim to come across a people who drank spices as the locals did on Tatooine. At a banquet after the dishes cleared, they gave him a copper bowl of steaming hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and red peppers, a rarity in any star system. He thought of it often, its heat and sweetness and earthy spiced burn.

On the marble dancefloor, with Obi-Wan’s hand against his back and his eyes glinting behind the black lines of his mask, he scented that same earthen spice, smoke tinged as if pulled from a fire and followed by the faintest trace of cocoa. It made saliva pool in his mouth and sent him panting like an animal.

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan said, in the calm tone he sometimes used that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, “the Republic comes first. The alliance comes first. We cannot put personal wants before—”

“—But how is this putting our personal wants before the alliance?” He snapped. “If anything wouldn’t it make it easier, make our marriage easier?”

Black pepper sparked to life and Obi-Wan’s eyes narrowed, expression sliding sharp edged and finally losing its calm. “You think,” he said slowly, taking a step towards Anakin. In the back of his mind he sensed the predatory gate to his steps, the slow fall of his boots that made his entire body tense with unease.

“That because you smelt my attraction to you one time you know my feelings. You know—nothing about how I feel.”

“Then why won’t you tell me?” He snarled, taking his own step forward as if to circle Obi-Wan in turn. “If I’m so mistaken—so wrong—then tell me flat out that you find me repulsive—that you hate my scent and can’t stand the thought of being with me. You said it enough in the beginning didn’t you—that I smell like smoke and make the apartment reek of fire? Tell it to me now,” he took another step so that they practically stood boot to boot in the middle of the kitchen, the both of them panting and flushed and heated. “Tell me you don’t want me,” he said desperately.

Obi-Wan bit off a furious noise. “It’s not about want,” he seethed from behind his teeth, “it’s about not wanting you the right way.”

Anakin drew back and hesitated for just the briefest moment. “What are you talking about?”

“Did you even stop to consider what it means that I like omegas?”

Of course he considered it, endlessly—with every waking moment. The moment the words fell from the Chancellor’s lips he shook from the thought, that without the suppressant in his arm his husband might look at him with want. That if Obi-Wan preferred omegas he wouldn’t find Anakin’s desire to be fucked repulsive, his yearning to be taken and made his abhorrent.

“Of course I did.”

“Then what makes you think I want you?” He snarled.

“But I—” Anakin’s voice broke, his anger fading to be replaced with unsurety. “But you didn’t deny it.”

Obi-Wan said very strained, “no—I didn’t. That’s what I have been trying to say, Anakin, I cannot act on it.”

Before he could lose his nerve, he took another step within Obi-Wan’s space and wrapped flesh fingers behind his neck and pressed himself to his bare chest. “Kiss me,” he begged, “Obi-Wan kiss me, please.

Obi-Wan grabbed the front of his black robe and the smell of black pepper filled the kitchen as he shoved Anakin back by his fistful of fabric. His back collided with the kitchen island and he ‘oomfed’ in startled surprise, stunned as Obi-Wan shoved him harder against the marble with his hands knotted up in the fabric across his chest.  

“You push and push and push,” he grated, “and I tell you no and yet you ignore it. I tell you I can’t and you ignore that too, instead you beg me to do what I can’t.”

Anakin wound his own hand over Obi-Wan’s to tighten his hold against his chest and panted shallowly as the scent of melted durasteel rose up between them. “And I’ll keep begging,” he let out a ragged breath, “until you say no like you mean it.”

Obi-Wan spun him around and shoved him against the counter so fast he yelped as it took the breath from his lungs. He scrabbled at the countertop with gold tipped fingers as Obi-Wan yanked his flesh arm behind him and pinned it against the low of his back.

He seethed in Anakin’s ear as the heavy sounds of their panting filled the kitchen. “You do not know what you are asking for.”

He felt squeezing pressure as Obi-Wan wrenched his arm tighter against himself and he made a strained sound from the burn of the stretch. Against the grinding press of the counter his cock thickened and pressed half hard against marble and the scent of magma slanted so thick he could taste it on the back of his own tongue.


“In your room late at night,” Obi-Wan snarled, lips pressed to the shell of his ear so that he shivered against the press of his mouth and the tickle of warm breath, “when you touched yourself and thought of me—thought of putting your cock inside your beta husband, would you still have come into your fist, if it were the opposite?”

He pressed his hips against the counter and his toes curled in his boots. “Obi-Wan—I didn’t—”

“I could feel you in my mind,” Obi-Wan still held his arm to the small of his back as he pressed him deeper into the counter, painfully hard, “I could feel your lust like a brand as you fucked your sheets—”

He moaned, shaky and tremulous and tried to keep himself from rutting against the counter just the same. He squirmed against the wet feeling of slick leaking and smearing against his inner thighs.

“You do not want what I would take from you.”

“And what if I did?” He said breathy and high pitched. Beyond the pounding of his pulse in his ears, the world felt distant beyond his own staticky and buzzing disbelief. Their training bond felt pulled thin and transparent between them, like taffy overstrung from how deep he bound up mental fingers in it, scrabbling just as desperately for the warmth of his husband’s mind as he did the countertop.

The pressure against his arm lessened ever the slightest for just a moment, as if he had surprised him. And then Obi-Wan snaked a hand around and slid it up the naked stretch of his chest to press fingertips against the hollow of his throat at the base of his collarbone. “Would you?” He queried. “You would let me fuck you, press my cock inside you?”

Sweat had gathered at his hairline and along his back and he scraped pointlessly against the countertop with his mechno hand, attempting to scrabble for balance. “I would,” he gasped, embarrassed and throbbing.

The squeezing hold on his arm increased and he felt himself shoved further against the counter, his spine curved so that his hips met the edge and his ribs bent to press against the marble top. “I don’t think you would,” Obi-Wan snarled against the back of his neck, “not like I want you to. You wouldn’t let yourself be taken by another alpha, would you?”

“What are you talking about?” He quavered to the marble with Obi-Wan’s fingers dug into the flesh of his throat and against his pinned arm.

Ob-Wan bit out behind him, “I am not a beta, Anakin.”

It felt like a band snapping into place and all he could do was blink at the marble under his hand, utterly dumbstruck. “You’re an—?”

“An alpha,” Obi-Wan breathed, almost as if he couldn’t believe it himself. “Anakin—what you want from me—I cannot give to you as you would wish.”

“And if I still wanted you?” His voice shook dangerously, “if I still—wanted you to take me?”

All at once that scent of iron heated cinnamon filled the small space between them and he practically collapsed against the counter from it, spine arching as some thready noise caught in his throat. The hold on his arm lifted as Obi-Wan dug fingers into his hip and lifted the hand against his collarbone to grab his jaw and straighten him from the counter.

“Would you let me fuck you right now?” The hand against his hip squeezed harder than a durasteel clamp over bone and his mouth fell open on a silent exhale, tremulous and cut off by a sharp noise as the hold slid down to squeeze the meat of thigh burgeoning into the swell of his ass.

“Would you let me bend you over this counter? Would you actually let yourself be taken by another alpha—would you submit to another alpha?”

Every muscle in his body shook and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face as he canted his hips against the counter and shuddered out a desperate noise. “Yes,” he breathed.

“Would you? I still don’t think you truly know what that means.” Obi-Wan said it curiously, as if he didn’t know whether to believe him or not.

But then, with his hand still on the fat of his thigh he jerked Anakin’s legs apart and slotted the hard line of his cock against him, separated by the layers of their masquerade robes. At the press of Obi-Wan against him, where he ached and worried he might leak slick through the folds of his clothes, some horrid, high and keening moan escaped him.

The weight of the scents of singed cinnamon and melted durasteel felt like it might drown him and Obi-Wan paused for just a moment so that they both panted into the thickness of it. Still with his hand squeezing against Anakin’s jaw he tilted his head to expose the long line of his throat. Tears pricked at his eyes from the strength of the jagged and gut deep lance of want he felt at the instinctual stretch of baring his throat to the man he loved pressed behind him and clogging his every thought with his heat and the scent of earth and cinnamon.

Obi-Wan whispered in wonder against the shivery skin under his ear. “You would, wouldn’t you? You would let me press inside you—would let me come inside you?”

He clenched his teeth and squeezed the counter desperately, his cock throbbing and balls drawn up tight from where he kept his hips dug against the counter.

“But fucking isn’t why I feared giving in—bending over and taking me—” he drug the razor’s edge of teeth against the taught tendon in Anakin’s throat, “means you would let another alpha put their teeth in you.”

His stomach jumped and he clenched against the feel of precome leaking from his slit and wetting his underwear. Behind the tight throb of his cock, slick smeared between his cheeks as he clenched against that strange and empty ache inside of him. He hadn’t known the hunger and lust, the all-consuming want to be filled and taken before. It felt like it might consume him now.The force—his pulse—every tendon and muscle in his body felt like the splitting screech of an engine just before the pop of pressure as it hit the speed of light.

Obi-Wan,” he rasped, rolling his hips back into the press of his cock, into the heat and weight of him as he felt the dangerous drag of teeth against his throat and the dig of fingers against his jaw, forcing his head to the side.

“Would you bare your neck for me, darling, and let me sink my teeth into you?”

He sobbed out a twisted and breathless, “yes,” and Obi-Wan made some choked noise of his own and pressed the solid line of his teeth into his throat, hard enough to twist a sharp thrill of pain and the devastating and instinctual thought of—

yes, force yes and—


He rolled his hips and pulsed through orgasm, gasping ragged and incredulous with every spine deep throb of pleasure. His prosthesis screeched against the marble as his gut lurched and he rose up on his toes, arching against the feeling of spilling against the soaked press of his clothes and the counter. The holoprojector, a caf mug forgotten from earlier, the kettle on the stove, they all scraped against their surfaces from being shoved back by his unseen strength as he tried to wrangle the chorusing yell of the force in his ears.

He shook after, a full-body tremor as Obi-Wan froze behind him and slowly unclamped the bite of his teeth. It hadn’t broken skin, not nearly hard enough, but the ache of it promised to bruise.

Obi-Wan’s hands went to his shoulders and spun him back around and they finally met eyes, Anakin feeling like he might have been hit by a speeder and Obi-Wan with the warring expressions of guilt and dumbfounded shock playing across his face.

“Did you just—”

He flushed, looking away as he became hyperaware of the ache of his throat and the feel of semen and slick wet and cooling against his skin.

“You meant it,” Obi-Wan said, voice blank, “every word of it.”

He felt nauseous with nerves, his stomach turning over tight and sick as he took a deep breath. “Obi-Wan I—”

The holoprojector trilled with an incoming call and they both flinched, their awareness flaring in the bond as they remembered why they still waited in the kitchen—remembered the dire edge to the rest of the night.  

Obi-Wan drug his hand over his face, took a grounding breath, straightened his robe and Anakin felt him shake himself through the bond, settling back into the normal box he seemed to fit so well in. How had he ever thought such a creature of banked flame to be a beta, no matter the strength of his control? He leaned past Anakin and flipped the holoprojector on and Quin’s blue tinged, and wavering form flickered into existence.

“My contact doesn’t have the information, but they say they can get it, which means we need an extraction, immediately.”

Anakin still felt so rattled his bones might as well jangle, but he crossed his arms and tried to ignore how sticky and unmoored and teetering on the edge he felt. Warring against the dizzying change in the trajectory of the moment, his body thrummed with the rush of endorphins and pleasure and he tried to ignore how electrically the force crackled through his veins. “And what exactly is this extraction going to entail, Quin?”

He grinned, as brazen and cocky as ever. “A rescue mission on the Invisible Hand.

“Are you insane, finally smoke too much jooka, laserbrane?”

Quin’s smile dimmed a little to something less manic. “Look, man, the 212th is too far out to reach the Seps in time or I’d do this myself. My guy has a small window of opportunity for this and then they’re gonna need a ship to get the hell out of there. If Dooku finds out—or whoever this other Sith is, the entire Grand Army of the Republic is gone. You don’t think if this Sith knows we’ve caught on, that they won’t blow every clone’s head, because that’s exactly how it’s gonna go.”

“Alright, say the 501st engages Grevious and we cause enough of a distraction to get onto and off the kriffing ship. What happens when the entire Separatist fleet knows a 501st ship helped one of their own escape, one of their own that I’m guessing is going to be causing one hell of a ruckus to need our help even getting off the ship?”

“What if you do not use a 501st ship?” Asked Obi-Wan, looking pensive as he stroked at his beard.

Quin frowned. “Procure a civilian ship? That could work, but you’d need something fast, preferably weaponized even if the 501st takes the brunt.”

“You do not need to procure one,” said Obi-Wan, “I have a custom Big-Wing.”

Anakin blinked at him. “You own a Big-Wing?”

Obi-Wan made a face of sheer exasperation. “I am a senator of the Republic. Did you think I bumbled around on a passenger vessel for my diplomatic missions?”

“Does it have any guns?” Quin asked.

“Six hidden laser cannons and an ion cannon on the underbelly. The hyperdrive unit is state of the art, Class 3.”

Anakin looked at him dumfounded, and despite that he had come drying against his leg and the night had been nothing but absurdity after absurdity, this perhaps struck him as the oddest parcel of knowledge from the long string of absurdities. “You own a starship with a Class 3 hyperdrive and didn’t tell me?”

The look Obi-Wan shot him out of Quinlan’s line of view snapped his attention back on track and he turned to the holoprojector, shaking himself.

“This spy of yours better be worth it, you shaakshit crazy moron, the Council is going to kill me for this if the Seps don’t first.”

Quin grinned at that, broad and beaming as he thumbed as his yellow stripe. “You won’t be disappointed.”

“The last direct engagement we had with Grevious was in the Lambda sector, any word on the fleet’s movements?”

“My contact reported that the Invisible Hand is set to pass through the Stewjon sector after their next jump. If you leave tonight, you’ll meet them in time there at the jump off point.”

Obi-Wan bristled beside him. “Stewjon, why?”

Quin shrugged, “I’d warrant to intimidate you, with all the trouble you’re so known for stirring up in the Senate. The Separatists are especially distrustful of the Jedi and you uhh—did marry one as I recall, intergalactically famous, made for quite the drama on the holo?”

At Obi-Wan’s increasingly exasperated expression he quickly interjected, “just forward your data to Rex, Quin, the fleet will ship out tonight.”

He ended the call with the promise of the quick relay of information to the Resolute and the simple farewell of “may the force be with you.”

The holo flipped off, the kitchen fell into silence and for a moment he had not a clue in the galaxy what to say. The inside of his mind buzzed and his emotions warred between shock from his husband pushing him against the counter and telling him he wanted nothing more than to make him submit, that out of every unlikely scenario in the galaxy he was hiding too; and the frenetic urgency and panic clawing at him.

The clones, the Sith, the entire order and GAR, each staggering worry bid for the spotlight of his attention. It all felt terribly unreal, from the moment Padmé dusted gold against his chest, to Nakadiun looking at him with such open want and then delivering news of the unthinkable, to Obi-Wan whispering the word alpha against his skin and putting his teeth against his throat.

 His confession which had been so ready on his lips, its weight so eager to be lifted, now lodged in his throat, and refused to budge, weighed down by nerves and long remembered terror. And perhaps now, full of fear for his men, for his army and padawan and fellow Jedi, for the people they swore to protect, he understood Obi-Wan’s single minded insistence that their duty to the alliance came before everything else. They walked the spider silk thread of a tightrope from the highest skyscraper on Coruscant and if they fell, he felt the entire Republic my careen down with them. Obi-Wan thought them both to be alphas and so many things—so many hesitancies and all of his resistance, it was all terribly understandable wasn’t it?

He took a breath and drew on the force. “Where is your—”

“I’m coming with you, Anakin.”

“Absolutely not, the 501st is careening straight into a firestorm and you’re a civilian. I can’t let you—"

“If you think you are taking my ship without me on an unsanctioned and suicidal rescue in my own damned sector you are more—sorry, what was the saying? Shaakshit crazy than the General of the 212th.”

They both glared at one another, chins jutted though they kept a noticeable and measured distance between them. He cast his eyes aside and huffed. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Rex blinked between Anakin and Obi-Wan on the bridge. His metallic scent though dulled by blockers curled sharp and bewildered between them. “General, if I may ask, what in the kriffing hell is going on, sir?”

“Did you not get my message?” He asked cheerfully. “We’re departing to the Stewjon Sector for an unsanctioned and reckless rescue mission.”

“Yes I did get that much, sir,” he said dryly, folding his arms across the plastoid of his breastplate. “This have anything to do with the civilian Big-Wing docked onboard, and the presence of Senator Kenobi, sir?”

He cut his own dry look to Obi-Wan, who looked annoyingly at ease in a shockingly mundane set of tunics and pants, on a GAR Star Destroyer surrounded by clones. “I too would like to know why Senator Kenobi is here.”

“I’ve heard the rumors of how you fly,” he replied serenely, “and there isn’t a chance that I’m letting you even touch the steering yoke of my ship.”

Rex’s eyebrows rose in obvious delight as he fought an outright grin, glancing between them. “Is the fleet departing immediately, sir? We still haven’t received clearance—though I’m guessing we are electing to—ahh, ask for forgiveness rather than permission, sir?”

Obi-Wan’s expression slanted horrified as Anakin clapped Rex on the shoulder with his own answering grin. “Precisely my thoughts, captain. Hail the other ships, we hit atmo as soon as the airspace clears for us.”

Rex snapped a smart salute and left them to gaze out the viewport of the bridge, as the bright presence of the clones swarmed around them, each individual and bright with life in the force as they worked to take the 501st legion through liftoff procedures.

“Your captain seems worryingly used to circumnavigating GAR procedures.”

Anakin worried at the seal of his leather glove and straightened his tabards. It had been a frantic and rushed change at their apartment, as they both broke uncomfortable eye contact to leave the kitchen and change into far more appropriate clothes than the shimmersilk swaths of robes from the masquerade. Their changing of clothes and rush to the Resolute had been so rushed, in fact, that he still wore strands of gold in his hair and the remnants of that ridiculous gold powder underneath the folds of his tunics.

“Rex is the best there is,” he said simply, “and he knows when duty comes before orders.”

Obi-Wan smirked for a moment at that. “Sounds strangely familiar I should think.”

Anakin huffed and crossed his arms and they stood like that, side by side and quiet as the Resolute and the rest of the fleet lifted above the cityscape of Coruscant and into the night sky. The gentle smell of Obi-Wan’s spiced scent, dulled by a recent application of blockers and what he now assumed was beta cologne, filled the normally sterilized smelling space of the ship around him. It was only after they broke through the planet’s traffic grid and ascended through the atmosphere, into the familiar darkness of space that Obi-Wan sighed and broke the silence.

“I need to apologize for what I did earlier—it was…wholly wrong to let myself lose control like that, and I am sorry.”

He swallowed against the ache in his throat and continued to look out the viewport, refusing to turn his head and see the regret in Obi-Wan’s eyes. “I told you that I would let you—that I wanted you to, it hasn’t changed Obi-Wan.”

“You really think that me being an alpha changes nothing?”

He did tilt his head then, from the odd note of his voice. “Well, I’m sure at large it does, but not for me, it doesn’t change how I feel about you. I think,” he wondered, “that if you were an omega I would still—that it wouldn’t change how I feel about you.”

Obi-Wan’s expression went tight and pained. “Padmé said you had no interest in omegas, but I naturally assumed—”

“That it meant I wanted you because you were a beta, that I would be angry I married an alpha?”

“Well—yes of course.”

“Obi-Wan,” he met his eyes, lit icy by the artificial lighting of the ship, “I do not regret you. We did not choose one another, but I am so—you fill this space inside me. I only wish that I could have known you my whole life, that we might have lived in a world where we trained side by side with our sabers, that you could have been allowed to feel the light before now.”

“The force wills what it wills, doesn’t it,” Obi-Wan said softly, “no matter the pain, all we can do is what we must, unerringly and unfalteringly.

He swallowed down the words trying to crawl so freely from him, mashed down the ache and reverberating echo inside himself. I love you.

“You wouldn’t have been a great Jedi,” he said instead, “you would have been the best of us.”

Obi-Wan’s scent tinged with black pepper and sadness before that cooling and sweet note of Tatooine green curled around Anakin as he smiled gently at that. “And yet my place has been in the Senate, doing what I can.”

“Your parents made you fake your designation, didn’t they? You said that they created a new child entirely to hide you. They didn’t just change your name, did they?”

“They did—it was a hurt left far in the past. I never anticipated hiding such a thing to —well I never anticipated you,” he said on a laugh.

Obi-Wan’s honesty, the seemingly fortuitous alignment of it all, his probably failing suppressants—none of it quite mattered compared to how he still shook from fear at the thought of unclenching his jaw to say the words he had never spoken to anyone. The word omega somehow weighed more than fifty Star Destroyers combined, more than the gravitational pull of a planet, more than a star gone supernova. His mother’s words, like a hymn in his soul, like some maddening and desperate chant in his heart, said again and again, they cannot know, they cannot know, they cannot know.

It didn’t matter that for a moment, in their kitchen with his husband’s mouth against him, as he came in his own kriffing clothes, that he felt he could—for maybe the first time in his life, actually have what he wanted. But even with seemingly every obstacle lifted from his path, he finally realized that maybe, it had never been anything else, just him.

They called him the hero with no fear on the Holonet, but he knew what he was, a coward.

Instead of the words that he should have said, that needed to be said, he murmured, “And I you.”

Then came a high and confounded voice from behind them, laced with all manner of incredulity and impatience. “Master, what’s going on?”

They both whirled on their booted heals, alarm snagging in their bond and lighting their scents tart.

“Snips! What are you doing here?”

She narrowed the white lines of her browbone and glared, her young alpha scent sparking alarmed just as she felt tense and confused through their training bond. “A comm was sent out to the 501st and the last I checked, master, I am a part of it.”

“Kark,” he muttered. Master Windu was going to beat him to death with a dull lightsaber hilt if they made it back to Coruscant alive. An unsanctioned and unapproved legion departure with a Republic senator and his padawan on board, all to engage a Separatist fleet to rescue an unknown double agent? He cringed at the holocall in store for him.

“And what’s Obi-Wan doing here? Has something gone wrong in the senate?”

“Ahh—you and Rex should both come with us, there’s a lot to fill in.”

He put his arm around her shoulders as they left the bridge and he commed Rex to meet them in his private quarters. He didn’t—exactly know how to convey their bare minimum knowledge that almost entirely consisted of ‘chip’ and ‘bad,’ but it was a duty to convey it all the same. A good leader gave his men every fighting chance going into a battle, both in knowledge, troop placement, and firepower. But all the same, as he glanced to Obi-Wan walking surely down the hall on Ahsoka’s opposite side, he felt immensely glad to not deliver the news alone.

Ahsoka squinted up at him then and tugged on their bond curiously. “Your neck is bruised, master.”

He stifled the urge to squirm and patted one of her montrals. “So it is,” he said lightly, “you can ask Obi-Wan about that later.”

Chapter Text

Why, then, build me thy fortunes upon the basis of
valour. Challenge me the count's youth to fight
with him; hurt him in eleven places

Act III. Scene II.

Obi-Wan carefully watched Anakin’s clone captain, Rex, and the horrified expression he visibly tried to wrangle under control.

“And you don’t know anything else, sir?”

Anakin’s eyes flicked to his boots, scent curling heavy and despondent. “No, I’m sorry. This is precisely why we are running this rescue mission. General Vos’s source could have more information on the chips.”

Rex nodded shortly. “I understand now, sir, thank you.”

Ahsoka visibly bristled. “It shouldn’t be anything worth thanking. How could the council have not known about this, about the clone armies being controlled by a Sith?”

Anakin put his gloved hand on her shoulder, and she quieted, the sharpness in her scent gentling with a tinge of butterscotch as she glanced at her master.

“We can’t undo the past, Snips. There’s a lot of things we don’t know.”

“We can’t just—”

“It’s alright, sir,” Rex said.

Anakin said fiercely, “it’s not, but we’re going to fix this.”

“With all due respect, sir, I don’t see how. Not when it’s—not if all of my brothers have the chips.”

Anakin’s scent darkened with an odd and dangerous tinge, like the fumes of propane burning. “I’ll find a way, if I have to carve it from the Sith’s brain myself I will.”

Ahsoka and Rex both looked uneasy at the prospect, their scents clouded with worry and their mouths drawn.

“What is our plan of attack when we reach the Invisible Hand, sir?”

The gleeful look that overtook Anakin’s face filled him with instant alarm, even if it did wipe some of that nerve-wracking spark of propane from his scent. He grinned, his full lips twisting into a crooked and boyish smile. “We are going to sneak on board while the 501st engages the Separatist fleet.”

“Master Windu is going to hang you up by your boots for this when we get back,” Ahsoka remarked disbelievingly.

“He won’t,” Anakin said surely, expression earnest as he retrieved his datapadd from his desk. “While Obi-Wan and I board the—”

“Obi-Wan!” Ahsoka furrowed the white lines of her browbone and her scent went as hot and staticky as ozone. “Master, you need another trained Jedi—you can’t just leave me on the Resolute!”

“I’m not leaving you Snips; I’m leaving the fleet under your and Rex’s control. I’m naming you acting general in my stead, to head the firefight when the fleets engage. Unless—” his grin sharpened as he cast him a side glance, “Obi-Wan has experience I am unaware of to lead star destroyers into battle.”

He thought of the many questionable situations he had found himself in during his twenties, with the venerated Qui-Gon Jinn. Perhaps it was his own fault Anakin thought him a soft senator, a civilian who might shake apart in the middle of a fight, but he knew the sight of blood—of death even. And he knew himself to be far from fully trained, but he knew how to at least passably stand his own against Anakin with a lightsaber, knew how to draw on the strength of the living force around him.

“Mmm—not star destroyers, no,” he replied, stifling a laugh.

Anakin quirked one eyebrow and turned a triumphant expression on his padawan. “Looks like you’ve been promoted, Snips”

Obi-Wan watched Ahsoka flicker a small smile to Rex and then square her shoulders and lift her chin to Anakin in an endearing movement that spoke of young alpha in every line of her body

“Then what do we need to do, master?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Anakin gaze out the viewport pensively, razor sharp jaw clenched, and the full curve of his mouth thinned into a flat line.

“You feel like a bruise in the force.”

Anakin startled and the severe slash of his mouth lifted ever so slightly. “Master Qui-Gon did always tell me I project horribly.”

Projecting was certainly a way of putting it. His thoughts perhaps should have been with the probably suicide mission they stood to fly into Perhaps he should have thought of the clones and their chips, or a Sith Lord in the Senate of the Republic. Perhaps he should have thought of the worrying slant of burned propane to Anakin’s scent, to the shiny purple smudges that spanned from his nose to the peaks of his cheekbones,of the frantic and determined half-crazed look in his eyes that hinted he might really do anything to save his men.

But instead his mind kept catching like a glitched holovid on the way Anakin had smelt like the salt of sweat—the salt of his cock hard and leaking, the heavy salt of his come as he gasped and twisted in his arms and came with Obi-Wan’s teeth against his throat. He shuddered and felt his gut flip at the thought of how Anakin moaned and smelt like roiling magma when he snarled the word alpha under his jaw.

He thought—he sought to prove to Anakin that he may have accepted or possibly—possibly even wanted Obi-Wan’s cock inside him—but that he didn’t know what he asked for. When he wanted to shove his face to the counter and bow his back to yank his cheeks apart and lick inside of him. When he felt the urge to sink his teeth into his throat so deep it broke skin and branded the permanent crescent moon of his mating bite into his flesh. No alpha would ever wear another alpha’s mating bite, wouldn’t even let another alpha near enough to their throat to do it.

But when he breathed against Anakin’s ear, achingly hard where he pressed his cock against the seam of his ass and said, “would you bare your neck for me, darling, and let me sink my teeth into you?” Anakin did not snarl, did not shove him off or bite at the fingers digging into his chin, instead he bared his throat and sobbed out a twisted yes.

Locking his jaw so he did not clamp down and break skin so that blood burst in his mouth was perhaps the most difficult act of self-control he ever exerted. He ached to put a mating mark on his alpha husband’s golden skin, he ached with it so deeply that it hurt. But he could do no such thing, could not bow to his instincts, and lose control like that again. It shamed him, the brute way he held Anakin’s arm to his back and shoved him against their kitchen island. In the moment he had wanted to break him, wanted to push Anakin past the limit he was willing to endure, so that he fought back, so that he realized what Obi-Wan wanted and understood it was a level of control he could not submit to.

And how his husband surprised him, how he bent his neck and bowed those powerful shoulders, the strong line of his muscled back, so beautifully. There was an elegance and delicacy to the durasteel cut of his jaw, to the chiseled lines of him as if he were an ancient warrior cut from honeyed marble. He really begged and moaned so beautifully, his fierce and dangerous Jedi. The hands that wielded the sapphire blade of his lightsaber had scrabbled at the countertop as if he were not strong enough to throw Obi-Wan across the room, as if he were not strong enough to put his own fingers to Obi-Wan’s throat.

That same man, who had pulsed into orgasm from the threat of his teeth under his jaw, now gazed out the viewport, exhaustion written into the hollowed shadows of his face from only a couple hours of stolen sleep. Beneath the dark layers of his Jedi robes, a sliver at the divot of his collarbone still glimmered with the remnants of gold dust from the masquerade. In the tangle of his curls, strands of spider silk thin strands of gold caught the artificial light of the ship.

Beneath the smell of stale sweat and tiredness so thick he wore it like a shadowed shroud, Anakin still smelt like the faintest trace of salt from the quickness of their changes of clothes before they left. And against the stretch of skin under his ear a crescent smear of plum bruised skin taunted him. He didn’t have time to let his eyes catch against his husband’s neck, nor linger on the broad stretch of his shoulders under his black tabards.

“I still think I should pilot the ship.”

“You can pilot the ship when you get caught and we have to escape while being shot at—this is a terrible plan.”

Anakin grinned. “Where is your sense of adventure, senator?”

“I seem to have left it at home with your common sense,” he said dryly.

“Ahh, you must have left my common sense by yours since you insisted on boarding a military ship flying into a war zone.”

“I do believe you were the one who suggested I board an enemy ship with you.”

“Well,” Anakin smirked, “I have to make sure all our sparring is paying off.”

“Ahh yes, silly me for not assuming.”

Anakin’s grin softened and they shared a smile.

In the severe, contrasting light of the ship, Anakin’s face looked etched from durasteel, all highlighted, glinting cheekbones and bruised shadows carving his features into sharp relief. The crooked smile curling his full mouth softened the edges of his exhaustion.

Something ineffable, and precious, and delicate as dewdrops at sunrise unfurled in his chest and squeezed his lungs behind the barricade of his ribs. Strong enough that even he noticed, his scent bloomed sticky and green between them, like the crushed petals of jewel flowers, or the broken stems of laurel leaves. Anakin blinked at him, expression so fond and open it physically ached to look at, and then he flickered his gaze away to stare back at the black.

“Do you really think you can pull this off, that we—you can save all your men?”

“There isn’t an option for failure, we can’t lose here—it’s not—I won’t let it happen.”

He eyed Anakin’s wraithlike reflection in the transparisteel and the desperation in his eyes, the terror lurking in the shadows of his face. Through the force, in their bond, he felt hollowed and unmoored, like a ship with its life support systems cut as it drifted through the nothingness of space.

“But what if you do fail, Anakin?” He said slowly. “What then?”

“I won’t,” he said.

“Force, I hope you’re right.”

He took in Anakin’s smoke scent, the well-worn notes of his charred cedar that made the foreign space of a GAR ship feel a familiar thing. It clung especially thick to them, laden down with exhaustion and stress, curling thick and acidic like soot to their skin.

“I’m afraid, Obi-Wan,” he finally murmured, still gazing out the viewport.

“Good, you should be. It means you do have some common sense in there.”

Anakin tilted a crooked smile at him, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I’ve been afraid—my whole life, it’s not so different from how I have always been, I think, my fear now. On Tatooine, when I was little, they put slave chips in our heads so that if we ran our owner could pull the trigger and blow our skulls off our bodies. Better a dead slave then a free one. My mother always told me that no matter what I couldn’t run, that I simply had to keep hidden and safe.” He took a shuddery breath and crossed his arms, not meeting Obi-Wan’s eyes. “I know what that feels like, having a bomb ticking away inside you that you can’t control—and I am—I’m so afraid for them, Obi-Wan.”

He ignored the guilt rolling over in his gut with a sick lurch and put a hand on Anakin’s shoulder. “Don’t let your fear guide how you choose to protect your soldiers, Anakin. You are not a slave any longer.”

Anakin putted his gloved hand over Obi-Wan’s on his shoulder and closed his eyes as he squeezed mechno fingers around flesh. “I can feel your heartbeat,” he breathed.

“Your sensors can feel even that?”

He plucked Obi-Wan’s hand from his shoulder and ducked his head to press lips against his open palm. They both froze with his arm extended between them, pulse throbbing in his fingertips, before Anakin broke the kiss with the soft sound of lips parting damply from flesh. Their bond shivered between them, and for a moment he felt the ghost of fingertips trailing against his mind, warm and tender as the brush of a hand down his spine.

“You should steal some sleep before we meet the fleet.”

“I could say the same thing to you.”

Anakin’s eyes raked hungrily over the console of his ship. Obi-Wan hid a smile as he sat in the pilot’s seat, still watching the reverent way he dragged fingertips along the screens, practically cooing as he did.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you own a custom Big Wing. Obi-Wan she’s gorgeous.”

“Considering it might be blown apart in the next several hours I’m glad it can be admired by someone at least.”

Anakin shot him an unimpressed look as he sat in the copilot’s chair. “Don’t talk like that, you’ll make her nervous. Don’t listen to him pretty thing,” he directed to the console as he patted metal like one might pet an animal.

He rolled his eyes and checked the console’s switches before turning the starter to pull fuel from the auxiliary power unit to start the ship’s engines.

“It isn’t too late to let me fly,” Anakin snarked.

“When we are being shot at,” he responded absently, toggling the engine’s switches, and flipping through the takeoff procedures on the console screens.

“You seem awfully sure I’m going to get us caught.”

Outside of the ship clones bustled around in the landing hangar of the Resolute, making sure their flight path remained perfectly cleared even as they prepared their own battalions to board starfighters for engagement. The ship’s comms crackled as clones began clearing their fighters to join in formation and lift-off from the perch of the star destroyer.

“I watch the holos you know, you have never been one for subtlety during your missions.”

Anakin crossed his arms against his chest and honest to force pouted at him. He thought for a moment, with a deep spark of amusement, how much the Holonet News Channel One broadcast would pay for footage of the worshipped and adored alpha, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker pouting like a child because he was called unsubtle.

“I can be subtle,” he muttered sullenly.

He bit down a smile though they both straightened at Ahsoka’s voice filtering through the comm. “—Master, we’re dropping out of hyperspace, what’s the status for you and Obi-Wan?”

Anakin flipped their comm speaker and leaned forward in his seat. “Engines on and at the ready, Snips.”

“Please be safe—the both of you, may the force be with you, master.”

The moment the transmission dropped red flashing lights flooded the hangar, lightspeed drop alarms blaring through the durasteel cavern and washing all of the docked ships in blood smeared tones. The Resolute lurched around them as they dropped from hyperspace and the outer hangar doors grated open so that only the wavering blue walls of the ship’s shields stood between them and the sucking vacuum of space.

Outside of the blue-static shields the Separatist fleet slammed into focus, comprised of the Invisible Hand, two subjugator-class dreadnoughts and six Bulwark-class battle cruisers.

Anakin frowned. “Quin’s intel was off, there’s a whole kriffing dreadnought that’s not supposed to be here.”

He pressed forward on the steering yoke and guided his ship through the hangar’s shields as ion cannon fire broke out between the fleets and battle cruisers zipped past them at far faster speeds.

“We do have the element of surprise.”

“Yeah…against a fleet that outguns us by an entire subjugator-class dreadnought,” Anakin snarked as he peered at the Separatist fleet with apprehension.

“In and out, quiet and fast, that is what you said,” he reassured, “we dock on a cleared lower deck and retrieve the spy and escape unnoticed under the distraction of our own friendly fire.”

“I thought you watched the holos,” Anakin lilted, “I hate to inform you that my missions rarely go to plan.”

“Oh I wasn’t reassuring you.”

Their flight path remained remarkably clear as he steered them through starfighters spiraling dramatically around them and spinning through ion bolts and brightly lit cannon fire that flashed neon and vibrant outside of the viewport. Anakin grinned and appraised the chaos of diving ships and explosions around them proudly, even as Obi-Wan gripped the steering yoke tightly and fought against the turbulence of the explosions rattling the ship’s frame and jolting them around. Tickling at the back of his mind, as a gentle and almost imperceptible nudge, the force guided his hands and the path the ship took through the blasts and firing enemy fighters.

“You look quite satisfied,” Obi-Wan remarked, yanking the steering yoke to dive past the rippling green blast of an ion bolt.

“We’re being escorted by gold squadron.”

“Ah, your squadron. I suppose they fly like you too, if so, I am especially glad to not have you piloting.”

Anakin rolled his eyes as they flanked the Invisible Hand, tightly barrel-rolling through their own formation of Torrent Starfighters to careen through the blue shields of a lower level docking hangar. The hangar looked empty of ships, all deployed into the air battle transpiring between the fleets, though several companies of battle droids darted out of their landing path and reigned blaster fire against his ship, which ricocheted off its shields uselessly. It did fill the cockpit with the deafening echo of reverberating fire and rattled the hull around them with bright and ear aching pings of ion bolts cracking against the shields hard enough that they physically rattled with it.

Anakin leapt from his seat and unclipped his lightsaber from his belt as he dove to the back of the ship, yelling far too cheerfully over his shoulder, “meet you outside!” Through the force he gave him a playful mental flick before he disappeared from his line of sight.

Obi-Wan cursed under his breath and finally wrenched the ship to a shuddering stop. He flipped the switches as quickly as he could and snagged his own saber hilt from under the folds of his tunic as he clambered out of the ship at a dead run, hot on Anakin’s heels with frantic intent and the force crackling around him like a wire’s split end, jolting pure energy through his veins.

He cut through the first five battle droids before his mind caught up with him. He wrenched the effulgent slash of his saberblade through durasteel and left the smell of melted metal and singed wires in his wake. With a circle of collapsed and sparking droids around him he blinked, utterly confused and tilted over himself because that scent only brought one thing to mind and he had to shake himself out of his bewilderment with deep embarrassment.

He met Anakin in the center of the hangar, where he stood like some primordial being with wild tangles of hair and his eyes lit luminous by the sapphire line of his blade. Anakin grinned at him and threw his hand out to block a stray blaster bolt from taking both of their legs out. The bolt boomeranged back to the unfortunate droid who shot it, taking its long, narrow head off in an instant.

“Where do we find your spy?”

Anakin glanced at the wreckage of splintered droids laid out around them and grinned. “Hangar above us, wanna’ race?”

“How did Qui-Gon ever agree to knight you?” He asked exasperatedly, following after Anakin as he took off running through the hangar.

The force sang around them as they skidded through the hangar doors and into a turbolift. “What now,” he drawled. “do you propose to climb above the turbolift and beat me to the next floor?”

Anakin eyed the ceiling as if he were seriously considering it. “I suppose I could cut through it with my lightsaber.”

He huffed, fighting a laugh, though Anakin didn’t wait for a response when the turbolift doors opened and he peered down the hall before dashing through the doors and igniting his saber. They cut through more droids as they ran, Anakin diverting blaster fire with the continuous humming circle of his blade, while Obi-Wan severed the droids to the durasteel floor after him.

Outside the noise of blasts in the hall, the continuous hum of their sabers, and the heavy panting of their own breaths, the distant rumbles of explosions and blasts signified of the greater battle waging around them. But that felt a distant thing, removed from the force pounding with his pulse in his ears, from the scent of Anakin’s sweat next to him and the starlight of his soul shining bright through their bond.

He followed Anakin around the hall’s corner and into the docking hangar, though he nearly collided with him as Anakin lurched to a grounding halt and lifted his saber defensively in front of them, baring his teeth in a furious snarl.

“Hello boys,” purred a voice.

You?” Anakin spit disbelievingly. “I don’t believe it; I’m going to get my hands around Quin’s throat.”

“Now, now,” drawled Ventress, eyes heavy lidded with clear pleasure, “that would defeat the purpose of this whole endeavor wouldn’t it? And here I went through such…terrible trouble to get you this.” She held up a holochip with a triumphant smirk.

He knew the look of her, the deathly pale tint of her skin, the dark tattooed lines curving from the corners of her mouth, the impressive way she seemed to loom even though in actuality she stood no taller than them. She avoided the holos much better than Dooku or Grievous, but he knew Asajj Ventress very well. Or rather, he knew the string of broken bodies she left as her trail. He raised his own saber beside Anakin’s, and she rolled her eyes as she pocketed the holochip.

“Oh please, Senator Kenobi, it hurts me that a pretty thing like you is looking at me like that.”

“You’ll have to forgive me, darling,” he drawled in kind, “my knowledge of you is not flattering.”

“And my knowledge of you gave me zero indication you would also be carrying a lightsaber,” she lilted back in velvety tones as she prowled around them. “There’s no need to look so nervous, honestly,” she scoffed, “aren’t we on the same side here?”

As she circled them, he caught a curling trace of her scent, all fermented pomegranate and alpha, as cloying and heavy as wine on the back of the tongue.

“I don’t know,” Anakin bit, lightsaber still raised, “are we?”

Her lips curled on a sneer. “Against Dooku? Certainly?”

“And you expect me to trust you, after what you’ve done—after you gave me this?” He hissed, dragging fingers down the jagged line of his scar.

“I rather thought it an improvement. I’m sure your husband agrees with me, doesn’t it pretty up that girly alpha face of his, Senator Kenobi?”

He rolled his eyes but nudged Anakin through the force, pulling against their bond as a reminder that time weighed against them, that a starship battle spun out of axis around them and that more battle droids stood to find them at any minute boarded on an enemy ship.

“If Vos is wrong about you,” Anakin growled, lowering his saber blade so that he scowled above the slash of throbbing sapphire, “I’ll cut you open myself.”

Ventress sneered though her retort never passed her plum stained lips as another drawling voice came from behind them at the hangar’s entrance.

“I might have known your betrayal an inevitable thing. You were always a disappointing apprentice.”

They both spun, lightsabers raised against the new threat of Count Dooku standing against the shadowed doorway, looking immensely unimpressed.

“My dear Count,” Anakin said, “What an unexpected and unfortunate meeting, I had hoped to miss you entirely.”

Dooku rolled his eyes and unclipped his saber from his belt. “Tell me, Jedi, how is your arm?”

Anakin sneered and he felt his boiling hatred in the force for a moment, spilling openly through their bond and staining the tether of their tie like blood. He flinched against the feeling of it and the darkness that lapped at his heart. The feeling immediately dissipated as Anakin wrangled himself under control and brushed a featherlight apology against his mind, like the glint of knuckles against his cheek.

“Much improved,” he replied cheerfully, “though I would be more than happy to return the favor.”

The ruby slash of a saber lit, though before even Ventress could engage her own blades Dooku spun his lightsaber to meet Anakin’s. They broke into a flurry of movement and Dooku parried both Anakin’s and Obi-Wan’s lunges perfectly, a master duelist at work. Between the sighs of their movements he caught the Sith’s alpha scent though it was almost imperceptible beneath sharpness of cologne.

“Three against one,” Ventress laughed, igniting her double-bladed saber with a gush of power, “I do feel a little sorry for you.”

He raised as eyebrow as he wrenched himself from Anakin’s locked parry and effortlessly cast Obi-Wan’s own attack aside. “A senator who can barely hold a lightsaber, a one-armed Jedi, and a failed apprentice, yes, I am absolutely quaking.”

Though he knew the Count a self-inflated and proud man, perhaps the perfection of his footwork as he dove nimbly between three enemy saberists, one with a double-bladed saber, was truly an impressive feat. His style did not reflect Anakin nor Ventress’s ruthlessness, nor their brute strength, rather it looked a stylistic and nimble collection of movements, all tightly wound and practiced to sheer perfection.

He cast aside both Ventress’s and Anakin’s lightning fast movements, that seemed to time off one another, her aiming high and Anakin low. As if sensing some warning through the force he spun just as quickly to cast aside Obi-Wan’s own lunge.

“I’m surprised at you, Senator Kenobi. I considered you a fool, but a man of principal too. It doesn’t surprise me that you have the force in you, but it does that you would so foolishly believe yourself to be a Jedi.”

With those acerbic words Obi-Wan felt the press of the force around his throat and then the gut lurching sensation of being lifted off the ground and thrown backwards. He and Anakin both hit the durasteel hangar wall with a crack so hard the back of his head and the length of his spine lit hot with searing pain as he hit the floor.

Anakin slammed to the ground beside him shoulder first and groaned as his skull bounced against metal after it. Pain reverberated through their bond, back and forth as they both fought to keep their mental shields up as they rolled to their knees and scrabbled to rise to their feet. An even hotter pain leaked from Anakin in the force, something florid and lancing, like the itching bite of something sharp twisting in flesh.

“Are you alright?” Obi-Wan gasped, pulling Anakin to his feet as he swayed.

Behind them Ventress and Dooku spun in a twirling dance of red, arcing light in dazzling crimson circles that looked choreographed it appeared so seamless.

Dizziness washed through the force and Anakin stumbled forward. “I—I’m fine.”

He wanted to disagree with him but there was no time for it, no room for his dogging urge to protect his husband in the space of a lightsaber battle. He was a Jedi general, a famed saber fighter, unparalleled in his strength in the force. There was no reason for his gut to coil with nausea when Anakin could fight and defend himself far better than he could.

They leapt back into the fight, shoulder to shoulder, though it only took the impact of Dooku’s lightsaber against Anakin’s to send him to his knees. Obi-Wan pivoted on his heel to counter the swing of Dooku’s arm aimed to take Anakin’s head from his shoulders. The strength of the ruby and sapphire blades clashing and crackling made his arms ache to the bone and Ventress stepped close to his side to taunt Dooku into their own quick exchange of stabbing and parrying, diverting his attentions from Anakin shaking with his saber lowered.

“Anakin what’s wrong?”

Anakin had slumped forward so that he braced his weight on his palms and swayed as if he were blind drunk. “I cann feel my legs,” he slurred. His eyebrows furrowed as he licked at the roof of his mouth. “I cann—I cann feel my tongue either.” When he looked up at Obi-Wan his eyes glinted glassy and unfocused and his face had blanched so pale his lips looked nearly as purple as Ventress’s.

He yanked Anakin to his feet and wrapped his left arm around his ribs to keep him standing. Anakin tossed his own gloved arm over Obi-Wan’s shoulders and let his dead weight fall against him. The force shivered down his spine with a cold lurch of danger and he watched with sweat slicking down his face as Dooku knocked Ventress’s blade from her hand to send it clattering far down the hangar.

He spun on the both of them, Obi-Wan holding his lightsaber before them and Anakin with his own hanging limply in his left hand as he swayed on his feet.

“My,” he drawled, “this is an extraordinarily pitiful sight. I must say I expected more, he put up a far better fight at seventeen.”

Anakin slurred something against Obi-Wan’s shoulder that sounded suspiciously like get fucked and Dooku’s eyes narrowed.

“Your master never taught you any manners either, a failing on my own part I feel. Qui-Gon was as much a disappointment as Ventress. You’re weak, Skywalker, embarrassingly so. My master had thought to take you as his own apprentice—but I think I will spare him the disappointment.”

He took a step forward and raised the crimson line of his lightsaber. Somehow Anakin brought his own lightsaber to meet Dooku’s attack, quicker than Obi-Wan even with his left hand, and though his arm shook like a newborn’s, he gritted his teeth and diverted the fall of Dooku’s saber for a moment. But Dooku sensed weakness like a hound and he arced his saber, continuing the glancing movement of his blade from Anakin’s parry to swing it back towards the exposed line of his throat.

 Obi-Wan reacted without thought, panic coursing icy and frenetic in his veins. He dropped his saber and threw his hand out, drawing on the screaming power of the force around him and pushed.

Dooku careened backwards with alarming strength, slamming into the same durasteel wall he had thrown the both of them against with a sickening crack. He slumped to the floor for a moment, clearly stunned, but a moment was all Ventress needed.

She had scooped up her own saber, cast far aside, and now fell upon Dooku’s slumped heap of robes and lifted him by a terrifying grip at the front of his tunics. He made a short, alarmed sound and then she pressed her curved hilt to his chest and thumbed the silvered button, igniting a gush of scarlet through him. She disengaged her saber just as quickly and let his limp body collapse to the floor without a second glance.

When she turned, she looked at them both dispassionately for a moment and he wondered, gripping Anakin as he swayed, if she would turn on them now that her master was dead. Instead she rolled her eyes and clipped her saber to her thigh.

“Skywalker,” she said in that smoky and caressing voice, “you’re embarrassing yourself. What happened?”

“M’ hea’ hurs,” he slurred almost incomprehensively. When Obi-Wan glanced to him his stomach flipped at the sight of a thin stream of blood leaking from his nose and running down his lips.

He glanced to Ventress. “I don’t know what happened, he must have hit his head.”

“We must get to your ship, we have wasted far too much time already—though, it would be best if we hid Dooku’s body, delayed the discovery that he was killed by a lightsaber.”

He glanced to Dooku’s crumpled and pale body as apprehension clawed at the back of his mind, panic threatening to jar his thoughts into a frightened scramble of instinct. But he could do no such thing—not here, not now—he had far better self-control than that.

Anakin sagged more against him and would have collapsed to the floor entirely without Obi-Wan’s arm gripping tightly at his ribs. “I cann feeh my ‘egs Obi-an.” That decided it.

He looked to Ventress imploringly. “I don’t trust my skills to carry him and defend us. I’ll hide the body if you carry him to our ship.” She looked disbelieving for a moment and his voice cracked as he said, “please, protect him for me.”

Ventress sighed and stooped forward to grab Anakin and wriggle him over her shoulder. He made an enraged, indignant noise but could hardly move to do anything about his predicament. “Where is your ship?” She said shortly.

“Directly below us in the lower level hangar.”

She nodded and started for the doorway, throwing over her shoulder, “if you’re longer than ten minutes I’m leaving you on this ship.”

He felt sick with fear as he clipped his saber to his belt and darted to Count Dooku’s body slumped by the hangar wall. Though he knew Anakin was close, he felt distant and muted in the force, almost buzzing like white noise in the back of his own mind. He hesitated for a moment,standing over Count Dooku’s body,but shook himself and quickly grabbed his lightsaber from the floor and clipped it on the opposite side of his own on his belt.He slotted his arms under Dooku’s armpits and began dragging him backwards through the hangar, towards the collection of ship toolboxes against the far wall.

Small mercies that lightsaber wounds cauterized and bled little, as he had no time to mop up a blood trail as well as stow a corpse. But the weight of a true dead corpse proved far more difficult than the slumped weight of Anakin’s swaying body. Sweat plastered his tunic to his back and made the grip of his hands against shimmersilk tunics precarious and slippery. He managed to drag Dooku’s corpse across the hangar as quickly as possible, noticing the heaps of dead battle droids scattered across the docking floor that Ventress must have taken care of. It reassured him, at least a little, though the thought of her leaving him behind while Anakin slurred and bled on his ship did not.

He reached the toolboxes and wrenched the durasteel lid up, shoving coils and oil and wrenches aside and lifted plastisteel organizers out to shove into a separate box as hurriedly as he could, cringing at the loud clangs echoing in the stillness of the hangar. He grabbed up Dooku’s pale corpse and hefted his arms to wrap around his chest and then startled—going still at the sound of some grating and metallic wheeze from his left.

He glanced over and felt himself go cold and shaky at the sight of General Grievous looming in the hangar’s entrance.

“Ahh—” slipped from his mouth as dumbfounded panic made everything freeze over, “hello there.”

The General made another hacking noise and then, even though his voice came out metallic and warbled, his tone tilted in his own obvious confusion. “Senator Kenobi?”

He did the only thing he could do, he dropped Count Dooku’s body to the hangar floor and took off at a dead run.

Chapter Text

How does he love me?


With adorations, fertile tears,

With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire.

Act I. Scene V.


“Oh quit your whingeing, honestly.” Ventress dropped him to the ship’s durasteel grating and he sprawled, limp and shaking.

He knew most probably that her slanted features were pulled into a venomous and disdainful expression, but no matter how many times he blinked, his vision swam, and dark, kaleidoscopic spots bloomed when he tried to peer intently. The inside of his skull throbbed like a hot and swollen break of a bone and when he rubbed at the ticklish crawl under his nose his hand smeared wet and scarlet. Past the ache of his own mind, the force felt muted and distant; perceptible at the corners of his vision but untouchable when reached for.

Muffled beneath the piercing ache of his head, he took shuddering inhales past the choking squeeze of his chest where lancing agony threatened to break past his ribs. He clutched at those same ribs with his left arm that seared with swollen heat beneath his tunic sleeve. And from a muffled and clouded distance, he recognized what the florid ache of his skin meant, what the sick and roiling churn of his stomach spoke of. But the blinding lance of agony behind his eyes, the slick of blood down his face, and the vice crushing his ribs into his lungs made him wonder as he slumped against the grating, if this is what it felt like to die.

A muffled moan clawed past his throat when Ventress pulled him into her lap by clawed fingers underneath his arms. He blinked up at her, vision swimming in a nauseating spin and gasped shallow, open mouthed breaths past the grinding pressure beneath his ribs and inside his skull that felt like it could pulverize his bones to dust.

Ventress rolled her heavy-lidded eyes at him. “Skywalker quit being so dramatic. You launched an entire attack on the Separatist fleet and aided the escape of a Sith, you can’t just, die like a crushed flower.”

“You’re not—a real,” he wheezed, “Sith.”

He expected vitriol and bite just as cutting as her saber against his skin. Instead she purred, “a galactically famous darksider. But I did not go through all the trouble of stealing intelligence on your clones for you to bleed out through your nose.”

“Don’t you think—” he barely gasped out, “galactically famous is a little—dramatic?”

Beyond the twirling orbit of his vision and the faint trace of fermented pomegranate, his own smoke laden scent crawled thick and choking in his nose, overwhelmingly strong and just as blinding as his crossed sight. Muffled and far away, Ventress’s voice warbled in and out of focus, like a comm underwater.

He jolted, startled at the hard slap against his cheek. “Skywalker—if you die on this ship, I will leave your husband behind without a second thought.”

Under normal circumstances, the whimper cracked past his lips would have mortified him. But shattered apart like a busted open droid on the durasteel floor, his thoughts wove with terror for one thing, the thought of Obi-Wan left behind or injured or dead.

“No—no—no you can’t—”

She shook him. “Calm yourself, breathe for him. You reek of fear.”

Fingers numb, he gripped at her shoulder and begged, “please don’t leave him—don’t leave him.”

Beyond the staticky throb of his pulse in his ears she sighed. “I should have made him carry you back himself.”

He slurred, sweat soaked and shaking in his enemy’s arms and said to the woman who carved his face open, “please don’t leave him. I love him.”

Ventress groaned and pushed him from her lap to lay him across the cold grating. “I have to start the ship. I swear by the force I will wait as long as I can.”

She disappeared from his blurred line of sight and he sobbed, heart pounding a bruise against his breastbone. Blood dribbled over his lips and he patted numb fingers at his mouth, though froze and rolled to his back, suppressing a groan at the fiery stab of pain in his bicep.

Between the waves of disorientation and fear and pain, his mind drifted to the split moment of impact he made when force shoved against the wall. He thought of the breathtaking sting in his arm when his shoulder collided with the ground and how he felt the fibers of muscles split around something razor-sharp and cutting. Within seconds, before he rolled to his knees, his legs and mouth numbed and the inside of his skull blossomed pressure and pain.

He wondered, licking copper from his lips and staring at the ship’s spinning ceiling, if he might have a heart attack on the grating without ever even kissing his husband. The grating vibrated beneath him as the engine thrummed to life and he rolled to his side, trying to scrabble from the floor.

“Just stay down, Skywalker,” Ventress called from the cockpit.

He groaned, durasteel wheeling in stomach turning spins and gagged on the taste of his own blood. Pink streaked spit drooled from his lips, mouth watering from the nausea and he swallowed thickly, willing himself to not vomit all over the grating.

The world still turned in dizzying array, he the sun to its round about orbit when the docking door flew open and Obi-Wan careened inside, slamming it behind him with enough force to rattle the entire ship.

“We must leave now!” He called to the cockpit.

The ship juddered to life around them and Obi-Wan went to his knees by Anakin’s side, hands falling to his face.

“You—made it back in—one piece,” he forced out past spittle and blood.

“With General Grievous breathing hot on my neck,” he said, wiping red from Anakin’s mouth with glinting eyes.

“You see what happens—when you follow me—all Sith and darksiders.”

The ship jolted with takeoff from the hangar to the sounds of blaster fire muffled beyond its durasteel.

“Anakin,” Obi-Wan wiped more blood from his face with wide and frantic eyes, “what is wrong with you? Do you know what happened?”

As if a reminder his arm throbbed, and he seethed through the pain behind clenched teeth. “Nhh—I’m not sure—but I’ve got—got a hunch. I should never have—brought you. You’re barely—barely trained with a lightsaber.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I just dragged a dead Sith across a starship hangar and outran a droid general.”

It hurt to laugh but he did all the same, a guttural choke of humor even with the weight of a planet sitting on his chest. “Oh,” he winced and Obi-Wan’s face folded at whatever he saw in Anakin’s.

“Here,” he settled on the grating and pulled Anakin half into his lap, fingers knotting in his hair. “You’re burning up and you smell—your scent is so strong.”

It really was. The hull of Obi-Wan’s ship could burn out from electrical fire and the scent of melted plastisteel and black, acrid smoke wouldn’t hang any heavier. It settled on their skin like white cindered ash and blurred out any trace of his husband’s warm spices.

“I’m sorry,” he gasped out, “it is. I know you hate it.”

Obi-Wan blinked down at him and looked utterly horrified as he petted shaking fingers against the line of his scar. “I’m so sorry I have made you think that. I do not hate your scent—it is—I cannot hate it when it is yours.

“Stop,” he complained hotly, throat as tight as a vice. “I’ll kriffing cry on you.”

Outside the ship, fighters screamed, and the rumbles of thundered fire shook the hull ominously.

“Everything alright out there?” Obi-Wan called.

Ventress’s slithering voice snapped back. “Grievous has launched the fleet’s bombers. Your destroyers are taking heavy fire. I—” The ship lurched, and Anakin stifled a grunt as his shoulder jostled hard against Obi-Wan’s knee. “Forgive the bumps boys but I would like to see either of you do better.”

“Now she’s just being—unfair,” Anakin griped.

The look Obi-Wan flickered down at him as he pushed sweat drenched curls from his eyes felt like honey poured in his bones.

“Obi-Wan I—in case I don’t—”

Obi-Wan’s blue eyes narrowed, fury etched in every shadow cast line of his face. “Don’t you dare. You are not dying.”

He blinked up at him, and his voice wobbled on unshed tears. “I can’t—I can’t feel my legs. And I can hardly see—and I—Obi-Wan I’m scared.”

An implant seemed such a small and innocuous thing to send him to his knees. Such a little thing to make him ache with such pain, to leak blood from his head and make his heart feel like it might shatter to dust.

Obi-Wan’s fingers trailed down his cheek to cup his jaw. “You do not need to be afraid. I have you.”

“Obi-Wan I—” his breath caught in his throat and his voice cracked as more blood ran from his nose to leak over his lips. The inside of his mouth tasted of nothing but metal and the acrid bite of bile. “I’ve been afraid my whole life, it’s not really—not really so different now.”

“Why?” Obi-Wan clutched his face and peered intently with impossibly wide eyes. “Anakin why?”

There in his husbands arms he shook with fear and quaked at the shadow of the past, the horror of the present, and the icy terror of the future. “I—” he moaned out a sob. “Mhhh—Obi-Wan I need to tell you—”

The floor felt like it dropped out from under them as the ship lurched and gravity plummeted. The hull rattled so violently around them his teeth chattered, and his ears rang like an aftershock after the burst of noise. They tilted to the left and slid across the grating.

Obi-Wan pulled him close while the ship shook and yelled to the cockpit, “what’s going on out there?”

Ventress snarled. “Did I mention the bombers? The Resolute has been hit and we are—” the ship lurched again, “taking damage.

His stomach pitched at the thought of Ahsoka, of how he left his padawan to lead a destroyer taking fire from an entire enemy fleet and squadron of bombers. And his men—his men with chips in their skulls left to hold their own while he rescued darksiders and risked the life of his husband. He reached out, panicked, scrabbling mental fingers to the spiderwebbed string of Ahsoka in his mind. He only felt chaos and noise and an orange glow licked the back of his eyes like flames.

Past the deafening rattle of the ship and the grumbling booms of explosions, the ship’s comm from the cockpit hissed and Ventress called, “Kenobi, I have a little padawan who needs to speak with you.”

Obi-Wan gripped his jaw and looked into his eyes, earnest and intent and brimming with warmth in the force. “I’ll be right back.”

He gentled him to the grating and took off to the cockpit and Anakin stared at the ceiling, felt the world spin and tried not to hyperventilate. The grating screeched and rattled, and he held his arm, pressing mechno fingers to branded flesh through his tunic. The force drifted lazy and slippery around him, caressing the feverish burn of his skin but slithering beyond his control. It coiled tight, wound so taught that the lack of tension threatened to steal what breath remained in his lungs. He realized, vision revolving, he felt Obi-Wan digging fingers into his force signature through their bond.

The world shook and screamed and careened and Anakin Skywalker blinked back tears and felt nothing but a creature of flame and fear.

Obi-Wan clomped back from the cockpit and waisted no time falling back to Anakin’s side and pulling him into the splay of his legs to press shaking and tender fingertips to his sweat slicked curls.

“What’s happening?” Anakin gasped.

“Ahsoka commed, the Resolute’s hyperdrive is damaged. She said they may have the capacity for a small jump, but the ship needs a forced landing. We’re taking focused fire, no doubt from General Grievous. The closest planet we can jump to is Stewjon.”

He racked his mind, though the logistics of hyperdrive schematics and interstellar battle plans evaded his foggy thoughts just as easily as the force. “Why—haven’t we landed on the—Resolute?”

They both jerked against the deafening screech of the ship scraping against metal.

“The fighters are playing favorites. Grievous seems especially intent on making sure we cannot land. Ventress plans to jump and the fleet will follow.”

“We can’t just leave—”

Obi-Wan held his head, fingers pressed to both cheekbones and said firmly, “we are not leaving them. Ahsoka and Captain Rex know what they are doing.”

He breathed, heavy panting breaths that painted over the background noise of the battle raging outside of the ship. Obi-Wan did not let go of his face, merely held his cheeks and looked into his eyes with lowered copper lashes and the blue or his irises hardened to silver durasteel.

“I just need you to stay here with me, stay calm. Will you breathe with me?”

“I am breathing,” he snarked, biting back pain.

“Here,” Obi-Wan murmured, and flooded the gossamer tether of their bond with treacle syrup that tasted of strength and amber and bubbled ozone on his tongue like champagne. “There we are,” he hummed,” raking fingers through salt laden curls, “there we are.”

Anakin screwed his face up, fighting tears and drug his own buzzing fingertips over Obi-Wan’s. Beyond their force threaded bubble, the ship leapt to hyperspace with that familiar lurch of leaving his stomach far behind. Obi-Wan smiled at him, all crinkled eyes and dimples peaking out from the line of his beard.

Past the burnt tinder of his own scent he finally caught the warm and familiar traces of spices that made up Obi-Wan’s scent. He clung to it, to the memories of the Tatooine spice markets it invoked, to thoughts of scorched sand and his mother, to thoughts of home. And then—a far less familiar scent curled soft and heady around him, past the copper of blood and his own charred fear stench. He smelled the sticky green of life and then—the haze of a rainstorm against the desert heat that bathed him in its sweet relief.

Oh,” he pressed his own fingertips to Obi-Wan’s cheek and succumbed to the stinging tears escaping the corners of his eyes.

Obi-Wan furrowed his eyebrows at him. “What is it?”

“You smell like an alpha.”

Anakin made to drop his hand from his face, though Obi-Wan was quick to cup his hand to his cheek beneath his own. “I am sure I sweated through my blockers,” he supplied pragmatically.

“You smell like the force, like home.”

The ship dropped from hyperspace and the durasteel hull roared from the collision of plasma fire. The grating tilted and they jolted from the feel of the ship careening out of its flightpath. The overwhelming plunge of gravity nailed his stomach to the floor, and the hull shook as if enveloped in a firestorm.

Obi-Wan yelled, still holding Anakin’s hand to his cheek. “What is happening?”

Ventress called back tightly, “fire broke through our shields. Brace yourselves for an impactful landing, boys.”

“I could have flown us better blind,” Anakin strained out.

“While she carried you over her shoulder?” Obi-Wan lilted.

The ship shuddered and the drops of their stomachs warned of the speed they descended through the planet’s atmosphere.

“Listen—Obi-Wan, if you just wanted to take me to your home planet—all you had to do—was ask.”

Anakin didn’t understand how Obi-Wan managed to smile and look heartbreakingly sad, but he flashed his dimples and a line of teeth with tears catching the blue of his eyes like diamonds. “The mountains will be in bloom this time of year with jewel flowers and laurels. Do you think Grievous would mind if we made a little detour?”

A laugh caught in his throat as he blinked up at his husband, who smelt of life and rain and it cut his spirit to the bone. “Obi-Wan—I—I love you.”

He looked into Anakin’s eyes with piercing intensity. “You aren’t dying, dearest. Trust in the force, we will make it through this.”

“I’m not saying it because I think—I’m dying. I should—you know I have loved you—you have to know.”

Obi-Wan swallowed and the ship roared with the sound of heat crackling beyond its hull as it screamed through the descending atmosphere. “I do know—Anakin—”

“Do not tell me you—that you cannot—” his voice broke on the hot ache of tears. “Please just kiss me—Obi-wan please.

Obi-Wan squeezed Anakin’s face between the warmth of his sticky hands and bent down to press their mouths in an unsteady kiss as the grating shook them in each other’s arms. Past the blood that Obi-Wan wiped from Anakin’s lips, he tasted of sweet nectar, like the sticky green sap of desert plants and the cool relief of rain to the molten, sun scorched fire of his soul.

Obi-Wan sighed into the heat of his mouth and parted his lips, slanting wet skin against his to deepen the press. Anakin’s hand, despite the ache in his arm, found its way to the back of Obi-Wan’s neck to tug him closer and slot their mouths in an even deeper slide of movement. The world burned and he burned with it and for one mindless moment of sighs and sap and languorous heat, he felt content to let himself char to ashen cinder.

Obi-Wan broke the kiss with the sound of parting lips and flickered him a look of such devotion. The moment passed and he rolled to his knees, fitting his hands under Anakin’s arms. “Come on, I need to put you in crash webbing. We should brace for impact.”

He hauled Anakin back and wrenched him across the floor, stuffing them both into harnesses and buckles and then—

pain seared across his chest; the webbing snapped them back to the wall with impact. The world flashed white and hot.

It faded for a moment, to nothing but a muted blur and high ring.



He coughed on smoke, real smoke that burned the back of his throat like swallowing down acid. He cracked open his eyes which seared and watered against the sting of the black, billowing cloud around them.

Obi-Wan slapped at his cheek and he blinked against it and fought through the muffled confusion stuffing his skull like cotton.

“Oh there you are darling, come on, we need to move.”

The buckles of his webbing snapped open and he struggled to move with the hands tugging his arms through the straps and pulling him forward by his shoulders. Everything spun—round and round in one tilting, nauseating circle. Obi-Wan hauled him to his feet and he swayed on numb legs and coughed through the smoke.

They pushed through the roiling black and stumbled down the docking ramp into a burst of fresh, clean air that felt sharp in his lungs with relief. He collapsed in the grass, aching through the fog in his head. Ventress, heavy lidded with a gash weeping a trail of dark blood down the hollows of her sallow face appeared in his line of vision and dug at his eye, pulling his lid back to examine him clinically. She glanced to Obi-Wan who hovered by him, black smeared across his face and a lock of hair falling over his eyes.

“His pupils are enormous; he needs a medic immediately.”

Above them in the crystal blue sky, the shadow of the Resolute snapped overhead with a distant crack.


The looming behemoth of another destroyer cracked out of hyperspace above them and Obi-Wan’s urgent voice filtered through the warble of white noise fizzling in his ears.


The world dimmed and he lost time.


Distant rumbles—


            The sonic gushes of blaster fire—


He groaned and snapped to consciousness with an excruciating stab of pain. The world bloomed into focus—a battlefield of smoke—and the neon flashes of blasters, droids and troopers, tanks and speeders and pops of dirt showering the chaos from explosions.

Obi-Wan stood over him, illuminated by the luminous gush of his saber blade, basked in a wash of sapphire. A severed battle droid, cut cleanly in half, collapsed to the ground in a tangle of sparks and red-hot durasteel beside him and he blinked up at him in a daze, head throbbing.

Obi-Wan scooped him up without a blink and pulled him forward through a maze of smoke, flashing lights and fallen soldiers. He lit the way through the gloom with the light of his saber and where Anakin pressed close to his side, he could smell the salt of his sweat and the black pepper burn of alpha and strength. The heat of his cardamom and the dark catch of black tea leaves smelt of nothing but determined resolution that lent him a little spare strength like a spark of borrowed hope.  

“You’re awake,” Obi-Wan managed between heaving breaths. “Can you manage to stand on your own.”

“I—I think—so?” He forced an unknown well of strength into his still numb feet and unclipped his own saber from his belt to engage the blue of the blade next to Obi-Wan’s. “What’s going on, what happened?”

“General Grievous—” Obi-Wan cut a droid to the ground with such venomous strength it reeled the both of them to the side with a stagger. “Engaged the Resolute. The ship took a lot of damage and made a forced landing. I’m trying—” he spun them both out of a green blaster bolt’s path, “to get you to a medic.”

“Where is Ahsoka?” He blocked a blaster bolt and nearly dropped his saber from the lancing pain that burned in his arm from the impact.

“I’m not sure, I—lost our comm.”

The force felt like a storm at sea, a cacophony of energy and noise. Each of his men, every trooper resonated with their own thrum of life, and the enemies who fought on the field with blood in their veins. He felt the dark star of Ventress in the distance and the comet of crackling energy by his side that Obi-Wan streaked through the living force. He plucked a familiar string and traced its hum through the knotted entanglement of violence around them.

“She’s that way,” he pointed to the smoking hull of the Resolute.

They wove through a graveyard of droids and slipped past troopers in plastoid armor who pulled or pushed them through, carrying them into the battlefield like a river’s current of white and blue. He stumbled with numbed legs, trying to clamor over a heap of twisted metal and debris. It wasn’t Obi-Wan who caught him.

A clone with unfamiliar painted armor grabbed his side and righted him with a shove, then side kicked a droid in the same move. It hit the ground with a single blaster shot and the soldier gave him a smart salute.

“Easy sir, there you go.”

The battlefield spun and he dug fingers into Obi-Wan’s side to stem the motion of slumping to his knees amongst the dirt. Obi-Wan slid with him, still with an arm wrapped around his aching ribs that hinted of enough strength to rival his own durasteel arm.

“Can you not go on?”

“I can—” Anakin wheezed, “just—need—”

Obi-Wan lifted his saber above their heads and deflected a barrage of blaster bolts with a flick of his wrist. If he could see straight or form coherent words, the ease of the action and skill of the movement would have stunned him beyond comprehension.

Through the haze, a familiar smear of orange and blue dipped in and out of sight, backlit by a vibrant glow of emerald.


“I see her.” Obi-Wan said and hauled him to his feet. “Come on, only a little further, darling.”

He stumbled then, though not from weakness.

They stepped through the smoke and shadowed by the looming hulk of the Resolute he watched, horror filled, as Ahsoka clashed sabers with the cloaked and towering figure of Grievous.  

Mutual alarm crackled through their bond and Obi-Wan said, with a hard edge to his voice, “I have to help her.”

“No—Obi-Wan you’re going to—”

Obi-Wan faced him then, pale and streaked with soot, some wound received during Anakin’s unconsciousness oozed sluggish and clotted blood from his hairline. His eyes sparked, ready for a fight and Anakin realized, looking at his husband dressed in dirty tunics and dirt streaked, that he glimmered with such strength in the force, for a moment, he looked like the distant gleam of a celestial nebula.

He looked like a Jedi.

“Rex!” Obi-Wan yelled over Anakin’s shoulder. “Captain Rex!”

Anakin half turned, confused and alarmed, though Obi-Wan caught him by an iron grip on the top of his shoulder that made his vision flicker black from the surge of pain it birthed. He half passed out in his arms and Obi-Wan lowered him to the ground, wide eyes lit cerulean by the light of his saber.

“Listen—Anakin listen. I must help her.” He looked up and Anakin followed his line of sight to a familiar helmet and set of painted armor. “Captain Rex, your general needs immediate medical attention. I’m going to help Ahsoka.”

Rex’s voice crackled through his helmet, “yes sir—but I don’t think—”

Obi-Wan ignored him and pulled Anakin forward by the grip of his hand on the back of his head. Anakin reeled and fought the black spots in his vision as his stomach turned over, sick with terror at the thought of Obi-Wan charging off alone to fight the likes of General Grievous.

“Anakin—” he gazed with crystalline eyes into Anakin’s. “Anakin, look at me.”

He swallowed and steeled himself, though softened at the press of their mouths. Such a lovely and gentle thing amidst a sea of violence, a delicate press of lips that tasted of springtime showers.

“Obi-Wan I can’t lose you.”

Obi-Wan laid his forehead to Anakin’s and said, “I am one with the force and the force is with me.” He pulled back and smiled. “I love you.”

Anakin swayed and fought the darkness in his vision, even as his heart ached behind his bruised chest with a piercing hurt that rivaled the physical wounds he bore. He loved him? Obi-Wan, an alpha who believed Anakin to be one as well, who had hated his scent of fire and loathed his attention and attraction. Obi-Wan, who put his teeth to his throat and willed him to submit though did not know that with everything in him he wished to surrender himself to the strength and goodness of his husband.

He loved him?

Would he love him when he knew? Would he love him when he no longer smelt of coals and flame, when he turned out to be the very opposite of what he swore? Would he love him when he knew Anakin lied while Obi-Wan confessed his closest and most tender secrets?

Obi-Wan stood and said to Rex, “I hope to find you both when the battle clears. May the force be with you.”

Through wavering sight and a miasma of fear he watched Obi-Wan disappear into the smoke. Rex crouched where Obi-Wan sat only moments before and helped to pull him to his feet. “Come on sir, I need to get you to Kix.”

“Rex,” he rasped, pulled through the gray clouds that lit with flashes of blaster fire like lightning. “What did you do to my ship?”

“Helped you take down a Sith, sir. Did you get the informant?”

His mind snagged on Ventress, on Dooku and Obi-Wan and his padawan. He swallowed down bile and limped on. “We did.”

“Well then,” Rex said, smile in his voice even through the helmet, “maybe it was worth it, General.”

The battle raged on around them, fought by every beautiful and unique pinprick of light that burned behind thousands of plastoid helmets. The world spun in a panorama of flashes, burst explosives and men screaming, and they all burned with life in the chaos, like stars amongst the black.

“It was worth it.”

Chapter Text

Did I redeem; a wreck past hope he was:
His life I gave him and did thereto add
My love, without retention or restraint,
All his in dedication; for his sake
Did I expose myself, pure for his love,
Into the danger of this adverse town;
Drew to defend him when he was beset:
Where being apprehended, his false cunning,
Not meaning to partake with me in danger,
Taught him to face me out of his acquaintance,

Act V. Scene I.

Through the oil laden smoke, black and acrid, thick as tar on the back of the tongue, Obi-Wan strode. The crackling blue of his saber blade lit the smoke around him, like the distant illumination of lightning on a clouded horizon. The heavy smell of burning fuel and the electric heat of blaster fire hung just as heavy as the smoke. Loose soil and debris littered the battlefield, churned up from the rough landing of the Resolute and the enemy cruisers.

Ahsoka, with her candy striped montrals, backlit by the luminous green of her sabers and leaking ardent stress into the force stood out amongst the chaos. His thoughts, honed vibroblade sharp from adrenaline, felt torn in two between his husband left nearly unconscious, shaking and so ashen pale his blood streaked mouth looked blue, and the petite figure of Ahsoka set against the looming shadow of General Grievous armed with multiple sabers.

But he needed to put his fear aside, his lingering thoughts that trailed, sluggish and caught, on the quaking replay of Anakin saying I love you, of the feel of Anakin’s blood smeared lips against his, of Anakin’s sigh into his mouth, of Anakin’s wide-eyed terror and overpowering scent of dry burning cedar. He steeled himself, and pushed those thoughts gently aside to take in the duel playing out before him.

He leapt into the fray, saber drawn and pulling on the fortitude of the force.

“Ahhh,” croaked Grievous, “Senator Kenobi. I was beginning to think I—lost you.”

The sheer expression of utter bafflement on Ahsoka’s face might have been hilarious in any other circumstance, as her eyes bounced from between his face and the lit saber in his hand. “You?” She stuttered, “I—Obi-Wan?”

“Later,” he assured her.

Exhaustion tugged hard and persistent at his attention, like weights on his every limb, and the hunched figure of Grievous felt an insurmountable mountain before them. They stepped together, his right foot aligned with her left, elbows knocking to create a saber wall, as Anakin had taught him many times in their living room.

“Aha,” coughed Grievous, “I was expecting something a little bit more…formidable.”

“Funny,” Obi-Wan drawled, “Count Dooku said something similar.”

Ahsoka took the opportunity of momentary distraction and leapt at Grievous while he turned his narrowed eyes on Obi-Wan.

Obi-Wan jumped with her, panicked by her sudden movement and the arcing circles of light she faced. His heart leapt into his mouth and they all three met blades in brilliant hisses of energy. Grievous’s speed took his breath away, and the pure, violent strength behind his blows. Where facing Dooku consisted of unbreakable defenses and flawless footwork, facing the Sith’s general felt like coming against a barrage of impact and durasteel braced movement.

From all around them, troopers and battle droids engaged in their own altercations of blaster fire, sending bright arches of plasma fire over their heads and bouncing from the defensive lines of their sabers.

“A senator and a child. Is this what the Jedi have fallen to? Is this what the great order has pulled from the drain to throw at me?”

Ahsoka rolled her eyes and deflected two of Grievous’s sabers while Obi-Wan fell into an overhead lock with the general’s opposite sabers. The strength of the blows he met rattled his teeth from the raw power and he stumbled under the weight of his attacks as Ahsoka slithered past Grievous’s guard to wrench one of his sabers from him. It flipped over her shoulder and careened into the smoke, quickened by the aid of the force.

“Looks like you’re down to three, rust bucket,” Ahsoka snarled.

Grievous heaved a cackle between the hissing wheezes of a cough and Obi-Wan soon discovered that three lightsabers put up nearly the same resistance as four. Then a familiar scent drifted to him, through the stench of battle and the tang of his and Ahsoka’s own sweat, the faintest curl of pomegranate.

Ventress stepped up beside him, lit by the plasma glow of scarlet. Ahsoka jerked, shooting another look of bewilderment over her shoulder.

“Ventress,” hissed Grievous. “I should have expected betrayal from the likes of you.”

“I’ve had enough of your dramatics to last me a lifetime,” she responded coolly.

The tides of their duel turned in a moment as Grievous suddenly faced five blades with his remaining three. The world reduced to nothing but light and movement, to the collision of their sabers and the thrum of the force in his ears that pulled his limbs and guided the sways and lunges of his body on such an instinctual level that his mind felt sluggish in comparison; lagging behind the parries and attacks of his arms and his scrambling and cobbled together footwork.

Some thread of power—of energy sighed in his ear on a cool and loving exhale that kissed the sweat soaked crease of his neck with a curling breeze.

In a moment—in the exhale between breaths—a pause between heartbeats—Ahsoka caught Grievous’s saber hilt in the crook of her elbow and wrenched it from his hand and Ventress snagged his opposite two blades in a lock with her own. He moved without thinking, without sparing a moment of hesitation and he lunged into the open guard of the general’s chest. He plunged his lightsaber through durasteel plating and underneath—the softness of flesh—of blood and bone, what little remained of him. Grievous made a started noise, choked through his grated throat and then he sighed and fell to the soil in a heap.

Ahsoka waisted little more than a second before she turned her sabers on Ventress and hissed behind the crossed blades of sparking green, “turning on your own doesn’t earn my trust. What are you playing at, Ventress?”

Obi-Wan stepped between them and lifted his hand, palm out towards Ahsoka as Ventress laughed behind him, voice dragging rough and deep around a smoky chuckle.

“Ahsoka, she is who Anakin and I helped escape—she has the information on the clones.”

Ahsoka glared and then lowered her blades, hesitation written into every curve of her body. “And my master trusted you not to run you through on sight?”

“Your master,” Ventress drawled, “couldn’t have killed a fruit fly today.”

“Where is my master?” She demanded, looking guarded and uncertain, even with the great General Grievous laying at her feet, even when she led an entire GAR legion into battle only hours before.

“Captain Rex took him to a medic—he—he was injured somehow.”

The white markings of Ahsoka’s brow creased in worry, panic lighting her scent sour and biting. “What do you mean, injured how?”

He clipped his saber to his belt and fought the bone deep urge to glance over his shoulder to the smoldering hull of the Resolute, where the tug of Anakin in the force drew his attention. “I thought—at first that he injured his head—but it’s something else.”

Ahsoka bared her teeth at Ventress and even through the smell of smoke and blood and plasma fire, the sparking scent of anger and alpha curled thick and heavy around them. “What did you do to him?”

Ventress rolled her eyes, all heavy-lidded disdain, even as she disengaged her own sabers and lowered the hilts to the ground. “If I had touched him, he would be dead, little alpha. Count Dooku hardly looked at him and he crumpled like a trampled flower.”

“Ventress,” Obi-Wan bit curtly, “your antagonism is hardly appreciated in this moment.”

Around them, through the thinning smoke and vapor clouds, the bright zings of blaster fire quieted as the last of the Separatists’ battle droids fell to the fire and skill of Anakin’s troops. Shuttles and fighters stirred up the air overhead and filled the atmosphere with distant white noise.

He put a hand to Ahsoka’s shoulder, and she blinked at him and then parted her lips on a long and open-mouthed inhale. “You smell like alpha? Obi-Wan I don’t understand what has happened—you’re force sensitive? Has Anakin been training you?”

He couldn’t help but notice the hurt in her voice, though he could not parse whether it came from her master training him, or her master not telling her that he trained him. “It was not Anakin’s secret to tell, my dear, no matter how much he wanted to.

The reminder of her master drew her attention back to the Resolute. “I need,” she took a step towards the ship, looking torn. “I need to direct the men. You will look after him for me, until I can see him?”

“Of course I will.”

Obi-Wan did not have any men to lead and with the battle fallen to a smoking end around them, he finally allowed his selfishness to take over, for his thoughts to catch on where Anakin radiated power and sheer panic in the force.

The inside of the Resolute swam with troopers running through its smoke choked halls while red landing sirens wailed and flashed against the durasteel walls. He grabbed one soldier by the shoulder pauldron as he dashed by.

“Where is the medbay?”

The trooper’s voice crackled through his helmet. “Sublevel two, sir.”

The medbay swarmed with injured troopers laid out on cots, moaning and gripping at wounds weeping coppery and red through stark bandages. The sterile rooms smelt of beta pain and the salt of sweat, blood, tears, and the antiseptic tang of bacta so thick it tasted sweet as berries on the back of his tongue.

Straining to keep his voice level he asked, “have you seen General Skywalker?” To a medic, signified by a red stripe on his armor.

“No, sir, I’m sorry.”

He drifted through the rows of men, searching out with an increasing sense of franticness, for the familiar sight of red and blue tunics amongst the sea of painted plastoid. His scent of rising agitation thickened, and several troopers cast him worried glances as he paced through the rooms and between the rows of cots.

A dark and worming thought, traitorous to the reality he knew, to the presence of Anakin he felt in the force, whispered in his ear, what if he is dead, what if you left him to die with the platitude I love you left on his lips?

The past two days felt like nothing but cruelty after cruelty dealt to Anakin; learning his husband a secret alpha, that his men all walked with chips in their skulls planted there by a Sith lord who hid in the very Senate his husband served. Then his alpha husband shoved him around like an animal, threatened him and put his teeth to his throat in some facsimile of a mating bite. And he loved Obi-Wan enough to let him, to long for seemingly any form of affection or attention he gave him. How cruel he had been, to tell him he hated his scent and would never care for him like he wished.

And how Anakin had begged so sweetly, begged for something as fleeting and easily given as a kiss. And he wanted to, wanted to put his mouth on his husband and devour him, wanted to lick into his mouth and swallow down the taste of melted durasteel and flame. He wanted to crawl inside Anakin’s skin and never leave.

And it took a head wound or whatever afflicted Anakin, took holding him in his arms, pale and bleeding and choking out a frantic and wide eyed I love you for Obi-Wan to admit to himself that if anything were to happen to him he could never forgive himself nor ever move on from him. It didn’t matter Anakin smelt like smoke; it didn’t matter he was an alpha.

He loved him

He grabbed another medic and tried not to sound as close to breaking apart in the medbay as he felt. “Do you know where General Skywalker is?”

“No, sir, but you might ask Medic Kix. The last I saw he was in the surgery wing.” The medic pointed over his shoulder. “It’s that way, sir.”

He locked up at the word surgery and then bolted past him, throwing a tight thank you to the medic pressing bacta to another trooper’s bleeding gash from his shoulder. Two troopers stood guard outside one of the surgery’s private rooms and past its doors he felt the steady glow of Anakin in the force, alive and awake.

One of the troopers nodded his helmet to him. “General Skywalker is out of surgery and he said you would be free to enter when you arrived, Senator.”

“Thank you, soldier,” he said, and pushed through the doors.

The surgery doors pressure sealed behind him and he took in the plastic curtains and the muffled, familiar sound of a clone trooper yelling.

“Of all the karking—bantha shit stupid ideas, sir! It was suicide—I can’t believe—with all dude respect, sir, but you’re a kriffing moron!”

Anakin’s voice drifted past the plastic, too soft for him to identify the words but he knew that cadence, new the sheepish lilt to his voice.

“If this had happened even months ago you would be dead! You’re lucky it had so few hormones left—I would—I could put my hands around your neck if you hadn’t almost died today! Did you think you could hide it—it’s a miracle you developed normally—there will—general the consequences.

“Believe me I know the consequences,” Anakin snapped in turn.

“I’m a field medic, sir!  You need to see a doctor on Coruscant, I don’t even know—General I have no idea if you will—"

Obi-Wan sighed, figuring his unknown eavesdropping had gone on long enough and pushed past the hanging sheets of plastic.

“Anakin I—”

He reeled back and his back slapped against the plastic and he took in the overwhelming, mind numbing and knee-buckling scent of omega.




Anakin laid on a stark, white bed, shirtless and beneath a thin sheet. He half-propped himself on an elbow and blinked at him, haloed by a riotous mess of golden, tangled curls. He smelt—force he smelt—

Anakin smelt like a morning, mountain breeze, brisk and sharp in his lungs, softened by dew not yet heated away by the sun. He smelt of a cool wind through a pine forest’s branches, sweet and sticky and green. He smelt of life, of the tender furl of trampled ferns, of laurels dripping pine sap and rainwater, of the tender buds of spring, of—

He swayed on his feet and nearly crumpled to his knees and Anakin looked at him with wide and horrified eyes, and though he flushed with far more color than before, his face seemed to pale a little before his eyes.

“Obi-Wan,” he said, soft and hesitant. “please let me explain.”

“Medic Kix,” he croaked, “is your patient stable enough to leave us a moment?”

Kix narrowed Anakin a thin-lipped look and then shook his finger as if he berated a child and not the Jedi General of an entire GAR legion. “If I can trust that he won’t throw his entire life away if I turn my back for five kriffing minutes.” He then turned that same pointed finger on Obi-Wan. “His system has only just been flushed from the foreign hormones and his heart took a lot of stress. I cut the implant from his arm cleanly and cleansed his system, but he needs to rest, Senator.”

The medic left, slapping plastic out of his way as he muttered swears under his breath about ‘idiotic Jedi’ and ‘I’m just a field medic.’

In the silence that followed he finally met Anakin’s wide eyes and then nearly collapsed by his side when he noticed him visibly shaking as he clutched at the sheet.


“—I’m sorry,” he sobbed, “Obi-Wan I’m so sorry.”

He did crumple then, practically going boneless on the bedside as he took Anakin’s hand in his and lifted his wrist to skate his nose against his pale and tender skin.


Anakin smelled of sticky pine so sweet his jaw ached from it and he swallowed down saliva, swallowed down the gut deep urge to drag his tongue up his arm and lick the euphoric scent of omega and his from Anakin’s skin. Instead he wrangled himself under control and took a shaky breath, allowed his mouth to part and for the wet curve of his bottom lip to catch on petal soft skin.

“Obi-Wan,” he whispered, voice wobbling on unshed tears.

He blinked open dazed eyes and glanced up to him, holding Anakin’s wrist to his cheek, head spinning against the all-consuming smell of morning dew and earthen blooms. They both shuddered and some brief moment of insanity took hold of him and he drug Anakin’s wrist back to his mouth to part his lips against salt tinged skin and ambrosia. He parted his lips wider and dug teeth against flesh while everything in his brain screamed at him to clench his jaw and break skin.

Anakin clenched his fingers into a fist and took a sharp breath. It was enough to beat a moment of lucidity into his addled, alpha-dumb skull. He managed to pull his mouth away and they both blinked at one another, heavy lidded and syrupy slow.

“Alright—alright,” he told himself. “Just tell me one thing, do you not want to be an omega?”

Anakin’s face crumpled and he clapped durasteel fingers over his mouth to choke back a sob. “No I—I do.”

“Then tell me why—how—what happened?”

Anakin’s throat bobbed as he swallowed heavily. “When Dooku threw us against the wall, I fell—on my shoulder. Kix said it snapped my implant clean in half—from the impact.”

“Your—Anakin what kind of implant could do this, how long have you lived like this?”

Anakin blinked at him and then his bottom lip wobbled as he bit back tears that swam bright and glassy in his eyes. “My whole life.”

Some aching and nauseous feeling turned over in his stomach and he felt hollowed out, sort of cold and distant and shoved wrong in his own body at the pure lurch of horror that roiled in him. “Did—did they do this to you when you were a slave, on Tatooine?”

“No,” Anakin cried, tears breaking past the corners of his eyes to trail down his sharp and shadowed cheekbones. “My mother did, she paid for a black-market implant when I was a toddler, before I can remember. It was to keep—the pleasure slavers from taking me away.”

“Why didn’t you tell the Jedi when they brought you to Coruscant?”

“I was so scared,” Anakin breathed. “My mother told me—she told me I had to always keep hidden, to keep safe.

“Surely—she didn’t mean the Jedi.

“I know,” Anakin sobbed. “I know—but I couldn’t shake it, and—and then my master was an alpha, and then it was too late.”

He leaned forward unconsciously, pressing into Anakin’s space. “What do you mean too late?”

“It just—I had let it go on too long. I had been living as an alpha my whole life and I was an alpha to the Jedi and an alpha to my master and—I was afraid—” his voice dipped to barely a whisper, merely a breath of noise. “I thought—they would treat me different for it.”

“Anakin, why would they—”

“I don’t know,” he cried, tear streaked and shaking. “Because that’s what I thought I had to be. It’s what the holos want me to be.”

His stomach turned over on itself again with a sick lurch and he felt like vomiting onto his own shoes as he flashed hot and cold. “I shoved you against that counter,” he said, horrified, “and told you to submit to me.”

Anakin broke eye contact at that and blinked to the side, flustered. “I wanted you to.”

They sat in silence and it was in that silence that Obi-Wan realized the mingling of their scents, there in the surgery room, smelled of alpha and omega. Even through the fear stench of both his and Anakin’s, curled the scents of rain and pine, of forest and morning and green.

“Did you want to tell me? When I told you I was an alpha, did you even consider telling me?”

Anakin quavered and clutched at the sheets and the sharp scent of distressed omega in the room made his hair stand on end. It countered everything he knew, every instinct his body had learned when it came to Anakin, to fight the aggression his scent of alpha and smoke invoked in him, to bite back the want to hold him down and to force submission. Anakin’s anger sparked his own anger, Anakin’s distress sparked his own discomfort, Anakin’s lust—in the beginning horrified him—and then drew him in against his better judgement.

He knew Anakin as competent, as strong and headstrong, impatient, short-tempered, protective, duty bound. He knew him as everything the holos venerated him for, heroic and beautiful and wonderful. He knew him to be much softer than the holos knew too, less willing to meet eyes and to bare his teeth outside of combat. Away from the battlefield his voice gentled to such a musical and lilting thing, every line of his body bent to so much more of an unsure thing.

Maybe it seemed obvious, with Anakin laid out beside him and smelling of sweetness and green. Maybe the melted durasteel smell of his desire that sparked whenever Obi-Wan’s control slipped and he snarled aggression should have drawn his attention. Or maybe it didn’t. Not all omegas liked aggression nor curved their necks in supplication. To assume so was base, to assume Anakin’s small moments of gentleness spoke of some hidden designation felt useless.

He had assumed Anakin’s bashfulness, his unwillingness to meet eyes, his softened voice, to be idiosyncrasies of an alpha Jedi. Qui-Gon Jinn taught him many times over, when he was a young and brash senator, only just elected to the Senate, just how an alpha should hold themselves. He looked to the Jedi to teach himself control, how to conquer and wrangle his nature and instincts so they did not, in turn, control him.

Anakin squared his shoulders and seemed to force himself to meet Obi-Wan’s eyes. “Yes,” he wobbled around tears, “yes, I wanted to tell you. All I wanted was—” his voice cracked, “for you to want me. And then you—then I—”

He clasped Anakin’s face between his hands while he shook, wide eyed and pale. A wonderous thought came to him then and he almost mindlessly crashed their mouths into an aggressive kiss from it. “You tried to tell me on the ship, didn’t you?”

Anakin closed his eyes with Obi-Wan’s hands holding his face. “I was,” he whispered, “and I should have and then—and then you told me you—loved me—even when you thought I was an alpha.”

“I do love you, very much.”

Anakin cried then, heaving ugly, wet gulps that shook the bed as he sobbed from behind clenched teeth.

He pushed down franticness and forced his voice calm and even against the tidal wave of Anakin’s sharp cedar scent that tinged with a familiar edge of heat and flame in his distress. “Let me hold you, darling.”

Obi-Wan crawled onto the bed and pulled Anakin against him until he calmed his crying to stuttering inhales. He raked fingers through a tangle of curls and down the naked sweep of his neck and broad, golden shoulders.

“Anakin, what is wrong? Are you afraid of how the Council will react? We can hide it from the holos, my darling, we will do whatever you want.”

“I thought you would be angry with me. I expected you to be furious when I lied, and you told me the truth.”

His hand froze against the back of Anakin’s head and he blinked at the white ceiling and searched within himself. Did he feel angry? No, by what right could he, when he had kept his secret hidden for so long as well. Did he expect Anakin to bare his soul simply because he pressed him against their counter and snarled, spiteful and angry then, of the alpha that lurked beneath his veneer? He felt little point to measuring the weight of their burdens. Hurts did not compare and to hold onto useless anger against Anakin’s terror seemed such a small and petty thing.

“No—I am—a trifle hurt though I do not think I have a right to be.”

Anakin stilled in his arms and then Obi-Wan felt the hot smear of tears dampening the collar of his tunics. “I’m sorry,” he pressed to Obi-Wan’s collarbone. “I was so close to telling you and I just—” Anakin panted hot and damp against his throat and sighed, “I’ve been afraid for so long. I can’t—I do not know how to let go of it.”

“I understand,” he murmured to the crown of Anakin’s head. “I do not know the fear you feel, this fear of yourself, but I understand the fight against letting it control you. I think—much like our choices to follow the light, it is a battle—that is not overcome once, but again and again.”

“I’m tired of being so unhappy,” Anakin wept. “I’m tired of feeling an outsider even amongst the Jedi, of feeling caged away and trapped within myself. I dream of death—of a dying star collapsing into a black hole and it feels like me.”

He ached for him, ached for his pain and fear and misery. He ached for what Anakin could be, freed of his attachments and weights of the past—of the ghosts of Tatooine who haunted his waking nightmares.

“And you have kept this all locked away, without speaking to anyone all these years, not even your master?”

Anakin snorted at that and it lifted the tension between them, brought a small moment of amusement into the burdensome sadness curling thick and dark in the force.

“My master was good to me and he was a brilliant teacher who I owe very much. But I do not think now even that he would have understood. His head is high in a cloud of prophecies and mysticism, the cosmic force, and it is the physical world, the mundanity of mortal flesh that he doesn’t comprehend.”

Obi-Wan smiled into Anakin’s hair and petted his curls that smelt of pine and the tar laden smoke of the battlefield and the burned-out hull of his ship they escaped from. “How needlessly difficult your training must have been.”

“It was lonely—but Ahsoka has helped, and Padmé,” his voice trailed on a sigh, soft as a breeze against his throat, “and you.”

“I can’t imagine your mother ever meant for you to live your life like this. To be on an implant your whole life? Have you ever even had a heat?”

Anakin buried his face deeper against his neck and wrapped fingers in his hair to hold himself against Obi-Wan’s chest. “No, I never even—” he cut himself off abruptly and radiated sheer embarrassment through his scent and into the force. “It’s only been in the past couple months that I have—overridden the implant a little.”

“Anakin,” he sighed. “Did you really distrust me so deeply, to fight yourself so? You taught me the force, to use a lightsaber, I told you I was an alpha—and it was not enough?”

The surgery room rang only with the sound of their breathing and the gentle rhythms of the machines and then Anakin sighed against his throat and pulled away to peer bashfully into his eyes. “I couldn’t ruin the alliance. Months ago, you could barely stand to be in the same room with me—and I thought if I revealed I had lied about my designation that it would—destroy everything, the alliance, what hope the Jedi have, defeating the Separatists. I was just so afraid—”

It was Obi-Wan’s turn to bury his face in Anakin’s hair and to take a deep breath. “I am so sorry. Anakin—my darling I am so terribly sorry—”

Anakin cut him off swiftly. “I wanted you to know, I just did not know how to tell you. I wanted you to know so badly I would have—I was ready to let you fuck me against our kitchen counter and let you know right there.”

He drew away from Anakin’s hair at that and Anakin blinked owlishly at him, as if the words escaped the bars of his mouth completely unbidden.

 “What do you mean? Why would I have known?”

Anakin flushed deep scarlet and looked away. “I—I told you. I have been overriding my implant.”

“I hardly know what that means, I—you?”

Anakin pressed durasteel fingers to his face and refused to meet his eyes and then it struck him. Before he even realized what he was doing, he wound fingers in Anakin’s curls and panted against his jaw. “You were wet?” He groaned as a hot ache settled in his stomach and Anakin must have smelt it by the open mouthed gasp he took as he tilted his head back to expose the long line of his throat to Obi-Wan. “Oh force—my darling—you were wet for me?”

Anakin moaned and dug his own fingers to the back of Obi-Wan’s head to pull him from his throat and meet his mouth in a clumsy kiss. He groaned against Anakin’s lips and licked the taste of earth and mint and dew-dropped needles from his mouth. He tasted of sweetness itself, of life, of what the force felt like during mediation, of the ecstasy the first moment his fingers touched a lightsaber hilt. He tasted of honeyed pleasure and his and from far away, beyond the furious drumbeat of his pulse, he recognized that he kissed too strongly, that he slanted his lips against Anakin’s with furious abandon.

Between biting kisses and tangling his fingers in burnished curls he moaned against Anakin’s throat, licking and sucking at the curve of his jugular, at the severe ridge of his Adam’s apple that worked over a swallow beneath the press of his lips and teeth. “You smell so good,” he moaned against the golden honey of Anakin’s skin. “Your scent—oh—I want to know how your want smells—I want to know how your pleasure tastes.”

Anakin’s head lolled as he arched his throat into Obi-Wan’s mouth and dug fingers against the bed. “Obi-Wan,” he keened from behind clenched teeth, “I—”

The golden taste of autumn leaves furled across his tongue. It carried the sweetness of pine needles and—he made a hurt noise as the marrow deep familiar and beloved taste of smoke bloomed in his mouth. He tasted of evening air and the distant catch of spiced cedar, like fresh green needles tossed on a fire to curl white heady smoke to the stars.

 He sucked against the taste of Anakin’s want and ached with throbbing arousal against the seam of his pants. He trailed a wet line of kisses up the curve of his husband’s throat and pulled him forward by his tangle of curls to suck at the flushed curve of his bottom lip.

Anakin broke the kiss with a desperate gasp and the slick sound of their lips parting. “Obi-Wan, I think—I think I should lay down.”

He jerked back and realized Anakin’s face paled waxy and sallow under the ship’s lights. The shadows beneath his eyes glinted shiny and purple and even magnificent and smelling of divinity itself, he looked half a breath from fainting against the bed.

“Force,” he choked out, horrified with himself. “Here, lay down. I can—I can leave you to rest.”

Gold tipped fingers dug into his forearm painfully hard and Anakin’s eyes rounded wide and panicked. “Please—stay a little while longer. I don’t—I do not want to be alone.”

Anakin sagged in his arms and his breaths slowed to such a cadence that he thought him asleep, but as he lulled into his own warm and exhausted doze, wrung thin and sore, Anakin murmured against his chest. “I’m a horrible master. Is Ahsoka alright?”

“Worried about you and looking after the 501st but she is perfectly unharmed. She practically took down Grievous herself.”

“He is dead then?”

“He is. The ship is in desperate need of repairs, but the battle is won. It seems in your effort to discover a single Sith and help your men you managed to destroy half of the Separatist fleet and all of its leaders,” he noted with amusement. “I did have to stop Ahsoka from running Ventress through on sight.”

Anakin shook with a silent laugh. “I might be inclined to let her if her information doesn’t compare to what Quin promised.”

Anakin fell back into silence and with his husband wrapped in his arms, Obi-Wan realized with a sick lurch the words that had gone unsaid amidst his panic and relief. “Anakin—”

Something in Obi-Wan’s tone made him lift his head with a wary cast to his pale blue eyes.

“I loved you as an alpha and I love you as an omega still. I know—I seemed so cruel in the beginning and I cannot take that back. But I think I have loved you from the moment you put a lightsaber in my hands—I love you for the Jedi—for the man you are.”

Anakin blinked and then seemed to swallow down a pained grimace as he ducked his head. “I don’t—I don’t think I am the man you believe me to be. I am not the Jedi I should be.”

“You are,” he said, “I know you are not your grief and fear.”

“I wish I could believe the same thing.”

Anakin slumped asleep in his arms moments later, exhausted beyond measure. And though he felt his bones rang with his own clanging exhaustion, he stared at the surgery room’s ceiling blankly. An omega—an omega. It did not feel…quite real, despite that Anakin slept against his chest and smelled of pine forest and the very light side of the force itself, like dappled sunshine through green quavering leaves.

Even lax and at peace Obi-Wan itched—ached to tilt Anakin’s head back and sink his teeth into the unbroken line of his neck, to mark him as his. But he wasn’t really. They married for the Republic, for an alliance and Anakin belonged to the Jedi, maybe even as the supposed Chosen One, belonged to the force itself. But Obi-Wan belonged to the force—he felt it etched in his marrow and though he could not call the Jedi as his own, in some odd way, he felt he belonged to them too. They still owed a duty, still sought to protect millions of clones, still searched for a Sith.

But vows and duty and the force all paled to the lancing ache of holding his husband in his arms and smelling the way their scents twined perfectly as one, of rain showers and pine forest, damp soil and tender green fronds, of life and birth and the gentle—delicate blooms of Jewel flowers and laurels during a mountain Spring.

He felt a war within his heart and for the first time in maybe all his life—the thought of I love him weighted just as tantamount as his duty.

Chapter Text

My state is desperate for my master’s love

Act II. Scene II.

Ahsoka blinked at him, wide eyed and alpha scent sharp and tinged with the coppery traces of the blood smeared down the side of her face.

“You—” she stuttered, looking in bewilderment to Obi-Wan standing behind him where he still laid on the surgery med cot.

Obi-Wan cleared his throat, “I’ll give you both some space,” and left the room, slipping through the sheets of plastic and taking the sweet scent of rain with him.

“Master, I don’t understand,” she said after the door pressure sealed.

He sat and winced at the ache in his bicep, the present reminder of Kix’s hasty incision and the more methodical line of stitches sure to leave a scar for an even longer reminder. “I should have told everyone a long time ago,” he finally admitted.

“So you are an omega, I’m not going crazy? But—this doesn’t make any sense, you’re an alpha. You’re the most—the best alpha I know.”

He grimaced and thought of his years of mimicry, years of pantomiming the very way he walked and tilted his head, to the way he held his shoulders and held his lightsaber. In the oddest and most unjustified of ways, he felt an unfair hurt that it surprised her so, that his façade proved so successful the person who knew him possibly best in the galaxy had remained entirely ignorant to his struggle.

“I’m not—not really, Snips. I’ve always been an omega.”

She sat carefully beside him, eyeing him as if he were some bizarre and unencountered alien creature. “I still don’t understand, why—how?”

He stared down at his clasped hands, pink flesh twined with black and gold and his shoulder ached with his pulse and the throb of his head. “On Tatooine, before Qui-Gon found me—life is very different in the Outer Rim, Snips. We were slaves in Hutt territory and—well, mom told me I was born an omega with blue eyes and she was terrified. She got a black-market suppressant implant to hide me.”

“I just don’t understand why you would keep hiding it then. Master—you’ve lied to everyone, unless—does anyone on the Council know? Is that why you were chosen to marry Obi-Wan, since he’s apparently an alpha too?”

He grimaced at the thought of the supernova awaiting him when he faced the council. “No, the Council doesn’t know, no one knew until today. Obi-Wan—he is an alpha—but it’s all been—serendipitous I guess.”

Ahsoka’s eyes narrowed as she craned her neck to peer at him then, mouth furrowed speculatively “I wouldn’t say the bruise on your neck is serendipitous.”

He flushed horribly and blinked at his hands while he fought for a response that wasn’t stuttering. “It has been complicated.”

Ahsoka snorted but then her eyes softened, and she reached over to press a warm hand over his mechno fingers. “You were afraid, weren’t you? The way you tried to goad Maul when we fought him, the way you have talked about alphas and omegas, you thought you would be treated differently if the Jedi knew.”

It was only warmth and devotion he felt in their training bond as Ahsoka washed his mind with reassurance and her attempt at understanding.

“I—yes—I was afraid,” he said, shame coloring his voice. “It isn’t the Jedi way, I know, and it has brought me—a lot of pain and grief.”

“You had—a lot of chances to change that for yourself, master,” she said carefully.

He swallowed around the tight ache in his throat and forced himself to glance up from his hands and look into Ahsoka’s wide, blue eyes. “I did, and I held back every time because I was afraid. I couldn’t—let go. I—Snips, I am sorry for lying to you. I never wanted to—keep it from you, who I am, especially as your master.”

She smiled sadly and bumped her forehead against his. In that moment where orange flesh pressed to pink, her young alpha scent, all butterscotch taffy, and a brisk sea breeze, washed around him and the comfort of her filled his heart like the heat of florid embers.

“I’m not angry, master. I just—I’m trying to understand. I have always looked up to you as how I should be as an alpha. You have always been so highly regarded in the Order for your strength—I’ve—spent years holding myself up to you.”

He closed his eyes and drew away from her and the sharp smell of pain curled through his woodland scent, as coppery as blood on the back of his tongue. “I’ve tried my best to be a good alpha, for the Order and the Senate, for the GAR and you. I learned how to be from my master, and I hope you don’t—I hope you do not think all the guidance and advice I have tried to give you is false. You are—a phenomenal Jedi and an amazing alpha, Snips. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in being you’re master but—I hope you do not regret my teaching because of this,” he choked out past the vice tight squeeze of his throat.

She fell against his side and pulled him into a tight hug that made his bruised ribs and the stitches on his shoulder throb, but he wrapped his own arms around her and dug mechno and flesh fingertips into her sharp shoulders.

“I wouldn’t want another master, Skyguy.”

His eyes burned and a traitorous tear escaped and smeared against a candy striped montral. “I am so proud of you, Snips. You led an entire GAR legion into battle today, defeated the Separatists and—Obi-Wan told me how you faced against Grievous. The Council will say you need more time before you are knighted—but when you are old enough you are ready. You have surpassed my skills and I can’t imagine I have anything more to teach you, what you can learn will be through time and experience.”

She rolled her eyes. “That’s far from true, and Master Yoda would knock you over the head with his gammer for saying it. We always learn from our masters.”

“Maybe Obi-Wan can teach you a thing or two,” he said lightly.

Her eyes narrowed again. “I suspected he was force sensitive, but I never dreamed you were training him with a lightsaber. I can’t believe he fought Count Dooku and General Grievous, how long has he even had his saber?”

He grinned and flushed with an odd sort of pride. “A few months, he’s incredible, isn’t he?”

She smiled wistfully. “He would have made a great Jedi.”

He ached a little at the words, for things that never were, and paths unfollowed by the guiding of the force. “He likes to remind me that the force has put him where he should be and that he is fulfilling his duty to the Republic as a Senator but—I like to imagine a galaxy with a Master Kenobi by our side.”

“You wouldn’t have married him then,” she reminded with a teasing lilt to her voice. “You would have loved him just as much—but you wouldn’t have married him.”

A blotchy blush crawled up his throat and he responded hotly, “I never said I loved him.”

The look Ahsoka cast him, with one eyebrow raised and her lips pursed, could only be described as condescending at best. “Master,” she said pityingly.

“Alright,” he muttered, ducking his head, “kriffing alright.”

They sat like that for a time, shoulder to shoulder in companionable silence, though Ahsoka felt tense and restrained in the force. He sat quietly and refrained from needling and thought of how his own master had handled him through his years of training. Qui-Gon’s silence and predisposition to making tea while he stewed usually enticed him from his dark moods. Patience and silene had never been his forte as a master, but then again, the past years were full of many mistakes.

“I suppose,” Ahsoka finally said slowly, “I am hurt that you didn’t trust me—not enough.”

“It was nothing you did, Snips,” he said, desperation lacing his tone. “it wasn’t—it isn’t that I don’t trust you. I trust you more than anyone—I’ve just felt, paralyzed my whole life at the thought of anyone knowing. Obi-Wan told me he was an alpha and I still could not bear to say it; I thought I was dying on his ship and I still didn’t say anything.”

“I know,” she answered softly. “But it still feels like you thought—that still deep down you distrusted me enough to think lesser of you, as though I would ever think you less strong for it.”

“Would you have worried about me more, leading the 501st and going into battle? I’ve seen the way Quin treats Aayla—I would never want—”

“—Master,” she interrupted, a smile in her voice, “you treat me the exact same way. And I do worry about you and want you to be safe, alpha or omega. You are my master, my family, my friend. I think this is where Master Yoda would hit you again and say something like compassion and love, not weakness they are.” She gave him a pointed look even as she brushed fondness against his mind.

He snorted though answered her burst of affection with his own as a tightness, some clenched up sensation, eased behind his chest that he realized he had carried for years, just another weight with the armor he wore overtop it.

“I am sorry,” he said again, “for keeping it from you and keeping myself from being the master you deserved. And I’m sorry you and Obi-Wan had to find out like this.”

“I’ll hit you for Master Yoda, you are the only Jedi I could ever want as a master.”

He took a sharp breath to hold back sudden tears and she curled a warm hand through his elbow to lean her ahead against his aching shoulder.

Kix entered the surgery room not long after in a still huffing whirlwind and shooed Ahsoka from his side to examine him again before he would give his narrow-eyed permission for Anakin to leave.

“I’m still not sure how you developed fully, sir,” he said while eyeing his datapad. “I’m no expert on hormone implants, but seeing how long you’ve had this one—have you been experiencing any side effects recently, sir, since the implant’s alpha hormones were so low?”

His scent bloomed with embarrassment and he pressed fingers to the side of his throat and felt the skin flushed beneath his hand. “Ahh—” he managed, “in the past couple months I have.”

Kix peered at him over the edge of his datapad. “How so, sir?”

He flushed deeper and made an inarticulate, strangled noise. “Ahh—omega signs of arousal I suppose.”

Kix grunted and fitted the datapad under his arm with a smart snap. “That’s a good sign, sir—a very good one. You should still see a specialized doctor when we return to Coruscant, but I’m frankly amazed you’re in as good of shape as you are, all considering. I imagine you might experience some hormone fluctuations and that will be normal—given the circumstances. But if you feel unwell you come straight to me; I don’t want any Jedi nonsense about casting it to the force.”

“That Jedi nonsense and the force is probably why I survived and seem to be functioning.”

Kix leveled him an unimpressed look. “Well you and your force witchcraft can still haul your ass to someone who isn’t a field medic—sir.”

He walked, tense and guarded, through the crowded halls of the Resolute, aware of the fresh green in his scent, the subtle tells that said omega for the world to sense his darkest secret. But none of his troopers turned their heads or acknowledged the shift in his scent. They all snapped smart salutes as they hurried past, too busy with their hasty patchwork repairs to get the ship capable of lightspeed again.

 It soothed the remnants of a dormant fear in him, which had somehow survived the reassurances of his husband and padawan. Obi-Wan and Ahsoka loved him and sought to soothe his terror and hurts, but his men followed him based on loyalty and his competence as their general. But they acted no different for the fresh breeze that carried the clouds of smoke away to reveal the green cedar of him, and he loved them with every aching atom of his being for it.

He found Rex on the command deck, though his captain only gave him a quick glance over before he said, “were you actually cleared from medical, sir, or am I going to have an angry medic on my hands?”

“Kix is already angry as a Bajeen hornet but fear not, I walked here a free man.”

Rex eyed him as if he didn’t believe a word, but he looked out the viewport to the wreckage of the battlefield around them, all churned up earth and smoking ships, tanks, and droids. Beyond the sea of charred metal and pockmarked soil glinted emerald mountain ridges that glittered under the high sun as if flecked with precious gems.

“The men are working to bring the ship up to muster as fast as possible, though I expect we won’t be leaving Stewjon for a couple days at least, sir. The hyperdrive was badly damaged and our engines took quite the hit. The good news is we blasted three Seppie ships like a buncha shinies, and the remains of their fleet retreated after General Grievous fell. I’ve fielded several holocalls from the Chancellor and General Windu, sir, and uhhh—Ventress was looking for you?”

He clapped Rex on the shoulder pauldron and grinned. “Thank you, Rex. You and the men did superb today and we got our intel. Keep fielding those calls for me and—”

“Ventress was slicing in the communications bay the last I saw, if that needs to be apprehended, sir,” he responded dryly.

He sighed and followed the far drifting scent of ripened pomegranates that curled cloying and distinct through the milder smells of his beta troopers.

 “What are you doing?” He asked and leaned against a blinking console with his arms crossed.

She cast him a heavy lidded, annoyed expression and then leaned against the console opposite of him, hip cocked out and arms crossed across her ribs in a mirror of his own stance, as if she mocked him. “Contacting the 212th to let them know your legion survived, since no-one thought to communicate through this whole ordeal.”

He raised his eyebrows at her churlish tone. “You didn’t strike me as the type to be concerned, certainly not about keeping in contact with Quinlan Vos.”

“Then I suppose,” she said snidely, “it’s a good thing the fate of the galaxy doesn’t rest on what strikes through the great Anakin Skywalker’s immensely thick skull. The stars quake at whatever your staggering intellect puts together, I’m sure.”

He gritted his teeth and ignored the waspish comment sitting fat and easy on his tongue. His shoulder, his ribs and skull, and every muscle still ached like one throbbing bruise and walking the length of the destroyer was enough to make his legs tremor. He lacked the energy for his usual bite.

“Did you reach Vos?” He asked instead.

She pursed her lips as if deciding to answer and then blinked slow, looking immensely pleased with herself as her scent washed thick and sweet around them like uncorked wine. “I did and lucky for you the 212th is on their way to assist in your obliterated ship’s repairs.”

“You know,” he answered conversationally, “one could say I got my ship obliterated to save you.”

She scoffed, though her expression slanted edgy and strangely serious given her predilection towards well practiced indifference no matter the situation. Her full, plum stained lips twisted into a frown and her scent clouded sour and tannin. “You should look at the holochip I went to so much trouble to put information on.”

She held it out to him, and he took the chip in clammy flesh fingers. “Were you able to retrieve information for the clones?”

Her gray face pinched. “The fundamentals, though that is not the information you should be overly concerned with at the moment. I found Dooku’s master.”

He blinked at the chip in his hand and then at her in exasperation when she said nothing more. “And?

“It’s the Chancellor.”

“You’re lying,” he returned as some shocked haze filled his mind like staticky fog. He felt blank from it, staring at her dark, pursed mouth, and taking in the sharpness of her scent as if he watched a holoscreen.

“He calls himself Darth Sidious and you can thank him for the past several years of galactic misery. Look at the holochip for yourself, I sliced it from Dooku’s personal files since he was fool enough to keep them.”

“It must be false—”

“It isn’t, and you would be wise to go running to your little council with the news the moment your ship lands on Coruscant. Do not mention anything through the holochannels nor trust those sub frequency codes your trite little fleet loves to use so much.”

His stomach lurched nauseously, and he swallowed a mouthful of saliva as he wrangled down the churning urge to vomit.

She huffed at his pale, stricken expression and rolled her eyes. “Honestly Skywalker, you come out of your cocoon as a fluttery little omega and then you start swooning the moment I give you bad news. I carved that face of yours open to pretty you up a bit and you hardly blinked, go faint in the arms of your husband it you’re going to look at me like that.”


“Just look at the forcedamned holochip, Skywalker.”

He left Ventress as he discovered her in the communications bay and followed the trail of starlight in the ship until he found Obi-Wan sitting in the dirt just outside a central hangar eating emergency capsules of energy powder with his boots sitting beside him, bare toes pointed towards the sky.

Anakin watched him tilt his head back and shake the powder into his mouth and smiled at the glint of his copper lashes and his pleased expression, face turned sunward. Beyond the scent of fresh churned earth and the residual smoke of the fried tanks and droids, the smell of rain and desert blooms washed around him interwoven with the now softer curls of spiced tea.

“There is actual food on this ship you know.”

Obi-Wan flicked the end of the capsule tube to loosen the last of the powder and quirked a crooked smile at him. “Going on an adventure all the way down to the mess and scrounging rations felt like far too great a feat at the moment.”

He drank in the sight of him for a moment, the golden shine of his hair in the light, the softness of his smile and the way his eyes crinkled around it. He loathed to ruin it, but even his husband sun warmed and languid as syrup didn’t stop the sharp pains of dread in the pit of his stomach.

“Ventress gave me the holochip and wants me to look at it immediately.”

Obi-Wan blinked at him slowly and then sighed as he pulled his boots back on and brushed dirt from his pants as he stood. “You do look rather pale; I take it is bad news?”

“Yeah,” he croaked, “she found the identity of the Sith Lord.”

“Perhaps your quarters would be best then.”

His never faltering calm eased some of the ill feeling sitting as heavy as a brick in his gut, just as it had in their months of marriage, in a fight with a Sith, and the night before when he choked on tears in terror and shook to his marrow from facing his greatest fear. He expected condemnation and disgust at the worst and anger at the very least.

And yet Obi-Wan took him into his arms and enveloped him in the sweet scent of rain and green and spices and flooded the force around them with the unfurled tendrils of love and peace and somehow understanding too. In his scent, the caress of his fingers, the diamond starbursts of him in the force, the heat of his mouth, Anakin found his relief. He found his relief looking into his husband’s heavy-lidded blue eyes as Obi-Wan dragged his lips against his wrist and only smelled and felt of want when confronted with his true scent. He found his relief in Obi-Wan’s worry, for his health and his mind and his happiness. And like a monsoon after the long draught, he found his relief at the words, I loved you as an alpha and I love you as an omega still.

He loved him.

Obi-Wan loved him.

They walked shoulder to shoulder through the halls and something deep in his chest melted soft and sticky as pulled caramel when their elbows knocked and Obi-Wan ghosted his hand between his shoulder blades.

“How are you feeling?” He asked.

“Sore and weak—” he paused, thinking of how at ease he felt without the stench of smoke and flame burning his nose, of the constant feeling of aggressive alpha around him from his very own scent. “—But good, I feel good.”

Obi-Wan trailed his fingers down the durasteel length of his prosthesis when the turbolift doors closed and lifted plated knuckles to his lips. “Kix is certainly right, that you should see a doctor when we return home, but I’m glad.”

“I think a doctor will have to wait when we land on Coruscant.”

Obi-Wan didn’t disagree with him after he loaded the holochip into his projector and the grainy image of Chancellor Palpatine wavered into hazy shape, obviously questionably recorded, and sliced from the quality. He wore a dark hood low over his eyes and concealing his features, though Anakin knew his voice and the shadows of that face, so familiar to him through the years.

He swallowed down bile at the memories of all the vulnerable confiding, the long talks where he admitted how isolated he felt, how out of place and ill-fitting he was even amongst the Jedi.

“Make no mistake, you must be ready to strike at Stewjon the moment the galaxy erupts on the holochannels. Our dissent is sowed and at last the sheep begin to question if Senator Kenobi can be trusted, if the Jedi are worth supporting.”

“Of course, master, but what if their marriage does not fail so quickly as you think? As a forced alpha alpha pair, they have held far stronger than you expected.”

Palpatine hissed through his teeth and the hairs on the back of his neck bristled from the unnatural sound and the icy shiver it sent skittering down his back.

“You question my judgement? Kenobi is repulsed by alphas and would never submit to Skywalker; they are doomed by their very natures. Your fleet must be ready to pounce. If the galaxy sees the alliance as weak and Kenobi’s own system is conquered by the Separatists, it is the final step to the Jedi’s ruin.”

The patchworked and stolen footage went on, made up of Palpatine’s machinations and discussions of his galactic pawn movements, control of the Separatists, control of the Senate, influence even amongst the Jedi. He finally closed his eyes, absolutely sure he might throw up, and Obi-Wan switched off the holoprojector.

“What a fool I’ve been,” Obi-Wan muttered. “I should have accused him of war crimes before the Senate the moment he sanctioned use of that bomb. I should have—”

“He proposed the marriage alliance,” Anakin interrupted blankly. “He knows you’re an alpha and he orchestrated our marriage to fail.

Obi-Wan seemed to sense his building stress and pulled him close by a tight grip on his shoulder. “Anakin—”

“I thought he was my friend for years, I trusted him, the things I told him, I’ve made the order so vulnerable, he matched us to fail Obi-Wan—”

Obi-Wan cupped his face between his palms and said firmly, “Anakin! Listen to me, I love you. We were set up to fail by a Sith who judged us wrongly and thought he could manipulate and use us to his liking. But neither you or I are who he thinks, and this alliance is stronger than he gives credit and the Jedi will not lose to him either. We know who he is, and we know about the chips and both Dooku and Grievous are dead. Do not let his arrogance and assumption of victory twist you up.”

He took a shuddering breath that rattled his chest and pulled at their training bond and the torrid fluctuations of the force around him, desperately reaching for an answer to his confusion and horror. “Does it not feel sullied to you, that a Sith decided we would serve him well and everything since then was because of the darkside?”

Obi-Wan sighed and the warmth of his breath against Anakin’s face carried the traces of petrichor and cardamom. “I think that in you I have found light and you in turn have shown me the light within myself. You battle for the light and have your entire life and still fight for it now. How could the sweet green of your scent, our loyalty to the Jedi, your loyalty to your men and padawan and mine to the people of this Republic, how could my love for you be anything but the light? Our bond and this alliance are not sullied, the dark made a decision, but we have made every choice since.”

 Anakin panted, sweat drenching his curls to hang limply into his eyes and plaster sticky to the back of his neck. Rivulets of more sweat ran down his spine and the hollow of his throat.

“Obi-Wan,” he complained.

Obi-Wan half-turned, holding a tree branch away from the path they walked and a broad smile on his face, even when his own hair was darkened to auburn and also plastered against his forehead from the swampish humidity of the forest around them. Beyond the narrow mountain path and the shivering dapples of jade and emerald around them, the Resolute jutted from the earth in the far distance, beyond the mountain ridge and glinting dark and metallic under the afternoon’s high sun.

“I didn’t take you to be beat by a little heat so easily,” Obi-Wan laughed.

“I was nine when I left Tatooine,” he griped, slapping the branch out of his way, “and this is a sauna. I thought you said it was autumn here?”

“Early autumn still, since the jewel flowers are still in bloom, but we landed just below the planet’s equator, even the winter will be nearly this warm.”

The Stewjon mountain forest was, he could admit, lush and green and full of life. The trees hung heavy and weighed by branches thick with long draping leaves that looked like jasper waterfalls or curtains of living lace. The walls of green glinted and rustled in the breeze though beneath the swaying branches that touched the forest floor peaked fern fronds, luminous orange mushrooms, towering gold flowers, and darker waxy leaves of some alien plant that bloomed wide and open to the sky.

The wind carried the scents of damp soil and blooms, though most importantly the tang of rain on the back of his tongue even though the sky shown clear and blue. It was the salty catch of Obi-Wan’s sweat that caught most of his attention. The dampness of his hair at his nape and his tunic against his back drifted his scent to Anakin, thick and strong like a wick to melt wax, and beneath the notes of salt and rain the muskier catches of spices, of cardamom and pepper and cinnamon if he concentrated, felt like a hook in his gut that pulled him further along the trail, distracted and eyes straying to the broad lines of Obi-Wan’s shoulders.

“What are you looking for?”

“You’ll see when we reach the ridge.”

So they trudged on through the swimming humidity, pushing aside hanging branches and sweating through their tunics as they climbed the mountain higher. He thought that Obi-Wan probably wanted him to admire the beauty of his home planet, to take in the alien plants and foreign smells, but it was his husband’s scent that drew his attention. He swallowed thick around the burn of it on his tongue and the way his jaw ached from the fullness of him in the air.

Obi-Wan had barely touched him since he held Anakin in the surgery bay two nights previous. The ship’s repairs and preoccupation with the Council and the impending darkness of Palpatine, or Sidious as he called himself, had tugged them in opposite directions and weighed heavy on their minds and time. They and Ahsoka oversaw the responsibility of the ship, of the rest of the fleet, of balancing his injured men and Ventress who kept making her presence painfully known.

But the weight of the galaxy and a crashed ship didn’t compete with the flashes of heat in his body and the aching want in his gut just from looking at Obi-Wan’s hands, at the curve of his mouth and tasting the richness of his alpha scent. Kix warned him of hormone fluctuations after the implant, and he thought he had grown used to stronger omega hormones during the months of the implant’s slow failure, when he laid in bed at night, soaking his sheets and rutting against his mattress but refusing to put his fingers where he wanted them most from fear and embarrassment. He had never—well it always seemed a line he couldn’t cross, felt like giving into the omega beneath his skin and forsaking the alpha he always sought to be.

But that didn’t stop the want, didn’t curb the sharp heated jolts deep against his spine, the aching need for pleasure—for pressure and heat and something inside him. The want before felt like just a taste for the heap of embers burning constantly in his stomach now. Most infuriating of all was Obi-Wan’s obliviousness, that the man he loved couldn’t sense his building desperation, like the frayed edges of a live wire.

And yet he also could not bear to ask for it, to say I want you I need you, please kiss me—for the love of the force put your cock inside me. It felt weak—vulnerable in a way he had never allowed himself. So he waited, on edge and teeth gritted from strain, silently willing for Obi-Wan to give him what he ached for but couldn’t find the will to initiate or ask himself. He didn’t know how to be an omega. He felt unmoored and out of control by the foreign desire that thrummed through him like the very blood in his veins.

The force and his search for peace always came with incredible difficulty, as a child, during his padawan years and as a knight too, and he knew his imbalance and where it came from, that it rooted itself in his pain and fear. Threads of that fear stayed in him still, dug deep to the essence of him. That fear wired his jaw tight and turned his head aside while his thoughts caught on the memory of being pinned to their kitchen island and of fingers in his hair, forcing his neck to arch. His own desperation mortified him.

So he stayed silent and swallowed down his want and followed Obi-Wan through the forest, even as he ignored the headiness of his scent and the luring sight of his bare arms, the cut of his biceps and tendons and the paleness of his skin there.

“Here we are,” Obi-Wan smiled and pulled aside a curtain of green. Beyond the leaves and branches a brilliant blue sky shown, revealing that they stood on the precipice of the mountain ridge and overlooked the valley and the Resolute beyond. But before the cliff’s edge, just beyond the weeping trails of leaves, glimmered flowers that rustled against the wind and glinted like sapphires and diamonds. They sparkled; their brilliant petals seemingly encrusted with precious gems that winked in the sun.

“Oh,” he breathed, stepping through the branches. “These are the jewel flowers you told me about.”

“We chose a fortuitous time to crash-land here, they only bloom in autumn and only in the mountains.”

They tinkled like high bells rustling in the breeze, and smelled sharply verdant and green, like pine sap and orange blossom honey.

“They’re beautiful.”

Obi-Wan crossed his arms and stepped beside him, so that they stood shoulder to shoulder overlooking the glistening flowers and the great valley beyond. He preferred the damp desert blooms and spiced scent of his husband to the precious flowers at their feet, but he bit back that sentiment just as he chewed down the desperation boiling in the core of him.

“They are extremely resilient and immensely temperamental and only grow at this altitude in this type of soil. It’s considered quite the tragedy amongst Stewjonis that they cannot be cultivated or kept in the cities. They are such temporary things as well; they grow throughout the year but only bloom for ten days of the planet’s cycle.”

“Why does your cultural admire them so deeply then, if they bloom only a little and are so difficult?”

Obi-Wan smiled crookedly at that and eyed him, eyes creased and brimming with fondness. “Because all things die, but we do not love them less for their brief flickers of brilliance.”

His chest tightened and he frowned, looking out to the swaths of the green valley and the dark flares of light when the sun caught his ship just so. “You and Master Yoda should have tea and talk circles around one another. Did you really bring me up here to make grand Jedi metaphors with the flowers?”

“I wanted you to see them, they are precious to me. But these brilliant furls of life will die and rot into the ground. This rich soil they grow in is built from the lives given of creatures that breathed and there is life in death and the force is all these things. Death in the force is not true death after all, merely the passing of life one to another. These mountains too, millennia old and millennia to last, will one day grate to dust and be no more. Things that seem forever, stars and planets and mountains, they meet their end too. In these mountains are life, soil made of trillions of green things and rotted creatures. In the stone beneath our feet is the oil from decomposed things long before the Republic stood. Nothing is permanent, nothing is forever.”

He worked to swallow and breathed through the sharp panic squeezing at his throat and for a moment, let himself steep in his anger. “Why are you lecturing me about this? I feel like a padawan again.”

Obi-Wan frowned and laid fingers against his shoulder. “I’m not trying to lecture you, I’m—I thought I could help you. You hold onto everything so tightly and I know the pain and fear it must bring you. I know I am not a Jedi and—”

“No I—I’m sorry. Thank you for showing me the flowers, they are beautiful. Should we pick one for Ahsoka?”

“It will wilt very fast,” Obi-Wan noted, “best to leave them I think.”

“Didn’t you hear Master Kenobi; all things must die?”

Obi-Wan slid him a sour expression and Anakin cracked a grin to see the familiar exasperation.

“We should get back, the 212th should be landing soon and we’ll both need a sonic after this.”

“Are you saying I stink?” He lobbied back playfully as they turned away from the cliff.

“No,” Obi-Wan bit back, and for a moment he sounded angry, making Anakin pause, caught off guard and confused.

“I can’t concentrate when you smell sweet and sticky like sap,” he continued heatedly, “and not with so many other alphas and betas around. I apologize for sounding like an animal, but I am trying to grow used to how I react to your scent now.”

His gut lurched hot and tight and he swallowed down the desperate noise he wanted to make as he followed Obi-Wan’s salt laden rain and spiced scent. “I can wear blockers.”

“Don’t you dare,” Obi-Wan snapped back.

The 212th landed hours later with the sun only just beginning to lower in the cerulean sky. A part of him, some still shaky and skittish thing inside of him, dreaded seeing Quin, dreaded having to face any of the Jedi. He shook slightly to see his friend and his commander walk the landing ramp, though he sighed when Quin yanked him into a hug on sight.

“You kriffing moron,” he laughed and squeezed Anakin’s shoulders. “You sure smell better, that’s for sure.”

“Is this what I’m going to find out, just everyone telling me they thought I’ve stunk for years?” He asked indignantly, even as the tightness in his chest loosened from Quinlan’s flippancy.

He grinned a brilliant white grin and slapped the top of Anakin’s shoulder as he drew away. “You smell happier, friend.”

“You don’t seem overly surprised.”

Quin scrutinized him for a moment, unusually serious and pensive as he thumbed the yellow stripe of his tattoo and smiled. “I am surprised. I knew you were unhappy; I held your saber once in practice.” He paused and then grinned, “Never would have guessed you smelled so sweet and green though.”

Obi-Wan cleared his throat behind them and Anakin startled, feeling faintly embarrassed. “Quin this is Senator Kenobi, Obi-Wan, meet General Quinlan Vos.”

Obi-Wan drug featherlight fingers against his low back as he stepped forward and shook Quin’s hand. “Wonderful to finally meet you General, Anakin speaks very highly of you.”

Quinlan winked at Anakin and then smiled broadly. “He’s just indebted from when I saved his ass on Ryloth.”

“You did not,” he complained. “Flirting with a Twi’lek had nothing to do with me escaping, you just like them purple.”

Quin’s smile slanted lascivious and pleased. “Speaking of purple beauties, where’s Asajj?”

“Here, darling,” she drawled behind them. “It took you long enough.”

Darling? He blinked rapidly and tried to school his features, though he knew without a doubt that Obi-Wan was doing so far better than him.

Quin spread out his hands indignantly, “star destroyer hyperdrive parts aren’t so easy to come by in the Outer Rim you know.”

“We don’t have time to kick our feet up if you want your precious little order to survive,” she snapped in turn. “I found your Sith and retrieved your holochip, now fix the damn ship before the galaxy burns to the ground.”

Quin raised his eyebrows. “It’s lovely to see you too, my dear.”

“Don’t dear me,” she snarled, “just get us off this force forsaken planet.”

Quin cleared his throat and then stepped aside and beckoned his clone commander forward. “Cody you know General Skywalker already and this is his husband, Senator Obi-Wan Kenobi. With my men I hope we can have the Resolute functional by morning. Asajj sent me word of Palpatine and she’s right and we can’t trust the channels, but the Council can’t wait any longer to hear about this.”

“I did send Windu an encrypted message to at least notify the council we’re grounded and that we have urgent news when we return,” he said. “Also, good to see you, Commander, I know Rex will be pleased to see you.”

“Senator, General,” Cody acknowledged solemnly, “good to see you both. And thank you for getting the information on the chips, sir.”

“I’m just sorry we didn’t find out sooner, the Jedi will do whatever we can to help you,” he promised, throat tight.

Their group parted ways with so much work to do and tiredness weighed at his bones. The hike up the mountain had been beautiful and the memory of Obi-Wan’s sweat heavy scent clung to the back of his throat and threaded his mind with distraction. But he still felt fatigued from the implant and while he knew many responsibilities required his attention, he walked through the ship’s halls, intent on at least caching a few spare minutes of sleep on his bunk.

But Obi-Wan walked beside him, elbow to elbow and his scent sparking with pepper and wafting thick and heavy around him.

“I know I have a lot to do, but I’m going to my quarters to rest for only a moment,” he admitted, embarrassment flushing his cheeks. He felt weak to admit it but the memory of Kix’s scowl sat heavier than any mortification at seeming week did.

“Good, you should rest. I’ll walk with you if you do not mind the company.”

But that woven thread of black pepper remained in his scent and while Anakin would never complain at having Obi-Wan close, he did continue to press tight against his side, even brushing his fingertips against his low back while they walked.

“What’s wrong?” He finally asked.


“You smell angry.”

They stopped in front of his quarters’ door and Obi-Wan looked tense—on edge even. “I—I am simply struggling with my instincts at the moment.”

He narrowed his eyes, searching Obi-Wan’s face and his scent as worry wriggled beneath his sternum. Obi-Wan’s instincts towards him in the beginning had been trying not to take his throat out, and while many many things had changed through the months, he worried that some things remained the same.

“What do you mean?” He asked, trying not to let panic lace his tone.

“I am trying,” Obi-Wan gritted out from behind clenched teeth. “to not wrench your neck back and mark you to show every alpha and beta on this planet that you are mine.”

His stomach swooped and he reached out blindly to lay a hand against his door for support. “Why don’t you?” He breathed.

“You need to rest,” Obi-Wan said sharply, “and I should be capable of controlling myself. I manhandled you around like an animal once and I—it was horrible of me I know.”

His stomach flipped at the memory of being bent over their kitchen island and held down, of Obi-Wan’s jaw clenched against the tendon of his exposed throat. He swallowed thickly and blinked, slow and unfocused. “I liked it,” he nearly panted. “It wasn’t horrible—I—would you?”

Obi-Wan, without even noticing, hemmed him in against his door and his back hit durasteel with a muffled thud. His light blue eyes darkened, and he planted a hand above Anakin’s shoulder, caging him between the heat of his body and the biting cold metal. “Would I what?”

His stomach twisted tighter as the scent of Obi-Wan’s arousal, all toasted cinnamon and dry desert mesquite, filled the air and he realized with a heated, embarrassed lurch, that he felt slick and desperate just from this. “Would you mark me?” He begged. “Would you put your teeth on my throat— please.

Obi-Wan slammed his other hand above his head and snarled in warning, “Anakin—”

“I’ve wanted you,” he choked out, tilting his hips forward and finding the exquisite friction of Obi-Wan’s hips in turn to grind his cock against. But Obi-Wan remained completely still, frozen as he pinned him against his door and held himself back. “Obi-Wan,” he whimpered, “can’t you smell it? Can’t you tell how I’ve wanted you?”

Obi-Wan bared his teeth and breathed hot and damp against his jaw, just barely dragging his lips along the bone so that he shuddered from the shivery tickle it skated down his spine. “Of course I could. Your want smells like woodsmoke and you slick like sticky sap. I can smell all of you now, I can smell when you’re wet for me, darling.”

The back of his skull clunked against durasteel as he tilted his jaw towards the ceiling and bared his throat right there in the hall. “Obi-Wan—”

Obi-Wan caught the edge of his teeth just under the sharp jut of his jaw and laved his tongue against the taught skin after. He panted against Anakin’s throat, “you’re wet for me now aren’t you? You smell sweet as smoked syrup—oh darling I want to know if you taste like it too.”

His knees nearly buckled, and he latched onto Obi-Wan’s shoulders with both flesh and durasteel hands. Obi-Wan fitted his thigh between his legs and his knees shook further as his breath caught, high in the back of his throat at the ache of his cock grinding against his husband’s leg.

One of Obi-Wan’s hands slid down the door to fist in his curls and pull his head to the side, tilting his jaw further up and stretching the tendon of his throat. Obi-Wan breathed just under the shell of his ear and caught the damp curve of his lip to drag against skin so tender Anakin leaked slick into his pants and arched his hips from the feel of his beard catching against his throat.

“Why haven’t you done anything?” He nearly cried even as he squirmed on Obi-Wan’s leg and gasped from the clench of pleasure in his gut at the feel of teeth just barely grazing skin.

“It hasn’t been the time nor the—place, Anakin,” Obi-Wan breathed against his ear. “And you are healing my love—I can’t—”

Please,” he begged, baring his throat. “Please Obi-Wan, at least mark me.”

Obi-Wan shuddered a shaky sigh against his temple and tightened the fist in his sweat dampened hair. “I don’t know if I can—”

He screwed his eyes closed to hold back frustrated tears as some long buried omega instinct bared its teeth at the thought of rejection, of his husband refusing to even mark him, let alone fuck him and give him a mating bite. The force churned around him, like a storm egging on the tumultuous waves of the power and strength inside him. He felt pulled by it, tugged in two opposite directions by the ethereal strength of the force around him and the aching human need inside him.

Eyes clenched shut he arched his throat against Obi-Wan’s mouth and whimpered mindlessly, “master, please.”

He and Obi-Wan both froze and his heart, already slamming so fast against his chest, skipped a beat from the sharp jolt of horror he felt as his eyes flew back open. But Obi-Wan didn’t even give him the chance to make any horrified protests or embarrassing noises of apology before he wrenched Anakin forward by the fist in his hair and slanted their mouths together in a desperate kiss.

It was full of open-mouthed gasps and the slick movement of tongues, even as Obi-Wan bit at his lips and Anakin scrambled to hold onto his shoulders as he wriggled against the thigh still between his legs and worried he might leave a smear of slick against the door from how wet and open he felt.

“Fuck,” Obi-Wan snarled into his mouth, “fuck—unlock your door—”

He blindly swiped his wrist held communicator at the door’s handle until it beeped quietly behind him and slid open, nearly sending him straight to the floor. Obi-Wan caught him by his waist and walked him backwards into his room, the door immediately sliding back closed behind them.


“You smell so good,” he moaned against Anakin’s mouth, “darling you’re perfect—I can almost taste how wet you are for me.”

The way those words poured golden treacle down his spine and lit the core of his brain on fire. “Then taste me,” he moaned back, and then flushed bright red, horrified with himself and mortified from where that came from. He clearly needed to keep his mouth shut when he couldn’t think straight from want and pleasure.

But Obi-Wan only made a thick, pleased noise and guided him to his bunk and pushed him backwards so that the backs of his knees caught the edge and sent him sprawling to the narrow mattress. Obi-Wan crawled after him so that he straddled his hips and licked back into his mouth with fierce determination, all while Anakin squirmed under him and rolled his cock to meet the hard line of his husband’s.

All around them the heavy scent of toasted spices and woodsmoke clouded his nose and his head swam from it, from the smell of alpha want and the burn of those same spices against his tongue.

“Will you take your pants off for me?” Obi-Wan groaned against his cheek.

He froze at that and blinked, wide-eyed and embarrassed to meet Obi-Wan’s heavy lidded gaze. “I—umm—I’ve never—”

Obi-Wan’s face grew pained and he sat back on his haunches, settling his weight against Anakin’s hips and making him dig his heels against his bunk and clench against the feeling of slick smearing between his cheeks and between the backs of his thighs.

“Force—” Obi-Wan grunted. “Force you’re beautiful—you’re perfect for me, your scent—let me taste you, darling—let me pull down your pants and put my tongue inside you.”

He felt scorched from the inside out, melted down to his bones and poured back into the framework of his body. He had never ached so badly in his life, for pressure, to be filled, for the feeling of teeth against his neck—to be marked and have someone to willingly belong to.


He didn’t wait for Anakin to finish whatever tangled knot of words he was trying to string into a coherent sentence, and he flipped him onto his stomach and yanked his pants to the crease of his knees. His startled breath caught in his chest and he froze, balanced on all fours and his ass tilted up.

Obi-Wan stilled behind him with his palms on Anakin’s hips. “Are you alright, darling?”

“I—” he quavered and hid his face in embarrassment against the inner flesh of his elbow and chewed at the inside of his cheek, even as roiling over want bubbled in stomach and ate through his insides like magma. “I—I’ve never even put my fingers inside—this feels—”

Obi-Wan made some strangled, punched-out noise behind him and then flipped them again so that he sprawled over his chest in a haphazard, sweat drenched heap, with his underwear barely clinging to his hips and his pants still tangled around his knees.

“We’ll do it like this then,” he answered simply, and petted through the sweat laden mop of Anakin’s hair. “Let me take our clothes off, that will make it better.”

Obi-Wan unbuckled Anakin’s belt and slid his tabbards from his shoulders, then the layers of his obi, outer tunic, and then the thin layer of the under tunic. Obi-Wan kissed his bare shoulders and drug fingers down the ridged line of his stomach that jumped beneath the ticklish touch. Anakin, though he shook with a fine tremor and swallowed down nerves, kicked his boots to the floor and lifted his hips so that Obi-Wan could pull first his pants and then his underwear to his feet.

He sat like that for a moment, flushed and his cock pressed to his stomach, fully naked as he straddled Obi-Wan’s clothed stomach. “Uhh—we should—I’m going to ruin your tunic sitting on it.”

The look Obi-Wan gave him made him scramble to pull the fabric from his husband’s shoulders and bare his pale chest. He traced the lines of his strong pectorals in awe even as Obi-Wan jerked beneath him to kick off his own boots and pants and underclothes. Anakin petted his stomach and looked him over with feverish want, at the planes of his stomach and the thick cock pressing against his thigh. Obi-Wan smiled and squeezed his hips as he pulled him higher up his flushed stomach.

“What are you doing?” He asked, alarmed.

“I want to taste you, let me get my tongue inside you love it’s—”

“Like this?” He squawked, even as Obi-Wan yanked him forward so that he straddled his chest dusted with copper hair. “Obi-Wan I—” he began in embarrassment, having no real idea what he intended to say.

Obi-Wan’s hands slid from his thighs to grip his ass cheeks and press him forward by the fattest curve of his flank. He looked heavy lidded and flushed and Anakin’s head spun like a crashing ship from the thick scent of his heated cinnamon want, from the heady smell of alpha and his in the room.

“Lean forward darling, you can sit on my face.”

The noise that escaped him didn’t sound human and he covered his eyes with his hands, utterly mortified even though his cock visibly jumped against his stomach and he felt so wet and open he wondered if he could die from it.

Obi-Wan pulled him the last bit forward and he straddled his face, thighs shaking on either side of his head. Anakin tilted his face back and blinked to the ceiling, too embarrassed to look into Obi-Wan’s eyes as he took in the overpowering scent of how wet he was, as he felt how wet he was.

Obi-Wan pulled his cheeks apart and moaned underneath him. “Force you’re so wet for me, you’re dripping, Anakin.”

He whimpered at that, embarrassed but pleased. He didn’t know whether to be mortified or proud of how much slick smeared between his cheeks and his thighs. It was a horribly new feeling, one that still felt like it was happening to someone else’s body and he felt wanton from it. But he also wasn’t an idiot, and he knew what alphas talked about with wonder, like they’d been clocked with a brick upside the head. All the best pornholos were the ones of dripping omegas, and the wetter the better.

He didn’t know if it was the hormone surge from the lack of an implant or if it was the strength of his own want and desperation, but Obi-Wan wasn’t talking him up, wasn’t faking how stunned and drunk he sounded, because Anakin was soaked with it, sticky and slick with his own want.

Obi-Wan moaned and tilted his head and then Anakin clapped a hand over his mouth to muffle the wail breaking past his lips at the feel of a scratchy beard and lips and tongue licking where he ached to be filled.

O—Ohhhh—” he moaned between his fingers and Obi-Wan clenched his hands to pull him deeper against his mouth.

It felt—it felt like he’d swallowed scalding water and might boil alive from his own arousal, from the naked bleeding need brimming over from his entire being into the force. Obi-Wan felt it, he had to, and he hummed, pleased, and wanting from the feel of Anakin’s force signature writhing in pleasure.

Obi-Wan licked at his hole and along the crease of him, making obscene squelching noises as he lapped up Anakin’s slick.

“Obi-Wan,” he breathed and tried not to cant his hips, hyperaware and worried that he might suffocate his husband between his legs, “Obi-Wan.”

Obi-Wan came up for air for a moment and bit at the inside of his thigh, his face flushed and glistening wet from his slick. He looked heavy lidded and blissed as he licked his lips. “The taste of you.”

Anakin hid his face again and muffled a strangled noise, caught again between being mortified and pleased. Even past all the slick smeared between his legs, his cock throbbed hot and heavy against his stomach and had just begun weeping the first pearlescent beads of precome at its tip.

“You can ride my face, darling, I don’t mind.”

His cock jumped against his stomach and he brought a fist to his mouth and bit at the meat of his palm to stifle the ragged noise torn from his throat. “Obi-Wan,” he breathed, mortified, and scorched out.

Obi-Wan grinned crookedly, all teeth and crinkled eyes and then pulled Anakin forward again to wriggle his tongue against his hole. He shattered apart in a second and widened the stance of his hips to tentatively rock against Obi-Wan’s mouth and he moaned brokenly from the slick pressure of it.

Tentative rocking morphed into desperate wriggling as he sought more friction—more pressure where he ached to be filled, where he throbbed almost painfully just at the thought of taking Obi-Wan’s thick cock. He continued to leak more slick too in his desperation, so that it dampened the insides of his thighs and the backs of his legs and he wondered faintly, past the pleasure and still lingering embarrassment, how Obi-Wan hadn’t drowned yet.

But wriggling gave way to frantic wining and the half aborted jerks of his hips that were growing sloppier until he finally reached down to thread both hands in Obi-Wan’s hair and beg, “Obi-Wan please, I need—I need more—” he broke off in frustration and then nearly toppled to the bed at the feel of Obi-Wan instantly sliding his fingers to press around his tongue and then inside of him

Fuck,” he spat, clenching his fingers against Obi-Wan’s scalp for purchase and his vision swam from the feeling of finally thank the force finally. He ached to be filled further but for now, oh this would do. He wriggled and ground his hips, throwing his head back to pant at the lancing spikes of pleasure from Obi-Wan’s fingers inside of him. And then those fingers crooked and for a stilted moment he thought he came from the piercing jolt of pleasure in his gut as his cock drooled a thick smear of precome across his stomach.

He stilled and his thighs shook and Obi-Wan drew his mouth away from him with a mortifying wet sound. “Are you alright?” He asked, looking dazed and heavy lidded.

“I need you inside me,” fell from his lips desperately. “Please—I want you to hold me down and mark me—please.

Obi-Wan wound his arms around his thighs and flipped him to the bunk with a speed and strength that astounded him and made his stomach turn over with shocky want. He grabbed Anakin’s thighs and fell between the splayed line of his legs, pulling his ankles up so that his heels rested on his shoulders.

Obi-Wan fell over him then and pressed them close and heated and intimate for a moment, with their cocks wet and trapped between their stomachs and their foreheads gentled together. Through the fog of Obi-Wan’s spiced scent of arousal and the turbulent thrashing of the force, he felt a gentle, golden lit tug on their training bond and the love that awaited him on the other side of it.

Obi-Wan smiled at him, crooked and gentle and then kissed him slowly, parting Anakin’s lips with his tongue to leave the taste of his own sweet slick on his lips. “You are so beautiful—so perfect for me. I tried to force you to submit to me before—oh but you’ll be so good for me now, won’t you, darling?”

Anakin quaked underneath him and moaned against his mouth as he frantically drew him back in for a kiss. “Yes—yes,” he murmured, “Tell me what to do—I’ll be so good—I—” He broke off from a bitten back keen as Obi-Wan, still bracing his weight on one hand above his head, gripped Anakin’s thigh with the other and pushed inside of him.

Force—fucking stars but he gripped at Obi-Wan’s shoulders and tried not to let his mind and force signature spin out of orbit from the limits of his body. He realized, distantly, that he was just moaning oh—oh—oh, like something out of a holo as he gasped for air that didn’t seem to want to fill his lungs.

“That’s it,” Obi-Wan crooned against the sweat soaked line of his temple, “oh that’s perfect, darling, just like that. My beautiful—such a good omega for me.”

The jagged, almost violent spark of pleasure that jolted down his spine at that, felt sharp as a vibroblade. “Fuck,” he wobbled shakily, “—please master.”

Obi-Wan snarled and fucked inside of him with deep, rocking thrusts that made terribly wet noises from the slick smeared between his legs and soaking the sheets beneath them. “Was my tongue and fingers the first thing inside of you?” He panted against Anakin’s cheek and sloppily worked his teeth against the underside of his jaw.

He arched from the feel of his mouth, of his cock, of his spiced scent and warm breath, of his blue eyes shadowed by a sweat soaked lock of copper hair. “Yes,” he panted in turn, “I ached for it—I ached to have you inside me—”

Obi-Wan pulled his legs higher to cross behind his head and folded himself tight in the space made between his legs so that he wound fingers in his sweat drenched curls and pulled his head aside to mouth at his salt slicked throat.

“Did you?” He rumbled, catching his teeth playfully on tendon. “All those nights I thought you dreamed of fucking me, you laid on your bed, wet and desperate for me, didn’t you, darling?”

His back bowed and he clenched fingers in Obi-Wan’s damp hair to keep his mouth on his neck while he thrust inside him and made him thrum like an electric wire from pleasure.

“I didn’t know what to do,” he whimpered, “I needed you—”

“I know,” Obi-wan licked against his skin, “I’m sorry my love—I’ll be good for you too—I—”

His cock wept between them and he took it in his shaky hand and simply held his slick, leaking head and throbbed from the sweet ache of taking Obi-Wan’s cock deep inside him. “Then give me what I need—please—”

Obi-Wan tugged at his curls and sucked bruised against his throat and for a quavering moment, he wavered on the edge of orgasm, his cock swollen and leaking thick smears of sticky precome against his fingers.

“What do you need, darling?” Obi-Wan sucked into the hollow of his throat. “What can I give you?”

“Please,” he sobbed, releasing desperation into the force, into their bond, “Obi-Wan—m—master bite me please.

“Fuck,” Obi-Wan gritted and then yanked his head back by a twist of curls to bare the arched line of his throat, the taught tendon, the sharp lines of his Adam’s apple, the purple hollows of his collarbone.

He exposed the naked, vulnerable line of his throat, Anakin shuddered and then Obi-Wan moaned and sunk his teeth into golden flesh.

The world flared, just for a moment, with such a tremor in the force that he worried how far the reach of it cast. It burst like a supernova behind his eyes with a crackling jolt of pleasure that felt like life itself and tasted of green tendrils and dewdrops and crystalline, bottled starlight.

He spilled into his hand as almost an afterthought, shuddering through the pulses of his orgasm as Obi-Wan’s groan muffled against his throat and he came in hot pulses inside him.

He throbbed with hazy, euphoric pleasure from the feel of his husband’s mouth on his neck, of his teeth pressed deep enough to break skin and it hurt too, but the ache of it only grounded his pleasure, only made him shiver with the toe curling wonder that he bore his husband’s mark and would until the day he became one with the force.

Obi-Wan finally unclenched the powerful line of his teeth and pulled away from his throat with blood smeared across his lips. He looked drunk, or maybe as if he were hit in the head, and then he smiled wide and brilliant, the one that showed every one of his straight, white teeth.

“Oh dear one,” Obi-Wan sighed and petted sweaty curls away from his face. “The force itself gave you to me. I love you—I love you,” he murmured against his lips.

Tears gathered hot and heavy in the corners of his eyes and he blinked quickly, willing them away, though they gathered like dewdrops on his eyelashes against his will. “And I love you.”

Obi-Wan smiled like he might shatter apart from it, his own eyes bright and dewy as he slowly pulled out from Anakin and then dabbed fingertips at the tender half circle wounds on his throat. “You’re still bleeding, let’s get some bacta on you. I can’t have you survive a broken implant and then die from infection.”

“I hope it aches for days,” he sighed, pulling Obi-Wan back into his arms to pepper kisses at the corners of his mouth, ignoring the coppery taste of blood and the prickles of his beard.

Obi-Wan rumbled a gravely laugh against his lips, “darling your throat is black with bruises.”

The come on his stomach hadn’t even dried but his stomach swooped at the thought of walking around so marked, that everyone would know he bore his husband’s, his alpha’s mating bite. It meant he belonged, that even years of lies and misery couldn’t take away who he was. “Mmm, then I hope they last even longer.”

“If not,” Obi-Wan groaned against his jaw, “I certainly won’t suffer to give you more.”

It hurt to arch his neck, but he bore the line of his throat anyway and tried not to squirm wet and wanting beneath his husband.


Chapter Text

Why, 'some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.' I was
one, sir, in this interlude

Act V.Scene I.

“Are you frightened?”

Anakin tilted his face away from the viewport window. In the ghostly, artificial light of the ship the shadows of his sharp features made him look hollowed and weary. But more than the cut of his cheekbones and the dark skin beneath his eyes, it was the berry-stained bruises and twin red halfmoons on his throat that stood out the most and cast the exhaustion he wore as debauched rather than war worn. It didn’t help that he smelled as sweet and satisfied as amber syrup. Every time he ran fingers along the tender, raised skin of his mating bite, his scent only sparked with brushfire, like sap boiled on an open fire. He either didn’t realize or didn’t care that he smelled heated and wet, but either way it made Obi-Wan feel like a panting dog pacing in a cage.

Anakin smiled crookedly though it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Of what, the Sith Lord who is also Chancellor of the Republic and was like a father to me; the Council who I have to inform I am a mated omega. That I took an entire GAR legion without permission to assist in the escape of a well-known darksider who has been a bane to the Jedi throughout the whole war, and that we nearly totaled a Star Destroyer in the process, or the entire Galaxy and Holonet who are going to soon realize that I am not an alpha or anything they believe I am?”

“You are many things they believe you to be, but that is besides the point. I meant the Council specifically.”

Anakin grimaced at that and turned back to the window to watch the stars bleed past in shivery arcs of cerulean light. “I—yes I suppose I am.”

“I think you needn’t be. It might be a useless thing to say, when you have spent so long hiding, with this—fear ingrained in your bones, but I think you will find it an unneeded anticipation.”

Anakin’s mouth thinned. “It’s not—as simple as that. I wish it was, but it’s a part of me.”

In the stillness between them, woven through their quiet breaths and the gentle rise and fall of their chests he looked at Anakin, really looked at him. In the force, he glinted like beaten brass, golden yet worn and bruised. He wore his wounded hurts much like his heart, cupped in his open palms and offered to any living soul who might take it and treat him tender.

He hadn’t wanted tenderness behind closed doors…but then, Anakin always delighted in sparking his aggression, in pushing or egging him on to the point of breaking. The sound of him begging to be bitten, begging for Obi-Wan to hold him down and fuck him played through the back of his mind every time his eyes caught against the livid wound against his throat.

But force—his scent—the sticky taste of his slick with the tight press of his thighs against his head. He felt like a fighter knocked from its course, spinning around and around, continuously caught on the memory of Anakin arching the line of his throat and moaning, of the desperate scent of wanting omega. It was not the time nor the place for his thoughts to be so basely stuck. Anakin looked terrified, was still recovering from a crushed implant, a lifetime of suppression, a major galactic battle, and they faced a Sith Lord on Coruscant.

And yet—the man he married, the Jedi the galaxy worshipped and adored, who had smelled of smoke and want since he knew him, who had looked at him with darkened, begging eyes, who he found himself loving and wanting in return, now smelled of wet and eager omega. Not just omega, but still Anakin, like the wild green of the force and smoked, dripping sweet wanton lust. Had he ached for him so ardently the whole time, imploring him with his wide eyes and the burnt scent of melted metal and flame? Knowing now, that for months while he snapped his teeth and bit back aggression and aggravation while his omega bared his throat and wanted him, felt like an electrical fire in the base of his skull.

His own scent deepened, furling with the stinging scent of spices in the small space between them. Anakin’s lips parted and his own scent welled wet and sweet, sticky and green as plant nectar.

“That isn’t fair,” he said thinly.

“What isn’t?”

“For you to smell like you want me,” Anakin bit back. “I can barely control myself as it is.”

“That is rather a predicament.”

“Because Jedi are supposed to have control?” Anakin sniped, a sharp edge to his tone.

“Because I always want you.”

Anakin’s mouth puckered as if he sucked on sour Jungan fruit.

“You don’t believe me?” He attempted to ask playfully, even as he eyed Anakin’s shadowed reflection.

“Maybe I will.”

He did not understand Anakin’s disbelief of his want, when breaking him had been the embarrassingly simple matter of breathing the word master. It shamed him in some way, the way he ached for it, the way his gut flipped so sharply in response to Anakin gasping it out and smelling like spring growth. It drew attention to what his heart ached for, and underlined the embarrassing need he felt for Anakin to be his when he had spent so long verbally lashing Anakin for wanting and needing the same. Anakin questioned his want when just the thought of his husband wet for him sent his mind careening and crash landing through sub atmosphere.

“Darling, I love you,” he murmured. “I have found myself entirely made of want for you.”

Obi-Wan had, of course, been inside of the Jedi temple before, years prior during his first collaborative efforts with Qui-Gon Jinn, to speak on behalf of the Senate before the Jedi Council. And then again only months before, what felt like a lifetime ago when he came before the Council once more to swear a private oath, not just towards the alliance, but to protect the knight he meant to marry.

No matter what Anakin thought, he was precious to the Jedi, and he knew the Council loathed to place him in more peril or strain than was already required. It had not been a requirement to swear fealty, but at the time he considered it only one of many duties, if only to ease any Jedi Masters’ minds.

It felt different returning to the towering halls under far stranger circumstances. The staggering marble columns and great windows of spilling light once seemed such…far removed dreams, ethereal and impossible to grasp. But the force—the solid grip of a lightsaber hilt—were now things far less intangible.

He followed behind Anakin’s stalking form through the halls, the broad shadows of his shoulders and the sweeping fall of his cloak. Here especially, he saw the way Anakin walked, the way he held himself, tall and strong. Though more graceful than most alphas could be, he moved as a soldier, as a creature honed from war. The tender furl of his sweet, green scent, dew laden and as sharply verdant as a spring morning; and the livid red mating bite set against the long column of his throat far from detracted from the spectacle of his power.

He was a thing of staggering beauty, with windswept honeyed curls and the sharp planes of his muscles juxtaposed with the full curve of his mouth, the jagged line of his scar, and now the florid mark of Obi-Wan’s teeth in his golden skin. He looked every fiber the venerated and beloved Jedi general the Holonet worshipped, more even, for the beauty of Obi-Wan’s mating bite, for the delicate green of his scent instead of overpowering smoke and flame.

“Wait here just a moment,” Anakin murmured, looking skittish and drawn outside the Council chamber’s doors. “They are expecting you, but not like this.”

Anakin pushed through the doors and so he stood in the hall alone, feeling wrung thin and tested to his every limit. So terribly much had transpired over such short a span, and though he considered himself of strong stock, and he knew Anakin to come from something even stronger, they were only men.

He took a deep breath and drew on the force around him as a long familiar comfort, searching for peace amongst the waves of his own anxiety and fear. And they did have much to fear—so much uncertainty, so many odds to face. But giving into fear only bred darkness, and so alone in the hall he turned to the gentle warmth of the light and forced himself to wait patiently.

Finally, the chamber door opened, and he stepped into the circle of council seats to stand beside Anakin, who looked ready to hurl on his own boots as he stood silent with his hands clasped against the small of his back.

“Senator Kenobi,” Master Windu said with such a tone of exasperation he instantly understood Anakin’s ill expression. “It is good to see you well and returned to Coruscant in one piece, given the circumstances.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “we are immensely lucky.”

“Luck, nothing to do with I think—hmm,” Master Yoda lilted.

Master Windu steepled his fingers with a stern expression. “We’ll come back to that in a moment. Skywalker, you said you wished to discuss the obvious with the Senator present, I think now is the time for you to proceed.”

He glanced between the Council members and carefully watched their expressions, felt the tension in the room and the strange stillness to the force around them. Anakin took a shuddery breath beside him and his own sternum ached piercingly in sympathy.

“I’m—” Anakin paused and Obi-Wan finally looked to him to see his eyes closed and his face openly agonized before he seemed to steel himself. “I’m an omega.”

The Council kept still and patiently quiet around them while Anakin visibly fought with himself in the center of the room, looking painfully pale and frightened.

“I—” His bottom lip wobbled for a moment and Obi-Wan lent him the warmth of himself as best as he knew how, brushing against him in the force just as he would tuck an errant curl behind his ear.

He took a deep breath and swallowed thickly. “My mother hid that I was an omega on Tatooine with a suppressant implant. I had it—as long as I can remember. She told me that I had to keep myself hidden, to protect myself, that it was more important than anything that I keep it secret. And then Master Jinn found me, and the Jedi took me in and—I knew—deep down that I wouldn’t be unsafe for it among the Jedi. But—” he stuttered to a pause and Obi-Wan glanced between the masters gathered around them, eyeing each of their carefully neutral faces.  

“I was so afraid, and I know it isn’t the Jedi way,” he added hurriedly.

“To judge your fear, why we are here it is not,” Master Yoda added with a tap of his gammer. “Fear, a natural and understandable emotion, it is. Give into the fear, be guided by it, what we teach against. Condemn you for an understandable fear is not why you are here, but tell us Knight Skywalker, why kept silent till now you have?”

“I—I was guided by my fear, Master Yoda,” he admitted, ducking his head to his hide his eyes. “I’ve been—I’ve lived by it always. I was content to keep it secret when the alternative seemed too terrifying to contemplate, and then—then it wasn’t just the Order looking at me—and then—well then you asked me to marry Obi-Wan. And I thought—I thought I could still hide who I am even when I hated it—and I hated who I was and what I felt like I had to be to serve this Republic and—” he stopped to take a deep breath and the entire room felt to hang on a thread of tension.

Anakin cleared his throat and seemed to settle himself before he began again. “To be honest, masters, I had never really planned to tell the truth—to face my fear, I thought-well I thought I would carry it forever. And then—well—” his voice broke horribly and Obi-Wan realized with a lurch, that open tears glinted fat and heavy in his eyes. “You asked me to marry for the alliance—for the good of the galaxy and then—well I fell in love with him.”

“So choose to face your fear, in the end you did?”

“No,” Anakin admitted to his boots. “During our duel with Count Dooku my suppressant implant was crushed. You all read my report—you know Ventress helped us and what happened during the battle. Ahsoka and the 501st performed beyond par and are almost singlehandedly responsible for the mass destruction of the Separatist fleet. And Obi-Wan—I was, almost entirely incapacitated from my destroyed implant and it was Senator Kenobi, Ahsoka and Ventress who faced General Grievous.”

“And we are grateful for your padawan and men’s actions,” Master Windu interjected smoothly. “And yet, Skywalker, this circles back to you.”

Obi-Wan stiffened at his sharp tone and glanced to the other masters unsurely while attempting to maintain his own neutral expression. It was not his place to leap towards Anakin’s defense, not here, not as a civilian, and not when, technically speaking his husband had taken an entire GAR legion unsanctioned to rescue a darksider with said civilian.

“You left Coruscant with the 501st not only without the Council’s permission, but without any Republic sanction and the public figure of Senator Kenobi on board who was meant as an allying figure during the Jedi’s difficult times with galactic acceptance. You rashly and recklessly risked your life, your husband’s life, your padawan’s life, and every soldier’s life within your legion. You have lied to the Council about your designation since you were nine, lied to the Order you promised your loyalty to, lied to the Senator you married, and now risked the very alliance you swore yourself to. You have put everything at risk with seemingly little to no thought of the consequences, even going so far as to half train Senator Kenobi here in the force and with a stolen lightsaber, putting him at immense risk.”

“Master—” Obi-Wan bit out desperately while he mentally scabbled, thinking of the many interjections and furious points of support at hand.

Master Windu raised a hand, expression furrowed and imposing. “Skywalker, you must understand that we do see the good that has come from your decisions. The matter at hand is ultimately that you and your men have defeated the Separatists and brought the war to a close. And we see now, we recognize the personal burden and cost of your sacrifice when you agreed to marry for the alliance. Your actions have borne fruit, but it is not only the victory of the Republic that we worry, but the good of every individual in this order. To follow the light side of the force is not always an easy path, and certainly not a clear one. But you have again and again chosen a path of self-destruction and pain with little care for your own hurts or the later repercussions to your impulsiveness.”

“The path of a Jedi is to serve the good of others before ourselves,” Anakin said, quiet and hoarse.

Master Ti leaned forward at that, her movement startling in the near total stillness of the chamber. “The force is all things, and we are in the force and it is a tenant of who we are to serve. But masochism is not what we believe. Pain is the way of the darkside, to hold it close and nurture it so that it stays with you always, that is only a path to anguish.”

“I would like,” Obi-Wan murmured, “to say something if I may.”

“Hear your thoughts, Senator, we would,” Master Yoda answered.

“I know that I am not a Jedi and that my position here is a biased one, but I would argue that his actions in the past few days, while perhaps rash, have entirely been made with thoughts of the consequences. Since we first married, I have known Anakin to care immensely for the well being of his men, the safety of the Jedi, and the good of the Republic. I would in fact argue, that his thoughts sometimes entirely lie, if not agonize over the future’s repercussions and the consequences of his choices.”

“No one here,” said Master Fisto, “could question Anakin’s loyalty and dedication to others, Senator. His ceaseless dedication to the protection of others is an astounding upholding of the Jedi’s belief in serving and protecting.”

“Fear, your choices made from,” Master Yoda supplied softly. “Fear of loss, of defeat you have.”

Master Windu’s expression, while still severe, softened to one of concern. “This is not an inquisition, Skywalker, nor a hearing. Your briefing was worrisome for a multitude of reasons but when you came before us it was as an omega, a mated one at that. You have experienced many hardships, and many traumas in a short span. It is not the usual business of the Council to question a Jedi’s choice in mating, merely our practice that we trust your decision made with deep reflection and acknowledgement of your ability to act—to love without attachment. I tell you this from a position of worry, for your wellbeing, your fear, and your tendency towards attachment in the first place.”

Anakin seemed to mull his words over as he worked his jaw. “I know that many of my choices have been from fear and that—is what we teach against, to guard ourselves from being led by our emotions. But there are many choices I have made which I do not regret, and the way I sought information to save my men is one of them.”

“But ready to mate, were you?” Master Yoda asked. “Much darkness, sensed in you I have.”

“I know,” Anakin answered softly. “But he is the best decision I have ever made. Obi-Wan was not raised a Jedi, but he embodies everything we believe in and teach and he—he is the best of us, and the best of me. I am not meant to be alone, masters.”

“See Kenobi’s light we do, his strength and balance. Worry simply, of the many things, so quickly you have faced, the many opposing directions that pull you.”

“And many of those opposing directions have been for the alliance and behalf of the Republic,” Anakin sighed as he glanced to the side to meet Obi-Wan’s eye. “Much of the past few weeks stems from the darkness clouding the force, not from my designation or personal struggles.”

“Which does bring us to what you wrote in your report, Skywalker. You mentioned quite cryptically of sensing darkness.”

“Forgive the ambiguity masters, this was a matter I wanted no one outside of this room to know of. When we left to assist in Ventress’s escape it was with Quinlan Vos’s confirmation that she could retrieve information on the chips, but when she gave me the datachip she also confirmed the identity of the Sith Lord Darth Maul mentioned, a figure we have long suspected of lurking in the shadows.”

Nearly all of the masters leaned forward in their seats and Master Windu laid his hands against his knees, looking ready to stand at any moment. “You discovered who the Sith Lord is?”

“It—it’s the Chancellor.”

“That isn’t possible,” Master Ti replied softly. “It is very probable that the information Asajj Ventress retrieved is false.”

“It isn’t,” both he and Anakin said together.

“She managed to save enough footage of him, it is—without question. He is responsible for the war—the clones—the alliance—”

Master Windu drug a hand over his face and sighed. “I have sensed a plot to destroy the Jedi, and the dark side of the force from within the Senate. Play the footage for us, Skywalker.”

Anakin fitted the datachip into the room’s holoprojector and the still jarring sight of the Chancellor jumped into hazy, sapphire shape.

“My Lord Sidious,” Count Dooku’s voice graveled beyond the view of the recording. “You wished to speak with me.”

The footage played out before them, of careful calculations in the senate, between the GAR and Separatist fleets, the Trade Federation, and every other number of galactic parties. He wove his spindled webs with a thin pressed mouth and a cold, hollow look behind his eyes, as if his own successes or victories did not even bring him pleasure. He discussed too, the Jedi/Senate alliance and his absolute trust that his and Anakin’s marriage would fail.

It seemed a narrow-minded matter, that in this Sidious was wrong because he could not imagine an alpha/alpha pair ever finding success. It was grossly undervaluing of Anakin’s strength, and both of their resolve to defend and protect the Jedi and Republic. And yet, in all his careful and intricate plans, at the core of them sat the wrong and rotted idea of their failure.

It was an encouraging thought, that a figure so powerful and terrifying, who had wreaked so much darkness and terror, unchecked and with seeming total victory, was ultimately wrong.

Past the luminescent, blue light of the holo projection, Obi-Wan watched the masters’ faces slowly slant with open horror. The force stretched thin as gossamer thread, pulled taught by every force sensitive in the room.

“He is the Sith Lord we have been looking for,” Anakin said. “And we must act before he can destroy all of our men—if the chips activate—”

“It will be genocide,” Master Windu answered with a weariness that hung from his bones.

“Act quickly, we must, when so blind we have been.”

“We must weigh our decisions very carefully. Sidious is canny and shrouded in the dark side, he knows this order, how we react and the choices we make to protect the citizens of this galaxy,” Master Windu said, hands clasped between his legs.

Obi-Wan cleared his throat. “On that I may be able to offer some assistance. If the Council approaches him, I am sure he will suspect your discovery and escape or attack viciously. But if I can distract or occupy him—”

Anakin bristled like a startled Tooka Cat and nearly hissed from behind his teeth at that. “Absolutely not—”

He noticed, when he glanced to him, that curls stuck to his temples with sweat and that color sat high and ruddy on his cheeks. It startled him a little, and he parted his lips to take in the green of his scent, which tasted heavy and salt laden, as if thick and muggy clouds hung over the forest of his scent, fat with burgeoning rain.

Since landing on Coruscant Anakin’s temper had remained short and snappish and his nerves frayed to an edge. He attributed the sourness to the impending dread of the Council and the fear of Sidious, the fear for his men and padawan and the Order he loved. But even in the dimmed evening light of the chamber, Anakin looked flushed with fever and he worried with a sudden and stomach-turning jolt, if he faced another medical complication from the destroyed implant. It was certainly within Anakin’s character to keep silent and suffer through more pain when he was so afraid for others and a new victory sat before him in need of fighting by the hero with no fear.

“That is not your decision, Skywalker. Though I too am remiss to send you as bait for a Sith Lord, Senator.”

“Send the both of us then,” Anakin grated out. “He orchestrated the alliance to fail, he has never suspected I am an omega. Our—our mating and marriage would be the best possible distraction in our arsenal when he is so invested in our failure.”

Master Windu and Master Yoda exchanged a weighted glance and Master Yoda’s ears dropped a little as he sighed. “Agree, we do, that you both would serve as a good distraction, though very careful we must be.”

“Senator Kenobi,” Master Windu intoned. “It might be best if you comm the Chancellor and request a meeting.”

“I’ll do it,” Anakin interrupted with vehemence, voice wound tight and rough. “He responds well to my personal comms and has tried to call me already once we landed on Coruscant.”

“Anakin,” Master Ti said softly, “you must think clearly going forward. Do not let your feelings cloud your judgement. We must arrest Palpatine, or Sidious as he calls himself, and bring him before the Galactic Republic Court for trial.”

“I do understand, masters,” he bit out, a sharpened edge to his tone. In the clouded green of his scent, smoke gathered, as if some distant underbrush fire leaked its kindled flames through the still trees.

“Then the Council will wait for you and Senator Kenobi to meet with the Chancellor before we move to arrest him. I think it best you decide on a regiment of your men to station at the Senatorial building as well.”

“May the force be with us all,” Master Yoda added, eyes furrowed and grave.

“You are unwell,” he accused outside the Council Chamber.

Anakin frowned and pushed heavy curls from his forehead that clung damp to his heated skin. “I—I think it may just be my hormones still trying to find equilibrium. I’m just a little warm is all, I swear.”

“I don’t feel good about this,” he bit back, tasting the strange storm cloud heaviness to Anakin’s scent. “We know how powerful he is, and you are far from recovered and at full strength.”

“So you thought you would risk your life with a Sith Lord alone?” Anakin spat from behind his teeth, the blue of his eyes slanted durasteel gray and narrowed. “He isn’t Dooku or Grievous, which was dangerous enough.”

“Anakin,” he fought with himself for a moment, “I love you, and I will fight with everything I have to defend the innocents of this galaxy, the Jedi, but also you. I will not stand aside and watch you face this alone when I know I can stand with you.”

Anakin’s eyes creased at the corners and his full mouth softened, tender and delicate. “I’m afraid of losing you, that I won’t be enough to protect you.” He blinked aside, distracted as he pulled out his comm.

Only seconds passed before the communicator connected. “Anakin my boy, I was beginning to worry! I heard such jovial congratulations are in order, you took out half of the Separatist fleet in one fell swoop!”

Anakin bared his teeth and Obi-Wan fought a similar expression from Sidious’s tone, from the horror that creeped up his spine with the knowledge of their closeness through the years, of his multitudes of manipulations and machinations.

“I am sorry, sir, reporting the situation was more complicated than I expected.”

Sidious’s voice lilted, seemingly innocently questioning. “Complications? I hope not after such a victory.”

“Not complications with that,” Anakin’s voice took on an embarrassed edge, “personal complications I won’t bother you with.”

They both stared at the comm and waited through the pregnant pause that came. “Oh my dear boy, I do hope this had nothing to with Senator Kenobi and the alliance.”

“—Well in a matter, yes sir, but I won’t bother you—”

“Now, now, General. None of that demurring, you are like a son to me, surely you must know these matters are of importance to me.”

Anakin bared his teeth again with a harassed expression and his scent, already so unusually thickened, darkened still so that it filled the hall of the Jedi temple and brought back distant memories of overpowering smoke and flame.

He took a deep breath and let silence build for a moment. “I am glad to hear it, sir, but I would prefer to talk with you in person—whenever you have the time of course.”

“My boy,” he cooed, pleased and saccharine. “I always have time for you. Come by my office now if you are free, it seems to be weighing on you.”

Anakin answered with fervent gratefulness. “Thank you, sir—thank you—I—well I think I should bring Obi-Wan as well—”

Another pause and Obi-Wan glanced to Anakin, red cheeked and warm beside him, looking feverish and not nearly as well as he proclaimed. The small ache of his chest in answer to the sight of his husband felt at once a pang of worry and ardent affection.

“Of course,” Sidious answered carefully. “I will be sure to block some time for the both of you when you arrive.”

When the comm disconnected Anakin wiped sweat from his throat, which looked flushed and blotchy from heat underneath the still vivid pink of the mating bite, and took an unsteady breath. “I’m a terrible liar, I don’t know how we’re going to make it through this.”

“I am sure your scent and the bite will be enough of a distraction until the Council intervenes.”

Anakin’s mouth thinned into a flat, displeased line though he kept silent through the halls of the temple until they boarded a cruiser to the senatorial buildings. They sat for a moment, oddly poised and tense, until Obi-Wan felt dizzy from the strength of Anakin’s scent in the small, enclosed space, which hung hot and humid with the smell of damp forest and morning fog amongst green trees.

“Are you sure you are alright?” He rasped into the stillness.

Anakin pulled at the neck of his tunics, yanking at leather tabards and linen pressed against the tender flush of his mating bite. “I—I just feel so warm.

Between the frenetic flashes of neon lights through the cruiser windows, Anakin’s features lit blue and violet and red, illuminated bright then blanketed in darkness. Obi-Wan studied him. “I’m terribly worried—you should have seen a doctor the moment we landed planetside.”

Anakin’s expression flickered unsurely between the brief glimpses of light. “It doesn’t feel like before, not bad just—I feel so hot and—” he stopped suddenly with a stricken expression.

Alarm crackled down his spine, hot as lightning. “What—Anakin what?”

“I—” he rubbed at his throat and turned his head, blinking aside. “I’ve never—I don’t know what it feels like, but it may be heat.”

 His face washed cold and pinpricked from lack of blood and the bitterness of his own panicked scent flooded the cruiser. “You cannot go—you can’t go near Sidious. Anakin we must—”

“No,” Anakin snapped. “This changes nothing, I’m not even sure this is—I just feel strange is all.”

Anakin,” he begged. “Anakin please—you will be so vulnerable—”

“I survived a battlefield with a busted implant and unable to stand. I can stall a Sith for a few minutes I think.”

“And you are still weak, you are far from full strength and I have as much training as a temple youngling.”

“Obi-Wan,” Anakin laid flesh fingers against his arm and through the force he felt a tendril of warmth, a gentle and loving caress against his mind. “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”

“I love you,” he said desperately.

“And I love you,” Anakin whispered, smelling of damp moss and rain laden trees, and curling underneath, like brushfire and want.

  “You brought your saber?” Anakin asked in the hall outside the Chancellor’s office.

Obi-Wan leveled him an incredulous expression and fought the urge to pat at his tunic where is sat against his hip beneath the fabric. The situation felt in one, ridiculous and terrifying, with Anakin red and slicked with sweat and Obi-Wan toting around a lightsaber he only half knew how to use outside of a Sith’s personal office.

“Anakin my boy!” He called when they knocked, beckoning them through the door.

He took a deep breath as he followed behind Anakin’s strong frame, taking in his thick, furling scent. It worried him, the way it caught his attention and felt such a distraction, like a barbed hook in the back of his skull to jerk his eyes to the way Anakin’s shoulders moved when he walked, to the way his curls plastered to his neck with sweat.

But his attention immediately slanted to Sidious sitting behind his desk and the way his expression faltered, smile wavering when his eyes immediately caught on Anakin’s throat.

He set a datapad aside and frowned to himself as he smoothed a hand down his velvet tunic. “I may see why you wished to discuss this in person, my boy. Whatever is going on?”

He stood beside Anakin and pushed down the instinct to bare his teeth and step protectively before his husband.

“It isn’t easily explainable over a comm, sir,” Anakin answered softly, demurely even, and it raised his hackles even more.

“Explain it to me now then.”

Anakin glanced to Obi-Wan and his eyes softened, and though he knew it was for the benefit of their audience, the expression still made his chest ache sweetly.

“I am—not who everyone has believed me to be—”

“I can see that,” Sidious responded drily, a small part of his kindly façade crackling under his obvious rage which heated the force around them with a peculiar tension. In the past that odd tension had gone unnoticed, maybe because he lacked training, or maybe because he never knew to look, but it snagged his thoughts now, like working his tongue over a sore tooth.

“Sir I—”

“Why have you come to me, smelling of omega in heat, and with a mating bite set against your throat?” Sidious snapped, voice drawn and impatient.

“I should think the answer is obvious, sir,” Obi-Wan responded coolly.

Sidious’s eyes flickered to him, though his expression remained indecipherable. “Forgive me, the both of you,” he finally said, leaning back in his chair with clasped hands. “This is…very shocking for an old man like me. The whole galaxy has always thought you an alpha, my boy. But I—all I can assume is that you have chosen to break the alliance to take an alpha’s bite. I must admit I am…disappointed, when we have come so far with your marriage.”

His calculations never ceased, even in a moment of surprise he lied flawlessly, with seeming ease. He could not admit he knew Obi-Wan an alpha, could not reveal his rage or contempt at miscalculating so badly.

 “No, your eminence,” he said, pressing fingers to Anakin’s side as he felt him ripple oddly through their bond, a flutter as light as a bird’s wings. “I am not a beta.”

“You entered a marriage as an alpha…under the assumption that you were marrying another alpha?” Sidious queried with seeming intrigue, though the glee in his eyes felt true, perhaps the only lie he didn’t slither from behind his teeth with ease.

“For the good of the Republic I would do anything.”

Sidious blinked at Anakin then with eyebrows arched high. The expression set his teeth on edge, even as Anakin swayed against his hand still pressed to his side. A stilted moment later and he tasted the sticky scent of sap on the back of his tongue, heavy and sweet. He bit down a horrified noise, realizing he could smell Anakin’s slick, and that Sidious could too.

“I do appreciate the degree of importance here, though—” Sidious paused dryly, his mouth pursed. “I do wonder why it was of such tantamount need to happen now. Anakin my boy, you can hardly stand—”

Anakin stiffened, even as he looked flushed and dazed and smelled as heated as a molten forge. “I can stand just fine, sir. We simply thought you should know before the Holonet catches wind, before it becomes public.”

“But surely,” he objected, “this could have waited. This is highly embarrassing for you to be out like this, a comm would have—” he paused then, and his expression narrowed. “My dear senator, if I am not mistaken you are wearing a lightsaber on your hip.”

They both froze, though Anakin trembled against his hand and made a high noise, so faint he only felt it from where their skin touched. “It was given to me for self-protection during our altercation with the Separatists, though I cannot say it did me any good,” he forced a laugh. “I can barely hold it without taking my own hand off.”

The room felt wretchedly tense, the force as placid as a still lake, with the insidious threat of some deep and endless current far underneath the crystalline and peaceful surface.

“I do believe,” Sidious said pleasantly and stood, “that you are lying to me—the both of you.”

Anakin nearly panted beside him and his muscles tensed, even as his voice somehow remained perfectly innocent. “Sir—I know you must be hurt that I did not tell you, but we came here to—”

“Do not, presume to think me simple or ignorant,” he said with ice. “I think I do see—and I admit you managed to surprise me, in this at least.”

The force, flashed in sharp, bright warning-like the plasma bolt of a blaster and they both reached for their sabers without thought.

A scarlet blade ignited on the far side of the desk and Sidious leapt at them in the same moment with a shrill sound. Anakin met his blow with a brilliant arc of blue light and gritted teeth behind the spitting line of it.

“You thought, you could fool me,” Sidious hissed, expression wrote with fury.

“Only for a moment,” Anakin taunted, even when his voice shook, and his scent bloomed heavy with the sugary taste of green syrup.

Obi-Wan pounced in the breath in-between, though Sidious whirled and tossed his blow aside with a sneer and some dark, oily feeling in the force that sent a horrible, skittering feeling down his spine.

“You thought you could face me,” Sidious laughed incredulously, the deep lines of his face washed with bloody lines of light from his blade. “A bitch in heat and a spoiled senator who can hardly hold a saber? I am Darth Sidious and you both are weak.

Anakin snarled and the force coiled around him, drawn tight with energy and he pushed Sidious back a step with the strength behind his attacking blow. But Sidious was viperously quick, and he lashed back with a staggering swiftness that sent them both staggering.

Anakin half stumbled into his side and he pulled him forward so that they both advanced nearly arm in arm. It felt like waves crashing against a rocky shore, for every attack they pressed, Sidious thrashed them back with such terrible and vicious power.

Worry throbbed behind his ribs and filled his head with white static that sent adrenaline surging through his veins and shook his hands with a fine tremor. He stood no chance against Sidious and perhaps at full strength Anakin stood to hold his own against a Sith Lord, but not after the past rotations, not with heat casting him feverish and shaking.

“Surrender to me, Anakin Skywalker,” Sidious spat as he drove Anakin to his knees with the wound of his blade held to his throat. “Pledge yourself to the dark side, take me as your master and your husband can live.”

Obi-Wan stopped, precariously balanced on the toes of his leather boots as he froze with utter terror surging through every atom of his being. Anakin blinked up to Sidious with his eyes rounded and wide in fear, the deep blue of his irises lit bloody by the reflection of the Sith saber held to his jaw.

For a moment, he felt his terror overtake him and to his shame his faith in Anakin wavered and he feared—breathed in terror that Anakin’s own fear would guide him here, and that he would agree to anything if the thought it would save Obi-Wan.

He looked violently beautiful on his knees, his golden skin washed ruby and glimmering from the high sheen of sweat against his throat. And yet—he smelled of golden morning light filtering through cedars with the brisk, sweet promise of rain on the wind.

“Never,” Anakin breathed with fire in his eyes.

A burst of noise erupted behind them and he moved before his sluggish, tacky thoughts caught up with the movement of his body. Anakin moved even quicker, swaying beneath the line of the saber against his throat and darting behind Sidious’s looming form.

“Chancellor,” boomed Master Windu’s voice from behind them, “in the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you are under arrest.”

Sidious laughed and raised an outstretched palm towards Obi-Wan. He blinked at the man he once thought the Chancellor and felt the air heat with a frisson in the force that raised the hairs on his arms. Though his heart hammered behind the cage of his ribs and throbbed in his mouth and fingertips, an odd stillness, a sense of peace, flickered through his mind and he thought I am one with the force and the force is with me.

But behind the long cast shadow of Sidious a cerulean light arced high and lightspeed fast. Anakin stumbled, though propelled enough force behind the thrust of his saber through Sidious’s back so that bright blue burst through his chest. His face paled cold and deathly before Anakin wrenched his blade from his body and dropped him to the office floor at his feet.

 His eyes glinted wide and wild behind the spitting line of his blade and he looked—for a moment—utterly untethered and wild, some feral animal with teeth bared ready to snap and snarl. He smelled of fire and light and looked a wrathful golden pillar, sweat drenched curls and high sheened skin illuminated by the brilliant sapphire glow of his saber. In his skin he carried the smell of a high wind amongst green trees, but in his sweat, he smelled of smoke and sap.

Everything felt tilted on its axis before he took a stomach deep breath and retracted his barely used saber.

Master Windu, Master Yoda, and Master Fisto stepped into his line of sight, their own sabers drawn though tilted to the floor as they blinked at the scene in shock.

“I’m sorry,” Anakin gasped and retracted his saber as he stumbled forward. “I—he—”

“We saw him attack and use a Sith’s blade,” Master Windu agreed.

Anakin sighed and finally slumped into Obi-Wan’s arms. All the lines of his body bent towards Obi-Wan, the frame of his shoulders and back, the tilt of his hips, all curved inward like the dampened arch of wood heated over fire, as some Outer Core peoples were known to fashion weapons.

“Obi-Wan,” he breathed against the stretch of his neck, a warm sigh caressing his ear. “Ahh—I”

“I know,” he gritted out, pained and dazed, “are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” he breathed, “but I—the heat burns.

“You shouldn’t be so soon—just off the implant—”

“I can’t help it,” he whined, rolling his cock against Obi-Wan’s hipbone, right there in the Chancellor’s office, in front of half the Jedi Council. “Ma—”

“Not here,” he said urgently, alarm sparking intently enough that it cut through the syrupy enthrall of the scent of sweat and slick, of Anakin’s muscled body plastered to his. Bright, searing pain burst across his shoulder and he flinched, even as Anakin snarled, “fuck—fuck—” muffled around where his teeth bit into the meat of his muscle.

“Skywalker,” Master Windu said from a careful distance. “You have done everything and more, the Council is capable of alleviating your responsibility for now on these matter perfectly well, considering the circumstances.”

“Let me take you home,” he breathed around the pain and spinning want of Anakin working his teeth against his shoulder and squirming against his hip, dampened with sweat and slick.

“I can’t make it—master please.”

Urgent, aching want jolted through his stomach like a hot lance and he blinked to the side, too embarrassed to meet any eyes of the Council watching their spectacle unravel. If he took even a second to consider that the Grand Master of the Jedi Order was watching Anakin writhe against his side and call him master then he might disintegrate into the force itself.

“Alright, just come on,” he nearly panted, pulling Anakin from the Chancellor’s office.

“I mean it—” Anakin whimpered, digging durasteel fingertips against his shoulder blade. “Obi-Wan I can’t—please—” he cut himself off with a high, animal noise and Obi-Wan glanced down, alarmed at the sound to see that Anakin had worked his flesh hand under his tunics and pants and was fisting his fingers around his cock right there in the hall in front of the open door.

“My office, now,” he spat out, ragged and grated. He told himself again and again he wouldn’t keep losing control of his instincts and manhandling Anakin around like some overly keen bouncer from the lower levels, and yet he found himself tangling his fingers in Anakin’s curls at the base of his neck to hurriedly pull him down the hall.

Anakin’s scent slanted overpoweringly strong and sweet and flooded through the halls as he scrabbled at Obi-Wan’s shoulders and let out a sharp and startled, “ahh” with every pointed tug of his curls towards the office.

He barely scanned his wrist communicator against the door in enough time for them to stumble into the dim light of his office. For a moment the crisp, clean air of the room was enough to strike him with a second’s rationality. But then Anakin wormed his hand back underneath his waistband and worked himself, wet and deafening in the silence. In the cold stillness of the room, the feeling of Anakin’s knuckles bumping against his hip as he squeezed his cock between them, and the sharp pressure of durasteel digging against his shoulder accompanied by the sticky sweetness of slick and Anakin’s hot panting, sent his scattered thoughts spiraling back into orbit.

Without conscious thought he pulled Anakin by the hips and shoved him over his office desk, so that they both looked out to the brilliantly lit skyline of Coruscant as Anakin pulled his own pants down just far enough to grind his naked, leaking cock against the desk with a desperate sound.

“One day, darling,” he choked out as he squeezed Anakin’s pale hips and pulled apart his ass cheeks, where he glinted shiny and soaked with smeared slick, “we’re going to do this in a bed.”

“I don’t care—I don’t care—” Anakin chanted and arched his back.

He fumbled for a moment in the poor lighting to shove aside his own tunic and pants so that his leaking cock pressed against Anakin as he leaned over him to mouth at the sweaty tangle of curls at his nape.

“Please—force,” Anakin whimpered against his forearm. “Obi-Wan I need you inside me, it hurts.”

He dug clenched fingers so tightly against Anakin’s skin it left purplish white marks behind as he swallowed down a desperate noise and held himself back from just fervently pressing his cock inside Anakin.

“Would you beg for me, darling?” He murmured against Anakin’s still tender mating bite and the saltiness of his skin.

“I’m already begging,” Anakin snarled. He whimpered after a moment passed and Obi-Wan ghosted a laugh behind his ear from the sharp little thrill from Anakin’s instinctual combativeness, even here, even soaked, and desperate in the middle of the first heat of his life.

“Obi-Wan please—please master, I’ll be so good for you—force please it hurts—I—ahh—I need you alpha!

Something so base and instinctual unfurled in his skull his ears buzzed with it. He never expected Anakin to call him anything of the kind, not when he had lived the part of alpha his entire life, not when he hated and resisted his own nature from fear of weakness or abuse. It was a traditional thing anyhow, something reminiscent in the Outer Rim and rarely partaken in the Core Worlds, at least publicly.

And yet here Anakin Skywalker, the hero with no fear, revered and beloved Jedi General of the Republic, the Chosen One even, who just cut down a Sith Lord with a single thrust of his lightsaber, here he arched beneath Obi-Wan, smelling of slick and aching want and begged him—bore his mating bite and called him master, called him alpha.

Oh,” he moaned, startled and shaken to his marrow. There wasn’t anything in the galaxy that could have stopped him from pressing his cock into his begging husband and clamping his teeth against his mating bite in that moment. 

Anakin braced his hands against the desk and his impossibly wide shoulders bowed with the delicate arch of his spine as he choked out a high and desperate sob beneath him.

“Fuck,” Anakin bit out, “fuck—Obi-Wan!”

Anakin rippled in the force like a heat mirage and it was the urgency of his light in the bond, the beautiful lines of his muscled shoulders, the evergreen sweet bite of his slick, more than the pleasure of him around his cock that sent him shoving Anakin’s head to the desk by a firm hand against the back of his neck.

A second’s delay and he wondered what in the sith’s hells had come over him, that he reverted to these actions, to treating the man he loved like this when achy want sent his mind reeling. But Anakin only muffled a moan against the desk and squirmed on his cock, jolting sharp and vicious pleasure through their bond.

“You like being held down, don’t you, darling?” He murmured against Anakin’s throat.

Anakin wriggled to take his cock deeper and shuddered across his desk with a breathy noise. “Force,” he croaked.

“Or is it,” he licked across his mating bite and Anakin positively writhed on the desk, clenching around him, and sending them both gasping. “Or—ahh—is it that you just like being called darling?”

“I like whatever you call me,” Anakin groaned against his arm, forehead still pressed to the desk, “master.

He clenched his fingers against his hips and thrust so hard into Anakin the desk shifted across the floor from it. For half a breath he worried it hurt, but Anakin only made a shrill noise and stretched his flesh arm past his head to grip at the edge of the desk, white knuckled and fingers trembling.

“You can’t tease me when you like being called master so much,” Anakin laughed, breathy and winded even as he rolled his hips to take Obi-Wan’s cock and smeared precome and slick all over the desk. The air was a lurid combination of salt and syrup from it.

“Are you going to fight me even now?” He nipped playfully at the stretched tendon of Anakin’s throat. “When you’re baring your neck for me with my cock inside you?”

“Normally, I’d be happy to spar with you but—please—just—” he trailed off as he canted his hips back to take all of him in one hard thrust.

He anchored Anakin’s hips down with a firm grip as he tried to buck, stilling his spine so that the force of his cock jolted him on every thrust. Durasteel screeched against the desk and he knew, distantly and with little worry, that Anakin would leave scraped indentions from his hand.

“Force,” Anakin spat, even as he arched and made sharp, open-mouthed noises on every thrust.

“Bare your throat for me, darling, show me you’re mine.”

Anakin arched his head without hesitation and the sight of his florid pink bite, glazed with a sheen of sweat, nearly toppled his control. He yanked Anakin back by his hips onto his cock and gasped out, dazed from the scent of omega, his omega in heat, of the gorgeous sight of Anakin laid out across his desk, made of planes of golden skin and lithe, rippling muscle, all gilded Jedi strength.

“Oh, darling,” he crooned, “you’re wonderful, so good for me, Anakin.”

Anakin locked taught and still and shuddered as he came across the desk with a gutted, desperate keen.

He pushed into Anakin through his orgasm, thrusting inside of him where he stilled, and his every muscle clenched through his pleasure. But it was Anakin’s soft, “Obi-Wan—Obi-Wan—” chanted adoringly that made his stomach drop as he pulled Anakin’s head back to sink his teeth against his bite and come inside his husband with fervent desperation.

He pulsed through his pleasure for a dazed few seconds while Anakin wriggled against the desk and leaked his spine deep pleasure into the force, his lassitude and contentment even still edged with that same need and desperation. As such were heats.

“Mmm—” he finally muttered against his arm, “I may be able to make it home now.”

Obi-Wan could do nothing more but laugh against his throat and then swallow down unexpected tears as he kissed his salt slicked skin.

“What’s wrong?” Anakin demanded, even as he wriggled back on Obi-Wan’s softened cock.

Obi-Wan held him still and then pressed his forehead to the back of Anakin’s head and took in a shuddery breath of his lovely, familiar, smoke singed though sap laden sweet scent. “I thought—” he stopped himself and pressed reverent kisses to his curls. “I love you, darling.”

Anakin tilted his face back and smiled, revealing his own eyes swam with bright tears. “And I you—I thought you were—and I just moved and it—” his words trailed to a stop with a bitten off curse. “This is the worst timing in the galaxy for this, kriff.

“Your men are still stationed outside of the building,” he murmured under Anakin’s jaw though he didn’t so much as budge from where he still plastered him to the desk.

“I can’t move,” he moaned, even as he arched his back. “The burning is a little better now but it’s—I need you.”

“Let me take you home, darling. You just defeated the Separatists and two Sith in the span of a few weeks, the least I can do is fuck you through your heat in an actual bed.”

Anakin sighed unevenly and wormed his hips in a circle. “I can’t believe I’ve gone into heat—I thought I couldn’t—Kix is going to kill me.”

“The moment you stop smelling like life itself you’ll go to a doctor,” he assured as he worked his teeth against raised, tender flesh. “But until then let me take you home, my love.”

Chapter Text

A contract of eternal bond of love,
Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands,
Attested by the holy close of lips,
Strengthen'd by interchangement of your rings;

Act V. Scene I.

“Your neck looks like a nexu used you to floss its teeth,” Kix said with a tone of dumbfounded wonder.

He cupped the feverish heat of his throat and knew perfectly well the berry bruises he wore like a collar to guild the swollen half-moons of his irritated mating bite. Kix had looked ready to grind durasteel plate between his teeth and spit it back at him when he first ducked into the med bay of the Resolute, still filled with soldiers recovering in bacta tanks and rows of cots.

“I told you to see a doctor—sir,” he bit out. “You could have gone into shock from the new flush of hormones—how many days did it last?”

“Four, it came on very fast, didn’t exactly have the time or inclination for a doctor,” he admitted.

Kix harrumphed and prodded at his mating bite with pursed lips and an air of such aggrievement he felt like a scolded youngling sitting on the examination table under the harsh lights.

“Did you bleed?”

He pinked and blinked at his own boots, flustered, and unwilling to meet his own medic’s eyes. “It wasn’t that rough—”

“No,” he interjected, short-tempered and smelling of nothing but crackling beta aggravation. “Going into the heat, before you started your mating cycle—did you bleed?”

“Oh I—no I didn’t—”

Kix sagged and clapped his shoulder. “You won’t have conceived then, at least. But a doctor, sir—please.

“I know,” he muttered.

But a doctor felt like the least of his worries when every muscle in his hips and pelvis ached and the line of his throat felt a constant throbbing warmth. The problems of the galaxy; the power vacuum in the Senate, the last remnants of the Separatist fleet, and the many years of discord and corruption sowed by Sidious and his devoted followers, all felt secondary to the syrupy lassitude of his every sinew. Worry seemed harder to scramble for after being held down and fucked until he sobbed into his own pillow for days on end.

Years of worry—of fear and sorrow and heartache, they all felt gossamer and threaded by the silken memories tattooed beneath his ribs, rather than strung around his neck like a manacle to a duracrete floor. The force, in turn, glimmered against his skin, dew-dropped and crystalline like rain against the waxy, green of his skin.

But his own peace did not curb his or Obi-Wan’s duties, did not curb the responsibility the Jedi owed to the millions of clones who had stood so close to desolation. The force aided their efforts to remove the chips, but millions of soldiers still needed surgeries.

“What will you do?” He had asked Rex as they oversaw the Resolute’s docking. It felt an odd thing to ask one of his closest friends, but in some ways the war felt like it would last forever. In trenches, ducking under blaster fire in the Outer Rim, an after never felt like anything tangible or real.

“I’m not quite sure,” he answered with the shrug of a pauldron.

It was a sentiment he couldn’t help but agree with.

But an after came one day at a time, filled with Council meetings, Ahsoka’s training, and emergency Senate hearings. It was Obi-Wan, Bail, Padmé and Satine, who led the investigations and legislation on behalf of the clones from the beginning, and thwarting Sidious’s machinations did not end with the chips. This was the division of loyalties the Jedi spoke of, his constant loss of Obi-Wan while his husband spent his days writing and speaking on the Senatorial floor for emergency bills while he acted the knight he was meant to be.

But the Senate did not stand alone to rebuild the Republic, or so Master Yoda loved to remind him every time his patience ran thin as they discussed the GAR and next steps for the Order. And he felt himself reminded daily that the galaxy still watched the alliance when images of his mating bite scandalized the entire Holonet. Jedi General Anakin Skywalker, an omega. People did not seem to care, or maybe comprehend the terror of Sidious and the almost fall of the Republic. They cared about Obi-Wan and Anakin, about their designations and the scandal of it all.

But at night, when he ached from his own physical recovery and rolling around on training mats with Ahsoka, when his mind felt like wheels caught in mud; he fell into a bed away from the temple that smelt of Tatooine rain and spiced tea. So perhaps they were right to feel so intrigued. He liked to ignore thoughts of Sidious and not dwell on that night just as the rest of the galaxy. His memories of facing the Sith Lord in his office were hazy at best and colored with the aching, frantic desperation of his heat. But he did remember his fury, that Sidious demanded he give himself to the darkness to save Obi-Wan. He remembered how weak Sidious thought him, weak to his own body, weak to the dark side, weak to his love.

But he was not weak, and he felt tired of his fear.

He cracked a yawn and raked sweaty curls from his neck as left the training stalls, Ahsoka’s voice carrying behind him as she yelled, still dueling with Padawan Barriss. Honeyed afternoon light washed through the halls and he already felt stiff and in need of more caf. To Obi-Wan and everyone else, he bluffed full recovery and ignored his aches and exhaustion lingering from the implant, but on long days he still felt wrung thin.

He yawned again, rounding a corner, and still thinking of caf when he took a sharp inhale, his breath catching on the deep, familiar scent of wooded amber and molasses.

“Ma—master,” he stuttered, reeling with wrongfooted surprise.

Qui-Gon squeezed his shoulder with a deep grin. “And here I thought I would be forced to hunt you down over half of Coruscant.”

“When did you get back?” He said, feeling faintly numb with blind panic. He wasn’t even wearing blockers from oversleeping, he smelled of cedar and sweat and while everyone knew, force it was all the Holonet wanted to talk about, he somehow hadn’t prepared to face his own master.

“Early this morning.”

“Ahh—” he stumbled out, fighting the instinct to backstep and shrug off his master’s hand.

“I haven’t taken tea yet today,” Qui-Gon continued pleasantly. “Care to reminisce with your old master if you can spare the time?”

“Of course,” he muttered, eyes falling to his boots as he trailed after his master’s towering frame like a youngling again. Qui-Gon remained quiet and peaceful walking to his room and through the meditative process of his afternoon tea making, years long perfected and refined.

Anakin folded himself onto Qui-Gon’s living area rug and tucked his knees beneath the squat table where his master poured his favorite Nautolan tea into the warped and lopsided clay cups that he made Qui-Gon at ten. He thumbed a bubbled indent on the lip of his steaming mug and chewed at the inside of his mouth.

Qui-Gon blew over his own cradled cup and smiled. “I do hope Obi-Wan knows he is always welcome to come to the temple and take tea with me as well. I do miss our philosophical discussions.”

“I’m sure he’d like that.” He tapped his fingers and sighed into the silence as Qui-Gon sipped at his tea and smelled of peaceful licorice and his usual alpha amber. “Are you waiting for me to bring it up?”

Qui-Gon set his mug to the table and clasped his large, knobby hands against the dark woodgrain. “No, I wanted to apologize to you.”

“—Apologize—for what?”

“I must have failed you as a master terribly, that you felt you had to hide yourself from me all those years.”

“No—” he started, “master, it wasn’t like that.”

“You smelled like alpha, walked and carried your saber like an alpha, so I never looked deeper. You were always troubled, but I thought it was from your childhood, from missing your mother. I am sorry, my padawan, that you carried this burden alone.”

“It wasn’t your fault, master—”

Qui-Gon took another sip of his tea. “Perhaps, perhaps not, but it was never a trauma you were meant to endure. To be a Jedi and your role in the prophecy were difficult enough, it was no wonder you struggled to meditate, to control your anger and to find peace. Has it grown easier for you now?”

Anakin held the heat of his cup between his palms and stared at the wriggling curls of steam that escaped it. “It has, in some ways—I—I couldn’t have done it without Obi-Wan.”

Qui-Gon nodded and the deep lines around his eyes creased. “He is a good man, would have made an even better Jedi.”

He froze and blinked up at Qui-Gon’s quirked smile. “You knew he was force sensitive?”

He rumbled a laugh and his scent curled rich and golden with the smells of wood and tea and Anakin’s own green in the room. “For many years, his light is a difficult thing to hide. I was very pleased when I learned he was the senator chosen for the alliance.”

“It was Sidious’s doing, choosing the both of us.”

Qui-Gon’s smile only deepened. “The force, I have found, moves in such strange ways. In the end Sidious built his own ruin, and you have brought balance to the force. I would not dwell on your fear any longer, you have held onto it long enough haven’t you?”

He hunched and finally took a gulp of his cooled tea; it was just as sweet as he remembered. “Yes, master,” he muttered.

“Your mother would be very proud of the man you have become, Anakin. I know her decision to stay hidden on Tatooine has always pained you, but I see even more now why she sought to protect you so ardently. If news has reached her, I imagine she is incredibly joyful and relieved for you.”

“Is she still safe?” He rasped and ached with a longing so familiar he could not remember what he felt like before it. “I have dreams sometimes, nightmares that something horrible will happen to her.”

Qui-Gon drummed his fingers with an odd expression. “She was incredibly adamant that you did not know where she was, so that you could not return to Tatooine and put yourself in danger. But I think we are past that now. I have her coordinates, they are years old, but they should offer you a good starting point to find her.”

He sat there, at his master’s low tea table and thrummed with a white, staticky shock. “I—”

“If you wish to honor her wishes I understand—”

“—No,” he interrupted too loudly, suddenly sparking with a clawing and impatient energy. “No, I’ll—I’ll find her.”

Qui-Gon smelled of molasses and joy as he smiled into his tea. “Then may the force be with you.”

 “You’re sure you want me to come with you,” Obi-Wan said.

Anakin glanced away from the shimmering lines of stars bleeding past at lightspeed and raised an eyebrow at him in the copilot’s seat of his new ship. “Even if I were to say I changed my mind, it’s a little late for that don’t you think?”

“Padmé is expecting us on Naboo within the week anyhow, you could always drop me off first if you preferred to see her alone.”

“No,” his stomach turned over with nerves just at the thought. “I haven’t seen her in fourteen years—I—I want you to see my mother too.”

Obi-Wan’s expression turned fond and tender and he reached out to drag fingers against the scar of his mating bite. His scent of spices grew sweet with rain and desert blooms and Anakin shuddered through his deep inhale, relishing the sticky scent of life and alpha.

“We will find her.”

He ignored the comfort and swallowed down more nerves, keeping his eyes fixed out the viewport. “What was Padmé’s reasoning for needing us on Naboo so quickly in the first place? I assumed the middle of legislation to be a poor time to traipse around half the galaxy.”

“The Senate dismissed this morning,” Obi-Wan reminded him in a tone that said he had very much said this already, but Anakin wasn’t listening. “The floor will open again the next cycle, to give plenty of time for the bills to be rereviewed and the last of the chips removed before anything is voted through. Has Rex commed you?”

“No, but Ahsoka did, there should be only 100,00 left to dechip in the Outer Rim. The furthest outposts are making it difficult to reach some of the men, but Commander Cody with the 212th drew up some new plans to make it doable in the next couple of weeks.”

Obi-Wan sensed his irritation and squeezed his wrist. “It has been excellent work; you should be proud by how quickly it has happened.”

“It doesn’t feel quick,” he gritted out. “None of it feels quick.”

“We will find her,” Obi-Wan said again. But that did not make it anymore true.

That grew even more evident when they docked in Mos Espa and the coordinates directed them at least a hundred miles north of the city.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” he grumbled, in a fowl mood from the scorching heat of the twin suns high overhead and the burn of sand whipping against their skin from the sharp winds.

Obi-Wan pulled scarves from the ship and patiently wrapped his and Anakin’s heads before they rented a rusted pile of bolts that called itself a speeder bike. He kicked it, even more irate from the shady stall dealer who reminded him so viscerally of Watto and the exorbitant price he demanded for the shit stain of a bike when he saw the fine weave of Obi-Wan’s cream tunic.

“Why does it not make sense that your mother would be at these coordinates?” Obi-Wan asked as he straddled the bike behind him, and it sagged worryingly in the air from their combined weight.

“Because,” he said, revving the sputtering engine. “That’s past the middle of nowhere in the Jundland Wastlenads, its Tusken territory, no one goes there.”

It was past the middle of nowhere, further even as they zipped through the far north canyons that finally bottomed out into the salt flats. No one lived out here except for the raiders, too desolate and not enough water, and besides, it wasn’t human territory. Wasn’t Tusken either if you ventured too far into the Jundland high canyons into Krayt lands.

The suns rose higher and they raced the heat, zipping across the desert and feeling the rising warmth from the golden sand that burned just as bright as the sky. When they did finally reach the salt flats and the coordinates Qui-Gon gave him, the heat had lessened a little with the waning of the afternoon sky and the first pinking of the far binary sunset. But the only thing set against the darkening horizon looked to be a squat moisture farm surrounded by desolate nothing.

He parked the speeder in the shadowed protection of the vaporator closest to the homestead but the moment his boots hit the sand a graying man with a primed blaster rounded the pourstone dome.

His hand fell to the lightsaber hilt against his hip and he felt Obi-Wan’s hand do the same behind him.

“Who are you?” The man yelled. “I’ll shoot if you take one step closer!”

“Easy,” he called back, raising his hands. “I’m looking for Shmi Skywalker.”

“I don’t recall asking what you were here for, I asked who are you!”

A frisson of warning skittered down his spine and he jerked back his boot at the same moment a  flash of orange blaster fire pockmarked sand at his feet. He raised his hands higher and leaned back on the speeder to brace his feet against the rest pedals.

“Hey! I’m Anakin Skywalker—I’m her son!”

The man lowered his blaster a little and squinted at them in the fiery light. “You’re lyin’, I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

He pulled down his headscarf and shook his sweat dampened curls out, hoping for once in his life that the man recognized him from the holos. “I’m not lying. I am looking for my mother and she gave these coordinates to a Jedi knight called Qui-Gon Jinn fourteen years ago. Please—if you know where she went—”

A woman’s voice yelled then, high, and bright. “Ani?” She rounded the dome, dressed in many light layers and a slipping headscarf that revealed dark hair going silver. She looked much older than he remembered, but it was still his mother.

His foot caught on the speeder in his haste to dismount it.


They met one another halfway and collided into each other’s arms. She felt so small against him and it was the salt of her tears against his cheek he smelt first and then the almost forgotten scent of Taja peppers and buttered vanilla.

“Oh,” she cried harder against his jaw, scenting his neck as she cupped the back of his head. “You smell like you did when you were a baby—my baby.”

He dragged his nose against her hairline and took shuddering breaths of beta, of mother and the long-forgotten scents of home. Some eternal ache, a constant longing wound in his chest, hurt even more in that moment, sweetly piercing, and excruciating in its intensity.

 She finally pulled back and they wiped each other’s tears away, laughing and brushing knuckles against one another’s cheeks. “Oh how I missed you,” she breathed, and then smiled even wider as she ghosted fingers against his mating bite.

His throat ached as he swallowed down more tears and fought the instinctual need to continue sobbing in her arms. But he shook himself a little and then abruptly remembered Obi-Wan. He turned just as Obi-Wan dismounted the bike and shook off his own headscarf.

“Mom—this is my husband, Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

“Oh I know who you are, Senator Kenobi. We’ve kept up with the holos as much as we can—”

The man who had shot at them put a hand on his mother’s shoulder at that, blaster lowered to the sand. She put a hand over his and smiled up at him briefly.

“This is my husband, Cliegg Lars—both of you come inside before the suns set, I was just making supper.”

He reeled for a moment, until Obi-Wan pushed him forward by a gentle hand against his back and they followed his mother and her husband down the stairs of the dome and into the underground enclave of their home.

The air felt much cooler beneath the ground and Cliegg poured them both mugs of tepid beer. In the stillness of the room Anakin noted that he smelled of beta and the dried pallie fruits sold in the Mos Espa markets near Watto’s stall.

“We can pay you for the drinks—” he began, long buried memories surfacing of what it felt like to be so thirsty as a boy, when water was especially scarce in the long summers.

“Nonsense, Cliegg’s son Owen is at market in Mos Espa, there will be plenty more to last.”

“Thank you,” Obi-Wan murmured into his mug, his skin flushed and pinked from the heat, despite the headscarf. “You both are very generous and—it is an honor to finally meet you.”

His mother scoffed and placed ladled bowls of porridge in front of them with a smile that creased the deep sun worn lines of her face. She was still beautiful, though so much older than his memories supplied.

“Mom—what happened?” He finally asked after the four of them sat at the table and she took several bites of food. “How did you wind up here?”

She set her spoon down and gazed at Cliegg, her scent especially sweet as she did so. “Not long after you left with Qui-Gon I met Cliegg. He bought me—spent his life’s savings to free me from Watto. We married and moved out here to keep away from the Hutts, and to help bury the name of Skywalker. Many of the slaves in Mos Espa remember our name, and I needed to keep you secret.”

His throat tightened and the porridge he swallowed felt like a boulder being worked down. “Mom—you didn’t—you do not have to hide me anymore.”

“I—” she clasped her hands against the table and his eyes fell to her warn and cracked knuckles with a deep pang.

“For a while—things seemed very unsure with the war and there were many Separatists planetside, seeking to align with the Hutts. I understand that you face little to no danger as a Jedi General against such petty villains as we see here, but the holos always called you an alpha and I never—I never wanted anyone to somehow connect you to me. Slaves talk, my midwife remembers you born as an omega.”

He leaned forward and clasped her dry, roughened hands between his. “Mom—I can, never thank you enough for all you did to protect me. You sacrificed—everything for me and I—” his throat caught on a lancing ache and he swallowed against the tears that swam in his eyes. “But I’ve faced it now, you don’t have to hide me anymore.”

Her eyes widened and welled with tears. “The galaxy knows—they know you’re an omega?”

He arched the line of his neck and laughed a little, bearing the livid scar of his mating bite. “The holos picked this up pretty quickly. What was the last galactic news you heard?”

Cliegg said, “We haven’t been to town in three months, Owen was meant to bring back news tonight.”

“The last we heard,” his mother said, wiping away a stray tear, “was that you and your men were caught in a blockade on Florrum and that the Separatists had advanced further in the Mid Rim.”

He thought back to the brief Florrum blockade he and his men fought in, a minor blip on the galactic scale of war and the greater worries of the Jedi, and yet his mother and Cliegg had worried, waited months to hear news if he lived or died. He wondered, if he would ever stop aching from old hurts, or if the pain would continue on and on until he passed into the force.

He glanced to Obi-Wan unsurely, but he wore an expression similar to how Anakin felt, worn and sad and a little bleak. He felt like dim regret in their bond though he brushed reassurance against Anakin’s mind at the feel of his prodding.

“The war is over—we destroyed the Separatist fleet in the Stewjon system almost a month ago. It’s all over, mom.”

She clapped a hand over her mouth. “Oh thank the stars. I was so worried—the war was growing so bad.

“Come to Coruscant with us,” Obi-Wan said suddenly. “Or Naboo or Corellia, or wherever you want, anywhere but here. You can do whatever you wish, live somewhere safe.”

“You,” Cliegg startled, “you aren’t serious.”

They hadn’t talked about this, even in the days of lightspeed travel from Coruscant to the Outer Rim. It was something he longed for beyond words but had never dared to ask or hope for, never thought it could be a reality within his grasp.

He choked down his desperation and the urge to shake both of their shoulders. “We are—please let us take you away from here.”

“My son—Owen and his fiancé, I couldn’t just leave them,” Cliegg stuttered.

“We can take them as well,” Obi-Wan said. “Our ship has more than enough room, you needn’t worry about housing or credits—”

“Yes,” his mother cut him off firmly. At Cliegg’s startled look she squeezed his hand. “Yes of course we will.”

“We do have a stop on Naboo before we return to Coruscant if that is alright,” he said, mouth dry.

“We will have to wait for Owen,” Cliegg said, dragging his hand through his hair with an air of muddled bewilderment. “And he will want to retrieve Beru.”

“We can wait,” Anakin said. “We’ve waited long enough.”

“I’m sorry I believe I misheard, I could have sworn you said you’re getting married,” Obi-Wan smarted.

Padmé rolled her eyes and brushed curls from her face, the glistening lines of her violet dress sparkling in the morning sun with the movement. “I do wish you would stop feigning surprise. The break in the Senate is the perfect opportunity, and we could all use some happiness before returning to the mundanity of holding the Republic together. Hello Anakin darling, how are you feeling?”

He rubbed the back of his neck and flushed. Despite their return to Coruscant having been weeks previous, their duties kept them from so much as seeing one another and giving a brief hello. He had missed her honeyed omega scent and the calming, conspiratorial peace of her presence.

“Much better, it’s lovely to see you, you look radiant.”

She laughed, girlish and pleased. “And you smell radiant, it suits you, omegahood and mating.”

“Is mating in store for you and Satine?” He asked blithely while Obi-Wan cast him an affronted expression, no doubt it was considered some upper-class faux pas.

Padmé blushed but smiled brightly. “My family is very traditional so we must be married to mate, but yes, we will.”

“We’re very happy for you.”

“And I for you, we can always use more omega friends, can’t we?”

He ducked his own head and blushed, pleased and still so unsure of how to react to everyone’s easy and caring acceptance.

“Where is Satine?” Obi-Wan asked innocently.

“Oh no,” Padmé warned. “I just know you want to discuss revisions to the neutrality agreement, and I won’t have it. The Senate is on hold and this is my wedding day, Senator Kenobi. If you must, go find Bail and bother him with your ceaseless work ethic.”

Obi-Wan did not appear properly scolded but Padmé kissed their cheeks and told them she would see them at sunset after wrangling a promise from Anakin that he would wear something besides his Jedi robes to the ceremony.

“I am sorry to just leave you,” Obi-Wan said, kissing his cheek after her. “But politics do not rest, and I must find Bail.”

Anakin caught the back of his neck and reeled him in for a real kiss, perhaps a little too open mouthed and wanting for the terrace of Padmé’s family estate, though Obi-Wan returned it and caught his teeth against his mating bite before they parted.

Left to his own devices he wandered the estate’s grounds and enjoyed the growing warmth of the rising midday sun. At the day’s peak he found his mother sitting by the lakeshore and watching the water lap against the dark pebbled beach.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” He said, sitting beside her amongst the rocks.

She smiled wistfully and threw her head back to bask in the sun warmed, yet still cool breeze. “I never imagined I would see so much water or green ever again.”

“Coruscant isn’t quite so green,” he admitted. “But I’ll bring you here as often as you like. This is the Naberrie Estate, I’m sure Padmé wouldn’t mind.”

“I would like that,” she said and closed her eyes, smelling of peace and vanilla blooms.

They sat for a time, quietly and content, until he asked, “I always wondered, how did you afford my implant? It must have cost a fortune.”

“Oh I didn’t buy it, I made it.”

He sat, dumbfounded and blinking at the lake like a stunned shaak. “You—you made it?”

“I hope it held up well, it never caused you much trouble did it?”

“I—how did you learn to make something like that?”

She leaned back to rest on her elbows and press her head to his shoulder. “I wasn’t born on Tatooine you know. My parents and I were captured by pirates when I was a child, about your age when you left with the Jedi. I was fully grown when I was sold on Tatooine, I learned, from them and working with the computer chips for Watto, how to build things. Never like you of course, I’m not smart like you—but enough that I could save you.”

“Force,” he choked out and kissed the side of her head. “You are the most selfless—wonderful person in the entire galaxy.”

“All I could do was love you.”

“—I kept it a secret as long as I could,” he finally said. “I stayed hidden and played an alpha just like you told me to. I wanted you to know—I didn’t purposefully waste what you gave me.”

“Oh my love,” she said as if he were breaking her heart. “I never wanted you to hide who you are. I masqueraded you as an alpha to save you from the pleasure slavers. When I sent you away with Master Jinn, I never thought you would keep hidden with the Jedi.”

“Then I failed you too,” he said, squeezing his flesh hand over his glove.

“You have failed no one.

He pursed his lips over that. “I failed myself and the Jedi’s teachings for a long time. I failed my padawan and my men, failed Obi-Wan too. Master Yoda would say to dwell on failure is foolhardy, that it is meant to learn from.”

She cradled his arm in her hand and held him as she once had when he only reached her knees. “Have you learned from them then?”

He squinted across the lake’s surface that glimmered with bright flairs of the sun’s light. “Some of them.”

She smiled against his shoulder.

Hours passed and he left his mother to sit peacefully by the lake and found, just as he predicted, a blue Nabooian tunic laid out across his and Obi-Wan’s bed in the villa. The sonic looked a luxurious thing that poured cascades of water against stone and that he stood under for far too long, shoulders and neck bowed against the hot spray. He fitted the open chested tunic over still damp skin and tightened its gold belt out the door when he realized how low the sun sat in the brilliantly blue sky.

On the estate’s cobblestoned veranda, a small crowd gathered, laughing, and holding champagne and wine glasses. Obi-Wan, wearing a full sleeved shirt of cream and gold beneath a high collared blue tunic, grabbed his elbow and flashed him a full, toothy smile.

“I was beginning to think you would miss the ceremony.”

“Sorry, I lost track of time.”

His eyes softened and he smiled in that way that somehow managed to look sad. “I am glad.”

Satine and Padmé married in a simple ceremony, wearing gowns of silver and white, with a red ribbon tied around their hands. It was neither within Nabooian or Mandalorian tradition and sure to offend nearly everyone they knew, which was surely just how the both of them liked it.

“You needn’t worry about me stealing Obi-Wan away from you any longer,” Satine said with a rumbling laugh afterwards, smelling of orange musk and thrilling joy. His ears went hot, and he stumbled over a reply before she laughed again, all alpha predatory pleasure.

Obi-Wan took pity on him and kissed both of their cheeks. “We wish you both every happiness.”

As the sun settled lower behind the trees and waterline, everything washed golden as syrup and twinkling lights strung through the trees flickered to life. He wandered through the crowd and leaned against the veranda’s banister which overlooked the lake and set his half full wine glass against the stone. He watched Bail Organa gesturing wildly as he spoke to Padmé and Satine while Breha laughed on his arm and then his mother, Cliegg, and his son and soon daughter in law mingling tentatively but enjoying their drinks.

From the other side of the veranda someone played a Nabooian stringed instrument that sang high and sweet on the breeze that smelt of wine and fresh water.

Obi-Wan found him and leaned on the banister beside him to watch the crowd. The evening light suited him tremendously and cast his hair gilded and the blue of his eyes sharply aquamarine.

“Are you happy?” Obi-Wan asked with a quirked smile.

The force, for perhaps the first time in his life, felt a placid pool rather than a raging sea or a bellowing chorus. It twined, as one with the stringed music and crooned to him and the sweet tug inside of his chest that felt a plucked thread, as if it played him, the force the artist and he its instrument.

“I am,” he said truthfully.

“Good.” He took Anakin’s mechno hand and turned to him, smelling suddenly of green desert plants, tart and rich with his happiness. “Then it’s a good time to ask you.”

He sparked with alarm and clenched his fist in Obi-Wan’s hand. “Ask me what?”

Obi-Wan smiled. “I want you to marry me.”

Anakin blinked at him and then at their hands. “Obi-Wan…we are married—and we’re mated.”

Obi-Wan grinned in that way he did that somehow managed to show every one of his teeth. “I know, but you have told me again and again, that you know we were not able to choose one another. And perhaps Sidious did choose us to fail—but I love you and I do choose you, as an alpha—as an omega—as my husband and my mate.”

He blinked suddenly swimming eyes and cleared his aching throat. “Stars,” he grated out. “You know how much I love you—that I—that I choose you.”

“You’ll marry me then?” He asked with crinkled eyes and the flash of white teeth.

He rolled his eyes a little but took Obi-Wan’s other hand and threaded their fingers together, just as Satine and Padmé had done. “Is here alright or do you think we need a witness in addition to the billions that watched us marry the first time?”

Obi-Wan chuffed a little and then smoothed out his grin into an oddly solemn expression. “I Obi- Wan Kenobi, do take this man, to be my husband.”

He swallowed tightly and smiled past his tears. “I Anakin Skywalker, do take this man, to be my husband.”

“And before the force and the stars I do swear to love you until the end of time.”

Open tear ran down his cheeks and for once, he felt no shame in it or the glistening tracks they left on his skin.

“And before the force and the stars,” he answered hoarsely, “I do swear to love you—until the end of time.”

Obi-Wan kissed him and they both laughed through the parting of their lips. And past the salt of their tears they smelled, together, of a forest’s spring rain and verdant green life, the long memories of fire and smoke and pain no more.