1.) I'm a … And you’re a … If ...
Anakin rarely got time to relax. He had plenty of time to meditate, sure, but relaxing was different. Relaxing implied a certain level of not-meditating, and while his dumb master felt like meditating totally counted as relaxing, it totally didn’t.
Today was a holiday though, and the evening of the solstice was declared a day-off for all Jedi and their padawans.
Now, he had more than enough time to relax, but he had no idea what to do with his time. He’d never had any free time under Watto, and it wasn’t like his mom was around the corner for him to spend time with. No, he was stuck with Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan had already waved him off for the day, telling him to enjoy sleeping in as the man had headed off to go meditate at the crack of kriffing dawn just like any other day.
After laying in his bed like a slovenly hutt for hours and surfing the HoloNet for literally every hologram he could find of Padmé Amidala, Anakin had run out of laziness, and now he wanted to do something.
It was about dinner time, he supposed. He could go to the dining hall…
Anakin groaned, realized Obi-Wan wasn’t there to hear it, and made his way out of his comfortable blankets. He stepped into the ‘Fresher, enjoyed the fact that the Jedi Temple had actual water showers (he’d screamed when he first saw them. He’d thought it such a waste), and got in clean robes. Anakin jumped up on his step-stool that Obi-Wan had pulled out so he could reach the sink and mirror, and brushed his teeth and re-braided his braid, and that was that.
Feeling awkwardly fresh for so late in the day, Anakin meandered towards the dining hall.
The feeling of a hand on his arm made him jump in surprise, as he glanced over at the person who’d accosted him.
It was Aayla Secura, a padawan learner like himself, except that she was already 16 standard years of age, and he was only 10. Hence, she sort of towered over him, which he found very intimidating.
What? He was small at 10! Obi-Wan was 2 times his height and Aayla was like 1.5 times. Anakin swore he’d grow. And he’d most definitely be the tallest person he knew, if he had anything to say about it. (There was a sinking feeling in his brain that he had no say in the matter.)
Aayla smiled widely, her finger held up against her lips, “Shh… come with me.”
Anakin had little choice in the matter, as she quickly snatched up his hand and dragged him along, but he wasn’t opposed. There must’ve been something really exciting to see if she was hauling him off like this.
He came upon a gathering of padawans, sitting in a circle. Some other familiar faces swam into view as he took a seat next to Aayla. There was Tohno, a girl his age with a scruff of hair much more orange than Obi-Wan’s gentle ginger and two merit beads in her hair already, and Tru Veld, a Teevan with silver skin and a whiz with technology. Darra, much like Tohno, made the group lean towards heavily red-headed. Then there was Ferus Olin who was a stuck-up goody-two-shoes. The rest, well, he hadn’t exactly memorized their names yet. Even if he knew he did had several classes with some of them.
“What’s going on?” He finally asked, furrowing his eyebrows in confusion.
“A game,” Aayla promised, a little laughter in her voice, “A really fun game.”
Anakin usually liked games, but he wasn’t the most fond of people--and right now, he was surrounded by his peers in some weird friendship circle. So he wasn’t sure if he was going to like this “game”. It sounded more like some sort of gross trap than a game.
“It’s called I’m a Jedi…” Aayla said, as she was the oldest out of all of them, or at least the tallest.
Ferus rolled his eyes, “But we’re not Jedi yet. We’re padawans.”
“Hush, spoilsport,” said one of the other padawans, who Anakin still had no clue what their name was. It was on the tip on his tongue… Bolten? Something like that.
“No fighting. Anger is against the code,” Aayla scolded, petting one of her lekku absentmindedly, “Now here’s how it works. I’m going to draw a circle around us. Then I’ll stand in the middle and say, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if…” and if you’ve done the thing I say, you stand up and find another place to sit inside the circle.”
Fun game, Anakin thought sarcastically. He was missing dinner for this?
“Whoever’s left standing will repeat the statement, but they’ll change the thing that they’ve done. It goes like that. Are you ready?”
Yeah, yeah, Anakin thought, his face sitting firmly in his palm.
Aayla drew the circle around them and then took center stage, saying, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if… you’ve ever kissed someone.”
Anakin flushed. Wha…? What sort of question was that! Standing up was the same as admitting that you’d broken the code!
To his amazement, most of the padawans stumbled up in shame, racing to find new seats. Only Anakin, Ferus, and another two padawans had stayed sitting.
Now stuck with Darra as his new neighbor on his left, Anakin just stared at the guilty-looking, flushing girl. She’d kissed someone! How had she kissed someone? She grew up here, unlike him! She couldn’t have been more than 2-3 years older than him! Sheesh, and they all say they loved the code…
The Mon Calamari stuck in the center was blue in the face from all the embarrassment, and he barely coughed out, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you’ve ever wondered how old Yoda really is…”
Anakin shot to his feet, laughing. Well there was no shame in admitting that the age of the tiny… green… whatever Yoda was, was a complete mystery to him, and he often wondered exactly how long he’d been about.
But even his quick start wasn’t good enough when one of the other padawans tripped him (probably Ferus, that snot) and he ended up being the one in the center. He had no clue why, but all their eyes on him made him nervous.
“I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if…” Anakin wracked his brain for something good, but nothing sprang immediately to mind, “if… if you have ever been to Naboo.”
No one stood up.
This was awkward. Anakin tried to hide his blush behind his sleeves, as he said, “...if you’ve ever built a droid on your own?”
No one budged an inch, not even Tru, who had been his hope for that one.
“...if you’re wearing underwear,” Anakin finally stammered, because he couldn’t believe how they’d never done anything so simple as travel around or build a droid or two.
To his horror, there was a padawan who remained sitting.
Anakin kept hiding his face as Tohno took his place, a bright smile on her face.
“I’m a Jedi! And you’re a Jedi! If!” She sing-songed, “If you’ve ever wanted Master Kenobi to shave his scruffy beard!”
Anakin whined as he got back up to his feet, switching places with the Mon Calamari from earlier. A Togruta sitting next to him snickered into his ear, “He looks so old with it! Like a mini-Qui-Gon.”
Anakin swatted at her half-heartedly, “Don’t talk bad about my master.”
Now it was Tru who was stuck in the center, and he said fairly proudly, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you’ve ever fallen asleep during meditation.”
Anakin stood up yet again, switching places with a very guilty looking Ferus, who ended up stuck in the center.
Ferus cleared his throat and said, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you think Master Windu looks at you like he may kill you in your sleep.”
Everyone stood up.
In the confusion of bodies, Anakin found himself stuck in the center yet again. And he really didn’t have anything good to say.
“I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you’ve ever had… a crush on a girl,” He said, going back to the scandal of Aayla’s first prompt.
Aayla stood up proudly, and so did the rest of the male padawans except Tru. Anakin took Aayla’s seat and nudged Tru, “So you’ve never…?”
“Girls are weird… I can’t believe you’ve had a crush on one. We’re both 10!” Tru sighed, shaking his head, “We’re too young to be tempted by attachments, or at least that’s what my master told me.”
Anakin was very sure that there was no such thing as too young for attachments. Obi-Wan told him that loving his mother was an attachment, and that he’d eventually grow out of it. And his friends, those too, were attachments. So it wasn’t likely to Anakin that there was any sort of thing as too young for attachment.
Anakin hadn’t been paying too much attention, so when he felt two big hands settle down on his shoulders, he yelped.
Obi-Wan asked softly from above him, “Getting in trouble, my young padawan?”
Aayla stood up, her eyes looking off slightly in guilt, “We were just playing a little game!”
“I see. What sort of game?” Obi-Wan smiled at the girl 10 years his junior, and Tohno was all too right, his beard looked scruffy and patchy, like he just couldn’t get it to grow out properly.
“It’s called I’m a Jedi,” Anakin said, looking directly up at the serene smile on his master’s face. “And then you say something that you think people have to have done to be a Jedi.”
“Let me guess… the Trials weren’t on that list?” Obi-Wan laughed.
“Not really,” Anakin sulked.
The other padawans looked at him, almost horror-struck for squealing on their game. It wasn’t as if they’d done anything bad, really. He didn’t know why they looked so panicked. What could Obi-Wan even really do?
Aayla shyly asked, “Want to join us, Master Kenobi?”
Obi-Wan blinked, “Oh, no. I’m afraid I’m much too old for this game. I’ve simply done too many things.”
“That’s not an issue,” Aayla blushed, shrugging, “Please?”
Anakin’s stuffy old master took a seat, picking up Anakin and taking his place in the circle. Anakin felt so embarrassed to be treated like he was a youngling, dwarfed by his master as he was. How was he going to get any of the padawans his age to respect him if Obi-Wan did embarrassing things like this?
Sulking, he almost missed how Aayla said, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you sing in the ‘Fresher.”
Anakin blushed as Obi-Wan nudged him in the side and reminded him, “Get going.”
“Ugh!” He sulked, stomping his way to another seat. He was just glad he wasn't the only one with that habit.
The padawan in the center said, “I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you’ve touched a real lightsaber!”
While most of the padawans went scrambling, Obi-Wan stood up good-naturedly and stayed in the center.
“I’m a Jedi and you’re a Jedi if you’ve ever wanted a purple lightsaber like Master Windu’s,” he said, and somehow it was both awkward and very true all at once.
Anakin stood up again, only to be caught around the waist by his master and hauled up in one of the most undignified positions possible.
“Sorry, I’m afraid we can't stay much longer,” Obi-Wan apologized, “Dinner is ending, and if you don't go and eat soon, I won't be the only worried master looking for my wayward padawan. I’d suggest grabbing food and dispersing for the evening.”
“Obi-Wan the fun killer,” Anakin groaned, kicking his legs listlessly. “I’m gonna be taller than you one day and you won't be able to pick me up anymore.”
“Did you have a relaxing day off, Anakin?” Obi-Wan asked, amusement clear in his voice.
2.) Truth or Dare
Another holiday observed by the Republic was the celebration of its founding, and while it wasn't the sort of holiday the Jedi usually got as an off-day, the padawans in the temple did get a free afternoon out of it.
Unlike last time though, Anakin was older and wiser and knew much better than to participate in the rest of his peer’s shenanigans. No more party games.
Eh, who was he kidding? He was definitely going to Aayla’s. With her master Quilan Vos out for a mission, the 18 year old had their tiny apartment cleared out for the whole swarm of padawans to join in the fun.
The usual crew was there, plus a couple younger faces. Anakin could identify Tru, Ferus, Tohno, T'Bolton, Darra, and Aayla right off the bat, but there was also a new girl with very curly hair and freckles named Birqua, and a Twi’lek girl named Unbaba and a boy named Libah Ona.
They were all sitting on the available surfaces in something of a misshapen circle once again, and while the couches made everything less awkward, Anakin knew this was a mere repeat of the awkward friendship circle of before. He sighed, claimed an armchair all to himself, and waited for the game to begin. He expected it to be the same run as last time, the silly I’m a Jedi thing.
However Aayla didn’t stand in the center, and she started the game from her cross-legged place on the couch instead.
“We’re going to play Truth or Dare,” She said, her pink mouth tilting up mischievously. “Everything admitted in this circle stays in this circle. Everything done in the name of a dare will be either completed or the coward will have to answer three questions truthfully. And remember, we’re all padawans here. We will know if you lied.”
Oh no, Anakin thought, this was a completely different game altogether.
Unbaba snickered, “No rules on what can or cannot be dared?”
“No one can dare anything that involves anyone leaving the Jedi Temple,” Aayla raised a stern eyebrow at her fellow Twi’lek, “And no dares that aren’t applicable to every person here, considering their age.”
So nothing that the youngest padawan couldn’t do, and the youngest padawan was Birqua, who was 10 and a ½. Anakin himself was 12, so he felt like there wasn’t much that he was restricted from at this point, but he guessed someone that was 18 probably could think of several things a 12 year old couldn’t or shouldn’t do.
“I’ll go first,” Aayla decided, and she produced an empty wine bottle to put on the table in the center of the room. Spinning it, it landed between Tohno and Birqua, but slightly closer to Tohno.
“Me?” Tohno asked.
“Why not? Tohno, truth or dare?” Aayla waggled her eyebrows.
“...truth?” The 12 year old girl said hesitantly.
The host of the games pondered a brief second and said, “Have you ever kissed a fellow padawan?”
Tohno turned a horrible color of red, blushing enough that her face matched her spiky hair. She whispered something but it was too quiet for anyone to hear. Birqua elbowed her, and finally she admitted, “Yes.”
Anakin leaned forward attentively, the scandal clear in his voice as he demanded, “Who?”
“It’s only one question!” Aayla laughed, “Tohno, now you get to spin the bottle.”
Tohno reached forward and spun the bottle, with far shakier hands and a beet red face.
The bottle landed on Libah, who was probably the quietest padawan Anakin even knew. Anakin bet he would choose dare just so he didn’t have to talk.
Tohno said hastily, “Truth or dare?”
Ha! Anakin knew it. He had an affinity for gambling, and his bets almost always paid off.
“I dare you to…” Tohno twiddled her thumbs, her face slowly turning to a flushed pink from the red it had been, “to show us what’s underneath your mask.”
What an obvious dare, Anakin thought. Everyone had wondered what was underneath Libah’s weird half-mask at least once.
Libah took it off, and to everyone’s ultimate disappointment, his mouth was pretty normal. Actually there nothing special about him underneath the mask whatsoever.
Anakin sighed. He didn’t want to admit it but he really did want the bottle to land on himself. He didn’t know whether he’d pick truth or dare, but he was leaning towards the latter. He wanted to get up and move. The other game had involved far more movement, and this one was mostly just sitting so far.
When Libah spun the bottle, it landed on Ferus.
“Truth or dare?” Libah said, his brow raised.
“Truth,” Ferus decided, “I don’t trust any of you to give me a decent dare that doesn’t somehow break the Jedi code.”
Libah coughed a bit, and then said in a complete deadpan, “Tell us which Jedi knight you’d kiss if you had to pick one.”
Ferus went red in the cheeks, “What? I’d never-!”
Aayla hmed, “You have to choose someone. He did say if you had to pick.”
“...Well knowing that I would never ever actually do it, and that none of you can tell anyone I actually said this--Master Siri,” Ferus mumbled.
Wasn’t Siri Tachi like, the same age as Obi-Wan? Anakin wrinkled his nose. Obi-Wan was way too old to kiss, so Master Tachi was way too old for kissing too. Ferus was weird. He couldn’t understand it. Maybe she looked younger than she actually was?
When Ferus spun the bottle, finally, finally it spun and landed on Anakin.
Yes! Anakin tried to hide his grin, but he was excited. Then again, it was Ferus, who hated him, so… ugh, Anakin’s excitement died a bit.
“Truth or dare?” Ferus’s eye held a gleam that Anakin bet he wouldn’t like.
“Dare. Bring it on, Ferus,” Anakin held his gaze and returned his look with a sneer of his own. There was nothing that Ferus could dare him to do that he couldn’t achieve.
“I dare you to…” Ferus’ upper lip curled, “I dare you to recite the Jedi code backwards, at the top of your lungs, right outside Master Yoda’s door.”
Anakin choked, “Do you want me to get kicked out of the order? Or worse, he’d kill me!”
“Face your fears, you must,” Darra giggled, “Or three truths, you must tell.”
Well, Yoda was probably in a council meeting anyway, and it was just the Jedi code… Anakin stomped to his feet, leaving Aayla’s apartment in a huff. He could feel the stares following him down the hall as he approached Master Yoda’s apartment. It was clear which one it was because the door panel was much farther down than usual.
Steeling himself, Anakin took a deep breath, and yelled, “NO EMOTION THERE IS, YET PEACE THERE IS! NO IGNORANCE THERE IS, YET KNOWLEDGE THERE IS! NO PASSION THERE IS, YET SERENITY THERE IS! NO CHAOS THERE IS, YET HARMONY THERE IS! NO DEATH THERE IS, YET THE FORCE THERE IS!”
Yoda actually opened the door, to Anakin’s growing horror. And then the tiny green old man slapped him upside the head with his staff hard enough that Anakin saw stars.
“Soon to be no padawan there is, for no sleep have I.”
Anakin yelped and ran back towards Aayla as fast as his legs could carry him, and even though he was one of the shorter padawans, he could still run pretty fast. He bolted inside Quilan and Aayla’s apartment like Yoda was on his heels.
Yoda stayed exactly where he was, and he winked at the horror-stricken faces of the padawans still watching him, before going back inside his room.
“I’m dead,” Anakin said shakily, “Yoda’s going to banish me to the AgriCorps and I’m going to spend the rest of my life covered in dirt and sand!”
“Serves you right. You barely follow the code,” Ferus grumbled, his arms folding.
Anakin silently pledged to destroy Ferus one day if he had even the tiniest glimmer of a chance.
Sitting back down, Anakin gave the bottle a good spin with the force, to the somewhat scandalized group of padawans watching him.
“See! Misuse of the force,” Ferus pointed out gleefully.
“If Yoda’s kicking me out anyway I don't care,” Anakin sniveled bitterly, watching the bottle slow down until it landed on T-Bolten. He wasn't actually terribly concerned about being kicked out—he was the chosen one. There was no way they’d kick him out. Punished on the other hand? They’d most definitely punish him.
T'Bolton smiled widely, clapped, and said, “Bring it on. Dare me, Anakin!”
He rubbed his chin, pretending to think long and hard on the subject, and then finally cackled, “I dare you to play the rest of this game without any pants on.”
T'Bolton winced, but he dropped his pants anyways, revealing a modest pair of cotton briefs underneath. Sitting back down, he cocked his eyebrow at Anakin.
“Eager to see this fine bod, huh?”
Anakin snorted, “Eager to see you embarrass yourself more like.”
T'Bolton spun the bottle, and it landed on Unbaba, whose devious eyes made it clear that she’d been waiting for this all evening.
“Truth,” Unbaba answered, crossing her legs with a smirk.
T'Bolton thought for a second, before asking, “Tell us your dirtiest, filthiest secret.”
“The scandal,” Unbaba droned, clearly unimpressed, “I suppose one time I saw Aayla making eyes at Kit Fisto despite the fact that he’s like ten million years too old for her—”
“I never did that!” Aayla blushed a dark blue.
Yeah right, Aayla was definitely up there on the list of people who’d have an awkward crush on someone like Master Fisto.
“—Or maybe there was this one time I was in the Room of a Thousand Fountains and I watched Luminara Unduli and Obi-Wan Kenobi swap spit.”
“No way!” Anakin squeezed up his eyes, “Obi-Wan’s totally above all that. He’d never break the code so blatantly.”
“I saw it!”
“I don't believe you!” He accused, his hands balling up into fists, “Obi-Wan is the perfect Jedi!”
“There’s no such thing as a perfect Jedi, you’re just too much of a baby to see it!” Unbaba stuck her tongue out at him.
Getting up from his chair, Anakin stormed out of the apartment and slammed the door close button behind him. Sometimes he didn't know why he bothered spending time with them if they were going to talk bad about his master.
His peers, they—! They just didn't know better. They didn't understand.
3.) Spin the Bottle
Obi-Wan was shaking his shoulder but Anakin was in no mood to move. He was sore. It had been a long afternoon of lightsaber practice, and an even longer morning of getting theoretical religious principles beat into him by Master Yoda.
“Anakin, your meaningless groaning is not making me any more willing to leave you here,” Obi-Wan reminded him, “You need to eat something before I leave. Don't think I haven't noticed how you skipped both breakfast and lunch.”
Anakin hadn't meant to skip either, but he woke up too late to eat breakfast and lunch hadn't sounded appealing if Obi-Wan was just planning on beating it out of him later. He should probably go eat. Especially because his master planned to go out drinking with his colleagues this evening.
But not moving at all and just passing out from a mix of hunger and exhaustion sounded far better.
Obi-Wan rubbed warm circles into his shoulder as Anakin let out a long low-pitched whine. His master found a knot, and as he massaged it out, Anakin yelped from the sudden pain and easing thereof.
“Dinner’s good. It’s a little spicy today, even. I can make you caf. But you need to get up and eat…” Obi-Wan hummed, knowing exactly how to coax his apprentice to Anakin’s consternation. Damn his weakness to caffeine and spicy food. Damn Obi-Wan and his nice hands.
“...mprfph…” Anakin mumbled into his pillow, before lifting his head, “Fine! But if you come back drunk, I swear I’ll kick your ass!”
Obi-Wan chuckled, “I can agree to those terms. Keep yourself out of trouble as well, young one.”
Anakin’s eyebrow twitched, “I’m 16. 16! I sure as heck save your butt more than you save mine these days.”
“You are ever the reason why my butt is often in trouble, Anakin. Regardless, you promised me you’d go eat.”
Anakin rolled off his bed and onto his feet, a motion long familiar to him after years of being too lazy to get out of bed properly.
“See! I’m standing,” he rolled his eyes, grabbing his tunic and pulling it over his head, “And now I’m going to dinner. Stop nagging.”
If Anakin had looked back just then, he’d have seen the way Obi-Wan’s smile grew amused and heart-wrenchingly fond.
Instead he stomped his way to the dining hall, his stomach making unholy noises. It sounded like he’d eaten a loud, tiny, disgruntled Ewok who was very much protesting his captivity in Anakin’s stomach. Obi-Wan was, of course, right about the food. Anakin wasn't ever going to admit that aloud to him though.
When he entered the hall, he saw Ferus Olin getting just about ready to leave, but his friend Tru Veld grabbed his wrist and held him back. Curiosity killing the cat, Anakin crept over enough to eavesdrop.
“Master Siri gave you a free evening. You can't tell me you aren't the littlest bit curious about Aayla’s life day party.”
Oh right, Anakin thought, that was today. Aayla was now 24 standard years of age. To celebrate that, she was throwing something of a party this evening, with a very selective list of attendees. And apparently Ferus had been invited.
Ferus ripped his arm away from Tru’s grip, “I already said, I’m not going. Master Siri may have given me the evening free, but I've learned my lesson about Aayla Secura’s dubious parties.”
Ha! Of course no fun Ferus would be the one to disregard an invitation like that.
As the brunette retreated, Anakin took a seat by Tru, placing his tray down on the opposite side from where Ferus had been. He grinned, “Only Ferus would turn down Aayla’s invitation.”
“It's terrible,” Tru sighed, “Aayla made me promise to convince him. She wants an equal number of boys and girls at this party, apparently.”
“Well I know I already said no when she asked me, but I could take his place. Her party games are stupid but I have nothing better to do,” Anakin took a large bite of his jerked bantha, not unlike the type he used to eat all the time on Tatooine. Less spicy, though, and chewier. The pang of homesickness he felt didn't escape Tru’s notice.
Tru smiled nervously, “Aayla will be glad that you’ve revoked your ban on attending her parties.”
Anakin snorted, “Yeah well, Obi-Wan is out for the evening getting sloshed and there’s nothing I haven't already seen on the HoloNet.”
“Ah…” Tru fiddled with his hands, “Are you going to eat your candied h'nemthe yams?”
“Yes,” Anakin said, “Fight me.”
“Sheesh, I was just asking!” Tru scratched the back of his silvery neck, a sheepish smile gracing his lips.
“Fight,” Anakin enunciated, “Me. I didn't eat breakfast or lunch. Those yams are mine, and you already ate yours.”
“Jedi don't have possessions, padawan Skywalker—Ack!” Tru tried to wriggle out of Anakin’s pinch on his ear, to no avail.
Anakin raised his eyebrows and slowly raised a candied yam to his lips. Darting a tongue out, he tasted the sweet vegetable with a long slow lick, all while maintaining eye contact with Tru. He took a tiny nibble as he moaned, long and slow and dramatic. “Yuuuuuum… Mmmmmm…”
“Stop!” Tru squirmed covering his eyes.
“Serves you right!” Anakin laughed, punishment distributed, returning to eating his yams like a civilized individual. Well, somewhat civilized. Less like a HoloNet porn star, more like a teenage boy.
“You had to make it awkward…” Tru muttered, crossing his arms.
Finishing the last of his dinner, Anakin shrugged, getting to his feet. “Shouldn't we be going to Aayla’s now?”
The pair of them made it to the apartment section of the temple, coming up to Aayla’s door. There was a sign stuck to the front of it that clearly said “No uninvited guests.”
Tru knocked lightly, a rap of his knuckles on the durasteel surface, before Aayla’s voice called out, “What’s the password?”
Tru pulled up his invitation on his communicator and read off, “Chini, wachamio…?”
“Password accepted!” Aayla opened the door for them, her eyes widening as she noticed Anakin with Tru. She broke out into a grin, “Hey! It’s our resident sourpuss. I thought you were bringing Ferus, padawan Veld?”
“He declined so I took his place,” Anakin shrugged his shoulders, “Really it's an upgrade.”
There was a twinkle in Aayla’s eyes as she ran her eyes over him. A twinkle that made him stand just a little bit taller, because his height was finally matching hers, considering he’d shot up like a weed when he’d turned 15. The growing pains were worth the two feet he’d gained, but he still rather hoped that he’d get a little bit more height on him. He had time to grow a bit more. He still wasn't taller than Obi-Wan and that was the goal .
“I guess I can agree,” Aayla decided, jutting her hip out, “Puberty hit you like a freighter. Are you sure you’re our little baby Ani?”
“Stuff it, Aayla,” Anakin shoved past her, “You know it's me.”
Tru bowed a little to their host as they made their way inside. She led them to another round circle of padawans with a familiar bottle on the table.
Of course, Anakin thought. This again.
But as Aayla sat down, she threw her arms back and said, “We’re playing a game I like to call ‘Spin the Bottle’ today. And I believe little Ani is the only one who doesn't know the rules.”
Anakin glowered at her, “Your party games are always dumb.”
“Says the person who hasn't played any party games for 4 years,” Aayla motioned for them to sit.
Tru said, very altruistically as he sat down on an armchair, “The game is played by spinning the bottle, and then you have to kiss the person it lands on.”
Anakin ended up between Tru and Darra, who was now very attractive with her artfully tousled ginger hair and one long hanging braid with a colorful ribbon braided into it. He spent a moment realizing just how different his peers were from the last time he’d done something like this.
Tohno for instance had grown a pair of truly impressive breasts. And Libah Ono had muscles in his arms that Anakin often wondered how he even got, considering they were often trained for agility. A light saber cut the same regardless of how much weight you could put behind your blows... Still, those muscles? Nice. His fellow padawans had all grown attractive, Anakin belatedly realized. Or maybe it was just his teenage hormones. Maybe it was just those.
The point being, he had no qualms about kissing anyone here. He could most definitely get behind kissing people.
“Got it. Who’s turn is it?” He asked, criss-crossing his legs.
“Yours,” Aayla laughed, “You interrupted our last round so we’ll start anew.”
Anakin reached out and spun the bottle, watching its intoxicating motion slow until the bottle landed directly across from him, right on Unbaba.
The twi'lek girl grinned salaciously, leaning forward and running her hand up his forearm.
He’d never kissed anyone before, so he just let her take the lead, tilting his head just slightly so their noses wouldn't hit each other. Her mouth landed on his, her lips sticky with some kind of gloss, and his eyes drifted closed, as he moved his mouth slightly against hers, trying to feel out what he was supposed to be doing.
She pulled back after a long second, patted him on the cheek, and said, “Not bad for a virgin.”
Anakin shoved her away with a laugh, “Shut up. You liked it.”
Well, at least he’d liked it. He’d loved it actually.
Anakin had always been fond of touching others, of the feeling of skin against his own, and kissing was even better, in his mind, because he could feel the warmth of her breath and the softness of her mouth and the smell of her, so close and intimate .
He hadn't been nearly so close with anyone else since Obi-Wan, who occasionally rested their foreheads together now that Anakin was tall enough for it. The physical motion was reserved for praise and for calming him down from his fear or his panic, and therefore was a rare treat.
Shaken out of his thoughts, Anakin just caught the view of Unbaba kissing Tohno enthusiastically, her hands coming up to fondle the ginger haired teen’s melons.
“Get a room!” Aayla whistled.
Anakin felt his cheeks heating up as the girls finally broke their kiss apart.
Tohno blushed right up to her ears, pulling her robes closed over her cleavage. It was her turn to spin the bottle, but she was too busy catching her breath to spin it yet.
Anakin personal opinion was that this game was the best of Aayla’s yet.
Finally, Tohno spun the bottle lightly, and it landed on T'Bolton.
They kissed, lightly, awkwardly, nothing like the flurry of passion from before. Then the bottle was spun again, and it had T'Bolton kissing Tru.
It was about now that Anakin had his worst idea.
He could choose who the bottle landed on with the force. It wouldn't take much more than a slight nudge. That way, he could make sure he got kissed again, and again, and again.
It would have to be subtle or else everyone else would notice. Good thing Anakin was the most force sensitive person in this room or else it wouldn't just be a challenge—it would be impossible. He decided sourly that he would only manipulate the bottle if it almost landed on him or if it had been too long since he’d participated. Any more often than that and it would be too blatantly obvious, even for him.
And luckily for him, Tru’s next spin would’ve landed him on Darra, but Anakin coaxed the bottle to a gentle stop just a little too soon.
“Ah!” Tru turned a dark silver color, “Really?”
Anakin waggled his eyebrows at his friend, “Pucker up.”
Tru leaned forward, too hesitant to truly begin the motion, so Anakin completed it, happily mashing their mouths together.
The feel of skin on his—it was the best. With Unbaba, the kiss had been sticky, but Tru’s mouth was only slightly wet from his previous kiss and his lips were slightly chapped. The new texture did nothing to change the pleasure Anakin felt, but this time, Tru pulled away much too quickly.
Aayla snorted, “For a virgin, you kiss like a slut, Anakin. You get all filthy, right away.”
Anakin scoffed, trying not to take the Twi’lek’s jibe seriously. He kissed how he thought kissing went, and for his first two kisses, the fact that it hadn't gone horribly wrong yet impressed even himself.
“No tongue,” Tru countered, in Anakin’s defense.
Anakin immediately looked over at him. There could be tongues involved? To literally be so close to someone else, you were inside them—! It sounded gross but it also sounded… sounded amazing, somehow. Anakin traced his teeth with his tongue.
The rest of the evening passed by without a hitch but… despite it all, he wondered. Even as he returned to the apartment he shared with Obi-Wan, he wondered.
Anakin felt like he was starving and last night someone had finally thrown him a bone. But instead of sating his desires, they became insatiable, and the want for more burned within him.
4.) Most Likely
Naboo was a gorgeous planet. Padmé was a gorgeous woman. Padmé had a large number of gorgeous friends, acquaintances and strangers at her gorgeous mansion for a gorgeous dinner party where even the food looked too gorgeous to eat.
Anakin was way too far over his head in gorgeousness.
That didn't mean he was allowed to leave Padmé alone however, and it meant he stuck stuck playing whatever games she requested of him. And she certainly meant to request. She’d already given him a suspiciously gorgeous drink that was an almost toxic shade of blue. He’d been told he wasn't allowed to drink it yet.
Padmé’d arranged all her numerous guests into a circle (kriffing circles) and given everyone the same drink of the same size. And now, she had a large stack of small white cards in her hands, and she sat down to the direct left of him. Clearing her throat, she explained, “I will read aloud an act. All of you will point to the person you feel is most likely to commit that act. The person pointed to the most will drink a fairly sized gulp of their cocktail. Any questions?”
“What if there’s a tie?” Someone asked.
“Then both parties will drink,” Padmé smiled, “And don't worry about whether or not you would actually do the act, if you are pointed to most. It may just mean that no one here knows you well.”
Anakin looked at the blue sludge in front of him. Oh. Oh no. Everyone could just. Gang up on him. And then he’d get too drunk to protect Padmé.
“Kriff...” Anakin sighed. He really did have the most troublesome protectee. Why couldn't any of his missions be easy?
Padmé harrumphed and held up the first card, “Who here would be most likely to crash a speeder into the Capitol building?”
Anakin was suddenly very glad no one here knew him terribly well, especially not Padmé. Because if this had been a game played at Aayla’s, everyone would be pointing at him for his reckless flying and his habit of dangerously close encounters with important cultural locations.
Most of the fingers were actually pointed at a man across from Padmé, whose name had never been introduced. However his classy mustache and slicked back dark hair accentuated his elegant features, and something about him told Anakin that he was also probably a senator much like Padmé was.
The man laughed good-naturedly, “I will drink to my poor piloting skills, although I do admit, I've heard a bit about our good friend Anakin’s excellent ability to destroy speeders and iconic architecture.”
Anakin turned a bit purple, “Where’d you hear that?”
“My good, close and personal friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the man quirked an eyebrow.
How did this guy know Obi-Wan? Anakin almost scowled at him before he got ahold of his senses. He shouldn't create another interplanetary conflict if he could at all avoid it. Glowering at a senator when he was a representative of the Jedi Order—? Bad move.
The man took a smooth swig of the liquid, before winking at Anakin. Sleemo, Anakin thought, looking away.
Padmé, his angel, cleared her throat to bring the attention back to her, “Next question! Who is the most likely to spend all of their credits on improving their wardrobe?”
Everyone pointed at Padmé herself. There was just no question as to whether or not she was the one who would do something like that. She definitely did that. No question whatsoever, really, Anakin thought, but it paid off. Her dress was visibly stunning, with a heavy pearl brocade that contrasted the Bantha milk blue of the silk.
Padmé took her drink with a dramatic display of weariness, before reading her next card, “Who here is the most likely to eat live insects?”
Surprisingly enough, most of the party pointed at Anakin.
Or perhaps it wasn't all that surprising, considering he had eaten live insects before. Being a slave on Tatooine for 9 years tended to make one immune to thinking of foods as gross. Bugs were just another organism that were edible.
He supposed that this meant he had to drink, now.
Anakin took a sip, and immediately gagged. The liquid burned—how had Padmé drunk this without grimacing? Well, maybe she was just adapted to its terribleness, but still! This shit was vile!
“É chu ta!” Anakin stuck out his tongue, “What the kriff is in this?”
“We may have made the wrong opinion,” Padmé laughed, “If Anakin can't even drink alcohol, he probably won't eat bugs either.”
“A picky eater, huh…?” Someone sighed, “I heard Jedi would eat anything, especially if it was the diplomatic choice.”
“Bugs can be tasty, I've eaten them before, but this blue Bantha poodoo is just vile!” He put the toxic blue sludge as far away as he could get it with it still being at arm’s length.
“Is this the first time you’ve tasted alcohol, Anakin?” asked the man from before.
Anakin grimaced, “And hopefully the last.”
“Ani, you can't bail on us!” Padmé fluttered her pretty eyelashes at him, laying her hand on his forearm. It was quite clearly a trick. She had no qualms being ruthless and this cuteness was merely an act. She was the evil mastermind behind this game in the first place.
“I stay where you are, Padmé, it’s my mission to protect you. But I don't have to like it,” He grumbled.
“Perfect,” Padmé beamed, “Now, everyone, who do you think is most likely to write extremely sappy poetry in their spare time?”
Anakin pointed at Padmé, but the majority decision fell on one of her handmaidens, who blushed and admitted to writing a verse or two in her spare time before taking a swig of the blue venom.
“Who would be the most likely to have a secret love affair?” Padmé asked.
All fingers pointed to Anakin, and one woman, whose hair was a truly unique spectacle with flowers included, justified the decision with, “Any romance with a Jedi must be kept secret. You can't have anything but secret love affairs.”
Anakin mouthed dumbly, “But—! I…? The code!”
Padmé patted him on the arm, “Drink up.”
“I haven't had any secret love affairs!” He complained, before attempting to drink a bit of the alcohol fast enough that he didn't have to taste it. Instead, he choked as it burned down his esophagus.
Padmé pounded him on his back and soothed, “It goes down easier if you don't try to chug it.”
“If I wasn't a Jedi, I would hate you a little bit right now.”
“Aw, Ani… Are we not childhood friends?” She rubbed a circle into his back, her fingers warm and soothing.
“Not if you keep making me drink that,” he confirmed.
She laughed, and announced, “So who do we think is most likely to speak more than 5 languages?”
A senator from a multi-linguistic planet was chosen, but Anakin saw several fingers pointed his own direction. Sleemos.
“Who is most likely to wear jewelry to bed on accident?”
Some handmaiden and Padmé cut it close on this one, but the handmaiden won.
“Who is the most likely candidate for Nabooean senator next election?”
Padmé, of course.
“Who is most likely to be caught red handed stealing food from a banquet table before dinner has started?”
Some male senator was given this honor, and his round stomach made the accusation seem all the more likely, even though Anakin had no clue who the individual even was.
Anakin had begun to space out a little, focusing less on the game itself and more on the surroundings and feelings of everyone there. He hadn't detected any sort of threat before and he doubted he would now, but it was his first solo mission to protect Padmé, and he really didn't want to fail.
Which is of course the exact moment Padmé Amidala Naberrie looked him dead in the eye and said:
“Who is most likely to steal a kiss from Obi-Wan Kenobi?”
Anakin sputtered. He went from all turbines firing, 100% comprehension capacity, to a complete malfunction. Wait, Padmé had said… what, exactly? Kiss… Obi-Wan? The fuck, Padmé! What sort of question was that? Sith spit!
“He’s a Jedi!” Anakin bemoaned aloud, and he watched as somehow, fingers weren't getting pointed at him. The one man who claimed to be “Obi-Wan’s close and personal friend,” got a few, but even more were pointed at a blond woman, the one with flowers in her hair.
“It’s a tie between Duchess Satine and Senator Bail, then?” Padmé asked.
“Wait, what?! He hasn't even really seen either of those sleemos since before I became his apprentice!” Anakin protested, “I am constantly at his side. And he’s my master! I live with him, for kriff’s sake! Why in the world would you say that I wouldn't be the one?!”
Padmé patted him once more, vaguely condescending as she intoned, “Oh, because we doubt you’ve ever want to kiss someone 16 years your older, perhaps?”
“That's not that much!” Anakin shook his head, “Regardless, those two never even see him! How is that more likely?”
“If you want to drink more…” Padmé implied.
Anakin turned red in the cheeks, “No, but I—”
“Remember what I said earlier? It doesn't matter whether it's true or not, it's just what people think is true,” She hid a smile behind her hand, “You can rest assured for knowing that no one here is going to be kissing Obi-Wan behind your back.”
“Nothing about this is reassuring!” Anakin buried his face in his hands, not taking a drink but glaring holes into the midriff of the blonde woman, who Padmé had called ‘Duchess Satine’ as she took a gloating drink of her blue sludge.
He examined her closely, before deciding that if she really was any sort of important to Obi-Wan, he would’ve heard of her before. She looked a bit too fancy for him anyway…
“Now, who would be the most likely to lose their balance while dancing?” Padmé asked, probably to fix the some of the tension that had arisen in the party.
Some random man was chosen, who Anakin honestly couldn’t care less about. His eyes were focused directly at the Duchess Satine and he glowered at her smug expression. She'd kiss his master over his dead body. Some things were not acceptable and some random woman who he'd never even heard of before laying such a claim, to Obi-Wan? What was she to him anyway? Why hadn't Obi-Wan said anything?
He'd thought they were... he'd thought that Obi-Wan trusted him enough to have told him anything important there was to know about his life before Anakin had stumbled into it. Certainly enough to know that Anakin would've stabbed himself to know about any of his master's old romances back when he was obsessing (just a little) over Padmé. And now, he'd thought, as they were becoming more and more like friends and the imbalance between them shrunk, these were things they should be able to talk about, yeah?
So why didn't he know about Duchess Satine?
The game had continued on without him, until finally Padmé leaned over, swatted him on the arm, and hissed, "Pay attention!"
Anakin shrugged her off, "Fine. But don't think I'm happy with what you pulled earlier."
“Which brings me to our next card! Who would be most likely to make a tense situation worse?” Padmé sighed.
Anakin noticed that most everyone pointed at him, and to be honest, he couldn't blame theme. He rolled his eyes, and drunk a sip. Nasty.
He was really starting to dislike this entire evening. Why did he keep letting himself get roped into these sorts of things? These games always started okay and dissolved into bickering by the end. And somehow, they always made him admit things he wasn't pleased about.
5.) The Lap Game
“Is this really necessary?” Anakin groaned.
“Bonding,” Rex said, slapping him on his back.
Obi-Wan, who was taking this whole thing rather good-naturedly, simply laughed and reminded him, “It’s good for moral, and besides, it will improve our teamwork. If we keep ourselves distant from our troops, they’ll never truly trust us in battle.”
“I think it sounds fun, Skyguy~” Ahsoka teased, leaning back on her palm.
“I have played enough games in my 22 years of existence, and this one seems like it will be absolutely the most awkward yet,” Anakin griped, throwing his hands up in exasperation.
Why did every party game start with people in a kriffing circle, anyway? He hadn't played one yet without the damnable arrangement.
In order, as well as Anakin knew at least, the people in the circle were Rex, Cody, Fives, Echo, Heavy, Ahsoka, himself, and Obi-Wan, in that order.
“Remind me of the rules again?” Echo asked, leaning towards Fives.
“Cody has a list of cards of stuff people could've done. If you’ve done the thing, you move over a whole spot. If you haven't, you stay where you are. You’ll have sit on someone’s lap if you move and they don't. Anyone who ends up stuck in a three person pile up is disqualified, and the first person to get back to their original location wins,” Fives grinned as he explained, “It’ll be great, you’ll see.”
Anakin looked up at the sky, as if it would offer him some relief. It didn't.
“Everyone ready for the first question?” Cody picked up his data reader and waited to hear a chorus of acceptance. When he got one, although less enthusiastic as he might've expected, he read, “Gone skinny dipping.”
Anakin felt his hope to win the Clone Wars and perhaps put an end to the Separatists drain completely out of him. Because horribly enough, he had . He’d been young, and Obi-Wan hadn't explained that there was such a thing as swimwear, and he’d been so eager.
Luckily for him, Obi-Wan scooted himself over as well. No awkward lap-occupying yet. Ahsoka didn't move, and as such found herself with a lapful of Heavy, who was apparently actually true to his nickname.
Anakin snickered, waggling his eyebrows, “Don't you wish you’d been less of a goody two shoes now, Snips?”
“Suck it, Skyguy!” She stuck her tongue out at him, “You’re just jealous!”
“No fighting please,” said Cody, who’d found himself with a lapful of Rex.
“Yeah, no fighting,” Rex said smugly as he leaned back against his brother.
Obi-Wan sighed, “What’s next, Cody?”
Cody grabbed a card awkwardly, leaning to the side, “Seen a naked pair of breasts.”
Anakin watched as both Cody and Rex moved as a cohesive unit one seat over, and as Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and he all moved over. Heavy stayed where he was, and ended up with Echo in his lap.
No one had been eliminated yet, huh…
“Considering I'm the only one here with breasts,” Ahsoka warned, “All of you have some explaining to do! When would any of you even have seen a naked woman?”
Anakin held his hands up innocently, “My mom and I lived together until I was 9! Privacy wasn't a thing afforded to slaves.”
Obi-Wan smiled, “Qui-Gon took me on a mission to a brothel once. Not only have I seen naked humanoid breasts, I've seen the naked breasts of over 30 only semi-humanoid species.”
“Jeez,” Rex rolled his eyes, “I had sex. The normal way men see naked breasts, see.”
Cody laughed, “Ahsoka, I regret to inform you that you don't always close your door to your room—”
“Oh my god! You saw MINE?!” Ahsoka ignited her lightsaber, covering her chest with her other arm, “You sleemo!!”
Anakin reached out to her through their training bond and sent her soothing feelings, calm and tranquility. Well, as well as he could, considering he was laughing his ass off.
“It was an accident! I closed your door for you immediately, I promise!” Cody scooted back, away from her, trembling just a little.
Ahsoka wavered, before she leaned back, unignited her saber, and sulked, “I can't believe you!”
Fives scratched the back of his head, “So uh, next question?”
“Sure thing,” Cody fished another card out of the pile, “Jumped out of a moving speeder?”
Anakin couldn't even count the number of times he’d jumped out of a moving speeder. A lot, really.
Obi-Wan stayed stock still. Shit, this was going to be awkward.
Anakin clumsily sat himself down in the man’s lap, feeling his mentor’s arms circle around him as if on instinct. But instead of feeling trapped, Obi-Wan’s embrace was warm and comfortable, almost sensual in its familiarity. Obi-Wan’s bearded cheek rested against his own, and he could feel the contentment radiating off of the older man.
“I’ve been there for most of those jumps,” Obi-Wan reminded him, “It’s a wonder you’re not dead.”
“Ah shut it!” Anakin half-heartedly whined. He couldn't find it in himself to truly be angry at the moment. It was too easy to enjoy being held.
This wasn't the first time they’d assumed this position; Obi-Wan wasn't a physical teacher, but Anakin was a kinesthetic learner and he’d needed his master to guide him physically in order to really understand the katas, or how to meditate, or even the code. If he moved, then he got it. If someone touched him, he got it. And Anakin loathed to admit that his master had also rewarded him with small touches as well, a hug, a hand on his shoulder, a press of their foreheads together... It was one of the few things that as a Jedi, Obi-Wan could give him.
So their current position was familiar, if almost forgotten. It had been a long time since Anakin was small enough to fit comfortably in Obi-Wan’s lap.
Ahsoka snickered, “Looking comfy there, Skyguy.”
“Yeah. Why don't you come join us, Snips?” Anakin rested his head on Obi-Wan’s shoulder, grinning. He hoped that both of them had the same answer to the next few questions, just so he could enjoy this for a little longer.
“Next card!” Cody called out, “Punched a droid hard enough to deactivate it?”
Anakin actually had. It had been a moment of pride for him. He’d never thought he’d regret having done so, and for such a silly reason.
He reluctantly scooted over onto the blank space left by Rex who was now comfortably in Echo’s arms.
And Ahsoka was scooped up into Obi-Wan’s comfortable embrace, the older man resting his head between her montrails. He wrapped his arms around her knees, and for not the first time, Anakin was reminded that Ahsoka was tiny. She barely hit his shoulder when they stood side by side. And right now, Obi-Wan enveloped her in the many soft layers of his robes.
Distracted as he was, Anakin missed the first pile-up of the game. Rex, Echo, and Fives all were disqualified, and it was hilarious to see them all precariously entwined.
Cody laughed, “Well, I guess we need to make a smaller circle now!”
The circle now looked like this: Anakin himself, Cody, Heavy, and then Obi-Wan and Ahsoka.
As the host, Cody drew another card. He read out, “Set their ‘Fresher on fire.”
No one moved, except for Obi-Wan. His master reluctantly let go of Ahsoka and sat down on Anakin’s thighs.
Anakin had only ever had Padmé and Ahsoka in his lap, and both women were small and light, easy to just wrap himself around. But his master had some weight to him, and it was almost funny how their roles were now reversed.
Anakin circled his master’s waist with his arms, pulling him flush against his chest. He was somehow both soft and solid—muscle and robes and tender flesh. If sitting in his master’s lap was good, then this was amazing. He’d never thought the height he had on Obi-Wan could feel addicting, that having his master vulnerable in his arms could give him this sort of high.
He was going to have to find excuses to get Obi-Wan in his grasp more often.
Anakin belatedly realized what Obi-Wan had just admitted to.
“You set a ‘Fresher on fire?!” He poked Obi-Wan’s tummy, laughing as the older man tried and failed to squirm away.
“It was an accident! How was I supposed to know baths and candles only mix when the candle falls into the bath itself and not over the edge onto Qui-Gon’s ugly bantha fur rug?” Obi-Wan crossed his arms, “Like you haven't almost set something on fire once or twice yourself, young padawan.”
Anakin just pulled his master closer, and this time, he knew he was the one radiating contentment, and of a surprisingly different sort than his master. It was not any sort of nostalgic pleasure he was enjoying. It was something much deeper and much more disastrous; all coming from the pure but complicated love he felt for Obi-Wan.
“Okay, you two can stop being gross over there,” Ahsoka tapped her foot irritably, “Cody, it's time to split ‘em up!”
Cody obliged, reading, “Has accidentally put a weapon through the laundry.”
Obi-Wan and Anakin shifted as one cohesive unit. The only one not to move was Heavy, who now had a lapful of Cody.
“Your lightsaber!” Obi-Wan griped, “You put your life through the wash?”
Anakin looked very pointedly at him, “You put your lightsaber through the wash!”
“It wasn't my lightsaber,” His master rubbed his forehead.
“A blaster, if you must know.”
“You hate blasters.”
“I am aware,” Obi-Wan tapped him affectionately on the knee, “But Anakin, your lightsaber!”
“It's hardly the worst thing I've done to one of them,” Anakin waved him off.
“We need to try harder on the next question,” Ahsoka said pointedly.
Cody whipped out the next question with a flourish, “Slipped on a wet floor while reading a book?”
Anakin and Obi-Wan didn't budge, but Ahsoka looked at them both, horrified. She perched on top of Obi-Wan’s lap, and for a brief wonderful moment Anakin had twice the people in his lap. So heavy but oh so good. He liked knowing that almost everyone he cared about was within arm’s reach. He just needed Padmé and… well, if she hadn't passed away, his mother, and he’d have everyone he loved in his arms. But for now he’d settle with Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, who were both warm and soft and too big to fit in the circle of his arms.
This was before Obi-Wan stood up, laughing and taking Ahsoka with him, before the three of them collapsed into a big cuddle pile on the floor.
Anakin was going to steal a group hug from someone later.
This meant that Cody and Heavy were declared the winners. Fair game, fair game.
Anakin grinned, before deciding, “Let’s go grab more troopers and play this again.”
+1.) Staying In
Anakin rarely got time to relax. His every second was devoted to one important cause or another, even if those causes were to spend time with the people he loved.
However, considering how today was a holiday, all Jedi-related obligations were cancelled for all active duty Knights, war or no. Only the bare minimum of the framework of the army remained, and considering they had basically already sent Grievous and Dooku running into a corner, no one thought that a day-off for all Jedi and their padawans would be truly that big of a deal.
Anakin figured today was a day he could finally relax, and calm his stressed mind. Any interruptions were to be turned away. Anyone come to pester him out of his sleep and or laziness would be ignored. The world outside could survive without him for one day.
And of course, mid afternoon, someone came to pester him.
Anakin heard the knock first, unusual considering he tended to feel the person’s force signature first, but regardless, as soon as he blinked his bleary eyes open, he could feel the warmth of the man at the door, comfortable and intimate to him as his own soul.
Nothing seemed amiss, so Anakin was tempted to tell Obi-Wan that he needed today off to literally recover from mental exhaustion due to kriffing people around him constantly, but… Obi-Wan felt nice, welcoming and soft in the force, like a giant pillow. Anakin knew if he opened the door and played up his tiredness a bit, his ex-master would fall back into his old role of caregiver without even realizing it.
So Anakin opened the door to him, taking only a second to verify with his eyes what he already knew.
Obi-Wan was holding a casserole dish of something, which smelled familiar and cheesy, both of which agreed with Anakin’s now ravenous hunger. He hadn't spared a thought to food all day, but now that he was reminded of it, he was starving.
“Aw, you bring me the nicest things,” Anakin cooed, taking the casserole dish from his mentor’s hands immediately, “What is it?”
“I tried a hand at Bant’s famous bantha cheese casserole,” Obi-Wan sighed, “She tried a bit and apparently it's only passable but I know you well enough to know you haven't eaten today.”
Anakin’s eyebrow twitched. His old master knew him too well.
He placed the casserole on a hot plate to keep it warm and turned back to Obi-Wan, asking, “So is that the only reason why you came, or is there business?”
He had assumed there would be business long before his old master even appeared.
Obi-Wan placed his hand on Anakin’s elbow, smiling softly, “Anakin, we’ve spent the last 13 life-days together. And while I doubt you’re going to want to join the festivities your padawan has gotten herself involved in, particularly involving a fairly rowdy game of Truth or Dare, I thought you might not want to spend this life-day entirely by yourself.”
The honest of Obi-Wan’s admission came as something of a shock. Anakin probed the force a bit to see if the man could be hiding anything, but he came up short. There was nothing he could tell that could be off about Obi-Wan’s statement. And to his continuing surprise, Anakin had already admitted to himself that he agreed. He wanted Obi-Wan’s company. Obi-Wan was really too good for him.
He wanted to kiss him.
The thought came out of nowhere but as soon as he thought it, all of the dots connected. It was a weird mess of emotions now sorted into boxes and categories. Anakin was still the 10 year old boy who’d thought his 25 year old master was too old to kiss anyone. And Anakin was also the 23 year old man who most definitely knew that someone never got too old for kissing. And he did want to be kissing his supposedly perfect master, who most definitely hadn't kissed nearly as many people as Anakin.
And while 15 something years between them were the biggest gap he’d ever imagined between himself and a lover, he just knew that was exactly what he wanted them to be. He’d changed so much since he was first brought to the Jedi Order, and it felt rather like Obi-Wan hadn't. Still something between a father and a brother and somehow nothing like either of those at all. Obi-Wan most likely still thought of him as a child.
He was lucky that he maintained such strong shields, or else Obi-Wan might've been asking him about his sudden rush of mental turmoil. Might've tried to baby him.
Sometimes, Anakin thought, my mind is my most hated enemy.
Anakin turned away, back to the casserole, “I’ll grab plates then.”
Obi-Wan used his hand on Anakin’s elbow to turn him back, just slightly, “Anakin, are you alright?”
“Yeah, fine—” Ignoring the emotional disaster he’d unwittingly become, sure, “Just got lost in my thoughts for a bit.”
“You’ll feel better if you eat,” his ex-master squeezed his arm before letting go. He maneuvered around Anakin, knowing exactly where the plates were, and took down the dishes himself.
Anakin watched as Obi-Wan also grabbed their forks, as intimate with his kitchen as he was.
“You’re a terrible cook,” Anakin said abruptly, remembering many half-raw or severely burnt dinners that had to be tossed out and many evenings in the dining hall as an apprentice. Obi-Wan had the worst track of time when it came to cooking. He always meditated to pass the time and fell into too deep a trance to know when something had been cooking for too long. If they ate in, it was often because Anakin himself had taken the time to cook because he was feeling homesick.
Obi-Wan stiffened, but his mild tone belied any offense, “Bant helped. I promise it's edible, but I can't guarantee taste.”
“You haven't tried to cook in ages,” Anakin insisted, already hoping for a certain conclusion.
Obi-Wan put the plates down on Anakin’s modest table and smiled, “It was actually at the insistence of your padawan that the thought even crossed my mind.”
“Really,” He put the casserole in the center of the table and took a seat across from Obi-Wan. “Where did you say she was, again?”
“Barris Offee and her other padawan friends have gathered in Ahsoka’s apartment to play party games. Much like how I knew you spent several evenings with Aayla Secura's doing much the same thing.”
He grimaced, “She’s going to do something dumb.”
“Trust in her, Anakin,” Obi-Wan cut him a square’s worth of gooey blue casserole and it smelled pretty good—considering its maker.
Anakin took a bite, “Did I ever tell you what I did at all of those games?”
“Nothing you could admit would likely surprise me,” His old master’s eyes were fond as he took a bite himself, “It's a little flavorless but I think Bant was correct in saying it's edible.”
“Better than a ration bar,” Anakin agreed, stuffing his mouth with a bite that only might've been too big. “I defended your honor a lot, to be honest, and I admitted to eating live bugs as a kid.”
“That’s not bad at all. I suspected worse…”
“I guess there was once,” Anakin waggles his eyebrows, “when I used the force to make people kiss me all night long. Not like mind tricks but like… we played Spin the Bottle and I made the bottle land on me again, and again, and again, until I got kicked out for cheating.”
“Anakin, that was a reckless blatant misuse of the… Never mind. I too did some things equally as reckless before I was knighted,” Obi-Wan laughed, “I was dared once to see if I could mindtrick Master Yoda into speaking with proper grammar. He was kind enough to play along—just to tell me that he’d arrange my swift demise if I didn't return to my room.”
“PfftURK—!” Anakin choked on his casserole as he tried to laugh and swallow all at once. He corrected the situation pretty quickly, rasping, “You tried to mindtrick Yoda?!”
“Of course, Anakin,” Obi-Wan grinned, “I was nearly as rebellious as you before I had Master Yoda beat it out of me.”
“You owe me stories, oh so many stories,” He snuffed, “Here I thought you were the perfect Jedi master.”
“Unfortunately not,” his old master amended, “I also once was playing a drinking game with some fellow Knights, and I ended up kissing Luminara Unduli for a whole minute in an attempt to remove her headdress. I didn't manage it.”
“Master!” Anakin laughed, “Are you serious?”
“Why would I lie to you?” Obi-Wan scraped up the rest of his casserole, eyeing it appreciatively.
“To make yourself look cool?” Anakin teased.
“I don't need to lie for that,” he dismissed it with a wave of his hand.
Anakin stared, dizzy almost with the desire to get closer. He didn't want anything forbidden, anything against the code, just the simple physical reassurance of his master by his side. He wanted to sidle up to him and lay his head on Obi-Wan’s shoulder. He wanted to drop his shields and bask in the warmth of Obi-Wan’s force presence.
“Want to watch a Holo’ or something?” Anakin asked abruptly, standing up.
Obi-Wan blinked, “Alright. I did pledge my company to you for the evening. Did you have one in mind?”
“No.” Anakin grabbed their plates and dumped them in the sink, silently promising to do them later. It was a promise he probably couldn't keep—but cleaning droids were built for a reason. He no longer had to keep his room clean to Obi-Wan’s satisfaction, and his cleanliness-related laziness could be written off by his own skill in mechanics.
“I think there’s a good show out right now…” Obi-Wan smiled, “I think it’s called Star Trek?”
“That one’s dumb. I mean like, the producers obviously haven’t ever been to a real planet. That many biomes on this ‘Earth’ is just impossible. Plus it’s not warping, it’s called hyperspace. Everyone knows that,” Anakin rolled his eyes, “I can’t believe you like it.”
“I think the Vulcan mind meld is much like a force connection, and it’s interesting to think about the possibilities of a world so similar to our own but not quite, you know?” Obi-Wan waved him off, “What would you prefer to watch, then?”
"Um," Anakin said eloquently.
“Why not that one Twi’lek romance film then?” Obi-Wan sighed.
“The one with that one famous actress?”
“That would be the one.”
“I’m not in the mood for subtitles,” Anakin grumbled, but he pulled up the film anyway. He wasn’t terribly interested in watching the movie as much as he was pretending to fall asleep so he could lean his head on Obi-Wan’s shoulder.
The first few scenes passed by in relative silence as the two of them settled down next to each other on the couch. Anakin slowly let gravity pull him towards Obi-Wan’s shoulder, getting closer at the slowest pace he’d ever experienced.
Right as he was about to let his arm touch Obi-Wan’s, Anakin heard Ahsoka’s voice coming from outside his apartment, muffled by the walls between them.
“Shit,” Anakin said, shooting to his feet and heading towards the front door.
As he got closer, her voice became more distinct. He opened the door, staring out at his padawan’s stiff form a couple of doors down, yelling at the top of her lungs.
“PASSION THERE IS NOT, YET SERENITY THERE IS--” Ahsoka yelled, her eyes scrunched closed as Yoda stood before her, looking very much amused.
Anakin shut his door, turned back to Obi-Wan, and said, “Ahsoka is going through the unofficial Yoda ritual.”
“The party game ritual. It’s her turn to embarrass herself in front of Yoda,” Anakin scratched the back of his neck, “She’s doing the backwards code again.”
Obi-Wan laughed, “Aha! Master Yoda once admitted to me that he finds all the antics we 'young folk' get up to very amusing. He’ll most definitely threaten to kill her to frighten her on her way. She’ll never bother him again, I suspect.”
“I thought you said they were playing Spin The Bottle.”
“Truth or Dare, Anakin. Remember when that was you, ever eager to play silly games with your padawan friends? I don't know whether I feel nostalgic that you've grown out of that phase perhaps too soon, or just amused that it's Ahsoka's turn to humiliate herself,” Obi-Wan patted the spot besides himself, his eyes meeting Anakin’s directly, “My side feels a bit cold. You may just have to come back and sit besides me. Besides, the movie is not over quite yet. I really do want to know whether Allie and Noah reunite.”
Anakin paused for a second, just a little stunned, before he quite gladly took back his seat next to Obi-Wan. He didn’t bother with pretenses this time, he just squished himself right up next to him and laid his head on Obi-Wan’s shoulder. Obi-Wan just adjusted his position so that his elbow was no longer poking Anakin in the stomach, and he unpaused the Holo. The two Twi'leks, Allie and Noah, returned to their dramatic lives, where Noah was a resistance leader defending Ryloth who had just returned from the Clone Wars (and wasn't that an inaccurate portrayal) while Allie tried to move on and love another back home. Apparently the movie had become an instant classic.
The movie itself honestly was boring Anakin to tears, but he was enjoying the feeling of being surrounded with a sort of peace. For once, he could say that he was truly relaxed, the sort of content and peaceful that meditation had never brought him. He was very glad that he’d decided to spend this holiday inside, for once.
And towards the end of the evening, once the movie had finished, he felt Obi-Wan lay a gentle kiss on his forehead as he drifted into unconsciousness.