"It seems that Master Kenobi has been in contact with a certain Senator who is known to be among the leaders of this cabal. Apparently, very close contact. The rumor is that he was seen leaving this Senator's residence this very morning, at an...unseemly hour." Palpatine's voice oozes concern but his eyes gleam sharply.
Anakin's barely aware of the strategic micro-second of a pause, though; the phrases close contact and unseemly hour rebounding around in his head. Who? Who can it be that Obi-Wan is having assignations with? Why hadn’t he known about this? His hands clench into fists unconsciously. Without even pausing to think, he's up and storming out of Palpatine's office.
"Anakin, wait!" Palpatine calls out behind him, sounding a little off-balance. "Don't you want to know who it is?"
"I'll find out from him myself!" Anakin shouts back. He doesn't have time to sit with Palpatine any longer. Obi-Wan had apparently been with this person last night and Anakin won't stand for him going to him again tonight. Obi-Wan's his . His Master, his best friend, his mentor, his everything . No one could be allowed to come in between them. Even though, a small voice inside Anakin's head pipes up, we haven't been as close as we used to be. But no, Anakin will fix that.
He walks as quickly as he can through the Senate halls - as much as he'd like to, running would only bring him unwanted attention and would cause the Senators around him to panic. His heart pounds as he goes and his breath quickens. His mind can't stop conjuring up images of Obi-Wan in bed with someone else, with another man, being physically affectionate in ways that he would never be with Anakin because he was always so kriffing proper and concerned about the supposed power imbalance in their relationship. Well, Anakin's had enough of that. He had said nothing about Satine because that had started before he had even met Obi-Wan and he never said anything about Ventress' flirtations with his Master because he knew that wouldn't go anywhere. But this...this thing with a Senator? If Obi-Wan could overcome his dislike of politicians to sleep with a Senator, that's potentially serious. And new.
Anakin growls lowly as he gets into his speeder and pulls away with a roar of the engine. He drives even more recklessly than usual, diving in and out of traffic lanes with the single-minded purpose of getting to the Temple as fast as he possibly can.
When he gets there, the sky is just beginning to darken. He parks the speeder haphazardly and tears off down the halls, shamelessly using a bit of Force to boost his speed. He heads straight for their quarters - with so many of the Jedi out on the front lines, the Temple is so empty that both he and Obi-Wan had taken to eating their meals there instead of in the commissary whenever they were on-planet. And indeed, when the door opens to his biometric scans, he can smell a beef stew simmering in the kitchenette and hear a light clatter of utensils on ceramic.
"Anakin?" Obi-Wan calls out, though the man himself is still in the kitchen area. "I thought you were going to be at the Senate all day today." The Coruscanti-accented voice has a touch of humor in it and normally, Anakin would welcome the teasing that's about to come. But not now.
He stalks towards the kitchenette and sees Obi-Wan dishing out stew into a bowl. Obi-Wan glances over and quirks an eyebrow in question. Anakin shakes his head. He doesn't want anything to eat just yet. He takes the chance to look around the room while Obi-Wan turns back to the pot. There's a datapad next to a placemat on the dining table; the other half of the table sits empty save for a couple of droid parts Anakin had been working on earlier. The coffee table is covered in a collection of more droid parts along with his tools and some datapads Obi-Wan had borrowed from the Archives when they had gotten back to Coruscant a couple of days ago. One of Anakin's robes lies discarded on the sofa. Plants in various stages of bloom line the windowsill. His and Obi-Wan's Force signatures permeate the room, entwined so intricately that it's nearly impossible to tell where one ends and the other starts.
His breathing slows down as he forces himself to relax. There's no sign of another person here, so whatever is going on between Obi-Wan and the Senator, it isn't serious. Not yet.
"So," Obi-Wan says, turning to face him. He sets the bowl down on the counter instead of taking it over to the table, gives Anakin a mildly pointed stare while he fishes a spoon out of the drawer and takes a sip of his soup.
Anakin hesitates, tries to think how best to say something to the man renowned throughout the galaxy for having a way with words. Obi-Wan waits him out patiently, seemingly focused on his dinner. Anakin fights the urge to knock the spoon out of his hands and drag him in for a kiss. "Who is he?!" he finally blurts out, wincing a bit at how demanding that had come out. He never could control his emotions around Obi-Wan.
The older man's brows furrow. "Who's who?"
"What Senator?" Obi-Wan's paused in his eating and looks confused but Anakin's not buying it. He must know exactly who Anakin's asking about.
"The one you're fucking ! Sith hells, Obi-Wan, did you think I wouldn't find out?!"
" Language, Anakin. And what are you talking about? I'm not sleeping with anyone."
Anakin feels his anger flare up at Obi-Wan's denial. "Is it Bail? I always thought you two were unnecessarily close." He starts pacing, feeling too restless to stand still anymore. His hands clench and unclench at his sides. "I'll kill him," he growls.
"Anakin!" Obi-Wan says sharply and that's enough to make Anakin's head snap back towards his former Master. "There will be no killing of any Senators. Especially not one of the few who's actually decent." Anakin glowers at this and Obi-Wan sighs before continuing. "And again, I'm not sleeping with anyone."
"How do I know you're not just lying to me to protect him?!" Anakin stalks over to him. Obi-Wan doesn't budge, of course, so they end up standing just inches apart. Anakin stares intently into Obi-Wan's eyes, trying to divine what secrets he's trying to keep from him. The Force feels electrified between them.
"Anakin," Obi-Wan begins reasonably, "we've been in the middle of a war. We're hardly on-planet for any significant length of time. How would I carry on an affair?"
There's no hint of a lie in his eyes, so Anakin reluctantly pulls back a bit. "If you really wanted to, you'd find a way," he mutters, and ignores how sulky he sounds.
Obi-Wan huffs out a small laugh. "Well, I don't want to, okay?"
"What brought this on, anyway?" Obi-Wan turns back to his bowl of soup, apparently content with letting the matter drop.
Fuck that , Anakin thinks and surges forward again. He raises his flesh hand to cup Obi-Wan's face, threads his fingers into that ginger hair, angles his head, and dips down to take the other man's lips in a searing kiss. There's a brief pause and then Obi-Wan grips his shoulder and kisses him back and Anakin feels his heart soar. Kissing Obi-Wan is nothing like kissing Padmé. With his wife, it's soft and gentle, her flowery perfume filling the air around them, her uncalloused hands reminding him that he's home and not on the front lines. But with Obi-Wan, it's passionate and furious and almost tinged with desperation; Obi-Wan's hands are strong and grounding and they make Anakin feel safe. The Force swirls around them, sings of how right this is, pulses with the potential of their combined power.
"Wait," Obi-Wan gasps, pulling back. His grip keeps Anakin from following him and he frowns. "We can't - we shouldn't be doing this." Obi-Wan shakes his head, though he doesn't let go of Anakin or try to push him away.
"Why not? You know how I feel about you. You've known how I felt for years! I told you!"
"You were sixteen, Anakin. And my Padawan. Do you think me the kind of person who takes advantage of someone under their tutelage?" Obi-Wan's voice is even but his eyes betray just a tiny flash of hurt.
"No, of course not. But we're not Master and Padawan anymore. So why can't we do this now?"
"I still have authority over you, Anakin. I'm on the Council."
Anakin rolls his eyes. "Right, the Council. That thing that I always listen to, right?"
"That thing that you should be listening to," Obi-Wan responds wryly.
"Obi-Wan, I can assure you that if I didn't want something to happen between us, I'm more than capable of stopping it. Forcefully , if necessary."
Obi-Wan's lips twitch. "That is a terrible pun."
"But true, in any case." When Obi-Wan concedes this with a slight nod, Anakin grins. "Now can we -" he waggles his brows and leers just a little.
Obi-Wan groans but when Anakin leans in for another kiss, he holds him back. "Not so fast, my former Padawan. The Code forbids attachment, remember?"
Anakin scowls. "It's always the Code with you! Fine, then," he bites off. "We don't have to get attached . This could just be a, a release. A mutual one. In time of war and all that."
"We're not at war right now ."
"Kriffing hell, Obi-Wan! Why are you trying to so hard to keep this from happening? I know you want me! I've felt it! And I've been waiting for you to do something but you never do!"
"It wouldn't be appropriate! I'm much too old for you, I used to be in a position of authority over you, and now I'm on the Council which means upholding the Code and serving as an example to the other Jedi, including you!"
Anakin throws up his hands at this, shrugging Obi-Wan's off of his shoulders. "Fuck the Council!" he shouts. "Ever since you were given a seat on there, it's like I lost you. You're always wrapped up in Jedi business, keeping secrets, and becoming best friends with Mace ! You used to talk to me! You used to have my back. You used to care about me! Or at least, you made it seem like you did but I guess I was always second to the Order."
Obi-Wan looks stunned and Anakin experiences a moment of vicious satisfaction at breaking his Master's calm but it sours quickly and bitterness settles in. Then Obi-Wan reaches out and grasps his arm tightly. "Anakin, you are my best friend. I do care about you. There's no one else I'd rather have at my side." He shakes his arm slightly in emphasis and then relaxes his grip. "I trust you with my life. The Council's secrets aren't mine to share but I'm sorry I've been so distant that you're questioning our relationship. You're not second to the Order."
"I'm not?" Anakin asks in surprise and he kind of hates how young he sounds, like a kid seeking reassurance and validation.
"No, you're not," Obi-Wan affirms and his eyes are warm. "I love you. You're like a brother to me."
Anakin scoffs, but his heart feels lighter and his mind feels calmer. "Brothers don't watch each other the way I've seen you watching me."
Obi-Wan blushes faintly. "Nevertheless," he says firmly, "I'm not sure it's a good idea to pursue this."
"What? Why not? You just said you love me!"
"I do. But I'm already overly attached to you. And you to me. If we take this further, what do you think is going to happen?"
"Not all attachments are bad, Obi-Wan. Ours has gotten us out of some pretty tough situations."
"That may be the case," Obi-Wan starts and then he draws a breath and straightens and Anakin can almost see him visibly pulling the shroud of Jedi Master around him.
"No," he hurries to stop him. At Obi-Wan's surprise, he clarifies: "This is just between you and me, Obi-Wan and Anakin. Not Jedi Master Kenobi of the Council and Knight Skywalker. You're always so worried about having authority over me? Well, stop pulling rank on me and just talk to me.”
Obi-Wan sighs and slumps a little, rubbing at his beard as he contemplates Anakin thoughtfully. "Very well. I'm just worried about you. About what you'll do if we start this. What happens if I die in battle? If I get captured? Or just injured? You barely keep your head together now, there's no telling how it'll affect you if we go through with this."
"Uh, I'd do the same things I already do when you get captured or injured - whatever it took to rescue you and then hunt down the person responsible for hurting you and kill them." At Obi-Wan's mildly disapproving look, he sighs. "Fine, take them into custody if possible. But I would keep doing that even if nothing else happens between us. Don't tell me you wouldn't do the same for me." Anakin stares challengingly at the older man; in this, at least, he has always felt confident.
"You know I would," Obi-Wan affirms and Anakin can't help a flutter of giddiness.
"So you see, this wouldn't change anything. There's no reason why we shouldn't do this! Plus it'll relieve stress which will make us better Generals!" Anakin says triumphantly.
Obi-Wan sighs, looks down like the floor has the answers he's seeking, rakes a hand through his hair, and mutters something that sounds like, "No regrets, Kenobi. Either one of us could die any day in this blasted war." Then he meets Anakin's eyes and decisively wraps a hand around the nape of Anakin's neck and pulls him down for a kiss.
Anakin feels a thrill of pleasure at both the kiss itself and at winning an argument with Obi-Wan. He closes his eyes and lets himself sink into Obi-Wan's lips and touch, wrapping his arms tightly around the other man's back. Obi-Wan rests his free hand on his hip and starts shuffling the two of them towards the master bedroom - Obi-Wan's room, which is both bigger and the neater of the two. Anakin knows that they still have a lot to talk about, especially if this is going to be a regular occurrence (and he does plan on making this a regular occurrence).
But for now, Obi-Wan's dinner sits forgotten behind them in the kitchen while the two of them lose themselves in each other and forget about the rest of the world for a couple of hours.