Obi-Wan came back on a Tuesday, already ensconced at Ahsoka’s desk like he had never left the Nine-Nine. It was all Anakin could do not to leap into Obi-Wan’s arms. Unlike Rex who when given a choice between catching Anakin and dropping his coffee always chose to save his coffee, Obi-Wan would never let him fall. It helped that he had already jumped on Obi-Wan when he showed up at Shmi’s house a month ago.
All right, yes, technically Obi-Wan came back on a Sunday at the tail end of winter, looking like the time Anakin ate that Chinese food lurking in the back of his fridge and then spent the next thirty-six hours vomiting up every single thing he had ever eaten in his life. Shmi had taken one look at Obi-Wan, put him to bed, and then proceeded to shovel food into him until he looked something more human and less like a hollow shell.
“I do apologize for just showing up,” Obi-Wan said that first day, once he had gently extricated himself from Shmi’s embrace. “But I haven’t had a chance to hunt for an apartment yet, and a hotel is so impersonal.”
“This is your home,” Shmi said. “You can always come home.” And she pressed a kiss to Obi-Wan’s buzzed hair.
For about as long as Anakin could remember, not counting the year after Qui-Gon died, Obi-Wan maintained a glorious beard, although the length of his hair changed. Anakin treasured the photographs of the time Obi-Wan had that mullet. If Obi-Wan ever settled down properly with someone, Anakin was going to take great pleasure in pulling those out. Obi-Wan’s face alone would keep him happy for the years to come.
But now with his hair buzzed short and clean shaven, Obi-Wan looked oddly young, like he and Anakin could actually be brothers of the same age. It was weird and made Anakin want to wrap Obi-Wan in a blanket and feed him soup. Oh no, he was becoming his mother.
“And you don’t need an apartment,” Anakin said. “I got an extra room in mine. It’ll be like the old days!”
Almost four years undercover and Obi-Wan still managed the look that said Anakin was a human mess who Obi-Wan loved dearly but also feared would die of scurvy one day, which wasn’t fair as he only had the one scurvy scare last winter, and Cody had spent the next month pouring lemon water in him until Anakin almost wished he had died.
“He’s gotten better,” Shmi said, correctly interpreting the look. “It’s a nice place, and he owns a vacuum now.”
“And one of those fancy duster things for the ceiling,” Anakin added, leaving out the reason he only owned it was because Padmé hated spiders and refused to stay over until he did something about all those cobwebs.
“Well, if it’s a fancy duster,” Obi-Wan said.
Anakin said, “I even have a bed in the spare room.”
“Will wonders never cease,” Obi-Wan said dryly, but he looked soft and fond.
That weekend they got all of Obi-Wan’s sad few possessions out of storage and moved him into Anakin’s apartment. Padmé even bought Obi-Wan a housewarming gift of several dishtowels and sponges because Anakin owned one of each, which was somehow unacceptable.
So, yes, technically Obi-Wan had been back for a bit, but it wasn’t official until Anakin walked in and saw him at the desk, finally where he belonged.
Before he could do more than beam, Ahsoka said, “Hey, that’s my desk. Stop touching my shit.”
“Don’t,” Anakin said, but his warning came too late, Ahsoka already grabbing Obi-Wan’s shoulder. Obi-Wan ripped her hand free, turning and spinning, twisting Ahsoka’s arm up behind her back.
“Hey!” Rex snapped, crowding close, hand going to his sidearm. “Let her go.”
Obi-Wan blinked, looking briefly dazed before meeting Anakin’s eyes, and then his expression crumpled at the realization of where he was and what he was doing.
“My apologies,” he said, releasing Ahsoka, who wasted no time in turning to punch him hard in the arm. Obi-Wan winced. Anakin knew from personal experience it was going to be a spectacular bruise. “Are you hurt?”
“Like you could hurt me,” she said, more offended by that than the fact Obi-Wan had laid hands on her.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Obi-Wan said mildly.
“Ignore her,” said Anakin. “She’s got a mouth on her. Don’t look at me like that. You do.”
Ahsoka hit him in the shoulder, but she didn’t deny it. And it wasn’t like Anakin also didn’t know when to shut up. If Cody and Rex were to be believed, their sass mouths were going to get them shot one day. Although, according to Rex, a lot of things were going to get Anakin shot. Rex even made a ranking list, which Anakin chose to take as a sign of love and friendship.
“Ah,” said Captain Windu, emerging from his office with the perfect sense of dramatic timing that Anakin envied. “I see you’ve met Detective Obi-Wan Kenobi,” he added as Cody followed close behind.
“Wait, Obi-Wan?” Ahsoka said, perking up. “Anakin’s Obi-Wan?”
“Anakin’s what?” Obi-Wan said, eyebrows raised.
“Oh, you know,” Anakin said, pulling Ahsoka close to slap a hand over her mouth. She kicked him in the shin. “Just telling the newbie some stories.”
Rex snorted. “The kid doesn’t shut up about you.”
“I will end you,” Anakin hissed. Rex looked unimpressed, which wasn’t surprising because while Anakin had a good four or so inches on him, Rex was all muscle while Anakin was built in the shape of an egg noodle.
“Good to see you again,” Cody said, and Obi-Wan smiled.
“I see you made sergeant,” he said, eyes widening when Cody pulled him into a hug, and not one of the bro ones where you slapped the other guy’s shoulder while keeping a good two inches between you. It was a full on bear hug, Obi-Wan practically lifted off his feet as Cody squeezed him tight before finally letting go. Anakin was probably the only one who noticed the way Obi-Wan went tense before making a concentrated effort to relax.
“We have the morning briefing,” Windu said, pointedly collecting his notes and walking past.
Anakin had never seen Windu smile, not even at his husband. He was starting to think his theory about Windu being a robot was actually correct, which would be awesome because robot captain, how cool was that?
“Are you thinking about Windu being a robot again?” Fives asked, shoving Anakin along as they all obediently filed after Windu.
“I bet he has x-ray vision,” Anakin said. Ahead of them Rex politely held the door open for Obi-Wan but let it swing shut in Fives’ face.
“Huh,” Fives said, all his attention turned on his phone, typing very fast.
Probably updating his twitter, Anakin figured, knowing better than to ask. Fives claimed it was an accident when he broke that patrolman from the Two-Seven’s fingers when he tried to take his phone, but Fives came from a terrifying family. Anakin once personally witnessed Cody crush a magic 8 ball in one hand without even blinking. And the less said about Rex’s, well, everything, the better.
Anakin took a seat next to Ahsoka, watching as Obi-Wan stood next to Windu, hands tucked behind his back. When he was eleven, he spent hours in front of the mirror trying to get his stance just right. He managed it just in time for Halloween, and he treasured the look on Obi-Wan’s face, a sort of annoyed fondness.
Now Obi-Wan’s beard was back, if still a bit patchy, and his hair was finally starting to curl as it grew out of the buzz cut, and for a moment he looked as Anakin remembered: controlled, untouchable, just what he always figured an actual adult was, instead of him who still had to do the sniff test on his clothes four days out of ten.
“As most of you know,” Windu said, “Detective Obi-Wan Kenobi spent the last four years deep undercover. He’s returned back home to the Nine-Nine.”
“Thank you,” said Obi-Wan. “I'm afraid I am unfamiliar with a good number of you. Oh, is that Sinube and Nu? Weren’t you retiring before I left?”
“The place would fall apart without us,” said Nu, nose in the air.
“Remember when the ceiling caved in two years back?” said Sinube. “And we only stepped out to lunch.”
“You caused that,” said Cody, “by hiding all your open case files in the ceiling tiles.”
“You can’t prove that was us,” said Nu, and Cody closed his eyes, probably mentally counting to a hundred. He did the same thing when he found out Anakin hadn’t eaten a carrot in three years.
“Tano,” Windu continued, “you’ll be temporarily moved to the break room while we find you a new desk.”
“Sure, sure,” said Ahsoka, leaning forward. “What was your gig, Kenobi?”
Obi-Wan shifted. “I was a bagman for Cad Bane.”
Fives lowered his phone as simultaneously Rex’s eyebrows rose.
“Oh, shit,” Ahsoka said. “That is an A-list mobster. Tell me everything.”
Anakin kicked her in the ankle. Obi-Wan had been awake at two in the morning again, baking yet another loaf of banana bread. They had already given away so many to their neighbors that Padmé was taking them in to her office.
Ahsoka kicked him back, and Anakin hissed, “Don’t be weird.”
“You’re telling me not to be weird?” she said, which was insulting.
“Don’t have a leg to stand on there, pot,” said Rex.
“Remember when he first saw Padmé?” said Fives, because he was a dirty traitor and Anakin was regretting ever sharing his lunchables with Fives when they were seven.
“What happened?” Obi-Wan asked, and Anakin knew that look. That look never ended well for him.
“He walked into a door,” said Rex.
“And then somehow tripped over his entire desk,” added Fives. “And then missed his mouth completely while drinking coffee.”
“Your entire family is dead to me,” Anakin said darkly. Cody cleared his throat. “Not you, sarge,” he added quickly, because Cody assigned cases and Anakin never wanted to be put on data entry again. “You are the only good thing to come out of that gene pool.”
“If we’re done extolling the virtues of Sergeant Waititi’s genome,” Windu said dryly, “we have work to do. Dismissed.”
“Aw, I wanted mobster stories,” Ahsoka said.
“Don’t you have an open credit fraud case you’re supposed to be working on?” Anakin asked, ignoring the face she made as he hurried to catch up with the captain.
“Whatever it is, the answer is no,” Windu said, barely pausing as Anakin stumbled over.
“You don’t even know what I was going to ask,” he protested.
“You want to partner with Obi-Wan,” Cody said.
“Is that wise?” Windu asked, with a grave face, which was subtly different than his normal statue-esque facial expression in that there was an extra furrow in his brow. “It will be a hard adjustment for Kenobi to make, and I am hesitant to assign any case to you both given your personal connection.”
“Okay, first of all, you make it sound like we dated, which is super gross by the way.” He shuddered for effect. “And second of all, I was undercover! I know what he’s going through. I'm the best qualified to help him through it. Come on, Captain, please.”
Windu looked to Cody, who shrugged. “It’s a simple robbery case. Can’t hurt, Captain.”
“All right,” said Windu. “You can work it together.”
“Thanks, Captain,” Anakin said only to find Cody pulling him back when he went to hurry to Obi-Wan. “Problem, sarge?”
“You’re going to have to give him time,” Cody said softly.
“I know,” Anakin snapped. “He’s been home for awhile.”
“But not at work,” said Cody. “Just let him ease back into things.”
Anakin glanced over to where Obi-Wan was back at his desk, Rex leaning next to him. Anakin had no idea what they were talking about, but whatever Rex said made Obi-Wan smile.
“He’s gonna be fine,” he said.
“I'm sure he’ll be back to his old self and politely asking for cocaine again soon,” Cody agreed.
“Did he really ask if he could please have some?” Anakin asked, gleeful.
“I was there. He can’t help himself.”
“I am so glad that story’s true,” Anakin said. “I'm putting it on his Christmas card this year.”
“We both know you have never sent out a Christmas card in your life,” Cody said, patting his shoulder. “Now go work your case and tell Rex to stop flirting. He’s got that homicide to close.”
“Wait, flirting?” Anakin said, but Cody’s poker face was legendary, and so Anakin just rolled his eyes and said, “Obi-Wan, slacking off on your first day back?”
“Yes, Anakin, what is it?” Obi-Wan sighed, sounding like the time he discovered Anakin owned a total of two forks and one spoon and was wondering how Anakin ever made it to adulthood. To be fair, Anakin wasn’t entirely clear on that point either.
“Is that any way to greet the man who got us a case?” he said, dangling the file above Obi-Wan’s head. “Come on, old man, time to see if you remember how to be a cop.”
Obi-Wan looked unimpressed, shoving his chair back so fast Anakin couldn’t dodge out of the way, and he winced as the chair wheels skidded over his toes.
“Do try to keep up,” Obi-Wan said as Rex chuckled. “I’ll drive.”
“Uh, no,” said Anakin, but Obi-Wan had already snatched the car keys from him and was halfway to the elevator before Anakin could do more than blink.
“I like him,” said Rex, which was mildly terrifying because Rex didn’t like new people. It took him a good month to warm up to Ahsoka, even though now they were basically inseparable. “He’s going to leave you behind,” Rex added, and Anakin swore, sprinting for the elevator before Obi-Wan could close the doors in his face.
It was a string of electronic store robberies, something Anakin would work in his sleep, and he apparently did once. Sleep detecteving he called it, just like Cody would do sleep pull ups, which was, he reluctantly admitted, a little more impressive.
As they were collecting the surveillance tapes, Anakin said, “You never told me what your undercover name was. Please tell me it wasn’t something boring like Bob Anderson. You didn’t go with Ben again, did you?”
“This may surprise you,” Obi-Wan said, “but I don’t enjoy going over my time working for Bane.”
“No, I get that,” Anakin said, feeling stupid. Obi-Wan barely said two words about his time under. “I mean, I was undercover for sixty-three days. I know how hard it is to come in out of the cold.”
“You were undercover for sixty-three days?” Obi-Wan said. “I had no idea. You should tell people that. Perhaps make it your outgoing phone message.”
“Shut up,” Anakin said, nudging his shoulder into Obi-Wan. “I'm just saying, if you need to talk, I'm here.”
“Thank you,” Obi-Wan said and took the tapes the owner handed over.
They were half-way back to the precinct when Obi-Wan said, “Rako Hardeen.”
“What?” said Anakin. He managed to get the car keys by grabbing them when Obi-Wan was distracted and then kept them through the schoolyard tactic of holding them above Obi-Wan’s head as Obi-Wan glowered disapprovingly.
“My name,” Obi-Wan said, already looking like he was regretting every decision he had ever made. “I picked Rako Hardeen.”
“That is awesome. You sound like a bounty hunter! A space bounty hunter! What was the back story? Were you betrayed and left for dead? Were you seeking revenge on the man who murdered your wife and your only clue was that he wore a yellow sweater?”
“This is why I didn’t want to tell you,” said Obi-Wan, but he was smiling, and Anakin counted it a win.
They got their guy easily enough, although it included a foot chase, which gave Anakin the chance to hum the chase music he composed himself. Well, he hummed for a block and then had to stop because, wow, the guy was fast and maybe Cody had a point about eating better and working out. Running was awful.
Obi-Wan nabbed the guy with a vicious tackle that no man wearing an ugly grandpa cardigan should be able to do. The bastard wasn’t even winded.
“Good job,” Anakin gasped, one hand on the horrible stitch in his side. “I wore him down for you.”
“I'm buying vegetables and you will eat them,” Obi-Wan said, pulling the handcuffed perp to his feet. “Are you hyperventilating?”
“Nope! I'm good!” He tried to breathe through his nose and then had to quit when the corners of his vision went dark. Obi-Wan was totally going to make him go jogging and then Anakin would be forced to disown him.
“You can have first crack at him,” he said when they were back at the Nine-Nine. “I want to see if you can remember how to do this.”
“It was four years,” Obi-Wan said. “And I still managed to do some police work.”
“Actually, I was just calling you old,” Anakin said, grinning at Obi-Wan’s disgruntled glare. “Go on. I’ll be right out here if you need help.”
“He’s going to punch you,” Ahsoka said, following Anakin into the observation room where Rex was already waiting for them.
“Nah, he loves me,” said Anakin, and settled in for a show.
Obi-Wan’s technique was to sit and stare in silent judgment all while sipping slowly from an actual to god teacup, the kind that just seemed to pop into existence around Obi-Wan. It took about twenty minutes before the perp cracked and started babbling. Anakin was the only one who found it unsurprising.
“I need to learn how to do that,” Ahsoka said, impressed.
Rex looked interested, like Obi-Wan was a shiny new knife he desperately wanted.
“It’s the disappointment, really,” Anakin said. “It’s not humanly possible to stand up to that. I know. I’ve tried.”
“You have trouble standing up to a strong breeze,” Ahsoka said.
“This is wiry muscle,” he protested.
“You know I can bench press you, right?”
“You are terrifying.”
Ahsoka grinned. “Don’t forget it. Now go help him take the statement.”
Later, after booking and beginning the long process of filing paperwork, Obi-Wan started gathering his things.
“Cutting out early?” Anakin asked, pushing back from his desk and stretching his back, wincing at the twinge. Cody maybe had a point about good posture.
“My psych appointment,” Obi-Wan said calmly. “I shouldn’t be too late tonight.”
Anakin hid his wince. Obi-Wan attended every session, and while they seemed to be helping, most days he came back with the corners of his eyes and mouth tight. Anakin did his best to help by making sure the apartment was clean, preparing Obi-Wan’s favorite tea, and just quietly being near in case Obi-Wan needed him.
“I can grab some pizza, if you want,” he offered.
“That would be nice. Thank you,” Obi-Wan said, and donned his coat.
“You heading out?” Rex asked. He already had his aviators on, and Anakin hated how unfairly good he looked in them.
The one time Anakin tried to wear a pair he felt like a frat boy who called everyone bro unironically and cared deeply about leg day. The last time he had been in a gym was that undercover op with Cody, and he spent every moment wishing for the sweet embrace of death. It didn’t help that Ahsoka had been assigned to it as well, and her back muscles alone put his entire musculature to shame. Steela was a very lucky lady.
“Yes,” said Obi-Wan.
“Me too,” Rex said. “I’ll walk you.”
Granted Anakin was only half paying attention, still trying to loosen his muscles, but he could have sworn that was Rex’s hand on the small of Obi-Wan’s back before the doors closed.
“Wait,” said Anakin. “What happened?”
“Oh my god,” said Fives, for once looking up from his phone. “This is going to be a good week for me.”
Anakin flipped him off on principle, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling winding through him. Fives being happy never meant anything good for him. Add to that the way Ahsoka was suddenly smirking and Anakin debated hiding under his desk until whatever madness was brewing blew over. And his week had started off so well, too.
Anakin woke at five a.m. to the smell of banana bread and the quiet, vicious cursing that meant their electric teakettle broke again. They really needed to replace it before Obi-Wan lost all patience and started stabbing.
His alarm was set to go off in another hour, and so Anakin rolled out of bed, stumbling over his shoes as he did every morning because he didn’t learn, and went to assess the damage in the kitchen. Obi-Wan stood with his back to the doorway, a loaf cooling near the sink, hands clenched around the counter, shoulders hunched. One of those mornings, then.
“Looks like Padmé’s office is going to be happy today,” Anakin said. “How’s the kettle?”
“Broken,” Obi-Wan said, and Anakin watched as through sheer will Obi-Wan forced his muscles to relax. It was impressive, really, but not exactly healthy.
“Want to talk about it?” he offered.
Anakin got down boxes of Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes, mixing the two cereals together in a big bowl before pouring in the last of the milk.
“Before you saying anything,” he said, boosting himself up onto the counter, “this is nonfat milk.”
“How have you not gotten diabetes yet?”
“My theory is I’m immune and am going to live forever.”
Obi-Wan snorted. His hair, longer now, was a twisted nest, and the dark smudges under his eyes at least were no darker than they had been the other day. He was also gaining weight back and adding on muscle mass. Working out with Cody was having some effect other than Obi-Wan coming back mellow enough he didn’t even yell at Anakin for leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor, something that also annoyed Padmé to no end.
“Eventually,” Anakin said once half his cereal was gone and Obi-Wan had wrestled some hot water from the kettle, probably harnessing his epic stubbornness to heat it, “we’re going to have to talk about the nightmares you’re having.”
“We really don’t.”
“Stop being emotionally closed off.” He stabbed his spoon at Obi-Wan. “It’s unhealthy for you and damaging to our relationship. Open communication is the key to working through this.”
“Did Padmé tell you that?”
“Cody, actually. Don’t change the subject.”
Obi-Wan sighed and said, “I had to do things I'm not proud of. I'm dealing with it as best I can.”
Anakin was terribly familiar to how Obi-Wan dealt with things, which was to ignore it and pretend everything was fine until having a nervous breakdown.
“Look, my undercover work was way different,” said Anakin. “I'm good with computers. I basically helped them switch to the cloud and made sure their email passwords were entered correctly, but it was still hard coming back. What helped me was talking to someone when it all got a bit much, you know?”
“I’ve been going to the department therapist,” Obi-Wan said, pissy.
Anakin just managed not to roll his eyes. “And I bet you manage to say a whole lot of nothing. When I had nightmares or whatever, I would talk to Cody. He made me feel normal. Well, mostly normal. I'm pretty sure he’s been grinding vitamins up in my lunch for the past year.”
“It’s the only way you take them. I am trying, Anakin.”
“I know.” He slurped up the sugar sludge that had been milk at one point. “I'm just saying, you got a lot of people that care about you. You can pick literally anyone. Well, probably not Fives. Or Sinube and Nu. Ahsoka is still pretty young. And I'm not sure the captain knows how human emotions work.”
“Yes, thank you.” After a moment, Obi-Wan sat on the counter next to him. “And stop belittling your work. You took down the mob.”
“Eh, a small mob. A moblet,” he said, ignoring the warm, sloshy feeling of pride in his stomach.
“You’re a good man,” Obi-Wan said in that embarrassingly sincere way he had occasionally. “And a good cop. Rex has been telling me stories.”
“Oh god, which ones?”
When he was first stationed at the Nine-Three as a uniform, Rex had taken him under his wing, helping him learn proper procedure and the correct way to process a crime scene and how to write an ironclad arrest report. And then when Anakin made detective, Rex was the one to help him find his footing, the best mentor he could ever ask for, even if Rex was so private that it boarded on absurdity. If it wasn’t for Cody and Fives and the rest of the Waititi clan, Anakin would assume Rex just appeared fully formed in the world wearing a leather jacket and carrying at least five knives.
“Only the best ones,” Obi-Wan answered, which was not in the least bit reassuring. “I'm sorry I wasn’t around much.”
“You were busy taking down half of Bane’s operation. It’s all right.”
“Even before that. I should have made more time for you.”
“Shut up,” he said, because while Obi-Wan did have a tendency to work himself into an exhausted coma, Anakin never doubted Obi-Wan’s love for him. “You’re around plenty.”
“I’m very proud of you,” said Obi-Wan, and Anakin tried not to squirm like a puppy.
“Thanks,” he said, and then he and Obi-Wan were saved from any more embarrassing emotional displays by Obi-Wan’s phone chiming three times in rapid succession. “Who’s texting you this early?”
“That raises more questions. We need to go in?”
“No,” Obi-Wan answered. “He’s just checking in.”
Anakin had known Rex for almost seven years, and not once had Rex ever texted him to check in. At most Anakin got a r u dead text two years ago when he caught the flu and went down like a baby deer with a broken leg. Anakin wasn’t even sure where Rex lived. He half suspected even Fives didn’t know, and he and Rex shared a gene pool.
“Do you talk to Rex a lot?”
“I suppose,” said Obi-Wan. “He’s very friendly.”
“Friendly?” Anakin said. “Friendly? Do you know how many axes he owns?”
“Do you?” Obi-Wan asked, sliding off the counter and placing his empty mug in the sink.
“At least one. And probably a sword. Two swords.”
“You’re making that up. You have never even been to his apartment.”
“That’s because no one knows where he lives! His own cousins don’t!”
Obi-Wan shook his head, and while Anakin was still boggling about Rex being friendly, snagged the shower first, which was probably his plan, the sneaky bastard.
“Friendly,” he muttered to himself, a horrible, no good suspicion itching at his mind. He really hoped Fives was wrong and this week would not be good for him and consequently horrible for Anakin, but he was never that lucky.
Despite Windu’s treaty on his personal habits and the way Cody seemed to view him as a baby gazelle perpetually about to be taken down by a pride of lions, Anakin was a damn good detective. His close rate was one of the best in the precinct, outmatched only by Rex and Ahsoka that month he fell into a slump and could only solve cases about who was stealing all the food from the break room (unsurprisingly it was Sinube and Nu). So Anakin turned all his detective skills on Rex and Obi-Wan, if only to ease his own mind.
It wasn’t even noon yet and Anakin had observed Rex speaking to Obi-Wan four separate times, passing his desk for no discernible reason another two, and Obi-Wan smiling at Rex at least twice, possibly more when Anakin had to go to the bathroom. Damn breakfast soda.
“I'm afraid to ask,” Ahsoka said, shoving off her desk and rolling over. She caught herself on his arm, bringing her chair to a neat stop. “But why are you being more weird than normal?”
“You’re weird,” he said on autopilot, not looking away from where Rex was typing. Across from him, Obi-Wan was scowling as he flipped through photos from a recent rash of break-ins.
Ahsoka kicked him.
“Oh my god, what?” Anakin said, kicking back. Ahsoka rolled out of range.
“Did you and Rex get in fight again about which Die Hard movie is the best?” she asked.
“No,” said Anakin. “And clearly the second one is.”
“I know you’re only saying that to get a rise out of me. Why are you glaring at him?”
“I'm not,” Anakin said, even though he was starting to get a headache from all the glaring he was not doing. “I'm just observing.”
“You know, just general observing. You should try it. It might help your detective skills.”
“Fine, don’t tell me what’s wrong,” she said, punching him in the arm before rolling back to her desk.
Rex glanced up from his computer when Obi-Wan tossed the photos down with an irritated sigh. Rex’s entire face softened.
“Hey,” Anakin said loudly. “Going on a coffee run. Anyone want to come? Rex, you in? Let’s go.”
Before Rex could do more than raise one sardonic eyebrow, Anakin snagged him by the arm, but it was like trying to pull a brick wall or Cody.
“Come on,” Anakin said. “My treat.”
Rex sighed, but finally moved, shrugging on his leather jacket and grabbing his aviators. “You want anything?” he asked Obi-Wan.
“Hm? Oh, no, thank you.”
“Bring me back a moccacino,” Fives said.
“No,” Rex said.
“We want those coffee ice cream drinks,” said Sinube.
“Definitely not,” Rex said, and then before Ahsoka could do more than pout, he added, “Yes, I will get you a vanilla ice coffee.”
“You better!” she shouted as Anakin frantically hit the close door button on the elevator before anyone else could yell requests.
“So,” Anakin said once it was just him and Rex.
“I don’t care,” said Rex, and slid his aviators on.
“You don’t even know what I was going to say,” said Anakin, who could never leave well enough alone. Even Ahsoka, who was physically incapable of minding her own business, said he needed to learn when to back off, which wasn’t fair as Anakin totally knew when to let go of a particularly thorny issue but chose not to. It wasn’t his fault his brain was wired to solve problems.
He had to be him, and so he waited until they were in line at the coffee shop before saying, “Obi-Wan’s a little different now.”
Rex hooked his aviators on the collar of his shirt and in no way acknowledged Anakin’s existence.
“He’s still a good cop,” Anakin continued, “but he’s adjusting, you know?”
“Uh-huh,” said Rex. “Remember that conversation we had about feelings and how I don’t talk about them?”
“He just has some bad days,” Anakin continued, secure in the knowledge that no matter what terrible thing he said Rex would not walk away, thus abandoning his place in line and the sweet promise of espresso. “The rest of the time it’s all ‘don’t leave your towels on the floor, Anakin. That’s not how you spell perpetrator, Anakin.’ Pretty standard Obi-Wan stuff.”
“Your spelling is atrocious,” Rex said.
Anakin glared. “My point—”
“You actually have one?”
“My point,” he repeated louder, thankful that the two teenage girls in front of him meant that he had at least another four minutes before Rex got his coffee and ditched him, “is that sometimes Obi-Wan needs some space to work through things.”
“He’s coping pretty well,” said Rex, “considering what the past four years have been like.”
“Oh, so you know how he’s coping,” Anakin said.
“We work together,” Rex answered slowly, like Anakin was the thick one here.
“And text apparently,” Anakin said casually like when he was carefully trying to get a perp to slip up.
The girls in front of him were digging through their purses for their wallets.
“You got something to say to me?” Rex asked.
“Nope,” Anakin said brightly. “Just, you know, letting you know Obi-Wan is weird and dangerous.”
As the girls handed over the money, Rex said, “Yeah, I know. I'm always attracted to the weird and dangerous ones.
“What,” Anakin screeched, causing the surly barista who already hated him to glare balefully, which meant he was probably going to get decafed. “Why would you say that?”
“Your face for one,” said Rex, and then as the cashier beckoned them forward, added, “Also it’s true.” As Anakin made disgusted noises and wished for a way to undo the last five minutes, Rex dropped a ten in the tip jar and said, “Quad ristretto undertow, a large vanilla ice coffee with cream, and whatever diabetes in a cup this one wants. And feel free to decaf him.”
The surly barista said, “Always do.”
As Anakin placed his order—peppermint mocha, double the pumps, chocolate whip—and paid, the surly barista said, “How do you not have diabetes?”
“I don’t need your judgment,” Anakin said, glancing at her name tag. “Michael? Your parents named your Michael?”
“Obviously not,” she said, rolling her eyes. “This may come as a surprise, but I don’t particularly care for strangers knowing my name.” She handed over Rex’s espresso along with a small cup. “New tea blend we got in. Let me know if he likes it.”
Anakin turned an accusing look on Rex, who shrugged. “It’s not my fault she likes me and Obi-Wan.”
“But you’re terrible,” Anakin protested, watching as, sure enough, the barista gave him decaf shots.
“Here’s your awful drink,” she said. “Please leave now. You’re giving me a headache.”
“I give you so much business,” Anakin protested, snatching up his and Ahsoka’s drinks.
“I don’t care,” she said. “Get out.”
“I'm leaving, but only because I have to get back to work. I'm a cop, you know.”
Somehow, without moving her face, she gave the most aggressively unimpressed look he had ever seen on someone not related to Fives.
Rex sighed, and shoved Anakin to the door. “I apologize for him. He was never properly socialized.”
“I'm going to tell Obi-Wan you said that and then he’s never going to text you again.”
“It’s cute you think that,” said Rex.
Anakin sulked for the entire walk back, his mood not helped by the fact when Fives learned they didn’t get his drink, he immediately stole Anakin’s, not even deterred when told it was definitely decaf. Everyone he worked with was the worst.
The problem with Rex, Anakin reflected later, was that while he did genuinely care for his friends, he was also an unrepentant bastard who fucked with everyone for the sheer hell of it. It ran in the family. The entire precinct still didn’t talk about the month where Cody, Fives, and Rex proceeded to wage war on each other, the rest of them the poor innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. At one point the rest of the squad just hid in the file room and prayed while the Waititis roped in their cousins from other precincts. Wolffe was the most terrifying human being Anakin had ever met, and he once arrested a man who kept biting off people’s noses for funsies.
So it was even odds Rex was, oh god, actually attracted to Obi-Wan or was just screwing with him, and either way Anakin was going to get to the bottom of it, probably while regretting every decision he ever made.
Talking to Rex was useless as he emoted as much as a brick, so Anakin went to the next best thing.
“Ahsoka, light of my detective loins,” Anakin said.
“I will punch you so hard,” Ahsoka said, clutching her comically large cup of coffee close and glaring blearily at him.
“Long night?” he asked.
“Steela’s brother is in town. There was so much alcohol. So much.”
Anakin made appropriate sympathetic shushing noises, which just seemed to make Ahsoka even more murderous. He was pretty confident he could outrun a hungover Ahsoka over a short distance. Probably.
“What do you want?” she asked. “Keep in my mind if it’s a stupid request I will throw up on you.”
“You’re sweet,” he said, and stepped out of range when she half heartedly kicked at him. “Rex dates people, right?”
“I'm going to need more coffee.” She grabbed the entire coffeepot and then sat as far from the window as possible while still being in the break room. “Of course he dates people. What do you think he dates?”
“Possibly sentient knives. What are they like?”
“Why do you assume I’ve met any of his dates?” She narrowed her eyes, which normally would be intimidating, but given the way she was still curled around the coffee pot just made her look even more pathetic. Anakin fought the urge to find her a blanket. “Anakin, I keep telling you the term queer community does not mean we all know one another.”
“I know, I know. I just thought, I don’t know, you double date?” Into the judgmental silence, he said, “I heard how that sounded. Sorry.”
“As long as you know.” She sighed. “Look, I know as much about Rex’s private life as you, which is pretty much nothing. I think his last relationship ended awhile go, something about the guy moving for work.”
“So he does date dudes. Stop with the judgy eyes. I was not kidding about the knife thing.”
“That’s fair,” Ahsoka finally said. “Is this about Obi-Wan?”
“What? No. What about Obi-Wan? Did Rex say something?”
“Fives is right,” she said, staggering upright and shoving past him. “This is gonna be a good week for him.”
“Please tell me that wasn’t supposed to be as ominous as you made it sound!” he shouted after her.
Ahsoka a dead end, it was time to test how serious Rex was about the weird and dangerous thing. They had a stakeout of a guy they liked for an attempted stabbing of a milk bar owner, and Rex would be trapped for hours with no escape from feelings. It was times like these Anakin wished he could grow a mustache just so he could villainously twirl it.
“Obi-Wan’s doing better,” Anakin said about an hour in. They had coffee, snacks, and he had control over the door locks. It was perfect.
Rex sighed and said, “You know I will eventually punish you for this.”
“He’s sleeping through the nights more,” he continued, watching Rex’s expression closely. If he and Obi-Wan were talking daily then he would know that.
“So we are doing this.”
“And he’s writing thank you notes to his snitches again.”
“That’s a good sign,” Rex said without a trace of irony, which said a lot about Obi-Wan as a person. “He’s real polite.”
There had been no inflection in Rex’s voice on the last part, but Anakin could just tell it was meant to be a dirty comment.
“Did you know he once asked if he could please have more cocaine on a sting?”
“Apparently he was trying to come across as a nervous upper class twat,” Rex answered.
Anakin frowned; Cody never mentioned that part. Obi-Wan must have told him, Anakin thought, and ground his teeth together.
“You know what I caught him doing the other day?”
Rex silently raised his eyebrows and smirked.
“No! Oh god, it’s in my head. What is wrong with you?”
“I didn’t say a word,” Rex pointed out as Anakin resisted the urge to claw at his face.
“You implied it,” he said darkly. “He was at a café drinking tea.”
“Imagine that,” Rex said dryly.
“Just drinking tea,” Anakin continued. “He wasn’t on his phone or reading or anything. He just sat there drinking his tea like a psychopath.”
“What a weirdo,” Rex said fondly. “I can’t believe I'm going to sleep with him.”
He felt himself die a little on the inside. “You don’t have to. No, seriously, please don’t.”
“Nah, I'm gonna.”
Before Anakin could do more than make the disgusted frog face that the captain hated, their guy came out, took one look at Anakin’s frog face, and took off. Maybe the captain had a point about it.
One short chase later, Rex tackled the guy to the sidewalk, reminiscent of Obi-Wan. God, they actually had things in common. This was terrible.
“You’re punishing me, aren’t you?” Anakin said. “I angered you somehow and this whole thing with Obi-Wan is my punishment.”
“Not everything is about you,” said Rex, hauling the guy up. “And, come on, have you seen him in those cardigans?”
“He looks like someone’s sad grandpa,” Anakin said, because Obi-Wan owned the largest collection of appalling sweaters he’d seen outside of a hipster’s closet.
“What kind of cardigans?” the perp asked. “Is this like a hot librarian kind of thing?”
“He’s the hottest librarian,” Rex said. “He has one with elbow patches.”
“Please don’t make me shoot you,” Anakin said.
After Rex got a confession by just silently raising one eyebrow at the guy, Anakin gave up on writing his report to go bother Fives, who would only laugh at his pain whereas Cody would just be disappointed in him as a person.
“Why so blue, Little Orphan Ani?” Fives asked without looking up from his phone when Anakin collapsed in the chair next to his desk.
“Trick question. I do not care. I'm busy.”
“You’re playing Kwazy Cupcakes,” Anakin said.
“I need your advice.”
“Yes, you need to eat vegetables. No, ketchup on a hamburger doesn’t count.” His phone chimed as he finished the level.
“It’s about Rex.”
Fives glanced over where Rex was busy working on the report Anakin was currently ignoring. Obi-Wan was wearing the grandpa cardigan with elbow patches. Rex’s typing speed was suffering.
“You finally figure out Rex wants to bang that like a screen door in a hurricane?” Fives said, and Anakin groaned and dropped his head onto Fives’ desk.
“I was hoping it was joke,” he said to the crumbs from the blueberry muffin Fives ate that morning.
“Nope. Rex called dibs like five years ago.”
“No,” Anakin moaned sadly. Fives patted his hair.
“Detective Skywalker,” Cody said. “Is there a problem?”
“No, sarge,” Anakin said without lifting his head. “Just having my entire worldview shaken.”
“Do it quietly.”
“Yes, sarge.” Anakin rolled his head to the side. “Wait, five years ago? Before Obi-Wan went undercover?”
“That is how time works, yes,” said Fives, turning his phone towards Anakin.
Anakin lifted his head high enough to see that Fives tweeted countdown to when Rex hits that. There was a reply from Waxer that said is he finally claiming dibs? And one from Boil that was just #tapthatlikeamapletree cousin
“There’s a hashtag?”
“You should see what Wolffe posted,” Fives said.
“I hate your family,” Anakin groaned. “Did they meet through Cody?”
Five years ago Rex was still with him at the Nine-Three. Cody wouldn’t have made sergeant yet, and he didn’t remember Obi-Wan ever mentioning meeting any of Cody’s family outside of Fives, since he and Anakin were attached at the hip as kids.
“So how did he call dibs?”
Fives set his phone down. “This is going to bother you, isn’t it?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.”
Fives’ grin was a terrible thing to behold. “Tell you what, Raggedy Ani, I’ll tell you on one condition. What’s my real name?”
His life, Anakin reflected, would have been so much easier if he never had anything to do with the Waititi clan.
Fives shook his head, tsking sadly. “We grew up together and you don’t even know my name.”
“No one knows your real name,” said Anakin. “Even your own mother calls you Fives. It’s not on your driver’s license, and I'm pretty sure you were born in international waters because your birth certificate does not exist.”
“You sweet summer child,” said Fives. “And you call yourself a detective.”
“You know what? I don’t care. So what if Rex and Obi-Wan somehow know each before this. So what if Rex called dibs and is determined to ruin my life. I do not care.”
“You care so much,” said Fives.
“So much,” Anakin cried, leaning over the desk to paw at Fives’ chest. “Please tell me.”
Cody cleared his throat. “You know, I could have sworn you have open cases, Skywalker. Do I need to separate you two?”
“No, sarge,” Anakin said, sinking down into the chair.
“You got in trouble,” Fives sang quietly, and Anakin lunged across the desk at him, which was when Captain Windu came out, took one look at Anakin’s hands fisted in Fives’ shirt, and sighed long and quietly.
“I know, I know,” Anakin said, standing up and slinking towards his desk. “I am not allowed near Fives for the rest of the day.”
“Kenobi,” Windu said once Anakin was once again slouched behind his computer, glaring at Sinube and Nu, who were laughing at him. “Detective Waititi. My office, please.”
As they passed him, Rex was definitely staring at Obi-Wan’s ass.
“I hate my life, I hate my life, I haaate my liiiife,” Anakin sang quietly, giving in and clawing at his face in despair.
“Rex is interested in Obi-Wan,” Anakin blurted.
“Hello, Anakin,” Padmé said, and he desperately hoped he wasn’t on speaker again. “I'm fine. How are you?”
“Sorry,” he said. “How’s your renter’s case coming?”
“We’ll probably settle.” There was the rapid sound of typing. “All right, what is this about Rex?”
“He’s into Obi-Wan,” Anakin said, frowning at the fridge. Obi-Wan had gone through with his threat. The fridge was full of vegetables Anakin had absolutely no plans of eating. Obi-Wan hadn’t touched the freezer though, and his frozen burritos were still there.
“I'm assuming you don’t mean currently,” Padmé said and then laughed at his outraged squawks.
“Do not joke about that,” he said darkly.
“Sorry, sorry. So is this going to be a thing with you?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Ani,” Padmé said gently, “remember when Ahsoka started dating Steela and you ran a background check and basically interrogated her whenever all of us went out?”
“Hey, Ahsoka had a string of bad dates. I just wanted to make sure Steela was on the up and up.”
“You’re sweet, but you tend to get overprotective and weirdly invested in things that are none of your business.”
“Obi-Wan is family!”
“And so is Rex, but they are adults capable of making their own decisions. And, honestly, Obi-Wan is doing much better. He hasn’t made banana bread in two weeks. Good for him, I know, but everyone here is very upset about it. Just leave it alone. Can you do that?”
“Of course,” he lied.
She sighed again. “Good thing you’re pretty. I got to go. Just try not to be too Anakin about this.”
“I really hate that you turned my name into a verb,” he said, and Padmé laughed at him before hanging up.
She was right, of course. Rex and Obi-Wan were adults and it was none of his business. Besides, just because Rex was interested didn’t mean Obi-Wan reciprocated that interest. Hell, Obi-Wan didn’t date. Anakin could count on one hand the number of times Obi-Wan went out with anyone more than twice.
All he had to do was just leave it alone, which he did for an impressive eighteen hours until he found Rex passing Obi-Wan a teacup, Obi-Wan leaning into him, eyes soft and half-lidded, an image Anakin would never be able to unsee.
“What’s going on?” he asked loudly, and Obi-Wan leaned back with a look that he said he knew what Anakin was doing.
“Kenobi just closed his sixth felony this month,” Rex said, and Anakin glared at where Rex was casually resting his hand against Obi-Wan’s back. “We’re going out to 79’s to celebrate. You in?”
“Absolutely,” Anakin said brightly. “Hey, Fives, we’re going drinking!”
“Oh, other people are invited now?” Fives said, glancing into the break room.
“Other people were always invited,” Obi-Wan said, but Rex glared a little, which meant, no, they weren’t.
“I'm bringing Echo,” said Fives.
“You in Cody?” Rex said.
“Yes,” said Cody. “Someone needs to keep you all from dying from alcohol poisoning.”
“You do know you’re not actually our mom, right?” Anakin said, but Cody just gave him a disappointed look.
“You should have Padmé meet us,” said Obi-Wan, who was still not moving away from Rex. “It’ll be nice to see her again.”
“I'm gonna do that,” said Anakin, glaring at Rex for good measure as he backed out of the room before running to Ahsoka’s desk. “I need your help.”
“Whatever it is the answer’s no,” she answered, shutting down her computer.
“We’re going out to celebrate Obi-Wan’s felony case. I need your help running interference.”
“Interference,” she repeated, glancing over to where Obi-Wan and Rex sauntered back into the bullpen. Rex’s hand was on Obi-Wan’s back again. “Oh, honey, not even an entire defensive line would work there. Besides, isn’t Fives going? Get him to help.”
“Echo’s going to be there,” he said. “They’re both going to be useless.”
Two drinks in and Fives and Echo started the game of leaving Echo’s prosthetic arm in strange places to see how long it took people to notice.
“I really can’t go,” Ahsoka said. “The monthly African-American Gay and Lesbian New York City Policeman’s Association meeting is tonight.”
His eyes crossed as she rattled the title off. “That’s such an unnecessarily long name.”
She shrugged. “That’s why we call it the AAGLNYCPA.”
“Because that’s better.”
“You know the captain. He loves precision.”
“Please, Snips,” Anakin said. “I will work your overnights for the next month. Two months! And I’ll do your filing!”
“I can’t.” She leaned in close. “I promised Barriss I would go with her.”
“Oh. Oh. Is she…?”
“She’s officially only going as my friend, but it’s a big step for her.”
“No, of course, you gotta go,” said Anakin. Unlike Ahsoka and Windu, Barriss wasn’t out. Anakin only knew because he accidentally overheard her asking Ahsoka for dating advice.
“Not a word,” Ahsoka said quietly as Barriss dodged around where Sinube and Nu were waltzing for reasons Anakin wasn’t clear on.
“Hey, Barriss,” Anakin said.
“Oh, hello,” said Barriss, twisting the end of her hijab nervously. “Is there a problem, Ahsoka?”
“Anakin just needed a favor,” Ahsoka answered. “Thanks for coming with me. The captain tells the best joke.”
“He does what now?” Anakin said.
“Do you know what’s the hardest about being a gay black police officer is? The discrimination.”
Barriss laughed, one hand covering her mouth.
Ahsoka said, “It’s funnier when you’re not a—”
“A straight white dude,” Anakin finished. “I figured. You two have fun.”
“Good luck, Skyguy,” Ahsoka said, and took Barriss’ arm, leaving Anakin with the unpleasant task of following Rex and Obi-Wan to the bar.
Maybe it won’t be so bad, he thought, holding the door open for Echo, who had a Fives attached to his side. Rex preferred to drink in silence, and Obi-Wan was, well, Obi-Wan, although Anakin had vague memories of Obi-Wan doing a long line of shots at his academy graduation party and then somehow not dying.
Rex got the first round, and sure enough, Echo was already detaching his prosthetic, presenting it to Fives for the opening ceremony.
“You’re going to lose it one day,” said Rex. His arm was stretched over the back of the booth and, consequently, Obi-Wan’s shoulders.
“Pfft,” said Echo. “This is tradition. Hey, Kenobi, you want first go?” He waggled the prosthetic enticingly.
“Do you just hide it?” Obi-Wan asked.
“Somewhere weird,” said Fives, who was the reigning champion. He managed to balance it on a frat boy’s shoulder for a solid three minutes before the man noticed.
“You don’t have to,” said Rex. His thumb was brushing the side of Obi-Wan’s neck.
“I’ll give it a try,” said Obi-Wan, taking the arm and wandering towards a couple at the end of the bar. Rex watched him go with an indulgent look.
“I'm not drunk enough for this,” Anakin said sadly to his beer. Fives patted his arm absently, phone out to document Obi-Wan’s attempt.
Obi-Wan managed to slip the arm into the guy’s messenger bag when Padmé arrived. She took one look at where Obi-Wan was casually returning to their booth, stole Anakin’s beer, and said, “I call next go on that.”
“Don’t encourage them,” Cody said.
“Who’s encouraging?” Padmé asked. “This is the night I beat Fives’ record.”
“You’re on,” said Fives while Cody sighed and looked upward. He put in a good act, but Anakin knew that two more drinks and Cody would be hiding that arm with the best of them.
“Nice to see you again, Padmé,” Obi-Wan said. “How’s your work?”
Padmé lit up as she launched into describing her latest case, and Anakin loved her so much even as she kicked her off her shoes and propped her feet in his lap. It was too soon to think about marriage, they weren’t even ready to live together yet, but someday soon they would get there, and he was looking forward to it.
The night was good after that. Padmé and Cody ended up huddled together discussing art, Rex arguing theory with them for the hell of it. Knowing better than to even try to join that conversation, he drifted towards where Obi-Wan was soundly beating Fives and Echo at pool.
“You’re cheating,” Fives accused as Obi-Wan calmly and methodically cleared the table. “Echo, give me your arm. We’re getting another drink and finding someone to freak out.”
“Nice game,” Echo called as Fives dragged him away.
“Let me guess,” Anakin said, racking up the balls for a new game. “You pulled the upper class twat routine and suckered them in.”
“Fives should have known better,” Obi-Wan said. “You can have first break.”
Pool was one of those things Anakin always wanted to be better at than he was. Obi-Wan taught him in the months following Qui-Gon’s death when Anakin was so angry he couldn’t breathe through it most days. They had an old table in their basement, one leg propped up with broken down cardboard boxes, the green felt bare and thin, and it was there Obi-Wan would calmly point out the angles that would give him the perfect shot.
Anakin wasn’t terrible, but he was never like Obi-Wan, who could break the laws of physics to get the balls to do what he wanted. He would only admit this on his deathbed, but Obi-Wan was the coolest person Anakin knew.
“Hey,” he said. He was losing, but not terribly, which was like winning when playing against Obi-Wan.
“Hm?” Obi-Wan said, sinking the three ball in the corner pocket. He missed the next shot, which Anakin half suspected he did on purpose. “Try to remember what I taught you.”
“Like that would help. I just wanted to say, you know, I'm really glad you’re back.”
Obi-Wan’s face did that stupid thing where it went all soft and confused because he never knew how to respond to feelings like a normal human. “It’s good to be back,” he finally said.
Anakin scratched the next shot and stepped back to let Obi-Wan clear the table. When Obi-Wan sunk the last ball in the side pocket, Rex whistled. He held out a beer to Obi-Wan.
“Do you want next game?” Obi-Wan asked, smirking.
“Sure,” Rex said, and Anakin passed off the pool cue.
“I hope you offer more of a challenge than your family,” Obi-Wan said.
Anakin hated thinking it, but the only way to describe Rex’s grin was wolfish. “Trust me,” Rex said, “I'm in a completely different league.”
“Okay,” he said loudly, backing away. “You two do you and be gross. I'm going to see my girlfriend.”
“Whatever you say, Anakin,” Obi was said absently. To Rex he said, “I’ll let you have first break.”
“You’re going to regret that,” Rex said, low and intimate, and Anakin practically ran back to the booth.
Padmé was passing Echo’s prosthetic off to Cody, who surveyed the bar before heading towards a couple of patrolmen from the Nine-Seven who he held a grudge against ever since they botched a jewelry robbery a year back.
“You want another?” Anakin asked, glancing at Padmé’s empty glass.
“I'm good,” she answered. “Everything okay?”
Anakin glanced back at the pool table where Obi-Wan was actually looking a bit worried.
“Yeah,” he said. “Everything’s good.”
Which was when the patrolman started screaming as he finally noticed the prosthetic dangling off the back of his jacket.
“Damn,” said Padmé, “that was way better than mine. I only managed to brush the bartender’s hand once before she noticed.”
“Yeah, I'm afraid she’s used to this game,” Anakin said. “You gotta think more outside the box.”
“Outside the box,” she repeated flatly, “in hiding Echo’s prosthetic arm.”
“There’s a reason Fives is the champion. He’s very creative. And do not ever challenge Ahsoka. She gets very competitive.”
“I love your family,” she said, glancing over Anakin’s shoulder. Her expression smoothed out, like when she was in court and didn’t want the opposing council know they surprised her.
“What?” Anakin said, already scanning the bar. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t freak out,” she said, “but Obi-Wan just left with Rex.”
His phone chimed, and Padmé deftly plucked it away before he could do more than unlock it. Her expression didn’t change.
“Do I want to know?” he asked.
“Well,” she said slowly, “Obi-Wan doesn’t want you to worry.”
“Because he’s not coming back to the apartment tonight, is he?” Anakin said, dropping his head onto the table, barely missing a sticky spot of spilled beer.
Padmé patted his shoulder. “Hey, can I get some shots over here, please?”
“What’s the occasion?” Cody asked.
“Obi-Wan wants to make sure Anakin doesn’t worry,” Padmé said.
“Oh, yeah, he left with Rex. Fives already tweeted it.”
As Anakin moaned very softly into the table, beautiful, perfect Padmé said, “Just bring over the bottle, thank you.”
The sun was up, birds were singing, and Anakin threw up just once by the time he dragged himself into work. The only sunglasses he could find were the old aviators, and he would be more worried about looking like a douchebag if he wasn’t convinced he was dying. Padmé had pumped him full of Gatorade and shoved him out the door, totally unsympathetic despite the fact she was the one who got him drunk.
Of course, Anakin reflected as he clutched his coffee closer to him, she had to spend the night petting his hair while he sobbed into her lap about how he just wanted Obi-Wan to be happy. He was lucky she only laughed at him once.
He was almost inside when Rex’s goddamn motorcycle roared into the parking garage. The fact that Obi-Wan was sitting behind Rex wearing the same ugly cardigan as yesterday took a backseat to Anakin convincing his brain it was not on fire and it could not melt out his nose.
“Good morning,” Obi-Wan said, sliding his helmet off, looking worried.
“Shut your mouth siren,” he groaned, stumbling past. “Oh, and mazel tov or whatever. I’ll be dying at my desk if you need me.”
Inside wasn’t any better. As soon as he stepped into the bullpen Ahsoka attached herself to his side. “You doing okay? Please tell me you weren’t up all night crying.”
“Oh god, what?” he said, downing the rest of his black coffee in one go. “Have your teeth always been that white? It’s hurting my everything.”
“I saw Fives’ tweet,” Ahsoka said, and Anakin focused on the rest of the squad and their concerned looks. “We all saw it.”
“I will throw up on all of you,” he said, and then, “Also, coffee is on me if you all applaud when they come in.”
“Done,” said Fives. “I bet Obi-Wan has at least one hickey under that hideous grandpa sweater.”
“As soon as I crawl over,” Anakin said, making his way to his desk and gently placing his head on the cool surface, “you will be the first person I vomit on.”
When the elevator dinged, Anakin levered his head up in time to see Rex and Obi-Wan’s faces as the entire bullpen broke into applause. Fives was already getting a pic, and so he allowed himself to grin even as it felt like the top of his skull was coming unscrewed.
“I suppose this is your work?” Obi-Wan said, resigned.
“You’re welcome,” said Anakin.
“Just a reminder,” Rex said, glaring, “I know where you all sleep.”
“You do realize you sound like a serial killer, right?” said Ahsoka.
“You do,” Obi-Wan agreed. At Rex’s annoyed glare, he added, “I didn’t say it wasn’t charming. Anakin, stop making the disgusted frog face and take some aspirin. Ahsoka, we have witnesses to interview.”
“I want details on the drive,” Ahsoka said, shrugging her jacket back on and following Obi-Wan as he hastily retreated to the stairs.
“Weirdo,” Rex said fondly, and Anakin made a face at his back before Cody’s disappointed dad look had him guiltily turning to his computer and the probably murderous widow’s bank records he was combing through.
Chasing off-shore accounts got him through the morning and allowed him to ignore the suggestive noises Sinube and Nu kept making. Or it did right up until Rex threw his jacket at his head and said, “Coffee, Skywalker. Let’s go.”
“I'm busy,” Anakin said, but Rex just raised that one eyebrow a calculated quarter of an inch, a move that was copied by Cody. “Why is everyone in your family the worst?” he asked, and allowed Rex to tug him to his feet.
“It’s a gift.”
He was kind enough to wait until they were inside out of the sun with coffee in hand before saying, “I know you have a problem with Obi-Wan and me dating.”
“Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven’t you told me about elevenity hundred times how you don’t talk about feelings?” Anakin said, cradling his peppermint mocha.
“Wait,” said the surly barista because this was Anakin’s life, “you finally manned up, Waititi? Nice.” She held out her fist over the espresso bar for a bump, which Rex smugly obliged.
“You told the angry barista who hates me?” Anakin said. “Also, stop eavesdropping.”
“Stop talking about your personal shit right in front of me,” she said. She gave him a critical up and down. “Hangover?”
Before he could do more than nod, she snatched his drink away with a speed and force that left him dazed.
“I paid for that,” he protested, his attempt to reach over the counter thwarted by Rex’s arm across his chest.
“Just trust me,” she said. Anakin pointedly eyed her nametag, which today read Kristoff.
“That name makes you sound like a Bond villain.”
“It’s why I chose it,” she said cheerfully.
Giving in, he watched her grab a small shaker, fill it with ice, expertly pouring espresso shots into it. She ripped open a packet and poured it in—not sugar, too dark—and then shook vigorously for a good twenty seconds before dumping the entire thing in a cup and carefully tipping in a small amount of milk.
“Is it poisoned?” he asked, gingerly taking the cup from her.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Poison is too obvious. I’ve decided to go with strangulation.
“You’re not strangling anyone with those tiny baby hands.”
“You’re a detective, right?” she said. “Maybe you can solve the case of how you end up with tiny baby hand strangulation marks.”
“I’ve already left a letter saying if I die under mysterious circumstances that you most definitely murdered me,” he said, and was not surprised that’s what it took to make her smile. Taking a deep breath, he tossed back the drink. “I think I can see through time.”
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Rex, bring the boyfriend by. I’ll even make him that shitty bark tea he likes.”
“I’ll let him know,” Rex said, lifting his cup to her and shepherding Anakin to a back table. “Don’t bait her, kid. She will kill you one day.”
“I can take her,” Anakin said, although he was pretty sure he couldn’t. She looked to be powered by bitterness and spite.
“Anakin,” said Rex, which was alarming because the one time Rex called him by his name Anakin had narrowly missed being shot with an actual bullet from an actual gun. “As much fun as it is to screw with you—”
“—Obi-Wan loves you. If you have a problem with us dating,” Rex broke off and shrugged.
Anakin could fill in the rest. If he really did object to them, and he struggled not to make a face, dating, Obi-Wan would end it, no questions asked. Obi-Wan made it obvious in about a thousand different ways that Anakin was his favorite person in the world, and his opinion mattered more than Obi-Wan’s own.
He turned his cup around in his hands. Ragging from the squad or not, Obi-Wan had been genuinely happy, which was rare enough that Anakin always took notice.
“You know Qui-Gon married my mother when I was only nine. Obi-Wan was already in college at that point. We didn’t really grow up together, but he tried really hard. He was terrible at, like, everything, but he never stopped trying.”
“You told me about it,” said Rex.
“Anyway,” Anakin continued, looking down at the table. “Our dad got sick when I was a teenager. Cancer, late stage. Chemo didn’t take. He died when I was sixteen. It was bad. I was angry all the time. My mom, she is the greatest, seriously, but I didn’t want anything to do with her. I was such an asshole.”
He cleared his throat. “Obi-Wan moved back home, cut down his hours at the precinct. He took care of us. Well, mostly me. I said some really ugly stuff to him, but he just kept being there. He was hurting too, but he just,” he broke off and looked up into Rex, who despite the leather jacket and short fuse was kind and loyal.
“I just want him to be happy,” Anakin finished lamely. “He likes you and he’s been doing a lot better with you around. God, I cannot look at you right now.” He glared at a spot above Rex’s left ear. “I'm happy for you, guys, all right? Just don’t fuck it up.”
“I won’t,” said Rex, and then kicked him under the table. “This conversation never happened.”
“Oh thank god,” Anakin said, and got up to throw his empty cup out.
As they passed the counter on their way out, the surly barista said, “For you two,” and held out two blended coffee drinks topped with a ludicrous amount of whip cream and sprinkles.
“Why?” Rex asked.
“A reward for talking about your feelings like adults,” she said, grinning wickedly.
There was a gold star on each cup.
“Don’t you have better things to do?” Anakin asked.
“Obviously not,” she said. “Now get out.”
Back at the Nine-Nine, Rex handed over his drink to Ahsoka, who raised it high and said, “Guess who caught a murderer, bitches?”
“It was excellent work,” said Obi-Wan, and even Windu looked on indulgently as Ahsoka smiled and took her dues.
“Hey,” Anakin said quietly, and Obi-Wan glanced over, eyebrows raised expectantly. “Rex is a good guy.”
“I know,” said Obi-Wan. “Thank you.”
“So where does he live?”
“Sorry, but I'm afraid that’s privileged information.” He smiled at Anakin’s frustrated sigh.
Anakin was mildly surprised to find that Obi-Wan and Rex dating didn’t change much. The squad kept working cases and putting away bad guys and looking good while they did it. For once, though, everyone at the office was making fun of someone else, which Anakin was never going to complain about.
“Are you smiling?” Fives asked Rex, pointedly ignoring the stack of files at his elbow. “Cody, Rex is smiling.”
“He is,” said Cody. “The last time you smiled you were six and you got a dinosaur birthday cake.”
“Were you a dinosaur kid?” Anakin asked. “Oh my god, tell me he was. Did he have plastic ones?”
“Buckets of them,” said Cody. “He once spent an entire afternoon explaining in exhaustive detail everything Jurassic Park got wrong.”
“He also owned a lot of dinosaur underwear,” said Fives.
“Get fucked,” Rex said, sounding almost mellow, probably because he and Obi-Wan came in ten minutes late radiating smugness. It was super gross.
“He has a membership to the Natural History Museum,” Obi-Wan said without looking away from his computer. “He likes to go look at the fossils.”
“You’re dead to me,” Rex said as Ahsoka snickered.
The next day there were three little dinosaurs sitting on his desk. Ahsoka shrugged when Anakin looked to her, and Cody and Fives seemed as surprised as anyone else. Obi-Wan had a remarkable poker face, but Anakin could read him better than anyone and saw the way he was carefully not smirking.
Rex took one look at the dinosaurs, sighed as if his entire life was a burden, and moved them to a safe corner of his desk, carefully arranging them in a row.
So everything was normal, or what counted as normal at the Nine-Nine where Sinube and Nu routinely held competitive rolling chair dance competitions. Obi-Wan kept going to his psych appointments, which were finally helping because he was sleeping through the nights now. Or Anakin assumed he was since most days found Obi-Wan at Rex’s place, which Anakin still had never seen or even knew vaguely where it was located. He was going to wear Obi-Wan down eventually and finally figure out how Rex lived.
The first time Rex spent the night at his and Obi-Wan’s apartment, Anakin stumbled out late the next morning in nothing but pajama pants, pushing his tangled hair out of his face to find Rex at the stove carefully flipping an omelet.
“What’s happening?” Anakin said, crossing his arms over his bare chest. “Is this the stress dream where you make me sharpen knives for hours?”
“I honestly don’t understand your view of me, kid.”
“You wear a leather jacket all year round,” Anakin said defensively. “Also, remember when you were sick and you pulled out a giant bowie knife when Cody and Ahsoka tried to get you to sleep?”
“Not really. They were trying to make take cough syrup, weren’t they? I hate that shit.”
“And your response was reasonable,” Anakin said, giving up. There was a full pot of coffee brewed, and he pulled it towards him. Cream and sugar were already laid out on the counter as was a pot of tea. “This is weird. When did you get here?”
“Last night.” Rex slid two slices of bread into the toaster. “You came back, saw me and Obi-Wan, mumbled what might have been words, and then fell asleep at the counter. We had to carry you to bed.”
“Yeah, I worked that double and then the overtime on the Shumeyer case. How long was I asleep?”
Rex glanced at the clock. “About ten hours. You going in today?”
“No.” He made a face. “Cody threatened to tell my mother about my eating habits if I showed my face at the precinct. You?”
“Day off,” Rex said.
As Anakin sipped his coffee, Obi-Wan stumbled in, looking shocked awake and resentful of it. “Tea’s ready,” Rex said, and Obi-Wan made a grateful noise, pouring a cup and practically dunking his nose in it.
“Food?” he asked hopefully.
“About another ten minutes,” said Rex, and lifted his arm so Obi-Wan could sag against his side. “Hey, kid, make yourself useful and get some plates.”
“You know, I'm the one who lives here,” Anakin said.
“Don’t be rude,” Obi-Wan said around a yawn. “And put on a shirt.”
“You put on a shirt,” he retorted automatically, manfully ignoring Rex’s hand on Obi-Wan’s hip. “Did you buy us fruit?”
“Yes,” said Rex. “And you’re going to eat it. We’re not having a repeat of last year’s scurvy incident.”
“You got scurvy?” Obi-Wan said.
“Almost got scurvy,” Anakin corrected.
“Drink your tea,” said Rex, and Anakin shot him a grateful look. “And obviously the kid lives off beef jerky and gummy bears. Don’t worry. Cody’s been grinding up vitamins into his lunch.”
“I knew it!” Anakin said. “That sneaky bastard.”
“Eat your fruit,” said Rex while Obi-Wan just gave Anakin sad eyes.
After choking down an orange slice, Anakin said, “How did you two meet?”
“You were there,” Obi-Wan said around a yawn.
“Uh, not what I meant. Fives said Rex called dibs five years ago.”
“Dibs,” Obi-Wan said, eyebrows raised.
Anakin watched in fascination as the back of Rex’s neck flushed red.
“I phrased it much more respectfully,” Rex said.
“Not according to Fives’ twitter account,” Anakin said, smiling innocently at the glare Rex sent him. “So what was it? Was it at the voluntary police code camp Obi-Wan went to because he’s a giant nerd?” He gasped. “Was it an art installation? Just admit it. You’re both giant hipsters. That explains all the terrible cardigans.”
“It was—” Rex started only for Obi-Wan to interrupt with “This is bothering you, isn’t it?”
“What? No. I don’t care. I'm just trying to show an interest in your weird and unsettling courtship.”
“I know that face,” Obi-Wan continued. “This is slowly killing you inside.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I'm going to put a shirt on.”
“On an unrelated note,” Rex said, “what is Fives’ real name?”
“You’re dead to me!” Anakin shouted over his shoulder and ignored the laughter.
It was all going so well that Anakin should have known it was just a front to lull him into a false sense of security. Wednesday morning, as he and Ahsoka were comparing the information they got from their respective CIs about a new drug popping up all over the neighborhood, Rex and Obi-Wan dragged in a handcuffed perp, who kept giving Obi-Wan’s grandpa cardigan offended looks. Anakin sympathized; it was a brown hand knit monstrosity that Shmi had tried to throw away on more than one occasion.
“You owe me twenty bucks, Tano,” Rex said. “We got the dealer.”
“Our bet was on kilos, not if you caught him,” Ahsoka said, spinning her chair around and propping her feet up on Anakin’s desk dangerously close to his breakfast of gummy worms and chocolate milk.
“It was ten kilos,” said Obi-Wan. “We chased him through a subway tunnel and then up through a storm drain. Rex and I are engaged. It was in his sock.”
“What,” Anakin said flatly.
“Holy shit, are you serious?” Ahsoka asked.
“Rex, did you finally find your balls?” Fives said, lowering his phone.
“Ten kilos in his sock,” said Rex. “Pay up.”
“What,” Anakin repeated, louder.
Cody just sighed and said, “Obi-Wan, Rex, please explain before Anakin’s head explodes.”
“We’re engaged,” Obi-Wan repeated.
Ahsoka launched herself out of the chair and into Rex’s arms. He caught her as Obi-Wan handed off the dealer to a couple of uniforms, who ignored the squad’s antics with long practice. She swung from Rex’s shoulders until he wrapped an arm around her waist, expression softening as she planted a kiss on his cheek.
“I didn’t think you had it in you,” she said once Rex set her firmly back on her feet. She punched his arm, grinning. “Congratulations. I call dibs on planning your bachelor party.”
Fives made a loud buzzing noise. “Wrong. As an actual blood relative, dibs have always been mine.”
“Rex likes me better,” Ahsoka said.
“I do,” said Rex, smirking at Fives’ outraged face. “You can both plan it.”
Anakin sucked in a great breath to say nice and calmly, “What? How? What? Did you propose during the foot chase? Rex, you knew that was how my engagement was gonna go, you traitor!”
“It wasn’t during the chase,” Rex said. “It was last night. Very romantic.”
“You were right,” Rex said to Obi-Wan, who had one hand over his mouth to hide his grin. “This is way more entertaining than breaking it to him gently.”
“You,” Anakin hissed, glaring at Obi-Wan, who had the audacity to wear that mature adult expression Anakin remembered from when he was seventeen and had to drive four hours to pick up a ferociously drunk Obi-Wan who somehow lost Quinlan Vos in a card game.
“Do calm down, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said because he was the worst and Anakin was going to murder him. “You’re going to ruin my special day.”
While Anakin managed nothing more than a furious shriek, Cody said, “Congratulations to you both. Especially you, Rex. I always figured you getting engaged would involve more bloodshed. Get to work, everyone. I don’t want Windu coming back from his conference to find out we haven’t closed a case all week because we were too busy tweeting about these idiots. Fives, that was specifically aimed at you.”
“I know,” said Fives. “Don’t care. Can you rent out a shooting range for a bachelor party? Oh, hey, there’s laser tag. Tano, we’re doing this.”
“Obi-Wan,” Cody said, “please fix your brother. I need him and Tano to actually work later.”
Obi-Wan hauled him out of the chair, and in retaliation Anakin draped himself over Obi-Wan’s back and went completely limp.
“Honestly, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said, staggering under his weight.
“Gravity is increasing on me,” Anakin said. “I can’t hold myself up.”
Obi-Wan swore quietly and shoved at him, but Anakin could feel Obi-Wan's knees start to go. Before he could do more than smirk triumphantly, Cody snatched him under his arms and lifted. He yelped, feet brushing the floor as Cody proceeded to bodily carry him to the break room.
“Do I even weigh anything to you?” Anakin asked.
“No. It’s like carrying grapes. Talk out your feelings. I mean you, too, Obi-Wan.”
“I talk about feelings,” Obi-Wan said.
Cody’s face was blank, but Anakin could feel the derision wafting from him.
“Point taken,” Obi-Wan said.
“Congratulations again,” Cody said, and then shut the door.
Into the silence, Anakin said, “Engaged? Really? You’ve been together two months!”
“Five, actually,” said Obi-Wan.
“Wait, it’s June?” Anakin said. “When did that happen? Doesn’t matter. Married?”
“Yes, married. Stop making that face.” Obi-Wan sighed and said quietly, “I lost four years of my life to this job. I'm not saying I regret it, but I wasn’t here for you and Shmi. I want to be here for everything.” Obi-Wan tilted his head back to the ceiling as he added, pained, “And I love Rex.”
“Oh my god,” Anakin said, bouncing on his toes. “Did you really just use the L-word? Did you tell Rex?” He gasped. “Did Rex say it back? Are you both real boys?”
“Honestly,” Obi-Wan said, attempting to back towards the door.
He was too slow, and Anakin darted in and caught him in a hug, using his extra height to keep Obi-Wan right where he wanted him. “I am so happy for you,” he said. “Now stop struggling and give in to the feelings.”
Obi-Wan heaved an aggrieved sigh, but he returned the hug, holding on tightly before gently extricating himself.
“I’ m your best man, right?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t want anyone else.”
“Awesome. So when is the wedding?”
“Yeah, you get to tell mom,” Anakin said, laughing at Obi-Wan’s dismayed face.
Shmi took it as well as expected, which was to say after she stopped swatting Rex and Obi-Wan with a dishtowel she cried on both of their shoulders, Rex looking hilariously alarmed while he patted her back before gently redirecting her towards Anakin.
“I suppose you’re going to City Hall,” Shmi said wiping her eyes.
“It was good enough for you and dad,” Obi-Wan said.
“Well, we were stupid and had two kids,” she said.
“We’re just stupid,” said Rex.
“I’ve always liked you.”
Rex smiled and said, “Thank you, ma’am.”
“And it means another pair of hands to help me around the house,” she continued, fondly patting his cheek and ordering him to set the table.
The bachelor party itself didn’t take too much planning, given that honestly all Anakin had to do was dump Obi-Wan overnight in the library where he would be as happy as the proverbial clam. Unfortunately, the library frowned on bachelor parties being held in a study room, so he made reservations at a nice steak house, rented a party bus at Boil’s insistence, and picked out a couple of movies he knew Obi-Wan wanted to see but hadn’t for a variety of reasons, most of which consisted of him being undercover for four years and trying not to get murdered by Cad Bane.
“So we’re not going to a strip club?” Nu asked.
“No,” Anakin answered. “Why are you even here? I thought you wanted nothing to do with this.”
“I like boobs and abs,” Nu answered.
“Aren’t you banned from, like, every Chippendale’s in the city?”
“Not every one,” she answered, and waggled her eyebrows.
“Gross. I hate to say this, but, Sinube, you’re in, right?”
“As long as you’re paying,” Sinube answered.
“We’re going halves.”
“I want nothing to do with this sham marriage!”
Anakin turned beseeching eyes on Cody, who said, “I already have their credit cards. Boil got the bus. Reservations are for eight. Wear a jacket. Sinube, no shorts. Nu, try not to talk too much.”
Rex called dibs on Ahsoka for his party, as well as Fives and Echo, but Anakin got Cody, and Boil invited himself.
“We’re all set,” Anakin told Obi-Wan later.
“What? Oh, yes, thank you, Anakin. I'm sure it will be lovely.”
Anakin rolled over, glancing down at the photos Obi-Wan was rifling through. “Hey, that’s our street. Something going down?”
“It’s nothing,” Obi-Wan said quickly. “Just a lead I'm looking into. Oh, don’t forget, our locks are being changed today. Make sure you pick up the new keys.”
“I'm still not clear on why we need new locks,” Anakin said.
“You can never be too safe,” Obi-Wan said, frowning at a particular photo.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Anakin asked, nudging Obi-Wan’s ankle. “Please tell me you’re not getting cold feet because I am not prepared to talk you down off that ledge.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Obi-Wan said. “I'm looking forward to the wedding. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a matter I need to see to.”
“Don’t be late tonight!” Anakin shouted after him. Obi-Wan took the photos with him.
Obi-Wan’s weird behavior turned out to be the least of his problems, the top two being corralling Sinube and Nu, who showed up in shorts and a boob hat respectively.
“What is wrong with you?” Anakin asked.
“Do you know how long we’ve been on the force?” Nu asked like that had anything to do with their sad life choices.
“Too long,” Sinube answered. “We’ve earned this.”
“You really haven’t,” Cody said.
“I like the hat,” said Boil.
“Don’t encourage them,” Anakin said, distracted. “Obi-Wan’s late. He’s never late.”
“Well,” said Boil.
“You make a sex joke and I end you,” Anakin said, which was when Obi-Wan climbed onto the bus and said, as if commenting on the weather, “Someone is trying to kill me.”
Into the silence, Nu said, “So we’re definitely not going to a strip club.”
“We were never going to a strip club,” Cody snapped. “Obi-Wan, explain.”
“I'm being followed,” Obi-Wan said.
“I’ll take care of the driver,” Boil said after exchanging a look with Cody.
They waited while Boil climbed out, Sinube humming old show tunes that were slowly making Cody’s left eye twitch. Anakin was genuinely concerned one day Cody was going to suffer a brain aneurysm and die.
“Driver’s clear,” Boil said. “I put him in the cab. Want to fill us in, Kenobi?”
“I noticed the same man following me six days ago,” Obi-Wan said, carefully sitting. “Caucasian, dark hair, average height and build, piercing blue eyes.”
“That’s a weird detail,” Anakin said. “Wait, those surveillance photos, you took them because of this shit, didn’t you? And this is why you got our locks changed. Goddamnit, Obi-Wan, why didn’t you tell me?”
Obi-Wan pinched the bridge of his nose. “Because I thought I was being paranoid. It wouldn’t be the first time I imagined Bane was after me.”
Well, shit. He sat next to Obi-Wan and knocked their shoulders together. “You should have said something.”
“He was also photographing you and Rex. I won’t let this touch either of you.”
“You’re such an asshole,” Anakin snapped. “You’re not alone. We’re your family. We got your back.”
“He’s right,” said Cody. “Stop being a self sacrificing shit.”
“I not,” Obi-Wan protested.
Boil snorted. “Don’t lie to us. You’re bad at it.”
“You trailed him back to his place?” Cody asked, and Obi-Wan broke off his offended glare long enough to nod. “Boil, you drive.”
“Already on it, sarge,” Nu said, and turned the key in the ignition.
“How did she get the keys?” Boil asked, cursing as he was thrown into the seat as Nu hit the gas and the bus lurched forward.
“She has very quick hands,” Sinube said serenely.
Twenty horrifying minutes later, Nu spun the bus neatly into a space between two minivans across from a small building tucked into a gentrified neighborhood.
“You know,” Anakin said, peeling himself off the floor, “just because you have nothing to live for doesn’t mean we don’t.”
“You’re such babies,” said Nu and tossed the keys to Cody when he snarled at her. “What’s the plan?”
“We’re getting your license revoked,” said Cody, and Nu made a rude gesture. “First off, did anyone happen to bring their service weapon?”
“It’s a bachelor party,” said Boil. When Cody gave him a pointed look, he admitted, “Waxer made me leave it at home.”
“I have us covered,” said Obi-Wan and then reached into his pants and pulled out three separate handguns and one giant knife.
Into the silence, Anakin said, “You and Rex really are meant for one another.”
“Oh, knife,” said Nu, reaching for it.
“Nope,” said Anakin as Boil took the knife away. “We do not have time to take you to the hospital for stitches.”
“You’re no fun tonight,” said Nu.
“We got a plan?” Boil asked Cody.
“There a side entrance to this place?” At Obi-Wan’s nod, Cody said, “We go in there. Skywalker, you take point. Nu and Sinube, sit here and do nothing.”
Sinube said, “Joke’s on you. We were going to do that anyway.”
Cody gave him a long, disappointed stare that made Anakin want to be a better person and he wasn’t even the target. “Let’s go.”
It was lucky for them about the gentrification because it meant the street was empty and Anakin could jimmy the door lock without drawing attention. The door led to a small, dark hallway, and he carefully crept forward, trying to keep his steps light and quiet on the rough floor.
The hallway opened into what was probably meant to be the main room. The drywall had been ripped out, exposing the wiring and insulation. Everything was coated in dust and thick plastic meant to protect the woodwork.
“Clear,” he called.
“Shit,” said Boil, taking in the room. “No one’s been here in awhile. Looks like they ran out of money halfway through remodeling this place. This is what I’ve been saying about gentrification. It doesn’t—”
“Not now,” Cody interrupted. “I'm sorry, Obi-Wan, but this is a bust.”
“Don’t apologize,” Obi-Wan said, holstering his weapon. He looked exhausted and ashamed, and Anakin wanted to feed him soup and put him to bed. “I'm the one who’s sorry. I didn’t mean to drag you into my mess. I was so sure this time.”
“It’s all right,” Anakin said, patting him on the shoulder. “Better luck next time.”
“Better luck next time,” Boil repeated. “So you want there to be another time when someone is trying to kill him?”
“Yes. Wait, no. I'm just trying to be supportive. You shut up with your words using.”
“Good argument,” Boil said.
“You’re a good argument,” Anakin snapped.
“Don’t make me separate you two,” said Cody, and he placed a hand on Obi-Wan’s shoulder. “You all right?”
“I'm fine,” Obi-Wan answered, managing a tight smile. “I believe we can still make our reservations.”
“I still can’t believe Rex is getting married,” Boil said as they all filed back down the hallway towards the door. “You have seen his place, right?”
“I basically live there, yes,” Obi-Wan said dryly.
“Question,” Anakin said. “Does he live in an actual building or does he just, like, sleep in the sewers like a teenage mutant ninja turtle?”
“With the way you obsess about him,” Cody said blandly, “it almost makes me think you’re the one in love with Rex.”
“How dare you,” Anakin said.
“You did follow him around like a puppy for a year,” Boil pointed out.
“I remember that,” said Obi-Wan, smiling. “You began every conversation with ‘Guess what Rex told me.’”
“I have a girlfriend,” Anakin said. “You’ve met her.”
“Does she know about how your feelings for Rex?” Obi-Wan said.
Before Anakin could think up a really scathing retort, possibly something involving Quinlan Vos, Boil said, “I know I took that away from her.”
Nu stood in the middle of the sidewalk, giant knife in one hand and cell phone in the other as before her Sinube pushed his knee deeper into the back of the man he had pinned to the ground.
“I told you,” Sinube said, “she has quick hands.”
“What happened?” Cody said, striding forward.
“We caught your hitman,” Nu said, handing over the phone, which displayed Obi-Wan’s face. “You’re welcome, by the way.”
“Well, shit,” Cody said. “Gun?”
“Took it,” Sinube answered. “It’s a good thing I had zip ties on me.”
“I'm not even going to ask why,” Anakin said, hauling the man up. “Sarge?”
“Get him inside,” Cody answered. “Let’s find out who he’s working for.”
Anakin passed the hitman off to Boil, waiting until the others went pass to snag Obi-Wan’s arm. “You okay?”
“At least we know my paranoia was valid,” Obi-Wan answered, shoulders curved inwards. It made something hot and sad crack open in Anakin’s chest. “I had hoped that Bane would forget what he owed me.”
“We’ll get him,” said Anakin.
“Let’s see what he knows,” said Obi-Wan.
The hitman’s name was Todo and he knew nothing, as it turned out.
“I never met the guy who hired me,” Todo said. “Once I finish the job, I text a picture of the body, and then we meet up and I get the money.”
“So the people who hired you,” said Obi-Wan, “they have no idea what you look like.”
“I have an idea,” Anakin said quickly.
“Stage Obi-Wan’s death,” said Cody, “and go to the meet ourselves.”
“Good plan, sarge,” Sinube said. Todo was between him and Nu, who kept prodding him with the tip of her knife before Boil snatched it away.
“No, I thought of it first,” Anakin said. “Cody just said it faster. You know what, whatever, let’s do his thing. It’s fine. Anyone have fake blood?”
Todo was squatting on the second floor, and a quick rifle through his things turned up a can of beans and a bottle of ketchup. It was quick and easy to arrange the death tableau: dot on the forehead for the head shot, beans acting as brains, and then the rest of the ketchup Cody artfully flung around to act as blood spray. It was really nice work.
“Wait,” Sinube said as Obi-Wan carefully arranged himself. “We need water. He hasn’t peed himself.”
“That’s not a thing,” Anakin said.
“Actually,” said Todo helpfully, “you do pee yourself when you die.”
“We’re taking the picture from the waist up,” Obi-Wan said firmly.
“I guess someone doesn’t care about the integrity of art,” Nu said with a sniff.
“Make your best just murdered face and say cheese,” Anakin said, and then took the pic and sent it along. “And now we wait.” The phone chimed. “Well, someone’s eager. Got the address. Oh, shit.”
“What it is?” asked Cody.
He grimaced. “He wants Obi-Wan’s tongue as proof.”
“It’s Bane,” Obi-Wan said as Cody pulled him back to his feet. “It’s what he does to snitches.”
“Where do we get a tongue?” Anakin asked.
“Already texting Wolffe,” Boil said. “And he just sent me a list of butchers. He even ranked them. That’s thoughtful.”
“Seriously,” Anakin said, “what is your family?”
“He likes to cook,” Cody said like that explained anything about Wolffe. “Boil?”
Without looking up from his phone, Boil said, “Just heard from Waxer. He’s reached out to his contact in the Marshal Service. They’re sending over people to collect our guy. They’ll sit on him until we’re ready to move.”
“Sinube, Nu, you stay with him until the marshals get here,” Cody said.
“Can I have my knife back?” Nu asked.
“You get one gun.”
“You really are no fun lately, sarge,” Sinube said.
“All right,” Anakin said loudly before Cody did more than glower. “Let’s go buy a tongue.” He paused. “Obi-Wan, I want you to know these are you in-laws now.”
“I'm marrying into a very prepared family,” Obi-Wan said with a smile.
The meet took place in a parking garage, which, while it showed a lack of imagination, was a classic location for a clandestine set up. The tongue came from the butcher ranked number two and who knew Wolffe by name. It was oddly heavy and made a soft, wet sound whenever Anakin gently swung the bag. It was visceral and awful and could have easily been Obi-Wan.
“Any sign of our guy?” Anakin asked, scanning the level. It was half full, and so far there was no movement.
“Car just pulled in,” Cody answered. “I think this is it.”
“Copy that,” Anakin said, and pulled down the ski mask. It was stiff and itchy, and he got in one good scratch before a dark sedan slowed next to him, the tinted window rolling down.
“Oh, same mask,” Anakin said. “I got mine at Rite Aid. You?”
“Stop talking,” the woman said. “You got the tongue?”
“Yes,” said Anakin, holding up the bag. “He won’t be snitching in heaven. Or hell. We’re all bad guys who can’t be saved or whatever.”
The woman took the bag, her fingers long and thin. She glanced at the contents, satisfied, and set it aside.
“Cad Bane thanks you. Your money,” she said, and held out a briefcase. As Anakin took the case, he saw a scar on her left hand, thick and ropey stretching across the palm.
Transaction completed, the window rolled up and the woman pulled away.
“She’s on the move,” Anakin said, hurrying to where the bus was parked. “Let’s go.”
Boil drove, Obi-Wan in the seat next to him. Anakin crowded with Cody around the partition opening, impressed with the easy way Boil wove around other cars, always keeping just enough distance to make sure the woman never picked them out.
“A woman,” Obi-Wan said thoughtfully.
“She had a scar on her hand. You know her?”
“No,” said Obi-Wan. “She could be new, but Bane played everything close to the chest. He always said he had some influential people on his payroll, but I could never verify who they were or what they did.”
“Guys,” Boil said, slowing down even further, “I hate to be the one who says we’re fucked, but I think we might be fucked.”
Before them, the car slowed and turned into the FBI building, and any hope Anakin had that this was a mistake were dashed as the woman flashed her badge and drove through the gate.
“Well,” said Anakin, “this party officially sucks.”
They continued past the FBI building, ending up a few blocks away from the Nine-Nine. They would have to return the bus in a couple hours, Anakin thought absently. And they never did make their reservations. He had been looking forward to the steak, too.
“Bane has at least one FBI agent in his pocket,” Obi-Wan said, lifting his head. All the color he gained back since returning home had drained away, leaving him gaunt and thin. Did he look like that the entire he was under, Anakin wondered. “That explains why we never could pin anything on him.”
“So we got a plan?” Boil asked.
“We bought some time,” Anakin said. “We can start looking into who might be dirty.”
“No,” Obi-Wan said. “They were following you, too. And Rex. I won’t let this touch either of you. They think I'm dead. I can disappear for awhile. This may be the only opportunity I get.”
“You know,” Anakin said, proud of how calm and rational he sounded, “I’ve gone through a lot of trouble tonight to keep you alive. Please don’t make me kill you.”
“I'm trying to keep you safe,” Obi-Wan said, standing and pushing himself into Anakin’s space.
“Bullshit. You’re doing the thing you always do, which is play the goddamn martyr and ignore how this affects the people who care about you.”
“What do you want?” Obi-Wan demanded. “To become Bane’s next target? Uproot you life and your mother’s? I'm trying to avoid that!”
“I want my brother to trust me! I want you to let me help you for once. I love you, you unbelievable asshole.”
“Oh,” Obi-Wan said, and sank back down, hands hanging loose between his knees.
“We’ll be outside,” said Cody and dragged Boil off the bus.
“I want to see how it ends,” Boil protested. “Ow, quit it! I'm going.”
“You know,” Obi-Wan said quietly, “I was really looking forward to being married.”
Anakin sat next to him, keeping his movements slow and easy. Obi-Wan was a stubborn bastard, but he also had a tendency to rabbit when things got emotional. It had been a long night and Anakin would prefer not to tackle Obi-Wan if he decided to run.
“You’re still getting married,” he said, rolling his eyes at Obi-Wan’s snort. “Stop it. You are. You just might have to push the wedding back until we catch these bastards.”
“I can’t stay,” Obi-Wan said. “Please, don’t argue. Bane is vicious, Anakin. If he even suspects I'm alive he will go after you and Shmi and Rex. I can’t be the reason you’re in danger. I need you safe.”
“You’re making it very hard for me not to hit you,” Anakin said. “Seriously, Obi-Wan, I love you, but you’re so stupid. You need to cut this self-sacrificial shit and grow up. I’m aware of the irony of me saying that.”
Obi-Wan’s expression softened, and sensing an opening, Anakin went in for the kill. “You don’t get to make these decisions for us. You told me that, remember? I can’t take away someone’s choice just because I'm scared or I think it’s for the best. That’s bullshit.”
“I did say that, didn’t I?”
“Also, you disappear again and mom will hunt you down and make you pay.” He nudged Obi-Wan’s shoulder. “We’ll assign a couple of patrolman to her. She’ll hate it, but she’ll understand. And I’m only saying this because I genuinely don’t know if you noticed, but Rex and his entire family are terrifying. Wolffe immediately knew where to buy a tongue. You do not mess with someone like that.”
Obi- Wan’s smile was there and gone. “You do have a point.”
“Also, you’re not the kind of asshole to run out on your fiancé. You owe Rex more than that.”
There was a long pause, and Anakin was just beginning to think he really was going to have to tackle Obi-Wan when the bastard made a break for it, before Obi-Wan said slowly, as if working his way through a complex math problem, “You’re right. You’re a good man, Anakin. Thank you.”
“Wait, can you repeat that? That’s going to be my new ringtone. Just say ‘Anakin, you’re always right. I should listen to you all the time about everything.’”
“You’re right about one thing, which is amazing considering you actually developed scurvy.”
“Almost developed scurvy. Why does everyone leave off the almost?”
“Because you are not a pirate from the eighteenth century,” Cody said. “We good?”
“Yes,” Obi-Wan said.
“Good,” said Boil, pushing Cody out of the way, “because I called Rex and he and the others are meeting us in like twenty minutes.”
“The captain is on his way back as well,” said Cody. His phone beeped. “Marshals picked up Todo. Waxer is begging us to come get Nu and Sinube.”
“I’ll go save him,” said Boil. “I’ll even return the bus for you.”
“You’re a real sweetheart,” Cody said. “Ready to get yelled at, Obi-Wan?”
“It does appear the night for it,” said Obi-Wan. “Lay on, MacDuff.”
“Nerd,” Anakin said, and finally allowed himself to relax as Boil turned them towards the Nine-Nine.
Rex’s stoic expression was firmly in place even with a drunk and giggling Ahsoka hanging off his back and a grinning Fives plastered to his side. Fives looked like he had been dragged backwards through a bush and there was definitely pink paint on Ahsoka’s locs, but even more confusing was the bright gold star sticker on Rex’s left cheek and the glitter dotting the collar of his leather jacket.
“Fun night?” Cody said.
“Don’t ask,” Rex grunted, gently slinging Ahsoka down from his back and depositing her on pile of file boxes. Fives was carefully hip checked to Cody, who eased him to the floor.
“What happened to Echo?” Cody asked.
“Put him in a cab when we got the text,” Rex answered. “Coffee?”
Anakin was already passing out the terrible coffee they grabbed from the break room. “How much did you drink?” he asked.
“A lot,” Ahsoka answered, gratefully taking the cup he passed to her. “We had a trivia game about who knew more about Rex. You took a shot every time you got a question wrong.”
“Well,” said Obi-Wan, exhaustion lacing through his voice, “congratulations on avoiding alcohol poisoning.”
Rex moved fast, far faster than a drunk man should be able to, but the Waititis knew how to hold their liquor. “What happened?” he asked, hand on Obi-Wan’s shoulder.
“Don’t freak out,” said Anakin, which was the absolutely wrong thing because Rex immediately cupped Obi-Wan’s face, turning it into the light, looking for, well, Anakin had no idea.
Obi-Wan reached up, gently taking Rex’s hands. “Bane sent a hitman after me.”
“I'm either too drunk or not drunk enough,” said Fives, scrubbing a hand through his hair. “Who did what now?”
“Explain,” Rex snapped.
After Cody laid out the events of the night, Ahsoka said, “Please tell me there’s more coffee,” before taking a deep breath and tossing back the rest of the cup in one go.
And then the thing Anakin had been dreading happened. Rex said, quiet, “Were you planning on telling me?”
Obi-Wan winced, which was an answer in itself, and Rex made a rough, frustrated noise and stepped back.
“Hey, it’s all right,” Anakin said quickly, ignoring the warning look Cody shot him. “I talked some sense into him, and Obi-Wan is definitely not going to panic and do something he’ll regret.”
“You were going to run?” Rex snapped at the same time Five said, “You ever think about not talking, Ani?”
“I didn’t want to pull you into this,” Obi-Wan said.
“That’s not your decision to make,” Rex snapped, low and tight.
“I know. I'm sorry.”
“Goddamn, Obi-Wan, this marriage isn’t going to work if you don’t trust me,” Rex said, and pulled away, leaving Obi-Wan looking small and ashamed.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Anakin said, jumping between them. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean. Let’s focus on catching the people who want to murder Obi-Wan! We can make this a team building exercise.”
“What did I just say?” said Fives, pushing himself to his feet and taking up position at Rex’s shoulder.
“Idiot,” Ahsoka muttered, holding out a hand for Cody to pull her to her feet. “What’s the plan?”
“Our hitman is in custody with some marshals Waxer trusts,” said Cody. “The captain will be back tomorrow. Once he’s read in, we can determine where to begin flushing out this dirty agent. Until then, Bane thinks Obi-Wan is dead. We need to keep that way.”
“Wolffe has a place he can stay,” Rex said. He didn’t look at Obi-Wan. “No one outside the family knows about it. He’ll be safe.”
“Fives, you drive him there and get him settled,” Cody said. “Bane is going to be keeping an eye on Anakin and you, Rex. You two need to get really good at looking worried for our missing detective.”
“No problem, sarge,” Anakin said. “I am so good at acting. There will be weeping and tearing of hair.”
No one laughed, and Rex said, “Make sure you stop and buy some clothes. You can’t go back our place.”
“All right,” said Fives as Obi-Wan ducked his head, “I'm going to go throw up and drink some water. We need to leave soon, Obi-Wan. We got a drive ahead of us.”
“We’ll help,” said Ahsoka, and before Anakin could open his mouth to protest—last time Fives had to throw up was when he still had that unfortunate long hair that Anakin had to hold back—she grabbed him and Cody by the arms and dragged them from the room.
“I can take a hint,” Anakin said once they were out in the hall and all they could hear were Rex and Obi-Wan’s murmured voices.
It was really freaky how Ahsoka and Cody’s judging expressions were exactly the same.
“Shut up,” he said.
“Aw, cheer up, Skyguy,” Ahsoka said. “We’re going to take down a corrupt agent.”
“That is pretty cool,” Anakin admitted. “Do you think they’ll be okay?”
“Relationships are complicated,” Cody said, which Anakin already knew but also didn’t answer the question at all.
Ahsoka tucked herself against his side. “It’ll be all right,” she said.
“Thanks.” He pulled her closer. “You smell awful, like vodka and bad life choices.” She pinched his side, and wriggling away he asked, “Where did that gold star come from?”
“Oh, that barista,” Ahsoka answered. “You know, the one that hates you? Rex invited her.”
“He invited her to his bachelor party?” he said, feeling betrayed.
“And girl can drink,” Ahsoka said approvingly.
When Rex and Obi-Wan finally came out, they were standing close together, and the tension Obi-Wan had been carrying had eased a little.
“You invited the barista who hates me?” Anakin said, spinning on Rex.
“She doesn’t hate you,” said Rex. “She just doesn’t like you.”
Anakin made a wordless sound, and Obi-Wan said, “She’s really very sweet.”
“That is a dirty lie. She is full of spite and rage.”
“Why do you think I like her?” Rex said. “I'm going to check on Fives.” He touched the back of Obi-Wan’s hand before motioning Cody and Ahsoka to follow him.
“You two okay?” Anakin asked, falling into step with Obi-Wan.
“He’s understandably angry, but we’ll make it though.” Obi-Wan cleared his throat, which meant that feelings were incoming. “I do want to thank you for—”
“Not letting you ruin your relationship?” Anakin said. “For showing you the error of your ways? Oh, I know! For being the adult in this situation.”
“I was going to say for having my back,” Obi-Wan said dryly, “but I suppose those apply.” He waited until they skirted the bullpen and entered the parking garage before saying, “You’ll let Shmi know I'm not really dead.”
“I’m going home as soon as we’re done here,” Anakin said. “She’ll understand.” At Obi-Wan’s raised eyebrow, he added, “I mean, she is going to yell at you so much, but she just wants you safe.”
“You set?” Five asked. Someone, most likely Cody, had found a respectable sweater and wrestled him into it. He looked like a grumpy cat, an image not helped by the disdainful way he kept shrugging his shoulders.
“I am,” said Obi-Wan, who had to have been expecting it but still looked surprised when Anakin hugged him.
“Be safe,” he said.
“You too,” Obi-Wan said, gripping Anakin tightly before drawing back. Cody clapped him on the shoulder and Ahsoka darted in for her own hug.
And then there was silence as he faced Rex, expression carefully composed to give nothing away.
“I should have told you,” Obi-Wan said. Rex didn’t react, and so Obi-Wan added, soft and private, “I want to marry you.”
“You fucker,” said Rex, and cupped Obi-Wan’s face before initiating one of the filthiest kisses Anakin ever had the misfortune of witnessing.
“Oh my god,” he groaned, spinning around to give them privacy, seeing Cody and Ahsoka do the same.
“Love is disgusting,” said Fives.
“I’ll bring you Bane’s head,” Rex said fiercely.
“I know you will,” said Obi-Wan, and Anakin made a wounded noise as the sound of another filthy kiss reached them.
“Please tell me Steela and I were never this gross,” Ahsoka said.
“We wouldn’t have let you live if you were,” said Cody, and then, “For god’s sake, Rex, we are on a tight schedule. Let him breathe.”
“You can turn back around,” Obi-Wan said, winded.
Dreading what he would see, Anakin did. Obi-Wan was flushed, hair tangled and disheveled, cardigan rumpled from Rex’s hands. Rex somehow looked worse. Apparently Obi-Wan gave as good as he got.
“God, I hate you both,” said Fives. “Get in the car, Kenobi, and don’t talk to me. I have to repress the last three minutes.”
“We’ll bring you home,” Rex vowed.
“I know,” said Obi-Wan, and pressed a sweet kiss to the corner of Rex’s mouth before sliding into the passenger seat.
After they watched Fives and Obi-Wan drive away, Cody said, “You all right?”
“I will be,” Rex answered. “Hey, kid, we need to go explain to your mother what’s happening.”
“Wait, we?” said Anakin.
“She is going to be my in-law,” said Rex, and stole Anakin’s car keys.
Shmi took the news well, swearing so long and hard that Rex looked impressed before she reluctantly agreed to having patrolman look in on her both at home and at the hospital. She insisted they spend the night, and Anakin found himself back in what had been his childhood bedroom before Shmi turned it into a guest room, Rex sleeping across in the other twin bed.
“Hey,” said Anakin, “when we catch Bane, I’ll let you get in the first hit.”
“You deserve it.”
“No,” said Rex. “Thank you for not letting Obi-Wan run.”
“Oh.” Anakin rolled over, but he could only make out the barest outline of Rex in the dark. “It’s no big deal. You just gotta make sure to call him on his weird martyr bullshit. You’ll get the hang of it.”
“I plan to,” said Rex.
“That’s the spirit,” said Anakin, and let the exhaustion carry him away.
Windu called the squad to the evidence lock up, somehow even more grave and serious than usual as he looked them over. Anakin straightened, tucking his hands behind his back and wishing for the easy way Obi-Wan faked having patience.
“Sergeant Waititi has caught me up,” said Windu, gaze tracking to each of them, lingering for a beat longer on Rex, who dipped his head briefly. “We will bring Kenobi home. I promise you.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Rex. “Skywalker and I have already put together a missing persons report to keep up appearances.” He paused and then cleared his throat. “I have a request, sir.”
“What is it?”
“I would prefer if we maintained that he’s only missing and not dead. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I would rather not hold a funeral.”
“Yeah, I second that,” said Anakin. He tried to picture it, sitting between Rex and his mother in his dress uniform, staring at that closed casket that could have, if things gone differently, hold Obi-Wan’s body—his throat closed and Anakin ducked his head, swallowing roughly as Rex pressed their shoulders together.
“Only if it’s necessary,” Windu agreed.
“Oh, I have a request,” Fives said, raising a hand. “Because our dirty FBI agent has a scar on her hand, we should totally call her Scar Jo.”
“Seconded,” Ahsoka said quickly, barely beating Anakin to it.
“Scar Jo,” Windu repeated slowly. “I like it.”
“I'm good at naming things,” said Fives. “I named Echo.”
“I do enjoy your whimsical filing system,” Windu said, and Fives preened. Anakin knew what Windu saw in Fives, but that didn’t mean he understood anything about their working relationship or how Fives got in good with Windu’s husband. “I have reached out to an old friend in the FBI. She is willing to aid us in finding the mole.”
“We’re been working our contacts too,” said Sinube.
“What contacts?” Ahsoka said. “You never leave the precinct.”
“We most certainly do,” said Nu.
“Going to that fancy bakery to get rugelach doesn’t count,” said Cody.
“We’ll break this case wide open,” Sinube insisted.
“Anything else?” Windu said after the long, incredulous pause that followed Sinube’s statement. “We will get Bane, but until then we need to do our jobs. Nine-Nine.”
“Nine-Nine,” they chorused, and then one after the other they went back to their desks and their jobs.
It was difficult to focus on his open cases when Obi-Wan’s desk sat empty, the teacup balanced on one corner from where Obi-Wan set it down and forgot to pick it up again. The rest of the squad felt the same, each of them glancing over to the desk and then to Rex and then away. Rex was aware of it, if the clench of his jaw meant anything, but Anakin knew the best thing was to leave him to solve cases and terrify those around him. Besides, between Ahsoka and his cousins, Rex was in no danger of being left alone to brood.
It was almost a week of no news and no leads when Windu emerged from his office, buttoning his coat and motioning for Anakin and Rex to follow him. It was a silent walk to Windu’s car before the captain said, “Shaak Ti is meeting us.”
“That your old friend, sir?” Rex asked. He called shotgun through the expedient method of physically lifting Anakin away from the passenger door.
“How is your entire family so strong?” he asked because even Fives, who was nowhere near Rex or Cody’s level, could easily knock him on his ass without trying.
“We all got bit by a radioactive spider,” Rex said.
“I know you’re being sarcastic, but that would honestly explain so much.”
“I always assumed but you and your cousin were like the Hulk,” Windu said. “Only instead of anger it takes Skywalker annoying you to make you hulk out, as it were.”
“Oh my god,” said Anakin, grinning, “do you read comics, sir? I bet you own long boxes.”
“I have a nephew,” said Windu, “who enjoys popular culture. I know who the Avengers are.”
“I'm getting Fives to ask your husband,” said Anakin, and Windu braked just hard enough to send him swaying forward into Rex’s headrest.
The meet took place in Central Park, and Anakin sternly reminded himself that this was for Obi-Wan and that he shouldn’t enjoy that he was basically in a spy movie.
“Shaak Ti,” said Windu as they waited, “is one of the most professional and brilliant people I have ever worked with. Please don’t embarrass me in front of her.”
“Why are you looking at me?” said Anakin. “Rex is wearing a leather motorcycle jacket.”
“It’s my formal jacket,” said Rex.
“I appreciate that,” said Windu, and Anakin gave up. That was Rex’s nicest leather jacket after all.
Shaak Ti turned out to be a tall, thin woman with dark brown skin and black hair in three braids that fell down her back. It was a surprise when Windu greeted her with a kiss to the cheek, which Ti returned with an affectionate smile.
“It is a pleasure to see you again, Mace,” she said, “although I wish it were under better circumstances.”
“Likewise,” Windu said. “You said you had something for us.”
Ti pulled out a slim file from her bag, handing it over to Windu. “I believe this is the woman you met at the parking garage,” she said. “Aurra Sing. She’s been with the agency for the past ten years. She’s been in my department for four of them.” Her mouth twisted in distaste. “She has been exemplary. She’s earned several commendations.”
“So what makes you think this is our guy?” Rex asked, taking the file from Windu.
Anakin read over his shoulder, whistling quietly. Ti was not exaggerating Sing being an exemplary agent. She earned one commendation for bringing down a drug cartel. Although, from the looks of things, Ti must have expected something was wrong, because Sing was pulled from several more high profile cases.
“The scar matches,” said Ti.
“We’ve been calling her Scar Jo,” said Anakin.
“Like the actress,” said Ti. “She would take that as a compliment.”
“You have more,” said Windu.
Ti sighed. “I had my suspicions that something was wrong, but I thought it was family trouble. Her work was suffering. She was misfiling evidence, forgetting to include crucial details in her reports.”
“Did you find anything in the FBI database?” Windu asked.
Ti’s expression soured further. “Both her and Bane’s file had been completely wiped.”
“There has to be backup paper files,” said Rex.
“Unfortunately, I can’t access the archive without tipping our hand.”
“Well,” said Windu, “we’ll just have to break into the FBI.”
While Anakin’s jaw actually dropped, Ti said, “That was my conclusion as well. I’ll be by your precinct with the building blueprints. Please inform your people.”
With one last nod to Windu, she collected Sing’s file and departed, leaving Anakin to say, reverent, “Captain, you are the coolest.”
“Yes,” said Windu with the barest hint of a smile, “I am aware of that.”
“Oh my god,” Ahsoka said, bouncing on her toes. “We’re planning a heist!”
“It’s more like an undercover op than heist,” said Ti, an amused tilt to her mouth, “but essentially correct.” She unrolled the blueprints. “The archive room is here. I can get you all in the door, but I'm afraid you’ll need higher clearance than I will be able to obtain without drawing suspicion.”
“Are these vents connected?” Anakin asked.
A braid fell over Ti’s shoulder as she leaned over. “Yes. You can gain access from the bathroom, follow the vent through here, and you’ll drop right into the archive.”
“Dibs,” Anakin said, cutting off Ahsoka, who scowled.
“Not to burst your bubble, Ani Hall,” said Fives, “but how will you get back into the vent?”
“I’ll pull myself up.”
The silent judging that followed was deeply insulting.
“I can do a pull up,” he insisted. Ahsoka and all three Waititis silently raised that damn eyebrow a calculated quarter of an inch. “Cody can teach me?”
Cody snorted. “If we had more time and access to a time machine so you can actually start taking care of yourself then yes.”
“Rude,” said Anakin.
“I’ll do it,” said Rex, and Anakin knew better to argue with the jut of Rex’s jaw.
“The area is video monitored by this guard,” said Ti, tapping a security section.
“I can distract him,” said Windu.
“I believe he enjoys watching Critical Role,” said Ti. “It’s a show about a tabletop role playing game.”
“You watch other people play this game?” said Windu, bewildered. “Why?”
“Don’t worry,” said Fives. “I’ll give you the rundown.”
“Nerd,” said Anakin.
“I know for a fact you still have your old character sheets,” said Fives.
“Shut up,” Ahsoka said when Anakin opened his mouth to argue, “you’re both nerds. Look, I can disable the security DVRs, but I’ll need a way to get in.”
“How flexible are you?” Ti asked.
“Very,” Ahsoka said. “I do yoga.” And she promptly punched Anakin in the arm.
“I didn’t say anything!” he protested.
“I heard you thinking it,” she said. “What’s your idea?”
“Mace will pose as a mail boy and you can hide in the cart. It will be a tight squeeze, but it’ll gain you access.”
“I can do it,” said Ahsoka.
“Quick question,” said Anakin, “do I get to do anything in the heist?”
“You’ll be with me,” said Cody. “We’ll keep an eye out in case anything goes wrong.”
“Aw,” Anakin said. “I hate the van.” It’s smelled weird ever since Sinube and Nu took it out last year.
“Yeah,” said Rex, rolling his eyes. “Your life is a real hardship. We good?”
Ti glanced at Windu, who nodded and said, “We’re good. Let’s get break into the FBI.”
The van still smelled terrible despite the six different air fresheners Cody bought, but what was even worse was being left behind, unable to help if the whole operation went bad.
“Stop your huffing,” said Cody. It had been twenty minutes since Ti handed out the badges and they had all disappeared inside.
“I'm not huffing. I don’t huff.” Cody’s judgmental eyebrow rose. “Is it taking too long? I feel like it’s taking too long.” He checked his phone again, hoping for the all clear signal.
Without looking, Cody took the phone away and said, “I know it’s hard to sit back while they go in without you, but they know what they’re doing. You have to trust your team.”
“You argued with Obi-Wan about going under,” Anakin said, staring at the familiar stark curve of Cody’s scar. Cody and Obi-Wan had entered the academy together, gone up through the ranks together, were as much brothers as Anakin and Obi-Wan were, and Cody had spent more than one night with him and Shmi, the three of them quietly worried together.
“It was risky.” His gaze was trained on the building. “Bane is dangerous and Obi-Wan was going to be isolated. We both knew he was the best chance to bring Bane down, so I had to trust him to get the job done and come home, and he did. You have to trust we’ll bring him back again.”
“I trust you,” said Anakin.
“I know you do.”
Not for the first time Anakin was aware of the weight Cody carried, heavier than anything he shouldered.
It was another thirty minutes before the team emerged, Ahsoka in front, grinning and triumphant, and the pressure in Anakin’s chest eased.
“See,” said Cody. “They’re good.”
If real life was fair and held to dramatic narrative standards then there would have been a car chase followed by shootout and explosions before they finally apprehended Sing. They all would earn medals for heroism, Rex and Obi-Wan would be reunited, and then the entire thing would close out with a wedding.
What happened was that they moved on Sing only to find her half-dead in a pool of blood in her apartment bathroom, two bullets in her chest. Bane was, as always, a step ahead of them.
Spending his night at the hospital to see if a dirty FBI agent was going to live was not how Anakin envisioned the day ending, but here he was, Ahsoka’s legs sprawled over his lap as she industrially tapped away at her phone. Rex paced from one end of the waiting area to the other until Cody tripped him into a seat.
Ti’s second in command, a dour man by the name of Bric, had accompanied them from the crime scene to the hospital. He and Ti had cloistered themselves off to the side, heads bent together, tension drawing Ti’s shoulders up.
“What was that all about?” Cody asked when Windu and Ti left to go confer with the doctors.
“I got assigned to digging through Sing’s life,” said Bric. “She’s a piece of work. She did a lot of jobs for Bane, including some wetwork. Your guy’s lucky. Sing must have really fucked up on this one.”
Anakin placed a hand lightly on Ahsoka’s leg. “That’s our friend,” she said, a hint of a snarl to the words. “Watch your mouth.”
“I meant no offense,” Bric said, hands raised. “Just saying, she’s getting sloppy.”
Cody, Anakin noticed, had a tight grip on Rex’s shoulder, but Rex just leaned back and said, “No. Obi-Wan’s just better.”
“So it seems,” said Bric, and then pulled out his phone and proceeded to ignore them all, even the glares Ahsoka kept sending him.
It was another hour before Ti and Windu reappeared with news, and either the captain was learning to use his facial expressions to emote or Anakin was getting better at reading him, but Anakin took one look at his face and said, “She’s going to pull through.”
“The doctors expect her to regain consciousness within the next day,” said Ti. There were dark circles under her eyes and something like sorrow etched into the corners of her mouth. “With her we should have enough to bring down Bane’s operation.”
Rex bowed his head, Cody palming the back of his neck as Ahsoka leaned forward to take Rex’s hand, squeezing tight.
“You should all go home,” Windu said. “Get some rest. Ti and I will keep watch here.”
“I got it, boss,” said Bric, tucking his phone away. “You need some sleep. You’ve been pushing yourself too hard.”
“I’ll be fine,” said Ti with a tired smile.
Bric shrugged. “Suit yourself. I’ll grab some coffee.”
“You’ve all done excellent work,” said Windu when Anakin and the others hesitated. “Go on. Let me handle this part.”
“I’ll send Skywalker and Rex to relieve you in the morning, sir,” Cody said pointedly, and then proceeded to herd them all out the door, ignoring Ahsoka’s grumbled protests.
Anakin waited until they reached their cars to say, “I am way too amped up to sleep. I'm going to 79’s. You in?”
“Bed,” Ahsoka said around a yawn. “Girlfriend I haven’t seen all week. Food.”
“I’ll drive you,” said Cody.
“Rex?” Anakin asked hopefully.
“One drink,” Rex agreed.
“Remember,” Cody said, holding the door for Ahsoka, who flopped into the car. “You’re here in the morning. Get some sleep.”
“You’re still not our mother,” Anakin said, and Cody flipped him off.
Rex drove and bought the first round. “You did good,” he said, and held out his beer.
Anakin obligingly clinked the bottles together, and said, “It didn’t seem too easy, right? I thought it would take longer to find the mole.”
“We got some lucky breaks,” said Rex. “Take the win, kid. Not everything plays out like a movie.”
“I guess,” said Anakin, and finished off his beer. “Hey, you and Obi-Wan thought about taking a honeymoon?”
“We were just going to get a nice hotel room for a couple of nights,” said Rex with a filthy grin.
“I walked right into that,” said Anakin while Rex chuckled at his disgusted frog face.
They just finished their second round when his phone rang. “I swear, if Sinube butt dialed me again,” Anakin said as he accepted the call. “Aren’t you usually asleep by now?”
“Hello, Anakin,” Sinube said. “Are you with the rest of the squad?”
“Just Rex,” said Anakin, putting the phone on speaker. “What’s going on?”
“We broke the case open!” Nu yelled, and Rex’s eyebrows climbed.
“If you mean Sing,” said Rex, “she’s already in custody.”
“No, not the woman,” said Sinube. “There’s another one. A man, name of Bric. According to our source he’s been working for Bane for years.”
“You and your boyfriend owe us lunch, Waititi,” Nu said.
“Your next eight lunches are on me,” said Rex, already dialing Cody. “Cody, you still with Ahsoka? Get back to the hospital. Bric works for Bane.”
Anakin dialed the captain, but there was no answer.
“Shit,” he said, and passed the keys to Rex. “You’re the better driver.”
Anakin didn’t remember the drive to the hospital, just the clench of Rex’s hand on the wheel and the sick swoop in his stomach.
Cody and Ahsoka met them at the hospital. “Captain’s still not picking up the phone,” Ahsoka said. “We have to assume Bric has them.”
Cody quietly cleared the hall outside of Sing’s room. “On my signal,” he said as Rex took up position by the door, Anakin and Ahsoka flanking him. “Go.”
Rex moved fast, Ahsoka behind him, leaving the rear to him and Cody. Where he feared there would be an empty room, Ti and Windu gone or, worse, dead, what he got was undeniably badass.
Ti had Bric pinned to the wall, his broken nose leaving smears of blood on the paint, while Windu calmly passed her zip ties.
“You okay?” Rex asked, holstering his weapon as Ti secured Bric’s hands.
“Yes, thank you, Detective,” Windu answered. “How did you arrive so quickly?”
“It turned out Sinube and Nu actually had contacts,” Cody answered. “They were right. They broke the case.”
Ti said quietly, “Why did you do it, Bric?”
Bric shrugged and said, as if his heart were breaking, “Shit happens. I'm sorry, boss.”
“Detectives,” Windu said softly, but he and Ahsoka were already moving, pulling Bric away from Ti, who watched them go, eyes dark with grief.
If his life were a well scripted movie, Anakin though, than the squad would have gone after Bane personally, taking him down in an excellently choreographed fight, bloody and triumphant, before cutting to Rex and Obi-Wan’s wedding, and a fading out on the happy ending.
What happened instead was that Bric confessed everything, Ti staring through the one-way mirror, mouth a thin, hard line while Windu stood at her shoulder in silent support.
The evidence the squad collected was turned over to the Marshal Service, and then they stood back while Windu and Ti coordinated between teams as arrests were made, Bane’s whole operation laid to waste. Bane himself was apprehended in the early morning hours, right before dawn, and Rex smiled grimly at the news.
“Go team,” said Ahsoka raising one first from where she was sprawled in her chair.
“I was hoping to shoot someone,” said Fives, “but yeah, go us.”
“I’ve already informed Detective Kenobi,” said Windu, who had to be tired as them, but the only concession he made to being human was to slide on his reading glasses. “He will be returning to the city shortly.”
“If he asks,” said Anakin from where he was half draped over Fives, “I definitely ate all those vegetables he left in the fridge and did not throw them away because I am adult who makes good life decisions.”
“I pity your general practice doctor,” said Windu.
“I haven’t been to the doctor in eleven years.”
Windu’s face didn’t move, but Cody said, “Don’t worry, sir, Rex and I have already made plans to deal with that.”
“You did what now?” said Anakin as Fives snickered.
Windu cleared his throat, and they all straightened in their seats. Throat clearing, as they learned, meant that the captain had some wisdom to impart to all of them.
“It is never easy when one of our own has been targeted,” said Windu, “but every single one of you rose to the occasion. You are some of the most dedicated and skilled officers I have ever had the honor of serving with.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Cody.
“No, sergeant, thank you. Your leadership on this has been exemplary, and I think it’s time we discussed your future with the department.” Windu paused, his expression softening with pride as he looked at them. “All of you have bright futures here.”
“Ahem,” said Nu, eyebrows raised expectantly.
“I got this,” said Rex. “You two were right. You broke this case open. Good work.”
“And that’s our new out message,” said Sinube.
“As for the rest of you,” Windu continued, “go home and get some sleep. I don’t want to see any of you back here for the next two days. Nine-Nine.”
“Nine-Nine,” they chorused, Ahsoka once more pumping her fist in the air.
Anakin groaned as he hauled himself upright, swaying into Rex, who let him lean heavily against him.
“How are you so muscley?” he said, absently patting Rex’s chest. “Are your pecs mocking me?”
“They mock everyone,” said Rex, gently propping him up. “Where are your keys? You’re too exhausted to drive.”
“I'm fine,” he said, yawning so hard his jaw cracked. “Besides, I'm going to my mom’s. Let her know the good news. Want to tag along?”
“Obi-Wan’s heading there,” said Rex. So that was a yes.
“I cannot wait to see my bed and girlfriend again,” said Ahsoka. “And I do mean in that order.”
“You did good,” Cody told her. “I’ll give you a ride. You too, Fives.”
“Mm, sleep,” Fives agreed, and leaned on Ahsoka, who bore it with good grace.
Rex drove them to Shmi’s, and Anakin dozed off in the car, only coming awake as long as it took to get inside and find a bed, which he fell into face first, not even bothering to kick off his shoes before falling unconscious.
He woke up later, disoriented, to find someone had draped a blanket over him and pulled off his sneakers. Rex still slept in the bed across from him, and Anakin left him to it, following the smell of coffee down the stairs to the kitchen where Shmi poked at something in a pan as at the table, hands wrapped around Qui-Gon’s old mug, sat Obi-Wan, thin and tired but alive.
“Good afternoon,” said Obi-Wan, smiling softly. “I’ve heard you did great things without me.”
He let out an undignified yelp as Anakin yanked him out of the chair, wrapping tightly around him. “I'm so glad you’re back again,” he said, squeezing Obi-Wan’s ribs.
“Yes, well,” said Obi-Wan, hugging back, “it’s good to be home.”
“Hey,” said Rex, and Anakin stepped aside.
Rex’s smile was honest to god sweet, and Obi-Wan relaxed, as if every bit of tension he had ever carried had drained away.
“Couldn’t quite get you Bane’s head,” Rex said.
“You can make it up to me,” said Obi-Wan. “Let’s get married.”
“And that’s our cue,” said Shmi as Rex’s smile went from sweet to filthy.
“Nope,” Anakin said as Rex and Obi-Wan came together. “No, nope, no thank you. Do not need to see that again. Their love is weird and gross.”
“It’s sweet,” Shmi said as she and Anakin retreated to the living room. “Your father was the same way, you know. He hated when we were apart. Why did you think you had some many sleepovers at Fives’?”
“I can’t hear you!” Anakin shouted, hands clapped firmly over his ears. “All you did was hold hands!”
“He did have nice hands. Very…big,” she said, laughing at his horrified expression.
There was the faint sound of a body hitting a wall. “I hate this family,” he said with feeling.
Obi-Wan and Rex got married on a Thursday. Obi-Wan wore his fanciest and therefore ugliest sweater and Rex had on his formal leather jacket, the one without any blood on it. Shmi pressed a kiss to both their cheeks, wiping her eyes, and said, “Your father would be very happy for you. I'm so happy for you.”
“Thank you, mom,” Obi-Wan said, and smiled as Shmi’s surprise gave way to joy.
The reception took place at 79’s, where the captain opened a tab, his arm around his husband, both of them sharing the look of married couples everywhere as the rest of the squad got down to some serious celebration.
“Come on,” Ahsoka said, bouncing on her toes and ineffectively tugging on Rex’s arm. “One dance as newlyweds! It’s traditional!”
“We’re not very traditional,” Obi-Wan explained. He and Rex hadn’t left touching distance since the officiate pronounced them spouses.
“You go give your girl a dance,” Rex said, and Ahsoka huffed once, going up on her toes to press a kiss to his cheek before pulling Steela onto the floor.
Fives and Echo were huddled together, which meant they were planning something terrible, and Cody and Wolffe were doing shots with Boil and Waxer. Nu and Sinube were sedately waltzing around the pool tables, and Padmé and Shmi were laughing with Windu and his husband.
It was good, Anakin thought, his family all around them, safe and happy. Except for—
“I'm confused,” Anakin said. “Why is the angry barista here?”
“I have a name,” she said.
“Which you won’t tell me.” He watched her do three consecutive shots of tequila with a mixture of fear and reluctant awe.
“You haven’t earned it yet,” she answered. “Also, Rex and I are bros.”
“We are,” said Rex, and they gravely and with great dignity bumped fists.
“Tell you what, Q-Tip,” she said, and Anakin rolled his eyes. “You want to get on my good side, tell me about the pretty girl in the hijab.”
“Barriss?” Anakin asked, glancing over to where Barriss was toying with the straw in her virgin daiquiri.
“Pretty name,” she said. “She like girls?”
“Not angry ones like you,” Anakin answered.
“You got a shot,” said Rex. “She’s shy. Give her time to open up. She also likes a good cup of coffee.”
“Does she now,” said the angry barista with a smile that made Anakin nervous. “Well, isn’t that lucky for me. How do I look?”
“Beautiful,” Rex answered, and gently nudged her forward. “Go get her.”
“You’re going to let him encourage this?” Anakin asked Obi-Wan as the surly barista took a seat next to Barriss with a deceptively charming smile.
“If it makes you feel better,” said Obi-Wan, “Ahsoka will kill her if she tries anything.”
“You know,” Anakin said, “that does make me feel better.”
On the dance floor, Ahsoka dramatically dipped a laughing Steela.
“Twenty bucks said they’re the next to be married,” he said.
“Not you and Padmé?” Obi-Wan asked. “You have the room now.”
They had moved the last of Obi-Wan’s few possessions left in the apartment to Rex’s place, and Anakin was disappointed at how normal it had been. There hadn’t been a single sword anywhere.
“My entire perception of you is shattered,” he had said, and Rex sighed heavily before opening the pantry and pulling out an ax from behind a row of canned tomatoes. “Never mind. All is still right in the world.”
“Please tell me you’re not going to be one of those annoying couples that tell everyone to get married,” Anakin said. “Because I will disown you both.”
“We just want you happy, kid,” said Rex.
“Is this you being happy? Because I do not like it.” Before Obi-Wan could do more than frown disapprovingly, he grabbed his bag, pulling out a photo album. “My gift for you.”
“Anakin,” Obi-Wan said, a warning to his voice, but it was too late, Rex had already opened the album.
“Is this a mullet?” he asked, delighted. “Goddamn, it is.”
“You are the worst brother,” said Obi-Wan.
“I'm the best,” Anakin said. “Look, if you just told me how you two met in the first place all of this could have been avoided.”
“Fine,” said Obi-Wan, and finished off his beer. “It was the tactical village. I won best kill.”
“He leapt over a banister,” said Rex without looking away from the album. “Took out four guys with four shots and then proceeded to grapple the fifth guy to the ground. Took less than a minute. It would have been more impressive with this mullet, though.”
“I'm going to need more alcohol,” Obi-Wan said, and headed straight to the bar, where Cody slid him three shots.
“I still maintain you meeting at an art installation would have been better,” said Anakin.
“Kid,” Rex said, clearing his throat. “Anakin. You’ve come along way since you were a patrolman. I'm proud of you.”
“Thanks,” Anakin said, suspicious. Rex, like Ahsoka, was never this nice without some ulterior motive.
“I have something for you,” Rex said, and leaned in close to whisper in his ear.
“This is the greatest thing I have heard,” Anakin said.
“Uh-huh,” said Rex. “You have fun with that. I'm going to drag Obi-Wan away for some lawfully wedded sex now.”
“That’s the only one you get,” Anakin yelled after him, spotting Fives at the bar, Echo at his side. Perfect. “Vernon Norbert Waititi III!”
Fives head whipped around, and Anakin could see fear in his eyes.
“How?” Fives hissed.
“A little dinosaur told me,” Anakin answered. “I like it. It really sticks with you. Vernon Norbert.”
Fives growled and lunged towards Rex, but Wolffe casually reached over and caught his shirt, easily holding him in place.
“He’s going to get you for that,” said Padmé, handing Anakin another beer.
Anakin slid his arm around her waist. “Worth it,” he said. “You want to dance?”
“Only if I can lead,” she said.
“You better dip me,” he answered, grinning as she spun him around.
His brother was home, his family was happy, Fives’ real name was just as terrible as he always hoped, and tomorrow they were going to work cases and put bad guys away hungover but still looking good.
“Nine-Nine!” he shouted as Padmé led him past the squad.
“Nine-Nine!” they answered.
“I love that,” he told Padmé, and kissed the laughter from her mouth.