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Hearts in Three

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Anakin and Padmé first kiss by a lake on Naboo. It only lasts a few seconds before Padmé pulls away, and yet it haunts Anakin relentlessly.

Padmé won't - can't - admit it, but it haunts her too.

But it's impossible. Anakin is training to become a Jedi and Padmé has devoted too much of herself to the Senate to have much of anything left for a family. This could never be. Attachment is forbidden. Anakin whispers that to himself as he tries to banish the feel of Padmé's lips from his thoughts. Padmé repeats it as a mental mantra so she doesn't crack and encourage Anakin's foolish crush.

It won't work. It can't work. Padmé refuses to live a lie like that, and although Anakin won't admit it, she knows it'll be as much his destruction as her own. Their time together on Naboo will be a shining memory, a glimpse into what could have been if things worked out differently. It won't be - can't be - anything more.

And then Naboo becomes Tatooine and the only thing that makes Anakin forget his anguish, even for a second, is the touch of Padmé's skin. She knows it as well as he does, and so she allows herself contact with him. It's a breach of the rules she's making for herself, but it's the least she can do for the grieving little boy Anakin has become.

And then Tatooine becomes Geonosis and Padmé lets go. If they have minutes left to live, there's no point in spending them apart. When she and Anakin kiss again, it's half defeat and half triumph. However short their lives may be, they'll spend what's left of them together.

(Chained to a pole, Obi-Wan sees two silhouettes kissing as they enter the arena. When they emerge and show themselves to be Anakin and Padmé, his heart sinks. This cannot end well, he knows it. But if they are to die - and die for him - then he will not begrudge them a moment of fantasy.)

Anakin and Obi-Wan first kiss onboard the Negotiator, two weeks after Obi-Wan's faked death and stint as Rako Hardeen. It's even shorter than Anakin's kiss with Padmé, and yet it stays in his mind all the same.

Attachment is forbidden, Obi-Wan mentally chants, but it's not loud enough to drown out the memory of Anakin's lips on his.

Anakin hadn't planned to kiss Obi-Wan. He hadn't even really known he wanted to. But his hair was still growing back after shaving it off to impersonate Hardeen, and there was something young and vulnerable to his face that Anakin hadn't seen in ten years. He hadn't been able to help himself.

Obi-Wan tells himself he didn't want it, but he knows he kissed Anakin back for half a second before he yanked himself away and fled. He knows that something deep within him longed for that intimacy before it happened. In vulnerable moments of complete honesty, he knows that he wants to do it again. And yet it's impossible to even comprehend. Attachment is forbidden.

Obi-Wan disappears when they land on Coruscant. Anakin searches for him, but to no avail. It's clear Obi-Wan's avoiding him, avoiding talking about their kiss. It's alright. It's what Anakin expected, to be honest. Obi-Wan has always tried too hard to be the perfect Jedi, although Anakin knows better than most how keenly he feels things. He needs some time, and Anakin will give it to him. He can wait.

It's only when they board the Resolute together that Anakin manages to corner Obi-Wan. Ahsoka helps him, able to sense the tension between the two even if she doesn't know its source. In the locked closet, Anakin comes clean. He tells Obi-Wan about his marriage to Padmé, about his feelings for Obi-Wan himself, about his desire to kiss him again. And then he waits for Obi-Wan's response. It comes with a soft press of lips against Anakin's own.

(Later that day, Padmé receives a private holocall from Anakin, telling her everything that happened. He discussed the matter with her on Coruscant and she gave Anakin her blessing as far as Obi-Wan was concerned. "He needs love," she told Anakin. "He just doesn't know it yet. I think you can help him realize that.")

Obi-Wan and Padmé first kiss in a parked speeder with an unconscious Anakin hiding in the back seat. They do it as a cover, to put the person pursuing them off their trail.

Still, the kiss doesn't quite feel fake, and both of them know it.

Anakin and Obi-Wan have been assigned as Padmé's protection detail, a mission that quickly went south, with an assassin attacking Padmé and Anakin getting caught in the crossfire. Obi-Wan and Padmé kiss to lose the assassin that's following them, aware that no one expects Senator Amidala to kiss either of the Jedi assigned to protect her. Anakin's unconscious body is hiding under his cloak in the back seat of the speeder, and the assassin continues on, none the wiser.

There's something awkward between Obi-Wan and Padmé, especially with Anakin unconscious. They're friends, yes, but their relationship is different now. Padmé is Anakin's wife, and Obi-Wan is awkwardly navigating a relationship with him. They're the end points of a V, not touching but inexorably bound. It changes the balance of the friendship they have, independent of Anakin.

Obi-Wan steers the speeder back to safety as Padmé studies him in profile. She had a crush on him, back when they first met. She's almost forgotten now, with Anakin, but the kiss has made her remember. Obi-Wan avoids her eyes and she knows he's struggling with whatever emotions he feels about the kiss. She hopes that means he liked it.

Obi-Wan's hand lingers a moment too long in Padmé's as he helps her out of the speeder. When she moves to kiss him again, it's slow. He's the one to close the gap between them and press their lips together. She doesn't push and he doesn't either. The kiss is slow, sweet. Obi-Wan is flushed as he pulls away, but Padmé has the feeling he's figured his emotions out.

(Anakin regains consciousness just in time to see Obi-Wan's lips meet Padmé's. He gives them that moment and pretends to wake when Obi-Wan touches his shoulder. When everything gets settled down and the assassin is taken into custody, he finally broaches the topic.)

Anakin kisses Padmé, then he kisses Obi-Wan. With a mischievous grin, he pulls both of them in and tries to kiss them both at the same time.

A three-way kiss is difficult to execute, but something about it feels profoundly right.

It's not going to be easy. All three of them know that. Anakin and Obi-Wan are Jedi, meaning that this relationship is forbidden. Considering there's a war going on, any day could be their last. And Padmé fights different battles in the Senate that could lead to her demise as well. Her work will always come first, and they all know it.

But still, they have to try. They've long since passed the point of no return. The three of them are bound together in a way that none of them can break. They've been bound since they first met on Tatooine, over a decade before. Nothing can break their bond now, and they don't want to even try. The die is cast. This relationship cannot be stopped.

Obi-Wan tentatively initiates a kiss with Padmé, which she deepens without hesitation. Anakin watches as Padmé cups the back of Obi-Wan's neck and Obi-Wan threads his fingers through Padmé's hair. When they split apart, Anakin eagerly swoops in and kisses Obi-Wan's already kiss-swollen lips, feeling Padme's lips on his neck a moment later.

They can't stay together for long. Padmé has a meeting in the Senate, Obi-Wan has a debriefing with the Council, and Anakin promised Ahsoka he would spar with her. But even when they all slip away, off in different directions, they aren't really apart. They remain bonded, together, and no matter the distance between them, their hearts beat as one.

(When they all sleep in the same bed for the first time, Padmé and Anakin usher Obi-Wan into the middle by a silent consensus. At first, he tries to protest, but he stops when they both curl around him like parentheses. Padmé's hand holds his and Anakin's arm is draped heavily over his chest. All three of them sleep well that night.)