It’s late, later than they should still be up. Well, clearly later than Ani should still be up, because he’s not; he and Obi-Wan are curled up on the couch, snoring gently against each other, with Siri sprawled out on the floor in front of them, her back slowly rising and falling with the breaths of someone deeply asleep.
Shmi yawns, but she doesn’t really feel tired enough to fall asleep yet; it’s more of a contentedness, a feeling of safety. Presence in the moment, Qui-Gon or Yoda would say. The lights are tinted warmly, and dim enough to feel calm; the scent of spices permeates the air, which has a strange, brisk quality about it. The drink in her hands is warm. Her clothes are soft on her skin.
A feeling of peace.
Across the room, Adi Gallia meets her eyes.
Shmi can’t say what exactly it is she sees in the other woman’s gaze, but it fizzes bright in her stomach, the way the light shines on her head-tentacles and makes her dark skin nearly glow.
Outside will be much cooler, Shmi thinks, and stands to go to the balcony; Adi follows her.
“You’d think that the young Knights at least would be able to stay up late,” Adi says quietly once they don’t risk disturbing said knights (and one padawan).
“You’d think,” Shmi agrees. “But I’m not sure they slept last night – Ani had a new design for a rotating wing he wanted to work on, and Obi-Wan has never been the best at knowing how to pace himself.”
Adi snorts. “And Siri couldn’t let him win, of course,” she says. “Ah, well. We’ll just have to welcome in the new year ourselves.”
Shmi lets a hesitant smile cross her face. “I’m not all that familiar with Jedi traditions for the new year,” she says. “On Tatooine, there are fires burning all night, in different colors if we can manage. Alcohol, of course–”
“Of course,” Adi says solemnly.
“Songs,” Shmi finishes quietly. “Dances.” It feels… strange, almost unreal, that there isn’t any of that now.
Adi is watching her, grey eyes… more understanding than Shmi would have expected. “You miss them.”
Shmi stares out at the night, at the gardens of the Jedi Order. If she listens quietly enough, closely enough, she can hear the whirr of traffic, the city that never sleeps; she can imagine the millions of tiny lights, windows and headlights and signs like millions of tiny stars, beneath her feet rather than up in the sky. (Here is always too bright to truly see the sky.)
She’s called Skywalker, but standing tall on those millions of stars-in-the-ground has never felt as safe for her as swimming within them, sitting beneath them and knowing how the world turns.
“I do,” Shmi says, breathing in the hints of moisture in the air that she’s starting to get used to.
“Will you sing them for me?” Adi asks.
Shmi turns her head, meets Adi’s eyes.
“Not this year,” she says. “Maybe not next year.”
Adi nods. “And the year after that?”
“Perhaps,” Shmi says, and smiles.
Adi smiles back, sharp and sweet. “You wanted to know about our traditions,” she says, and places her hand on top of Shmi’s.
“You know,” Shmi says, “We might share a few traditions.”
Adi’s smile grows into a grin, teeth bright in the shadows. “Really? And what do you think of... those traditions?”
Shmi breathes out, slowly. The air is cold, but she isn’t. “I suppose I could be convinced.”
“Good,” Adi says. Quietly, softly, almost a whisper. Shmi leans forward – the better to hear her, of course.
“The Jedi don’t… disapprove of such things?” Shmi asks, just as quietly.
Adi shrugs, just a hint of motion, but they’re close enough that Shmi can feel it. “There are always conservatives who think all intimacy must lead to romance, and to attachment,” she says. “But the majority know better. You don’t mind, do you?” Adi’s tone is suddenly worried, and she pulls back a bit. “This would be all physical, not… not anything romantic. Even if it were allowed, romance has never been my… my thing, and I wouldn’t want to deceive–”
“It’s midnight,” Shmi says, and leans forward and kisses her.
It’s a long time before they break apart, breathing heavily.
She feels alive, invigorated, like a firework has been set off in her body; if she was warm and content before, now she is alight.
“That’s a no, you don’t mind, then?” Adi asks, and Shmi laughs.
“Romance is all well and good, but I’ve never minded a bit of purely physical comfort,” Shmi says. “And you are… truly lovely.”
Adi runs her hand over Shmi’s hair, pulled back tight in its bun, save for the braid hanging down with its beads. “And you look divine,” she murmurs. “If we hurry, we can get to one of the bedrooms before the padawans – excuse me, knights – wake up.”
Shmi smiles, bright and warm. “We should hurry, then.”
They make it, barely, Shmi feeling like she’s a giggling teenager when they freeze at Ani’s quiet stirring. He drops back into a deep sleep quickly enough, though, and she and Adi stumble into Shmi’s room, locking the door behind them.
“Happy new year, Shmi,” Adi whispers, and lets herself be pressed up against a wall.
Shmi’s mouth is a little too busy to respond, but she gets the feeling that it’ll be a very happy year indeed.