by Victoria P.
Subject: [glass_onion] Fic: (SW:AotC): Childish Things: 1/1 Date: Sunday, June 02, 2002 9:16 PM
Title: Childish Things
Author: Victoria P. [firstname.lastname@example.org] Rating: PG-13 - some imagery
Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool. If you want it, ask. I'm sure I'll say yes. Feedback: Send feedback you shall. G
Timeline: Shortly after AotC
Spoilers: Um, everything that's been shown on screen. The books, not so much.
Notes: Thanks to Jen, Pete/Melissa, Dot, and Meg. Also, thanks to MaidenJedi for the help.
Summary: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11
Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters belong to Lucasfilm and Fox; this piece of fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
This is my first - and likely only - Star Wars fic. I have no idea what SW canon or fanon is in regard to some of the items contained herein. I was just struck by this quote from George Lucas: "Jedi Knights aren't celibate -- the thing that is forbidden is attachments, and possessive relationships."
"I'm worried about Anakin," Obi-Wan said. "I know; there's nothing new in that. I've spent the last ten years worrying about him. But this is different.
"Ever since he got back from Naboo -- I don't know, Master. There's something eating at him. And it worries me that I cannot figure out what it is."
Obi-Wan looked at the portrait of his late Master. He knew that somehow, somewhere, Qui-Gon was listening to him. If he settled his mind and followed his feelings, the Force would help him with this constant problem.
But when he rose from his meditations, he still had not come to any conclusions.
He knew that Anakin was attached to Senator Amidala in a way that was forbidden by the Jedi Oath, but he felt sure the boy would make it through, would sort out his feelings. It was a rite of passage. Obi-Wan remembered the difficulty he himself had had when he was younger. It was normal to meet someone and fall in love.
And then you grew to understand the greater meaning of love, and how an all-consuming passion interfered with duty.
There were compensations for the sacrifice. Jedi were not required to remain chaste or celibate. They were simply required to serve a higher calling, and the bonds of conjugal love had to be sloughed off before that was possible.
Obi-Wan shook his head, as if to clear it.
Anakin would get over Padm, if given time. He would learn how impossible any sort of relationship beyond friendship was, and he would turn his focus back to his studies. He just needed to see that Padm wasn't the only woman out there. His feelings for her would pass, and he would settle down and become the formidable Jedi Obi-Wan knew he could be.
The idea dawned and Obi-Wan knew. That was it. That's what he would do.
They would spend the evening at Mama Bek's, the premier entertainment establishment on Coruscant.
It had been too long, and Obi-Wan knew it would do them both some good.
Obi-Wan led Anakin through the crowd at Mama Bek's. Music pumped through the speakers, loud, throbbing, setting the blood racing.
He remembered the first time Qui-Gon had brought him here, for his seventeenth birthday. "You are a man, now," his Master had said. "And so we shall find you a woman."
He didn't remember her name now, but he recalled her red hair and gray eyes, the soft down covering her body, and the tricks she could do with her tail.
There were people of all races and genders on the dance floor and at the bar.
Mama Bek hurried out to greet them. "Master Obi-Wan. How good to see you." She was a large woman of Calanthian persuasion, her green hair falling in waves around her rounded yellow shoulders.
Mama Bek had owned the brothel for longer than most people could remember. She catered to an elite clientele of Senators and Jedi Knights, providing all the pleasures of the flesh -- women, men, drugs, dancing, food. Anything could be had, if one wished to spend the money.
He inclined his head. "Mama Bek. You honor me. You remember my young padawan, Anakin."
She smiled, baring fangs. "You've grown since I last saw you, Anakin. I'm sure Jalu or Mepti -- or both -- would be most glad to see you."
Anakin shook his head. He seemed weighed down, and Obi-Wan knew he was thinking of his dream girl, the Senator he couldn't have. "I'm just going to watch the dancers," he said, his manner just a hair shy of being sullen.
"If that's your pleasure," the Madame replied, nodding. "I have a booth for you." She signaled and a young girl with lustrous black hair and violet eyes led them away.
Obi-Wan hesitated, and Mama Bek smiled again. "She is here. She is always here for you. I will send her over." He nodded, somewhat chagrined at being so obvious. He supposed he was getting old, settled in his habits, and like a good businesswoman, Mama Bek knew what he wanted.
The dark-haired girl seated them and Obi-Wan watched her as she walked away, his expression one of detached appreciation. Anakin hadn't spared her a glance, though she was easily as beautiful as Padm Amidala.
The lights strobed, the music pulsed, and Obi-Wan let the Force guide his sight to the one he was looking for.
She stood at the bar, sipping a glass of amber liquid. Mama Bek approached her, and he could see the smile spread across her face as she walked toward the booth where he and Anakin were sitting.
When she reached them, she held out her hands. Obi-Wan took them, smiling at her, inhaling her scent hungrily.
"Master Obi-Wan. It's been too long." She kissed him on both cheeks, and he felt his groin tighten. It amazed him that even after all these years, he still desired her.
"Thalia, it's good to see you," he said as she slid into the booth across from him.
She turned to the young man sitting next to her. "Anakin. How are you?"
"I'm okay," he answered, his attention obviously elsewhere.
She bit her lip and her brow furrowed. "There are new games in the arcade," she said. "I know how much you enjoy beating the droids and winning prizes."
"I'm not a child anymore, Thalia," Anakin said sharply.
"Anakin," Obi-Wan barked.
Anakin seemed to slump, the anger that was moving him dissipated. "I'm sorry," he said with an apologetic smile. "I'm just--"
"Preoccupied," Thalia finished. "I understand. What with the war, and the political situation, everyone is a little tense. I've heard you performed your duty as Senator Amidala's bodyguard exceptionally, and everyone speaks well of you."
His smile widened. "Senator Amidala. Yes. Thank you, Thalia."
They chatted for a few moments about the war that was beginning to make its presence felt even at the center of the galaxy, and then Anakin said, "I think I'm going to sit at the bar."
He excused himself and Obi-Wan and Thalia watched him go, lanky and confident, a young warrior ready for anything life might present.
"It was quite tactful of him to leave us alone," Obi-Wan said finally.
"You're worried about him."
He chuckled. "You've always been good at reading me."
She smiled. "Just because I'm not a Jedi doesn't mean I don't know people, Obi-Wan. Don't underestimate us regular folks."
He reached out and took her hand, languidly caressing her fingers with his own. "I don't, Thalia. Believe me. And yes, I am worried about him."
A waitress stopped by the table and put down two drinks. "Courtesy of the young Jedi at the bar."
Anakin raised a glass and they toasted him.
Obi-Wan let the music wash over him; he relaxed and felt the tension he'd been carrying in his neck and shoulders seep away. At this moment, in this place, he was content, and he could forget the troubles that nagged at him, at the Republic.
He looked up from his contemplation of their entwined hands to see her watching him, brown eyes sad. Thalia was a lovely woman -- as were all the women of all races who worked at Mama Bek's. But she was older than most of the others. Her face had lost the wide-eyed innocence she'd had when they'd first met. She was still one of the brothel's most in-demand entertainers, yet she was always there when he came in.
He'd never wondered about that before. It was just one of those things that was, and was as it should be. But he wondered about it now. A Jedi never takes things for granted, he thought, recalling one of Qui-Gon's favorite sayings. And yet, over the past ten years or so, he had taken Thalia for granted. She was part of his life. It wasn't something he'd questioned; he wasn't even sure when or how it had happened. He knew that part of the reason he came back to her time and again, even when he felt no need for her other services, was that she was someone he could talk to, someone who saw things differently, and usually had a new perspective on whatever matter preoccupied him at the time. Even when she said nothing, he felt better just having someone outside the temple to talk to.
He thought about her sometimes, wasn't even conscious of it anymore. He wondered what she did when she wasn't with him and if she thought about him when he wasn't there. Why she had chosen the life she was living, and how she felt about it.
"Why do you still do this?" he blurted.
She laughed, but it wasn't a cheerful sound. "Much like you, Obi-Wan, I do what I was trained for. It's all I know. I've worked here since I was sixteen." She took a sip of her drink. "But you're right. I'm getting too old for this. Pleasure is a young person's business."
He snorted in disbelief. "You're younger than I am."
He had no answer for that.
"So, you're worried about Anakin," she prompted, returning the conversation to safer territory.
"Yes. He's been brooding more than ever since he returned from Naboo."
"He's in love with Senator Amidala."
He forced himself not to cringe. If it was that obvious to someone who barely knew the boy, he wondered how Yoda and Mace had missed it. Or if they were simply testing Anakin's resolve to become a Jedi. He wasn't sure he liked the implications of that.
"Jedi are not allowed to fall in love," Obi-Wan insisted.
"It's a lonely existence without someone to go to sleep next to and wake up with, Obi-Wan. I know. Prostitutes aren't allowed to fall in love, either." She looked at their hands, still entwined, resting on the table. "That doesn't stop us, though, does it?"
He dropped his eyes, unable to meet her knowing gaze. Yes, he had fancied himself in love with Thalia many years ago. It had passed; the fire of his feelings had cooled and their friendship had grown comfortable, familiar.
He didn't regret his choice, regret that he had never acted on the feelings he'd had for her. Desire was an illusion, passion fleeting. The Force, and his service to it, provided him with ample contentment. And if, on nights when he visited her and wondered what it might be like to wake up beside her every morning, surrounded by their children, he chalked it up to curiosity and the urges of the body. Nothing more.
"We have a love greater than the simple bonds between two lovers," he said, his voice low. "Compassion, mercy, service. These are the tenets of a Jedi's existence. How can we serve the Republic, serve the Force, if we are held back by irrational, emotional bonds?"
She nodded, and he caught the sheen of tears in her eyes though he told himself it was simply a trick of the flashing lights. He knew she was strong enough not to shed them. He'd never realized -- no, he had and just never admitted it -- that she had loved him. Loved him still, perhaps.
But he'd made his choice, made it so long ago that he couldn't even remember anything else but wanting this -- the oneness he felt with the Force, with the universe herself, whenever he let the Force flow through him unhindered by quotidian concerns.
"Don't you always say, 'Trust your feelings'?" she replied. "What if your feelings are at odds with your duty?" Her fingers tightened around his; he lifted their entwined hands to his lips, kissing her soft skin.
"Those feelings must be let go," he said softly.
"And if Anakin can't let them go?" she asked, keeping up the pretense that they were still discussing his padawan.
"That way lies the dark side." Their eyes met, and this time she looked away first.
He kissed her hand again, memories of a hundred nights together over the years flashing through his mind. The curve of her breast, the small of her back, the feel of her body clenching around him as she came, shuddering in his arms. The scent of her hair, the sound of her heart, the taste of her breath as they kissed.
He let it all go, disengaging his hand and rising abruptly.
Anakin's predicament seemed far less clear-cut -- and far more dangerous -- now.
"We have to be up early in the morning," he said.
She rose and kissed him, her tongue sliding against his. She tasted like love and sadness, and goodbye. He caressed her cheek, willing the moment to last forever, willing it to end before he changed his mind.
"Good night," he said when they broke apart. His voice was harsh, his breathing ragged.
"Goodbye," she corrected.
He bowed his head in acknowledgement. He knew he wouldn't see her again.
He stopped at the bar and ordered a drink, which he swallowed in one swift sip, savoring the slow burn and sharp taste of the liquor, before collecting Anakin.
"We're going," he said tersely.
"But, but--" Anakin sputtered, at a loss for once. "I thought you and Thalia--"
"Our business is finished." Business. That's what it was, what it would always have to be between them; there was too much at stake for it to be otherwise.
They walked out into the brightly lit night. Obi-Wan hoped Anakin learned this lesson sooner than he himself had. He feared the consequences for them all if he didn't.
"I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's depressing." Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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