Obi-Wan closed his eyes, getting into the moment, when suddenly Master Epergene stopped dancing. He felt a shiver of worry, followed by one of hope at the sound of his own Master's voice. "May I cut in?"

For a moment, it looked like Master Epergene would refuse, but good manners won out. "Of course." He turned and bowed slightly to Obi-Wan. "Padawan Kenobi. I hope to see you again soon." With that, he went back to his table.

Qui-Gon watched him go, then turned to his apprentice, taking him in hand awkwardly. "Really, Padawan, such a public display is beneath you."

"Why should you care?" Obi-Wan asked sullenly. "Or are you worried I'll dirty your oh-so-spotless reputation as a perfect master?" The veiled reference to Xanatos was not lost on Qui-Gon, who tightened his grip.

After a moment, Obi-Wan realized they were getting closer to the doors. "What are you doing?"

"Would you rather I dragged you out of here and made a scene?"

So he wanted to talk. Fine. And he didn't want to make a public spectacle out of it. That was fine too. And the anger he could sense burning below Qui-Gon's stoic surface calm was even better. Master Yoda may say anger leads to hate, but in Obi-Wan's experience it also often led to honesty. And Obi-Wan was convinced his master could use a dose of honesty--to himself.

Obi-Wan waited until they were safely behind closed doors in their quarters before he turned around, asking angrily, "What was that all about?"

"You were making a fool out of yourself, and by extension, me."

"How? It wasn't as if I jumped Master Epergene in the middle of the dance floor."

"You might as well have!"

His robes thrown off, Obi-Wan stalked into his room, his master right behind him. "I asked a man I've known for years to dance. He accepted, and certain subtle advances might have been made--on BOTH parts, I might add--but neither of us crossed any lines into unacceptable behavior."

"You asked a senior master to dance. And then you practically mauled him on the floor! How is that acceptable?"

"No, that's your view of what happened. Ask anyone else in the room, they'd tell you differently." Obi-Wan yanked his belt and sash off, then went to work on his outer tunic. "Then ask yourself why your view of what went on was so different."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Obi-Wan shed his under tunic, then squeezed around Qui-Gon to reach into his closet. "Right. Of course."

Qui-Gon's eyes went wide as it suddenly registered that Obi-Wan was now half-naked. "What are you doing?"

"I'm planning to take a shower. Why? Is my lack of clothing bothering you?"

"No. Why should it?" The hasty reply didn't quite ring true, especially not with Qui-Gon's eyes fixed firmly on Obi-Wan's bare chest.

With a sigh, Obi-Wan reached out and pulled Qui-Gon's chin up until their eyes met. "I don't know. You. Tell. Me."


Obi-Wan shook his head. "Either you're the densest man I ever met, or you just won't admit it. What possible reason could there be for your sudden need to drag me out of the room when someone else showed interest in me? Or for the fact that my being shirtless seems to have caused your neck to suddenly remain at a much lower angle than usual?"

"You can't mean...."

"Mean what?"

"That...that I...."

Obi-Wan moved closer, invading his master's personal space. "What?"

"I...." Those impossibly blue eyes had finally moved from Obi-Wan's chest, only to settle on his mouth. Qui-Gon's lips parted, his breath fanning Obi-Wan's forehead as he stared, no longer even trying to speak.

There would never be another chance like this. And even if there would, he didn't want to wait. Quickly, before Qui-Gon could react, Obi-Wan leaned up and pressed his lips to his master's. His hand snaked around the older man's neck, holding him there. Not that the man was putting up much of a fight. Obi-Wan slipped his tongue through Qui-Gon's still parted lips, plundering his master's mouth, striking the final blow in this war of wills.

Suddenly Obi-Wan found himself on his back on the bed, Qui-Gon's body covering him from chest to toe. Several long, heat-filled moments later, Qui-Gon lifted his head and stared down at his apprentice, almost gasping for breath. "You were right," he said hoarsely. "I fought it. I tried, but...."

At the despair in his master's tone, some of Obi-Wan's anger with the man faded, leaving behind love, and a heat of a different kind. "You make it sound like giving in is such a terrible thing."

"You're so young...."

"I am more than old enough to know my own mind. But if you think that, then perhaps I should go find Master Epergene? He is, I believe, about your age, and he didn't seem to think--"

The fierce kiss that cut off his words was in reality the sign of Qui-Gon's final surrender. "You'll do no such thing," his master ordered in a possessive tone, his hands gripping Obi-Wan's arms and holding them to the bed. "You're staying right here."

"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan agreed as a smile grew on his face. "I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."

the end
Return to Beginning