Kin (Ani/Obi/Padmé, 3052 Words, PG-13) Title: Kin (Ani/Obi/Padmé, 3052 Words) Author:jarkai_fic on LJ / jarkai everywhere else Gift for:queen_meep of LJ Rating: PG-13. Summary: A little push goes a long way. Disclaimer: All characters belong to George Lucas. No profit of any kind is being made. Author's Notes: Set at the beginning of ROTS.
Even awakened in the middle of the night, her curls and sleep-gown in disarray, her eyes red-rimmed from crying, Anakin had never seen a more beautiful woman. That the pregnancy had stolen some of her hair's luster and filled out the curves beneath her nightdress did nothing to distract from her loveliness. That the tears were for him alone only added to it. For Padmé to be weeping just for him, after all he had told her about the dream...
Anakin laid his hands on Padmé's swollen belly. Life rolled slowly beneath his fingertips, the same life that would kill her if he did nothing. Still, he sensed no maliciousness there, only thoughts so unformed as to be alien. Movement. Warmth. Mother.
The last was not so alien after all.
He closed his eyes. Padmé. A tiny daughter. At least he believed it to be a girl. Either way, he did not deserve them. His hands gripped the silk of her dress even so.
"The Jedi," she continued. "You can't--"
"Ask them for help? Leave them?"
Padmé said nothing. There was no need. He did not have the skill at touching another's mind that Obi-Wan did, but he knew her thoughts already.
"We--" Anakin broke off, squeezing his eyes more tightly shut. "The Jedi do not need to be celibate. There must have been babies--"
"Jedi do not marry senators," she whispered.
This time, it was his turn not to reply. He stood in silence for a long time, working the smooth fabric of her nightdress in his fists.
She stepped forward, and something cool brushed his knuckle. He took it in his grasp without thinking, the charm he had carved for her as familiar as his own flesh. How long since he had met her? How long since he had fallen in love?
Anakin opened his eyes. He stared down at the trinket in his palm. He had met Obi-Wan the very same day he had given it to Padmé.
"What about Obi-Wan?"
Anakin's head snapped up.
"What about Obi-Wan?" Padmé repeated. "He might keep the secret."
He nodded unwillingly. If Obi-Wan kept the secret, Anakin might be able to have everything he wanted. He ran his fingers over the bone charm's smooth edges.
He frowned at the memory. Yes, if Obi-Wan kept the secret, Anakin might be able to keep everything else.
Nearly everything, anyway.
Obi-Wan did not want to be here, in the dim but luxurious foyer of Senator Amidala's apartment. It was not the four-armed statue of bronze that disturbed him, or the faint sandalwood incense, though both reminded him of Naboo. Most days, he no longer blamed the planet for Qui-Gon's death at all. Nor did he blame it for Anakin's frequent absences. What his former Padawan did with his free time was not Obi-Wan's affair, even if that meant an affair of Anakin's own.
Obi-Wan thrust the thought away. Lips pressed together, he let the droid take his robe. True, his 'bad feelings' were rarely wrong, but there was no danger here, he was sure of it. The heaviness in his gut was the fault of Dexter's Diner and nothing more.
Anakin glanced back at him from the door to the hall. In the half-light, shadows ate at his partner's face, hollowing his cheekbones. Despite himself, Obi-Wan tensed at the sight. In response, Anakin opened his mouth to speak, but too late. Padmé was already at his shoulder, her smile nearly as thin as Anakin's.
"She--" Anakin began.
"I need your help," Padmé finished.
So it was to be all business. Obi-Wan nodded. Good. That would make this easier--or not. The last time he had seen them together, Obi-Wan had just landed his fighter on the balcony of the Senator's Varykino estate, and the couple had been eating breakfast in their nightclothes. At least this time they were dressed, though they seemed only marginally happier to see him now.
In silence, Padmé led them into her living room. The same golden droid appeared and asked about tea, but she waved him away. As she sat, her hand passed quickly over the controls embedded in the sofa's left arm, and then came to rest on her belly. On cue, the blinds lowered one by one, shutting out the Coruscanti night, briefly closing them in darkness. In the newborn lamplight, her hand remained on her stomach, pale against the navy of her gown.
Obi-Wan settled beside her. "The child?"
"I have reason to believe there might be some sort of complication," she replied quietly, head down.
"What sort of complication?"
From a nearby chair, Anakin answered, his voice even softer than Padmé's. "She dies in childbirth. I dreamed it."
Obi-Wan's brow rose sharply. "You disturb the peace of a pregnant woman over a dream? Anakin."
Anakin's jaw tightened, but Obi-Wan did not apologize What could he say that had not already been discussed? Premonitions had as much weight as 'bad feelings,' and Obi-Wan had expressed as much before--many, many times.
Such arrogance, Qui-Gon might have said, to think that the premonition itself was not the will of the Force.
Obi-Wan's frown deepened. He did not want to be here.
He leaned toward Padmé. "May I?"
She did not stop him. Neither did the child. Obi-Wan's fingers brushed the velvet of Padmé's dress, smoothing midnight folds, and she gasped. Heat spread at the touch, subtle as it was.
Behind him, Anakin rose.
"It's all right," Obi-Wan murmured. "It is only the effect of the probe, midichlorians reacting to midichlorians."
Slowly, Anakin lowered himself back into his chair. Obi-Wan focused on the pleated velvet. He did not want to meet his partner's gaze.
Obi-Wan's fingers grazed her belly again. "Relax. There is nothing you need to do."
"There is nothing she needs to do either." Obi-Wan smiled at the small admission. The smile wavered a moment later. "She? They."
Padmé's eyes widened.
"You did not know? You're carrying twins."
"I..." Again Padmé lowered her head. In turn, Obi-Wan closed his eyes, pressing his palm flat against her abdomen. One babe then the other bunted his hand, the girl first and then the boy, both strong. More than strong. Vital. Vigorous. But there was something else there. Obi-Wan's brows lowered. He saw it in his mind's eye: the twins' life energy rivaled by the pall of darkness that hung over them. He had witnessed such a thing in only one other person, in--
--sweat dotted Anakin's forehead. A single droplet quivered, hanging heavily from the disaster of his hair before tumbling into her own. He laughed, but his hips never lost their rhythm. Time and again, he nosed inside her, setting off sparks behind her eyes. Still, it was never enough. Padmé spread her legs wider, a wordless plea, and gripped his shoulders. Anakin's cheeks darkened. All at once, he thrust higher into her womb, harder--
Obi-Wan blinked, turning back to look at Anakin. Despite the lamplight, the shadows remained hungry, leaving his partner's eyes in darkness.
Anakin stared back, all the confession seemingly needed.
Beneath Obi-Wan's hand, the boy kicked. "Ki Adi Mundi himself has children--"
"Obi-Wan." The word stopped all protest. "Padmé and I are married."
For a moment, there was no breathing. There was not even the thought of breath. Then, finally, so very small and so far away that Obi-Wan could not name the response as his own: "Ah. Ah, I see. For how long?"
"Since the beginning of the war." Now Padmé touched him, her fingers feather-light on Obi-Wan's wrist. "We never meant to hurt you."
"When did I say that you had?" Obi-Wan blinked again, first once and then a second time. He made no move to wipe his eyes, even with their sudden burning. "Anakin, on Ruhe you said to me that you wanted something different after the war, something just for you. You shall have it. There is nothing wrong with your wife and children, not physically."
Anakin continued to stare. There had been other things said that night under the stars as well. You will have something of your own, Obi-Wan remembered, and I will try my best to support you.
"Obi-Wan," Padmé started, "what are you going to--"
She finished the sentence, he knew she did, and yet he heard nothing. There was only Anakin gripping the arms of his chair so tightly his knuckles glowed white, his eyes fixed on Obi-Wan's. He already knew what his former Master would do, what he himself would do. Obi-Wan knew it, too. They would carry out their duties side by side until the end of the war, until they were no longer so desperately needed, and then everything would change.
Except Obi-Wan's promise.
With excruciating slowness, Obi-Wan brought his hands together, bowing over them. "Congratulations, Anakin Skywalker, son of Shmi. May your line be a long one. You have my blessing."
Anakin's voice was gravel. "Do you mean that?"
"Yes," Obi-Wan managed, though the room had become a blur. "I do."
At the words, the darkness that had hung over the children lifted. The shadows that clung to Anakin's face disappeared. So very nearly, his partner smiled. If not for Obi-Wan still standing there, he might have seized his pregnant wife and whooped with joy.
Obi-Wan did not want to be there. And he could not be, not anymore.
"Congratulations," he said again, louder. It was his last statement before he was at the door, at his ship, at the Temple.
He was already in the silence of the rooms he had once shared with Anakin when he realized he had left his cloak behind.
Obi-Wan did not go back.
Padmé Amidala, Senator of the Republic, soon to be mother of twins, sat in the silence of her bedroom, waiting for her husband to talk to her.
It wasn't as if he would not speak. If asked, he would give up the required syllables easily enough: a yes or no to tea before bed, an affirmative or a negative as to whether he was coming to bed at all. Yet he offered nothing but the plane of his back, Alderaani silk stretched tight across his shoulders as he stood before the windows, watching the night. If he gleamed anything from the glitter and traffic of Coruscant, she could not tell, for he would not share it.
Though it seemed, perhaps, as if sharing was the problem.
Not that it had ever been a problem for her. How could she expect otherwise, given how often Anakin was away from this place, away from their retreat on Naboo? Obi-Wan had always been a part of things, even if both he and Anakin were too blind to realize it.
If Senators must have anything, it was keen eyes. Wives doubly so. Over the years, she had seen her husband's face flush at the mention of his Master's name, had seen his jaw twitch with barely suppressed rage after one of the Team's infamous disagreements. And tonight, when Obi-Wan had touched her, she had seen something else.
Padmé no longer needed to close her eyes for the images to rise in her mind. She need only glance at her husband and the fantasies bloomed so quickly that they might have been her own. The nape of Anakin's neck--Obi-Wan's hand there, lingering far longer that it should after a sparring match. The small of Anakin's back--Obi-Wan's hand resting there, too, tracing languid circles first through the rough weave of a Jedi tunic and then beneath it.
Padmé dragged in breath, pressing her knees together as Obi-Wan's remembered desire coursed through her. The sound of Anakin laughing, his scent after a round on the practice mat, body against body beneath too small of an overhang, counting the hours until Jabiim's endless rain stopped.
She shuddered, breasts suddenly heavy and hot beneath her nightgown. Without a word, she rose from the bed and pulled a cord that would summon the handmaidens that still attended her.
Anakin turned, his brows aloft. Still, he did not speak.
Padmé threw his robes at him.
Anakin drew his head lower, obscuring his face. "I don't think we should do this. He left. He doesn't want to see us."
"You're just worried that he doesn't want to see you." Padmé's chin rose infinitesimally. She smiled at each Jedi they passed, as if daring them to question her presence among them, in the cool marble and granite halls of the Jedi Temple. "Besides, we're not doing anything."
Shoulders hunched, Anakin called the elevator with a wave of his palm. The doors slid open, and they stepped into the dawn-flooded room of glass. Nearly dawn, anway, Anakin thought, though there was no joy in the red and gold peeking from behind Coruscant's skyline.
"I hate when you're like this," he muttered, the words nearly a growl.
The corner of her mouth twitched upwards. "When I'm like what?"
"When you're plotting."
"So you hate me all the time?"
Against his will, Anakin laughed. He could not help it. Padmé reached out, about to take him into her arms. In that moment, the bell chimed, marking Obi-Wan's floor. She stepped back, gesturing for Anakin to lead. He hesitated, staring at her, and then crossed the threshold, shaking his head. He knew his wife too well; she would not be moved from this, whatever this was.
Anakin's hand hovered over the keypad set beside Obi-Wan's door. His fingers slowly curled into a fist. "He'll have changed the code."
Padmé sighed, nudging Anakin out of the way. Her knock echoed down the corridor.
"See? He's not answering the door."
"Have you considered that he might be asleep? Or out? He's at least as tense as you--" Padmé broke off, turning back to the door. "Obi-Wan. You're looking well."
Beneath the shadow of his beard, Obi-Wan's mouth thinned. One hand set against the doorframe, he peered back at them with reddened eyes, gaze flicking only briefly to Anakin. "Can I help you?"
Anakin's nails bit so deeply that pain flared in his palms. He pressed his lips together, though what he held back he had no idea.
"You could ask us in," Padmé replied, her smile never wavering, her hands folded on her pregnant belly.
Obi-Wan did not move. "For what purpose?"
"For tea, of course. You obviously need some."
His ginger brow furrowed. Grey touched it here and there.
"Or would you like to discuss how badly your breath smells of alcohol out here in the hallway?"
Obi-Wan frowned, but stepped aside.
"Alcohol?" Anakin did not meet his former Master's eyes, nor did he remove his cloak.
Obi-Wan chuckled softly. "Corellian brandy. Would you like one?"
"Haven't slept." Obi-Wan shrugged. There was no accusation in his tone, or grief, only quiet resignation.
Anakin stared at the floor. "Obi-Wan--"
Padmé made her move. With all her weight--much greater now than it had been--she shoved Anakin at Obi-Wan. Anakin stumbled, a hand out to catch himself, and Obi-Wan rushed forward to intercede. There was no thought to the action, just instinct born of years at each other's side, of breathing each other's air.
Anakin blinked down at Obi-Wan as if seeing him for the first time. The older man blinked back.
Obi-Wan's face tightened. "No. I won't have this. I won't have your pity and I won't have your bribes."
Behind him, Padmé gasped. Anakin could barely drag the word out. "Bribes?"
"He thinks you did that so he won't tell," Padmé snapped, her voice sharper than Anakin had ever heard it.
Did what? Anakin looked down at his own hand. When he had fallen, he had not gripped Obi-Wan's arm for support, or even his shoulder. Instead, his held Obi-Wan's waist, his fingers spread over the hip hidden beneath the Jedi leggings as a lover's might be.
Obi-Wan glared up at him. Anakin jerked back as if slapped.
"Anakin--" Obi-Wan began, and this time his voice did break. "Forgive me. I should know better than to think you would do such a thing. You have always treated me as a brother."
"Is that how you think I see you?"
"Like a father, then."
With a single step, Anakin closed the distance between them again. So very nearly, he took hold of that hip a second time. His fingers brushed rough cotton, then drew back.
Anakin turned. Padmé gazed back at him, brows ever so slightly aloft, as if waiting for him to move. All at once, she burst into laughter.
"What? You were Obi-Wan's long before you were mine! I was rather perplexed when I found out you two weren't sleeping together. You certainly act as if you are."
Her grin widened. "How about you rectify that, hmm? I shall leave you two alone."
"Padmé, we can't just--"
Obi-Wan finished for him. "We cannot do it without you."
Color rose in her cheeks. "Are you asking what I think you are?"
Obi-Wan could not speak. Anakin could only stare.
"Have you ever been with a woman?" she asked, gently.
He shook his head. "What does that matter after what we have shared? I have been inside you."
"And I in you," Padmé whispered.
The tiniest flicker of jealousy came to life inside Anakin, extinguished just as quickly when Obi-Wan's hand settled on his partner's hip.
"If we are to share," Obi-Wan said, "it must begin now. No more lies. No more lives behind each other's backs."
"Yes," Padmé agreed, but Anakin knew the admonition has been for him.
He nodded, turning back to Obi-Wan. Dawn slanted through the blinds, gilding the man before him. Anakin drew a breath. Inch by inch, he lowered his head and counted in the back of his mind as he always did when in need of courage, in Huttese first, and then in Basic.
Wanga, dopa, kin... One, two, three.
"I should brush my teeth," Obi-Wan sighed, even as he rose to meet Anakin's mouth.
"Shut up," Anakin muttered.
Obi-Wan's hands slid into Anakin's hair.
And Padmé, still grinning, came forward to take her husband's cloak.