Stepping back, I extinguished my lightsaber and swept a damp arm across my brow. The motion only served to relocate the hair plastered there. Sweat ran in rivulets down my back; I craved leaving the hot salle and escaping into a cool shower. "Well-fought, Obi-Wan. You've won your freedom for the evening."

Dousing his own weapon, my Padawan looked confused. "Master?"

"I thought you might want a night off, to spend time with your friends."

"Oh. Right. Yes, that would be most welcome."

He didn't look nearly as enthused as I thought he should. Falling into step with me, he stared at the floor as we exited the salle on our way to our quarters.

"Master, have you any plans for tonight?"

"Not really, no."

His expression brightened as he looked up at me. "Then would you consider coming with me? To Indiscretions?"

"I've not been there in years." Indiscretions was a private dance club for the senior Padawan set, not strictly off-limits to Masters, but very close. I never would have invited my own Master there. Why in the world would Obi-Wan invite me to go with him? "Padawan, we've been thrown together quite a lot on the last three back-to-back missions. Wouldn't you rather go out with your friends?"

"You are a friend, Master. I enjoy being with you." His answer was calm and sounded serious. I detected no sense of humor through the bond; the statement seemed sincere enough, as did the gray-green eyes staring so intently up at me. "Will you come, then?"

"I think that I will," I replied slowly, at the same time wondering what I was getting myself into. It wasn't that I wanted to go to a dance club; it was that I enjoyed being with Obi-Wan as well. And if he was determined to ask his old Master out, either in sincerity or as experiment, we'd have to see how the night went. /If it doesn't work out,/ I thought to myself, /there are other clubs... or I could simply return home to my books./

Of course I'd been to dance clubs with Mace and Dagan, but not recently. Recently, I had been living as a hermit except for the time spent with my Padawan. /Jinn, you must get over it, get a life of your own. Obi-Wan is being patient -- far more patient than he was when Tahl died. But then, he's older. Older, needing company his own age. You can't cling to him forever, no matter how enjoyable the clinging is, or how he seems to understand exactly what you need when you need it./

I promised myself that I'd let him go back to his own friends soon. It might be as soon as tonight, if I made a total ass of myself at Indiscretions.

"Great!" Before I knew it, a muscular arm was sliding around my waist and hugging me tightly. Obi-Wan's delight was unmistakable through the bond. "Let's go home and get showered, dressed, and get out of here. Tonight, no more Master and Padawan; we're just two men out to have a good time, agreed?"

"Agreed, Obi-Wan."

I wore black, as I usually do to informal affairs. Ready before Obi-Wan as he'd insisted that I use the 'fresher first, I sipped a glass of wine to give myself false courage, suddenly nervous about this entire affair.

I knew that I looked good, knew that the black tended to make my eyes more blue and brought out the silver highlights in my hair. On impulse, I'd released my hair from its usual thonged confines. I did not, however, surrender my boots. Those were too much a part of me to leave behind, ever. As always, my lightsaber was secured at my waist. Obi-Wan would take his own weapon as well, honoring an unwritten part of the Jedi code that seemed to state a Jedi and his 'saber were never to be parted. Certainly, every one of us felt more secure with it at our side.

Obi-Wan emerged from his room only to pause at the door and stare at me. His eyes flashed, his glance raked down to my toes and back up to meet my gaze. For a moment, I thought that I saw a familiar kind of hunger in his expression, but it was gone before I was certain. The bond, however, did not lie: naked desire flashed across the expanse before Obi-Wan slammed up his shields. Startled, I could do little more than stare back.

Obi-Wan... desired me? Surely, I'd misread that emotion. I hadn't time to ponder the possibilities, as he stood before me dressed in the tightest shirt and pants that I'd ever seen him wear. There was no break in the line between the top of his Order-issue boots and the tight black leather pants he was wearing. The form-fitting blue shimmer-cloth shirt he'd found molded to and accentuated every muscle he owned. A dusting of hair was revealed in the deep V-neck; even his nipples were outlined beneath that shirt. His muscles shifted as he breathed, a shining delight to my sight and senses, one that I longed to touch. The leather accentuated every curve, glowing in the dim light and highlighting the bulge at his crotch. It left little to question; from the look of it, my Padawan was well-endowed.

When had he become such a beautiful man? When had the boyish, mischievous glances he threw me from time to time been layered with a smoldering sensuousness? Had the transformation taken place tonight, between salle and shower, or had he been this way for months but I'd never noticed?

He stalked toward me with an easy-going, self-confident stride that spoke of a man who was very much aware of his body, his obvious masculinity, and the affect it could have on a lover. His Padawan braid swung from side to side, reminding me of the claim I had already staked on his training, his position in the Order, his life. I wanted to tell him we were not going to the club. We were not going out at all tonight, because I wanted to touch him. I wanted to pick him up and carry him to my bed, toss him onto it and caress and claim what that shirt so teasingly covered. I wanted my mouth on every inch of his bare flesh, wanted to know his taste and the noises he would make for me. Wanted to bring him to writhing ecstacy with his fingers tangled in my hair as he shouted my name in climax to the Coruscant night. I wanted to feel his every muscle stretch toward me in a rigor of passion. I wanted to know if the auburn flame of his hair matched the intensity of any flame I might kindle between his legs. If I touched him, would the flame within him burn long and pure for me, and only me?

His eyes were bright as they locked into mine. The half-smile he wore was a torment all by itself, and I could feel his eagerness to be off. With me. /Tonight, this is mine,/ I realized, all but purring at the thought.


Suddenly, with an intensity I'd not felt in years, I wanted him to be mine. Not just tonight, but forever. I wanted us to be connected by more than a training bond, more than through the vows we'd spoken as Master and apprentice. I wanted to taste him on my tongue and know that he was tasting me as well. I wanted to look out at our world through his eyes, and know that we were entwined, heart and soul, through the sort of a soul bond that I'd only ever read about. I wanted him, all of him, in my arms, in my bed, arching beneath my hands, belonging to me as I wanted to belong to him. I wanted to bury myself in his beauty, inside and out, and never let go. Never be let go.

My heart pounded in my ears, and my mouth grew dry. I stared down at him, wondering why so beautiful a creature would want to be with me, if only for the evening. I was suddenly, achingly erect, and knew that I'd probably remain so for most of the evening. He was remarkable, exquisite. How was it that I'd never seen this before?

He stalked toward me and passed me. Passed me. I turned with him, ensnared by his every movement. Pausing at the door, he palmed it open and then looked over his shoulder. Arching an eyebrow, he asked, "Are you ready, Master?"

His voice had dropped at least three notes. Smoky and sultry, it was a blatant verbal invitation and a reassurance that he wanted me to share his company. I ached even more for him. I was not having trouble breathing... was I?

Obi-Wan glided through the door. Having the presence of mind to grab both of our cloaks, I followed him.


"Hey, Obi-Wan!"

He was hailed the moment we entered the club and summoned to a table with four of his peers who eyed me cautiously and with no little curiosity. That doubtful, curious gaze was then turned on my Padawan, who urged me into a chair at his right before grabbing his own chair. I was startled the next moment by his scrapping that chair as close beside me as he could without climbing into my lap.

"Everybody here knows my Master, I'm sure. Qui-Gon, this is Bant, Garen, Reeft and his mate, Singura."

"Hello, everyone."

"Hello, Master Jinn." The chorus rippled around the table. I didn't need to be Force sensitive to sense their growing puzzlement and confusion. I could almost hear their thoughts: doesn't he see enough of Obi-Wan on missions? Doesn't his Master trust him enough to let him out alone?

"My Master and I are looking forward to some great dancing tonight," Obi-Wan ploughed on, "especially after the boring missions we drew this past week. Hey, which appetizers are the best? We left the Temple without eating."

He snatched a menu and shoved it between us. Leaning against me, he slid one arm behind me, across the back of my chair. His body language was saying, all too clearly, 'I'm with him tonight, and I like it.' Or was I misreading?

"Everything's good," Garen and Reeft said in unison.

"How would you know?" he teased. "You'll eat anything." The droid attendant waited patiently while Obi-Wan and I consulted about the snacks.

"Shall we get enough for the entire table, with drinks?" I asked, fishing out my credit chip and handing it to the attendant. "Open an account for the night," I told it. " All right, what would all of you like?"

"Well, if you're going to be like that...." Obi-Wan grinned and ordered the most expensive appetizer on the menu, not to mention a drink that was, this side of the Sith-hells, usually off-limits due to the amount of alcohol it contained. "What do you want, Bant?"

I didn't blink or frown at Obi-Wan's choice. In fact, my own choice echoed it, and he grinned at me conspiratorially. Taking courage from his example, Bant ordered what I thought was probably her usual conservative choice. Garen followed eagerly on her heels, his attitude thawing a little when he realized that I wasn't going to behave like the tradition-bound bastard of a Master I was reputed to be. Tonight, anyway. His drink choice followed Obi-Wan's, while Reeft and his mate ordered something else.

The next cycle or so was spent nibbling on a variety of appetizers and sampling our libations while regaling one another with stories from past missions. Obi-Wan's and my narratives involved our telling the story together, each of us interrupting the other to fill in details and learning in the process how we'd seen things differently. Or had even seen different things. Twice, we got into arguments that made the others howl with laughter, Obi-Wan taking the conservative side of the argument while I argued on behalf of a more extreme solution. A few minutes later, we took the opposite sides in relation to yet another mission.

"I can see now why you're both rumored to spark chaos in the Council chamber," said Garen, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes while Obi-Wan scowled at him. "You're two sides of the same coin, the Council never knows which way you'll jump. Either of you."

I shared a startled look with Obi-Wan. "You know, he's right?"

"Of course he's right. We make a great team, Master." Pushing back in his chair, he gained his feet and laid a hand on my shoulder. "Let's see what kind of teamwork we can do on the dance floor?"

The table went totally silent, watching. I eyed the couples out on the floor now. They moved in ways that I didn't, except in battle. Suddenly feeling more than a little old and very insecure, I tugged on Obi-Wan's braid where it dangled beside me. He bent over so that I could murmur into his ear.

"I don't think I can do this, Padawan. Why don't you ask Bant, instead?"

He turned his head, and his mouth was so close to mine, we were breathing the same air. "I don't want to dance with Bant," came the patient answer. Sliding a hand down my arm, he snagged my fingers. "I want to dance with you."

"Obi-Wan, I don't know how."

"Yes, you do. We'll adapt the twelfth level, fifth form battle kata. You take the offensive and I'll take the defensive. But whenever you advance, instead of retreating, I'll submit." His eyes sparkled with mischief and anticipation. "If we keep the bond open between us, we can do this, Master. It might even start a trend."

"It will most likely provoke hilarity."

His eyes grew serious. "Our dancing has never provoked hilarity, Master. I don't see any reason why it should tonight."

"Dancing... is that how you think of our training sessions? Our sparring?"

"Yes, Master."

His gaze was locked into mine. I couldn't look away. In that moment, I think I saw for the first time what our sessions meant to him. My fingers closed around his. "Adapting that kata just might work, Padawan. Shall we?"

His grin could have lit Coruscant. From the opening bow symbolizing, "I respect you, my enemy, even unto death," to the final aerial maneuver over my head that ended with Obi-Wan landing squarely in front of me -- symbolizing, I suppose, that you can teach a Master a new dance -- the kata was easily adapted and a joy to dance. Obi-Wan never faltered, and with both of our shields at a minimum I saw just how easily we flowed together. As he'd predicted, there was no hilarity, no awkward moments. The trance music with a fast, driving beat was perfect for us to lose ourselves in the connection that let us flow mentally and move physically as one.

"That was vulnerability and strength in one of the purest forms I've ever encountered," I remarked to Obi-Wan as we returned to the table, eager to catch our breaths and try it again with another kata.

We earned a round of applause from a few watchers, and Obi-Wan's friends at the table. He bowed with mock humility and called for the attendant to bring some cold water.

"That was amazing," burbled Bant.

"That was probably something Qui-Gon will incorporate into my training next week." He winked, poured out a glass, and handed it to me. "Not that I have any objections. That was... exhilarating."

"It was," I agreed. "And yes, I think it would fit nicely with the free-form sparring tutorials." /But only if other Master and Padawan teams have reached the deep and comfortable level that ours have./

/Is that why it was so easy?/

I'd forgotten that my shields were down to him. Startled, I realized that Obi-Wan hadn't bothered to raise his own shields after the dance.

/Why should I raise them?/ he ventured, sensing my surprise. /That's not the only dance we'll do tonight, is it?"

"No," I whispered, mentally as well as out loud. "I'm sure that there are numerous other katas ready for adaptation."

"I want to try them all," Obi-Wan said expansively.


"No." He grinned. "We have the rest of our lives for that, don't we, Master?"

My heart nearly stopped at his words. Surely, he couldn't mean what he seemed to be implying. My thoughts raced, I dared not reach through the bond to feel whatever he was feeling. To find my hopes were wrong would have been too much disappointment, impossible to hide in this newly naked mental contact. Carefully, I replied.

"If you wish it, Obi-Wan." I held out my hand. "Shall we dance again?"

We did, and a few other Jedi at the club even tried that night, as well. In the weeks to come, I was told by other Masters that their Padawans had come and told them of this night, of the experimentations Jinn and Kenobi had made to adapt lessons to dances. Could they practice with their Masters? came the shy questions. Would the Masters consider going with them to Indiscretions and trying out the floor there, as Master Jinn had?

They could, and they did. As Obi-Wan had predicted, it became a Temple trend. The club itself evolved to welcome Masters in the coming months; another miracle, possible through Obi-Wan's curious determination to dance with his Master.

Not all of the dances were trance or techno. Close to closing, the electronics slowed the beat and the melody. The theme was retro, and so it was that I found myself with a very warm, very solid Obi-Wan in my arms, dancing to an instrumental piece that I'd first heard as an apprentice.

"You lead," Obi-Wan urged, stepping close and entwining his hand around my neck.

Who was I to argue with an armful of Padawan? I said nothing but gave a nod and slid my arm around his waist. Tucking his free hand into my own, I began moving gently to the music. Sighing, he leaned his cheek against my chest and closed his eyes. I felt him relax against me as his heartbeat, his breathing steadied. I felt his solid thighs moving against my own, and my body responded to his nearness, just as it had earlier in the evening when I saw him just outside his chamber door. His response was immediate; his desire seemed to echo my own. And then, Obi-Wan began to sing very softly against my chest, filling in the words that the music left out.

"The story of my life is very plain to read; it starts the day you came and ends the day you leave. The story of my life begins and ends with you. The names are still the same, and the story's still the truth. I was alone. You found me waiting and made me your own. I was afraid that somehow I never could be a man that you wanted of me. "

I listened, barely daring to breathe, for his shields were still down and the lyrics seemed more than words, at least to me. Did he mean this, or was it just a song?

"You're the story of my life, and every word is true; each chapter sings your name, each page begins with you. It's the story of our times and never letting go." He snuggled closer under my chin, his fingers tangling most deliberately in my hair. His arousal against me was unmistakable, rubbing against my own, create a sweet, sweet longing.

"Obi-Wan.... " I whispered, daring to press a kiss to the top of his head. /Gods, but I love you, And if this moment is all that we ever have... I don't know if I can bear it, now that I've realized how much you mean to me./

"If I die today, I wanted you to know...stay with me, here with me. Share with me, care with me," he continued against me, so softly that only I could hear. My eyes filled with tears, wishing that he meant it. "Stay and be near... and when it began, I'd lie awake every night just knowing, somewhere deep inside, that our affair just might write...."

He shivered against me and tightened his grip on my hand. I felt a dampness through the material against my chest. Rather than singing, Obi-Wan was murmuring roughly.

"The story of my life is very plain to read; it starts the day you came, it ends the day you leave."

The music continued on for a few more measures. I guided us slowly to the edge of the floor, far away from the table that his friends had claimed until it faded entirely.


He hugged me tightly, then raised his head. I wanted so much to kiss him in that moment, for I felt that he'd meant every word of it. Still, I hesitated, settled for running the braid between my fingers.

"It's been a good time, tonight," I murmured. "Thank you for inviting me."

That mischievous grin was back. Leaning against me, Obi-Wan raised his head and pressed his lips against mine. "Thank you for coming."

Those words against my mouth were both kiss and caress, deliberately provocative. Obi-Wan deepened the kiss, his lips moving firmly against mine with his fingers still tangled in my hair. My arms went around him reflexively, and then I was pulling him closer, uncaring that he could sense my demanding need as I could sense his. Lightning jumped across the bond, insisting that I open my mouth. I did, wanting to devour him, wanting to hear him moan. He did moan, almost as if he had heard the thought. And then we were breaking apart as the next song began and couples began moving past us, onto the floor.

"There will...." I cleared my throat and licked my lips, tasting him there and wanting more. "There will be rumors about this kiss, Padawan."

His grin was unrepentant, and he didn't let go my hand. "I certainly hope so, Master."


In the harsh light of a new day, waking up to the usual duties and responsibilities, I felt that the events of the night weren't nearly so important as I'd made them. Surely, it was the liquor making me remember the sweetness of Obi-Wan in my arms, not to mention his willingness to be there? Surely it had been the lighting of the club that made me think that he desired me?

In the harsh light of day, nothing had changed. I was his Master, an object of respect rather than desire, and not just for Obi-Wan. I rose, dressed, and greeted my Padawan at our breakfast table as I had a thousand other times. He greeted me warmly and bestowed one of his heart stopping grins as he passed me the toast, but he did not discuss our adventure of the night before, other than to comment softly, "I enjoyed our evening, Master." And then he was off, grabbing a piece of fruit for a late-morning snack and tossing it into the air as he left our quarters on his way to meet the day.

I would meet him after morning classes and noon meal. We would spar, I would offer pointers on the kata he was currently working on. We would discuss whatever studying he had to do that afternoon, and then we would part ways. This evening, we might find that a mission summons had arrived from the Council. Tomorrow morning, we might be on our way to that mission. If we were not, another day would dawn here at the Temple and our life as Master and Padawan, but nothing more, would continue.

Once, that life contented me. Now, after only one night out with Obi-Wan, such contentment was a thing of the past. I had much meditation work ahead of me if I was to purge the yearnings I was feeling for something different, something more, with my Padawan.


On to next chapter