THREE ROADS, ONE DESTINY: CrossRoads
By MrsHamill and Master Yo-Gurt
Archive: Lessee…by Master and Apprentice, My Lover’s Charms, FanFiction.Net and StarWarsChicks, all others please ask and ye shall receive.
Category: AU, Non-Q/O, Angst, Romance
Warnings: I suppose spew for soppy romanticism.
Spoilers: Nah. We only wish this could happen.
Summary: This is the LAST part of a four part "prequel" of sorts to Jedi HMO, exploring just exactly how this threesome came to be. It will not make much sense unless you’ve read at least one of the other three parts.
Feedback: Always cheerfully accepted! And if you actually want us to continue with this drivel (WHAT will happen to the threesome if Qui actually bites it??), let us know at (Master Yo-Gurt) firstname.lastname@example.org and/or (MrsHamill) email@example.com
Disclaimers: Blah blah blah, George Lucas, yadda yadda yadda. Anyone who believes we’re getting rich from this stuff has strudel in their noodle.
Notes: Well, here’s the end, and what a long, strange trip it’s been. The fact that we’re still friends (and that Terri’s husband and daughter haven’t left her) after all this is absolutely amazing! At least as amazing is how we’re still friends with our beta goddesses, the best goldarned beta goddesses in this or any other universe (shameless plug) Silky (who came up with the title), Crysta, Chris and Gillian! "We be Done! Hooray!"
Shameless falling to the knees thanks to Pumpkin, who allowed us to use her gorgeous poem (from her story, "Braid") for the bonding ceremony. Also big boocoo thanks to Bunny for her most excellent grammar beta. And Yogie wants everyone to know how grateful she is to Bogart and Lily for them not shredding her manuscripts.
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Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Master and lover to Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, lover to Master Pilot Lia Jae-Mil, was tired. He had been on an exhausting mission, and then was unable to rest upon his return. He was exhausted, worn out, swaying on his feet… his mind went wearily from one synonym to the other, finally focusing on home… home! What a wonderful word, but not nearly as wonderful as bed, sleep, rest…
…Lia. He walked through the door of his quarters and was met by a double armful of warm, vibrant woman. He sagged into her embrace, doing his level best to crawl into her skin. He had been away from her for almost a month, and away from his Padawan for almost two weeks, and needed to reconnect with the love that had been so sorely missed. It was possible, he reflected absently, that if he weren’t so tired and also so badly missing his Padawan, he might have just pulled her to the floor right there and gone to sleep inside her.
Divesting him of his cloak and removing his belt, she led him with insistent tugs to the bedroom. "Qui-Gon Jinn, Master, lover, come this way," she said with a smile.
She was followed willingly, but very tiredly. "Oh, love, I’d follow you anywhere, but…"
"No buts. You are exhausted and your Padawan and I will take care of you now. Come on."
There was no one in the bedroom, but water running in the ‘fresher indicated the presence of Obi-Wan. Lia sat Qui-Gon down on the bed and began to gently but efficiently undress him, removing boots, tunics, and caressing muscles worn out by too much action and not enough sleep. "Obi and I flipped a coin to see who would greet you…although he at first tried to get me to agree to an orgasm contest. He lost… and probably would have lost the other way too," she murmured soothingly, removing the last of his tunics.
He snorted in amusement. Yes, that sounded like Obi-Wan. Then Lia stood before him wearing, he finally realized, nothing but Obi-Wan’s cloak. "Stand up, Qui," she said, pulling on his hands, steadying him as he did so. She efficiently removed his pants, and helped him step out of them, then shed Obi-Wan’s cloak. Not quite as tired as he thought he was, Qui-Gon wrapped her into another embrace, running his hands down the smooth skin of her back. She purred in contentment, then pulled him towards the ‘fresher.
And that’s where Obi-Wan was, sitting on the side of the large whirlpool tub which had just finished filling. The room was warm and steamy, fragrant with bath salts and utterly relaxing. The Padawan was dressed only in a large grin and as the other two entered the room he swarmed into his Master’s arms and kissed him soundly, whispering "Master."
The three of them climbed into the hot water of the tub, where, over Qui-Gon’s weak protestations, they proceeded to wash the Master gently from toes to hair. Lia started on his feet, Obi-Wan his head, and between them gently soaped, scrubbed and massaged every inch of the tall Jedi. By the time they were done, he was practically boneless and very, very clean.
They snuggled then in the tub, Obi-Wan cradling his master in his arms, Lia sitting between both their legs, cuddled to Qui-Gon’s chest. Heaving a great sigh, and releasing the last of his tension with it, Qui-Gon kissed his bondmates fondly. "Thank you, my loves," he murmured, his eyes almost closed. "I was beginning to despair of ever seeing you again."
"Sorry about that, Master," Obi-Wan said, the arms wrapped around his Master’s chest squeezing slightly, "we went to a naming party. It’s all Lia’s fault."
Lia snorted with gentle amusement. "That’s right, braid-boy, blame it on the pilot. If we could have skipped it, we would have Qui. I am sorry."
"That’s the truth," Obi-Wan supplied, grinning at the woman. "You should have seen her trying to avoid holding the baby. Our ‘totally devoid of maternal instincts’ Lia."
Qui-Gon smiled indulgently at their byplay. Then what Obi-Wan said brought back with a rush his previous conversation with Aks Moe and the idea of ‘sabaque’. Something must have shown on his face for Lia reached up to touch his cheek. "What, Qui?"
He smiled, a bit sadly. "Oh, nothing. I just remembered a conversation I had on the way back to Coruscant. With that pompous blowhard Aks Moe… you remember him, don’t you Obi-Wan?"
Obi-Wan grimaced at the mention of the diplomat. "Oh yes. If you were forced to return with him, then I’m even angrier at Master Windu for depriving you of us. It must have been awful."
"Well, most of it, certainly…" Qui-Gon said, then smiled wickedly as he shared the memory of the fantasy he used to relieve himself with his bondmates. Lia gasped and sat up straight, her hand brushing his erection as she did so. It was her turn to smile.
"Looks like we missed a spot here, Obi," she said, reaching down and grasping it firmly, causing him to close his eyes and groan. "Perhaps we should see what we can do about making that picture less a fantasy and more a reality…"
"There’s another muscle at my back equally tense, my heart," he said, swallowing as her hand continued to pump him. Obi-Wan chuckled at the reference. "Perhaps we can take care of both…?"
"I think that’s something that could be accomplished," Lia said in an offhand manner but with a tone that piqued both men’s interest – and other things – immediately.
Obi-Wan urged him to lean forward, and Lia made it more enticing by kissing him as he did so. Two fingers, slick with bath oil, found their way into Qui-Gon’s body as he reached to caress and hold Lia tightly. Shortly the fingers were replaced by something larger and blunter, and with a grunt and a sigh of pleasure the Master became impaled upon his Padawan’s erection, while Lia positioned herself and drove his cock into her. The dual sensations of penetrating and being penetrated almost overloaded his abused senses.
The three lovers found the rhythm, kissing and being kissed, thrusting and taking thrusts, their three-way bond singing with the joy of being together once again. Obi-Wan was the first to climax, followed closely by Lia and then finally Qui-Gon. The ecstasy was quiet and joyful, a reaffirmation of love and their place in each other’s hearts. The quasi-weightlessness of the water helped them maintain their position and Lia languidly kissed both men in her life over and over, until Qui-Gon’s aura indicated he was about to fall asleep.
Gently disengaging, the younger two maneuvered their elder out of the tub and dried him and themselves quickly. The next thing Qui-Gon was consciously aware of was laying in bed, bracketed by his lovers. An insistent, annoying beeping was coming from the other room, and with a grumble, Lia left his side after promising to return swiftly. Qui-Gon kissed his Padawan and tumbled into a deep, calming sleep, not even realizing when Obi-Wan left the bed to join Lia in the main room.
Lia was sitting at the comm unit holding her hands to her mouth trying to stifle her swearing. There was a priority message on the screen, addressed to her bondmates, requesting their presence for a mission briefing first thing in the morning. It was signed with Master Windu’s name.
Obi-Wan looked at Lia and frowned. "What is this? I thought Master Windu was serious about giving us some time off!"
Getting herself somewhat back under control, Lia heaved a sigh and shrugged. "If he had any hair, I’d yank it out. I plan on submitting a formal protest over this Obi, and you can’t stop me."
"As if I could if I tried." Obi-Wan reached down and pulled his lover to his chest. "C’mon. Come to bed. We’ll worry about it in the morning. I can always wait to tell Qui-Gon about it until after breakfast and pretend I forgot."
She nodded and hugged him fiercely. "It’s not going to happen again, Obi," she said. "We’ve been apart too long."
"No, love," he answered. "It won’t. Come to bed. Our Master needs us as much as we need him."
Qui-Gon took the message with an equanimity that fooled neither of his bondmates. And before they could even leave, Lia was summoned to the Guild headquarters for a mission as well. Resigned to their fate, the three left in different directions, determined to create as much havoc as necessary to stay together – for at least a day.
To Qui-Gon’s surprise, the Council chamber was virtually empty when he arrived with his Padawan. And he wasn’t in Yoda’s and Mace’s presence for longer than a minute before he realized they were up to something.
"Late you are," Yoda said, not even trying to contain his mirth. "Sleep in you did? Not like you, Qui-Gon. Early riser always you have been."
"Things change when you get old, Master Yoda," Mace Windu said, grinning ear to ear.
"Know that I do!" Yoda exclaimed, whacking his fellow councilor with his stick.
Utterly confused, Master and Padawan looked at each other, then at the Councilors. Finally Qui-Gon sighed, closed his eyes and visibly centered himself. Looking at the two Masters in poorly concealed frustration, he asked, "just exactly what are you two up to?"
Yoda cackled. "Impertinent you are. Impertinent and impatient. Always you have been."
Though the temptation was great to continue teasing, Mace finally took pity on his friend. "Qui-Gon, we need to send you and your Apprentice on a very… ah…important mission. Through some massive oversight, it seems the Jedi have failed to complete an audit of the Temple on Moudhan IV for some time…"
"Needed, this is," Yoda supplied, a very self-satisfied smirk on his face. "Improper bookkeeping leads to the dark side, it does."
"A Master simply must go, you understand. It’s important to get it done right, you see," Mace continued, his eyes dancing.
"Moudhan IV?" Qui-Gon whispered, disbelieving.
"But there’s nothing on Moudhan IV!" Obi-Wan finally exploded incredulously.
"Wrong you are, Padawan!" Yoda shot back. "Temple there is! Eight permanent Jedi in residence there are! And audit has not been done for a decade!"
"We’re giving you three weeks, Qui-Gon. Do you think you could complete the audit satisfactorily in that time?" Mace vigorously rubbed his nose to keep from laughing at his friend’s expression. Then, before they had a chance to answer, he delivered the coup-de-grace. "Oh, and of course you’ll have a shuttle available. You may need to inspect one of the five agri-corps installations as well. I’m sure a Guild Pilot could be placed at your disposal for the duration of the mission."
Master and Padawan, both jaws hanging open, stared at each other, speechless for once. Mace allowed one whoop to escape his control as the two Jedi just continued to stand before him, obviously stunned beyond words. Yoda cackled at Mace’s laughter. "Accept this mission do you? To others I suppose we could give, if necessary…"
Then the little green Master simply dissolved into laughter as the two men stumbled over each other in their haste to accept. "Then away with you!" he said, as he regained his composure. "Expect to see you I do in three weeks time, not sooner. Audit must be complete!"
Still dazed, the Master and Padawan turned and stumbled out of the chamber, nearly breaking into a run before the door closed behind them. The two Councilors shared a conspiratorial grin as the door thumped shut. "This was a good idea," Mace sighed, leaning back in his chair.
"Yes," Yoda agreed happily.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan literally jumped into their quarters to find a pacing Lia, who turned to them in annoyed perplexity. "What the Sith is Moudhan IV and why am I assigned there for three weeks?" she demanded.
Laughter was her only answer… that and kisses.
Moudhan IV was the only habitable moon around a ringed gas giant that in turn was the only planet around a nondescript G2 star. It was primarily used by the AgriCorps for research and development into ways of heading off the extinction of commercially valuable flora. There was a small space port and a smaller Jedi Temple adjacent to it. The Temple had a permanent staff of less than ten Jedi, mostly older beings or healers, and was used as a rest and restoration center for those Jedi who had been injured or who had simply burned out. It sat on the shore of a large, beautiful fresh water lake and there were isolated quarters provided for guests. The planet was less than two days from Coruscant by hyperdrive, but since no one ever went there who didn’t need to go, it may as well have been in the uncharted territories.
Lia learned all this from her lovers as she flew the little shuttle to their destination. All three of them had been excited and not a little shocked still at the thought of three weeks with nothing to do… although Qui-Gon did point out there was an audit to be conducted.
Obi-Wan had groaned and rolled his eyes at his Master’s observation. "Oh, please, Master, how long can it possibly take to perform even the most exhaustive audit? Thirty minutes?"
Qui-Gon shook his head in mock sternness. "Oh, I’m sure I might actually be able to drag it out to forty-five, if I worked at it, Padawan," was his dry reply.
"Well, good," Lia said, opening a channel to the spaceport. "Shuttle Trillium requesting landing platform please," she said into the pick-up. "Then there should be plenty of time for us to engage in some less than strenuous activity," she added, while waiting for the spaceport’s reply.
"Or even strenuous activity," Obi-Wan agreed, licking his lips lasciviously. Lia just grinned at him as she acknowledged the landing instructions.
Qui-Gon was uncharacteristically silent during this byplay, as he had been for most of the trip. The words he and Mace had exchanged earlier were still weighing on his mind, and he had privately decided to do a bit of research during his ‘audit’. His lovers recognized his pensive mood and had refrained from discussing the subject, especially once Obi-Wan’s initial query the evening they departed was met with stony silence. Both younger people hoped to get the older one more relaxed during their ‘mission’ and had plotted ways to accomplish it.
They debarked into the late afternoon of the moon’s temperate climate. Expecting warm weather, they had not brought much in the way of clothes, so only three fairly large packs were off loaded with them. A smallish figure in a Jedi robe moved to greet them as they left the shuttle…and Lia was astonished to note the elderly Jedi had shorts on under his robe!
"Master Jinn and companions, I presume?" he asked, bowing. Qui-Gon smiled in greeting and bowed in return.
"You must be Master G’Hwi’onishak," Qui-Gon answered, smiling while effortlessly pronouncing the strange name full of clicks and glottal stops.
"Hui, please," the other man said, smiling. "As you can see, we do not stand on such formality as the Coruscant Temple. I welcome such a formidable team as the Jinn-Kenobi pair, and of course their lovely pilot, to my humble home. Will you come this way? It’s my pleasure to show you to your quarters."
"I take it then you have been appraised of our ‘mission’?" Qui-Gon said, following the elderly Master. Lia and Obi-Wan fell in behind them.
Master Hui snorted, clearly amused. "All I can say, Master Jinn, is that Master Yoda must owe you some significant favors."
All of them laughed at that, and Qui-Gon said, "please, call me Qui-Gon, Hui. Am I to be working closely with you during my ‘audit’?"
"As you wish, Qui-Gon. For as long as you have need of me, I will make myself available to you. Perhaps we could start tonight over dinner? For all of you, of course. We grow much of our own food here, and it is quite exquisitely prepared by two of the Knights in residence. It’s so rare we get new faces," he continued, stopping at a battered skimmer and motioning for them to get in, "that my fellows tend to go a little overboard with new arrivals."
Qui-Gon looked back at his companions, who both nodded. "It seems we have consensus, Hui. We’d be delighted."
The Master seemed pleased, as he climbed into the speeder and set the controls. "Fine, fine. Let’s get you settled in and then you can come straight away to the Temple."
The trip wasn’t long. The spaceport-town was very small…a general mercantile, the port itself, a small hostel with a bar and eatery attached. The roads were crushed stone and macadam, and narrow. The skimmer followed one of them out towards a shimmering lake they could see in the near distance. Master Hui, who seemed to be a genially chatty old man, pointed out various species of native plant life and at one point slowed the speeder down to allow a family of flightless bird to cross the road ahead of their vehicle. Lia was enchanted.
"Master Hui, none of the animal life appears to have much fear here?" she asked, watching the birds pick their way off the road.
"Oh, no, Pilot," he agreed, "we leave them alone and they leave us alone. The largest land mammal is the samsaylat, a herd beast. You’ll probably hear them more than you’ll see them. Their voice is quite loud and unmistakable. The top of the food chain is a medium sized felinoid that doesn’t consider us much of a threat… or food, for that matter."
Shortly they pulled up before the lake and a large house. All three of them sat stunned as they took in the size and beauty of the dwelling, and Master Hui chuckled. "Not exactly what you were expecting, eh? We may be small, but we’re far from primitive! This is one of the larger dachas, since Yoda told me there are three of you."
The structure faced the beautiful blue, peaceful lake. There was a very large verandah, with comfortable wooden chaises, just begging to be relaxed in. It was an "A" frame house, the two story wall facing the lake almost all glass, and from the outside they could see how luxurious and beautiful it was.
Bemused, Lia and Obi followed Qui and Master Hui inside, carrying the packs. The house boasted a comfortable kitchen with all the latest gadgets, a large great room with a spacious fireplace, and a loft bedroom up a gracious spiral staircase. The younger two explored the house quickly, calling out their excited comments about various amenities. It was Lia who located the almost sybaritic ‘fresher, and Obi-Wan who discovered the nook carrying all the latest in communications and computer tech. Their elders stood by the fireplace and smiled at their enthusiasm.
"Let me show you how to work the fireplace, Qui-Gon," Master Hui said. "It gets chilly at night and you’ll want to use it. It’s the primary source of heat for the house… we burn fuel crystals and the exhaust is channeled through…"
It wasn’t difficult and Qui-Gon grasped the basics quickly. Then he had a question of his own, that he took the older Jedi apart to ask. "Hui, you do have reference facilities here?"
"Yes, yes of course Qui-Gon, and quite extensive ones at that. What are you looking for?"
"I’ll need some information on…" at that point, Lia bounded downstairs and practically leapt into Qui-Gon’s arms.
"This place is wonderful… wonderful! Remind me to do something nice for Mace and Master Yoda when we get back, Qui!" she almost bubbled, kissing her bondmate quickly but thoroughly while Master Hui looked on in astonishment and delight.
"Lia, love," Qui-Gon admonished gently, but with no real force as he could see the other Jedi was in no way offended.
Unabashed, Lia turned to the other man. "I’m sorry, Master Hui, but this is just unbelievable. We’ve been apart for almost a month… this is supposed to be a vacation of sorts but I wasn’t expecting such, such luxury!"
Obi-Wan also came back down. "Lia’s right, Master, this place is just beyond anything. And to think I told Master Yoda there was nothing on Moudhan IV!"
Master Hui grinned at their enthusiasm. "Pilot, Padawan, I’m so pleased you like our little dacha. Why don’t the three of you change into something less formal, and we can go to the Temple. I can give you the run-down on how to get food and other necessities over dinner."
After a change of clothes aimed for comfort, the four left the house for the Temple. Once again, it was a pleasant, beautiful surprise.
The Temple on Moudhan IV was a sprawling one story, partially built into a small granite outcropping on the edge of the lake. A large creek spilled down over the stone and flowed right through the octagonal structure so that nearly every adjacent room resonated with the sweet music of the water. It was open and airy, so peaceful and beautiful that it was hard to imagine it being anything other than a place of meditation and restoration of the soul.
Lia stood between her lovers, contemplating the vista, arms entwined. "It’s like paradise," she finally murmured, and Obi-Wan leaned his head on hers in silent agreement. Qui-Gon reached his right arm out to wrap his hand around Obi-Wan’s neck and brush his fingers against his cheek.
"I’m glad we’re together to see this," he whispered, holding the other two tightly to him.
Eventually they followed their guide inside to meet the residents. It was still early, but preparations for dinner had already begun, anticipating new faces to entertain. They met the healers and healer students, and Master Hui’s "second in command," an aged, gentle Wookiee female named Chawnak. The only other ‘guest’ was a young Knight who had been working with the Agri-Corps on a project, an almost too-pretty human male named Jac-Cre Spuud. He was only a few years older than Obi-Wan, and he and the Padawan had been very close before his knighting. They greeted each other with warm enthusiasm.
Dinner was a raucous, lively affair. Even Qui-Gon found himself loosening up around the humor and ease at the table, and having his lovers sitting next to him feeding him choice tidbits didn’t hurt either. They were bound and determined to ensure he had a good time, even while Lia traded verbal barbs with Obi-Wan and his friend, Knight Spuud ("Call me Jac or Jaycee, Lia, even Obi-a-good-boy does!").
By full dark, the table had been cleared and the diners were relaxing over small glasses of Correllian Brandy. Lia had spoken to the cook about the exquisite vegetable casserole and Obi-Wan had beaten Jaycee at three straight hands of Sabacc. Qui-Gon and Master Hui had spoken and had made plans to meet the next day mid-morning, and all three bondmates were yawning. Master Chawnak smilingly urged them off.
"If you like, I can bring the skimmer around…" Master Hui offered, but all three turned him down.
"It’s not far, and the walk will help settle that wonderful meal," Lia said, firmly taking the hands of her lovers. They were shown out of the Temple and all three gasped at the sight that greeted them.
The front door of the Temple faced the lake, which was glowing with blue fire reflected from the ringed primary Moudhan, which dominated the night sky. Behind them, Masters Hui and Chawnak chuckled. "Always happens," murmured the tall Wookiee. "Quite a sight, isn’t it?"
"Yes, it is," whispered Qui-Gon, when the normally irrepressible Lia and Obi-Wan seemed to be without words. "Any favors owed me by Master Yoda can be called quits now, I think."
With that, the threesome bid their hosts goodbye and set off for their temporary home.
Qui-Gon woke suddenly, disoriented for a moment until he remembered where he was. In his arms, Obi-Wan jerked in his sleep then nestled down closer to him. Instead of the normal bland ceiling of their quarters, he faced a lazily spinning fan descending from a sharply pointed roof. Instead of the muted roar of Coruscant traffic and the rumble of mechanicals, he was surrounded by absolute, peaceful silence.
He stretched slowly and carefully, to avoid waking Obi-Wan further, reveling in the fact that he had no where urgent to go and nothing urgent to do for a change, aside from cuddling the warm body of his Padawan. A slight twinge in his backside made him smile, remembering the sleepy but enthusiastic loving he received the night before from Obi-Wan. Lia was more exhausted than she had admitted, for she had immediately disrobed and crawled into bed shortly after their return home. Qui-Gon had started a fire then had gone upstairs to join his younger companions. Obi-Wan was sitting on the side of the bed, tucking the blankets in around an already snoozing Lia, a rather forlorn look on his face. Qui-Gon crawled gently onto the bed and sat behind his Padawan, wrapping him firmly in his arms and legs.
"I think Lia was more tired than she let on, Master," Obi-Wan had said softly.
"Well, she did fly us here," he agreed, equally softly, "and she did most of the preparation for our trip. It doesn’t surprise me."
"But…" Obi-Wan had started, then subsided with a sigh. Inwardly chuckling, Qui-Gon let one hand drift down the young man’s chest and stomach, to find a rebelliously firm bit of pride.
He kissed Obi-Wan’s earlobe, then nibbled on his neck. "That doesn’t mean that I’m that tired, Obi," he whispered into his young lover’s ear. "Come and be with me, inside me, love, I need you too," he continued, gently nudging his own arousal into the younger man’s lower back.
Turning in his Master’s arms, Obi-Wan sealed their mouths together before pushing his lover back to the bed gently. The two of them proceeded to make slow, quiet love, using the delicately scented massage oil their bondmate had thoughtfully packed for them. Obi-Wan prepared and entered him with incredible care and sensuality, until Qui-Gon felt like every nerve in his body was firing simultaneously.
As Obi-Wan drove his full length into Qui-Gon’s body, the older man gasped, raising his hands above his head to brace himself on the headboard of the bed. Obi-Wan moaned at the tight heat surrounding his cock and remained still for a moment, before slowly beginning to thrust. Finally, he propped his lover’s legs on his shoulders, while thrusting firmly and rhythmically into his body. Qui-Gon closed his eyes, meeting thrust for thrust, reveling in the exquisite sensations his lover was creating…suddenly he felt another body stir next to his; Lia, who, though not quite awake, was smiling as she felt the ecstasy drowning her bondmates. She brought him to completion with her hands, even as Obi-Wan drove deeper into him in his own orgasm. Shortly, they were all snuggled together, drifting to sleep.
Morning, and Qui-Gon laid peacefully in bed, actually contemplating just going back to sleep nestled against his warm, naked Padawan. But the absence of another warm form on the other side of him, the smell of tea brewing and a full bladder finally dragged him out of bed.
After taking care of the necessary, he tossed his Jedi robe over his naked frame and padded barefoot down the stairs. Lia was not in the building, he quickly ascertained, but he could feel her nearby, and the dear woman had left two pots simmering; one cha and the other his favorite blend of tea. He poured himself a cup and went to the verandah to await his lover’s return.
It was very early, he noted, the sun had not quite risen and the gas giant primary was still faintly visible in the sky. It was cool, but not cold; a mist rising from the lake prevented him from seeing far out onto it. He settled on one of the wooden chaises with his tea and let his mind drift, something he had not been able to do for far too long. The profound silence was slowly broken as first one, then another, and finally a chorus of birds woke to sing the sun up.
The crunch of stones alerted him to Lia’s return. She walked slowly up the path that led away from the temple, wearing one of Obi-Wan’s oversize "Jedi Temple Coruscant" sweatshirts and a pair of running shoes. She saw him as she approached and her face broke into a smile that reminded him of the sun rising. Without a word, she came to him and settled onto his lap, wrapping her arms around his chest under his robe and nuzzling his neck.
"Thank you for the tea," he murmured, caressing her back and squeezing her tightly. "Have you been up long?"
"You’re welcome," she replied, equally softly. "No. I couldn’t sleep any more so I went for a walk." They sat still for a moment, listening to the chorus which was gradually being replaced by a new set of singers as the sun steadily climbed in the morning sky. The mist began to recede from the lake before she spoke again. "This path leads into the woods. There’s a little creek that spills into the lake about half a klick up. I surprised a group of riverine mammals there, playing in the reeds. They were absolutely fearless… I got the impression that had I stayed, they would have invited me to play with them."
A soft chuckle greeted her description, then Qui-Gon gasped lightly. Lia looked up and followed his gaze out to the lake. The mist had risen enough so that a flock of water birds, iridescent blue-white in color with long, graceful necks, could be seen serenely paddling and brushing against each other. As they watched, one of the birds rose and stretched, showing off the indescribable colors of a huge wingspan. It hooted musically, a lonely, beautiful sound.
"It is paradise," Lia said, her voice almost tear choked.
"Yes," Qui-Gon agreed, and as she turned back to face him he captured her lips in a gentle, loving kiss. It didn’t take him long after that to realize she wore nothing under the sweatshirt, and he laughed lightly, breaking the kiss.
"What?" she asked, smiling, her eyelids drooping in desire.
"What a wanton you are…" he said, his hand reaching up to the top of her thigh to caress her curls. "What if someone had seen you?"
She grinned at him impudently. "Qui-Gon Jinn, there is no one here but us. Unless you’re suggesting the riverines…? And besides, you are one to talk…" and she twitched aside his robe to run her hands over his chest and nipples. He moaned a bit, still smiling gently.
In a fluid movement, she stood and straddled him, his hands on her hips, her hand on his now hard cock as she guided him into her. They both gasped as he sank into her heat, then touched foreheads and locked lips together in a reaffirmation of love. They joined slowly and languidly; he held her hips and pulled her down to him strongly when she rose only to sink again and grind into his pelvis, all while kissing, deeply tasting each other’s sweetness.
She felt his passion rise through the bond and it fed hers until she broke the kiss and buried her face in his neck. "Oh, ah, Qui, yes… I’m …"
"I know, I feel it too…" he choked out, beginning to thrust a bit harder, almost unconsciously. When they came, it was nearly together, her keening his name, him grunting as stars burst behind his eyes. He held her as tightly as she held him, while all around them the day started in peace and love and light.
"Should I move? I don’t want to hurt you," she murmured into his ear, kissing it.
"Never," he responded, pulling her thighs a bit closer together around him and settling her better on his lap and softening penis.
They sat joined together like that, dozing a bit and reveling in each other’s bodies until a noise behind them made them turn. A stark naked Obi-Wan stood at the door, blinking owlishly at them. Lia grinned.
"Good morning, Padawan," Qui-Gon said, raising one eyebrow at his apprentice.
"You were gone," he said, slurring his words a bit. "Didn’t know where you were." He yawned. "Need cha," he finished, turning and stumbling back to the kitchen.
"The dead awaken," Lia joked softly, kissing Qui-Gon again.
"I suppose we’ll need to feed it too," he agreed, getting in one last nuzzle before reluctantly letting her off his lap.
"Before it damages itself," she laughed as they headed indoors.
By the time they came back into the house, Obi-Wan had taken his cup of cha and had disappeared into the ‘fresher. Qui-Gon poured himself another cup of tea and Lia poured one for herself, then rummaged around in the cabinets. She heard a soft chuckle from the table behind her and turned to look. "What?"
"Oh, nothing," he answered, sipping his tea, his eyes dancing. "I was just contemplating what a delightful picture you make wearing only my Padawan’s shirt. Especially when you bend over."
She stuck her tongue out at him, then made a production of bending from the waist to check a lower cabinet, her rear to his face. He laughed out loud and she thought, "now that’s what I want to hear" smugly to herself.
The cooler was bare except for two large, roundish items. Lia took one out and inspected it gingerly. "What is it?" Qui-Gon asked.
"Not sure, but it kind of looks like melon." The skin was muddy-gray in color and fuzzy to the touch. Carefully, Lia cut into it and broke it open. The flesh inside was a poisonous green in color, but the aroma from it was delightful.
She cut a small section. "Shall I try it? Considering we have some of the best healers in the galaxy right around the corner from here…"
He grinned in reply. "I shall be sure to call them in a timely manner should you succumb to the fruit," he answered.
It was delicious, and she cut two sections, giving one to Qui-Gon. "I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s good," she said, munching. "This and tea will do me for breakfast, I think."
"What and tea?" asked Obi-Wan, as he came down the stairs, his robe wrapped around him and a now empty cup in his hands. "What is that?" he continued, pointing to the fruit.
"We don’t know but it’s good," Qui-Gon answered, and Lia cut him a slice.
"That was fast," she teased, as she served him and poured him more cha.
He grinned up at her. "No reading material," he answered, then, after screwing up his face, took a bite. "Hmmm… it is good. I guess as long as I don’t look at it…"
They sat at the table, companionably eating the mysterious fruit. It wasn’t long before the second globe was cut into, and that disappeared with equal rapidity. "Is there anything else, Lia-love?" Obi-Wan asked, finishing off the pot of cha.
"I think there might be some porridge, but no, there isn’t much at all, we need to go shopping," she answered. "I spoke to M’toola last night, he’s the cook, and the Temple will supply us with tons of fruits and vegetables – all we need – but anything else we need to pick up in town. We have the loan of the skimmer if we want it."
Qui-Gon nodded. "I need to meet with Master Hui this morning. Why don’t you two come with me and do the shopping while we talk? I’d like us to get in some ‘saber work this afternoon, too, Padawan."
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. "Trust my Master to make me work on vacation."
Lia laughed. "You know you love it, Obi, don’t deny it. That sounds like a plan to me, Qui. But I need a shower first." She grinned wickedly as she moved to stand behind her two men. "Any takers on joining me?"
"Is that a trick question?" Obi-Wan laughed in response, grabbing her hand and pulling her down to his lap. "I missed you last night. Not like you to fall asleep on me," he said, nuzzling her neck.
"No, it’s usually you on me," she replied, then looked to Qui-Gon.
"You two go ahead," Qui-Gon said to his Padawan’s raised eyebrows. "I think I’ll check out the comm equipment and get my mail."
Lia frowned at him. "Now, Qui, you promised. You are off duty now."
"I know, I know, but I need to at least keep in touch!" He made waving motions at the two younger people. "Go on. I swear on my honor I won’t even respond to a planetary emergency."
Qui-Gon settled into the computer nook as his two bondmates ran upstairs. Shortly, he heard water running, then various thumps, shrieks and moans coming from the ‘fresher. He smiled as he called up the Temple intranet and downloaded his mail, then skimmed the headlines from the news services.
The first message was from Mace Windu.
Qui-Gon, it read, if you are reading this on your vacation, I mean, mission, then I am angry at you. Get off the computer and go make love to your bondmates. And don’t forget what we discussed!
The Master snorted in amusement. "As if I could, Mace," he thought, then checked his other mail. Most of it was junk mail that he deleted. He replied – briefly – to personal notes from one or two friends, then logged off.
By then the water had stopped, and he climbed the stairs to clean up and get dressed.
By mid-afternoon Qui-Gon had staked out a large rectangle in front of the verandah to their vacation home and was warming up with Obi-Wan prior to sparring. Lia sprawled in one of the chaises, wearing nothing but a very skimpy bathing costume, sunning herself. She and Obi-Wan had returned from their shopping mission with an unbelievable amount of food, mostly food that was bad for them, and a few other items neither felt they could live without. Qui-Gon returned shortly after they did with a small bag he immediately tucked away in the computer nook.
So now they faced off in the makeshift salle and moved into slow sparring. Lia sat up comfortably to watch… seeing her men move in practice combat was one of her favorite things, something she didn’t get to see often enough. Gradually they moved faster and faster, until their ‘sabers were not much more than a blur through the air. Occasionally Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan would pause to correct a stance or make a comment, then they would pick up in the same place, effortlessly, it seemed.
After one such pause, sustained giggling broke their concentration before they could return to their sparring. They turned towards the verandah, eyes questioning.
Lia managed to get herself under control enough to wave her hand vaguely. "Obi, what is that? That…" and she waved her hand again, "thing you’re doing with your ‘saber?"
He blinked at her. "What ‘thing I’m doing with my ‘saber’?" he asked, puzzled. He idly spun his ‘saber around his hand as he said it and Lia dissolved into giggles again.
"That!" she said.
Qui-Gon joined her laughter this time, causing Obi-Wan to shoot him a pout. "That, Lia love, is the ‘Kenobi maneuver’, a bad habit I’ve been trying to break him of for years now."
"It’s not a bad habit!" he protested. "It’s… it’s finesse."
"It’s going to get you killed, Padawan," Qui-Gon admonished his student, but not without humor. "Now let’s begin again. With less noise from the peanut gallery?"
Before her men finished, Lia had gone inside to start their dinner. Sometime during the course of the day, she had agreed to do most of the cooking, as long as the men would do most of the cleaning up. She didn't really mind as she loved to cook and hated to clean. Plus it gave her a chance to experiment with some of the strange new vegetables from the Temple.
She gave them a thirty minute warning so they would have time to clean up, then set the table. The quiet, homey chores relaxed her so much she found herself humming and smiling to herself, a picture of domesticity that rather surprised Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan as they came in from sparring. After a glance at each other Obi-Wan whacked her on the behind with his towel. She only laughed.
"Get cleaned up gentlemen, and we’ll eat," she said, still in a sterling good mood. As Obi-Wan bounded up the stairs, Qui-Gon wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her neck. She chuckled, squeezing the arms that met around her middle.
"I love you, Lia," Qui-Gon whispered into the ear he kissed.
Mildly surprised, for Qui-Gon was not normally the most demonstrative of men, she turned in his arms and gave him a puzzled but not unhappy look. "I love you too. What brought that on?"
His eyes were almost sad as he contemplated her question. "What, I need a reason to tell my bondmate I love her?"
"Never," she murmured, reassuring him with a caress over his cheek. Then she kissed him gently. "Now go get cleaned up. Dinner’s almost ready."
They lingered over the delicious dinner, drinking a light sparkling wine supplied by Lia and Obi-Wan from their shopping trip, then ate the gooey, excessively chocolate dessert also purchased on the trip, Qui-Gon shaking his head in good natured disgust at their enthusiasm for it.
Finally, the table cleared and the dishes in the washer, he went to the fireplace and started a small fire of crystals. "I’ve got some reading to do, if you two don’t mind…"
Lia gave him a thunderous look and he threw up his hands in self-defense. "No, Lia-love, it’s not what you think. Don’t worry, it’s not work, I swear."
Obi-Wan pulled out a deck of sabacc cards. "As long as he swears, I believe him. C’mon, Lia, I’ll beat you at sabacc."
As his lovers dealt the cards and began a quiet game, Qui-Gon moved to the computer nook and opened the bag he secreted there earlier. It was filled with data crystals; he chose one and loaded it into the machine. Immediately, terabytes of information on bonds – soulbonds, lifebonds, three and four bonds – filled his screen. Sighing, he pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers and settled in to read.
Several hours later, he dropped the last of the crystals back into the bag and shut down the computer. There was a small throbbing headache behind his eyes, which matched an ache in his heart. He was no closer – in fact a bit farther – from a decision than he had been after talking to Mace.
The house was mostly dark. One of his lovers had added fuel to the fire and by the light of it he could dimly see Obi-Wan and Lia laying on the soft carpet before the fireplace. The front glass wall was filled with the blue gleam of the primary shining in the night sky.
He quietly came around the sofa and sat, watching as Lia and Obi-Wan made love before him. She was on top; his head and shoulders were supported by a pillow and his raised knees supported her back. Their hands were clasped tightly and their eyes were closed as they rocked together in a gentle rhythm. The fuel crystals didn’t burn with an actual fire so much as they glowed an intense yellow-orange, bathing the pair before him in a eerie radiance. Obi-Wan looked like a golden god, glistening with sweat, while the glow on Lia’s natural olive coloring turned her into a hennaed goddess, the sharp peaks of her nipples so dark as to be almost black.
The picture was almost unbearably erotic, and Qui-Gon found himself hardening at the sight. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, but as the tempo before him increased, he finally gave in with a groan. Opening his pants, he lifted his rock hard member out and began stroking himself in time to the movement he watched before him. All three of them began breathing harshly, and Obi-Wan finally released Lia’s hands to tease her clitoris and send her over the edge, keening and writhing, her head thrown back and teeth bared in ecstasy. Her orgasm sent him flaming out as well, and he bucked strongly up into her, moaning and grunting, holding her hips hard enough to bruise.
After a few moments, their breathing evened out and they looked at each other, smiling. Then Obi-Wan turned to see his Master, still stroking himself, eyelids drooping in pleasure and want. A glance between them and Lia was climbing off Obi-Wan, moving to kneel beside Qui-Gon on the sofa while the younger man crawled over to his Master and buried his head between the strong thighs. Lia took Qui-Gon’s face in her hands and kissed him, then ran her hands beneath his loose singlet to tease his nipples and stroke his chest. Obi-Wan swallowed his Master, bathing his flesh with his tongue, sucking strongly on the head, and moving one hand under the testicles to caress the opening to his body.
One hand around Lia’s neck while his mouth devoured hers, the other hand resting on his Padawan’s head, Qui-Gon let himself be overwhelmed with sensation, losing himself in the moment with abandon. Lia’s tongue in his mouth tasted every square centimeter of him, while Obi-Wan’s finger gently found its way past his anus to touch him right *there*…
With a muffled shout, he came, his cock pulsing into Obi-Wan’s mouth and his fingers spasming in Lia’s hair. She broke their embrace and pulled him to her neck, stroking him down even as Obi-Wan swallowed the last of his come and released his softening member. "Oh, my loves…" he said shakily, urging Obi-Wan to sit on the other side of him for a cuddle. "I think I needed that."
The younger two traded significant looks over his closed eyes, then Obi-Wan drew his head gently away from Lia for a deep kiss. They traded kisses for a while, cuddling, stroking, and gently loving, until Lia whispered, "to bed, now, my lovers, it’s late."
The three helped each other up the stairs and climbed into bed, the younger two flanking the elder. Still wrapped in the afterglow, they drifted off to peaceful sleep.
Lia woke in the middle of the night, sleep befuddled but certain something was amiss. Not opening her eyes, she reached out her hand and immediately encountered the silky hair of Obi-Wan’s chest. He was soundly asleep. She reached further for Qui-Gon and realized he was not in the bed. Nor was he in the ‘fresher.
Tossing on Obi-Wan’s robe against the slight chill in the house, she padded silently down the stairs. She stopped at the fireplace to add some more crystals, then moved to the glass wall. Qui-Gon sat in a large armchair, staring out at the blue-tinged night, brooding. She sank to her knees in front of him and rested her head on his thighs. After a moment’s silence, he sighed and put a hand on her head, pushing her hair behind her ear with blunt, gentle fingers.
"What’s wrong?" she asked quietly.
He gave her a crooked smile and said, "nothing. Just can’t sleep. Sorry to have woken you."
"You know something, love?" she asked quietly. "I may not be Jedi but I can figure out when something is wrong." She sounded a bit annoyed at her lover’s attempt to hide his worries from her.
"You never were one to keep a secret from, were you?" he gently responded, tapping her nose in a loving gesture, his weak smile illuminated by the fading energy crystals in the fireplace. The thick silence was broken only by the remote hiss of the fuel crystals and the susurrus of a light breeze through the trees around the house.
Making a shrewd guess, she said, "it’s what Mace talked to us about, isn’t it?"
He sighed heavily, then seemed to make up his mind. "Yes, it’s about that ceremony Mace spoke of." He halted himself suddenly, wondering if he should go on. At last he continued. "I did some reading about it this evening …"
"I knew it!" Lia silently hissed to herself. Then aloud, she added, "Qui-Gon, you promised me, promised us, no distractions from this… this peace we have here. We’ll only have it for such a short time!" Even as she said it though, she knew that the bonding ceremony had to be discussed at one point or another. "Please, what could this ceremony be beyond some words, some gesture, something we haven’t already acknowledged to the three of us?" She rubbed his legs absentmindedly, trying to soothe the apparent distress of her lover she felt at that moment.
He touched her lips with his finger. "It’s more than a formality, Lia-love, much more. That’s what my reading was all about this evening." She kept quiet, aware of the fact that he would talk when he was ready. After a silence that stretched several minutes, he did continue, still pensively staring out the window. "The ceremony Mace referred to ties the bondmates together, body and mind. It is permanent."
She snorted softly. "As if it couldn’t be permanent. You two are stuck with me and it’s about time you learned that." Her attempt at levity failed, though, as she still felt waves of uncertainty and anxiety roll off him. "Qui-Gon Jinn, I love you. I love Obi-Wan too, and I think you both love me. I am willing. I accepted this bond three years ago and I won’t change my mind."
Finally, he looked at her. Her rich golden brown eyes looked into his as if seeking his soul there. "Lia…" Instead of verbally communicating with her, Qui-Gon reached out with his mind.
//We open ourselves to the Force and it bathes us in love.
We love within the Force and we become one with ourselves and with it.
The Force is a living thing and we are alive within it.
We cherish all living things within the Force.
We grow older and the Force grows with us, making us strong and sure.
Giving us strength to do what is right even when difficult.
Through this we will be one – to live as one, to die as one.
We are the Force – the Force is us. //
He let his hand glide through her hair once – as a sign of his love for her – then spoke gently. "Do you know what that is, Lia?"
"No. But it’s lovely. I imagine it has something to do with the ceremony, it sounds like a vow of some kind."
"Yes. It’s the traditional vow that’s used in this particular ceremony. There are others, words that go with various levels of bonding. This one ties bondmates together, mind, body and soul – in life and… in death." He looked at her intently, and she shivered. "Do you have any idea what that implies?"
In her eyes he found only questions, puzzlement, non-understanding. She struggled to reply to his question, as she instinctively knew how important it was. "Well, it means we’ll be together for the rest of our lives, I assume, anyway. Don’t you think that Obi-Wan and I are willing to make that kind of a commitment to you, or you to us? Haven’t we already done so?" Her voice carried her frustration, and it was apparent to the Jedi Master that she did indeed not understand the full ramifications of this last, final step to cement their bond. And for that matter, he wondered how firm a grasp of these old ceremonies his Padawan would have.
Lia nestled her head on Qui-Gon’s lap once more. "Qui-Gon, can’t you worry about this some other time? Why now?"
No, she didn’t understand, and now, in the middle of the night, when he didn’t fully understand it himself, was not the time to go into it further. He realized he had been wrong to bring up the traditional bonding vow now, but he was just so at a loss how he should handle this situation. In the end, it had to be a decision that involved all three of them, not just him. He slowly stood up, raising Lia up with him and took her into his arms.
"You’re right, my love, as you are so often. I should get some sleep, as should you. We’ll see what the next day will bring." He smiled at her and, wrapping her into his warm arms, together they walked back to re-join a still soundly snoring Obi-Wan in bed.
Despite his short night, Qui-Gon was up first and for a change decided to set up breakfast for his companions, still deep in slumber. A pot of cha, one of tea, slices of that curious Kay-K’ido fruit they had on their first morning, some toasted fruit bread, topped with cheese and honey and a local type of milk product… perfect.
As he looked over his handiwork with great satisfaction the comlink beeped him. It was Master Hui.
"Is it about the ‘audit’, Hui?" Qui-Gon asked, smiling. "I’m sure we did a nice job of that within the first 20 minutes of our meeting yesterday." Not even 30 minutes, he smiled to himself; perhaps auditing Jedi Temples was the way to go for him and his Padawan. Easy, clean, boring work – NOT!
"No, Qui-Gon, I found another data crystal that you might want to look at regarding your other inquiry." Very discrete he was, that old Master, just as Qui-Gon had expected of him. "And there is someone here with whom you ought to speak in person." Now that was a new development, who would have more information regarding bonding rituals than he already had unearthed during his studies here?
"Well, I’ll be right over then, Hui, and thank you for letting me know." Master Jinn closed the comlink and sighed. Well, perhaps he would be able to catch the remainder of breakfast with his lovers if he was lucky, although given Obi-Wan’s voracious appetite ever since they had landed in this place he somewhat doubted it.
With that thought, he grabbed some fruit, left a note on a datapad for his companions, then went off to the Temple.
It wasn’t long after Qui-Gon left the house that Lia and a very disheveled Padawan finally made their way downstairs to the kitchen area. They found breakfast already set and a note from Qui-Gon informing them he hoped he would be home in time to eat with them.
"Master got an early start today, huh?" Obi-Wan asked grumpily and still somewhat asleep.
"So speaks the morning person," Lia teased, tossing him a slice of Kay-K’ido which he barely caught.
"Hey, don’t pelt me with that ugly fruit," as he had come to call it. He went to the table to pour himself a cup of cha.
"Obi," started Lia thoughtfully, letting the conversation she had with Qui-Gon last night pass through her mind once more, "are you familiar with the words spoken at that bonding ceremony Master Windu talked about?" She tried to keep her tone as light as possible.
"Um… yeah. Sure, of course." He actually knew the whole litany, and had ever since realizing his true feelings for his Master. He had recited them in his dreams, hoping one day to bond with the man he loved so much in this ultimate, forever way. "’We open ourselves to the Force and it bathes us in love. We’ …" Lia put a finger to his lips.
"Yes, but do you know what those words mean, Obi-Wan?" her question more serious.
"Well, they signify the completion of the bond between you and your bond mate – whatever happens to one, the other will feel it and know it." Obi-Wan began to feel slightly uncomfortable as the ramifications of what he was saying drove home. Falling silent, he drank some more cha and started to chomp down on the bread… when suddenly the obvious occurred to him. "Did you and Qui-Gon discuss any of this bonding stuff?"
Thoughtfully sipping her tea, Lia turned away from her lover and looked out the window into the mist that still hung over the lake. "I found him sitting in that chair in the middle of the night, Obi, very concerned about the ceremony. He had been reading something about it and…" she didn’t get any further.
"Where in Sith’s Hell did he get … of course, the Temple here must have the pertinent information and possibly he could cross-reference information on Coruscant from here. But what in the name of the Force would be so disturbing to him that …" Obi-Wan’s eyes shifted over to the computer – yes, the bag Qui-Gon had brought in was still there.
"You know, Lia, Padawans are supposed to show initiative, to demonstrate they can stand on their own two feet once they’re Knights." He took his cup of cha and casually slinked over to the nook. "At any rate, not for nothing am I known to be an extraordinary taker of initiative," as he opened the bag.
"Obi-Wan! For pity’s sake, we can’t go snooping after Qui-Gon’s affairs!" Lia almost dropped her cup of tea.
"Not even when his affairs are ours as well?" the Padawan’s replied to her mischievously as he continued to empty the contents of the bag. "My, we better get started reading through these before dear Master comes back," he chortled while putting the first data crystal into the reader.
"No, Obi-Wan, no, do what you think you must, but I won’t have any part of this! If Qui-Gon thinks it’s not yet time to tell us what this ceremony entails, then he has his reasons. And especially his Padawan should honor them!" With that Lia went up to the bedroom again to dress.
"Suit yourself, darling," Obi-wan yelled after her, and continued reading.
"If he finds you…" Lia said coming back downstairs, now dressed in her running clothes, "he’ll strangle you. And I’ll help!"
Obi-Wan laughed. "Well, wouldn’t be the first time, love," and while resumed his information gathering activities, she resignedly tossed her hands up in the air and left for her morning run.
After a short, brisk walk from their guest quarters to the Temple, Qui-Gon found his way to Master Hui’s office, the door to which, he noticed earlier, always seemed to stand wide open. At first Qui-Gon had thought it odd to allow anybody who cared to come by free access to the Master; Hui probably wasn’t a big believer in privacy. But then he quickly reminded himself where he was – a Temple with eight resident Jedi, only occasional visitors like him and his companions, privacy could not be his primary concern. Of all things, privacy was that special commodity that Moudhan IV was renowned for, so different to the Temple on Coruscant. There, privacy equaled closed doors of one’s quarters at best; at worst, closed doors of some anonymous little room on a transport to or from a mission. How he sometimes hated his life without a true home, Qui-Gon reflected briefly. He sighed and then tapped on the door frame to announce his presence to the elderly Master.
"Ah, Qui-Gon, come in, come in," he was warmly greeted by the old Master. "Tea?" Hui handed a cup to Master Jinn filled with hot Baberr tea. He didn’t plan on staying too long, just to pick up the data crystal and then be on his way back to Obi-Wan and Lia.
He thanked his host for the cup and took a sip, then continued. "And thank you for locating the additional crystal. Perhaps if I could just take it home with me and add their contents to whatever information I already have assembled there…"
Master Hui frowned slightly. "Unfortunately, Qui-Gon, that won’t be possible. The crystal will never leave this Temple, I made a solemn promise to that effect. But, after seeing the seriousness and dedication of your investigation into what you and your two companions are contemplating, we came to the conclusion that more good than harm would be done in sharing this piece of the puzzle with you."
"We? Pieces of a puzzle? Master, I am not sure I fully understand what…"
"You will, Qui-Gon, you will," he interrupted, pressing a buzzer on his desk. A moment later a tall, graceful, older woman in Jedi regalia entered the room and bowed towards both Masters.
"Master Jinn, Master Hui, may I be of service to you?" Her voice was gentle and calm, but Qui-Gon could sense years of hard determination behind that outward peace and quiet.
"Yes, Isi, thank you for coming. Master Jinn, you have already met Master Isidar Sanyat? She’s what you would call my ‘Gray Eminence,’" Isidar moved to stand behind the other Master, and they shared a warm laugh.
"Now, as usual Hui, you exaggerate!" she lightly scolded the old man and then put her four-fingered hand gently on Hui’s shoulder.
Qui-Gon was intrigued by the gentle by-play and had to wonder, were they lovers? It wouldn’t surprise him in the least, despite their somewhat advanced ages. He turned to the woman with a smile. "Oh yes, of course we’ve met, at dinner the first day we arrived." He fondly recalled her quiet humor, a trait often found in her people who originated in the Beta Debrera System.
Hui continued with the conversation. "Isi will show you the data you are interested in, and you may stay here for as long as you like." The old Master locked gazes with the woman, who gave him an almost imperceptible nod of compliance.
"Well, thank you both, then, and if it will be all right with you I would like to get started with my task at your earliest convenience." Qui-Gon instantly backtracked, a bit ashamed at his eagerness to return to his lovers, but he didn’t seem to have given offense.
After a brief stop at her quarters, he followed the other Master to the Temple’s library. When they arrived at their destination, Isidar pointed him to a reader designated for private reading. "You will need this," and she handed Qui-Gon a small chip that fed into the data reader, as well as a large data crystal. "When the reader asks you for authorization, the chip is it. If you need anything else, I’ll be here." It struck Qui-Gon as odd that she should make an offer like that. After all, what could another data set hold that he didn’t already knew about from his other readings?
CONFIDENTIAL – THIS INFORMATION TO BE RELEASED ONLY TO AUTHORIZED PERSONAL OR INDIVIDUALS. PROPERTY OF JEDI COUNCIL COMMISION no. 460 – 7B.
After a few seconds the prompt came. "Please insert authorization into reader". Qui-Gon did as he was asked.
NO.:JCC460 – 7B
SUBJECT: Report on inadvisability of bonds between Jedi/Force-sensitives and non-Force users
PERTINENT TO:Abo Marel, Knight Uta Kollari, Master Isidar Sanyat
SUMMARY:Personal log entries of above-mentioned individuals regarding aborted bonding status after death of A. Marel.
Qui-Gon read the header again. "…Isidar Sanyat… bond inadvisability… death…" Suddenly it dawned on him what he was looking at: the memories, entries into data pads, personal messages and logs of that doomed threebond Mace had mentioned to him, the one that had lasted 11 years and then ended so abruptly. Master Sanyat, Isidar, then was the lone survivor of that tragedy.
After a swift perusal to confirm his suspicions, he switched off the reader and removed the crystal. Staring out the window for a long moment, he turned and searched for the figure of Sanyat. She sat nearby, apparently reading something to pass the time. Abruptly, Qui-Gon stood and went over to the graceful, silent figure. Isidar was offering very private, and no doubt painful, information to him – no, he couldn’t accept that. It wasn’t his or any other’s right to exploit her painful history. Had Master Hui coerced her, forced her to give up this last shred of privacy for his sake? Did he in turn get his marching orders from Yoda or Mace?
Confusion, guilt and anger crossed his mind and for a moment he put his face into one hand and closed his eyes, recentering himself in the Force. When he could think again, Isidar was looking up at him. Sad, but somehow understanding eyes blinked at him.
"Master Sanyat, I can’t…" Qui-Gon started, but was silenced before he could go on.
//Stop, Qui-Gon Jinn. Call me what everybody here calls me … what my lovers called me// Qui-Gon looked down at her, and her sadness seemed to diminish briefly. He knelt at her feet, gazing into her eyes, seeing for the first time the pain and suffering written there.
"Isi, you are the only one left of that threebond, aren’t you." He simply stated a fact, nothing else seemed to come to his mind.
"The One Who Carries The Oneness Within Her," she responded. "I do, and gladly, carry what remains of us – of sweet Abo, scholar and wise beyond many I’ve known; dearest Uta, best Padawan a Master could have wished for, and loving, loyal Knight; Isidar, Master of Uta and lover to both of them."
For a moment her voice broke off. "In the end, I wasn’t strong enough to save my Padawan. She…" Again a pause, and Qui-Gon took one of Isidar’s hands into his. "She used what I taught her to end her life to be with Abo and the Force and …" Her eyes clouded over and she seemed to gaze far, far away, as if trying to reach out to her lost lovers.
Eventually, Qui-Gon mustered the courage to ask the obvious. "How did you lose Marel, Isi?" and he now squeezed her hand in a gesture of comfort, which she gratefully accepted.
"It was stupid, Qui-Gon, just stupid. An accident, while he excavated some ruins on Ponwana. You see, Abo was a historical scholar and well-known for his writings on Ponwanan history and culture. Uta and I got to know him on one of our missions to that planet. And we fell in love. A bond developed between the three of us, and we underwent the Ceremony a year after we first met. He had been given a place in the Temple library on Coruscant when it became obvious to the Council and the three of us what was happening. They warned us about a bonding with somebody outside the order, someone not Force sensitive, but we insisted.
"And then one day, while we were visiting his favorite stomping grounds for excavations, we lost him. A cave-in, he was crushed to death while Uta and I watched. We couldn’t do anything, we tried but we couldn’t do anything…" Isidar broke off abruptly and started to shake, failing to control the emotions flooding back into her from the memory.
"He was bloody all over, he didn’t move or breathe, he…" Tears started rolling down her eyes now and Qui-Gon quickly leaned up and pulled the shaking woman into his arms. He simply held her as best as he could, fighting back his own pain and fear. "Uta severed her link with me that day, and during the night …" Her sobbing increased, and Qui-Gon rocked her in his arms like he had so often done with his own Padawan.
"They are both with the Force now, Isi." he gently said. What else could he say?
Shortly after, he left the Temple to head back to his quarters. Qui-Gon was not the least happy about the developments this trip had taken. He needed to talk more with Isidar, but not now. Now he needed to be with the two people he loved most.
Obi-Wan didn’t like what he was reading. If anyone could, he could be counted on to find stuff out – Padawans just did. But not stuff like this!
After skimming several of the crystals, he switched off the reader and put them back in the bag. As he did, movement from the corner of his eyes startled him. He turned and his eyes fell on his Master, standing only a few feet away. The younger man expected outrage and a stern scolding if not much worse punishment for his snooping around his Master’s things. But it never came.
"I’ve kept this information from the two of you for much too long, my Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said very quietly, almost apologetically. "We’ll have to talk about this, soon." He came closer to his Padawan and kissed Obi-Wan’s head.
"Yes, Qui-Gon, we do." Obi-Wan stood up and flung his arms tightly around his lover, pressing his body against the large frame of his Master, his lover, just holding on to know he was real.
//I am real, Obi-Wan, as real as you’d ever wished or imagined me, my Padawan //
//Qui-Gon, never leave me, I couldn’t bear to be without you or Lia //
A shudder went through his Master.
//Don’t you ever think that, my love! Never again, Obi-Wan. I will be here for you and Lia, for as long as …//
"Qui …" but instead of letting his young lover finish, he locked Obi-Wan’s mouth in a desperate, needy kiss.
//Never, Obi-Wan, never will I leave you//, and Qui-Gon deepened the kiss and the embrace his Padawan oh so willingly sank into.
//Never, Qui-Gon… never// echoed Obi-Wan’s thoughts.
Qui-Gon’s tongue parted the young man’s lips, caressing the warm cavity, dancing around Obi-Wan’s own tongue. Slowly he began sucking it, biting it, tasting it, while his large hands rubbed up and down his lover’s back; smooth, gentle strokes, reaching down to Obi-Wan’s cheeks to pull him closer. Both could feel their arousal building, through their bond, through their pants. While Qui-Gon massaged his Padawan’s shoulders, back and behind, the young man reached up with his hands to loosen the leather tie that held Qui-Gon’s long hair out of his face. It smoothly cascaded down onto his shoulders, framing his face like a curtain of silk.
"Much better, love," Obi-Wan breathed and looked deep into Qui-Gon’s incredible blue eyes that spoke of lust and sheer want of him. The Master let his hands run through his lover’s hair.
"Will you let your hair grow long once you become a Knight, Obi-Wan?" he asked huskily. "I think it would look wonderful."
"Maybe," Obi-Wan smiled then sealed his lips to the older man’s again. Their bodies began pushing more urgently against each other, until Qui-Gon stopped his caress of his lovers back and sides and started to pay closer attention to his chest, by ridding his lover of his tunic. His fingers mapped warm flesh, firm muscles, familiar landmarks explored so often already, yet new to his touch whenever they made love.
Obi-Wan pressed Qui-Gon harder against him, mouths still locked together, and a moment later Qui-Gon began his slow descent to the most delicate part of his Padawan’s body. Finally kneeling before the young man, he let his fingers slide into Obi-Wan’s leggings and in one smooth movement, pushed them down and out of the way. Obi-Wan chucked them aside with his feet. The erection before him was hard and hot, and Qui-Gon let his hands run along it while his mouth found the tip, gently letting his tongue lave it, licking along the shaft. Then his hands moved to knead the thighs and buttocks of his young lover.
Obi-Wan shook, barely able to control his desire, holding on to the sensation and feeding his joy and love to Qui-Gon through their link. "Oh Obi-Wan … so beautiful… I love you… Oh gods, I love you," Qui-Gon whispered, releasing Obi-Wan’s cock momentarily. He then closed his eyes and let his hands do the seeing for him, touching legs, stomach, arousal – so hot, so beggingly urgent.
"Qui-Gon, please, please, suck me… I want you to take me in your mouth… please…" No more words were needed; his cock disappeared in Qui-Gon’s skillful mouth, tongue and teeth raking over it’s entire length, sucking, licking, nibbling it. Obi-wan had his hands entangled in that curtain of silky hair and pushed Qui-Gon rhythmically against his cock which his lover took in all the way.
Shortly it was too much for him. "Qui-Gon, I can’t hold it… any longer, I can’t…"
//Come, my Obi-wan, come, I’ll take all of you// and with a shout Obi-Wan erupted into his Master’s mouth, coming with a fierce joy that blinded both their minds.
"Ohhhh, Qui, I love you, so… much…" His knees gave out and he collapsed. His lover caught him in his large, gentle arms and made him feel home with a warm, sensuous kiss onto his mouth, claiming the young man once more as his.
//Fill me, Qui-Gon, be with me, let me know you’ll never be gone from me // It was almost like begging, the begging of a frightened lover, and Qui-Gon fiercely tightened his embrace on his Padawan.
//I will be with you, my Obi-Wan, till the end of our days, I promise// Now it was Obi-Wan’s turn to undress his Master, to expose the beauty of his body. Slowly his hands unfastened the tunic and trousers until he had full access to his lover’s body. His mouth latched on to his Master’s broad chest, kissing it, tracing invisible lines around his nipples, licking them into erect little pebbles.
They laid each other down on the floor of the living room, hands roaming over bodies, mouths giving pleasure, thoughts driving heartbeats and breathing higher. Qui-Gon’s hands reached towards Obi-Wan’s back, down to his cheeks, parting them, fingers running circles around the entrance to the young man’s body.
"We need some …" Obi-Wan sighed, and with the Force called the large bottle packed for them by their bondmate. Qui-Gon proceeded to plant kisses down the length of his Padawan’s body until his tongue found access to that tight ring of muscles. With infinite care he licked the entrance, eventually probing inside with his tongue which elicited a groan and some wiggling from the object of his desire.
His probing soon had the desired effect, and Obi-Wan’s muscles relaxed. A finger followed the tongue, then two, methodically making their way in and out of the younger man’s body. Fingers that expertly played him like an instrument, touching that sensitive spot until he couldn’t hold back a whimper of pure pleasure.
"I want more… more, Qui-Gon … you!" Obi-Wan was moaning in anticipation. And more he got. Qui-Gon moved his Padawan over onto his hands and knees, again spread his cheeks and slowly found, demanded and was granted entrance to Obi-Wan’s body. His oiled cock shoved in slowly, withdrawing almost completely, then pushing in again; followed by another withdrawal.
"Oh, yes, push hard, fuck me hard, my Master," Obi-Wan was hard again and while thrusting strongly into his lover Qui-Gon’s hand began pumping Obi-Wan’s cock. Harder and harder he thrust into Obi-Wan, with more and more speed, until they both came at the same time – shared ecstasy, two bodies becoming one, two minds being joined in a final union of souls.
//We open ourselves to the Force and it bathes us in love …//
"Yes, Obi-Wan, soon, my love," Qui-Gon gasped as they both collapsed onto the floor, exhausted by their love.
It took them a while to catch their breath again.
With a gentle thudding of her feet, Lia ran steadily along the road from the town. The clear air and peace she felt energized her and made her want to keep running forever.
She hit the place where the road diverged, and instead of going right to her house she went left towards the Temple. A loop around it and back down the path towards her home, slowing gradually until she was walking, cooling down and blowing strongly. Reluctant for some reason to return immediately to the house, she walked out towards the lake and sat at the end of the short dock she had discovered the day before. There was also a canoe covered by a tarp there, and she again thought about taking it out on the lake.
The sun had risen fully and was gleaming on the waters by the time she sat down. Removing her running shoes, she paddled her feet in the water while her breathing calmed, then leaned back on her hands and let the sun shine on her face.
A soft plash alerted her to another’s presence. Cracking open eyes she had closed in relaxation, she saw Knight Spuud approaching her in a kayak, paddling lazily. When he saw her notice him, he steered towards her and splashed her lower legs with his paddle.
"G’morning, Lia," he said cheerfully, pulling up to the end of the dock and steadying himself there.
"Morning, Jaycee," she said, pulling her legs in and sitting in lotus. "You’re up early."
He laughed ruefully. "No, it’s late, actually. I’m getting ready to turn in. I have to leave this evening for the other side of the planet to get back to work."
She smiled. "Ah. Getting the body set on the other time zone then."
"Yep. Are you enjoying your stay? You and your, ah, um…" suddenly at a loss for words, the Knight blushed.
Lia chuckled and took pity on the man. "Lovers?" she teased gently. "Yes, we’re having a wonderful time. So nice not to have duties hanging over our heads. This place is wonderful, I wonder why no one else comes here."
"Well, it’s probably the connotation…" he said thoughtfully. "Most who come here are injured or burned out, so it’s not really thought of as a vacation spot." He grinned at her and continued, "actually, I’m having a problem with the idea of a Kenobi at rest. The man’s practically a perpetual motion machine."
She had to laugh at that. "You’re right, he is. But he’s not having any problem relaxing so far."
"Good. I’m glad. I wish I could stay a bit longer and visit with you, but I have to get back before LongNight hits."
Looking at him curiously, she asked, "what’s that?"
He smacked his forehead. "Oh, duh! I forgot you wouldn’t know. About once every ten weeks the primary eclipses the sun. The locals call it ‘blue day’ or ‘longnight’. It lasts about twenty hours so you get a good day to two days of nothing but blue. Really incredible, in fact." He looked at her slyly. "Actually, there’s a place I could send you where the experience would be even better… very romantic. Interested? You’d have to fly there."
"Yes! This sounds wonderful Jaycee. Where are you talking about?"
"It’s one of the Ag installations. About 150 klicks from here. It’s been shut down temporarily, but there’s this waterfall…"
"Say no more. Can you give me coordinates? And when does LongNight start?"
He laughed. "You got it, Lia. I’ll send them to you before I leave. And LongNight is in four days." He looked curiously at her, then seemed to draw up his courage. "Lia, could I ask you a personal question?"
Smiling wryly at him, she said, "do you have any idea how often I’ve been asked that since I became bonded to those two? Of course you may."
He chuckled. "I figure you have. It’s a pretty rare thing, after all. I guess I just can’t imagine it."
"Well, neither could I at the time. But it’s been three years and we’re still pretty happy." She got silent for a moment, remembering the night before. "But if your question has to do with my understanding it, then forget it. I don’t."
That brought a shout of laughter. "As if! I’m sure no one really understands it. I just don’t know how you could put up with two of us Jedi all the time."
"Now there’s a question I ask myself all the time!" She looked at the young Knight with her own curiosity. "You and Obi were together once weren’t you?"
He blushed again, something Lia found enchanting. "Yes, it was just before I took the Trials. We decided we made better friends than lovers though, pretty quickly. He’s quite a remarkable person."
"I’m a very lucky woman, Jaycee," she agreed quietly. "But you had a ‘personal question’?"
"Um, well, it’s really none of my business, but…well, scuttlebutt has it that you three haven’t bonded, I mean, had the ceremony and all, and well…"
She frowned at him. "You know, I’m getting a little tired of this. You are the third person in less than a week to bring that subject up. I may not be Jedi but I’m beginning to think there’s something more to this than just a ceremony." He looked at her with wide eyes, and she could read the consternation on his face. "There is, isn’t there?"
Swallowing, he closed the mouth that had been hanging open. "I – I just figured you knew. I guess I was wrong, huh?"
Shaking her head, she spoke as much to herself as to him. "Obviously, I’m gonna have to get my own answers here. I wonder if Master Hui…"
"Actually," he interrupted deferentially, "there’s someone better to talk to at the Temple. Do you remember Master Sanyat?"
Lia went directly back to the Temple and met the young Knight at the front door, after he had stowed his kayak. Unerringly, he led her to the quiet library, where they found the tall Master seated by a small fire. She remembered Lia from the welcoming dinner and bade her sit while Jaycee withdrew tactfully.
Accepting the offer of tea, Lia studied the tall elderly woman before her. Master Sanyat was humanoid with pale green skin, matching her eyes, and iridescent fur from the top of her head down her back. Small claws adorned all four fingers of both hands. Her age was evident in her head fur, which was graying and done in three intricate braids, and by the lines on her face, which also reflected great dignity and no small amount of pain.
In turn, she was studied with equal interest. What the Master saw must have pleased her for she eventually smiled slightly at the younger woman. "Did Master Qui-Gon send you to me, Lia?" she asked.
Lia blinked. "No, no he didn’t. Was he here with you?"
"Why, yes. I assumed you knew. He left less than an hour ago."
Shaking her head, Lia said, "he was gone when Obi and I rose. I haven’t really seen him at all this morning, not since last night. Jaycee… Knight Spuud…said you might help me in my inquiry into that dratted lifebond ceremony."
Master Sanyat became very still. "Qui-Gon hasn’t talked to you about it?"
"No. Well, yes, but not enough." Lia took a sip of her tea to hide her nervousness, hoping the older woman would continue.
After a pause, she did. "You are not Jedi, are you Lia. No. I cannot feel any Force sensitivity in you." Her eyes drooped and she set her cup on the table next to her decisively. "I know why you are here. And I can help you. You see, I was in a threebond too."
It wasn’t until Lia felt the pain in her chest that she realized she had stopped breathing. Taking a deep, shaky breath, she set her own cup and saucer down as well, then knotted her fingers in her lap. "You… you said was. You are not now, are you."
"No." It was obvious that caused some pain to the woman, but Lia pressed on.
"What happened? Can you tell me?"
Master Sanyat rose and moved to the window as she softly talked to Lia. She told her of the love she shared with her Padawan and the scientist, Abo Marel. Hands clasped behind her back, her dispassionate, calm voice described, in intimate detail, the bond she shared and her joy in it. And she went on to describe the dangers they faced.
"Like you," she said, half turning to Lia, "Abo was not Force sensitive. I remember once I was critically wounded on a mission and Uta told me later he had nearly gone mad, frightened and almost berserk because of the pain he sensed from me. Abo never really did adjust to the Bond very well, even after the ceremony. With hindsight, I believe it’s possible we hurried him too much into it. I wish…well. No sense in that now, is there."
As the other woman paused, Lia screwed up her courage to speak. "Master Sanyat…"
"Isi, please, Lia."
She nodded. "Very well, Isi, then. I keep hearing about the ceremony, but I don’t understand it. Can you please explain it a bit better to me?"
Once again taking her seat opposite Lia, the tall Master regarded her kindly. "There is not much I can tell you that you will understand, Lia. Most of it is done through the Force, which – at the moment – you cannot directly feel. Once you have bonded through the ceremony, you will understand better. But because of the tie you will have to your bondmates, which is ten times – a hundred times – deeper than what you now share, you must think carefully before undertaking it. A Lifebond is literally that… a bond for life. It can be…difficult…to be a part of. Especially if one of the bonded partners – becomes ill or –"
"Or dies." Lia finished for her. "That’s what happened to you, isn’t it?"
"Yes," she was answered softly. "Sweet Abo was crushed to death in an accident. And Uta, my lovely, darling Uta, she couldn’t go on after that. I was unable to keep her from joining Abo in the Force."
This was said with such simplicity, such calmness that it brought instant tears to Lia’s eyes. "I think I begin to see," she whispered, almost to herself.
Abruptly, Master Sanyat reached across and took one of her hands. "Please, mark my words well in this, Lia. I would not trade the eleven ecstatic years I had with my bondmates for anything, not even the years of aching loneliness I’ve had since their passing. The Force brought us together for a reason. I placed my faith in the Force many, many years ago, and I trust it to bring me to them when the time is right."
"There is no death there is the Force…" Lia murmured, looking deep into enigmatic, sad green eyes.
"Yes. And if – when – you undergo the ceremony, the Force will open up to you as well. Not as much as your bondmates, but more than now. This I know from experience. Can you ‘hear’ them now? In your mind, I mean."
Lia thought back over the past three years to those times when she realized her thoughts were not exactly her own, including the night before. "Well, sometimes. Faintly. In thinking about it, it usually only happens when I’m – or they’re – stressed over something or, um…" to her consternation, she blushed.
The Master only smiled gently. "I understand. To a Jedi, this is the most natural thing in the world. To someone who has never had any kind of telepathic talent, it can be frightening." She looked at her hands and paused. "It was to Abo, I know. And that’s how I know now that we rushed things, rushed him into a ceremony he was not prepared for."
"We’ve had three years now together, Isi," Lia said hesitantly, "and I know my heart pretty well. I think I can handle being tied to my men like that. Not that it won’t take a bit of adjusting to…"
She was transfixed by a hard stare. "You say that, and it may be true, but Lia, consider. You may be ready, but are they? They are Jedi. They risk their lives on every mission. What would happen to you if one of them were hurt, died? And what would happen to them if you were hurt, or if you… like my sweet Abo… died?"
There was no answer to that, and Lia just swallowed, her eyes large and vulnerable. After a moment, the elder woman continued. "Think well on this, Lia, before you make up your mind. And talk to them. Make sure you talk to them. And I hope the Force stays with you in your decision."
Lia walked slowly down the path to her dacha, her mind in a turmoil. It was finally being brought home to her exactly what would be expected of her if she agreed to the bonding ceremony, and she wasn’t sure at all if she liked it.
She walked into the house to the sound of muted moaning, and discovered Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon on the floor of the living room, obviously having just made love. Ordinarily, she would have shed her clothes and joined them, snuggling in the afterglow, but her conversation with Master Sanyat had her unsettled. So instead she sat at the table and availed herself of the last of the cha and cheese toast, thinking.
Obi-Wan must have sensed her discomfiture. Shortly his braided head popped over the sofa to regard her, an impish grin fading as he took in her obvious mood. He stood and moved over towards her, wrapping arms around her from behind in a tight hug then coming round to kneel at her feet. She gifted him with a wry smile.
"Just what I’ve always wanted," she murmured, "naked, supplicating Padawan."
"Glad I could oblige," he answered, smiling in turn. "What’s the matter, Lia-love?"
Instead of answering his question, she asked another. "What did you find out in your snooping?"
"Ah. That." He searched her face, realizing that something had happened while she was out. "We need to talk, don’t we?"
"Do we, Obi-Wan? I’m not sure I like what is happening to us. Is Qui still over there?"
"Yes. He’s asleep or dozing. Let me get him."
"No… no. Don’t wake him. I need some time alone to think. I’m going to go take a shower."
He stood with her, catching her upper arms in a gentle grip. "Lia, love, it will be fine. I know you can’t trust in the Force, but you can trust in us. Can’t you?"
In answer, she kissed him lightly, then moved up the stairs. He watched as she removed her sweaty work out clothes and went into the ‘fresher, then went back around the sofa to join his other lover.
Qui-Gon’s eyes were open, and he tugged Obi-Wan’s ankle to make the younger man lay down at his side again. As they spooned together, Obi-Wan gave out a gusty sigh. "Master, we need to discuss this."
"I know, Padawan," he was answered, as Qui-Gon drew lazy circles on his chest and stomach. "Perhaps it would be better if we didn’t discuss it all together, not at first. I need to go back to the Temple; why don’t you and Lia talk? See why she’s so upset."
Obi-Wan twisted around and looked at his Master. "Are you sure? I mean, I think you know more about this than either of us…"
"Not yet I don’t, Obi," he replied, seriously. "But I plan to before the end of the day."
Lia came out of the shower physically refreshed but her mind still in upheaval. Master Sanyat’s last words, about how Jedi face death nearly every day, kept replaying in her mind. She had, on a purely intellectual level, come to understand that her two loves were often on the knife’s edge, but had never really contemplated, emotionally, what that could mean to her. And if they did undergo the bonding ceremony…
Obi-Wan lay on their shared bed, head propped in one hand, waiting for her. She smiled and pulled the towel off her body to run it through her wet hair. "Hi yourself. Where’s Qui?" She picked up a comb and started to drag it through her short locks.
"Went back to the Temple for something, said he’d be back after lunch."
Lia sat on the bed next to him while she combed her hair, and he reached behind her. "Would you like your back scratched, dearest?"
"Mmmm… yes, always." As he complied with a smile, she looked at him suspiciously. "Why are you being so nice to me?"
"Because I love you."
It was said with simple sincerity, no guile, no underlying message, and Lia’s breath hitched in her chest. "What happened Lia?" he asked her, continuing to scratch and rub.
"I—I met someone, at the Temple. Do you remember Master Sanyat, from dinner?"
Obi-Wan’s brow furrowed in concentration. "The Beta Debreran? Tall, older woman?"
"That’s her. Oooh… to the left. That’s it." Obligingly, Obi-Wan moved his hand on his lover’s back, waiting for her to continue. "Anyway, um, she was in a threebond. Years ago. The operative word being ‘was’."
Her lover’s hand stilled. After a moment, it started up again. "Was."
"Uh-huh. One of her," Lia swallowed hard before continuing. "One of bondmates died in an accident. The other one killed herself just after. And I sat there, listening to her explain how it was, explain…"
She couldn’t go on. Obi-Wan pulled her down next to him on the bed and held her. She wasn’t crying, but her mental state was such that she was finding it increasingly hard to think. "Obi, I don’t know what I’d do if one of you…"
"Hush." He kissed her neck gently, and continued to hold her tight. They lay like that for some time, each caught up in their own thoughts. Finally, Obi-Wan spoke, trying to lighten the mood.
"Do you know what I found yesterday? A canoe. Down by the dock."
"Yes," she answered, "I saw it too."
"Tell you what. Let’s pack a picnic lunch and go for a float. Relax. After all, this is a vacation. And it’ll give us a chance to… to…"
"To talk?" She twisted in his arms and smiled into his face. "Sounds like a plan Kenobi. But you’d better shower first. You’re whiff."
"Oh, thank YOU milady. So as not to offend…" He stood and moved towards the ‘fresher. "Why don’t you pack us a lunch while I scrub all offensive odors from my fair bod?"
Laughing at his words, Lia did just that.
It was late afternoon before the two of them returned, relaxed, more at peace, and slightly sunburned. After securing the canoe they made their way, arm in arm, up to the house. A figure on the verandah turned out to be Qui-Gon, on one of the chaises, meditating. As they approached, his eyes opened and he smiled at them.
"Your noses are going to peel," he said critically, examining their faces.
"Yup," Lia answered cheerfully, "like a reptile. Obi’s butt will too, I’m sure."
"Ah, but I can heal MY sunburn, my love," he replied haughtily.
Qui-Gon laughed. "We’ve been invited to dinner again at the Temple. Seems your friend Knight Spuud is leaving shortly and this is a chance to say good-bye, Obi-Wan."
"Yes," Lia said, "I ran into him earlier and he said he had to leave this afternoon…Oh!" with a start, she remembered their conversation. "I have to check my mail! He was going to send me some coords."
She ran into the house, taking the picnic basket with her, her lovers watching her bemusedly. "She seems in a better mood," Qui-Gon said thoughtfully.
"We talked," Obi-Wan agreed, sitting on the edge of the chaise. "Master, she’s scared. I can feel it. We really need to discuss this." The two men gave each other a long look. "Actually, I am too, after reading some of those data crystals. This is a two-edged sword, isn’t it?"
Qui-Gon said nothing, but searched his Padawan’s face carefully. "There’s someone I want you to meet, Obi-Wan, at the Temple. Perhaps after dinner."
His Master blinked. "Yes. Oh. Lia’s met her, hasn’t she? That’s why she was so upset."
"Yes, Master." Obi-Wan looked down at his hands. "I would like to meet her too."
Qui-Gon pulled his apprentice into a hug, feeding love and reassurance down the bond, both bonds he had with Obi-Wan. "I spent the day with her. She’s quite a remarkable woman."
Dinner was again a lively affair. Knight Spuud and Obi-Wan traded barbs with each other, each telling more outrageous stories on the other until Obi-Wan related how his friend was so nervous on their first date that he threw up all over himself outside the nightclub. That seemed to be the highlight of the evening, especially since poor Jaycee had to excuse himself at that point to catch his transport. He gave each of the bondmates a hug, even Qui-Gon, and soundly kissed both Lia and Obi-Wan in a fond farewell.
Lia and Qui-Gon joined Hui and Chawnak in a cutthroat boardgame while Obi-Wan and Master Sanyat disappeared for a while. At the end of the game, Qui-Gon held out his hand to Lia and said, "I think we’re wanted in the other room, if you would excuse us?"
Mutely, Lia followed the Master into the library, where Obi-Wan and Sanyat sat before a fire, sipping drinks. Qui-Gon pulled up another wing chair and Lia sat on the floor between her two men, her knees drawn up to her chin, staring at the fire.
"Obi-Wan said you requested us, Isi," Qui-Gon murmured, accepting a drink.
Master Sanyat smiled gently. "Being in the presence of the three of you is comforting to me. You have a strong bond; the love you have between you even overshadows the loveliness I had." She looked down at Lia, who sat still staring in to the fire. "Lia, I know of your feelings, they are apparent in your eyes, if not your mind. Would you share them?"
Not looking up, Lia spoke hesitantly. "I’m not sure I can, Isi, but I’ll try." The room fell silent while Lia struggled with her feelings. Finally, she spoke again, very slowly and deliberately.
"When we first met, it was rather tumultuous. Once things settled down though, I remember wondering how I ever managed to exist without them, without their constant presence in the back of my mind, loving, comforting, aggravating sometimes…" Qui-Gon reached one hand down to stroke her head, and she leaned into the caress, but still didn’t look up. "I thought… I thought when Mace first mentioned this ceremony that it was nothing but that, some words to say, some feelings to express, before witnesses or officials. I see now, it’s not. And even though I can’t imagine life without them, I’m not sure I’m ready for such a step with them." Finally she looked up, meeting Master Sanyat’s eyes. "Does that make sense?"
Smiling gently, the other woman said, "perfect sense, Lia. More so than your bondmates, this must be up to you, just as it was up to my Abo these many years ago. You, not being Force sensitive, cannot fully comprehend the situation, as they can." She looked down at the younger woman with sympathy. "I think I understand the turmoil you feel and I wish there were something I could do, some words I could say, to help. But it must be your decision, coming from your heart, no one else’s."
At that, she looked up pointedly, first at Obi-Wan, then at Qui-Gon. Their unhappiness clear on their faces, they nonetheless nodded, understanding. "I have something for you, Lia, should you decide to take the vow." From a pocket in her robe, the elderly Jedi pulled out a small box. "Do not open it unless you undergo the ceremony. I hope it will be a help to you, if and when you do. May the Force be with you."
With that, she stood and slowly left the room, leaving three befuddled lovers behind her.
Lia held herself apart from them for the next few days, and her lovers gave her the space she seemed to need. It was obvious to them that she was thinking deeply, just as they were. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan came to a decision the next day, resolving to abide by whatever she decided, with no protest. But both of them knew the other hoped she would say yes.
On the third morning, she woke them up with a large, hot breakfast, then had them hurry to wash. "I have a surprise for you," was all she said when they asked her about it. While they cleaned up, she ran to fetch the skimmer, and before they knew it, they were on the way to the port. Within two hours of their rising, they were landing at a closed down ag site, and the day was darkening.
The three of them stood just outside the shuttle, watching in wonder as the ringed primary slowly eclipsed the sun until the day turned blue and the birds stopped singing. The silence was profound and awe-inspiring, but she didn’t let them linger. "This way," she said, grabbing the large, heavy picnic basket, which was immediately taken from her.
"Where are you taking us, oh mistress mine?" Qui-Gon asked mildly, hefting the basket.
Her eyes twinkled and she grinned. "You’ll see. C’mon. This is going to be wonderful."
Jaycee had given her explicit directions to her destination, and had told her it was a very short walk, which it turned out to be. They heard the falls before they saw them, rounding a bend in the path and coming upon a sight that literally stole their breath.
It was a low, wide waterfall, tumbling musically over huge, moss covered boulders into a deep, dark pool. Water flowers grew at one end of the fairly large pond, where it was caught in a bend before emptying down into a larger river. In the light of the eclipse, the water literally glowed, the roiling from the waterfall gleaming phosphorescent white. The grassy bank looked inviting and comfortable, the grass dipping right to the water’s edge and beyond.
"Oh, my," Obi-Wan breathed. "This, this is…"
"We owe Jaycee big time, Obi," Lia murmured, and he looked at her, surprised.
"Jac told you about this place? Then, yes, we do. This is magnificent. Did you pack our suits?"
A wicked gleam in her eye, Lia simply said, "no," before unzipping her one piece flight suit and stepping out of it, nude. She laughed delightedly at her lovers’ shock and surprise, then turned and ran into the water. She expected it to be a bit cool, but it wasn’t, it was lovely warm. "Okay, Sieur Jedi, who’s going to chicken first?" she called back to the bank, then dissolved into laughter watching the two of them struggle to get undressed.
It wasn’t long before she was joined in the water, and the three of them swam and played together for a time in the blue day. It was Obi who had to explore the waterfall, and who found the short ledge that allowed him to stand under a side torrent. Both Qui-Gon and Lia admired him standing there, and when he saw them watching him, he grinned and stroked down his chest to his groin, his hands focusing on the hardness beginning there.
Lia swam to him and motioned for him to sit, then buried her face in his crotch causing him to arch and moan. The water beat on his back and shoulders and sent erotic shivers down his spine to his cock and the warm mouth working it. The combination was nearly enough to make him come immediately and it was only with a struggle that he held off.
Watching his two lovers play was also driving Qui-Gon wild. He swam up behind Lia and wrapped his arms around her, nudging her legs apart with his knees and gently entering her depths. They all braced themselves on the mossy rock shelf while they pleasured each other into a hot, wet climax that ripped through all of them, shared through their bond.
After a few moments, by mutual consent they moved to the bank and sprawled on the grass. Lia and Qui-Gon opened the picnic basket and they began eating, a noisy meal that quickly degenerated into a food fight with much giggling, posturing and pouting. It was exactly what they all needed after a few days of worry and concern, and each could feel a weight like a planet lift from their shoulders with each laugh shared. The two men were greatly relieved to see their lover smile and her eyes twinkle again.
Qui-Gon went so far as to say so. "I know, I’m sorry," she answered, her eyes dropping. "I’ve not been much fun the last couple of days, have I?"
Obi-Wan pulled her face towards his and kissed a dab of some kind of condiment off her cheek. "No, but you don’t need to all the time, Lia-love. We don’t love you just because you make us laugh you know."
Her eyes gleamed in the blue light wickedly. "Oh, you don’t?"
Qui-Gon chuckled. "No, sometimes we love you because you make us gasp and emit other noises," he said.
"Oh, THAT’s easy," she said, with an airy wave of her hand. "Especially braid boy. My heavens, what a noisy Padawan you UMPH!"
Grinning maniacally, Obi-Wan tackled her before she could get out her final word and kissed her. "That’s enough, you," he growled, kissing her enthusiastically and swallowing her giggles.
Qui-Gon watched them wrestle fondly while he packed up the picnic basket, then went to tap on his Padawan’s shoulder. "May I cut in?" he asked drolly, causing the other two to gasp in laughter. Instead of kissing her, however, he laid down next to her, sandwiching her between himself and his Padawan. "She is right, Obi," he continued, stroking her cheek, "you ARE a noisy one. But then, so is she… sometimes…"
Obi-Wan caught his reference and grinned evilly. "You are most definitely right, Master," he answered softly. "Let’s see how noisy we can make her be…"
Lia had time for one gasped "NO!" before her mouth was covered and eager fingers and tongues began exploring her. The two men spent a good hour or more bringing their lover to climax several times. Mouths were on her nipples, licking her neck and ears, kissing her and tasting her mouth deeply. Tongues dove into her slit and danced around her clit, fingers entered her and plunged her depths. Finally, she was virtually boneless after heaven knew how many orgasms, her throat was sore and her voice was raspy from screaming and moaning, and both men were rigid and aching.
Obi-Wan was between her legs, three fingers in her and his thumb teasing her clit while Qui-Gon knelt at her side, gently sucking and teasing her nipples. She felt one last climax building and gasped, "you, Obi, you, please…" which is all the incentive he needed. He replaced his fingers with his straining cock and set a demanding pace, even as she turned her head and swallowed Qui-Gon to the root.
Their shared orgasm felt like it rocked the world. Obi-Wan howled as the wave overtook him and Qui-Gon moaned deeply in his chest as his semen poured down her throat in hot pulses. When they came back to themselves, they were holding each other tightly, and the blue day was fading into true night.
Making a long arm, Qui-Gon snagged a bottle of water and shared it with his lovers. "That was," Lia whispered as she swallowed her sore throat away, "that was… incredible. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to walk again."
"Ooooh, Master, do you see my brains anywhere around here?" Obi-Wan whimpered softly, burying his head in Lia’s neck.
"They left about the same time mine did, Obi," Qui-Gon responded, exhausted. Carefully, he turned and kissed Lia deeply, then tugged on Obi-Wan’s braid until the younger man’s head came up and he could kiss him too. "I love you two," he murmured.
"I love you too," Lia said. Then, slowly, she continued. "In fact, I love you more than I can say. But not more than I can do."
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon stared at her, hope blooming in their eyes. Trembling but smiling, she looked from one to the other. "Yes. The honeymoon’s over, guys. Time to get married."
In the end, Yoda and Mace Windu brought the party to them.
Four days later, a large shuttle bearing the two Jedi Masters, as well as a half-dozen of their closest friends, landed on the moon. They had decided to hold the ceremony in the lovely temple near the chuckling stream, and Master Hui was almost beside himself with joy at the prospect.
Their one regret was that Master Sanyat would not be at the ceremony. After their return from the waterfall, they found a message waiting for them from Master Hui, informing them she had passed peacefully into the Force that afternoon. They could not find it in their hearts to be sad, knowing she was at last with her bondmates.
Shortly before the ceremony, while they were sitting with their friends and talking, Lia brought out the box Master Sanyat had given her. Her two lovers and Mace hovered as she opened it, to discover a very small, multi-colored stone, vaguely opal-ish, nestled in a bed of fluff.
"What is it?" Lia asked, gently touching it with her forefinger.
Mace gasped as he saw it, as did Qui-Gon. "It’s a Q’veh-see," he whispered. "I’ve only seen one other, and not this big."
Yoda craned across the table from his high seat. "Show it to me, you will," he said, then he examined it carefully as Lia handed him the box. "Ah. Bonding stone this is. For three bond, it must be, so large it is." His ears drooped slightly. "Theirs, it must have been. Yours, it is now. Wear it well, you should, in their memory."
"Wear it, Master?" Obi-Wan asked, also examining the stone curiously. "How? As a necklace?"
"No, no, attach to you it will, to each of you."
"But Master Yoda," Lia protested mildly, "there’s only one here. How…?"
"Tell you I will," Yoda replied, smiling at Lia. "Take stone in hand, young one, and let us begin the ceremony."
The bonding ceremony was quite simple, when it came down to it. Yoda had them stand together while Mace and Hui circled them and their friends stood around them. Lia held the stone in her left hand, while Yoda said, "Now, touch it, both of you, Padawan, Qui-Gon."
Gingerly, both men reached out a finger to lay it on the stone. With a tiny flash of light, the stone fractured into three even pieces, one red, one blue, one yellow. "How did that happen?" Lia asked, while simultaneously Obi-Wan said, "primary colors!"
Yoda grunted with satisfaction. "For each of you, one color. For each of you, place to skin and stone will attach. Where will it be?"
The three lovers looked at each other, obviously thinking. "On the chest, over the heart," Qui-Gon finally whispered, and Lia and Obi-Wan nodded.
Almost without thinking, Lia picked up the yellow stone in her other hand. Moving his formal tunic aside so she could see his chest clearly, she murmured, "this one for you, Obi. All brightness and light and laughter, like being in the sun."
Qui-Gon picked up the red stone then, and pressed it to Lia’s skin just over her left breast, above the neckline of the simple dress she wore. "Red for you, Lia-love, you are the heat and passion that keeps us warm."
Obi-Wan picked up the remaining stone and placed it over Qui-Gon’s heart. "And blue for you, my Master, the calm and gentle seas that bind us together. Plus it matches your eyes." They chucked at that, then smiled in wonder. When their fingers were removed, each tiny chip was neatly and painlessly embedded in their skin, and once again swirled with color, all color.
Then, without verbalizing, Yoda spoke the words of the vow into their minds and called for them to repeat it and join into the Force.
We open ourselves to the Force and it bathes us in love.
We love within the Force and we become one with ourselves and with it.
The Force is a living thing and we are alive within it.
We cherish all living things within the Force.
We grow older and the Force grows with us, making us strong and sure.
Giving us strength to do what is right even when difficult.
Through this we will be one – to live as one, to die as one.
We are the Force – the Force is us.
Distantly, Lia could hear her friends repeating the last words of the vow, then realized with a tremendous shock that she was not hearing it aloud, but in her head. It appeared to her that her senses suddenly expanded tenfold to encompass not only her bondmates but her friends, everyone in the Temple, even the trees and animals outside the Temple. She staggered under the sudden onslaught of emotion and feeling; Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon caught her and supported her easily, and Yoda was there to, holding her up with a tangible prop of power. With her newly found ability, she realized how strong and intense he really was and wondered how she could have ever thought him small.
It actually took her a moment to realize her eyes were closed. When she did, she opened them to gaze enraptured into the faces of her lovers. //I’ll never be alone again // she thought, wondrously.
//Never again// Quicksilver and bright; Obi-Wan.
//Always and forever, a part of us// Deep, gentle and loving; Qui-Gon.
The stone in her breast throbbed once and flared, matching flares from the other two bondmates as they gazed into each others eyes and laughed with sheer joy.