Despite Obi-Wan's reticence regarding the race, he nevertheless spent the better part of the next week prepping the pod for the race alongside Anakin. The pod itself was in decent shape, and Anakin was able to modify the controls for human hands instead of Rodian suction pads in about a day, and Shmi brought out some tanned nerf hide she'd scavenged earlier in the season to recover the worn seat. The port engine, however, needed a new power coupling, and the starboard engine looked like it had been trampled by a herd of banthas, with one manifold crushed and two stabilizers completely dead.

One morning, as Obi-Wan watched Anakin bartering and haggling with some Jawas who'd pulled up to the homestead at dawn, Shmi came out quietly and handed him a cup of hot tea, knowing now that he preferred it to the caf most drank in the morning. "He always liked to do this—I think he enjoyed talking to the Jawas as much as he enjoyed whatever scraps he could get from them."

Obi-Wan laughed. "I can see that. He was always eager to visit with the indigenous beings we'd meet on our missions, preferring food and casual conversation to formal diplomacy and negotiation. Sometimes, he was right."

"And the other times?"

He let out a rueful snort. "Then more diplomacy and negotiation were required."

Shmi laughed softly and took a sip of her caf, pulling her shawl around her in the cool morning air. "How are the repairs coming along?"

"Surprisingly well, considering the shape it was in. I think he's hoping to get a rebuilt power coupling out of them, rather than having to buy one—and that's assuming there's even one to buy in Mos Espa, with the race so near. After that..." Obi-Wan shrugged and warily tested the temperature of his tea. "I suppose it will be time for him to do the final adjustments and then take it for a test run."

"You don't sound very enthusiastic," she commented, raising her eyebrows over the steam of her mug.

"Don't I? Hmm..." he evaded, taking a considerable drink of his tea.

Shmi smiled with understanding and placed a comforting hand on his arm. "I know you're worried for him, but if I could watch him do this before he was even nine, you'll get through this just fine now. The first time is the worst, I promise."

"My Master should have shown far better judgment and found another way. I'm still appalled by his recklessness, though I suppose in hindsight I wasn't surprised. He had an uncanny ability for justifying the means to reach a certain end. Like someone else I know." He gave Shmi a sidelong look, arching an eyebrow. "I still cannot believe you let him do something like this for Qui-Gon."

"Let him?" Shmi let out a tickled little laugh. "Oh, Obi-Wan, you know that I had about as much say in that as you do in this now. I had no choice when Watto made him do it, and I could hardly deny him when he so desperately wanted to help out a pretty girl and a noble Jedi Knight who needed the help of a ragged little slave boy. He was meant to help them, don't you think so?"

Obi-Wan rubbed at his chin thoughtfully. He'd given over so much of his meditation to this very thought over the years, and the only conclusion he'd reached was that the Force had used whatever means necessary to ensure Anakin's destiny. Maybe it was when the Queen's ship was damaged and he himself picked this dustball world as sanctuary, or maybe it was when Qui-Gon picked Watto's shop out of the row of junk dealers in town. Maybe it was the sandstorm that came up, forcing Qui-Gon to take shelter in Shmi's home, where the idea for such a dangerous scheme took place. Maybe it was all of those events, and all of those yet to come, that would make Anakin whatever and whomever he was meant to be.

"It doesn't matter what I think. What matters is that he did help them, and the warmth and kindness of his heart are because of the love you have for him as his mother. His great generosity is a trait most Jedi lack—compassion we have, yes, and empathy, but not the depth of selflessness I've seen Anakin exhibit towards complete strangers in the most desperate of situations." Obi-Wan turned to Shmi and inclined his head meaningfully. "He clearly inherited that from you, I believe. Not everyone would welcome in an eccentric, giant offworlder with a bumbling Gungan and a young girl in tow and not ask any questions."

Anakin's mother turned so that she could look at him directly. "And not everyone would do what you did for my son. I've never really had the chance to offer you my very belated condolences on Master Jinn's death, nor my heartfelt thanks for accepting Anakin as yours."

Obi-Wan's mouth turned down in a slight frown and he found that he couldn't face the gratitude in Shmi's eyes. The familiar shame that had always stained his memories of that time resurfaced with a sour lurch in his gut. It hadn't been some selfless, noble calling on his part that had driven him to take Anakin as his Padawan. It was because it was thrust upon him as his duty, because it was the last wish of an impulsive, reckless, dying man whose approval he so desperately had craved up to the very end. He shook his head, lowering his eyes to stare into his mug. "Oh, please, Shmi...no. That's really not necessary. It wasn't—"

She stared at him, wide-eyed with disbelief at the other man brushing off the very thing that had fundamentally altered her son's life. "Yes, it was—and is—everything. I sent him off with a man I hardly knew, who promised him a better life than I could give him, never once considering what might happen to my son should anything happen to that man. I foolishly asked no questions, I was just eager to send them away from here before Watto went back on the deal. Ani could have been abandoned, sent back here, or sold into some other form of servitude and I'd never have known!"

She turned and nodded her head towards where Anakin bickered animatedly with a pair of noisy Jawas. "And look at him now—he's a man, the Jedi he always dreamed he would be, and that isn't because of Qui-Gon Jinn, that's because of you. You took on a responsibility that wasn't yours, and fulfilled a promise you didn't make, and Ani—" she stopped, emotion catching in her voice as she clasped both of his arms with her hands, "Anakin is so happy. Don't diminish your part in that, Obi-Wan."

Obi-Wan released a shaky breath, caught in the wash of Shmi's emotions mixing with his own—the woman was definitely a Skywalker. "I...I know I don't tell him this often enough, but every single day, I'm humbled by him, by how happy he's made me." Swallowing hard, he offered Shmi a grateful smile and looked over at the man he loved, who had crouched down to show one of the wee Jawa younglings how some bit of tech worked, his smile as bright as both of the suns. "Thank you, for showing him love, and for teaching him how to love and not be afraid...it's the greatest gift he's given me. He's changed my life, more than he'll ever know."

Shmi rubbed a hand across her eyes with a sniffle and Obi-Wan cleared his throat and blinked a few times as Anakin came jogging over to them, dragging what must have been the needed power coupling behind him. "Got it!" he called excitedly, smiling and panting as he reached them. "Talked them down to a below-market price, though I had to throw in some parts I scrapped from the dust reclamator..."

Noting the serious air between the two of them, Anakin scrutinized both of their faces worriedly, wondering what he'd missed. "Everything okay? What's going on? Tuskens bust up something again? Oh gods, not the pod?" He looked past them frantically, ready to sprint away, when Obi-Wan caught his arm.

"The blasted pod is fine, Anakin." Obi-Wan rolled his eyes as Shmi covered her mouth to hide her amusement.

Anakin scowled. "Don't scare me like that, stang!" He looked sheepishly at his mother. "Uh, sorry, Mom."

Shmi dismissed it with a wave of her hand. "Nothing's wrong, Ani. I was just giving my thanks to Obi-Wan, and he—"

"And he was waving it off like it was no big deal?" Anakin made a face, giving Obi-Wan a thump on the chest. "Yeah, he does that. Try giving him an actual compliment—the blush is worth it, trust me."

"Excuse m-me?" Obi-Wan stammered, flustered all the more as mother and son both grinned at what was undoubtedly the flush of color apparent on his cheeks and ears. "I do not...I don't...honestly..." he huffed, pushing a hand through his hair and looking anywhere but at the pair of Skywalkers.

"Ani, you're terrible, leave the poor man alone," Shmi scolded, insinuating herself between the two men and hooking each of her arms through theirs. "I've grown very fond of Obi-Wan, and think his modesty is adorable"—Obi-Wan visibly blanched—"and quite a welcome contrast to the swagger and bravado"—Anakin's mouth gaped in protest—"I usually see around these parts."

She hugged them both close as they stopped by the garage, giving them a knowing look only a mother could give. "Now, see if you two can avoid any...distractions...and finish installing that thing before lunch. Then perhaps we can spend the afternoon in the canyon watching Obi-Wan gnaw his fingers to the bone while you test the racer's limits within an inch of your life. And this evening, I'll make myself scarce and you can distract each other all you like, yes?"

"Mom!"


The suns rose in the early hours on the day of the Boonta Eve Classic, just as they had the day before, and just as they would the day after, but Obi-Wan didn't spare a thought for yesterday or tomorrow, because today was this day, and he was at war with himself over whether he wanted the race to never come or for it to be over already.

"Stop fretting," Anakin murmured sleepily from where he was spooned up behind Obi-Wan's back. "'s gonna be fine."

"I know." Letting out a cleansing breath, Obi-Wan's eyes, which had been open for hours in anticipation of the day ahead, squeezed shut. "I was just..."

"Fretting."

Obi-Wan sighed as he rolled over, tucking Anakin's arms around him as he nestled against the warmth of Anakin's chest, listening to the insistent rhythm of his heartbeat. "Yes, that, too," he admitted.

They were holed up in a tiny, dingy room near the stadium, having arrived the night before with the pod in tow. Obi-Wan had been able to meet Cliegg and Owen, and they'd all gone for a quick meal in the tavern and said a brief hello to Beru, who was running ragged serving the endless lineup of racers and spectators crowding the hall. Shmi had bid them goodnight and went with Cliegg to the tent city where the workers were housed, and the two Jedi had traipsed up three flights of rickety stairs to land in a sandy bed with one pillow and no shades on the window.

Anakin stroked his fingers lazily over his Master's back. "Did you get any sleep at all?"

"I think so?" Obi-Wan gave a small lift of his shoulders and smoothed his palm up the other man's arm and over his shoulder. "A little, anyway."

Splaying his hand over Obi-Wan's ass, he pulled his Master against his hip with a soft groan under his breath."Guess I didn't my job very well, I was supposed to wear you out."

Obi-Wan smiled fondly against his skin, rocking slightly between Anakin's hand and hip bone with a muffled gasp. "I have...mmm...zero complaints with your methods."

As the first specks of light began to pepper the sky, they lay there together, trading lazy, slow kisses and gentle, comforting caresses, murmuring of everything and nothing, until Anakin rolled over so that he was pressed completely over the length of Obi-Wan's body and they shared the same breath.

"Hey." Anakin smiled adoringly down at him, taking in every last freckle, mole and eyelash with a trace of his finger.

"Hey." Obi-Wan returned the smile just as fondly, basking in Anakin's attention as his arms moved slowly up and down the length of Anakin's sides.

Anakin cupped his cheek in his hand and drew Obi-Wan's gaze to his. "I'm going to come back. I'm going to go do this thing, win it, and then I'm coming back to you, and nothing is going to stop that from happening. Okay?"

Obi-Wan's breath caught in his chest, and for the briefest of brief moments a thousand terrible things went through his mind. But that was all he would allow them, that briefest of brief moments, and he let them go. "Okay," he nodded, his voice a ragged, strained whisper.

Anakin saw the flicker of fear cross Obi-Wan's face, even as he shuttered it away like the Master Jedi he was trained to be. "Believe in that. Believe in me, Obi-Wan."

"I do," Obi-Wan promised solemnly, his mouth searching for Anakin's until they shared one last heated exchange of desperate kisses, instilling each one with every fervent emotion they lacked the capacity to express in words to each other.

Finally, as the light from First Sunrise crossed into their room, Anakin slipped out from between the sandy sheets, his focus turning inward as he began to mentally go over the course in his mind. Obi-Wan, too, got up, both of them dressing in silence, until Anakin snapped the last closure on his racing coveralls and Obi-Wan tightened his belt and straightened his hair with a quick brush of his fingers.

"Ready?" he asked Anakin, who was practically bouncing on his toes, all nervous adrenaline and eager anticipation saturating the Force around them.

Anakin nodded vigorously, his face beaming with excitement. "It's going to be wizard, Master!"

Obi-Wan couldn't help but laugh at the younger man's use of a term from his childhood. "Oh, yes, simply wizard, " he agreed with affectionate sarcasm. "Almost as wizard as taking a swim in the Sarlacc Pit."

Anakin raised a warning finger. "Hey, watch it. Or on our next leave, we're going rancor riding on Dathomir." He laughed at the dour face Obi-Wan made. "I'm kidding! But it would be fun, I'm just saying."

Handing over his helmet and gloves, Obi-Wan rolled his eyes and guided him to the door. "Your idea of fun, and my idea of fun, are not necessarily the same thing."

Anakin whirled around, crowding his Master against the door with a devious smirk. "You sure about that?"

"Hmph." Obi-Wan suddenly grew serious and pulled him into a tight hug. "Come back to me," he whispered against Anakin's ear, then backed away, clapping his shoulders with a firm nod.

"I will," Anakin vowed with a zealous grin before bounding out the door and down the stairs towards the garages holding the pods.

"Kriff," Obi-Wan swore under his breath, exhaling sharply before making his way to the stadium to meet up with Shmi, hoping he would manage to avoid vomiting on the dear woman's shoes once the race began.

It was a near thing.


The first lap was unremarkable, though Obi-Wan had not been prepared for the deafening volume of the engines as they ignited and then thundered out of the stadium once the gong sounded. He'd watched enough races on the holonet with Anakin to understand the strategies of the sport, and while two racers didn't make it to the second lap, the crowd cheered as Anakin came zipping through the stadium in a comfortable third place.

Things began to get dicey midway through the second lap, when a Dug cut Anakin off in the tight confines of a twisting canyon, forcing him up and out of the narrow passage and knocking him back to sixth. Anakin cut his engines and let gravity take him into a steep dive just short of the salt flats, barely managing to level out in time. Shmi had gasped loudly and sunk her fingers painfully into Obi-Wan's arm, though he barely noticed as he'd been grotesquely glued to the screen and unable to look away. As Anakin came through the stadium, in second and closing on the Phindian leader, Obi-Wan realized he'd stopped breathing and sucked in a pained lungful of air.

Anakin and the Phindian bumped and jostled their way through the entirety of the third lap, until the Phindian flashed his engine manifolds and caught Anakin's pod in the backwash, sending him in an uncontrolled corkscrew spin, and Obi-Wan was pretty certain he died seventeen deaths before Anakin wrestled his pod back under his control.

The two machines were neck-and-neck on final approach to the stadium, when suddenly Anakin took advantage of the draft created by the pod in front of him, maneuvering his pod so close that it shot forward, skimming under the Phindian to steal the victory just before the finish line, to the concussive roar of an adoring crowd.

"AND SKYWALKER DOES IT AGAIN!"

Shmi jumped up and down, clapping and cheering as she turned to hug Obi-Wan. "See, I told you! The first time's—" She scanned the frenzied crowd with no luck. Obi-Wan was no where to be seen, and she didn't need the Force to tell her exactly where he went.

"Oh, you silly boys," she laughed lightly to herself, making her way out of the stands to meet up with Cliegg and the others for a celebratory drink in her son's honor. Intuition told her not to expect Anakin and Obi-Wan anytime soon, and experience had taught her several times in the last week not to go looking for them, either.


Yelling something in Huttese to fellow racer, Anakin laughed heartily and shook his head at the Gran's reply as he directed the pit droids guiding his pod into its berth in the garage. A Dug came over to offer her congratulations—unusual for a Dug, Anakin thought—then he caught her trying to swipe a couple of stabilizer cables off the port engine and he tapped her on the shoulder, his towering glower enough to send her on her way. Just as he yanked off his helmet, a group of passing Phindians shouted a filthy slur at him and Anakin responded with a crude gesture that got his point across much more effectively than any word would have.

He couldn't wait to see Obi-Wan. It hadn't been the easiest couple of days between them, and even though they'd reached an understanding, he'd had a momentary glimpse of the fear Obi-Wan had kept locked down tight deep inside. It had almost been enough this morning for him to just call the whole damn race off, but he also knew Obi-Wan would have been furious with him, because Anakin would have been doing it out of a desire to please him, not because he himself wanted to, and that's what their whole stupid fight had been circling around in the first place. Loving and being in love were easy, but kriff, this whole relationship thing was a lot of work.

But totally worth it, he grinned to himself as a familiar warmth and a wave of anxious anticipation brushed against his shields. Anakin squinted through the steam and smoke from overworked engines and superheated dust clogging the air, spying Obi-Wan in the distance hurrying towards him with that commanding swagger that shouldn't have been a thing for Anakin, but like just about everything with Obi-Wan, it managed to send his own engines into overdrive.

Anakin's grin was bright against the sooty smudges around his eyes and mouth, while his hair in sweaty disarray after being confined by the helmet. "Hey there—" he greeted his Master, then took a step back and held up his hands against the serious glower on Obi-Wan's face, beginning a hasty litany of apologetic excuses. "Obi-Wan, I'm okay! I'm okay! Seriously, I know there was that thing with the spin, and...okay, that dive seemed uncontrolled but I totally had it in the bag...and...okay, yeah, I probably shouldn't have assumed I had enough clearance right there at the end, but hey, I won, isn't that what's import—"

Obi-Wan rushed over wordlessly, cutting off Anakin's excuses with a devouring, needy, desperate kiss, forcefully yanking the younger man against him, wanting to feel Anakin, to know that he was there and alright and still his.

Anakin pulled back with a breathless laugh. "Hey, I'm okay, I'm—mphff!"

Obi-Wan's mouth clamped down on his again, and Anakin thought for a wild, wonderful moment that he might actually lose consciousness this way, unable to breathe from the tight hold Obi-Wan had around his torso and the ruthless claim he'd made on his mouth. Finally, Anakin had no more air to spare and with a gasping whine tore his mouth away. "G-give me a second," he panted, resting his forehead against the other man's as he drew in a couple of deep breaths.

Nodding, Obi-Wan took a couple of ragged breaths himself, but didn't ease his suffocating hold on Anakin by much. The danger and the excitement, the fear and the adrenaline, had roused something deep and primal in Obi-Wan, intensifying the desire he always had for Anakin into living thing, wild and untamed and desperate for release. Watching Anakin race, how he'd owned the course and melded as one with his machine, showcased a maturity Obi-Wan had not really acknowledged in his partner until now. Victorious, he was proud, arrogant, and cavalier, and by all the gods he didn't believe in, Obi-Wan found the entire sordid business ridiculously hot.

"Are you—mpffhh," Anakin tried once more, but whatever he was going to ask was quickly forgotten under the relentless onslaught of Obi-Wan's mouth on his, each kiss more desperate than the last, and Anakin gave himself over to it with a rumble of a joyous laugh in his chest as the other man pushed and maneuvered them in awkward stumbles until Anakin crashed with a thud against the pod's cockpit.

"Nnnghh," Anakin moaned as Obi-Wan savaged his neck, no doubt adding to the already scandalous trail of marks on his neck, not that Anakin cared in the least because each one proved that he belonged to Obi-Wan Kenobi and he loved that his proper and civilized Master could lose all sense of propriety to mark him in such an intimate, obvious way.

Nudging a thigh between Obi-Wan's, Anakin let out a filthy groan as their hips settled and he felt the hard line of Obi-Wan's cock ride up and alongside his even through the layers separating them. "Fuck," he mewled, tossing his head back against the edge of the pod.

Obi-Wan pulled back with a wicked grin. "Later." Tearing at Anakin's filthy coveralls until all the snaps popped simultaneously, he slid a hand inside to cup and tease his already sensitive cock. "But right now, however..."

"O-Obi-Wan, wait...wait," Anakin stuttered, trying to keep some kind of focus on their surroundings—which were bustling with post-race activity, and while he was all in favor of what was happening inside his coveralls at the moment, he'd had enough thrills for the day and exhibition had never quite been his thing, and he knew damn well it certainly wasn't Obi-Wan's. "Uh...there's a lot of people around. That's, um, p-pretty unci-civilized, you know?"

Grinning again, Obi-Wan's free hand gestured blindly in the direction of the berth's entry, making a casual twist of his wrist. The flimsy corrugated tin door slammed down and crumpled a pit droid in the process. "Oops," he shrugged, clearly unconcerned about the fate of the door or the droid, not when he had Anakin writhing and moaning beneath his touch. "Better? My sincerest apologies, I would never presume to besmirch your honor," he smirked, cupping his hand along Anakin's dusty cheekbone, even as he continued to stroke his length with long sinful grazes of his thumb.

"Uh...uh huh, b-but it would be much better...you know...if you...uh...besmirched me."

Obi-Wan's head fell against Anakin's chest with ragged laugh. "Is that...is that right?" he asked, anxious hands fumbling with the insidious barrier between him and Anakin's glory.

Anakin's heart throbbed in his chest as he watched Obi-Wan finally free his cock from the underlayer of the coveralls, shuddering as his calloused hand closed around it once more, hot, rough, and familiar. "Gods, yes," he moaned, as Obi-Wan paused and stared up at him with dark, desirous eyes. "Please."

At Anakin's completely pornographic begging, Obi-Wan swore softly to himself and quickly dropped to his knees on the cracked, oil-stained permacrete. "You...nnghh..." he simply gave up, eagerly taking Anakin's rigid cock into his mouth with a muffled curse of pleasure.

At the sight of his proper Master doing something so completely improper in such an uncivilized place, Anakin sagged against the pod, arms stretched out to his sides trying to find purchase on the sand-pocked hull. Obi-Wan's tongue moved along the sensitive vein on the underside of his cock, making him twitch violently, just as his smug Master knew it would, but the faint scrape of teeth over the head just about sent him into oblivion and he swore colorfully, taking a handful of that glorious hair, not to stop him, but to ensure that he wouldn't stop. Anakin needed this, he needed Obi-Wan's attention, to have his pleasure drawn out from him like he was the only thing that mattered in his Master's universe.

He never would get over this, he thought, stealing another glance down to watch his cock, slick and shiny, disappear into the hot, wet heat of Obi-Wan's mouth, never get over that he got to have this with Obi-Wan, and so, so much more, and it sent another heated flush of desire through his veins. He wasn't going to last—and if he were honest, he never did, not for this, because...fuck, it was so kriffing hot to see and to feel and to know—and he already felt the tight pull deep in his groin and there was no way he'd be able to stop it, especially when—

"Kriffing hells," he swore loudly through gritted teeth as Obi-Wan swallowed him deeply, allowing the coarse-soft whiskers of his beard to brush up against his balls. "Y-you bastard, you know I can't—ngghhhh!" he groaned helplessly as his orgasm tore through him, each pulse a blaze of euphoria and relief.

Quite pleased with Anakin's profanity-laced reaction, Obi-Wan sat back on his heels with an arched brow. "Oh, I'm aware..." he replied with a self-satisfied smirk, slowly wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Anakin narrowed his eyes as he slid bonelessly to the ground. "Cocky."

Obi-Wan pointedly flicked his eyes downward and then back at Anakin, nodding sagely. "So it seems, yes."

Shaking his head at the unmistakable invitation, Anakin suddenly lunged at the other man, knocking him over backwards into a shimmering splotch of engine lubricant. "I think it's time for my victory lap," he growled, climbing astride his Master and pinning his arms above his head.

Obi-Wan made a face as he felt the wetness seep in across his back. "Funny, this doesn't appear to be your lap."

"Maybe not, but you're definitely coming along for the ride." Already hard—Obi-Wan did that to him, he didn't know if it was the midichlorians or if it was just Obi-Wan—puberty had been one raging hard-on after another and while it was an endless embarrassment then, now he didn't care because kriff he needed Obi-Wan already again and thank the Force he was more than good to go—Anakin reached down between them to press the length of his palm against the rigid outline of Obi-Wan's erection.

Eyes fluttering, Obi-Wan groaned softly, chasing the agonizing pressure with an arch of his hips. Certainly the location left a lot to desire, but any complaint he might have had was washed away once Anakin's clever fingers and a touch of the Force got his pants open in record time and he felt the hot, perfect friction of Anakin's hand over the sensitive skin of his aching cock. "Fuck, yes..." he muttered, biting his lip to suppress a whimper when Anakin cradled his balls and grazed over them with his thumb.

Anakin growled under his breath as his own cock jumped—he definitely had a thing for reducing Obi-Wan Kenobi to a pleasured wreck of profanity—and he had to clamp his free hand around the base to back him off for just a little while longer. Taking a shuddering breath, he freed Obi-Wan's cock completely and wrapped his hand around both, spreading their precome as he started a slow but merciless rhythm. "Me...or you? Because...nngghh...I don't care who...just...we really need to..." he panted eagerly, pawing at what he desperately hoped was some lube in one of Obi-Wan's pockets. "Kriff, tell me you have some?"

"Y-you don't?" Obi-Wan managed to stammer, distracted completely by the sensational slide of their slick erections through the tight circle of Anakin's long fingers.

"Why would I think I'd need it during the Boonta Eve?! I was a little...you know...busy!" Anakin countered defensively, vowing to never, ever go anywhere without it again. "It's not like I was expecting to get jumped in a dirty garage, you know!"

"I should certainly hope not, but you'll find I'm full of surprises." Obi-Wan's grin was beyond smug as he bent a knee, nudging him invitingly. "Left boot, in the sheath with the vibroblade."

"Thank the Force," Anakin groaned in relief as he dug around in the proffered boot, carelessly flinging the vibroblade aside with a clatter until he fished out the miniature tube. "So did you want...?"

"W-want...you..." Obi-Wan trailed off with an incoherent mumble as he wrapped a hand around Anakin's, increasing the pace of the strokes on their erections. "As the saying goes, my dear Anakin, 'to the victor belong the spoils'." Obi-Wan pulled Anakin forward, just inches from his face. "So spoil me," he whispered, the innuendo as unmistakable as the upward shameless punishing grind of his hips.

"I'm so gonna spoil you, Obi-Wan," Anakin promised softly in return, giving the other man's cock another long stroke and ending with the slide of his thumb right through the surge of precome. He sat back, bringing his thumb to his mouth to savor Obi-Wan's taste with a long single lap of his tongue. Darting his eyes around the room, he moaned as inspiration struck. "But first...I need you..." he took Obi-Wan by the hands and pulled him to standing. Anakin's mouth latched on to his neck, nipping and sucking as he stumbled and pushed them so that they were up against the pod once more. "Here...r-right here."

Obi-Wan grunted against Anakin's mouth as they crashed against the unforgiving metal, raking his fingers up into the mess of dirty curls as Anakin sank his teeth into his collarbone. "N-no...marks. Anakin...y-your mother..." he sighed half-heartedly, wanting them anyway, wanting to have a reminder of Anakin's ferocious desire for him.

Anakin laved his tongue over the bite, lifting his head with a devilishly smug look. "Aww, too late," he drawled, sounding anything but apologetic as he canted his head to the side to expose his own neck. "Seems only fair, since she asked me about these."

Obi-Wan sucked in a breath, bringing a hand up to trace the fading line of love bites. "W-what did you say?"

Shuddering at the touch, Anakin made a soft noise of need. "Mmm...I told her all Jedi concubines carry these marks."

"Kriffing insolent..." Grabbing his ass hard, Obi-Wan yanked Anakin against him, gasping as both of their exposed cocks brushed together once again. "And what am I supposed to tell her?"

"Don't care. Tell her..." he snuffled through Obi-Wan's whiskers and down the column of his throat, continuing to bite and tug at the skin. "Tell her you're delicious and I can't..." he worried a favorite spot over the other man's pulse point until it was red and shiny, "mmm...I can't help myself."

"I...I know the feeling..." Moaning a laugh, Obi-Wan closed his eyes, feeling his ears burn hot as he imagined what Shmi must think of him, even as he arched and writhed under Anakin's ardent ministrations. "Though perhaps now maybe less with the biting..."

"And more with the fucking?"

Obi-Wan's face turned as crimson as the mark on his neck, even though he was feeling anything but prudish at the moment. "Yes," he whispered his plea, bringing a hand up to lovingly cup Anakin's cheek. "That. Please."

Eyes darkening, Anakin turned his face to kiss his Master's palm. "Turn around?" he asked softly, stepping back. Red-hot desire burned through him at the sight of Obi-Wan mussed and marked up and spread out against the hull of his podracer, like some kind of secret dirty fantasy come to life.

"Is this what you had in mind all along?" Obi-Wan asked, smirking over his shoulder with a rakish toss of head to clear the hair from his eyes.

"Uh huh. Only..." Anakin sauntered up behind the other man, sliding his hands along the skin of Obi-Wan's hips to ease down his pants only just far enough. "Yeah...like this," he said, his voice low and rough with restrained need as he looked his Master over. "Fuck, you're beautiful, Obi-Wan."

"Stop...that," Obi-Wan admonished, flushing hot and feeling exposed and vulnerable and horrendously turned on, either in spite of, or because of the fact that he was about to be taken against Anakin's kriffing machine of doom and he wanted it. "Hurry up," he ordered, desperate now for the release he'd been holding on to for far, far too long.

Anakin brought his mouth close to Obi-Wan's ear, dragging his tongue over the shell of his ear as he flicked open the cap and generously wet his fingers. "Anxious?" he teased in a hot breath, lightly brushing his cool, slick fingertips over the other man's entrance.

Shaking his head, Obi-Wan let out guttural sound of pleasured surprise as Anakin slipped in one finger, and then another, in quick succession. "Determined. By the stars, Anakin, please," he cried out as those fingers curled just so, making his vision swim and reality lurch sideways. "Fuck," he swore vehemently across several languages, screwing his eyes shut and burying his face in his arms against the hull.

Anakin gasped loudly, recognizing only about four of the words but it didn't matter because he almost came after the first two and he was running short on any kind of restraint or control. Wrapping one arm around Obi-Wan's body, he positioned the head of his cock and slowly but deliberately pushed in, whimpering at how readily Obi-Wan was able to take him fully. "L-love you, Obi-Wan. Love this with you," he proclaimed, holding his Master tightly against him.

Reaching back, Obi-Wan clasped Anakin's hand and brought it around, slapping it against the hull with his. "Y-you'll love it more if you move," he growled with desperation, kicking a foot up to rest on one of the parking struts.

Anakin let out a feral growl at the increased pressure and friction on his cock from the change in angle. "N-no kidding," he retorted heatedly, clenching his fingers with Obi-Wan's as he began a slow and steady rhythm of deep, satisfying thrusts.

The activity of the surrounding berths in the garage fell away as they gave away all of their tension and anxieties, fears and worries, concentrating instead on giving and receiving all of the love, faith, trust, and desire they had for each other through an intimate dance they were still learning the steps to, though it would never become routine between them.

Tearing his hand away, Obi-Wan reached behind and grabbed a handful of curls to tug Anakin into a scorching kiss, ravaging his tender lips with the harsh scrape of his beard. Anakin hissed and increased the intensity of his thrusts, faster, deeper, more erratic as he teetered on the edge of another incredible orgasm. "C-close, can't last..." he warned in hot breaths, resting his forehead on Obi-Wan's shoulder as he started to shake from the effort of holding it off.

"Kriff yes," Obi-Wan nodded, sweat stinging his eyes from the pent up heat of their lust mixing with the still-hot engines nearby. "T-take me with you...touch me...fuck. Please...need you to touch m-me," he pleaded shamelessly, desperate for the feedback loop their bond created between them every time they made love, as addicted to feeling Anakin's pleasure as much as he was to his own.

"C-come with me, Obi-Wan," Anakin demanded, kneading Obi-Wan's balls just this side of rough before dragging his hand up and over the head of his cock, once, twice, until his Master was a shuddering, begging mess. "Oh gods, Obi-Wan...I can't...I'm gonna..."

With one final, punishing thrust, Anakin came with the intensity of a supernova, babbling incoherently into Obi-Wan's back as his orgasm continued to wrack him with aftershocks of pleasure. "S-Sorry, I just couldn't...kriff, I love you so much, I just couldn't..."

That was all Obi-Wan needed to hear, Anakin's heartfelt devotion, and he let himself go, riding the tide of their combined love and passion until he could only feel the bright white serenity of Anakin's Force signature curled tightly around his as he gradually came back to himself. "Oh, Anakin," he sighed with dazed contentment, slowly turning his head to draw the younger man into a lazy kiss. "Thank you," he smiled tiredly against kiss-swollen lips.

Anakin smiled back and gave a shake of his head as they both reordered themselves, mirroring their actions from the early morning in the tiny room. "You don't have to thank me, you know."

"Yes, I do." Obi-Wan finished tying off his pants and drew Anakin into his arms, hugging him close. "Thank you for coming back to me," he said quietly, pressing a single kiss to Anakin's neck. "I don't care that you risked your life, or that you did all of those stupidly foolish maneuvers, and I don't even particularly care that you won, though I concede it is on all accounts a worthwhile conclusion to this entire kriffing folly. You came back, and that's all that matters."

Anakin chuckled softly, rubbing his hands up and down Obi-Wan's back. "I still think you liked it, admit it."

"I..." Obi-Wan pulled back a little and pursed his lips thoughtfully. "I think I prefer the...ah...victory celebration much more," he allowed finally, the slightest hint of a smirk playing around his mouth. He glanced down at the grease and dirt stains decorating his clothing with a grimace. "Though it's not much more civilized, is it?"

"Can't really have one without the other," Anakin pointed out, brushing at some of the grime that had transferred from his face to smudge Obi-Wan's cheek. "If I don't race, I don't win. And if I don't win..." he shrugged casually with a comical waggle of his eyebrows.

Obi-Wan wrinkled his nose, self-consciously rubbing at the sand and dirt that somehow found its way into his beard. "So it seems. Though the next time you look at that Sith-stained podracer, I hope you'll remember what you could have lost in your feckless pursuit of glory racing that hulk of desert rubbish."

"Hey, all I know is that every time I look at it, I'm totally going to remember every filthy detail of what we just did because I raced that pod." Anakin gave him a knowing sidelong look as he trailed an indolent finger down the center of Obi-Wan's chest. "Bet you will, too."

With a roll of his eyes, Obi-Wan threaded his fingers with Anakin's. "Believe what you must," he responded airily, leading them around the pod toward what once resembled a bay door. "Just know that this is not going to be a regular occurrence," he declared, despite the tellingly warm flush he felt just sparing the briefest of glances at the abomination.

If he wasn't careful, he'd end up chasing Anakin around the racing circuit in order to 'celebrate' in every dingy garage on every backwater world like one of the tawdry groupies who wantonly offered up themselves to the racers who managed to survive that month's event. And even that uncivilized thought was enough to send his blood racing south once more, forcing him to inhale sharply. Incorrigible. He's absolutely incorrigible.

"What? Podracing, sex after podracing, or sex in general?" Anakin asked earnestly, full of feigned innocence and cheek and everything that made Obi-Wan absolutely crazy, because it should have never been as endearing as it was on Anakin, damn him.

Growling his exasperation, Obi-Wan whirled on Anakin, tugging him firmly against his body and sinking his teeth into his ear unexpectedly. "Don't tempt me," he warned softly, his voice edged with all the heat and passion that Anakin knew the other man tried so hard to keep hidden.

Desire stirred once more within Anakin at the frayed control he sensed in Obi-Wan, and he retaliated with a playful nip to Obi-Wan's bottom lip. "I always tempt you."

"Yes, you do." Obi-Wan's gaze softened, and he cradled the back of Anakin's neck affectionately. "One of but many reasons that I love you so, my dear Anakin."

Overwhelmed, like he always was when his stoic Master shared those rare magical words, Anakin ducked his head and sent his gratitude into the Force for its gift of this man to him. Taking an unsteady breath, Anakin smiled with unrestrained joy and bent to offer Obi-Wan a warm kiss. "Thank you, Master."

Obi-Wan looked up in surprise, a flash of guilt washing over him. He knew he didn't say it enough—it was still so new and powerful and sometimes the words themselves felt hollow and meaningless compared to the depth and intensity he felt Anakin—but he resolved to say them more often if just to put that smile on Anakin's beautiful face again and again. "Y-you...you don't have to thank me for that."

"Yes, I do," Anakin said with a solemn nod. "Come on, let's get out of here before someone comes looking for us."

With a sharp tug of the Force, the crumpled door creaked open, and Anakin led them out of the garage. They were more than overdue at the tavern, though he suspected his mother hadn't called him for the very reason they were running late, and he choked back a laugh at the likely reaction Obi-Wan would have if he knew that.

"What?" Obi-Wan asked suspiciously, feeling Anakin's restrained mirth and knowing that look all too well.

Smiling innocently, Anakin looked everywhere but at Obi-Wan as they moved down the dusty street. "Oh...I was just thinking of how wizard it will be to show everyone my victory medallion."

Frowning, Obi-Wan paused and turned, folding his arms across his chest warily. "You weren't awarded any medallion."

Anakin raised a brow and flashed his brightest, cockiest grin. "I wasn't? Huh." He pulled aside his collar. "Then what's this around my neck?"

"Anakin!"


Obi-Wan absently packed up their minimal gear in the panniers on the bike as Tatoo I came over the horizon. He sighed and straightened up, folding his arms into the sleeves of his tunic as he watched the blaze of color ignite the landscape. He'd miss this, the peace of sunrises and sunsets that contrasted with the harsh and sometimes violent life that prevailed each day in the hours between them.

He'd also miss the peace he himself had cultivated. While Tatooine certainly lacked the amenities of Naboo or Kuat—he was more than ready for a long soak, he wouldn't lie—he had been surprised by how happy, content, and most of all accepted he'd felt while in the company of a simple family of moisture farmers who had previously been strangers. While they were Anakin's family, in a way they were now Obi-Wan's, too, and for the first time he felt a glimmer of the despair Anakin must have felt at the end of each holocall with Shmi. He would...miss them.

Obi-Wan had changed a lot over the month, in ways he'd neither anticipated nor thought likely for someone like him. He'd been anxious and worried about being accepted, and while he was ready to leave, he found he wasn't particularly eager to bid them farewell, either. He'd grown fond of Shmi, her quiet strength, gentle humor, and her limitless capacity for love and understanding. He saw so much of her in Anakin now, how much of herself she'd passed on to her son, and it eased some of the dark twist of anger and hate he felt when he thought of Anakin growing up here as a slave, because at least he had known unconditional love before he'd known anything else.

Obi-Wan could hardly say the same, being raised in the crèche by everyone and yet special to and loved by no one.

But he knew it now. He knew it every time Anakin looked at him, touched him, indulged his propensity for the neat and orderly by standing up his boots by the door...sometimes...and all of the humbling moments when Anakin so effortlessly said "I love you, Obi-Wan," as though it was the most natural thing in this universe. To Anakin, of course, it was.

And it was becoming that, to Obi-Wan.

He'd not told Anakin yet, but sometime after that kriffing race, while watching with un-Jedi-like satisfaction as the younger man reduced the Sith-damned dust reclamator to a literal pile of scrap for resale, Obi-Wan realized that this—the mundane day-to-day moments they shared between heartstopping missions and clandestine amorous encounters—was worth fighting for. Whatever the consequences would be, he was tired of skulking around hiding something that felt so perfect and right and brought him into a harmonious alignment with the Force in a way that had been elusive his entire life. He was ready to go before the Council, to give testimony on all the ways he'd broken the Code, and accept whatever fate awaited him. Because he knew that the Force was his ally, that his focus was Anakin, and Anakin would always be his reality.

"Hey," Anakin called out, breaking into Obi-Wan's thoughts as he trudged up the stairs. "Is everything ready to go? Fueled up? Did you check the water tank? We don't want to overheat this hunk of junk right before we turn it back in."

Obi-Wan gave him a disapproving look and locked down the second pannier. "Yes, though I happen to know you were out here last night topping off the tanks and checking all the gauges, so I don't know why you're asking when you already know the answer."

Anakin shrugged, crouching down to poke at a loose hose. "Can't let your mechanical skills get rusty just because you have me around," he pointed out, biting off the frayed end of the hose and making a face as he spit it out.

Folding his arms, Obi-Wan crossed his ankles and leaned against the bike's seat as he watched Anakin reroute and reconnect the hose. "Hmm. Are you planning on going somewhere?"

Standing with a grunt, Anakin dusted off his hands on the back of his trousers. Placing his hands on the seat on either side of Obi-Wan, Anakin crowded in close. "Without you? Never," he vowed softly, humming his approval when the other man's arms wove around him and they shared a tender exchange of affectionate kisses and murmured endearments.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to miss this or not," Shmi called out as she advanced from the stairwell, breaking into a grin at the abashed look on both of their faces as they separated. "At least I'll be able to walk in a room without having to announce myself in advance."

Obi-Wan reddened, though only a little now, as so much of his propriety had been forsaken thanks to Anakin's friskiness and the close confines of the homestead's living spaces. "Um...yes, well...I suppose it will be a relief to have your home back to yourself, and a full pantry again now that the Republic will be responsible for feeding Anakin once more."

With a fierce scowl to Obi-Wan, Anakin went to stuff a few last minute things onto the bike. "I don't eat that much!"

"Yes, you do," Shmi and Obi-Wan said in unison, breaking into a hearty laugh.

With Anakin distracted, Shmi quietly took Obi-Wan aside. "I love my son, Obi-Wan, he's the brightest star in the center of my universe." With tears in her eyes, she took his hand in hers. "But I want you to know that like Tatooine, the center of my universe has two bright stars now, and the love I have for them both will warm my heart even when they're away."

Obi-Wan's eyes widened and he choked up a little, nodding his understanding and gratitude. "I...thank you, Shmi. That...that means more to me than you can possibly know."

Shmi drew him into a fierce hug. "I think I do. Take care of him, and yourself, Obi-Wan. You will always have a home here, alright?"

Pulling back, Obi-Wan inhaled sharply and cleared his throat, giving her a gentle, warm smile. "I will, I promise you that. And thank you...for everything."

Obi-Wan watched as she made her way over to a somber Anakin, who already looked like the emotional wreck he was on the inside. He could feel Anakin's turmoil, how difficult this would be for him to say goodbye and leave his mother behind, despite knowing without a doubt now that she was happy in her life here.

"Oh, Ani. I don't know where the time has gone, it seems like you both just got here, and now it's time for you to leave."

"Mom...I wish, I wish I didn't..." he threw himself into her arms, burying his face in her shoulder.

She pet his hair consolingly. "No, you don't. You have the life you want, with the man you want. My life is here, and yours is out there, among the stars, with Obi-Wan by your side."

Anakin sniffled and nodded, finally lifting his head. "I...I know. You're right." He wiped at his eyes with the heels of his hands. "I'm so glad you like him," he laugh-cried, "otherwise things would have gotten pretty awkward pretty fast."

Shmi laughed through her tears, too. "I will miss you both so much, Ani. But it lessens the pain knowing that you're out there protecting the galaxy with someone who loves you as much as Obi-Wan does, my son. Come back when you can?"

Anakin waved Obi-Wan over, and they both shared another round of hugs with Shmi. "Of course. And do let us know if there's anything else you need, won't you? Anakin, you have the list?" Obi-Wan asked as he climbed on the back of the bike.

Patting his chest pocket, Anakin nodded. "Yep. We'll get these shipped out to you as soon as we can, Mom." His lip quivered and he ducked his head, knowing the time had come. "Stang, why is this so hard?"

Shmi gave him one last hug as he climbed on the bike and kicked on the engine. "So that you will remember to come back, my darling." She gave him a quick peck on the cheek, and then one to Obi-Wan, laughing at the shocked surprise on his face. "Safe travels, my precious boys. May the Force watch over you always."

"Love you, Mom! Bye!" Anakin yelled over the growl of the engine as he kicked it into gear, with Obi-Wan waving his goodbye as they set out for Mos Espa and the Twilight.

Scooting up on the seat, Obi-Wan pressed himself against Anakin's back and lightly pet a soothing hand over his stomach as the desert sped past them. He leaned forward, his mouth grazing the edge of Anakin's ear as an errant curl tickled at his nose. "It will be alright. You'll see her again, I promise."

Swallowing down the bitterness of leaving, Anakin clasped his hand against him almost painfully. "Yeah...I know," he agreed with a heavy sigh, resting his temple against Obi-Wan's for a moment. "Besides, I still have you."

"Yes, and you always will, just as I have you," Obi-Wan smiled gratefully and gave Anakin's dusty neck a dry kiss. "And...when we get back, I am going to tell anyone who might possibly care to know just that."

The bike swerved precariously, forcing Anakin to swear as he wrestled it to a sudden lurching stop. "You're what?" he asked, cranking his head around to stare at his Master, wondering if the desert heat had finally gotten to Obi-Wan, or maybe to him and he was hallucinating. "Obi-Wan, this is...stang, this could...I mean..." He frowned slightly, even as hope flared warm and bright in his chest. "Are you...are you sure?"

"I am." Obi-Wan shrugged with a shy smile, though his eyes sparkled in a contented way Anakin had rarely seen. "Anakin, I could have lost you during that race, and no one would have known or understood just how much you mean to me...how much I l-love you. Therefore...I will be remedying that oversight as soon as possible. Unless you have some objection?"

Anakin beamed, twisting around to kiss Obi-Wan with a joyous laugh. "Come on, you know I don't!" No more sneaking around, no more having to act like he didn't mind the way everyone in the Temple felt free to openly flirt with his Master like he was community property. Oh hells, he might even get to hold Obi-Wan's hand in plain sight, which seemed so ridiculously chaste and yet it was a surprisingly intimate gesture that made his stomach flip at the thought and he couldn't wait.

"I didn't think so," Obi-Wan grinned, returning the kiss along with a caress of his cheek. "Now, if you'd be so kind as to restart the engine, I'd like get to the ship sooner rather than later, and preferably not burned to a crisp when I stand before Mace's glowering disapproval."

"Not like anyone would notice, you'll be red anyway when you claim me as your concubine," Anakin teased, protesting as Obi-Wan jabbed him in the arm. "What? You know I'm right!"

Mortified and yet titillated just enough by the deviant image to be further mortified, Obi-Wan just shook his head and nudged Anakin with his thighs. "Drive. Otherwise, that is exactly what I'm going to do."

"Sure you will." Anakin tossed a wicked look over his shoulder as he restarted the engine. "And then we can demonstrate to the Council just what a couple of fuzz-whats-its in heat look like."

"Fuzzbunnies," Obi-Wan shouted with exasperation into the wind as they took off. "And we certainly will do no such thing!"

Chuckling at the scandalized edge in his Master's voice, Anakin gave his arm a reassuring pat. "Come on, it would be fun!"

Obi-Wan sighed with a roll of his eyes, smiling nevertheless as he settled in comfortably against the familiar warmth of Anakin's back. "Only to you, my dear fuzzbunny. Now, take us home."