Knights and Eros Bound

      Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker sat in the familiar domain of Dex's diner, both just picking at the rapidly cooling food before them.  This morning at dawn, Anakin Skywalker, along with for other acolytes, had graduated from Padawan to Knight status. This had not been as joyous an occasion as it had been in the past. The braids of the other Padawans had been cut by Master Windu, as they had lost their masters in the wars. Obi-Wan had been solemn and a little sad as he cut Anakin's Padawan braid, perhaps remembering that Qui-Gon had not been there for his own. Afterwards he had shed tears of joy as he and Anakin had bowed first to one another, and then to the Council... Obi-Wan had sent a quiet prayer out to the Force and both men seemed to feel the late Master's warmth and approval.

       However, Anakin's mind had wandered far from the events of this morning. In an effort to help boost the waning support for both the war and the role of the Jedi, the Chancellor had called for a celebratory banquet with the newly knighted Padawans and a few select members of the Senate. Padmé of course was to be among them and by special arrangement, Anakin was to escort her. In addition, Anakin had been granted a full week's leave before setting off on his next assignment. The prospects were... tantalizing...

     "Anakin..." Obi-Wan chastised him gently, and Anakin blushed, startled out of his reverie. 

      "I'm sorry Master..."

      "Anakin," Obi-Wan repeated gently. "Look, I am sorry I can't accompany you to the... banquet," he winced, and Anakin laughed, fully and heartily.

      "Please Obi-Wan," Anakin managed at last through a fit of subsiding giggles. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear to the stars you asked for that last minute assignment..."

       Obi-Wan smiled, yet Anakin's tone became more solemn.

       "Obi-Wan, you were there when so many others couldn't be... and before, when others... they wouldn't have..."

        Obi-Wan reached across the table and put a reassuring hand on Anakin's shoulder, allowing him to continue uninterrupted.

        "Master, you've had faith in me... Stood by me, even when I made mistakes..."

        "It is how we grow Anakin..." Obi-Wan said softly. "Master Qui-Gon... your mother too, they would be proud of you. As proud of you as I am..."

       Anakin bowed his head, pleased yet unaccustomed to the praise.

       After a moment of almost uncomfortable silence, Obi-Wan broached the topic from a new angle.

       "You are escorting Senator Amidala then?" he asked.

        Anakin raised his head, carefully keeping his expression and voice neutral. "Yes, each of us is escorting a Senator... Padmé, I mean, Senator Amidala and I are still close friends..."

         Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow, but tactfully let the subject drop. Anakin was a full fledged Jedi Knight now, and so his private life was no longer a true concern of his. Yet...

          "Dessert!" Obi-Wan exclaimed with a little more joviality than he really felt as two large bowls of sweet were placed before them. "Enjoy my friend, as it seems that our chances to celebrate are so few and far between, we must seize them while we can!"

           Anakin smiled, relieved to be let off the proverbial hook so easily. His smile broadened as he realized that not only was he going to see his beloved wife, but it would be without the watchful eye of his... his former... Master. Gods, he was a Knight! And he was going to spend the evening, if not longer, with Padmé. He had everything he wanted at last. Almost...