The Night before Fete Day

It was the night before 'Winter Fete' on Couruscant, and Anakin Skywalker and his three Padawan companions were sitting around a warm fire in a Temple Common room, discussing the merits and drawbacks of their different gift ideas.

"I don't know what to get Master Astengasi," Schurke sighed dramatically.

"How about the promise that you'll stay celibate for a month?" Gris said dryly, eliciting a chorus of laughter from Anakin and Kampher.

"The shock would send him to an early grave, I think," Schurke replied nonchalantly. "Perhaps bottles of Corrillian ale… illegal as hell, but you know he'd like it."

"What about you, Anakin?" Kampher purred from her chair. "Do you have a gift in mind for Obi-Wan?"

"A night with one of those Outlander Club girls," Schurke suggested brightly. "Maybe loosen up the old salt a bit."

Anakin threw a cushion at him, which Schurke easily deflected, and the four friends laughed again.

"Master Obi-Wan is a good man," Anakin said softly. "He only wants to see me become the best Jedi I can."

"We know that, Anakin," Gris interrupted him gently, and then added with a smirk. "How about a day with Schurke as his apprentice? The he would be happy to take you back!"

Schurke rolled his eyes. "Sorry, dear heart," he said. "You know I'm not into bearded Masters."

"Why not make him something, Anakin?" Kampher suggested seriously. "You are good with your hands." Anticipating a snappy remark from Schurke, she suddenly shoved a sweet roll into his mouth. Schurke accepted it without argument, grinning around the massive piece of pastry.

"I'll think on it," Anakin sighed. He knew there had to be something he could give his Master, his mentor. Something that spoke from the heart.

Gris unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn. "It's getting late," she said. "And Master Aliéné wants me to come with him to the Temple Archives early in the morning." She rose and offered Kampher an arm. "Come on Kam, I'll walk with you to your quarters. Goodnight everyone!"

"Bor-ing!" Schurke trumpeted. "However, an empty bed does call!" Here he raised an eyebrow. "Unless…"

"Go on you old pirate," Anakin smiled. "The ladies have the right idea, but I think I'll stay a little longer."

"Goodnight Anakin, Schurke," Kampher called from the doorway. "I'll see you in the sparring class tomorrow."

Good naturedly resigned, Schurke also headed towards the door. "Night ladies!" he called. "And if you change your mind…"

Anakin shook his head, but smiled as he held up his hand to say goodbye. Schurke was a bit of a philanderer, but his heart was always in the right place.

Anakin turned to the view outside and allowed his thoughts to drift. Somewhere out there, Senator Amidala was probably engaged in a last minute debate session before the government broke up for Fete, and he was probably the farthest thing from his mind, but he still thought about her.

Someday, he promised himself before turning his thoughts back to his Master.

He dimly remembered hearing Obi-Wan playing a small set of pipes when he was a child. The sound had been soothing and comforting in his first few months in the temple. He knew that even though Obi-Wan never spoke of it, he missed the instrument terribly, having presented it as a token of goodwill to a member of a primitive tribe on one of their many missions. He could make one out of some of the many scraps of metal that proliferated his quarters - the very thing that Obi-Wan had silently despaired of but had mercifully kept silent about. He could easily finish it tonight if he started on it now.

Yes, that was the very thing. Anakin always found that simple projects would also quiet the steady stream of thought that seemed to plague him as of late. The thoughts that change and upheaval of a kind that he had no control over, was coming, and yet…

With only a little reluctance, he put aside thoughts of Padmé and all the other things, and headed back to his quarters, intent on finishing his gift before the Fete celebrations began.

Anakin loved Obi-Wan like a father, and he knew that even though Jedi normally eschewed possessions, Fete was the one joyful exception to the rule.

"It's beautiful, Anakin," Obi-Wan said softly as he gently fingered the tiny instrument. "I don't know what to say."

Anakin flushed happily. Obi-Wan had presented him with a pair of warm fitted gloves, perfect for missions on some of the colder worlds they visited. It had been a perfect gift.

"Will you play?" Anakin asked hesitantly, and Obi-Wan smiled. He placed the delicate instrument to his lips and began to play. The tune was sweet and pure and as it echoed through the court yard of the Temple, Anakin felt a rare sense of peace and belonging, and most importantly, of being loved.