Title: One Thing You Lack . . .
Author: Laura of Maychoria
Timeframe: Clone War
Rating: G
Summary: Considering how easily Anakin wins at just about everything, it's only fair that Obi-Wan have the best of him in at least one area. A lighthearted Obikin to relieve your RotS-related depression.
Author's note: For a challenge on the JC forums.
Disclaimer: Star Wars would be much, much mushier if it belonged to me. And poor Obi-Wan would not spend twenty years exiled in the desert.

One Thing You Lack . . .

"It seemed so easy." Anakin moaned, rubbing his forehead with his thumb and index finger.

"Well, now you know better," Obi-Wan said with just a hint of smugness, arranging his pieces in a neat row on the edge of the table like tiny soldiers arrayed and ready to accept his commands.

Anakin scowled at Obi-Wan's tidy little phalanx and glanced at his own scrambled pile of plastiform beasties, shoved to the side where they could not offend his eye unless he deliberately looked for them. "You always were better at the mind trick," he muttered.

"Are you accusing me of cheating?" Obi-Wan asked, a blue twinkle shining in a most frustratingly persistent way beneath his ragged gold-red hair. They hadn't had a chance to get a trim for a couple of months, and it showed, though Obi-Wan somehow managed to keep his air of impeccable order despite worn garments and over-long hair.

Anakin himself, the young man suspected grumpily, probably continued to look slovenly even after hours of grooming, at least compared to this irritatingly well-kempt general of the Republic.

"Cheating, Master? No, never. Course not. Wouldn't dream of it. Silly. It saddens me that you would even think that I would accuse you of such deception. My best, oldest, most trusted friend. Absolute nonsense." Anakin paused, sucking his lower lip.

Obi-Wan nodded, making tiny adjustments to his little army, shaping the line until it was precisely straight.

Anakin leaned forward slightly. "You weren't, were you?"

"Of course not!"

"Oh, right. Of course." The young Knight leaned back, his arms crossed over his chest, the gold one—somewhat dulled now after weeks on this wet, moldy world—humming in mechanical discontent.

With a sick-sounding plop, a large drop fell from the soggy ceiling above and landed on Anakin's cheek, causing him to flinch. He glanced up at the ceiling with an exasperated sigh, studying the gray-splotched adobe for a hole, but there were none. The once-water-tight clay material was simply saturated from the unending rains, and minute cracks all through it allowed moisture to seep through anywhere, at any time.

Most annoying.

Anakin lowered his eyes to glower at the table between the two Jedi, rickety and dark with rot. He wished Commander Cody would get back with that reconnaissance. They'd been waiting all afternoon for news. Not that they would do something once they got it. Most likely they would just study it for weaknesses, make a few clever observations and refine their long-term strategy once more, then decide to wait for the next report.

The thing Anakin hated about waiting out sieges was . . . the waiting.

And Obi-Wan just sat there with that small, infuriating grin, twinkling at him. "Why, my dear Padawan, I do believe you're sulking."

"Did you miss the knighting ceremony? I'm not your Padawan anymore."

Obi-Wan's expression softened. "Anakin, you will always be my Padawan."

A warm gushy feeling surged through Anakin, but he shook it away with a scowl that wasn't quite as convincing as the earlier version. "Have it your way. But I am not sulking."

"Your mood has been steadily worsening all afternoon. I'd say that it definitely counts as a sulk, now."

"It's high dudgeon."

"Ah. Of course. That's why you look like a three-year-old preparing to have a hissy fit."

Surprised out of his irritation, Anakin gaped at his former master. "Where do you pick up all this Outer Rim slang?"

"Well, I have been living with a child from the Outer Rim for the past thirteen years."

"I don't think I ever used that one, though."

"No, but your mother did."

"And then I suppose Master Qui-Gon passed it on?"

"Your reputation for hissy fits precedes you."

Anakin sighed and stared at the table, suddenly feeling deflated. Obi-Wan studied him, rearranging his pieces into a column.

"You know, I think I like it better when you sulk." The question was unspoken, but clear between them. What's troubling you, young one?

The young Knight straightened himself, fashioning a look of annoyance on his face. "We've been playing dejarik all afternoon, and I haven't once come close to winning."

"Poor Anakin. You're accustomed to everything coming easily for you. No doubt this is very disconcerting."

Anakin rubbed the heel of his hand over his eye. "I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong."

"Dejarik is a game of strategy and forethought. You need to plan many moves ahead, see what your opponent might do and plan accordingly. Have alternate routes to reach your goal—be aware of every piece at all times and what it is capable of doing."

"Yes, yes, you've explained all that." Anakin waved a hand. "So why can't I get it?"

Obi-Wan stopped his endless fiddling to look his friend squarely in the eye. "Generally, you see a chance to capture and you take it, seeing only the immediate consequences. You do not notice the piece on the other side of the board which instantly foils you. It's called 'board sense'—you don't have it."

"Oh." With all of Anakin's extraordinary senses and instincts, it didn't seem fair that he was missing one. Why didn't he have the full complement?

"It's a common failing," Obi-Wan said, gazing down at his rank of creatures with satisfaction. "You're learning. It will come to you, as everything does, sooner or later." He looked up and smiled warmly, the smile of a comrade, of a brother-in-arms. "What do you say? Best sixteen out of thirty?"

Anakin couldn't help but smile back. "Oh, all right. One more game. But I swear, if I lose this one, I'm giving up on strategy games for life."

"Oh, don't do that," Obi-Wan said softly, setting up his pieces, placing them precisely in the center of their designated squares. "Don't do that."

Anakin took the first move, and they began.

(End)