Body Title: "Not What It Seems"

Author: valsolo

Genre/Rating: A little bit of romance, action, and adventure :)--- PG

Summary: Set about five years before TPM, a young Obi-Wan is sent on a solo mission to protect the spoiled daughter of a Galactic senator. Along the way, he discovers that all is not what it seems.

Disclaimer: Of course, George Lucas owns most of this stuff. I'm just writing for the fun of it!

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Chapter 1--

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"I wasn't aware that the Jedi had begun hiring out as baby-sitters."

Obi-Wan Kenobi cringed at the words but tried to appear unmoved. He had asked the same thing when Master Yoda had given him this assignment. Playing bodyguard to a spoiled young socialite was not his idea of a mission worthy of his valuable time and efforts. He forced a small smile and glanced back at the young woman standing in front of him.

"We do what we must," he said with a slight nod. The woman rolled her eyes in contempt and turned away. The older man who accompanied her got an embarrassed look on his face and began to apologize.

"I must apologize for my daughter's lack of civility, Jedi Kenobi. She is quite headstrong and stubborn, much as her mother was."

"Stop making excuses for me, Father. I'm a big girl now. I can make my own choices." The young woman plopped nonchalantly into one of the huge overstuffed chairs in the room. "... and I don't need a baby-sitter!"

//Isn't this going to be fun!// Obi-Wan thought to himself. As a Jedi he was expected to approach any mission as if it were of the utmost importance. However, the prospect of a month in the company of such a 'pleasant' companion was almost more than he could stand.

"Now, now, Arella. Please do try to show some manners. Jedi Kenobi is here at my request to protect you." The man was trying to remain calm and sound kind, yet the gleam in his eyes was starting to betray his annoyance with his daughter.

"Protect me from whom, Father? Myself?" Again, the young woman rolled her eyes and heaved an exasperated sigh.

Obi-Wan felt a bit awkward at being present at such a private family moment and began shifting nervously from foot to foot. The man turned back to him and offered a toothy grin.

"Well, if you don't mind, I must return to my office to prepare for the next session of the Senate this afternoon. I'll leave you two to get better acquainted."

"Thank you, Senator. I'm sure we'll be fine." Obi-Wan bowed slightly as the man left the room.

"Tah-tah, Daddy," Arella called after him. Then the door shut and the two were left alone. Neither spoke, but Arella surveyed the Jedi slowly from head to toe. //The clothes have got to go, and the braid... I don't know about that. Fairly attractive, though// she concluded to herself. //But he looks like he has the personality of a rock!//

Obi-Wan could feel her eyes on him, yet he tried not to look at her. He became a bit unnerved and began walking around the room examining various knickknacks that were placed throughout.

"Do I make you nervous?" Arella asked the Jedi with a grin.

Obi-Wan stopped and turned to face her. "No. Of course not," he responded.

"Oh," Arella muttered and then looked away while she drummed her fingernails on the arm of the chair. They made a dull thudding sound as they hit the nerf hide. It was the only sound in the room until Arella took a deep breath and then exhaled loudly.

"Well, what exactly has my father told you about me?" she asked, trying once again to break the silence. Obi-Wan sat down in a chair across from Arella and decided to try a conversation.

"Let's see..." he began. "He's told me that he is concerned for your safety, enough, in fact, that he felt it necessary to request help from the Jedi temple."

"I see." Arella leaned forward in her chair. "And has he told you why he is concerned about me... specifically?"

Obi-Wan took a good look at the young woman in front of him for the first time since he had entered the room. Her dark blonde hair fell in front of her shoulders in waves and her dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief and arrogance as she waited for him to respond.

"Well?" she stated impatiently.

"Well, not exactly," Obi admitted sheepishly. "He only said that I am to make sure nothing happens to you during your trip to Shreeana."

"Just as I thought," Arella said as she fell back into her chair. "In other words, your job is to keep me from having any fun. Is this what you've spent your life training for, Jedi Kenobi is it? Baby-sitting a grown woman?"

Obi-Wan looked at her in confusion.

"You do know that I am not a child, do you not?" she asked. "I am nineteen years old, considered an adult on most civilized worlds. Yet my father continues to treat me as if I were still twelve."

The stunned look on the Jedi's face told her what she needed to know. "So you see, I am really not in need of your protective services."

There must be something I'm missing here,// Obi-Wan thought to himself. Yoda would never knowingly send him on such a futile mission. He could tell that she wanted him to leave, and that was precisely why he would stay.

"Although I would agree that you are of legal age, I have been retained to see to your safety. For some reason your father and my masters feel it is important for me to be here, and so I must stay and complete my duty."

Arella looked at him strangely for a few seconds before a grin spread across her face. It made her appear even more comely than she already was.

"Do you always talk like that?" she asked with a chuckle.

"Like what?" Obi replied, totally oblivious to her jibe.

"Never mind," she said shaking her head. He could feel her gaze upon him again and his face began to heat up. "How old are you anyway?" she asked. "You look younger than me."

"I am twenty-one," he answered, "and quite capable of protecting you against anything that may come our way." The girl continued to grin causing Obi-Wan a slight bit of uneasiness, yet he forced himself not to show it.

"Anything, huh? This should be an interesting trip. Tell me, do you always dress like that?" she asked motioning towards him.

"Like what?" he replied as he glanced down at his Jedi garb. It was like a second skin to him.

"So... so... tan," she said with a wrinkle of her nose.

Obi-Wan was beginning to feel a bit irked by her arrogant insinuations but forced that feeling down as well. "This is the typical dress of a Jedi padawan. In my life, I don't have the spare time or desire to worry about keeping up with the latest fashions." He tried not to let his irritation show, but his voice gave it away.

Arella's eyes raised in mock surprise at his curt response and then another grin tugged at the corners of her mouth.

"Sorry, Jedi Kenobi. I meant no disrespect, of course. It's just so difficult for someone of my privileged upbringing to understand your life of sacrifice and duty. I am much too superficial for such things.... isn't that what you think?"

She was mocking him again, and he hated it. He never even had the chance to reply before she jumped up from the chair and announced her need to finish packing.

"My room is right down the hall. If you like, you can come in and protect me while I fold my delicates."

That mischievous glint in her eyes was pushing a button in him that he thought he had under control years ago. Now, in under ten minutes, this young woman had managed to undo countless hours of meditation and experience he had undergone to learn patience.

"I'll just wait outside your door, if you don't mind."

"Suit yourself," she replied flippantly as she walked out of the room giving him another grin over her shoulder.

Obi-Wan growled under his breath. //Qui-Gon, where are you when I need you?// Then he sighed. He knew he was on his own this time. This was his chance to prove he was nearing readiness for the trials, and he WOULD succeed, despite his young charge and her irritating personality.

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As Obi-Wan Kenobi stood vigil outside the door, Arella Tenot took pleasure in packing her bags--- very slowly. Something about the young Jedi brought out her mischievous side, and she was bound and determined to make this assignment his toughest yet. He seemed so straight-laced and pious for such a young man. She took it upon herself to 'undo' him a bit.

An hour passed by while Obi-Wan continued his wait. It gave him time to contemplate his current situation, yet no matter how many different ways he looked at it, he just couldn't see any positives. Many other young male padawans would have delighted in escorting such a beautiful young woman on a trip. However, Obi's serious focus and determination to be the best Jedi he could be didn't want to have time wasted on such a shallow mission.

His master, Qui-Gon Jinn, was off on a much needed personal renewal trip. Every once in a while, it had been found, a Jedi needed to get away from all of the drains on his or her life and get back in touch with their true self. Thus, a refreshed commitment to his calling would encourage him to continue his duties.

So that was why Obi-Wan was alone on this mission--- if that was what this fiasco could be called. Master Yoda had summoned him yesterday to give him the details, limited as they were. He was to be bodyguard to the daughter of Senator Aren Tenot, a very influential politician from the planet Shreeana. The master had told him more, but he hadn't paid very close attention to the politics of the situation. He preferred not to get too involved in politics, considering past experiences.

Obi-Wan's brow furrowed into his common frown as he shifted his weight from foot to foot impatiently. //How long does it take to pack a bag?!// he thought to himself. It had only taken him ten minutes to gather all he would need for this journey.

Just then the door swished open and Arella stepped out with a huge smile. "All ready!" she announced. Obi-Wan looked by her side, but saw no bags. Arella tugged at her long gloves and added, "My bags are right inside."

"Excuse me?" Obi-Wan said in confusion. Arella stopped and glanced up at him, her nose high in the air.

"My bags... aren't you going to get them?"

Obi-Wan fought the urge to laugh right in her face. //What nerve!// he thought.

"I have my bag right here," he said patting a small satchel which hung at his hip. Arella looked at the bag and then gazed in shock back at him.

"Surely, you don't expect me to carry my own bags!" she declared indignantly. Obi-Wan stood motionless and did not let his resolve waiver. He would not carry her bags.

"Miss Tenot, I was hired as your protection, not as your manservant." It felt good to say those words and see the astonishment on her face.

"Well, I---!" She huffed in anger before turning around to pick up her bags... all three of them. Her struggling to get a firm grip on all of them, seeing as they were quite large and heavy, brought a small sense of satisfaction to Obi-Wan's heart. Finally, she had them and started off down the hallway. Only a few steps down and she lost her grip and the bags tumbled to the floor. Arella glared daggers at Obi-Wan who was behind her, making sure he didn't laugh at her predicament. Then she attempted to pick them up again all the while muttering under her breath.

"... none of this would have happened..... absolutely barbaric...."

Gradually, an unbidden thought entered his mind. //Pick up the bags and stop being such a dolt! Even if she is annoying, she's still a girl and deserves some respect.//

"Here," Obi-Wan interjected as he picked up the two largest bags. "We'll never make it to the spaceport like this."

"Thank you," Arella responded softly, almost as if it were painful for her to say. Obi-Wan took the lead, his dark brown cape billowing behind him as he walked. Another huge grin spread across Arella's face. //Yes, this is going to be fun!//