EPILOGUE

Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker was standing in what had rapidly become his favourite place in the Jedi Temple: the terrace opening atop the North wing of the large, ancient building.

He had walked close to the edge, near the protective rail and was standing there, legs spread and planted to the ground, arms laced behind his back, looking at the landscape.

Coruscant, the heart of the Republic, stretched all around. The sunset had just begun, and the sun gave to the sky a warm orange-yellow glow, that was reflected by the durasteel and transparisteel of the skyscrapers and the towers he could see everywhere.

Anakin closed his eyes, basking in the last light of the day, and smiled.

He smiled often in these days, and it was not difficult to guess why. His life was good, and he had never been happier.

The Clone Wars had ended and the Separatists brought back inside the Republic.

Chancellor Palpatine, or better, the Dark Lord Darth Sidious, had been discovered and eliminated before he could do even more damage he had already done. Also, his supporters in the Senate had been isolated and removed.

Bail Organa was the new Supreme Chancellor and under his enlightened leadership Anakin was sure the Republic would not only recover from the wounds inflicted by the wars, but flourish and expand even more.

As for the Jedi, the war had claimed the lives of too many of his fellow knights, but the honour bestowed on them by the new Chancellor had convinced many families to hand them their Force sensitive children—and the same was happening to the equally honoured Sith Order.

Anakin's contented smile became a happy grin as he thought of his own favourite Sith, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.

More than one year had passed since they had bonded on Rekam. They had managed relatively well to convince their respective orders to accept their bond as Force-willed and to allow them to live together, in Anakin's quarters at the Jedi Temple. Obi-Wan had preferred so, for his rooms at the Sith Temple were too filled with memories of his life with his wife to be comfortable to live there with Anakin.

As he had fully warned his bond-mate, life with the Sith Master was not easy. Obi-Wan was a hard man, sometimes even harsh, but it was not too surprising given the education and training he had received at the Sith Temple.

Anakin had been horrified when he had discovered his bond-mate's back was covered by criss-crossing scars, the memento of a whipping he had received as a 10 year old by his master, so that he would never forget the lesson taught him that day. A Sith never begs. A Sith never surrenders. A Sith never submits.

Anakin had almost thrown up when he had heard about that episode, and about the fact young Obi-Wan's only reward for a job well done had been the absence of a beating.

The discussion had pained, even sickened him, as he had mentally compared his own training under Qui-Gon's tutelage with Obi-Wan's. However, the talk had helped him to understand the need to excel animating his bond-mate, and the reasons it was so difficult for him to give up some control, both in his job and in their relationship. Obi-Wan was always the one in charge between them; even when he took Anakin inside his body, he was the one who dictated the pace and the timing of their lovemaking.

Anakin tried not to antagonize him on this. He knew how hard it had been for the older man to break one of the stricter tenets of the Sith Code and let his bond-mate claim his body, no matter how pleasurable he had found the act. So, the young Jedi let Obi-Wan have things in his way, as he worked subtly and gently to teach his bond-mate there was no submission in love.

Anakin had already scored some victories in transforming their relationship into the loving one they had seen in their vision. He still remembered the joy he had felt the evening Obi-Wan had allowed him to put his arm round his shoulders, as they watched a holomovie sitting on the divan. A few evenings later the older man had reciprocated the gesture, and pulled Anakin to lean against his side.

Anakin also remembered the day the Obi-Wan had accepted the gold ring Anakin had given him as a symbol of their bond and allowed him to slip it onto his finger. He had then repeated Anakin's moves, slipping the ring onto his finger and even bringing his hand to his lips for a kiss.

Anakin felt a nudge in the bond, as the object of his musings said in his mind//I have returned. Where are you/

/On the terrace, looking at the sunset./

/I should have known; you are a bloody romantic/ was the gruff reply.

Anakin laughed//Yes, I am./

Obi-Wan made an indistinct sound, then the bond fell silent. A moment later, Anakin heard familiar footsteps approach him, as his bond-mate took his place at his side, he too looking at the sky.

Anakin lowered his shields and Obi-Wan did the same, so that their minds and their souls could meld together. The young Jedi basked in the strong, calm aura of his bond-mate, enjoying the sense of peace coming from him.

Obi-Wan turned to face him, a speculative gaze on his rugged, handsome face and Anakin arched an eyebrow in an interrogative way, as a wave of hesitation washed other him. Obi-Wan hesitating? That was a first. What was he thinking?

Obi-Wan shook his head and returned to stare at the sunset, but then Anakin felt something touch the sleeve of his robe. He looked down and saw it was Obi-Wan's hand, reaching out for his own.

Anakin's heart started beating faster at the unexpected, tender gesture and hurried to take the offered hand in his own. Their fingers intertwined together in a grip that was both strong and gentle.

/I love you/ a hesitant, low, cultured voice said after a moment of silence.

/As I love you/ a surer, yet moved one answered, as the continued to stare at the sky, a smile of pure happiness brightening both their faces.

THE END