Title: I Feel Pretty
Summary: Anakin dons a frilly ballgown as a disguise on assignment. The usual sort of mishaps occur.
Rating: M, for the type of humor
Disclaimer: Star wars is the property of George Lucas. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: This fic came from two sentences I wrote in 'The Long Road Back' (chapter 11) -- '"...Boys don't usually wear dresses." Although he could recall one incident where Anakin donned a particularly frilly ballgown and long wig on an assignment.' Of course, that story just had to be written. I couldn't get the image of it out of my head.
It was frilly and hideous and neither of them wanted to put it on. However, one of them had to. Obi-Wan Kenobi pinched the bridge of his nose and wondered which of the Council members hated him this much. It would have been such a small thing to assign this affair to a Master that had a girl as Padawan or was at least a girl herself. But no, it had fallen to him and Anakin.
"I think my eyeballs are bleeding from that color, Master."
"Can you still see it?"
"Loud and clear."
"Then your eyeballs aren't bleeding. If they were, you'd be blinded."
"I'd rather be blinded." Anakin crossed his arms. "You wear it, Master." He fixed a pained expression on Obi-Wan. "It's more your color than it is mine."
"Frills would go wonderfully with my beard," he remarked, privately thinking that the color was much better for Anakin. Anakin would look nicer than he in that revolting orange.
"You could shave," Anakin suggested, looking entirely too hopeful.
Obi-Wan hurried to squash such hopes. "Why shave when my Padawan does daily? No, no, no, you're a much better choice."
"By what criteria?"
His lips twitched. "Well, I did hear a giggling gaggle of girls remarking on what pretty eyes you have. Something about long, curling lashes. That should count for something."
"And that makes me a better choice?"
Well, no. Men didn't exactly look at eyes right off and quite frankly, they needed their host to be ogling Anakin all night. Their host had to be oblivious to everything else. He considered the gown and then Anakin. At least with the color, their host wouldn't possibly miss him. They needed more than that though. They needed assets Anakin simply didn't naturally possess. "We'll need a long wig and perhaps some eye-makeup some women wear."
"No, no eye make-up." Anakin took a few steps back, shaking his head. "I'm telling you, Master, you'd make a much prettier girl than me."
"Oh really? You've given the matter previous attention?"
"No!" Anakin rolled his eyes. "No, I mean because you're shorter."
As if that explained it. "And that makes a better girl? Enlighten me, Anakin, I'm not quite following you." He couldn't wait to hear the rest of Anakin's teenaged wisdom on the subject.
"Well...yeah it's better. If she's short and just the right height, you can stand behind her, look down and see...never mind. Hypothetical." He waved a hand.
Obi-Wan had pulled that one himself a few times and speaking of that, "We'll have to pad the top as well."
"I still think you'd be prettier." Anakin scuffed the toe of one boot on the floor.
"You just don't want to try putting that thing on."
"Am I that transparent?"
"Why do I have to do it? Why can't you wear it?"
"Because I'm the Master," and I don't want to, he finished silently. "Think about it this way if it makes you feel better. When you're a Master and you have your own Padawan, you can tell him or her the story of the frilly dress to make him feel better about whatever thing he's complaining about having to do. You can tell him to feel lucky he didn't get Obi-Wan as a Master and here's why. It'll be a good bonding moment."
"Implying there's something even more embarrassing than this?"
"Oh Anakin, there are plenty of more embarrassing things than this. I could tell you stories, but I won't because we're running late. Besides, it'll only be embarrassing if there are pictures."
"There won't be pictures, right?"
Striding to the dress, Obi-Wan reached for the undergarments that went with it. "Let's get started."
"There are rarely reporters at these things. Now come here already. This could take awhile and we are on a schedule." Getting Anakin into the undergarments was going to be interesting. They were going to have to make the breasts to fill out the top, but he had a whole box of gel-packs for that. "Put this on." He held out the top.
Anakin divested himself of his tunics and took it, but after several minutes of waiting, Obi-Wan glanced up to find his Padawan twisting about like a contortionist.
"Girls are nuts. How do they get in these things?"
"Try taking your arms out of the holes and turning it around front to fasten it." At Anakin's skeptical look, he nodded. "Trust me." He hadn't believed it himself until one friend showed him.
Seconds later, "Hey, it worked. How'd you know that, Master?"
"One hears things when one has female friends." And sees things and... "Put a couple of these in the cups." He handed Anakin two of them, one for the left and right.
"Let me get the dress." Anakin set them down. "We can hold it up and see if we've got it right." Flipping the fabric around on it's hanger, he undid the back fastenings with a nimbleness that raised Obi-Wan's brows. He didn't recall being that adept at undoing women's clothing at Anakin's age. Stepping into the dress, Anakin pulled it up, then laid the top in front of him on the chair back. "Okay. Two down... Give me about four more."
"Hold the dress up." He took more of the packs from the box while Anakin slipped his arms into the sleeves and pulled the front up. "Too flat. Add these two."
They continued for several minutes in that manner.
"Two more, Master."
Obi-Wan squinted. "Bigger."
Peering into the box, he hoped they'd be done soon or they were going to run out of these gel packs. "Bigger."
Anakin dutifully added more stuffing, then looked at himself in the mirror. "Oh, hold on a minute, I'm lop-sided." He shifted the gel packs.
"Add a couple more, maybe that'll help." The box said they were cleavage enhancing, but they seemed to be having trouble making cleavage to begin with.
"Doubt it." Adding the packs, Anakin sighed. "Still not big enough. How big was the woman this dress came from, Master?"
"Apparently she was well-blessed. Try a few more."
"Anymore and I'll fall over." Shrugging the top down, he tugged at the straps of the undergarment. "This is uncomfortable."
Now Obi-Wan saw the real problem. "Oh for..." He tightened the shoulder straps bit by slow bit. "Honestly Anakin, they're not supposed to droop to your knees. They must be properly supported. Surely you knew that?"
"Of course I knew that," another roll of his eyes, "but how was I to know I needed to adjust the straps? It's not like the girls I know ever wear anything like this." He paused. "Never mind."
Boys will be boys, wouldn't they? Obi-Wan kept adjusting the straps until suddenly, there was cleavage. Fake cleavage that looked fake. Fortunately, the gown wasn't of the low-cut variety or Obi-Wan would be calling in a favor from one of several female friends instead of cheerfully humiliating Anakin. "Now that's more like it," he murmured.
Anakin turned left and right and thrust his chest out. "I could put an eye out with these things." He squeezed them. "Wow, they even feel real!"
"And how would you know what a real breast feels like?"
Anakin looked up. He paused just long enough for his explanation to have a fake ring to it. "Oh, you know, Master. Accidents and...well...hands slip...I apologized for it."
It could be made up or not. With Anakin, sometimes his true stories were far more entertaining than mistruths. Rather than dwell on it, Obi-Wan directed a critical stare at Anakin's chest. "Well, they may feel real to you, but they certainly don't look it. You're lumpy."
A bit more squeezing and shifting and finally, "There, Master. As real looking as fake breasts can get on a guy."
He was pleased to see Anakin's sense of humor returning full force. "Now pull the gown back up and let's see if we solved the problem." They were getting there. He filled out the top nicely except... Obi-Wan shook his head. "Anakin, the chest hair ruins the look."
"Oh come on! There's not a lot of it. I thought I'd never get any. If anyone comments, I'll say I have a glandular condition or something."
"It'll grow back."
"So would your beard." He scowled.
Ten minutes later, Anakin's chest was hair free and they turned their attention to the hooped undergarment. The problem with it? It was too small at the waist.
"So let me get this straight," Anakin began. "This woman was tall, with a tiny waist and absolutely massive--"
"Anakin please. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Respect them all. What would you think of not wearing the hoop?"
It was quickly apparent he couldn't walk in the dress without getting tangled up in the fabric. Anakin muttered to himself and Obi-Wan made a mental note to find out just what those words actually meant in Huttese. He certainly didn't believe Anakin's claim to 'glorious beautiful dishrag'. Ten minutes more and they had the hoop turned and pinned into something reasonably close to what they thought it should be. However, once the gown was back on --
"I look fat. There's like a roll right in the middle."
"With a chest that big, who will notice your waist?"
"I'll notice and I won't feel pretty. Every girl wants to feel pretty. Besides, the other girls will talk about me and I'll have my little sensitive feelings hurt. Really Master, I might even cry. You wouldn't want that to happen at my first diplomatic ball, would you? It would be too traumatic. I'd be scarred for life."
It was Obi-Wan's turn to roll his eyes. "You should be in the theater, Anakin." It took five more attempts to get the waist to Anakin's satisfaction. "And it's not a diplomatic ball. It's a ball being given by a former diplomat with shady dealings. We're merely to keep him distracted."
"Right. Where's the wig?"
Obi-Wan opened one large box and frowned. "This can't be it."
Adjusting his chest again, Anakin peered over the box edge. "Sure that isn't a dead Wookie?"
"It's certainly the right size." Gingerly, he picked up the mass of hair and flipped it about. No, it was a wig all right. Various shades of blonde and curly. "Put it on."
"Okay." He fitted it on his head and made a show of arranging the curls. "Ta-da."
With the wig on, Obi-Wan had to admit Anakin wasn't too bad looking as a girl. He tilted his head to one side. "You'll do."
Anakin scrutinized his reflection. "I'm kind of cute in a weird way." He tilted his head back, pointed a finger at his throat. "Hmm. That might give me away. Is there a scarf or something?" Bending over, he rifled through the boxes. The hooped skirt tilted up alarmingly in back.
Obi-Wan covered his mouth with one hand, trying to stifle his amusement. This was not going to work, was it? Anakin was going to do something that would make it apparent he was a boy and the assignment would be a bust.
"This'll work." Standing once more, Anakin wrapped a long feathered scarf about his neck. "I'm ready." He grinned, striking a pose and batting his lashes.
"Well you're at least getting into the spirit of it," he remarked. "Don't get carried away, Anakin. You have friends that are girls. Behave like them."
He nodded. "Okay. So I should spend all my time giggling and try real hard to blush whenever you stand next to me?"
"It's time to quit cracking jokes. This is a serious assignment from here on out."
"I'm not joking, Master. Haven't you noticed them?" Anakin frowned, as though he thought it strange Obi-Wan hadn't noticed.
"No. Why would they do a thing like that?" He much preferred females his own age.
"I don't know. I'm not a girl, but best guess is they think you're attractive or something." He squinted. "You could be attractive, but I just don't see it."
"Right. Let's go then. Try and keep your mischief in check, hmm? We're here on an assignment." Maybe if he said it enough times, Anakin would keep it in mind.
As they left the room, Obi-Wan didn't have high hopes of decorum. Anakin had that twinkle in his eyes.
Their host was a man of short stature who was nearly as wide as he was tall named Gorash. He had a pointy beard and a tendency to chortle. He made an immediate beeline to Anakin, ignoring the long line of guests ahead of them still waiting to be greeted. Appreciation and a huge dose of lust gleamed in his beady eyes.
"Well hello, beauty," he purred, squinting up at Anakin with a smile. "I'm your host for the evening. Gorash. You may call me...Ash."
Obi-Wan leaned over a little to catch his attention, wondering how long until Anakin made up some horribly inappropriate nickname for the man. Mentally, he thought of several immediately obvious ones. "My charge, Baron. Her name is...Ani."
Gorash's gaze drifted down Anakin and back up, his smile widening. "Ani. What a lovely name. Dance with me, Ani. I insist." Gorash grabbed Anakin's hand.
Anakin simpered, cooed "since you insist," and headed onto the already crowded dance floor with the man.
Obi-Wan went to the bar and got a drink. It was an open bar and he decided to indulge in his favorite mixed drink. Swirling the blue concoction gently in the glass, he watched. His worries appeared for nothing. Anakin and Gorash danced. Obi-Wan chatted with other guests, keeping a watch out of the corner of his eye until he noticed... Oh Anakin, he thought. What are you doing?
It was obvious what he was doing. Anakin was leading. Forcefully. He fairly dragged the much shorter man about the dance floor with strides that were anything but feminine. His skirts swayed from the energetic motions, revealing his boots. Obi-Wan wondered what Gorash had been told about that and sighed as Anakin repeatedly tread heavily on the man's feet. He didn't have long to wonder as the music ended, their host escorting Anakin back over to him.
"I never knew that the women led the dances in your culture. A very enlightening experience. I'll have to come visit you, Ani. You can show me...everything." He patted Anakin's hand over and over.
"We'll plan on it." Half-way through the sentence, Anakin remembered to raise his voice to falsetto. The switch caused Gorash to make a revolting purring noise.
Obi-Wan wondered if the humanoid had some sort of mating season coming on. He hadn't heard any stories about Baron Gorash being this lecherous.
"Your voice is so melodious. I could listen to you talk all day. How about if we --" Gorash stopped, casting an annoyed glance at the room behind him. "Hold that thought. Duty calls." He nibbled at Anakin's hand while Anakin simpered and batted his lashes once more.
Once the man was gone, Obi-Wan dragged Anakin over by the refreshment table. "Visit you? Where did you tell him you were from?"
"I made up a planet," he replied in a nonchalant tone, grabbing a handful of nuts from a bowl and popping them into his mouth.
"Out of all the planets in the galaxy you could choose from, you decided to make one up?"
"Mm-hmm." He swallowed noisily.
"Explain to me how that is a good idea."
"He can't find me to visit."
"As if he would really try." Although from the way Gorash was watching Anakin, he just might try and find him later. A disturbing thought.
"He might," Anakin insisted, brushing off his hands and setting them on his hips. His wig tilted to one side.
"Fix your hair. He won't try to visit. Your creative effort is wasted."
"Not if you take into account the other things I told him." Anakin fixed the wig, though now the angle was a bit off. "I'm thirsty. All the dancing. Where are the drinks?"
Gulping down the rest of his own drink, Obi-Wan pointed behind his Padawan. He decided he didn't really want to know whatever else Anakin might have made up. He suspected he wouldn't like it. "Behind you, and Anakin, focus on your task."
"I'm very focused, Master. I must be doing something right, because he keeps trying to pinch me. That's a good sign." With a reassuring grin that was anything but, he moved off towards the bar.
"Your charge is delightful," came Gorash's voice from behind him.
Obi-Wan turned with a polite smile, brows raising at the smell of liquor on his breath. He thought he could probably get drunk off of fumes alone and wondered just how snockered Gorash was. How many drinks had he downed before they'd gotten there? "Yes."
"Spirited. If I may confide in you, I adore a tall, strong woman."
"Ani is certainly tall and strong," he replied in a dry tone, glancing at the bar. He wouldn't put it past Anakin to try and sneak an alcoholic beverage or two.
"A warrior woman, fierce and capable. Such an attractive thing, that."
"She has told me so much already about your culture. Fascinating." He waved a hand in the air. "I must visit Floxycintilaria someday soon."
Floxycintilaria? Obi-Wan suppressed a snicker. Floxycintil was an obscure word for 'dung' that Anakin had recently learned while avoiding actually writing a report on Coruscant early history. Just the sort of thing a seventeen year old boy found amusing. "We'd be honored, Baron."
"To think that the women lead the dances and that stepping on feet is a sign of growing affection! I never knew." He drew himself up as tall as he could. "I would like permission to call upon Ani. I know it's sudden and quick, but I feel we have a...connection."
Obi-Wan nodded. "I'll consider the request."
"As you may know, I am in the market for a wife. I could provide well for your charge. Just imagine the handsome children we could have!" He chortled as if imagining what it took to make said children.
Children huh? Obi-Wan cleared his throat. Not unless there was some sort of medical miracle, he thought, quirking a brow. He glanced towards the bar. Perhaps he should indulge in another drink. He suspected he'd need it before the night was over.
"So tell me, where exactly is your home located? I've never heard of Floxycintilaria before and I pride myself on being an expert in little known planets of the galaxy."
Luckily Anakin returned before he had to think up an answer, squealed in a terrific imitation of some of the girls his age, and dragged Gorash back out onto the dance floor.
Obi-Wan began to mingle. It wasn't too long before he heard a crash and turned to see Gorash getting up from the shambles of the refreshment table. Food littered the floor and the front of his fancy coat.
Anakin sashayed towards his Master, skirts swaying and endangering the knickknacks on one display table as he walked by. His expression was one of pure innocence, so Obi-Wan knew exactly what had happened. He raised a brow to indicate that he wasn't amused by the prank. "You Force pushed our host into the refreshment table? Anakin, what were you thinking?"
He casually adjusted his chest in a way no woman ever would, then snagged a drink off of a tray. "He felt me up and implied we could have a really good time later. I politely declined and when he wouldn't take no for an answer, I gave him a little shove."
"Little? He flattened the entire table."
"He's a big guy, okay. Momentum."
"You do realize you're supposed to be cozying up to him right?"
Anakin grinned and waved his hand. The liquid in his glass sloshed over the rim and onto the hem of the dress. "Relax. It's called playing hard to get. See, the guy advances, the girl retreats. The girl advances, implies she's a little easy and waits. Then, they do it all over again until maybe we're back in my room after curfew..." He blinked. "Never mind. Trust me."
He was either having the time of his life or he was sloshed, one of the two. "Are you drunk?"
"Of course not."
"This better be your natural state of cheer and not liquid induced." Although, when Anakin was in one of these mischievous moods having him drunk would be infinitely better for all parties involved.
"Shh! Here he comes. I'm not lopsided again, am I?"
"No," Obi-Wan sighed. He could feel a headache beginning right between his eyes. "Your fake chest looks wonderful."
"It does, doesn't it? Mine are the biggest ones here, too," he bragged. "Those girls here? They're all soo jealous right now."
"And I'm so proud." Was Anakin trying to shock him with all the seemingly forgetful references to girls? Yes, he decided. Anakin was trying to get a reaction out of him. Who knew if any of it was truth. Obi-Wan suspected some of it was, but how much? Had he ever been like that when he was that age? Well…yes. He liked to think he'd been more subtle than Anakin. However, the truth was, he recalled Qui-Gon giving him rather amused looks at times, much like those he now gave Anakin.
The Baron came to them, removing his coat and handing it to a waiting valet. "So clumsy of me. Tripping over my own feet like that. Hopefully I didn't get anything on your beautiful dress, Ani?"
Anakin looked down. He seemed disappointed to find no bits of food clinging to the fabric. "Not a bit, Ashy."
Ashy? Obi-Wan crossed his arms. As imagination went, that was a poor nickname.
The two moved off again, Obi-Wan following this time. He watched Gorash maneuver Anakin into a corner shadowed by several large potted plants and stepped closer, straining to hear the conversation. What he saw and heard amused him further.
"I would very much like to kiss you, Ani."
"On the first date? Oh, Ashy, I'm not that kind of girl!" He batted the feather scarf at Gorash's face. "Besides, it's so…public here."
"Oh." The man suddenly leered hopefully. "Would you care for a stroll about the gardens, my warrior princess? It's very private. I could tell you all about the flowers."
"My guardian," Anakin exclaimed.
"Forget your guardian. He's as much said I can court you. Imagine, my beauty, the alliance we can have together. The royal house of Floxycintilaria and my family together. A wonderful life I can give you."
Royal house? Oh yes, count on Anakin to make himself a princess.
Just then, Gorash's hand snaked up, squeezing one of the fake breasts and lingering when Anakin didn't do anything right away. Obi-Wan waited, feeling more than a little voyeuristic watching this. Suddenly, Anakin made a fierce frown and punched the man. His wig slipped off. Gorash staggered back, hit the wall and slid down to the floor, out cold. Obi-Wan moved forward.
"What the blazes are you doing," he whispered, glancing over his shoulder at the room. No one had noticed the host wasn't there, so he helped Anakin drag Gorash further behind the plants.
"He grabbed me."
"Took you long enough to notice."
Anakin shook his head, still frowning. "Not there, Master." After a moment, he pointed down. "There."
Obi-Wan followed the gesture, brows raising with understanding. "Oh, I see."
"There were layers of skirts, but still…." He grabbed the wig and attempted to put it back on. "It made me very uncomfortable."
"Can we mind trick him? Make him think I didn't hit him?"
Anakin was asking before doing it? Was the universe coming to an end? "Of course, but I shall do it. You go freshen up and take a minute by yourself." Obi-Wan crouched down and waited. By the time the man stirred, Anakin still wasn't back, so he told Gorash that Ani had gone to freshen up and Gorash had tripped and hit his head, knocking himself out. He claimed to be saving the man embarrassment by keeping him behind the plants.
Gorash was effusive in his thanks and left to have his headache taken care of.
Anakin returned. "Did you know they have couches in the women's refresher? Sounds like an orchestra in there too."
"Apparently, our Gorash is quite a ladies man in his own mind." He rubbed at one eye, smearing something all over.
Obi-Wan looked at him. There was something different about Anakin. After a moment, it hit him. "What is all over your face?"
"About five girls wanted to beautify me, so I let them. They complained about boys having all the long curling eyelashes and told me I was so lucky to have 'guy lashes'. Then they complimented my cheekbones and said I should wear a dark color on my lips so my mouth would 'pop' -- whatever that means. They liked my hair too."
He waited patiently for the point. "And?"
"Anyway, Gorash chooses the most well-endowed girl of the evening, plies her with liquor, and entices her out into the gardens while she's drunk. More than one girl has gone home mortified and in disgrace, so they all try and stick together now. They thought they'd better warn me, being as how I'm a princess, vulgarly rich, and the heir to a throne."
So how much liquor had Gorash plied Anakin with?
"I heard some interesting things, Master. One of the girls thinks you're 'to die for' and asked me if my guardian was in the market. Are you in the market, Master?"
Slowly, Anakin's humor was returning. "You know very well I am not, Anakin."
"Boy, will she be disappointed. She's a pretty little thing, too. Blond hair, green eyes and almost as stacked as I am." He squared his shoulders. "Is our host completely unaware I cold-cocked him?"
"Yes. He thinks he tripped."
"Good. I'm ready to go back out there."
An hour later, Obi-Wan was ready to leave. He'd received the signal that their mission was at an end, but he couldn't find Anakin. Honestly, he thought. I didn't let him out of my sight for more than a moment. Where could he be? His tour of the room extended outward, into the hallways and then the gardens. He had to admit that the gardens were worthy of viewing, spectacular specimens of several exotic varieties abounded and the lighting was so bright as to make the night appear as day. Finally, he sat down on a bench and waited, admiring the beauty of the trailing vines on the trellis across from him. To his left came voices. Oh, there he was. Gorash and Anakin, apparently looking at the flowers. As he listened, he decided Anakin had turned on the lighting system as a preemptive measure against amorous advances.
"Yes, we have the lights on a…sensor," Gorash was saying, disappointment heavy in his tone. "A sensor, hmm. Very useful for viewing the gardens at night."
"Ashy they're beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen such pretty…uh…roses."
Was that the only flower he could think of? Obi-Wan could think of several types just off-hand. He turned his head and watched them stroll around the bend towards him. Why was Gorash dripping wet? What had happened now? Anakin saw him before Gorash did and began to apologize.
"I must say again that I'm sorry about the fountain. I guess I just don't know my own strength."
"Nonsense, my beauty. You didn't push me at all! I tripped, plain and simple. I'm apparently very clumsy tonight. It must be my nervousness over your magnificent presence. You make me shy again, like…." His voice trailed off as he noticed Obi-Wan. "Well, never mind. I'm going to go change clothes. Don't leave. I want you to close the ball with me in a last dance in awhile."
Anakin's smile lasted only until the man had disappeared through the doors into the house. "Can we leave yet?" Putting a hand in the small of his back, he stretched. "These things are killing my back. Who knew breasts could be so heavy? Girls act like they're nothing."
"Most would be nothing, but you've enough for six girls. Yes, we can leave. We've suitably distracted him, but wait…. Don't you want to have a final dance?" Obi-Wan motioned to the ballroom, where lively music could be heard.
His snort was loud. "Not hardly. I stomped on his feet as hard as I could and he kept coming back for more."
With a glance towards the doors, Obi-Wan led the way to the street. How long would Gorash look for them? Would he look for them? After a moment's consideration, he thought not. Gorash would find another to end the ball with him when 'Ani' could not be found.
They made good time back to their room.
Anakin was visibly relieved to be removing the outfit. The wig was safely stowed away and Obi-Wan boxed up the gel packs before turning to undo the back closure to the gown and the undergarment beneath it. He'd scarcely undone half of the dress before Anakin was pulling it down his arms. "I am never doing this again," Anakin murmured, pausing to take out the pins binding the hoop at his waist.
Obi-Wan frowned. Someone was coming, he sensed--
An extremely out of breath Gorash burst through the door. "My beauty," he gasped, looking as though he was going to pass out. His face was an alarming shade of reddish-purple. "Don't leave me without…." He squinted at them. "Uh…Ani?"
Without missing a beat, Anakin nodded and let go of the dress and hooped undergarment. They dropped to the floor. "It's me, Ashy." He dragged the straps of the upper undergarment down his arms, twirled the fabric from a finger and let it fly.
Obi-Wan suppressed a sigh.
"But…." Gorash frowned, shaking his head, obviously trying to make sense of what he was seeing. "What happened to your hair? Your lovely bosom?"
"Oh that." He reached for his tunics. "It's gender change season," he lied smoothly and with a complete disregard for the sorts of problems such a pronouncement could bring about.
"So soon?" Obi-Wan commented softly and mostly to himself, folding his hands in his sleeves and leaving Anakin to complete the fib all by himself.
Undertunic on and fastened, Anakin drew on the next one while explaining. "You see, every six months we switch genders. I'll be male for the next six months." He was pretty proud of himself at that explanation. Obi-Wan knew the signs of that and Anakin's self-satisfied expression pointed directly to an acute case of smugness.
"Oh." The former diplomat's shoulders slumped for a long moment. When his voice came, it was filled with curiosity. "How does that work with…mixed relationships? People not of your planet, I mean."
"Um…" Anakin reached for his outer tunic and shrugged it on. "It depends on the couple. Mixed relationships don't usually happen at home. Gender switching makes a lot of people nervous."
Gorash's gaze slipped down Anakin and back up. Obi-Wan decided he was weighing the idea of gender switching against the lie of great riches Anakin had been unable to resist telling. Gradually a leer appeared upon his lips. "Never fear, I am completely open to such things."
Obi-Wan could practically hear Gorash's thoughts. A vast treasury waiting to be taken. Connections with a royal house. Lots of property. What's a little gender switching every few months when compared to all of that? Small price to pay.
Anakin's eyes widened. "You are?"
"Of course I am! Why, everything about you fascinates me! I would learn everything there is to know of you."
"You would." It wasn't a question. Obi-Wan could imagine the frantic thoughts going through his head, beginning with: how am I going to get myself out of this one? "Are you willing to wait for me, Ashy?"
"I'll wait for centuries for the fullness of your love, my darling."
Anakin raised a brow, then nodded. "Would you wait ten years?"
"Gladly!" Gorash gave him another up and down glance. "As long as we can converse--"
"That might be difficult. I'm taking a vow of silence for…spiritual reasons. I'll never utter another word in my life."
Hardly likely, Obi-Wan thought. His Padawan could be loquacious when the mood struck him.
"Well then we'll exchange letters and images."
"I'm going into military training tomorrow. Such things are forbidden. Homesickness, you understand."
"We'd have no contact for a decade?" This was said in a mournful wail.
"Oh no," Anakin said cheerfully. "Only for two years, but I'm taking a ten year vow of celibacy."
Obi-Wan tried hard not to snicker.
"For spiritual reasons. Very enlightening, Ashy." When Anakin continued, desperation edged his words. "Would you still be willing to wait? I wouldn't want to string you along and keep you from finding true love and happiness with another."
Gorash drooped again, then as quickly perked back up. Boy, Obi-Wan thought. Anakin must have really painted him a picture of enormous wealth. "I would wait centuries for you, my warrior darling. I'm confident we can come to a…mutually beneficial arrangement. Let me leave my contact information."
Anakin sighed and sent an imploring gaze Obi-Wan's way. At Obi-Wan's nod of consent, he waved a hand. "You don't need to leave your information." After the words had been repeated, he added, "You don't really want to see me again."
Gorash blinked a few times.
Obi-Wan stepped up, making a tiny pass with his hand. "You want to go home and will forget all about Ani from Floxycintilaria."
In moments, Gorash had gone, the dress and items were packed away to be returned and Obi-Wan and Anakin were on their way to their transport.
"That, Anakin, is the problem with little lies that seem harmless enough. They end with greedy men trying to use you to their own ends."
"Not all would end that way, Master. You're exaggerating."
"Look who is talking. A princess? Wealthy beyond measure? Your imagination is boundless, my Padawan. And Floxycintilaria? What other new words did you learn while writing that report? Let that be a lesson to you not to get carried away."
"Yes, Master. I'll remember that."
Anakin wasn't listening, he knew it. He rarely, if ever, actually listened when corrected. Turning his face away, ostensibly to look for their transport, Obi-Wan allowed himself a little smile. How very dear to him Anakin had become! He couldn't imagine not having him around.
"There it is," he said and they boarded their transport, gladly shaking the dust of that planet from their boots.