Title: Cer Amón
Author: Ticklesivory
Summary: Obi-Wan offers Anakin an unusual naming day gift, that he may possibly live to regret.
Rating: M

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Written for the 2007 Obidala Valentine Online Convention

Author's Notes: On Cer Amón, the "Cs" are pronounced with an "S" sound.

I

As the Republic Star Cruiser entered into hyperspace, Anakin Skywalker could hardly contain his excitement or yet grasp the fact that his Master had actually allowed him this opportunity.

Several days ago, when Obi-Wan had approached him following first meal in their Temple quarters, the young Padawan was momentarily disappointed to see that his Master's hands were empty.

It was Anakin's eighteenth naming day, and he had expected a gift. In fact, he was expecting a rather nice gift. Not only was it his naming day, but it also meant that he was elevated to the level of Senior Padawan.

Anakin wasn't sure what kind of gift his ultra-conservative Master would offer him. One of his friends had received a pass to a Coruscant nightclub from his Master, though Anakin doubted his friend, Trell would ever make use of it. Anakin certainly wouldn't hesitate in going even though the establishment was considered to be rather bawdy. He didn't have a problem with going out and having a good time.

But apparently, his own Master did. Anakin couldn't recall the last time he had seen Obi-Wan leave the Temple in the pursuit of pleasure. He was starting to think the man was a monk or something.

So, when it came down to trying to figure out what type of gift he would be given for the occasion, the young man didn't have a clue.

And he certainly wasn't expecting what he got.

Obi-Wan announced that in light of the special day and his elevation in Padawan status, that he would allow Anakin to choose their next mission.

The Council had granted them the rare opportunity of several options, and it was up to him to decide. No questions asked, his Master had told him.

"I don't even want to know the specs. You do the research and you make the choice, Padawan." Obi-Wan had said. "I'm only going along for the ride."

The young man took to the task with fervor, spending the next two days researching the details of each mission. One was to the Grafaar System where two planets were involved in a mining dispute. And although the situation sounded interesting, he and his Master had settled mining disputes before, and so he decided to move onto the next.

The second mission was to Ortooga, where Jedi had been requested to oversee the coronation of a new King.

Boring.

Anakin brought up the specs on the final option and his mind was immediately made up. They would be heading to the small planet of Cer Amón, located in the Bothan System. It was an ancient civilization who had just recently decided to allow access to the Jedi and the Republic. He and his Master were to go there and check on the possibility of Force sensitives in order to discover new prospects for the Jedi Order.

And even though Anakin was aware of the importance of the task, it wasn't the reason that he had chosen this particular mission.

He had done his research and was aware that he and his Master's arrival would coincide with the beginning of the Festival of Amón.

Cer Amón was a polytheistic society and Amón was their goddess of love and fertility. Each season, there was a planet-wide celebration that involved feasting, dancing, and other activities that were certain to make his Master blush, although it would probably be from anger.

But once they were on-planet, there was very little his Obi-Wan could do about it. Anyone present at the festival was expected to participate, or they would anger the gods.

Anakin fidgeted as he spied upon his Master, who had dozed off in the co-pilot's seat. The young man was suddenly worried that he hadn't perhaps made the wisest of choices, but it was too late now.

His Master may be upset later for having put them in this position, but it was for his own good, the Padawan decided. One way or another, he was going to show Master Obi-Wan how to have a good time.

Their ship docked as scheduled on the tiny planet, and Anakin followed his Master out into the bright atmosphere. It took a moment for the young man's eyes to adjust to the riotous burst of color all about them. Shimmering flags and banners of every color waved from poles that lined the cobblestone street and hung from the rooftops and archways of distant buildings.

"It looks like we've arrived during some type of celebration." Obi-Wan noted as they walked down the path that was mostly deserted, leading away from the space port.

"It's a festival to celebrate one of their gods." Anakin replied, though he kept his explanation purposefully vague. Perhaps playing innocent at this point was his best bet.

"Where shall we go first, Padawan?"

His Master's question caught the young man off guard as his attention had been drawn to their surroundings. All of the buildings they had passed so far were completely open, spaces comprised of a roof, a floor, and numerous columns. There was apparently very little privacy for the population of Cer Amón, and he could've sworn he saw a couple fucking behind one of those columns a few steps back. Just in case, Anakin steered his Master in the opposite direction.

"We need to visit the local magistrate to inform him of our arrival and request permission to begin acquiring blood samples for midichlorian counts."

"And do you think we shall be successful?"

"Yes, Master. I sense the Living Force is strong here."

"That isn't all, my young Padawan. There is an underlying tension here as well. Almost... electrifying. Do you sense that as well?"

"Yes, Master." Anakin nearly blushed as he wondered if the older Jedi had any idea of what he was saying, or perhaps he was the one who was pretending to be innocent?

The climate here was balmy and according to Anakin's research, remained constant, which he figured was why none of the dwellings had any windows or doors. They were simply wide open spaces, most of them built on the top of steep permacrete stairways, covered with white shale roofs, supported by white and gray marblesque columns.

After asking for directions from an elderly woman selling brightly colored flowers on the street, Anakin led his Master up one of the flights of stairs, hesitating only slightly before entering underneath the pitched roof, his booted feet slipping a bit on the highly polished floors.

"Come in, come in." Yelled out a rather robust man settled on an arrangement of large velvet cushions strewn about the floor. He was surrounded by ferns, water fountains, bowls of fruit, and goblets of wine.

"You're just in time for the celebration!" The man said jovially as he waved away a rather scantily-dressed female who had been fanning him with a large palm. "Would you care for a drink?"

"No thank you." Anakin answered after he had waited upon his Master, unused to having to initiate conversation.

"We're the Jedi you're expecting from Coruscant. We need to speak to the magistrate. Are you him?"

The man bellowed out a boisterous laugh that jiggled his wide bare chest and large girth before he clapped his hands twice.

"This is Trelana. She'll take you to Marconé, our High Priest. He's the one you seek."

Without a word, the young woman led the way past a line of columns. Soon, they passed through a sun-washed opening that boasted a large bathing pool, a dozen or so flowering trees and several chairs made for lounging.

The lady servant, who wore nothing but a red silk scarf that barely covered her torso gestured into another open space.

However, this one was not as bright. The back of the room was enclosed by a wall, which hosted a variety of relief sculptures that apparently depicted the many gods and goddesses of Cer Amón, most of them in some type of animalistic form, Anakin noted.

"Take off your boots, please." They heard a voice coming from somewhere near the wall, and before they realized it, a man appeared before them.

Immediately, both Jedi realized the priest was Force sensitive, which was probably the reason for his ability to move so quietly and quickly, and ultimately, his position.

Marconé was quite interesting to look at, to say the least. On his head, which had been shaved of every bit of hair, he wore an adornment of fur and feathers that cascaded down along his bare, sun tanned shoulders and chest. Around his neck, he wore a band of hammered bronze, as well as around his wrists and ankles that separated his bare legs from his bare feet. The only article of clothing he had on was a simple cloth about his waist that appeared to be some type of green leather.

The middle-aged man glared at Anakin and then at Obi-Wan, looking quite malevolent, until his face broke into a large smile, bearing a broad set of white teeth.

"Quite the foreboding sight, aren't I?" He said suddenly. "And the hair's a bit much, but it'll grow back quickly. Or at least I hope it does."

At Obi-Wan's raised brow of curiosity, the priest explained.

"It's all for show, you see. The costumes, the make-up, the colors. Each one of us assumes a certain role."

"So, you're not the High Priest?" Anakin had to ask as the man turned to walk back to where they had originally seen him.

"Me? I am most certainly. And this is the Temple of Amón, Fhana, and Pliat."

The leader then stopped, turned around, and stared back at the pair of Jedi who hadn't yet moved a muscle. "And I wasn't kidding about the boots. You'll have to take them off."

Anakin immediately bent over and began to unbuckle his footwear, noting his Master doing the same, though a bit more hesitantly, until the Priest of Cer Amón issued another order.

"And you'll have to take off all your clothes as well."

At which point, Obi-Wan shot straight back up. "Excuse me?"

II

"It's all part of the festivities, you see." Marconé approached them once more, his previous teasing manner disappearing as he looked seriously at the two, focusing his attention ultimately upon Obi-Wan.

"We're the Jedi you've requested from Coruscant." His Master tried to explain. "We're only here to run a few…"

"I know who you are and why you're here." The Priest interrupted in a low, commanding manner. "But all of those who are present upon Cer Amón during the Festival will participate in all the activities. It's the law and is a requirement of the gods."

The tone of his voice and the look on his face revealed the priest's sincerity, and Anakin cast a quick, wary glance toward Obi-Wan. The young Padawan had been aware of these requirements, but hadn't informed his Master of them. The older Jedi's face remained impassive, but there was a slight twitch of his bottom lip that revealed to Anakin that his master was actually furious.

Most likely, at him.

Subsequently, another smile spread over the priest's face. "Fine." He said. "I understand that not all beings are as comfortable in their own skin as we Cer Amónians are, so I will allow you time to go to your assigned residence and change."

The priest then clapped his hands and yet another young woman appeared; this one just as good looking as the last, Anakin thought, and just as scantily dressed. As she entered the room, the young man couldn't keep his eyes off her, but he was also vaguely aware that his Master's were on him, though not quite as appreciatively.

However, before they were escorted away, Marconé stepped up even closer and then directly in front of the older Jedi.

Suddenly, Anakin heard Obi-Wan let out a high-pitched squeak and when he glanced down, he was shocked to see Marconé apparently gripping his Master's balls; not in a fondling manner, but more like a general medic would during a check-up.

After a long pause which consisted of closed eyes and humming, the priest finally removed his hand, stepped back, and smiled.

"Good." He said quietly. "The gods were right about you. Praise be to Amón."

"I wonder what he meant by that?" Anakin wondered aloud after the servant girl had taken them down the street and left them in an area surrounded by nothing but columns. In the center of the space was an extremely large bed enclosed by sheer drapes. On top of the white bed linens lay two wraps. One was made from silvery feathers, and the other of a spotted gold and brown fur.

Anakin was observing both, trying to decide which one was his and how that tiny scrap of material was going to cover his genitals, when the clearing of his Master's throat caught his attention.

The young man pasted on a confident grin and spun toward him.

However, Obi-Wan wasn't grinning in return. He looked utterly appalled. "What were you thinking?"

"Pardon me, Master?"

"Don't play dumb. I cannot begin to imagine why you would choose a mission such as this, when you know that these are exactly the ones I try to avoid!"

"Someone has to take them, Master." The young man argued. "So why not us?"

"Why not?" Obi-Wan stormed as he marched to the bed, and with a single finger, scooped up the small bit of material that comprised the entirety of the costume they were expected to wear. He dangled it front of his apprentice's face, as if it were enough to warrant an answer.

"I didn't know about that. Sorry."

A smirk of disbelief appeared on the older man's face.

"I swear, Master! All I knew was that we were going to be required to participate in the festival. I had no idea we were going to have to wear…..these." With his final word, the young man reached down and picked up the other wrap, the feathered one.

"I supposed this one's mine." He said.

"What makes you say that?" To Obi-Wan, they both appeared to be the same size, although at least three sizes too small.

"Because." The young man explained with a cocky grin. "You don't like to fly, remember?"

III

Anakin had never been self-conscious and so he adjusted the small article of clothing about his waist with ease. To be truthful, it was rather refreshing to be out of his Jedi attire. The climate here was similar to that of his home planet of Tatooine, and although just as hot, it seemed even more so due to the surrounding jungles and wetlands, which increased the humidity level.

And even though the feathers tickled his groin, he was comfortable.

Wherein, his Master obviously was not.

"I can't go out like this." He heard Obi-Wan grumble from the other side of the bed.

Anakin didn't know what his Master was so worried about. He hoped that when was that old, he looked just as good.

"Master, you look fine for someone your age."

"Someone my age?" Obi-Wan sputtered back.

"Yeah. When I'm as old as you, I hope I look half as good." Anakin continued, thinking he was being helpful.

"Old?" Obi-Wan repeated, sounding slightly appalled.

"I mean..." The younger man faltered. "Oh, forget it." He obviously wasn't helping after all.

"Good idea." The older Jedi agreed, coming out from behind the bed, bare from head to toe except for the narrow fur trim that wrapped around his middle.

"What I was trying to say is that we can't got out like this." Obi-Wan explained. "There's nowhere to hang our lightsabers."

"Oh." The youth blushed. "That's something else I meant to tell you. I'm afraid there aren't any weapons allowed at the Festival."

Obi-Wan resolutely crossed his arms and glared at the young man. "Exactly what else should I know before we proceed?"

"I suppose I should tell you what kind of festival this is." The young man cast his eyes down to his bare feet, absentmindedly noting that his toenails needed a trim.

"I'm listening, Padawan." Obi-Wan said in order to refocus his apprentice.

"Amón is their Goddess of Love, and this being the Festival of Amón , you can pretty much guarantee that it's going to involve some...uhm...extracurricular activities."

"Such as?"

"Feasting, dancing, and then there's some sort of ritual called the Offering of Rancemo."

"An Offering of Romance." Obi-Wan replied.

"No. Rancemo." Anakin corrected his mentor.

Obi-Wan scrubbed at his face wearily with his hand. "Romance, Padawan. The entire planet is apparently based upon it."

"Hey! Did you research this mission? I thought you said you would trust me to do it!"

Before the young man could get even more upset than he already was, Obi-Wan hurriedly explained.

"No, Anakin, I didn't. But the name of the planet and the priest - they are both anagrams of the word romance."

The older Jedi allowed some time for the youth to absorb the information.

"Oh." Anakin replied after a moment, obviously not seeing the seriousness of his Master's discovery.

But Obi-Wan was beginning to, and he suddenly had a very bad feeling about this mission.

IV

The two Jedi made their way to the exit pillars, only to be stopped by a bowing young servant girl, who held in her hands two cloaks.

"Master Marconé says to put these on for the banquet. The sun will be setting soon, and the chill of the evening will be upon us. If you will follow me, I will escort you to the dining facility."

With much relief, Obi-Wan donned the brightly-colored robe, tying the complementary sash around his middle. His was a bright blue, while Anakin's was red.

They followed the servant to one of the two largest buildings in the town. As they walked, Anakin noted the numbers of people pouring out from the homes. Each one wore a robe similar to his and his Master's, but were all different in certain ways; be it the length, the colors of the robe, the trim, or the sash.

Their escort bowed again at the top of the stairs, and motioned for them to continue on alone.

More stairs led down this time to a type of arena that was open to the darkening sky, smoke from the large fire below billowing out high above them. Surrounding the firey pit were the citizens of Cer Amón. Some were lounging upon large pillows, being handfed by various females who were cutting meat of a huge animal that rotated over the fire, while others were standing and talking.

When the High Priest saw Obi-Wan and Anakin, he hurried over with a broad smile on his face.

"I was beginning to wonder if you'd changed your mind." He joked, stepping up quite closely to Obi-Wan. Anakin found it difficult to suppress a grin as his Master leaned slightly back and arranged his hands protectively in front of his groin.

"We apologize for our delay." The Padawan stated.

"It's of no consequence. However, you will find that the choices of partners are getting slim." He said, meeting the younger Jedi's eye.

Obi-Wan cast a glance about the area, noting everyone had indeed paired up. He knew what was about to happen, but found he had to ask anyway.

"What do you mean?"

"Tonight is the Feast of Rancemo, which precedes the Offering Rancemo, our Goddess of Submission. Every female must offer her services to a male from this point until the dawn."

Did his Master just gulp?

"Allow me to choose for you." Marconé began searching the room, until he was interrupted.

"That won't be necessary." Obi-Wan attempted. "My apprentice and I only wish to obtain some blood samples from..."

However, his plea faded away at the stern glare being cast by the tan, hairless man before him.

"You wish to anger our gods and endanger our people? Have the wrath of Amón rain down upon our heads? I assure you that no Jedi will ever step foot on Cer Amón again."

Silence passed as the sounds of murmuring and the crackle of the fire below them filled the air, until the deep frown the priest wore slowly turned up into a smile.

"Now then. I have just the partner for you."

With an outstretched hand, Marconé called over a young woman no older than eighteen standard years of age. Her figure was attractive and like the other women, most of it was on display. She wore a plain white leather wrap around her chest and another about her hips. Her hair was long, dark and curled, and when she finally raised her eyes, Anakin noted they were a brilliant green flecked with gold that shimmered in the firelight. He thought her quite attractive.

However, she was apparently meant for his Master, because her gaze seemed to be locked upon the older Jedi.

"Knight Kenobi, this is my only daughter, Carméon."

Immediately, the young man shuffled the letters of her name around in his mind and smirked when he discovered Obi-Wan had been correct.

"She will be your guide until the dawn. The gods have foreseen it."

Yep, definitely a gulp.

Marconé wandered off with a satisfied, albeit smug expression, leaving the three of them standing in silence. At least until Carméon took Obi-Wan by the arm and led him away.

And suddenly, Anakin was left alone, wondering about his fate.

He strolled first about the main floor surrounding the pit, and then slowly made his way up the steps to the first landing. Finally, he reached the top where a large area opened up that ran the circumference of the amphitheater.

Each female he passed by had the arm of a man, her eyes focused solely on them. Anakin was beginning to think the Force was paying him back for bringing his Master to such a place, when up ahead, illuminated by torchlight, he could make out the figure of the High Priest talking to someone. And even though this particular someone wore a colorful robe like the one he had one, he could tell it was a female, small of stature, her long dark hair hanging in curls down her back.

His interest piqued, the Padawan moved to the side where he could see her profile. And when he did, his mouth fell open in surprise.

"Padawan Skywalker." Marconé began. "I'm not sure if you know..."

"Senator Amidala!" Anakin blurted out. "What are you doing here?"

V

"The Chancellor sent me to follow up on Cer Amón's petition to the join the Republic." Padmé explained, greeting the young Jedi with a kiss on his cheek.

The friendly gesture brought a smile to the priest's face.

"Then you do know her." He said. "Good. That's good. You may accompany one another to the banquet. Jedi Skywalker, I will leave it up to you to inform our guest of the requirements of the Feast and the Offering of Rancemo."

And with a curt bow, Marconé turned and left.

"What requirements?" Padmé asked, and it was Anakin this time who gulped.

He couldn't sleep with Padmé! It would be like sleeping with his sister! If he had one, Anakin thought.

The young man began to panic as he avoided the senator's question, pacing back and forth in a short path in front of her.

This wasn't working out so well after all. Sure, it was going well for his Master, but not for him! He had intended on spending the night with a stranger, as he had done many times in the past. No strings attached. Just a good, fun fuck.

That's why he had decided to accept this mission in the first place! They could perform their duty as Jedi and at the same time, get to make out with a beautiful girl whose sole responsibility was to fulfill their every desire.

It seemed like the perfect set-up.

But not any more.

He looked at Padmé, who had been patiently waiting as he fretted, although she did look a bit concerned. Then, he suddenly decided what he had to do.

"Wait here a minute."

Rushing off to where he had seen the High Priest go, the young Jedi caught up with Marconé just as he was beginning his descent back down to the dining pit.

"Mr. Marconé!" Anakin yelled out. "Your Grace, I mean." He corrected himself after seeing the man's annoyance. "I need to ask you something. Is there no other female here who may serve me tonight?"

Brows furrowed as the black-robed religious leader considered the question.

"Does Senator Amidala not please you? Do you find her unattractive?"

"No." Anakin replied. "That's not the problem."

"Then, what is?"

"I know her already." The youth attempted to explain his awkward feeling.

"You mean you have shared intimate relations with her? Familiarity can be a good thing."

"No, no. Not that. We're just friends. But I'd like to keep it that way, if you know what I mean."

Marconé started at the young man for a few seconds, obviously not understanding the problem, until he abruptly clapped his hands, bringing forth a young man still clad only his loincloth.

Anakin waited while the two conferred for a moment, and then the man left them alone once more.

"There are no more available females. I'm sorry, but you must accept the gift which Amón provides."

Apparently satisfied that his decision was final, the priest smiled and stepped down the stairs, only to be stopped by Anakin's outstretched hand clutching desperately onto his shoulder.

"What about a switch? Can't we switch with someone? I know for a fact that my Master has had a crush on Senator Amidala for some time. Can't I switch my companion with his?"

"Out of the question!" The priest declared, surprisingly loud and adamantly, stepping back up to meet Anakin's eye.

"But why?"

"The gods have determined it to be so." Marconé insisted.

"How can you be sure?" Anakin continued. There had to be another way! His Master wasn't going to like this one bit.

"Let me be frank." The priest began with a sly smile and a low-pitched voice. "I have determined your Master's worthiness with my own hand. He is the one who will please my daughter the most. It's her first Festival, and I do not want her to be disappointed."

Anakin stared down at the shorter man in shock. Was he saying what he thought he was?

"Are you…" He stammered, shaking his head in disbelief. "Are you saying my Master is better equipped than me?"

"The gods have determined it to be so." The priest repeated.

"Now wait a minute..." The young man argued. It was true Obi-Wan was hung like a bantha, but that didn't necessarily make him a better lover.

"Before you came," Marconé interrupted. "I experienced a vision. A man would come who wielded the spiritual gifts. One who was physically blessed in such a way to make my daughter's first experience a most memorable and gratifying one. Your Master is that man. The arrangements will remain the same."

By this time, Anakin was merely annoyed by the priest's narrow-mindedness. He watched the older man venture down the stairs, whispering his own unheard promise behind him.

"Is that so? Well, we'll just see about that."

VI

Anakin returned to Padmé, who by this time had sat down upon the top step, her head propped in her hand.

"Ani? What's going on?"

The young man sat down next to her, leaning over to allow a couple to pass by down the flight of gray stone steps.

"I'm afraid I've gotten myself in a bit of a jam"

The young man went on to explain how each female attending the festival was required to be with their partner for the duration of the celebration.

"What do you mean, 'be with?'" Padmé asked. She had been aware of the feast and the dance, as well as the presence of the Jedi here, and had secretly been hoping to spend some time with Obi-Wan. Apparently, the Festival of Amón was a rather romantic event. The clothing she had on was a bit risqué for her tastes, but it was all for fun.

However, being forced to have sex with Anakin Skywalker was not her idea of a good time, and it simply was not going to happen!

It would be too….weird. He was like her younger brother.

"I mean sex, Padmé." The young man blushed, even more embarrassed to be doing so.

"Don't take this wrong Ani, but surely there's got to a way out of this."

"I'm afraid not. We have to fulfill the requirements of the ceremony or ruin any possible future chances for Force sensitivity testing here."

"As well as ruin the negotiations for Cer Amón's entry into the Republic, and in times like these, we need all the allies we can get."

The pair sat in silence, each considering their situation, until finally Anakin spoke up.

"What about Master Obi-Wan?"

"What about him?" Padmé asked innocently.

"Could you…I mean, would you mind being partnered with him instead?"

It was the senator's turn to blush as she toyed with the hem of her short purple silk cloak. "Not at all." She said quietly. "Is that possible? Where is he?"

Anakin glanced down the stairs to the banquet proceeding without them in search of his Master, and then touched upon their training bond for assistance.

"He's being detained." The young man replied, trying to be vague, but then realized it was best to tell the truth. Being secretive was what got him into this mess in the first place.

"I'm afraid Marconé has his heart set on Master Obi-Wan…uhm…training his daughter."

Padmé's brows knitted together as the young man's statement sunk in. "You're joking!"

"Afraid not."

The two sat together once more in silence as Anakin thought. He could tell by the look on Padmé's face that she wasn't happy with the situation, and he could tell by the mixture of emotions radiating along their training bond that Master Obi-Wan wasn't either.

And it was all his fault.

After a while, he smiled reassuredly, reached over and grasped onto Padmé's hand.

"Don't worry senator. I'll figure out something."

VII

By the time the Jedi Padawan had escorted Padmé to the pit to dine, most of the celebrators had moved out to the dance location, which was a large open gazebo illuminated by twinkling lights wrapped around the columns. Lights also hung from the branches of surrounding trees that arched over the structure.

Once they had dropped their cloaks off with a servant waiting at the bottom of the stairs, he escorted Padmé up the steps.

He reached over to grab onto the young woman's hand, worried as he felt her tremble slightly, suspecting it was from nerves and not the cool breeze floating in from the surrounding woods.

She had every right to be worried. He hadn't come up with a plan yet. He supposed he could kidnap the priest's daughter and hide her until the next day, but that would only make Marconé angry.

Maybe he could pretend to suddenly become violently ill, but then the priest probably would take it as an insult to the food they had offered, or consider a bad omen for the celebration, which would wreak havoc on his planet for generations.

The young man was about to run out of ideas altogether when right before they reached to top step of the gazebo, another servant girl approached, carrying a basket. She reached inside and handed them each a mask, full facial, covered with feathers and a silver beak. It matched the feathered wrap that he wore, but anything would have matched Padmé's. Like all the other females he had seen, she wore a two-piece white leather covering.

With the mask on, Anakin couldn't even recognize her.

It took a moment and several steps into the structure before an idea popped into his head. It was so simple, he was afraid there was no way it could possibly work, but it was the only thing he could think of.

"Come on, let's dance." He suggested, pulling Padmé out onto the floor, past the crowds that simply lounged about on more of the large, velvet pillows.

The music was slow paced and sultry, provided by several citizens playing harps and other stringed instruments on a circular stage set up in the middle of the gazebo.

The music and the atmosphere seemed to be having the desired effect. The dancers around them were so tightly pressed up together, he couldn't pry them apart with his lightsaber. Some of the women were even in the process of removing the top half of their clothing. And around the perimeter, it seemed that the Offering part of the ceremony had already begun, as several pairs were involved in the act of making love right in front of everyone.

The scene would have embarrassed Padmé and even Anakin had they been paying very much attention. However, as the two danced, at least a hand's width apart, their focus was solely on trying to distinguish Obi-Wan from the crowd.

"Look for fur similar to that of a tusk cat." Anakin prompted quietly, as he twirled Padmé round.

"There." She said after several minutes. Out at the rear perimeter was Anakin's Master and the priest's daughter, who both wore masks obviously depicting the planet's native form of wild cat.

Anakin noted that with the masks on, he could barely tell Carméon and Padmé apart. He smiled underneath his disguise, now confident that his plan was going to work.

"Follow my lead." He said.

Just one quick Force suggestion and he could make the switch.

Dancing closer and closer, the young man maneuvered Padmé through the throng. His goal in sight, adrenaline building, his hopes were abruptly dashed as his Master and Carméon slipped away and out of sight.

Taking the senator by the hand, Anakin pulled her through the crowd, only to be stopped by the last man he wanted to see.

On his face, he wore a green leathery snout designed after some type of amphibious creature, but it only covered the upper half of his face. Anakin would recognize the man's annoying sneer from across the room.

"I'm pleased to see you are enjoying one another's company. Marconé announced. "Please feel free to take advantage of the variety of aphrodesiacs and other aids we have available. Any of the servants you see will be happy to provide anything you need."

"Thanks, but we don't need it." Anakin replied absentmindedly, his eyes sweeping over the man's head in an attempt to see where his Master had headed off to.

"Are you sure?" Marconé asked, and even behind the mask, Anakin didn't miss the man's glance down to his groin.

"Positive." The Jedi replied firmly.

VIII

Set in the woods surrounding the city where the celebration took place, were platforms of stone. Altars of a sort, each designated for the fulfillment of the Offering of Rancemo. As Carméon led Obi-Wan toward one of them, she explained that the altars were optional. Most citizens paid their homage to the gods immediately following the dance. Sometimes, even during it, if they were filled with the spirit of Amón to do so.

"Are you filled with the Spirit of Amón Obi-Wan?" Carméon's cultured voice asked as their bare feet made crunching noises against the ground littered with fallen leaves.

"I'm not sure." The Jedi replied. He was filled with something, but suspected it was dread.

Not that he wasn't attracted to the priest's daughter. In fact, she reminded him of someone. And therein lay the problem.

He had never been fond of one-night stands. If he was going to spend the night with a woman, he had to at least be friends with her first.

The situation he found himself in now was exactly the kind he hated, and the fact that he had been "measured-up" so-to-speak beforehand made it even worse. Like a stud dewback or something.

What was most aggravating though, was that this was entirely his Padawan's fault. He couldn't wait to get the boy back at the Temple and teach him a lesson or two about common sense and discretion.

In the meantime, he had to figure out a way out of this.

Carméon pulled on his hand as she led Obi-Wan up to the elevated platform. Right in the middle of the altar was a bed, rather ornate for being in the middle of the woods, he thought. The bedposts were rough-hewn wood covered with vines. The actual mattress was blanketed in white silk, and the entire bed was draped with sheer curtains; providing very little privacy.

Much to Obi-Wan's dismay.

Still masked as required, Carméon displayed very little of the virgin innocence he had expected as her hands moved over his bare chest, encircling the peaks of his rigid nipples.

Eyes closed, Obi-Wan tried to imagine it was someone else touching him, someone with large brown eyes and full red lips, but Carméon kept talking, shattering his fantasy.

If only she'd be quiet, he thought with growing alarm, but then her hand drifted down underneath his meager clothing, his alarm turned to panic.

"Excuse me." Obi-Wan said, taking a step backward and barely catching himself before he tumbled down the steps.

"What's the matter?"

"Jedi…uhm…have to meditate before participating in any activity involving procreation." He said.

Obi-Wan didn't even wait to see if she had bought it, but he could almost guarantee that underneath that mask, Carméon wore a look of complete incredulity.

He could hardly believe he had made such a lame excuse himself.

Obi-Wan stomped back and forth across the wooded path just out of sight from the altar where he had left the young woman in a confused daze.

"Some bright idea this was," he murmured up into the trees. Running away from a problem only put off the inevitable. He was a Jedi for pity's sake! And almost thirty-five standard years old. Surely he could ignore the small voice of warning in his head and do his duty.

But the more he thought about it, the more he decided he couldn't. The only thing he could listen to was his heart. And his heart was telling him to do something completely different.

Reaching to tuck his hands in his utility belt out of habit, only realizing it wasn't there, instead, Obi-Wan reached up and pulled the furry mask from his face and then slowly made his back up to the altar.

Carméon had sat upon the bed toward the head of it, the hanging linens fluttering about her as the Jedi reconsidered his course of action. But his decision had been made. He had to follow his heart.

"My apologies for leaving so abruptly and for what I'm about to say. I simply can't go through with this. I understand that I will be upsetting you and your father, but let me explain that where I come from, some beings don't engage in the act of making love lightly. To me, it's not only a physical experience, but an emotional one also. And…well, I'm afraid I'm already emotionally attached to somebody else."

"Who?" Came the surprising and muffled reply. Carméon's voice was somewhat disguised before by the mask, but this time, it sounded even more different.

"A senator on Coruscant." Obi-Wan answered as he stepped up closer to the head of the bed, eyeing the figure on it suspiciously.

"Does she have a name?"

No. It couldn't be! But it sounded like her, the Jedi silently determined as he reached out and swept aside the hanging sheer drapes.

"Padmé?"

"Is that her name?" The young woman behind the mask asked, but still Obi-Wan wasn't sure.

"Padmé? Is that you?"

A pair of petite hands lifted away the furred disguise, revealing glittering brown eyes set in a lovely moonlit complexion.

"Yes, Obi-Wan. It's me."

IX

"How did you?…..Where did you?…." Obi-Wan stammered as he sat down on the bed, facing the Senator from Naboo.

This had to be a dream or maybe there was something in the drink the priest had offered him earlier. Certainly, this was an illusion.

But it was a glorious one, and he couldn't help but to test to see if it was real.

Obi-Wan's hand drifted up to wrap his fingers in Padmé's long curls, bringing them over her shoulder to lie down onto her mostly bare chest. Gods, she was beautiful. He had always thought so. But here, in this place with the moon shining down upon them, and the sounds of the night filling the air all about them, Obi-Wan was so overwhelmed, he couldn't speak. Instead, he leaned forward to perform another test of the illusion, but was stopped by a hand placed firmly on his lowering mouth.

"Tell me." Padmé implored quietly, repeating the demand when she noted the confusion written across his brow. "Tell me her name. The name of the senator you're emotionally attached to."

"You know who it is." The Jedi Knight responded, dropping his gaze to their clasped hands.

"Please." The young woman insisted in a whisper.

Obi-Wan released a sigh before he spoke. "It's you, Padmé."

A broad smile spread across the senator's face following his admission, but slipped away soon after.

"Why didn't you ever tell me?"

"I don't know. I suppose it was never the right time."

Padmé focused upon the way his thumbs were stroking along her palms and shivered at how erotic even that simple gesture was.

"Well, I can't think of a better time than now." She hinted, but still he hesitated, refusing to look at her.

Fine. The young woman thought. If she had to be the aggressor, then so be it. She wasn't about to let this moment pass.

Padmé scooted closer to the rather hesitant Jedi, still facing him, her knees drawn up, bringing her hand up to caress his beloved face.

"I love you, Obi-Wan." She said without delay. "I have for a long time."

Green -gray eyes, their whites glowing in the moonlit lifted up to study her face for truth, apparently accepting it as such when Obi-Wan smiled, relief blossoming upon his face. "I love you too."

"Then make love to me."

"Out here? Are you sure?"

"It's what I came here for."

The meaning of her words was not clear at first, but it occurred to Obi-Wan that she had dared to go where he would not. His brave, beautiful Padmé, unafraid to pursue what she wanted most.

It was one of the things he loved about her.

"Kiss me."

He didn't need any more convincing, and was soon relishing the firmness of her lips and the flavors of her mouth. She tasted of the rich, fruity wine served at the banquet, and he drank of her like a man dying of thirst.

Where he was worried about exposure and possible voyeurs watching them before, the only thing he was now focused upon was Padmé. Her luscious lips, the silkiness of her throat, the smooth swell of her breasts which he revealed after removing her leathers, and the flat planes of her belly.

He lay her down, tasting, licking, and kissing all of her most sensitive places, laughing along with her when he discovered a particularly ticklish spot behind her right knee.

But Padmé's laughter soon turned to groans when Obi-Wan drove his tongue into he center, and her groans turned to cries of pleasure when he entered her body, plunging in and out of her slowly at first until she adjusted to his size and then faster and more powerfully when she urged him to with frantic pleas. The longing for completion and overwhelming lust of their first union was more than Obi-Wan could control, and he reached orgasm quickly, grunting when he came, while the senator split the night sky with a scream as she joined him in climax.

"I told you he would please her."

"Are you sure you did the right thing, your Grace?"

"A female cannot be priest. I need an heir."

"But perhaps you should've warned the Jedi first."

"And what should I have said? That all Cer Amón females conceive during the Offering? Only to stand by and watch while they take my grandson away to be trained as a Jedi? I think not.

"No. The Priesthood of Windu will continue to have an heir, and he will have the spiritual gifts needed to rule. The Jedi will leave and not be allowed to return again until they are needed. The gods have foreseen it.

Praise be to Amón."

-End-