Chapter Twenty-seven: The Goddess of the Dawn
The cabin was almost invisible in the darkness, a shadow half-buried in the snow-covered hillside. Originally occupied by nerf herdsmen working the summer pasture, it was now used as a scientific observing station, except, of course, when anti-sociable Jedi guests of the Organas required accommodation outside of the palace.
Obi-Wan dismounted from the speeder, landing in a thigh-deep snowdrift. Chloe put one arm around his shoulders and swung her legs over the edge of the vehicle to follow, but he swept her into his arms before the toes of her sandals touched the snow, ignoring her half-hearted protests and striding to the cabin's door.
Inside the small hallway was pleasantly warm and welcoming in contrast to the frosty mountain air outside. They shed their outer layers, laughing awkwardly as they bumped elbows in the tiny space. "Um… where should I…" Chloe said, searching for a hook.
"Oh… yes. Here, let me." Obi-Wan took her coat in the same hand as his robe and hung them both somewhere behind him, his eyes on her all the while.
It's so quiet here, Chloe thought, hyper-aware of her thudding heart and unsteady breathing. Feeling a little bit light-headed, she looked down at her hands. "So. Here we are."
"Mmm," he said, moving closer. He raised a hand and ran his fingers over a lock of her hair before stopping suddenly. "Chloe?"
She looked up to find that now familiar expression of tender concern.
"Are you alright? You're trembling."
"It's been an eventful few days."
"Of course. The time difference… the disorientation of the journey… I'd completely forgotten. You must be exhausted." He gently tilted her chin upwards and studied her face. "But it's more than that, isn't it? When was the last time you slept properly?"
"On the ship to Terminus. With you."
Obi-Wan's expression softened, the touch on her face becoming a caress. "Do you remember what I said, that night?"
The truth was she really hadn't, not until now.
"What would it be like to be together, like this, every night," she said, quietly. "I… I didn't realise. It didn't even occur to me." He had practically told her how he felt, back then, if only she'd not been too caught up in her own insecurities to really listen.
But the regret was not solely hers. "It's my fault," Obi-Wan said. "I'm sorry. I should have just come straight out and told you..."
She took his hand. "Forget about it. What matters is we're here now. Together."
He smiled. "And alone, at last."
She looked up at him skeptically. "You're sure of that?"
"Oh, absolutely…" he murmured, leaning closer.
Chloe smiled and then reached up, taking his face in her hands and pulling her mouth against hers. Obi-Wan sighed and sank into the kiss, one arm sliding around her waist, the weight of his body pressing her back against the wall.
Chloe could not kiss him—be kissed by him—and think at the same time, and when, after only a short time, he pulled away, breath ragged, resting his forehead on the hand that was still against the wall, she was confused, and worried for a second that something was wrong.
Then Obi-Wan raised his head and glanced to the door, flashing a grin that made her heart skip a beat. "See. Nothing."
Chloe raised an eyebrow, trying to act nonchalant, which was ridiculous given that his arm around her waist was the only thing stopping her from swaying and tottering to the floor. "No sign of Prince Organa?"
"Not a trace."
"Master Yoda? I don't ever remember..."
She cast a suspicious glance at the other door, the one that presumably led to the main room of the cabin. "No, me neither, but if he was waiting in there for you I wouldn't be surprised."
Obi-Wan groaned. "Don't say things like that." He kissed the tip of her nose, then backed up to the internal door. "No one's going to interrupt us. I promise. Now… just wait here for a moment, will you?"
Chloe watched, amused, as Obi-Wan opened the door and slipped through, closing it behind him before she got a chance to peek inside.
She smiled to herself and poked the toe of her shoe in the puddle of melting snow at her feet, wondering whether it was at all possible that the persistently neat Obi-Wan had left his room in a mess.
A few moments later, the door opened, widely this time, and Obi-Wan welcomed her inside.
It wasn't a mess he'd been attending to, of course, but the fire, which now burned brightly in the little stove, and the row of candles on the windowsill, their flames flickering in the draught from the door. Chloe took in the single easy chair that stood at one side of the stove, the neatly made-up bed that was pushed up against the wall at the other side, and the polished wooden floor, covered next to the bed by a faded rug. Under the window was a small table and chairs and behind it a tiny kitchen unit.
"As you can see it's a little on the cosy side," Obi-Wan said, closing the door then crossing the room to her, slipping his arms around her waist from behind. "I don't think it was really designed for company."
Chloe snuggled back into his embrace, thankful that any remaining awkwardness and uncertainty between them seemed to have been left behind in the hallway. "That's not true. You have two dining chairs."
"Hmm. Good point." He pressed a soft kiss to her bare shoulder then trailed his lips along the ridge of her collar bone. "And there's a bottle of Bail's finest brandy lurking somewhere. I should probably be offering you a drink..."
"I think… that's enough… small talk…" she struggled to say, sighing as he swept her hair aside so he could kiss her neck. His hands moved to her waist, smoothing over the thick satin of her dress, sliding upwards, his mouth closing over her ear, biting softly, making her gasp when she felt his tongue flicker over the same spot.
"I can't… I can't stand…" she murmured, eventually, but the sentence fragmented into another sigh as his fingers traced the neckline of her dress, his lips leaving trails of fire on her skin.
"Can't stand what?" he said, beginning to pull away, concern in his voice.
"Up. Can't stand… up. Not for much longer, at any rate." She smiling hazily up at him and clamped his hand back in place, remembering the first time that had been literally true. "As you may recall, my legs have a tendency to give out in your presence."
He pressed a kiss to her temple, sliding both arms around her waist to support her weight. "Oh. And I thought that was down to low blood sugar."
"Nah. It was you and your voice and your… your everything. In fact, if I hadn't known you were a Jedi, I might have suspected you were doing it deliberately in an attempt to seduce me."
He chuckled. "I can assure you my motives were quite proper, even if some of my thoughts were not entirely so."
She twisted to look at him. "Really?"
"Oh yes. And if Anakin had not arrived I think I may have done something highly inappropriate."
He raised a hand to trail his fingertips up along the exposed curve of her neck, then slowly drew her into a kiss that started off gently but finished with his tongue sliding boldly across hers, leaving her whimpering as he pulled away.
"Something like that."
"I'm not sure I'd have survived the night," she murmured, flooded suddenly by the memories of those early days, the intensity of their first night together, and how quickly she had fallen for him, even though every rational part of her told her she should not.
Except that somehow, all along, she had been right.
Shaking herself back into the present, Chloe ran her hands over his, feeling his arms around her, reminding herself that, in as much as he could be, he was hers. "How long do we have here?" she said, realising how precious their time alone was. "When do you have to leave?"
Obi-Wan sighed. "Midday tomorrow. I have meetings scheduled on Coruscant, and much as I wish I could stay here… "
"I understand," Chloe said, unable to suppress a sigh of her own. "The war will not wait." Banishing the unwelcome prospect of tomorrow and the tough reality of everything that lay ahead, she twisted in his arms. "Come on," she said, pushing him backwards towards the bed, only stopping when the back of his legs hit the wooden frame. "You first." She gave him a little push, and watched as he took the hint and sat down.
Chloe stepped forward to stand between his knees, smiling down at his flushed face and unkempt hair. He opened his mouth to speak but she held a finger to his lips. "Hush," she chided, stroking his face, running the backs of her fingers over his cheeks, then turning her hands and tracing her fingertips along his eyebrows, his cheekbones, his bearded jaw. "I thought I'd never be able to do this again." She gently cupped his cheeks and pressed her lips to his, pouring all her love and depth of feeling into that single kiss, hoping he could somehow feel what was beyond her powers of description.
When she pulled away, his blissful smile told her he did.
And that was all the reward she needed. She would face anything if it meant she could make him smile like that.
Well that and a few other ways, too. She mock- frowned and plucked at the material of his jacket. "Hmm. Much as I like this, I think you might look better with it off."
He raised an eyebrow but complied, yanking his arms out of the sleeves, eyes locked with hers. Her hands went to the buttons of his shirt, working to free him of it, too. His chest bared to the subdued light, Chloe smiled, tangling her hands in his hair and pulling his mouth back to hers, stroking her hands down his neck, along his shoulders and then down his arms, pulling away from the kiss when she reached his fingertips.
She lifted his hands to the criss-cross of ribbons at her chest that fastened her dress, then watched, mesmerised, as his elegant fingers loosening the ties, pulling gently, seductively at each one. When he was done, he looked up at her, his hands still resting on her dress, his expression one of unguarded anticipation and desire, his lips slightly parted, tongue flicking out to wet them.
Unable to resist, she lurched forward to kiss that sinful mouth again, the sudden movement pressing his hand against the exposed curve of her breast. Her moan was echoed by his and his fingers tightened on the bodice of the dress and yanked it roughly away, ribbons fluttering to the floor as his cool hand cupped her soft flesh fully, thumb circling her nipple, making her moan again.
She pushed at him again and he got the message, tipping backwards on to the mattress, bringing her with him, the stiff material of the dress staying behind, a crumpled cocoon on the floor.
Straddling him, she frowned as something uncomfortable dug into her thigh. His hand closed on her hip. "Wait," he said, cursing mildly, half-laughing, and then unclasped his belt, lightsaber still attached, before sliding it off and tossing it to the end of the bed.
Encouraged back by his hands on her hips, she slowly settled her weight on him, feeling his arousal through the fabric layers still separating them. Acting on instinct, she rocked her hips against him, leaning forwards so her hair fell down, ticking his face. His hand went to her cheek then rubbed across her lips. She sucked his finger into her mouth, running her tongue along the length until she heard his breath quicken. Then she decisively guided it back to her breast so he could touch her again, in that particular way he had—not too roughly—not too softly—while his other hand stroked down her side to her hip, lingering there, fingers playing with the edge of her underwear.
"Mmmm..." She lifted her hips, intending to give him better access, but he moved his hand further away. Their gazes locked as he skated his fingers back up the inside of her thigh…
Chloe frowned in frustration but then saw the question in his eyes, and smiled when she realised what he meant. After everything they had been through, after everything she had confessed, he was still asking permission.
"Obi-Wan. Please," she said, dropping her lips to his ear. "Touch me. I think I'll die if you don't."
And only then, very slowly, did he move his thumb, rubbing her softly through the silk.
Chloe exhaled slowly and let her head fall down, her eyes drifting shut, a moan tumbling from her lips as he honed in on the point of greatest pleasure, rubbing deliberately slowly, the silky material affording only the barest friction. "More," she pleaded, canting her hips into his touch.
She gasped as he responded immediately, fingers slipping under the material and sliding through her wetness. He groaned quietly, approvingly, his other hand gripping her hip, the thumb finding its way to direct contact with her slick flesh, tracing steady, exquisite circles, softly, not teasingly, but leisurely, as if his only goal was this.
Chloe lost all sense of time as she gave herself over to him, utterly and more completely than she ever had before. At some point her underwear joined the remainder of his clothing, kicked down towards the bottom of the bed, and they shifted position, his warmth and weight now above her, skin against skin, his lips on hers, his hands seemingly everywhere at once.
Her state of arousal was dangerously precarious. Obi-Wan was being careful, but one stray touch could easily send her over the edge. She fumbled for each of his hands, intertwining and locking their fingers, prying her heavy eyelids open to see him above her. "On your back," she whispered, leaning up to his mouth, sliding her tongue out to taste him.
"Milady," he said, defying the laws of physics to reverse their positions again while their hands remained locked together, on the pillow now, at either side of his head.
Chloe smiled down at the image of him, happily acquiescent below her. "You know, I think this might be the answer," she said quietly, flexing her fingers.
"To you not playing fair."
"I'm sorry… In what sense—"
"In the sense of one moment I was undressed you, the next I'm naked and completely under your spell."
His eyes glinted. "And you would have me believe you don't like that?"
She leant down to drift her lips against his. "l think you know I do. But… has it ever occurred to you that you're a tad competitive about this?"
She sat up again. "On occasion you may find it in your interests to let me win." She disentangled her fingers from his and gently encircled his wrists. "Which I intend to do one day, even if I have to tie you up, General." And for good measure, she made a concentrated effort to envision him below her, ropes binding his wrists to the headboard, straining against them as she pleasured him, slowly and deeply, with her mouth.
"Sith hells… Chloe… uhh…" Obi-Wan's voice was deliciously roughened as his hips jerked up beneath her. "You…." He gasped, smiling at the same time, "you don't know your own power."
"Really. Language, Obi-Wan," she said, with a grin, adjusting her position so should could slide her hand delicately over his erection, light touches quickly giving way to the steady and slow strokes she knew he liked.
Obi-Wan's eyes were closed, his head tipped back into the pillow. "Mmm… so good… nggghhh…"
Impossibly turned on by the sounds he was making, Chloe quickly shuffled down the bed and replaced her fingers with her tongue, savouring the taste of him before taking him fully in her mouth. Obi-Wan grunted, his hips snapping forward, taking her by surprise. He hissed a curse, and rested his hand lightly on her head. "Sorry."
Unperturbed, she regained her rhythm and stretched one arm out, sliding it up along his abdomen and chest, finding a nipple and rubbing it, enjoying his moan and the pulsing of his flesh against her tongue.
All too soon, his fingers wound into her hair. "Sweetheart," he ground out. "I won't… can't… last… much… longer."
She let him pull her up, to claim her mouth again, his tongue swirling around hers. Her hand strayed back down, but he caught her wrist. "Just let me…" he paused, eyes burning her like blue fire. "Be inside you. I need to. Please."
She nodded and took both his hands in hers, settling herself astride his thighs. "Like this?"
"Yes." He smiled, and raised a hand to her cheek. "You are so beautiful." He brought his lips to hers very softly, kissing her while his hands stroked over her waist, round her bottom, tracing patterns on her inner thighs before drifting upwards again, his touch making her tremble. "So beautiful," he murmured again, easing her forward, guiding her hips until she could feel him nudge the entrance to her body. "Ready?"
"Yes." She bit her lip, letting out a long sigh as she sank down onto him. Felt him stretch her, fill her. "Don't hold back," she pleaded, as they began to move, finding a rhythm, delighting in each glide of flesh against flesh. She wound her arms around his neck and kissed him, messy kisses, tongues thrusting, teeth clashing. His hands were on her hips, grinding her onto him, and the closeness was exquisite even if she was not quite comfortable, but what did it matter if she couldn't walk in the morning?
Obi-Wan stilled his movements as if he had read her thought. "Sorry, sweetheart, let me…" She felt his arms shake as he lifted her slightly, adjusting the angle and retreated out of her body almost completely, catching her whimper of protest and holding her gaze with his before sliding back into her slowly, stretching her again, his hard shaft rubbing exquisitely across the exact point that would give her the most pleasure.
Too much. It was all too much. The taste of his mouth, the touch of his hands, the restrained strength of his body, against her, in her, filling her, completing her. She should wait… she should make it last… but how could she when he was cupping her cheek in one hand and telling her to let go, that he was right with her, that he wanted to feel her come?
Chloe fluttered open her eyes, needing to see him, needing to memorise this moment. Obi-Wan smiled at her, lacing their fingers together, his other arm wrapping around her waist as their bodies continued to move, hot and slick and perfect.
She cried out as her orgasm engulfed her, taking her breath and vision away with its power. Distantly, she heard Obi-Wan shout as she tightened around him, his entire body shaking as he followed her, exploding inside her, rocking her gently, riding the waves that surged around them, holding them together, so close, so right.
And then he was kissing her gently, and tipping her down to the mattress, collapsing there, stroking her hair, whispering tender words, her numb limbs tangled with his amidst the cool sheets.
Eyes closed, Chloe drifted back to reality slowly, smiling as she felt Obi-Wan's fingers tracing patterns on her arm, then her wrist, then her hand. He brought it to his lips, kissing each of her fingers. She giggled. "Tickles."
"No. Just comfy. And thirsty, actually."
Obi-Wan sat up and ran a hand through his hair. "Brandy, snowmelt, or Republic Army-ration tea?"
"I'll go with the tea. Lots of sugar."
Chloe hugged the sheet and blanket around her knees contentedly as she watched Obi-Wan remake the fire and brew tea in two large mugs. They sat in bed, drinking tea and chatting happily about nothing in particular.
"We should pay Dex a visit," Chloe said. "He'll be glad to know we've working things out. He saw it, you know, between us. I didn't believe him. I'll have to apologise and find a way to make it up to him."
"Or just eat every cake he ever offers you for the rest of your life."
She laughed. "I was already doing that. After all, if he hadn't followed me in his speeder that day, you might never have found me."
Obi-Wan's humorous expression vanished and he swallowed, looking down at his drink. "I'm not sure I'll ever be able to repay him for that."
"Don't forget Anakin," she said, changing the subject with determined optimism. "If he hadn't told me why you'd come to Alderaan, I wouldn't be here."
"Hmm," Obi-Wan said, frowning, and Chloe wondered why he was always so incredibly guarded about his Padawan. Loyalty, perhaps. It was clear that Obi-Wan had found training Anakin something of an ordeal, but Chloe suspected the affection between them ran deeper than either would admit. And Chloe liked Anakin. He had been nothing but open, friendly and generous with her, right from the start.
"Force knows how he's going to react when I go in and tell the Council I won't be taking the celibacy vow after all," Obi-Wan said, looking glum.
"He'll be pleased, surely," she said, confused. "He cares about you. He wants you to be happy."
"Yes," he said quietly. "I know."
"Then what's the problem?"
"I am supposed to be his mentor. His role model. I can hardly expect him to respect and obey the rules of the Order while flouting them myself."
"You are hardly flouting them. Surely there are many Jedi who have made more controversial decisions."
"Yes, but that is not the point. It is not a case of comparing myself against others. Anakin's training is an immense responsibility. Qui-Gon was convinced Anakin would fulfil the prophecy of the Chosen One. And in my promise to train Anakin I pledged to be the best Master I could possibly be, not only to myself, but to…"
His voice trailed off, great sadness in his eyes, and it seemed to Chloe that he was suddenly laid bare to her, revealing his most private thoughts.
So that's part of the reason he strives for unattainable perfection. Not as and end unto itself, but to honour the memory of a man who died over ten years ago.
And with that thought she realised. Tenderness swept through her. She raised and hand to his face. "That's why you understood how I felt about my father, isn't it? You felt the same way about Qui-Gon."
Obi-Wan was still and silent for a while before he nodded, eyes unfocused. "It took me years to accept his death. I still fight with frustration that he left me… and I still strive to live up to what he expected of me. If I were to find out he'd betrayed everything I believed in… even now… I fear it might destroy me. Not thoughts becoming of a Jedi at all, but yes, they did help me understand your grief, and your need to hold on to your father's integrity. Not that I handled that situation very well, either."
"Oh, Obi-Wan. I wish you could see yourself as I see you."
He smiled a little and thanked her silently, reaching to her hand on his cheek and turning it to kiss her palm.
"As for Anakin…" she ventured, "do you not think he might be mature enough now to appreciate knowing you're only human, just as I do?"
Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows and peered into the bottom of his mug. "Possibly." Then he looked up at her with a half-smile. "Maybe."
"Good," she said, smiling back at him. "I'm glad we agree."
They sat in contented silence for a while, before a flash of something at the window caught Chloe's eye.
"What is it? Is something wrong?" she asked Obi-Wan, who was already up and half-way across the room.
"No. Quite the opposite," he said, rubbing condensation from the glass. "In fact, if it's what I think it is, you'll want to see this. Quick. Get dressed."
They threw on layer upon layer of clothing and headed outside, Chloe shuffling awkwardly in a pair of far-too-large snowboots Obi-Wan had found in the closet.
"Up here," Obi-Wan said, helping her into the speeder, where the seats afforded them a comfortable view of the clear night sky.
"We've missed it," Chloe said, turning her eyes hopefully to the north.
"No. It's coming again. I can feel it," Obi-Wan replied, putting an arm around her waist and pulling her into his side. "Look."
"Oh…" was all Chloe could manage, spellbound, as colour suddenly erupted into the sky, green at first, then yellow, then pink, ripples of light, dancing as if they were alive…
"Aurora, they call it here," whispered Obi-Wan. "The Goddess of the Dawn."
As they watched the display in awestruck silence, Chloe recalled childhood stories of the polar lights that sometimes occurred on distant, sparsely-inhabited planets. But no description could do this justice. This was… magnificent.
She turned to him. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"It's very rare. Scientists camp out up here for months just to catch a glimpse of it."
"Then we're very lucky."
Obi-Wan said nothing. She looked at him."Oh, I get it. Jedi do not believe in luck. Only…"
"Only the will of the Force."
Chloe turned her eyes back to the shimmers of colour painting the sky, and spoke quietly, her whisper vastly insignificant against the majesty of it all. "And what would a Jedi call this, then?"
"A gift. Or, perhaps, a sign. Or a…"
When he didn't continue, Chloe glanced at him. "What? Or a what?"
He smiled at her impatience. "You may find it somewhat… sentimental."
"Try me," she said. "No more secrets, remember? Or a what?"
Obi-Wan tilted her face to his, and she had never seen his eyes so full of hope.
"A blessing," he said.
And Chloe could swear that Aurora's colours burned even more brightly above them, as if the Goddess herself was somewhat sentimental, too.
"I love you," Obi-Wan whispered, against her cheek.
With a smile, Chloe relaxed into his embrace, knowing that finally, she was home.
And exactly where she was meant to be.
From my soundtrack for this story: We've Got Tonight, by Bob Seger
I know it's late, I know you're weary,
I know your plans don't include me,
Still here we are, both of us lonely,
Longing for shelter, from all that we see,
Why should we worry? No one will care girl,
Look at the stars, so far away,
We've got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We've got tonight babe,
Why don't you stay?
Deep in my soul, I've been so lonely,
All of my hopes, fading away,
I've longed for love, like everyone else does,
I know I'll keep searching, even after today,
So there it is girl, I've said it all now,
And here we are babe, what do you say?
We've got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We've got tonight babe.
Why don't you stay.
That's it folks! Writing this story has taken far more out of me than you'd probably ever guess! I'm going to be taking a break from fanfiction for a little while now, to recharge my batteries and work on some other exciting projects. Thanks for reading, for every single one of your comments, for liking my OFC, for indulging my little bit of escapism, and for helping me (and Chloe) get through to the end!
(And I will, inevitably, be back. Because whatever happens, there will always be Star Wars.)