Did you ever hear what I told you?
Did you ever read what I wrote you?
Did you ever listen to what we played
Did you ever let in what the world said?
Did we get this far just to feel your hate;
Did we play to become only pawns in the game?
How blind can you be, don't you see-
You chose the long road but we'll be waiting!Bye bye beautiful!

Obi-Wan knew it was a trick. And yet, he went along with it.

He could sense her within the building; Asajj Ventress. That betraying little brat. She really had nothing better to do, huh? But, deep down, Obi-Wan almost didn't mind the playful banter they exchanged on these run-ins with each other. He told himself that the reason he was going after her was because he thought he could capture her, or kill her, and thus strike a crippling blow at Dooku. He would have taken his most trusted assassin. Why Dooku kept her around, he would never know, though. Had Ventress been lying to him about her time and again failures? Or had she been doing other dark deeds to make up for these failures? Obi-Wan knew he had thwarted her again and again, but had other Jedi managed to do the same? Ventress was a formidable opponent, and Obi-Wan could see many Jedi falling to her blade. But somehow, she always ended up running from him. Why, though? Obi-Wan refused to believe that it was coincidence that every time he came close to getting her, she would always have some convenient ride come up to the edge of the roof. And then, she would be gone once again. Frankly, Obi-Wan was getting annoyed with her. Was she a coward, or was she stupid? Stupid like a fox, he thought ruefully. She was smarter, much smarter, than many gave her credit for.

And then, she was there.

Right in front of them, tall, graceful, sinewy limbs rippling with lean muscle, she reached up and pulled back her hood, revealing her tattooed head and frightening makeup. Obi-Wan felt a wry smile cross his face, and greeted her:

"Ventress. And here I thought this mission would be unpleasant!"

"The pleasure is all mine, my dear Obi-Wan," she purred, long cloak falling from her shoulders. The soft curves of her waist were revealed, as well as her slightly disrespectful attire. Obi-Wan wasn't sure if it was the natural hormones in his body or some fatal attraction that made him stare, but either way, he couldn't help but trace the lines of Ventress's form. "I've missed you." Twin sabers sprouted from Ventress's hands, indicating that her emotions weren't the warm, fuzzy kind that warranted being nice to anyone. In fact, the only reason she wanted to see Obi-Wan again was so she could make it so she would never see him. Ever.

Anakin's blade was the first she met, though, much to her disappointment. Ventress easily swatted him away after a short exchange, and then moved to meet Obi-Wan. Ah, now here was something she could deal with. He actually challenged her. Plus, there was the matter of the constant flirting they exchanged. Ventress had to wonder if it meant anything. She didn't think it meant anything…but what if Obi-Wan took her seriously? She doubted he did, given as he returned the taunting, yet romantic words, and he was a Jedi. Ventress could take offense at such, but she realized it would be hypocritical to do so. Ventress bounded up the stairs at her back, graceful as a kybuck and aggressive as a reek. An unnatural light came into her eyes as her red blades met Obi-Wan's blue one again; he pushed her back, though, and Ventress turned tail and ran. Her sabers hid themselves in their rectangular handles, for a moment obscuring the Jedi's view of her. She reached out in the Force, revealing herself again, and hurled several books from the shelves behind her at the approaching Jedi. Anakin and Obi-Wan both caught some, and threw them back at her. Ventress, by then, had moved to run, and wasn't anticipating the counterattack. She felt several of the books strike her: one on her left wrist, one in her stomach, two to her legs, one too close to her head for comfort, and one last one knocking the saber from her right hand. The sudden pressure on her left wrist from the force of the book being hurled forced Ventress to relinquish that blade as well, and the Rattataki fled once again. She wasn't finished yet! She had one last trap laid for the Jedi, and she ran for it.

The Jedi discovered her sitting in front of her trap, cross-legged and seemingly ready to surrender. Ventress had recovered her lightsabers through the Force: she knew exactly where they were, and she would simply call them with the Force to spring her trap.

"Give up, Ventress," Obi-Wan growled, advancing towards her with blue blade outstretched. Ventress felt the smallest of smiles grace her porcelain features at this, and replied,

"I'm all yours, Obi-Wan."

Something sent a charge down her spine as she said this, and Ventress berated herself for it. Damn hormones! Obi-Wan looked confused, but decided not to look a gift kybuck in the mouth. He started towards her, and, just as he and Anakin got halfway there, Ventress reached out through the Force for her sabers.

With a shock, she realized she couldn't access them.

"What, looking for these?" Anakin taunted, extending a hand towards Ventress. To her horror, both of her precious blades were clutched in his hand. By then, though, Obi-Wan had reached her, and had both of his hands on her. Obi-Wan had taken her upper arms in a firm grip, and was pulling her up to her feet. He braced her against his chest, holding her with one hand and was binding her wrists with the other. Ventress decided it wasn't worth the fight: he had her in his grip already, and she clearly wasn't getting her sabers back. But it didn't mean she had to let them know that. To be so humiliated as to go quietly? Not a shot! She was giving them as much of a hard time as possible. Ventress hissed and tried to yank her arms away from Obi-Wan; she didn't want this filth touching her, especially for something so demeaning as to be taking her into custody! But Obi-Wan was having none of this, and dealt Ventress a harsh smack. She took the blow soundlessly, and quieted as Obi-Wan hauled her back to her feet. His strike had sent her flying, and right to the floor. The sudden humiliation of the situation struck Ventress full force as Obi-Wan bound her hands behind her back, and the Rattataki numbly thought to herself that Dooku was going to kill her.

On the bright side, though, she was guaranteed she wouldn't be tortured while she waited.


"I am going to kill you!"

"I'd like to see you try!"

"I am going to kill you!"

"You can't even stand up right now!"

"I am going to kill you!!"

"You have serious anger issues!!"

"Anakin, please shut up. While your shouting isn't too bad, her voice is much higher pitched, and this room echoes. Try not to upset her."

"I'm going to kill you, too!"

"She could try Yoda's patience."

"She's certainly doing a good job of trying mine."

Ventress angrily spat in Obi-Wan's direction, feeling some sort of gross satisfaction as her saliva connected with the Jedi master's cheek. Obi-Wan looked disgusted, but wiped his face clean with the back of his hand and said nothing. Anakin looked caught between snickering and kicking Ventress's ribs in.

"You can't hold me forever," Ventress snarled. "I will escape!"

"That's what they all say," Anakin muttered, folding his arms and giving Ventress a penetrating glare. The Rattataki female sitting at his feet looked ready to spit at him, too. Anakin gave her a devilish smirk, and then moved away as Ventress spit again. Obi-Wan dealt her another rough smack, but Ventress remained unaffected.

"So much for Jedi mercy," she snarled, glaring threateningly at Obi-Wan.

"I am allowed to discipline you if need be. What I'm not allowed to do is cause you unnecessary pain."

Ventress snickered, and leaned back against the wall of the holding cell the Jedi had locked her in. They hadn't left the world just yet, but Ventress knew that the Jedi Temple was looming close on her horizon. She tried, once again, to fight against the Force-suppressing drugs the Jedi had managed to conjure up, but to no avail. They had given her an overdose, she swore. And the fact that her hands were tied wasn't improving her nasty mood. Obi-Wan had made sure, as well, that she was tied to some heavy object, to prevent her from getting up. That heavy object just happened to be a wooden beam in the exposed section of wall behind her.

"So, what are you going to do with me?"

Obi-Wan shrugged. "Well, the plan was to get you back to the Jedi Temple, and then just let the Council deal with you," he said ambiguously. Ventress could guess there wasn't much of a plan.

"I don't suppose I can convince you to change that plan?"

Obi-Wan shook his head, and Ventress sighed in defeat. This was it, huh? She knew she would get the death sentence. Anyone like her would be killed immediately. She would be sentenced to trial with the Senate, and they would convict her of some thousands of murders within the hour. And that was that. She had lived her entire life for nothing, then. Well, it wasn't for nothing, she supposed. If she was going down, she would bring a ton of them with her. Plant a bomb, and blow herself up. Only one problem: she couldn't get to a bomb right now!

But, speaking of bombs, there was a sharp, resonating crash from outside. Ventress felt the building shudder against her hands, and pulled at the metal holding her down. Again, her attempts were in vain. She vaguely registered Anakin saying, "I'll see what that was," and leaving, but by the time she looked up again, he was gone. Obi-Wan was left alone with her, and he was looking down at her with something resembling pity.

"I don't need your sympathy."

Obi-Wan roughly sighed, and slowly lowered himself to sit down across from Ventress. The Sith woman was slightly put off by the gesture: what did he want, getting so close to her? Ventress pulled her legs closer to her body, tucking them neatly underneath her and straightening up a bit, trying to flatten herself against the wall. If Obi-Wan didn't know better, he might have mistaken her gestures for thinking his touch poisonous.

"I'm not offering you sympathy. I just want to talk."

"If I may use your Padawan's words: that's what they all say."

Obi-Wan smiled, and set his hands on his knees. "Ventress, I have wanted to ask you for a long time: what had driven you to hate the Jedi so much? I know you used to be one: what changed?"

Ventress turned her gaze away from Obi-Wan, trying to meet his gaze at all costs. Those icy blue-gray eyes of his just drove her to talk, she swore…if he was going to be the one doing the talking, they wouldn't even have to resort to torture, even if they were allowed. Obi-Wan gently reached out to her, taking his chin in his hand and turning her head back to face him once again. Ventress, surprisingly, offered no resistance. Their eyes met again, and Ventress simply crumpled.

"They abandoned Ky Narec, my master," she said softly, still trying not to meet his eyes. But, despite her desperation, she couldn't tear her eyes away. Nor could she get her mind off his hand on her skin: the contact drove her mad, with the tingling heat that spread throughout her entire body. "They drove him from the Order, and so, he was Gray when he found me. He trained me, and then he was killed. Simple."

Obi-Wan's face twisted with clear pity and anguish for Ventress. This drove the Rattataki to wrench her head away, snapping, "I told you, I don't need your sympathies."

"And I told you, I wasn't trying to be sympathetic," Obi-Wan persisted, allowing his hand to mercifully fall from her face. "I just want to see your reasoning."

"You want to know exactly what's going on in my mind. You want to know how I think. You want to know what made me do this, and that, and how I arrived at such and such a decision. You want to use that deduction against me, and cater to my way of thinking to persuade me to your side. Don't think I'm that stupid! I'm sick and tired of it!"

"Of what?"

Obi-Wan's soft words stopped her cold. Ventress had been referring to having people constantly trying to win her over, but…maybe she was sick of something else. What was it? The war? The fighting? The conflict? The under-handed trickery? The gross negligence and disregard for sentient life? Ventress didn't know. And, once again, she turned away from Obi-Wan's hand.

This time, it was his cool palm that cupped her cheek, asking her, instead of demanding it from her, to look into his eyes one more time. And Ventress found herself obeying. A soft exhale barely escaped: she was holding her breath. Obi-Wan shifted his weight to his knees, and leaned a bit closer to Ventress. He barely had to move to get closer to her: her body was suddenly trembling, torn between her duty and her desires-

A whisper in the Force warned them, and Obi-Wan stood up as the doors slid open once again. Anakin stuck his head in, smiling.

"That crash was the ship landing on the roof. Grab her, and let's go!"

Obi-Wan nodded, and knelt down again next to Ventress. He reached around her back and uncuffed her from the wall, using a firm grip on her elbow to pull her to her feet. And, as he marched Ventress to what she knew would be her doom, she couldn't help but notice a certain yielding softness in Obi-Wan that hadn't been there before.

So much for not pitying her.

A/N: Argh, I did it to myself again. XP The romance scenes from anywhere and everywhere that pretty much drive me insane until they hit either paper or Internet. This came from Ventress and Obi-Wan's constant flirting. And you've noticed it too, don't deny it! Those two are always hitting on each other, don't try to fool yourselves!! Okay, I'm done. But please, review. I wanna keep this alive.

Lyrics are from Nightwish's Bye Bye Beautiful.