Ventress was back in her own-or rather, Obi-Wan's-apartment the very next day. She refused to stay in the infirmary, taking her baby with her and high-tailing out of there as soon as Shaak Ti gave the smallest sign of consent. The Togruta Jedi knew Ventress's stubborn nature, and knew the futile nature of fighting fire with fire. And so, she allowed Ventress to go back home; technically, up two stories and down the hall. She instructed her strictly to remain in bed and rest for a few days, to nurse her baby every chance she got, and contact her at the smallest sign of a complication. Most of Shaak Ti's words had gone in one ear and out the other, and Ventress had headed right upstairs. Obi-Wan met her right outside the door of her room, and escorted her up to their room. Ventress drew stares wherever they walked; it wasn't like they weren't used to it by now, though. Obi-Wan just ignored everyone around them, one arm around Ventress, until they got upstairs.
Anakin didn't look thrilled to see Ventress back so soon.
"What, that doesn't hurt?" he said snidely, glancing at Ventress. "Up and walking already, huh? How much did the stairs do you in?"
"Guys are wimps when it comes to two things," Ventress said smoothly, walking over to the couch and sitting down, Eva in her arms. "Beauty, and babies."
"Oh, so you cried like your baby the entire time?"
Ventress gazed up at Obi-Wan, putting on her best innocent face. "Can you kill him for me? Please? Getting blood all over myself might scare the baby…"
Obi-Wan, to her surprise, laughed. "Sorry, darling," he said, sitting down next to her on the couch, "I'll have to wait until you're out. Eva might not like the screams, either."
"I'm not goin' down without bringing down at least one creature with me," Anakin said defiantly. His gaze turned to Ventress again. "Ventress, you're sort of alive?"
Ventress merely raised an eyebrow. "You go through birth and I'd love to see how you handle it."
Anakin snickered. "I'm too smart to forget the condom," he sneered. Obi-Wan glanced sidelong at him.
"Oh, we didn't forget."
Anakin looked ready to throw up. "So…it broke?"
Obi-Wan grabbed a pillow from behind himself, and chucked it viciously at Anakin. "No, she was planned, you douche!" he snapped.
Anakin got up, and fled the scene.
Ventress leaned over, smiling. "Thank you," she said, leaning her head on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "He was getting on my nerves."
"I'll kick him out tomorrow," Obi-Wan said. "The Council has decided to assign him a Padawan."
Ventress's brows knit together in confusion. "Hasn't he sworn several times he'll never take a Padawan?"
Obi-Wan grinned maliciously. "He can't defy a direct order from the Council," he said. "I'll break it to him next time he insults you."
Ventress's smile seemed to light up the entire room. "Good," she said. "He needs to be knocked down a few pegs."
Obi-Wan nodded. "I love him dearly, but he's a fool sometimes. Maturity isn't his strong point. Obviously. The Council was also hoping to teach him some responsibility, and maybe help him realize that he's not the only one in the picture. Just because he's the Chosen One doesn't mean he gets special treatment."
"I would think it would be quite the opposite," Ventress murmured, shifting Eva from one arm to the other. Her child was a fairly calm child: she had cried only at birth, and whenever she needed something. Ventress tried her best to care for her child, but she was relatively new to the whole concept of mothering. Obi-Wan, too, tried to help her through it, but he knew even less than her. Ventress gazed into her baby's sleeping face, still somewhat mesmerized by the thought of this beautiful baby being hers. She still wasn't completely used to the fact that she had a child now. And by a Jedi! The very Jedi she had sworn to kill at all costs…she was now the mother of his child. My, how things have changed.
"I would think Anakin would be more mature because of it. If anything, he seems to have lost some maturity since he became a Jedi."
"He had less of a burden on his shoulders," Ventress reasoned. "He might have wanted the childhood he never had."
"You know," Obi-Wan remarked, crossing one leg over the other, "for someone with so little experience with humans and other sentient beings and living with them, you have an astounding and comprehensive understanding of them."
Ventress shrugged slightly. "Sometimes the best lessons are those learned in silence."
Obi-Wan sighed softly, putting his arm around her again. "I agree in full," he murmured. "I agree in full."
A silence fell between them then. But it wasn't a heavy, awkward silence: it was the calm, soothing silence of simply enjoying the presence of another. Particularly, the presence of someone the other loved. It was nice to just have silence for a time…
Eva woke up.
"My lord, do you know what your apprentice has been doing while you were incarcerated?!"
Dooku strode angrily across the bridge of the Invisible Hand, watching Grievous follow him with a hunched-over, clanging walk, his clawed hands twining before him like the knurled knuckles of an old man. Dooku wasn't in the mood for crap from Grievous; and he did not have to take it. The tall man wheeled around, staring up at Grievous's bone-mask, pitted with miniscule cracks and plagued by tiny holes. Grievous looked slightly startled by the sudden turn around, and leaned back a bit to accommodate Dooku.
"I am well aware, general," Dooku whispered, his voice a menacing leer. "And I am no longer in control of the situation. Believe me, General, if I was, she would be dead or dying in response for her crimes against us. But, I have the entire galaxy against me, and I cannot risk anything in their eye. I will, unfortunately, have to relinquish my control over one particular Rattataki female. However useful a pawn she was, and however difficult she would be to replace, we must accept her loss and move on. You are never to speak her name again, lest I rip your throat out where you stand. Am. I. Understood."
Grievous nodded quickly, suddenly fearing for his life. Dooku then turned on his heel, all armor weave cape and thundering presence, and commanded the Neimoidean crew to jump to hyperspace, and set a course for Serenno. The cowardly reptiles saw to immediately, and Dooku exited the bridge, telling Grievous not to follow him. Grievous, of course, obeyed.
Dooku strode into his personal meditation chambers, rather grumpy at this point. Ventress was going to be difficult to replace. He might not be able to take another apprentice in the ark side, not directly, but he could do it indirectly. If he could only find a way…it didn't have to be some crazy, revenge-bent idiot wanting nothing more than to kill everything alive. Darth Maul, cough-cough. Cough. Asajj Ventress. All Sith wanna-be's. Dooku had seen it; Sidious had seen it. And that was why it was Dooku, and not one other Dark Acolyte, who had been chosen for the coveted title of Sith apprentice. Dooku was a gentleman, moreover: he was civilized, unlike those other wild savages who had wanted nothing more than death and destruction. He had been able to do something those others could not: control himself. Force, was it really too much to ask?! Just a little restraint, please! Dooku himself could rebuild the Sith, he decided. As those who explored the Force through passion, and not control. He would make sure that the Sith became known for being individuals not to be messed with, but who were diplomatic and could actually hold a civilized conversation with another sentient being. Individualism would be valued. And people couldn't be afraid to play dirty. Dooku finally made it to his meditation chambers-
Only to realize he had already sorted himself out.
Well, comes with such remarkable self-control.
Ventress didn't really expect anything else: after all, Shaak Ti had been remarkably generous in allowing her to leave the infirmary. But, that pretty much entitled her to bugging Ventress whenever she felt like it. Now was one of those times. Ventress had actually been nursing Eva when Shaak Ti knocked on the door; Obi-Wan had stood up and opened it for her, unlocking it and depressing the "open" button. He stepped aside without a word, knowing why the Togruta Jedi was here. Only Eva's second day of life, and she was already sick to death of Shaak Ti. But, Ventress had yet to break the news: Shaak Ti had been chosen as the godmother.
"How is she?"
Shaak Ti sat down next to Ventress on the couch, watching the baby nurse. Ventress shifted her body away a bit, still a bit self-conscious. "She's fine," she answered, looking down at her baby. "Doing wonderfully, actually. No problems at all."
Shaak Ti nodded slowly. "And you have you yourself had any problems?" she pressed.
"None," Ventress assured her. "Everyone's been fine, really. Obi-Wan's adapting well, and so am I. Eva goes everywhere with me, and we pretty much never see Anakin or Ahsoka."
"Ah, the two most immature, poorly-restrained Jedi in the entire order," Shaak Ti said, voice dripping with sarcastic pleasure. "I don't count Kit, because he can control himself. Somewhat. If he chooses. He has a sense of 'there's a time and a place for everything,' and, 'you just missed a really good opportunity to keep your mouth shut.' Kit knows that; he's always been good with stuff like that. Anakin…not so much. And he's rubbing off on Ahsoka."
Ventress smiled. "I dunno," she said, a smile across her face. "Ahsoka wasn't exactly a model Jedi to begin with."
Shaak Ti smiled in return. "But she was better than this," she said softly, keeping her voice a mocking whisper. "Anyway, so, have you chosen the godparents yet?"
"Actually, we have," Ventress said. Noticing Eva had fallen asleep in her lap, she pulled her top back up over her shoulder. "Kit is going to be the godfather, and you are the godmother."
At first, Shaak Ti only looked shocked. Then, she just looked elated. "Wow, awesome!" was all she could manage for the moment. Obi-Wan, after having disappeared for several minutes, came back and sat with the two women on the couch. Ventress smiled softly, and leaned on his shoulder.
"We know you'll take care of our child the best if we can't," he said, putting his arm around Ventress. "You and Kit both. Like you said, he's got good self-restraint, but he knows when it's okay to let loose a little bite. You're both amazing Jedi, strong with the Force and saber both, and we thought that you would be the best for our child."
Shaak Ti smiled. "Aw…group hug!"
Dooku strode into his library. He had just returned his palace, greeted his relatives, explored the place a little, and was now aiming to just get some peace and quiet. The Separatist board was not exactly the most fun in the world. They were all loud, whining beaurocratic fools who couldn't find any interest but in themselves and their own star systems. Dooku was about fed up, anyway. Sidious was supposed to have ended the war by destroying the Jedi, but obviously, that hadn't happened. Although, the Jedi had, in essentiality, destroyed themselves: before Ventress and Obi-Wan's incident, anyway. But, seeing them finally recognize the error of their ways, and change it, none the less-! Well, Dooku had to give them credit for it. He himself had come to some new revelations as well. He supposed that, if the Jedi could pull it together, they deserved to live. He wouldn't take another apprentice, either: just leave a well-known record of the Sith as they were supposed to be: those who explored the Force through passion, not loss of self.
With this in mind, Dooku set about recording his ideals.
A/N: And that be the story, folks! Hope you all had a blast reading it: I know it was fun to write! :D I might do a sequel at some point, but this just kind of felt like the best place to end it. It was a wonderful story, and I'm sad it's over, but stretching it out might have ruined it. Anyway, I might do a sequel later, and in fact, it's a very likely possibility. But, for now, I think was a good story that really earned its place on my Top Three list. :D
And, on another note, thank you so much to each and every single one of you amazing reviewers out there! You helped make this story what it was, and how awesome it was, and you totally deserve individual recognition. While I can't put every single person's name down here, you know who you are, and I thank you extensively. Thank you so much everyone, I wish you well, and watch out for the sequel! :D