! I hope you like the chapter though! Contains some mild Cody-bashing, because I needed another clone to be crazy. I picture all the clones referring to eachother as "dude" when there aren't any Jedi around. Maybe I'm way off the mark on that, but that's how I see 'em.
Also, plenty of Obi/Ventress goodness! That's my favorite to write, although when I re-read what I've wrote, I usually enjoy the Ahsoka and Anakin arguing portions the most. I'll try to have a little more of them in the next chapter :3
"It appears that Kenobi has escaped us."
"I'll kill him next time. He won't have time to get his saber out, I'll kill him." Ventress snarled, fists clenched in anger.
Dooku was dangerously calm. "How do you suppose he escaped us?"
"I don't know. How?"
"Well, once out, it appears that he managed to kill any battle droids simply relying on the force."
"We'll have to drug him up next time. Only I'll have killed him before he can escape, so it won't matter."
Dooku ignored her. "And do you know what was found among those battle droids?"
Ventress swallowed nerously. Her master was very intimidating in person, and here she was, possibly caught. "What?"
"A mark from a lightsaber. Isn't that interesting?" Dooku moved towards her a little, and she hastily backed off, not stopping until her back hit the wall of the frigate.
"That could be from..."
"I'm not interested in lies, Ventress. You helped him escape."
She forced down waves of fear. "I… I…"
"Silent. I'll explain what will happen here." To her surprise, his gloved hand shot out and caught her wrist, and without another word, he chained it to the wall behind her.
There was nothing left for her to do or say. Either he ran her through with a saber, tortured her beyond any hope of escaping, or tortured her until she died. She'd prefer he didn't choose that option.
"Obi-wan Kenobi will gladly come back for you, because he's a fool." Long ago, she might have thought that this would have made him a fool as well, but now Asajj believed it to be a noble sort of thing to do. Something that only Kenobi would risk doing.
"And when he comes, he will die." That was worse than hearing her own death sentence. Kenobi was just about all she lived for. Nothing must happen to him, and certainly not at her fault.
He continued as though he hadn't heard her brief outburst. "I get the feeling he means something to you, and loyalties among the Jedi are a very, very bad idea." He strolled slowly back to the communicator. "I understand what it is to love someone. When I was a Jedi, I was a fool." Her Master? It seemed impossible that he was even capable of loving someone.
"Silence. Your only punishment will be Obi-wan's death. Hopefully you will return to your senses after he is gone." No. No. Kenobi had changed her in a way she hadn't expected. She wasn't the same anymore.
Dooku strode idly to the communicator. There was no need to tell his master about all this. He had handpicked Ventress as his assassin, and it would reflect poorly upon himself if Palpatine heard of this.
"Chancelor. You have an incoming transmission." Palpatine turned wearily around in his chair to face the desk.
"Leave me. I wish to speak privately." The guard bowed his head slightly and left the spacious office.
Palpatine pulled his head over his face, just in case Dooku happened to have anyone standing over his shoulder, and received the transmission.
"Master, I wish to ask a favor of you."
"ask away, my apprentice." He grumbled idly.
"Get me in contact with Obi-wan Kenobi."
Obi-wan clawed desperately to stay safely asleep, but was dragged out by the irritating bleeping of an incoming transmission. Augh… technology. Who doesn't love technology? And planetary time changes, who didn't love those?
"Kenobi here," he muttered.
"Kenobi." To surprise, it was Dooku's form that projected itself into his dark room. Obi-wan hauled himself out of bed, standing up. "I notice that you're fairly well healed from your brief excursion on our vessel."
"How did you get this number?"
"You don't need to know that."
"What is it you want Dooku?" Bad enough he was woken in the middle of the night, but by a sith…
"You left a little something on our ship." Dooku extended one hand, and Obi-wan could easily see, in the holographic projection, that his saber lay in the sith's outstretched palm.
"Dooku, if you think I'm coming back for something like a saber, it's a wonder Qui-gon didn't turn out a fool. I'll make a new one."
"You left something else behind as well. Something less replaceable. Well, you could get a new one. But it wouldn't be quite the same, would it?" Kenobi's breath caught. Ventress… He knew he should have taken her away with him. Where to, he didn't know, but now she was most definitely in danger.
"What do you want from me, Dooku? Credits? My allegiance? Information?" Because whatever it is, I'll get it.
"Oh, nothing really. Just thought I'd let you know that I'll be destroying your… lightsaber. I'll give you half a standard planetary rotation to get in here and find it."
"Obi-wan, it's a trap!" Her voice screamed from somewhere in the background. "Don't come!"
"Shut up, girl." Dooku ended the transmission.
Obi-wan certainly had no choice. He was going back to find her. It was most likely the most foolhardy thing he'd ever done, and if Qui-gon was watching him now, he'd be cringing. Of course, Qui-gon would be cringing at most of his behavior over the past few weeks. He was back in his ship, Anakin's lightsaber at his side, and headed back to where he'd just escaped from before he'd even given it two minutes of thought. After all, there was nothing really to think about.
Meanwhile, Anakin wondered where the hoth he'd left his lightsaber. Not unusual, for him.
"Barriss, what do you think? Blue for the caption above Rex's head?" No reply. "Barriss!"
"Are you even paying any attention?"
"Barriss! You're beginning to sound like a recorded message over there!"
Ahsoka let out a dramatic sigh. "Just Nevermind. Forget I ever asked."
"Oh. Sure." The other Padawan replied, much to the dismay of her friend.
A helmeted head popped out of the door to the clone barracks. "Emergency?"
"sort of." Aayla responded. "Check out Temple Gossip." A large picture of Captain rex himself was on the cover of the magazine, and worse still, written above the picture- in blue- was the caption, "Rex and Aayla! 3" with a little heart.
Rex stared for half a second. "I swear, I'm going to kill that kid."
"Not yet you're not. First we have to collect magazines."
"Aayla, you're a genius." He stated simply. "But I'm not following."
"We collect up all the magazines so Mace can't read any. Because if he does…. We're sunk."
"I get it. You cover the south wing, and I'll check East Tower." Aayla nodded and headed back out.
"Hey Rex. Whatcha up to?" Cody strolled leisurely out of the barracks. Rex stared for a moment at his 'brother'.
"Have I got something on my face?" Cody broke the silence.
"Dude. I have an idea." Rex stated simply. "You go find Mace Windu."
"To make sure he doesn't read that magazine while Aayla and I burn all who-knows-how-many copies."
"Ok, sounds like fun."
Rex stared again. "Fun? This is your idea of fun?"
Cody shrugged. "Sure, dude. Like a spy mission."
"Alright, alright. Just get moving."
"Moving out, sir." He took a step back, then stopped. "You're, uh, sure there's nothing on my face?"
"Only your very noisy mouth. Get going!"
It was far too easy to stroll through the halls of this ship. Asajj was right- it was definitely a trap. Obi-wan wondered briefly if she knew that he would come for her. She'd told him not to. Was she alone, thinking that he wouldn't come, and that she would soon die without anyone caring? That thought was hard to bear, and he sprinted faster.
The Jedi skidded to a halt as he entered the largest room he'd been in so far. She must be here. Sure enough, she was against one wall, one wrist chained up. Her sabers were nowhere in sight.
"Kenobi!" she hissed under her breath, "I blasted told you not to come!"
"But did you really think I'd listen?" He whispered back.
"I just hoped you weren't as much of a fool as Dooku thought. This is a trap."
Meanwhile, Cody geared up for the mission of a lifetime. Dark sunglasses, tranquilizer darts, a box of cookies he'd bought from that cute teenaged girl scout, credits on a fishing line, bowling pin…
"Dude. What are you doing?" Rex was back.
"Dude. You don't need all that junk. Just take him on a tour of the barracks or something stupid. Introduce him to all of our brothers. Force, read him a story or something! Just don't bring all that stuff with you."
"You do your job, dude, and let me do mine."
Rex sighed under his breath as he walked away, "Cody, you are one messed-up fruit loop." Luckily, Cody didn't hear him. He was too busy adjusting his disguise hat.
"Yes, I know it's a trap. I can't let Dooku kill you because of something as insignificant as a trap."
"But I'm the bait. He's not trying to kill me, he's trying to kill you."
"I'm worried about you."
"You worry too much."
"Maybe so." Anakin's saber was drawn, but abruptly pulled from his hand.
Dooku stood quietly behind him, the blue blade in his hand. "Ah, Kenobi. As I expected you are enough of a fool to return and face me. You are Padawan of a fool."
"If I am Padawan of a fool, that makes you the master of one." Obi-wan replied tersely, simaltaniously bluffing and stalling. Bluffing that he had some idea how to get out of this situation, stalling because he didn't really.
"Yes. Qui-gon was indeed a fool, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. Now I am the master of yet another fool." He shot Ventress a scathing glance. She cringed.
"Perhaps we're all fools, then Dooku. I suppose you find everyone who ever shows a bit of compassion as weak, and foolish." Yet more stalling.
"Perhaps it's time we begin to fight." Dooku snarled.
"I'm unarmed. You wouldn't want to attack…" Obi-wan had begun backing away, "Someone unarmed, would you? I didn't think you'd sink so low."
"Your negotiations won't work on me. Nor will your charm," he sneered, "As it did on that one." Another nod towards Asajj.
"But now is," he swallowed, still backing away, "A great time to negotiate. Negotiations would be lovely right now!" He kept backing up. Dooku still advanced, menacing, Anakin's saber held out…
"Heeeeey, Master Windu!" Mace turned away from the window as a clone approached him. Yellow armor with markings of a captain, dark glasses, crew cut, armload of weird stuff- definitely Cody.
"Say, would like a complimentary tour of the barracks?"
Mace gave him a weird look. "No, not really."
"Are you sure? It's completely free, and it comes with refreshments." Cody held out the box of cookies temptingly.
"I'll pass on that, Cody." Mace turned away from the window, headed off down the hall, when something caught his eye on a coffee table…
"Hey! Wait, there's more! You also get this bowling pin, these hair clips, and a ten credit bill. Interested?"
"What on Corausant would I do with hair clips?" Mace muttered under his breath, still walking towards the table to see what it was that had caught his eye.
Cody was starting to panic. Distract Mace… at all costs… "Here read this!" He yelled abruptly, shoving a copy of Temple Gossip under the Jedi master's nose.
"What the… Rex and Aayla? Let me see this…" Mace swiped the magazine and began to read it intently.
At that moment, Rex and Aayla themselves entered, Rex weighed down by an armload of magazines. "I think this is the last room." Aayla told him. It was then that she was Windu. "Oh no…"
"Cody!" Rex yelled. He dropped the magazines, which hit the floor with a thud. "I told you to distract him!"
"He's distracted. See? Mission accomplished."
Mace looked up from the magazine, his gaze landing on Aayla. "Master Secura…? Is this true?"
Aayla shuffled her feet awkwardly. "See, um…"
"Cody, do something!" Rex yelled.
Cody did something alright. He stabbed Master Windu's arm with a tranquilizer dart. The master hit the floor with an even louder thud than the magazines had made, hands still loosely holding the copy of Temple Gossip.
"Oh. Force." Aayla squeeked. "We are so totally cleaning the cafeteria tonight."
Rex nodded. "And the next night. And the next night…"
"In fact, there's never a better time for negotiations than…" Obi-wan tripped, stumbled on his own feet. His back hit a wall. The Jedi was cornered, with no way of defending himself. Dooku raised the blue saber high.
At that moment, a large frying pan decended over Dooku's head with a metal clang! Dooku wavered on the spot for a moment, then passed out and fell over, joining Mace Windu in dreamland.
Startled, Obi-wan got back to his feet. Ventress, one hand still chained to the wall, was grinning cheekily. "You did that." He stated, her smile starting to feel quite contagious.
Ventress picked the pan back up with a lazy Force wave of her hand and placed it back on the table. "Indeed I did. Didn't think it'd be so easy as that to save your life."
Obi-wan pulled the saber out of the sith's grasp, strode across the room, and sliced the cuff off Ventress's wrist. "Why is there a frying pan in here, anyway?"
She shrugged. "Who knows? Who cares?"
"So that's, what, the third time you've saved me?"
"You've saved me dozens more times."
"That, my dear, is an exaggeration."
"That's not the point. I'd be dead many times over without you. I owe you."
"Well I hope that's not the only reason you keep rescuing me."
She gave him the tiniest hint of a laugh. "No, Kenobi. I keep rescuing you because, as I believe I mentioned yesterday, I love you. I believe I'm also quite behind on kissing you, which is an absolute outrage and will not be tolerated."
"I'm not sure you're quite behind, I think I'm only ahead by one because of the other day when-"
"So shut up so I can kiss you." She edged a little closer. Obi-wan made no attempt to get away.
"I wasn't aware shutting up was mandatory."
"If you want me to kiss you, then yes."
"I very much want that."
"Then shut up." There was not another word from Obi-wan as Asajj leaned in and kissed him.
The pair began wrapping their arms around eachother, still joined at the lips. Both were completely oblivious to the fact that Dooku was stirring.
The sith sat up, took one glance at what his apprentice was doing, and passed back out, all before Jedi and assassin broke apart.
Ah, poor Dooku. Completely traumatized by the sight of his apprentice and General Kenobi~