Author's note: This is just a bit of fluffy, romantic fun. With sock puppets. What's not to like? Thanks to SerendipityAEY for your continued support!
"There they are!"
Obi-wan gritted his teeth as his fighter was jarred by the blaster fire that tore through the air just beyond his cockpit, his ears filled with the shouts of clones that were engaged in the heat of battle all around him. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a droid ship headed for him, so he altered his trajectory and managed to evade the enemy fire, though just barely. Above his head, red and blue blaster bolts flickered against the blackness of space, peppered with the explosions of those who were not as fast or fortunate as he.
"General Kenobi! Incoming at four o'clock!" Cody's voice sounded over the comm; Obi-wan narrowed his eyes at the droid fighter that had snuck up on him.
"Oh, I don't think so," he muttered, firing on the ship and nodding to himself as it exploded in a miasma of orange flame. He spotted another in range, and another, which he fired on in quick succession. Finally, after what felt like hours, the thickest part of the droids had been decimated, allowing the Republic transports to head to the planet's surface with little trouble. "General Halcyon," he said into his comlink. "Now that my men have cleared the way for you, do you think you can manage?"
He could hear the smile in her voice as she replied. "Certainly, General Kenobi. We thank you and your men for your noble efforts. Now, of course, the real work will begin. I'll see you dirtside." Four clone transports broke free from the starship and began to make their way to the surface while Obi-wan instructed his men to mop up the remaining droids. Finally the space battle was over, so he signaled to Cody to follow him to the surface.
"They shouldn't need our help, but you can never be too careful," Obi-wan said as they skimmed through atmo.
"Commader Stonewall reports that all is going well, General," Cody replied from the fighter beside him. "They've almost routed the clankers."
"Then we certainly don't want to miss any of the fun, now do we?" Obi-wan said as the clouds parted before his ship. Sure enough, when they touched down on the surface, it appeared as though the worst of the battle was indeed over. Kali's men were chasing down the last of the droids but she was caught amidst a group of clustered destroyers; he raced to help her, feeling, for once, exhilarated by the prospect of fighting by her side rather than fearing that she would wind up dead in his arms. His saber glowed brilliant blue as he leaped down between her and the destroyers, taking out two of them with one sweeping arc of his arm before he sent another one back with a touch of the Force.
"What are you doing?" she shouted to him over the scream of blaster fire and the metallic clanking that gave the Separatist army its nickname. "I had those!"
He glanced over at her, giving her a wide grin before sending another droid to its demise. "My mistake...shall I let you finish dying on your own?" He stepped back as one of the droids fired at her, causing her to roll to the ground in front of it in her haste to deflect the bolt of energy.
Covered in sand and dust, her eyes flashed at him as her yellow saber sliced through another destroyer. "You'll pay for that, General Kenobi."
"I certainly hope so, General Halcyon," he replied with a grin.
At this she laughed and they were soon back to back, until the last of the droids were finally put down. Setting his saber at his belt, he turned to look at her; she was covered in dirt and sweat, making him feel rather clean by comparison though it had been quite a while since he'd had a proper bath. "Well," he said as they moved to regroup with the clones. "That was fun."
"You know that I was perfectly able to take care of those things on my own," she replied, shooting him mock glare. "Yet you insist on rushing in like a hero."
"Actually," he said, raising his eyebrow at her. "I was trying to impress you. Did it work?"
She rolled her eyes, though she was grinning. "I'll let you know." They approached Cody and Stonewall, who were speaking with the group of Human settlers that they'd come to rescue in the first place. The leader of the group, a wizened man named Kodeck, who had been intent on fighting alongside the clones, nodded to the Jedi.
"Thanks for your help," he said gruffly. "Though we were doing well enough on our own."
"That seems to be the theme of the day," Obi-wan replied, giving Kalinda a wink as she shot him an annoyed look. "Are any of your people injured, Kodeck?"
The leader shook his head. "Nope." He nodded to a bunker amidst the rocky terrain. "The kids might be getting antsy, though." As if on cue, the door to the facility creaked open to reveal a small, blonde girl with wide eyes.
"Get back in there, Rosie!" he shouted. "I mean it!" In response, she popped her head inside for a moment before reappearing with three more children. Kodeck glared at her. "You disobedient little...I mean it!" At that moment, Obi-wan's comlink lit up.
"We're picking up another platoon of droids coming at you, sir," Admiral Yularen said, his voice crackling. "You should see them in a few minutes."
"Blast," Kali exclaimed, glancing at the bunker. "Cody, Stone, I want you both to keep those children safe while Obi-wan and I handle the droids." She glanced at Obi-wan. "Let's make this interesting, shall we? Loser buys dinner when we get back to Coruscant."
"Ah, a contest, then," he replied with a grin. "Shall I thank you in advance?"
The clone commanders looked at each other before looking back at Kalinda. "General?" Cody said. "Are you sure? We could do a lot more damage to the clankers."
Kalinda raised her saber and activated the yellow blade. "Are you questioning my authority, Cody?"
The trooper blanched. "No...not at all. Sir."
Obi-wan watched as she hid her grin. "So you doubt my judgment?"
"I..." Cody paused and sighed. "Come on, Stonewall," he said, turning to the bunker. The sounds of the approaching droids were starting to be audible and Obi-wan activated his saber again, nodding as the settlers readied their weapons.
Stonewall, however, looked at Kali. "How do you propose we keep them quiet? I assume restraint is not an option?"
Kalinda sighed and turned towards the sound of the droids. "That's up to you, Stone. I don't know...take off your socks and use them as hand-puppets! You guys are creative, right?" She looked at Obi-wan. "Are you ready or what?"
He grinned at her. "And then some."
"Final count?" Kalinda raised her eyebrow as Obi-wan approached her, a slight swagger in his walk.
He smiled. "Forty two. And you?"
"Ooooh, so close," she replied as primly as she could while shaking clumps of dirt out of her tunic. "Forty four." She grinned at him. "Including three destroyers. I think I'll have shaak steak..."
"Behind you!" he shouted, shoving her to the ground as he leaped at a pile of clankers that the clones had decimated. "They were still moving," he explained as he sliced through three droids. "You're lucky that I'm so alert today. Now, about that steak..."
"You just made those up," she said, indignant. "I know that they were already destroyed, Ben." They began to head back to the settlement, the clones joining up with them after a moment.
"Well, if you'd like to contest the fact," he said in a serious tone. "We'll have to arrange a time to go over the evidence-you have evidence that the droids were not, in fact, operational, don't you? And of course, the Senate will have to send a team to investigate, which could take months." He shrugged. "Or you could just buy me dinner and avoid all of that hassle."
As they approached the bunker where they'd left the Commanders, Kali got an idea. "Whatever you want," she said. "I'll go check on the guys; why don't you go confer with Kodeck? He looks like he wants to talk to someone important." Indeed, the gray-haired man was gesturing to Obi-wan, who headed for him while Kali made her way to the bunker. She peered inside and had to bite her hand to keep from laughing at the sight that greeted her.
Cody and Stonewall were seated amidst a pile of children, their hands shoved inside their socks while they pantomimed to a rapt audience. "You'll never take me alive, Seppie scum!" Stonewall said, moving his left hand away from Cody, whose right hand was apparently playing the villain.
"You forgot, General Jedi," Cody said, his voice pitched low. "I have a massive...er...explosive device planted in the ground behind you!"
With that, Stonewall moved his left hand forward. "But you forgot, clanker, I have the Force!" He shoved a twig that he'd had in his other hand into the "mouth" of the puppet to act as a makeshift lightsaber, which he then lunged at Cody's hand, much to the children's squeals of delight.
Kalinda cleared her throat, which caused both clones to look up at her, startled, before getting to their feet and beginning to replace their footwear, much to the protest of the children.
"No! We want more!"
"Come on, 'mander Cody! Do the bad guy voice again!"
"How's it going, guys?" Kali said with a grin as they children continued to paw the clones' armor.
Stonewall actually looked nervous. "I think they're angry..."
"No, you both did a great job; this is just what happens when you keep children cooped up all day," she replied, leaning down to the level of the kids. "Hello there!" she said to them. "Are you guys hungry?" Immediately, they began shouting and jumping around her, causing the decibel level to rise quite a bit. She grinned again. "Tell you what: there's a man out there in a brown robe like the one I'm wearing-with a beard-who's packing all kinds of candy!" Immediately, the children looked to the door and then at one another with excitement.
Kali ushered them to the door and pointed in Obi-wan's direction. "You see him? If he says he doesn't have any...he's playing a game! Just yell as loud as you can!" Screaming, the children hurtled themselves across the camp while Kali and the clones watched.
Stone looked at her as they descended upon an unsuspecting Obi-wan, who immediately began shouting in surprise as he was mobbed. "You're devious."
Cody nodded, though he was fighting a smile. "I think I'll just make myself scarce before he comes back."
Indeed, before too long Obi-wan had managed to extricate himself from the moray and began to make his way over to Kalinda and the clones, who were laughing openly by now. Kalinda glanced at the commanders. "You guys may want to scra-"
His hair was mussed, his robes were covered in the mysterious, sticky substance that inevitably found its way onto children's hands and his mouth was set in a firm line as he came up to her. She smiled up at him with all the innocence she could manage. "Were there some droids that we missed? You look like you've been in battle."
"As a matter of fact, I was just mauled by a gaggle of screaming children who kept demanding various forms of candy," he replied, his voice cool. "One of whom kindly told me that a lady in a brown robe with long hair told them that I was so equipped." He gave her a knowing look.
She nodded and began to pretend to scan the horizon. "Oh! I think I saw someone like that running off in that direction..." she gestured vaguely to the east. "Hmmmm..." She grinned as he stepped closer to her, his hand on her arm. "Payback's a bitch, huh?"
In response, he moved her against the far side of the bunker, pressing his hands to the metal sheeting on either side of her face. "You're incorrigible." She could feel his warm breath on her lips, his solid body was inches from hers as she looked up at him. "But..." His blue eyes met her dark ones as he gently brushed his lips against hers. "I know something you don't know."
His grin was wide. "I know something you don't know."
"You said that," she replied with a glare. "Tell me. Please?"
Chuckling, he bent his head to kiss her when his comlink chirruped; with a sigh he activated it-voice only. "Cody?"
"Kodeck's invited us to the main settlement," the clone said. "Something about a banquet in our honor? I wanted to check with you first, sir."
"It sounds good to me," Obi-wan replied. "I could certainly use something hot to eat." He glanced at Kali, raising his eyebrows suggestively as she shook her head, laughing silently.
"Tell Kodeck we'll be there in a moment, Commander," Obi-wan said just before deactivating his comm. He looked at Kali, who had slipped out of his grasp and was regarding him with amused curiosity. "What is it?"
"I should ask you the same thing," she replied. "What's gotten into you today? You're not usually this...exuberant." She frowned. "You didn't hit your head or anything, did you?"
"You can say whatever you like, General Halcyon," he said. "But I'm not telling you anything."
The settlement of Toole was only marginally more civilized than the outer homesteads, but the food was decent and the ale was plentiful, which was enough for the time being. Presently, Kalinda and Obi-wan were seated at a place of honor beside Kodeck and his fighters, most of whom were engaged in various stages of drinking contests. Cody and Stonewall, along with the other clones, were scattered throughout the room conversing with the locals and each other; in short, the air was quite convivial.
Obi-wan glanced at his empty mug, which he reckoned to be number five for the evening, then glanced at Kalinda's, which was filled halfway. "Need a refill?" he asked.
She peeked in his cup and smiled before lifting her own and downing the rest before handing it to him. "Thanks."
He was slightly lightheaded, but not nearly as intoxicated as a regular Human would be after the quantity of alcohol that he'd consumed-Jedi were known for their high tolerance to spirits, though there were some things that no one could withstand. However, the settlers' home brew was not one of them and he returned to Kali with nary a drop spilled; beyond him, he saw Cody and Stonewall reenacting their adventures from earlier, both of them clearly very drunk. Placing Kali's mug in front of her he nodded in the Commanders' direction.
She sipped her drink and smiled. "I'm glad they get along so well." After a moment, she looked at him. "So...what don't I know that you do?" Her voice was casual.
His eyebrow lifted as he regarded her. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything." He grinned. "It's confidential."
"Now who's incorrigible?"
"Am I driving you crazy, yet?"
There was laughter in her eyes, though her expression was carefully neutral. "Maybe." She shook her head. "I'm still trying to figure out why you're acting so..."
A raucous burst of laughter sounded in the far side of the room; Cody and Stone were arm wrestling, much to the delight of their troops and the settlers who were watching. Someone was playing a viol in the background, and Obi-wan watched as her eyes scanned the room, momentarily distracted by the sound of music. He leaned forward and put a hand on her thigh under the table below him, rubbing small circles with his thumb.
"So..." She smiled as a flush crept to her cheeks. "You know...I'm feeling kind of dizzy. I think I might need to lie down." Her mug was empty; he finished what was left of his and stood up, offering her his hand, which she accepted after a moment. They slipped out of the crowded hall and stepped into the night.
The settlers' moon, though dusty and unpleasant during the day, was considerably better at night; the air was cool against Kalinda's skin as they walked towards the makeshift camp that the clones had set up upon their victory, as their transports wouldn't arrive until the following morning. Though the settlers had offered their homes and barns, it was easier for the Republic soldiers to erect their own temporary structures where they could seek shelter. Obi-wan's hand was at the small of her back, barely touching her as they walked to her tent.
When they reached their destination, she felt his fingers dance up her spine to the back of her neck just before he kissed her. His mouth on hers was solid and sure; the kiss began with his customary gentleness, but he caught her off guard when he gripped her waist and pressed her body close to his, murmuring her name after they came up for air.
"Tell me," she said, her voice breathless. She ran her fingers lightly over his sinewy arms, moving them to his chest before kissing him again.
When they parted, he chuckled. "You'll have to do better than that, General Halcyon. You should know that I am very resistant to most forms of interrogation." His voice was chiding.
"Most forms?" She slipped into her tent. He followed, placing his hands on her hips. "Are you saying you can be broken?" Her brow lifted. "That would be a sight to see."
"Well," he said, his hand going to his beard as he considered her words. "I'm afraid you'll never know." His shoulders lifted in a shrug. "A shame, really."
She had taken a seat on her sleeping pallet and was in the process of removing her boots, which were covered in dust and dirt, though her feet and legs were relatively clean; she hooked her right foot around his left knee and pulled him over to her. "Hmmmm. I can muster it out of you."
He knelt before her and leaned forward. "Is that what you think?"
"No." She shrugged out of her outer tunic and smiled as his gaze strayed to her chest. "It's what I know."
His robe and tunic were crumpled on the floor a moment later, revealing his well-muscled arms and chest as he leaned over her; the thin material of her undershirt and his trousers was all that remained between them. "Do your worst, General Halcyon," he whispered, nibbling at the hollow of her throat. "I have my own ways of withstanding interrogation." His head was bent before her and she gave a giggle as his beard brushed her skin. For a moment she was lost as his mouth made its way down her chest; it was only when he deftly removed her undershirt did she remember what she was supposed to be doing.
Sitting upright, she pushed him to the pallet, effectively reversing their positions. He raised his eyebrow at her as he watched her lean over him. "A bold move, General," he said. "But what do you intend to do with me, now?"
She had removed his boots and was presently tugging at his belt; moments later she had the buckle undone and was sliding the material to the floor with the rest of his clothes. "I think you'll find that I can be very persuasive when the situation calls for it, General Kenobi," she replied with a grin. He was completely unclothed now, while she still had on her thin underwear; he watched her with interest as she bent over his torso, her eyes upon him. "Matter of fact," she said, running her hands across the flat planes of his stomach to the indents of his hips. "I think my methods are starting to work." She smiled at the sight of his swelling member rising as if to greet her.
"It's early, yet," he replied, though she could hear the desire in his voice as she knelt before him, brushing her fingers lightly against his swollen skin; his reaction was instantaneous, a shiver that ran throughout his entire body. He leaned his head back against the pallet and she knew that he was trying to collect himself.
But she was ruthless. "Perhaps." Her voice was guileless even as she lowered her lips, even as she took him in her mouth, which caused him to give a contented sigh that turned into a groan as she worked her tongue in a most pleasing manner. Her attention was on him as her hands smoothed over his chest and hips; when she felt another shudder of pleasure roll through his body, she abruptly pulled away, leaning back on her heels to regard him as his head popped up, his expression bewildered. She smiled. "Something wrong, General Kenobi?"
In response, he reached for her head and pulled her to his mouth, pausing only when their lips were a breath apart. "I know something you don't," he whispered before pressing his mouth to hers with an urgency that belied his flippant attitude. She was lost for a moment in the kiss, allowing herself to be maneuvered on her back, allowing his lips to caress her neck, her collarbone, her chest before she felt his warm mouth close over her right nipple while his right hand stroked her left, causing her skin to prickle and the hairs on her body to stand up. Abruptly his mouth moved to her left nipple while his fingers began to work their way down her chest, towards her core; soon he had moved his mouth from her breasts to follow his hand to her waist.
His beard tickled and she gave an involuntary giggle as he kissed her stomach. He paused at her navel and looked up at her, his eyebrows raised. "That's right, you are ticklish aren't you?"
"Not me," she said quickly. "Not at all. Why don't you just keep doing what you were doing? I might forget that you're withholding valuable intelligence from me if you-" But it was too late. She shrieked with laughter as his fingers danced lightly over her stomach, begging him to stop.
Finally he did, grinning as he watched her gasp. "Your interrogation skills leave much to be desired, General Halcyon."
He rather enjoyed goading her, particularly when the result was that certain flash of indignation in her eyes that never failed to produce an extremely interesting consequence for him. She didn't disappoint. Though he was physically stronger, she knew how to distract him and make use of her assets. Even as he teased her, he couldn't help but watch the way her breasts rose and fell, bouncing with her laughter, nor the way her hips lifted as she writhed beneath his touch, sending ripples of heat throughout his body.
Distracted as he was, she managed to catch him off guard with a passionate kiss, during which he found himself seated upright, his legs over the edge of the sleeping pallet while she pressed her body to his, straddling her knees around his torso as she held herself almost painfully close to him without allowing him entrance.
Her smile was innocent as she kissed him again, the long curtain of her hair falling around his face, even as he made a low groan, gripping her buttocks and trying to slide her down on top of him. "Is there something you want, General Kenobi?" she murmured, her hands on his shoulders, the muscles in her legs tightening as she resisted his attempts to sheathe himself within her. "You could end it, you know," she added as he groaned again. Her torso lowered a fraction of an inch, allowing him to feel how warm, how soaking wet and ready for him she was. "Just tell me what I want to know."
A low, feral growl escaped his throat as he tried again to enter her, but she had the better angle and was able to hold her position. He felt himself brush against her softness again and gave another groan even as he felt her chuckling at his frustration.
He was on the edge of her, but she anticipated his movements and continued to keep herself maddeningly away from him. Suddenly, he had a flash of inspiration. Setting aside his desire to penetrate her, he leaned forward and began to kiss and nibble on her neck, her jaw, smiling to himself as he felt shivers ripple over her skin from the contact. Distracted as she was, he had the upper hand, so he took the opportunity and plunged himself into her, grinning as she gasped and clung her arms around his neck, the interrogation forgotten.
Afterward they lay together, his head pillowed on her breasts while she ran her fingertips over his back and arms. Neither one of them spoke until he turned and grinned up at her.
She was too tired to argue so she laughed and kissed him. "If I concede, will you tell me?"
He moved so that he was leaning over her, face to face, and looked thoughtful. "If you concede, perhaps."
"Fine," she replied, casting her eyes to the ceiling of the tent, though she was smiling. "You win, Obi-wan. You're unbreakable." Her eyes gleamed at him as she sat up. "Please tell me?"
He kissed her, once, before sitting back with a grin. "Happy birthday, Kali." He watched as her expression changed from bewildered to thoughtful as she tallied the dates in her head before grinning back at him.
"It is, isn't it? I'd completely forgotten." Suddenly she narrowed her eyes. "Wait, that's it? That's your big secret?" Shaking her head, she fell back against the pallet. "I don't know what's worse: the fact that I should have known that or the fact that you were able to hold it over me for so long."
"But that's not it," he replied, folding his elbows over her torso as he rested his head on his arms, regarding her. "There's more."
His smile was wide. "Have any plans for the next three weeks?"
"What do you mean?"
This was the moment he'd been waiting for. "I've made arrangements." Her eyebrow lifted as he went on. "We've both been given permission to take leave for the next three weeks. Together."
"Ben..." She shook her head, incredulous. "That's amazing...really? How did you manage it?"
Moving off of her chest he settled beside her, taking her left arm in his hand and running his fingers across her skin. "I am on the Council, lest you forget. I like to think that I have some sway in these matters."
Her laughter bubbled and he turned to watch her. "I see. It's good to have friends in high places, I suppose." She kissed his cheek. "Thank you, Ben. It's more than I could have asked for. So...what are we going to do with all of that free time?" Her hand skimmed down the planes of his chest, to his hips.
He pulled her close to him and ran his hand down the side of her face before he kissed her. "After you buy me a delicious steak dinner? I'm sure we can come up with some way to pass the time."