Obi-Wan woke to heavy pressure in his bladder and the taste of regret in his mouth. It was a taste he'd become unfortunately familiar with over the course of the war, and from his vague recollections of the night before, this time it was caused by a tart and refreshing Mirialan liqueur that had a kick like a startled reek. It tasted like starfruit going down and sewage on the way back up, which Obi-Wan also knew from unfortunate past experience.
The scent of lilies tickled his nose, and when he squinted through his lashes, he was confronted with a mass of tousled blonde curls tucked under his chin.
He cast his memory back over the previous evening and stifled a groan. Satine. She'd always been able to match him drink for drink, and he had the faint recollection that they'd spurred each other on with toast after toast to pass the long hours in hyperspace between Coruscant and Mandalore. He thought they might have stopped off somewhere, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember where or why.
He reached out with the Force but there was no sense of danger surrounding them. Just the hallmarks of a really terrible hangover.
He tried to disentangle himself from Satine's lamprey-like grip without waking her, but she stirred and murmured nonsense syllables against his chest. The brush of her lips against his bare skin sent a shock of heat through him but he was too uncomfortable to do anything but sigh.
"I'll be right back," he assured her, slithering out of her arms and heading for the refresher.
After relieving himself and performing his usual morning ablutions—including an unsuccessful rifle through the cabinets for a headache remedy—Obi-Wan felt much more awake, if not any happier about it.
It was then that he became aware of a throbbing in his left biceps, and the bandage haphazardly taped over it. Before he could rip the bandage off, he heard a muffled thump and Satine's voice crying out.
Obi-Wan rushed from the fresher, hand fumbling for the lightsaber that was unfortunately not attached to its customary place on his belt, to find Satine in a tangle of blankets on the floor. She had already removed her own bandage, which was in a corresponding spot on her left arm.
Her usually pale skin was pink and irritated around series of what appeared to be fresh scars. Obi-Wan stared, dumbfounded for a brief moment before the marks coalesced into a very familiar pattern. He tore the bandage from his own shoulder to find a matching mark, and swallowed hard against a rising sense of panic.
"Oh no," he said, slapping a hand over his eyes in mortification. "What have we done?"
"I hardly think it's the end of the world," Satine snapped. "In fact, it might just be the fresh beginning we both need."
"I am a Jedi, Satine."
"Yes, I'm aware. You never cease to remind me." She brushed her fingers lightly over the mark on her shoulder. "Still, I was not the one who provided the officiant with a ready-made marriage mark." Her mouth curved in a pleased grin. "I didn't know you were familiar with the custom."
"I—" Obi-Wan started and then stopped. He had researched Mandalorian wedding traditions, among many other things relating to Mandalore, during their time together so many years ago, and sketched out his own fanciful design when he thought she might ask and he might answer. But she didn't and he hadn't. He'd never forgotten it, though, the stylized peace lilies arrayed in a five-pointed star with the rays of a rising sun in the middle. "I was not surprised to learn that scarification plays a role in the Mandalorian wedding ritual," he finally said. "Though I didn't think it was a custom you'd embrace."
"There are many venerable Mandalorian traditions I embrace," she replied, once again every inch the haughty duchess who was displeased with him, even though she was still sitting in a nest of blankets on the floor, clad only in her sleeping shift. "Such as the ones that engage our creativity and display ingenuity in their execution." She fingered the mark again. "It really is lovely, Obi-Wan. I'm quite pleased to wear it."
A pleasurable wave of heat washed through him at her words. And he wished yet again that he could give into it and let his feelings for her lead him wherever she wished to go. But he couldn't. "And under other circumstances, I would be pleased to hear it, Satine, but yet again, I remind you that I am a Jedi. I have sworn oaths I cannot break."
"Cannot, or will not?"
"Would you really want to be married to a man who forswears his vows so carelessly?"
"Carelessly?" she scoffed. "Obi-Wan, you have never in your life done anything carelessly. I don't believe you've started now."
"We were drunk."
"There's an old Mandalorian saying, 'in wine, truth.'"
Only years of experience in dealing with Anakin allowed Obi-Wan to refrain from rolling his eyes at the cliché. "Perhaps, but wouldn't you like to remember your wedding as a joyous occasion, rather than a drunken impulse you regretted in the morning?"
Satine's eyes widened and her mouth formed a small O before she gained control of her expression again, and Obi-Wan thought that perhaps he'd actually hurt her this time.
"You regret me?" she asked, eyes downcast and hands twisting the edges of her blankets.
Obi-Wan's throat tightened at the thought of causing her pain. "I could never regret you, Satine," he replied softly, settling on the floor beside her and cupping her cheek. "But this situation? Yes. I do regret it." He pressed on before she could speak. "Even if I were considering leaving the Jedi," which he wasn't, "I couldn't do it now. There's a war on, you know."
Satine turned her face to press a kiss to his palm. "I know," she said. "As much as I wish there weren't, I know."
Obi-Wan held her gaze for a long moment, and debated with himself whether kissing her was worth the risk to his heart (and, potentially, to his mouth if her breath was anything like his was upon waking).
It was. Of course it was.
Her lips were soft and sweet against his, and when he licked into her mouth, she tasted faintly of mint. (Later, when he looked in the drawer of nightstand while searching for his socks, he found breath spray. Leave it to royalty to be prepared for such occasions.)
One kiss was never going to be enough. She opened herself to him with abandon and he pressed her back against the blankets on the floor, trailing kisses along her throat and chest while his hand slid up the silky skin of her inner thigh. She gasped into his mouth and pressed herself up into his touch when he slipped his fingers into the slick heat of her cunt. With his other hand, he tugged at the neckline of her shift to reveal one firm, round breast, its weight familiar and thrilling in his palm. He latched on to the rosy nipple and sucked while he fingered her, gently thumbing her clit as she begged him for more, her skin flushed delightfully pink in the blue glow of hyperspace permeating her quarters.
They'd been seventeen the last time (the first time) they'd done this, with nothing but their instincts (and Qui-Gon's stash of trashy holonovels) to guide them. Now they were adults, and Obi-Wan wanted to use all the knowledge he'd gained over the intervening years to please her again and again.
Obi-wan had loved people since Satine, and he'd had sex with people since Satine, but he'd never been as overwhelmed by his feelings for any of them the way he was with her. He'd learned and he'd grown but he still felt like that seventeen-year-old deep down, desperate to drown inside of her and hold her close while the galaxy shook apart.
He shuddered with pleasure and need when she wrapped her fingers around his cock and guided him inside of her. He gasped when she tightened around him, her legs wrapped around his hips and her ankles crossed over his lower back. She rose to meet his every thrust, her head thrown back and her lips gasping his name as he fucked her.
She tangled her fingers in the short hair at the nape of his neck and tugged, the prickling sensation edging his pleasure with just a hint of pain, until her mouth was beneath his again. They'd had their share of awkward moments and sidelong glances, but she'd never been shy about what she wanted once she'd had him in her arms, and that hadn't changed. She urged him to go faster, to thrust harder, and he followed her commands happily, pleased to be at her service. She dug her nails into his skin and bit his lower lip and he shivered in giddily in response, her name in every gasp of air from his lungs.
They breathed raggedly into each other's mouths, and he swallowed down her moan as she came, clenching tightly around his cock and holding him deep within her. The Force sparked bright as a supernova when he followed her, all the nerves in his body singing with bliss as he came.
He cradled her gently to his chest afterward, and she stroked his beard and whispered endearments in his ear. It was going to be even harder to leave her this time, and he wondered if that was what his life was meant to be, an endless series of painful goodbyes to the people he loved.
"You're becoming maudlin in your old age," she said, and for someone who was not at all Force-sensitive, she was exceedingly talented at reading his mood.
"Perhaps," he said, rolling away from her and standing. He began gathering his clothes. "Why don't you shower? I'll investigate the circumstances of our marriage and report back in an hour."
Satine rose, magnificent even in her nightdress, still flushed pink from their lovemaking, and with the red marks of beard-burn already showing on her chest. "We'll reconvene in an hour, your grace."
Obi-Wan hid his flinch at the title and managed a smile instead. "I will see you in an hour, your grace." He bowed gallantly over her hand, making her smile as well.
"I look forward to it."
Obi-Wan wished he could say the same.
Any hope Obi-Wan had of keeping the marriage secret from the crew was lost when each person he passed in the corridor on the way to the bridge dipped their head and murmured, "Your grace."
Satine's people were likely loyal to her—it didn't pay to assume, but for now, he would prefer to think that they'd weeded out all the traitors on the journey to Coruscant—and that they would keep her secrets if she asked.
Each piece of the puzzle he collected made the picture worse. They had not just importuned the ship's captain to officiate. That would have been humiliating enough, but of questionable legality outside Mandalore. Oh no. They had importuned him to drop the ship out of hyperspace at Canto Bight.
"Where we were wed in a Sy Snootles-themed wedding chapel," Obi-Wan finished, dropping the datapad with the incriminating documents and pictures on the table in front of Satine. "She sang, but thankfully, I don't remember that part, and we didn't pay for the recording."
Satine's eyebrows had disappeared into her hairline as he spoke, but her lips twitched suspiciously as she looked down at the file containing the information he'd gathered, until she could finally contain herself no more.
"Oh, Obi-Wan, the expression on your face," she gasped around bursts of laughter.
Obi-Wan scrolled to the picture of their first kiss as bride and groom. They looked ready to rip each other's clothes off regardless of their audience. "You must admit, Satine, this is undignified in the extreme."
Satine flicked the datapad off, rose, and came to stand at Obi-Wan's side. "I don't remember you being so touchy about your dignity," she said softly, one hand coming up to cup his cheek. "Certainly you weren't mindful of mine when you dragged me up and down the seedier side of the galaxy." She pressed a quick kiss to his lips. "Though you did always revert to propriety when you were embarrassed. Are you embarrassed, Obi-Wan? Of me?"
He huffed softly. "Never of you, my dear. But I'd like to think even drunk I'd have better taste than this." He gestured towards the datapad on the table.
"You had the good taste to marry me," she answered with a grin. "And the marriage mark is truly lovely."
He flushed at that; he would always feel a little thrill when she mentioned being proud to wear his mark.
She fluttered her fingers dismissively. "The rest is an excess of high spirits indulged in after the strain of the assassination attempt."
"No one will doubt spirits were involved," he murmured against her cheek and let her kiss him out of his sour mood.
Obi-Wan spent the rest of the trip researching the divorce laws in various systems and considering next steps. A return trip to Canto Bight would have to be arranged so he could destroy the records there before the proprietor realized whose wedding had taken place and word got back to Coruscant. Facing the Council would be bad enough (though he hoped having a plan in place to dissolve the marriage would head off the worst of the scolding Mace was likely to subject him to) but Obi-Wan was more concerned about the endless amount of shit Anakin would give him for the rest of their lives if he ever found out what had happened. His raised eyebrows and sidelong glances after Obi-Wan had mentioned the year he and Satine spent on the run had been bad enough; Obi-Wan could only imagine the kind of nonsense he'd have to put up with if Anakin got hold of this.
They landed in Sundari without further incident, and Satine insisted on feeding him a lavish lunch when they reached the palace.
The food truly was delicious, and Obi-Wan was content as he dabbed at his mouth one final time before setting his napkin down. Giving Satine his best charming smile, he said, "I will be in touch about the annulment."
Her eyes widened in shock. "An annulment? Obi-Wan we consummated the marriage." Several times, he thought, but she chose to spare his blushes and didn't mention that. "We cannot have the marriage annulled."
"No one has to know that, Satine."
"You want me to lie on official paperwork?"
"The paperwork dissolving our accidental drunken casino marriage? Yes. Feel free." At her frown he scoffed, "I tell six bigger lies before breakfast every day."
"It was spontaneous, but no less loving for that." She gave him a look brimming with mischief. "Qui-Gon would say we were following the will of the Force."
Obi-Wan pinched the bridge of his nose. Qui-Gon would have said that, right after he'd stopped laughing and before he launched into a lecture on letting go of his attachments.
"Fine." Obi-Wan knew when to cut his losses and change direction. "Surely non-consummation is not the only reason annulments are granted?"
"It varies from system to system," she said vaguely, "but generally I believe it requires one party to have defrauded the other, and we both went into this in the same state."
"You could claim that I duped you," he offered. "Withheld the fact that I'm a Jedi from you."
Satine snorted inelegantly. "As if anyone who's ever met you could doubt for one moment that you're a Jedi. No. I don't think that will fly."
Obi-Wan sighed. "I will investigate other options."
"If you must." She rose and took his hand, leading him to her private chambers. "Now come, your grace. Let me give you a memorable goodbye before you leave."
"How could I refuse that?" he replied, resigned to his fate and secretly pleased about it.
Upon his return to the Temple, Obi-Wan was sent out again immediately on a mission to capture Count Dooku. Anakin was already in place on his ship as a prisoner, which was typical of Anakin's plans, Obi-Wan thought with an affectionately exasperated sigh.
He meant to investigate the simplest way to initiate divorce proceedings, but the war required all of his attention; his marriage to Satine would still be there when he had time to deal with it.
"This is really lovely, Satine. I've never had it before." Padmé held the glass of bright yellow liqueur up to the light, where it shimmered prettily, before taking another sip.
"It's a Mirialan vintage I'm quite fond of." Satine topped off their glasses and then set the bottle back on the table. "It has an unexpected kick to it, though, so I'm glad you're not flying out tonight." She had insisted Padmé stay for dinner—it was the least she could do after all the help she'd provided during the food crisis. "It's been a while since I've had occasion to drink it." She couldn't help the smile that curled across her face when she thought about the last time she'd had it. She felt pleasantly flushed at the recollection.
"Oh?" Padmé asked, leaning forward. "It sounds like there's a story there."
"One I couldn't possibly tell," Satine replied. "It's," she smiled again, "a secret."
"I love secrets," Padmé said, "but I understand if you can't share it."
"It's quite shocking," Satine said, draining her glass and pouring herself another drink. "You see, while Obi-Wan—I mean, General Kenobi—"
"Yes, yes, of course." Padmé held her glass out to be refilled, and Satine obliged.
"Where was I?"
"You and General Kenobi were drinking this delightful liqueur."
"It was right after that awful trip to Coruscant. He was escorting me home and after a few glasses, we had the most outrageous idea." Unfortunately, Satine still couldn't bring to mind the actual wedding ceremony, but she got lost in the memory of the morning after quite happily.
"Yes?" Padmé prompted, interrupting Satine's wandering thoughts and bringing her back to the conversation at hand.
"We stopped off in Canto Bight and got married!"
Padmé's eyes and mouth all went round with shock, and then she said, "I think this calls for a toast."
"I think you're right!" Satine refilled their glasses, and then clinked hers against Padmé's without spilling a drop. After another long sip, she sighed. "Unfortunately, Obi-Wan is not as pleased with the situation as I am. He wants a divorce."
"No," Padmé cried, aghast. "Satine, that's dreadful."
"He seems to think allowing me to file the paperwork and jilt him makes it somehow less scandalous. He actually asked me if I'd spoken to my lawyers. As if the very act wouldn't cause consternation across Mandalore." Satine fortified herself with another sip of her drink. "He has no idea that the scandal of divorce would make this farce of a marriage look respectable in comparison."
"Marrying a Jedi is pretty scandalous," Padmé said.
"The Jedi are not well-liked here, it's true," Satine allowed. Padmé huffed delicately at this vast understatement but didn't contradict her. "But Mandalorians do respect strength, and there is no one stronger than Obi-Wan. He is a skilled warrior and a brilliant general, and I'm sure my people would come to love him as I do. If only I could convince him to stay married."
Padmé reached over and squeezed Satine's hand comfortingly. "I'm sure he will, Satine. Love will find a way."
Satine hummed skeptically. She was not, by nature, an optimist, but Padmé's idealism was both inspirational and aspirational. "Do you really think so?"
"I do." Padmé sat back and ran a finger around the rim of her glass. "I have a secret of my own to confess," she said softly. "General Skywalker and I married after the first battle of Geonosis. So you're not alone, Satine. I'm sure you and General Kenobi can make it work."
"Padmé, that's amazing. Congratulations, my dear." Satine clapped her hands in glee and made a note to send Padmé home with a case of Mirialan liqueur as a belated wedding present. "I knew the Jedi couldn't all be as sanctimoniously single as Obi-Wan claims."
"Thank you. It's been wonderful. But it is a secret, Satine. Obi-Wan can't know. Not until Anakin tells him."
"I know how to keep my mouth shut," Satine said, winking over the rim of her glass. "Now tell me all about your wedding."
Padmé's vivacious recounting of her secret wedding at her private lakeside estate carried them through the rest of the evening, and Satine fell into bed and dreamt of rose gold sunsets glinting on sumptuous lace.
She woke the next morning with a hangover, but her hope and resolve had been strengthened. She wasn't going to be the first Kryze in a hundred years to get divorced. Obi-Wan would just have to accept the honor of being married to her with that vaunted Jedi grace.
Obi-Wan woke to the antiseptic scent of the medbay on the Resolute with the sickly sweet taste of bacta on his tongue and a faint ache in his ribs. He attempted to sit up and discovered a much sharper pain in his left hip.
"Good, you're awake." Anakin sat at his bedside, scrolling through a datapad, and Rex and Cody stood at parade rest at the end of the bed. "I have some questions."
"I've felt worse," Obi-Wan replied. "I suppose I have you to thank for those timely explosions."
Anakin grinned. "Ahsoka, actually, but as her master, I'll take credit."
"Of course." He closed his eyes for a moment and let the pain bleed off into the Force. "You have questions?"
"I do." Anakin stood and clasped his hands behind his back. He paced two steps to the foot of the bed and then two steps back to the head. "You were concussed again," this was accompanied by a disapproving look that Obi-Wan thought he might even deserve, "your ribs were bruised in the explosion, and your hip was riddled with shrapnel—Two-One Bee says you'll make a full recovery by the way—but the scars on your arm are a mystery."
Before he could stop himself, Obi-Wan glanced down at the design carved into his left biceps. "Ah."
"Looks like a Mandalorian marriage mark," Rex said with utterly fake nonchalance.
"A Mandalorian marriage mark," Anakin repeated, his delight evident in the Force and in his voice. He turned sharply on his heel and shot a penetrating glare at Obi-Wan, who raised his chin defiantly in response. "Which you definitely didn't have before you escorted her grace, the Duchess of Mandalore, back to Sundari a few months ago."
Obi-Wan schooled his face into the blandest expression he possessed. "Is there a point to this peroration, Anakin?"
Anakin pointed an accusatory finger at him. "You got married to Satine and you didn't invite me to the wedding!"
That was not the response he'd been expecting but perhaps it should have been. It was, at any rate, the most Anakin response to the situation, now that Obi-Wan thought about it. A little apology might not go amiss, if Anakin's feelings were truly hurt. "I—I didn't intend to get married. We were drunk and it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"So if you didn't intend to get married, that also means you didn't intend to not invite me."
Obi-Wan slowly worked his way through that bit of tortuous syntax. He pushed a hand through his hair and solemnly said, "I did not."
"Well, that's okay then." Anakin was silent for two more paces and then he turned and faced Obi-Wan again. Obi-Wan could see the recognition dawn on his face. "But you did get married."
"At the Sy Snootles Wedding Chapel in Canto Bight," he admitted through the hand now covering his face, which was flushed in mortification.
Anakin couldn't contain himself. He collapsed on to the bed next to Obi-Wan in a fit of laughter the likes of which Obi-Wan hadn't heard from him in years. Since before the war, certainly, and probably even a few years before that. It was joyous and infectious and, despite the pain in his ribs, Obi-Wan found himself joining in.
"We'll leave you two to it then," said Rex.
"Congratulations, General," said Cody.
Obi-Wan nodded his thanks, still laughing too hard to speak, one hand pressed to his aching side.
"That's so, so uncivilized, Master," Anakin finally managed, his face red and his breath coming in gasps. "How did you even stand it?"
"I find that enough alcohol makes many things more bearable," Obi-Wan replied sagely. "Not that I recommend drinking as a means of self-medication, Anakin."
"Do as I say, not as I do, huh, Master? Just like always."
"I do have one more question, though."
Anakin pointed at his shoulder. "You used to draw this mark on my homework. I've seen you draw it on everything from after action reports and mission briefings to cocktail napkins over the years."
"I—" Obi-Wan had to stop and think for a moment. "Yes, I suppose I have."
"So all those times, you were really writing 'Mr. Obi-Wan Kenobi-Kryze?'"
"No," Obi-Wan answered, more sharply than he meant to. He sighed and softened his tone. "Technically, yes, but no." He gave Anakin an impish grin. "I was actually writing 'Obi-Wan Kenobi-Kryze, Duke of Mandalore.'"
Anakin laughed again. "That is amazing. Wait till I tell—" His gaze cut away to the left, and then returned to Obi-Wan's face, but never quite met his eyes. "Ahsoka. She's going to get a huge kick out of it."
"Well, don't get too used to it. We're not going to stay married."
All the laughter drained out of Anakin's voice. "Why not? You obviously love each other and have for years."
Obi-Wan drew himself up with as much dignity as he was able while shirtless in a hospital bed with damaged ribs. It might not have been much, but it was what he had. "I am a Jedi."
"Yes, and one of the greatest Jedi there's ever been," Anakin replied before Obi-Wan could continue. "I don't see how getting married changes that."
"I swore oaths, Anakin. They cannot just be tossed aside on a whim."
"This doesn't seem like a whim to me."
"That is exactly what getting drunk and stopping off at Canto Bight to get married is."
"Maybe," Anakin replied, "but you've never done anything so momentous without thinking through the consequences first. And you know what they say—"
"If you say, 'in wine, truth,' I might have to kill you."
Anakin looked startled at his vehemence and then shrugged. "Then I won't say it. But if you wanted to dissolve this marriage, you'd have done it already."
"When have I had the time? There's a war on, you know."
Anakin snorted. "Your paperwork is always timely and precise. If you wanted to file for divorce, you would have." He reached over and put a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder, squeezing it gently. "Congratulations, Obi-Wan. I mean it. I wish you and Satine every happiness. I—" His comm went off then, and he swore. "I have a briefing with Admiral Yularen now, but you know I'm right." At the doorway, he turned and said, "I always am."
Obi-Wan could only stare after him and laugh yet again at that bit of nonsense.
Obi-Wan thought a lot about what Anakin had said—not his claim to always be right (Obi-Wan knew how wrong that was from personal experience), but the idea that had he wanted to get divorced, he would have already done it. He poked around the HoloNet for more information on the process and discovered that many worlds, Coruscant among them, offered no-fault divorce, which would dissolve the union as easily as industrial solvent dissolved the grease stains Anakin left all over the furniture.
"But think of the scandal," Satine said when he pointed this out the next time he commed her. "You, as you so ceaselessly remind me, are a Jedi, and I am a planetary ruler. The tabloids would have a field day when word got out, and you know that it would. No, if you don't wish to make this a real marriage, then we should just pretend it never happened. No one has to know."
"And you think the random employees at the Sy Snootles Wedding Chapel will be more discreet than the registry clerk in the Senate District office on Coruscant."
"Yes, and you would too if you had any sense."
Obi-Wan pinched the bridge of his nose to stave off the headache starting to throb behind his eyes. "Satine—"
"For all your disdain, I know you're capable of thinking like a politician. The chapel guarantees privacy. If they publicize anything about the weddings that take place there, they're in breach of the agreement we signed when we paid them to marry us. We could sue them into bankruptcy. They won't risk it.
"However, if you go barging into the clerk's office, especially in the Senate District on Coruscant, five minutes later, every news outlet in the galaxy will run with it, because those records are public, and the story is too juicy to pass up." She shook her head, and a lock of hair tumbled free of the clips attempting to hold it. She brushed it back behind her ear and for a moment she looked like the teenage girl she'd been when they'd first met. She'd taken his breath away then, when he'd been young and inexperienced with women. She still did, even now, in the washed out blue of the holocom, with dark circles under her eyes and her hair escaping its pins. "I've only just rooted out the traitors in my government. I can't afford a scandal on top of everything else."
Obi-Wan closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "As you wish, Satine."
"Thank you, Obi-Wan." Her smile was small, and maybe it was the holoprojector, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. "Sleep well."
"You, too," he replied, but she'd already terminated the call.
He should sleep. They were six hours out from Coruscant and once they arrived, he probably wouldn't get the chance again for another twelve. Instead, he sank down to his knees and reached for the Force. He needed to come to terms with this decision, and his feelings about it, and about her.
Padmé was waiting when Anakin arrived at her apartment. It wasn't always the case—her work kept her busy at all hours, and even when they were on the same planet at the same time, they weren't always able to steal some time together. So Anakin was pleased and grateful to see his wife. And he spent the next couple of hours proving it to her.
He was boneless and half-asleep when she said, "I was on Mandalore recently."
He hummed in acknowledgement. Ahsoka had gone, too. Something about poisoned black market food? He hadn't read Ahsoka's report, just signed off on it before she submitted it.
"I had drinks with the Duchess afterwards."
He hummed again. The Duchess did like her wine, which was just one more way she and Obi-Wan were suited. She was probably one of the few people who could match him drink for drink, and she didn't even have the Force to help ease her hangovers.
"She told me that she and Master Kenobi got married."
All of Anakin's contented lassitude disappeared. "I know!" he exclaimed, opening his eyes so he could see Padmé's face when he said, "I saw the scars!"
She looked as adorably confused as he could have hoped. "The what?"
"It's an old Mandalorian tradition. Rex told me about it. The bride and groom design a marriage mark and then they carve it into each other's arms—well, I guess it doesn't have to be on their arms, but that's the usual place—during the ceremony. We saw Obi-Wan's after he got injured." He shifted over onto his side so he could lean in and kiss her. "Hey, do you think we could—"
"No," she said firmly. "It's very romantic in a very Mandalorian way, but no, Anakin, we could not."
He huffed a soft laugh. "Okay, my love. Whatever you say."
"What I was saying was that they got married as a drunken lark, and now Master Kenobi wants a divorce and it's very sad." She traced a random pattern over his heart with one delicately painted fingernail. "Couldn't you, I don't know, convince him that he doesn't have to be conflicted over being a Jedi and being married?"
Anakin took a long time to respond. First, he had to work through the usual complete and utter dread at Obi-Wan finding out about his marriage to Padmé. He didn't think Obi-Wan would judge him too harshly now, but there was still a chance he'd tell the Council and Anakin would get kicked out of the Order. Though it would be pretty hypocritical of Obi-Wan to do that, given his own circumstances. Because for all his talk of wanting to divorce Satine, he still hadn't done it yet. Anakin would have known, and not just because he'd been surreptitiously monitoring Obi-Wan's comm to see if he'd sent the paperwork in. He'd found several calls to an unlisted number in Sundari instead, and hadn't felt the need to probe any further.
Then he would have to find a way to explain all that to Padmé without making himself look weak. He knew she wouldn't judge harshly him either, but that wouldn't stop him from judging himself.
"He doesn't know. About us, I mean." Which was what Anakin always told himself, because if Obi-Wan knew, he'd have said something. To Anakin, to the Council. Maybe even to Padmé. They were friends of a sort, after all. But he also knew that Obi-Wan was sharper and slyer than anyone else ever expected, so he also knew that Obi-Wan's ignorance was probably willful. Certainly he didn't know about the marriage. But the relationship? Well, Anakin had never given him a chance to bring it up, but he figured on some level, Obi-Wan knew. He always did. Anakin amended it to, "He doesn't know we're married."
"I told Satine." Padmé's voice was soft, matter-of-fact.
For one endless moment, all Anakin felt was blind, panic-induced rage. He jolted upright in bed, scattering pillows everywhere.
Before he could say something he'd regret later, Padmé said, "She told me about her and Obi-Wan and it was so nice to finally talk to someone who understood." She sat up as well, and turned to face him, her face solemn and serene in the dim light of the bedroom.
Anakin didn't know what to say to that. She held out a hand and he took it, squeezing tightly. She didn't flinch. She never did.
"She promised she wouldn't tell him, but I promised I wouldn't tell anyone about them, and I'm telling you, so I couldn't really blame her if she does. After all, he is her husband. But you should do it before she does, or he'll be hurt." Her words tumbled out honest and concerned, with nothing of her usual polished grace.
Anakin thought about it, of course he had, more than once, but it was never the right time, and Obi-Wan would only run straight to the Council and rat him out. But maybe he was wrong. Maybe Obi-Wan wouldn't.
He took a deep breath and met Padmé's gaze squarely. "Okay," he said. "Okay. I'll do it."
"Thank you for accompanying me," Satine said when Obi-Wan was shown into the foyer of her apartment in the Mandalorian consulate.
"Of course," he replied, stepping forward to take the hand that she offered. He pressed a kiss to her knuckles and then, feeling greatly daring, to the inside of her wrist. Her pulse fluttered against his lips and he smiled briefly. "I know you and Senator Farr were friendly. My condolences."
Satine withdrew her hand and turned to walk further into the apartment. "Thank you." She paused and waited for him to follow. "How is Senator Amidala? I know they were also friends."
"She'll be at the funeral," he replied, hedging because he hadn't seen Senator Amidala since Farr's death, though he knew she'd been present when it happened. They'd all lost so much. And they still all had so much more to lose.
"Yes." Satine led him down a lushly carpeted hallway and into her dressing room. Her aides and attendants took one look at him and absented themselves quietly. She sat down at a vanity and put on her earrings, then began fussing with a compact. She looked pale, and not just because of the powder she was dabbing onto her skin.
"Are you all right?"
"I should be asking you that. Have your ribs healed? What about the damage to your hip?"
"I'm fine, Satine, thank you for asking." He sat down on the bench beside her, facing in the opposite direction. There was barely enough room for the two of them, but he pressed up against her, and didn't worry about crushing her gown or wrinkling his robes. "I'm more concerned about you."
She put her brush down. "It's not Senator Farr's death specifically that's upsetting," she admitted softly, "though it is, of course, upsetting."
"It's that they were celebrating. They were simply having a toast to Senator Amidala! And now one of them is dead. I know there's a war on, but Obi-Wan, I didn't expect—They thought they were safe! They should have been safe."
"I know." He took her hand again. "It's as if even here on Coruscant, no one is safe."
She cut him a wry look. "Galactic politics has never been for the faint of heart—"
"Or nerve," he murmured.
"—but lately it feels as though everything's gotten worse."
He nodded. "It's the Sith. Did you know, on Geonosis, Count Dooku told me that they had a hold in the Senate. I didn't believe him then, but now I'm starting to wonder."
"You never mentioned that before."
"I only ever told the Council. We looked into it, but with the war, we haven't been able to devote resources to continue, and what little investigating we did hit dead ends at every turn."
She shifted slightly, angling her body towards him. "This is important information, Obi-Wan. We could—"
"No," he said sharply. "The Sith are a matter for the Jedi, Satine. You'll only get yourself killed if you get involved."
"Am I not involved now?" she shot back. "You are a Jedi and you're my husband."
"Yes," he said. "I've been thinking." He swallowed hard, his throat suddenly parched. "About that." He looked down at their entwined fingers and thought about how right it felt to just sit and hold her hand. How much he would like to do that for the rest of their lives.
"I couldn't bear it if something happened to you, Satine. Even if you weren't my—wife." Even now he stumbled over the word, the very idea. And yet. "But you are. And maybe I was wrong to have fought so hard against that."
Her eyes widened and her lips parted in a soft gasp. "Obi-Wan?"
"We have so little time with the ones we love, even when we aren't at war. And I do love you, Satine. I always have."
Her smile was luminous. "I know. I love you, too."
Her kiss tasted of lipstick and powder, but he didn't care. When he held her close, he could feel her heart racing, or perhaps it was his. He couldn't tell anymore.
They barely made it in time for the funeral. Satine's dress was unfortunately wrinkled and Obi-Wan had had to wipe smears of lipstick off his throat, but thanks to some judicious shortcuts and a callous disregard of local speed laws, they did make it.
When the service was over, Senator Amidala invited them back to her apartment for dinner. Obi-Wan was not at all surprised when Anakin joined them, but he held his tongue. He'd turned a blind eye to their relationship for this long, and given his own situation, he couldn't change that now even if he wanted to, which he didn't. Something settled in Anakin in Padmé's presence, and he needed that more than ever these days.
After they finished eating, they adjourned to her living room, and she brought out a familiar-looking bottle.
"I thought you might enjoy this," she said, uncorking the bottle and pouring four glasses of the Mirialan liqueur that had wrought so many unexpected changes in Obi-Wan's life.
He glanced at Satine, who grinned back at him over the rim of her glass.
"Yes," he said, "I suppose now's as good a time as any to tell you." He reached out and took Satine's hand. It felt as right now, in front of other people (even if those people were his friends and inclined to be happy for him), as it had when they were alone. "I'm sure Anakin's told you about our impromptu marriage." He nodded at Padmé, who nodded back. "We've decided to try and make a go of it."
Padmé beamed at them and Anakin said, "That's so great. I'm not one to say I told you so," which made both Padmé and Obi-Wan laugh, "but I told you so." He turned to Satine. "Congratulations, your grace. You couldn't have married a finer man." He raised his glass. "To Obi-Wan and Satine." They all drank, and Obi-Wan would forever associate the taste of starfruit with happiness.
"We'll keep it quiet until the war is over," Satine said, giving Obi-Wan a dazzling smile, "but hopefully by then Obi-Wan will have figured out some way to talk the Jedi Council around to the situation."
Anakin choked on his drink and Obi-Wan reached over to thump him on the back, which won him a grateful grin. "That would be amazing." He set down his glass and turned to Obi-Wan. "So I guess now is a good time to confess that Padmé and I are also married, and have been since right after Geonosis."
"I—You're—What?" Obi-Wan sputtered.
"And I have to say, at least my secret wedding was tasteful, Master. I mean, Canto Bight? The Sy Snootles Wedding Chapel?" He snorted a laugh. "So unlike you. So uncivilized."
"Hmph." Obi-Wan tried to sound annoyed but couldn't help grinning at Anakin's nonsense.
Satine ignored him and said, "It did sound lovely when Padmé described it to me. Congratulations, and thank you for trusting us with your secret."
Obi-Wan glared at Satine. "You knew? Before me? And you didn't say anything?"
She was completely unfazed. "I know many things you don't. And I can keep a secret," she scoffed. "I've kept our marriage a secret, after all, and that means more to me than Padmé's." She looked over at Padmé. "No offense."
Padmé grinned, obviously entertained, and gestured dismissively. "None taken."
Satine turned back to him. "But Obi-Wan, now that you're in the know, I expect you to keep up."
"It would be my genuine pleasure, Satine." And as he pressed a quick kiss to the back of her hand, he thought that he would be happy to spend the rest of his life keeping up with her.