Call to Witness

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)


Author's Notes: I don't use betas, so all mistakes are mine. This was going to be a PWP, and then it grew a little tiny plot, and got a lot longer than I had intended it to be...

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to the folks in IRC, especially Clad, Melrae and Lorelei, who helped me get over various snags in the storyline...like the plot.


"Master," Obi-Wan asked as he and his Master stepped out of their transport, "why were we assigned to this mission? Surely there are less experienced Jedi more appropriate to simply witnessing a wedding."

"I don't doubt you are right, my Padawan," Qui-Gon said, a slight smile touching his lips, "but the wedding is that of an old friend of mine. I have not seen her...oh, since before you became my Padawan. I requested this mission." Obi-Wan looked a little surprised, but nodded his understanding.

At that moment a woman that Obi-Wan judged to be slightly older than his Master hurried forward to greet them, beaming happily. "Qui-Gon!" she exclaimed, "I'm so glad it's you that came. When I asked that a Jedi witness for Nomis and I, I hoped that it would be you."

"Refina, I did my best to make sure that I received the assignment," Qui-Gon smiled, grasping her arms by the elbows and kissing both her cheeks in her people's custom. "This is my Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Refina looked a little surprised, but greeted Obi-Wan the same way, saying, "Padawan Kenobi...do you mind if I call you Obi-Wan? I'm afraid, with my wedding in just a few days and all my old friends arriving, I'm incapable of too much formality." Obi-Wan found himself grinning in response to her good humor and gave his assent.

"Now, Qui-Gon," she said, taking his arm and guiding him off the landing platform, Obi-Wan one step behind. "We have much to catch up on. But where are my manners? Are you tired? Would you prefer to settle in first?"

"Our transport was very comfortable, Refina," Qui-Gon assured her, "and it is morning yet. I would love to talk for awhile. Obi-Wan?"

"I would stay with you, Master, if you don't mind." Obi- Wan replied, enjoying seeing Qui-Gon so relaxed.

"Certainly, Obi-Wan!" Refina answered before Qui-Gon, who simply smiled. Their hostess led them into the palace, which adjoined the landing platform they had arrived on. A short walk took them to the suite that, as the queen's cousin, Refina was entitled to. "I'm not even the Queen, and these rooms are far too large for me!" she smiled brightly. "I'm glad I will soon have someone to share them with. Here, let us relax in the sitting room. Your things are being taken to your rooms as we speak. I'll have a servant show you there afterwards." Qui-Gon nodded his assent.

Refina summoned a servant and the three of them requested drinks. Then their hostess asked the question which she must have been saving for a more private setting. "My friend, the last time I saw you, you had sworn never to take another Padawan. What happened?"

Qui-Gon couldn't help but smile, glancing over at his Padawan. "Obi-Wan happened." He went on to explain, "I came to the academy to see the potential apprentices two weeks before Obi-Wan's thirteenth birthday, when he would no longer have been eligible to be a Padawan. Yet I did not choose him then... Obi-Wan was sent to Bandomeer to become a farmer. Master Yoda sent me to Bandomeer also, to negotiate a trade dispute." Qui-Gon paused, and Obi-Wan wondered if his Master was going to tell the whole, painful story over again. He did not. "By the time the situation had been resolved, Obi-Wan had found his way past my defenses, and I was happy to take him as my Padawan."

Obi-Wan smiled, remembering the moment when Qui- Gon had accepted him. "You make it sound as if it was easy," he said, ruefully, touching his neck in remembrance of the sacrifice he'd been prepared to make.

Refina watched her friend and his Padawan keenly, a slight smile playing about her lips. "Well, being soon to be married myself, I must ask, have you had similar fortune?"

Qui-Gon shook his head no. "I'm waiting for the one who has claimed my heart to realize that they hold it." Obi-Wan looked over at his Master, as startled by his response as Refina.

"Master?" Obi-Wan asked. "Do I know her...or him?"

"More or less," Qui-Gon murmured.

From there the conversation moved on to other things, for Qui-Gon would not reveal any more on the subject. Obi-Wan relaxed more in Refina's company that he had expected to, and found himself throwing dry comments into Qui-Gon's narratives of their adventures, drawing more than a few laughs.

Eventually, Refina had to leave. "I have a wedding rehearsal," she explained, and motioned a servant over on her way out, murmuring something in her ear. "Mira will show you to your rooms. I do look forward to introducing you to Nomis, Qui-Gon." With that, she hurried off.

Mira bowed to them silently and gestured for them to follow her. Not much later, they arrived at a set of double doors. "You would have been given larger rooms, respected Jedi," she said quietly, "but the palace is crowed with wedding guests. We hope these shall suffice."

"I am sure whatever you can provide will be quite adequate," Qui-Gon assured her. The servant bowed deeply and left them.

Pushing open the doors of their quarters, Obi-Wan strode inside and couldn't help raising an eyebrow. "They thought these rooms were too small?" he asked his Master. The hall doors opened onto a receiving room large enough to hold a dozen people comfortably. To either side of the receiving room were two archways. Stepping through the one on the right, Obi-Wan found himself in a substantial bathroom, complete with a chest- deep tub and fixtures for both sonic and water showers.

From across the suite, Qui-Gon called out, "I believe I have discovered the reason these rooms were not thought to be large enough, Padawan."

Obi-Wan joined him in the bedroom. The single bedroom...and it's single bed.

***

Mira made her way to the hall where the wedding rehearsal would be held and found Refina being helped into her dress in an alcove. "Mistress," Mira said, "I have done as you asked."

"Thank you, Mira," Refina replied.

"Mistress," Mira began, hesitant but unable to suppress a slight smile, "Will the Jedi not react badly when they find the rooms adjoining those given them are empty?"

"We will just have to avoid that particular trouble by assigning those rooms to a guest as soon as possible," Refina said, winking at her handmaiden.

***

Obi-Wan glanced out at the receiving room, which held only cushions to sit on. "I suppose I could sleep on the floor..." he trailed off.

"Nonsense, Obi-Wan. To do so would disrespect our hosts. Come, we have shared a bed before, smaller than this one."

Not for years, the Padawan thought in response to his Master's comment, and not since-. He cut off his own train of thought, unsure of how much Qui-Gon would pick up through their bond.

Qui-Gon placed the single small bag he carried in the spacious closet and Obi-Wan followed suit. They needed to do little more to settle themselves in their rooms, and so were soon off to the wedding rehearsal. There the Jedi would find the event's co-ordinator, who would tell them what their place, if any, in the ceremony would be.

As it turned out, they were required to do nothing more than sit among the guests and observe. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon each took a seat on one of the cushions scattered in a circle about the dais where Refina and Nomis would be married and watched the rehearsal. It would be a beautiful ceremony, Obi-Wan noted, and felt a brief stab of envy. He doubted he would ever have such a service.

That thought led inevitably to Qui-Gon's earlier comment. I'm waiting for the one who has claimed my heart to realize that they hold it. He wondered, sadly, who had captured his Master's soul. He couldn't remember anyone Qui-Gon had spent significant time with, nor even anyone his reserved Master had paid particular attention to...

Movement captured Obi-Wan's attention, and he saw that the rehearsal was over. Refina was hurrying over to them, her energy apparently undiminished by the practice. "Qui-Gon! Obi-Wan! You must come and meet Nomis," she seized them by the arms and pulled them over to a tall, dignified man with silvery hair. Qui-Gon traded an amused glance with his Padawan behind their hostess. "Nomis," she captured her fianc‚e's attention, "this is my old friend, Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"Welcome," Nomis said smiling, and bowed, "I am Nomis al Sudra. We are honored to have you present to witness our marriage."

The Jedi returned the bow. "It is our honor to observe the joining of the Queen's cousin and her beloved," Qui-Gon said formally.

"Nomis, I must go," Refina said, still smiling brightly. "Qui-Gon will not be here long, and we have much to talk of. Excuse us?"

"Certainly, my love," he said, eyes twinkling with amusement.

"Obi-Wan, the day is your own," Qui-Gon said as Refina drew him away. "There is little more for us to do than wait."

"Yes, Master," Obi-Wan called after Qui-Gon.

"Come," Nomis said, a little less formally, "tell me what you thought of the ceremony..."

***

Refina and Qui-Gon had returned to her sitting room. As soon as the door closed, Refina's expression grew more serious, though the glow of happiness did not leave her. "Ah, Qui-Gon. You go from one extreme to the other," she sighed.

"What do you mean?"

"You know exactly what I mean, old friend. You were terribly anguished with the loss of one Padawan, and now you have fallen in love with another."

Qui-Gon sighed and bowed his head. "You must think me a fool."

"Not a fool," she said softly. "A man who fears that, having given his heart, it will never be returned."

"I do now want it returned," he whispered, "I want another in exchange."

"Ah, Qui-Gon," she placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Tell him how you feel. If you do not, you will never know if your love is returned. If you tell him, at least you have a chance for his love."

"I cannot," he said, anguished. "He is my Padawan-"

"He is a man grown," Refina said sharply. "He is not so weak minded that he would see your feelings as an obligation. I have just met him, and this is obvious to me. Give him a chance to show his love for you."

"Perhaps," Qui-Gon said, but she could see he didn't believe her.

***

Obi-Wan did not return to their rooms until late that night, having gotten caught up in a small festival that was being held to celebrate the marriage. He smiled tiredly and plucked flowers from his clothing. The entire palace household was full of energy, and the union ahead was considered much blessed. Shedding his clothes and folding them carefully, Obi-Wan stood clad only in his pants and turned to the bed.

Qui-Gon was already sleeping, his hair unbound and fanned across the pillow. Obi-Wan allowed his gaze to linger longingly on the planes of his Master's face, relaxed in sleep. I'm waiting for the one who has claimed my heart to realize that they hold it.

It occurred to Obi-Wan, as he slipped between the sheets, that Qui-Gon could have been referring to him, and a thread of hope found its way into his heart. But he pushed the thought aside quickly. Don't. It will only hurt more when you find he was thinking of another.

***

In the morning, Qui-Gon came awake at the exact moment he'd set for himself the night before. His mind was clear of the gauze of sleep, but the warmth of another body pressed against his back momentarily confused him. Remembering that he and Obi-Wan had had to share the bed, Qui-Gon turned to find his Padawan still deeply asleep. As he watched, Obi-Wan moved as if seeking his touch.

Qui-Gon's heart contracted at the sight, and he gently touched the younger man on the shoulder. "Wake, Obi- Wan." Obi-Wan's eyes fluttered open immediately. "I regret cutting your sleep short," Qui-Gon told him, "but we must prepare for the wedding."

"Of course," Obi-Wan said, and rolled out of bed. Qui- Gon looked after him regretfully and rose himself.

***

The Jedi knelt on cushions in the first ring of guests. Priests clothed in golden robes escorted Refina, dressed all in white, down one aisle through the cushions. Nomis, similarly garbed, was led by silvery-robed priests down another aisle. They met before the high priest, robed in crimson, who stood in the center of the rings of guests.

Refina held out her left hand, palm up, and Nomis covered it with his left hand. Then he crossed his right hand over their clasp and held it palm up. Refina covered his right with hers. The priest opened a small, leather bound book and read a brief verse from it in a lyrically beautiful language Obi-Wan didn't understand.

The next words were in standard. "Refina, will you bind your heart and soul to this man's? Will you share your joy and your pain and your sorrow and your love for all time, to death and beyond?"

"I will," she said, her voice steady and full of joy.

"Nomis, will you bind your heart and soul to this woman's? Will you share your joy and your pain and your sorrow and your love for all time, to death and beyond?"

"I will," he said clearly, smiling broadly.

"I present you as a single soul, husband and wife," the priest said, draping a crimson cloth over their hands. Obi-Wan found himself holding back tears. When Refina and Nomis leaned across their joined hands to kiss, it was envy that pushed his tears onto his cheeks, not joy.

Obi-Wan left as soon was it was polite for him to do so, avoiding his Master's gaze and hurrying from the hall. He wandered among the palace gardens for a long time, steering clear of the festivities and trying to meditate. But this thoughts would not settle, and he returned to their suite in the early evening, feeling emotionally drained.

Qui-Gon was waiting for him when he entered their rooms. The older man's gaze was openly concerned. "Obi-Wan," he said, and the Padawan felt sadness choke him. "Why so sad? Today is a joyous day." Qui-Gon asked, laying a hand on his apprentice's shoulder.

"To be loved like that..." Obi-Wan managed, and Qui- Gon could feel his envy along their bond.

The Jedi Master suddenly felt selfish for holding his emotions back. Before he could think about what he was doing, Qui-Gon murmured, "But you are loved" and let his devotion pour along their bond.

"Master," Obi-Wan whispered, looking up at Qui-Gon in wide-eyed realization. Then an answering rush of love flooded Qui-Gon, and he pulled his Padawan close.

"I love you, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, needing to say it. Needing to hear it.

"I love you, Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan replied, and Qui-Gon felt a thrill of happiness at hearing his name on the lips of his beloved. He claimed those lips with his own a moment later, kissing Obi-Wan softly yet passionately.

The younger man was eager in Qui-Gon's embrace, and both of them were soon flushed with desire long suppressed. Hands pushed aside clothing that obscured warm skin, lips and tongues tasted more deeply. Qui- Gon drew Obi-Wan into the bedroom and down onto the bed. Sprawled atop his Master, Obi-Wan stroked Qui- Gon's flesh lightly, nails scraping gently in places, lips following to taste sensitized skin.

A throaty moan returned Obi-Wan's attention to his Master's face. Qui-Gon had thrown his head back, his tongue darting out to moisten his lips. Eager pleasure was written in every line of his body. Obi-Wan slid back up to kiss his beloved and asked quietly, "What do you want?"

"I want you," Qui-Gon replied heatedly. "I want to make love to you."

"Yes," Obi-Wan moaned, a sudden image of himself filled by Qui-Gon's cock, their bodies twined together, sprang to mind. He did not know whether it was his fantasy or his Master's, and he didn't care. Qui-Gon rolled Obi-Wan beneath him and reached into the drawer of the beside table, finding massage oil there. The preparation was fast, for Qui-Gon was too eager to take his time and Obi-Wan was too ready to need him to.

Qui-Gon placed his cock at the opening to Obi-Wan's body and leaned down to kiss his beloved deeply before pushing slowly inside. Obi-Wan gasped at the first intrusion, his body tensing. Then he moaned, a sound of pleasure torn from deep within him. Qui-Gon pushed in further, and Obi-Wan thrust against him eagerly. The older man rocked back, pulling almost all way out of that tight heat, then thrust back into Obi-Wan's body.

Obi-Wan cried out in pleasure as his lover touched the gland within him, sending spikes of pleasure burning across his nerves. He gripped the sheets tightly, rocking into Qui-Gon's thrusts as hard as he could. "Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon gasped, and the younger man opened his eyes and saw his Master buried in him to the hilt. The sight, and Qui-Gon's hand on his straining cock, pushed him over the edge. Obi-Wan came calling his Master's name, body arching off the bed.

The tight clench of Obi-Wan's hot passage drew Qui- Gon's climax from him as powerfully as Obi-Wan's. Qui-Gon cried out his pleasure and his love, and the two men collapsed to the bed in a sweaty tangle of sheets and limbs.

After the lovers had slipped into sleep's embrace, a figure crept from behind one of the curtains in their room. Smiling at the men tangled in each other's arms, the memory of whispered endearments soothing her heart, Refina left to find her husband and her own wedding night.

--End--