Obi-Wan dreamed about Qui-Gon.
He dreamed the man was standing on a precipice, looking down at a barren valley below. Obi-Wan felt strangely content to see him standing there, and not at all surprised. A warm wind blew over him, and Obi-Wan leaned forward over the edge.
"Ever think of jumping?" Qui-Gon asked. That hint of wry humor was in his voice, and it made Obi-Wan smile.
"No," he replied, turning to look at his master's face. "Have you?"
"All the time," Qui-Gon sighed, humor gone now.
Obi-Wan touched the man's face, and Qui-Gon smiled again. There was something sad behind his eyes, something Obi-Wan couldn't identify.
And then they were standing in a pool under the moonlight, up to their waists in cool water. The air was stifling, though the sky was dark. Qui-Gon's eyes sparkled mischievously.
"Shall I spare you the romantic drivel about how beautiful you look in the moonlight?"
Obi-Wan laughed and twined his arms around his master's neck in response, bringing their faces very close together. "Yes, spare me. Go directly to the good part instead."
Qui-Gon raised an elegant eyebrow, and kissed him. The dream shifted into a rush of sensation then, of wet skin sliding together, of heat and pleasure, of tongues and fingers and hardness and softness.
He was warm, he thought, if not a bit uncomfortable. He tugged the body spooned against him closer, half-smiling as he pressed his erection against firm buttocks. He shifted his hips slightly, and the friction made him harder.
It also woke him up.
Siri was still asleep, fortunately, and hadn't noticed that he was grinding his cock into her ass. Several layers of blankets separated them, so perhaps it wouldn't have been all that obvious anyway.
His arm was draped around her waist, and he realized with a growing sense of horror that his hand was cupping one of her breasts. For some reason, his body found this thought highly intriguing, and the erection that had started to fade came back completely.
He exhaled, strangely tempted to stay right where he was. After all, she'd hinted several times that she was interested. An awkward awakening could lead to a silent agreement to take their friendship a step further.
The dream flitted through his mind, prompting the realization that he hadn't had sex in a long, long time.
Of course, his problem was that it was never just sex. Brief fumblings with close friends in his padawan days had taught him that much.
With a small sigh, he slowly lifted his arm and turned onto his back. A moment later, Siri stirred. She sat up and squinted at him.
"What time is it?"
He shrugged in response, yawning. Siri climbed out of the small bed and stretched, apparently comfortable with being nearly naked in front of him. Her thin undertunic rose, revealing a brief expanse of pale skin above the hem of her underwear. He stared, despite the fact that it was rude. Her navel was pierced. Why hadn't he noticed that before?
"What?" she yawned, combing her fingers through her hair. Despite her efforts, it stuck out in several directions.
He smiled sleepily. "Thanks for putting me to bed. And for staying."
"My pleasure," she grinned. "I like waking up in someone's arms." With a wink, she slipped into the 'fresher.
Shit, he thought, wincing. He seemed to be doing everything wrong where Siri was concerned.
Obi-Wan opened the next set of spaceport logs, centering the screen over the section containing the record and manifest of every ship that had left the city the day before. The Ambassador had been much more cooperative when they'd returned to his office that morning, giving them access to every secure system they requested.
He held down the "scroll" key and let the stream of data roll by, waiting for something to catch his attention.
"How do you do that, anyway?" Siri asked.
He jumped slightly, startled by her sudden appearance. "How do I do what?" He clenched his jaw, chastising himself for being so unaware. His connection to the Force still felt a bit muddy, and it was starting to worry him.
"Take it all in. It makes my head hurt to watch."
He looked up from the monitor and shrugged innocently. "Just a gift, I suppose."
She shot him a mildly annoyed look. "I checked out the grounds, and couldn't find any entrances to the gardens other than the main gate. I don't know how they got the boys out so quickly. It's as if they vanished into thin air." They were working under the assumption that two or more people had attacked Anakin and Ferus at once. The scene of the attack was on the opposite side of the grounds from the main entrance, and the groundskeeper had seen nothing out of the ordinary. "Any luck here?"
He shook his head. "I've scanned every transportation record available, and nothing looks remotely suspicious. There were no police reports, no suspicious activity in this area. Nothing." He pushed away from the monitor and looked up at Siri.
She sighed and pressed her fingertips to her temples. They were both suffering the effects of having lost the training bonds with their padawans. For Siri, it meant a tension headache and a general feeling of listlessness. For Obi-Wan, it was bordering on a migraine. He'd reluctantly accepted the medication offered to him by the ambassador's assistant, and it had helped.
"I'm going to look for information on the governor next. I can't help but wonder if there's some connection."
Siri nodded and flopped ungracefully into a chair, which rolled backwards a bit. "I talked to the housekeeping staff. It turns out that the ambassador's cook has only worked here a month. Prior to that, he was the governor's personal chef."
"Really? Did you speak with him?"
"He arrives for his shift in a few minutes. I thought you might want to come along when I question him." She bit her lip, thinking. Obi-Wan was struck by how vulnerable that small gesture made her seem. She was a tough woman, and difficult to intimidate. He'd been on the business end of her blaster once, and it had scared him shitless.
At the moment, though, she looked much younger than her 30 years, twisting her finger around a short lock of hair as she thought. Her eyes were downcast, and dark lashes fluttered against her cheeks every so often. She was beautiful, though not perhaps by traditional standards. He was noticing it more frequently.
She caught him staring, and her brows furrowed. "What?"
He grinned and rolled his chair closer to hers. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, but she didn't move away. A bit impulsively, he leaned forward and kissed her, cupping her cheek in one hand. Her mouth opened in a silent "oh" of surprise, and he took advantage of the opportunity to deepen their contact. She whimpered and leaned into him, taking control of the kiss as if she had initiated it. She explored his mouth briefly before closing her lips around his tongue and... sucking.
It was Obi-Wan's turn to whimper. He hadn't felt anything like it in far too long.
Siri released his tongue and pushed at his chest playfully. Their chairs rolled apart across the smooth floor. They grinned at each other for a moment, a bit flustered, and a bit embarrassed.
She glanced at her commlink, breaking the spell. "Time to interview the chef." Obi-Wan nodded and switched off the terminal.
"Well, it wasn't as if no one tried to warn me," the chef said, crossing his legs and lighting yet another tabac stick. He was a few years older than Obi-Wan, very thin and fashionably dressed. "I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the position. I stuck it out for two years."
"Can you think of anyone who might have wanted the interim Governor to disappear?" Obi-Wan asked, resisting the urge to wave smoke away from his face.
The chef smiled at him a bit before answering. "I never met the most recent occupant of that house. I left not long before Faltiwend's assassination. And I have no idea who was responsible for that either." He took a drag and carefully blew the smoke up, away from the Jedi. "Everyone in that house hated her, even her own children. Her oldest daughter was off at university and only came back for holidays. The younger ones were spoiled brats. Turned their pert little noses up at every dish that wasn't haute cuisine."
"Can you give us any names?" Siri asked. "Anyone with connections to Faltiwend who might have a motivation to interfere with the selection of her replacement?" There was a touch of exasperation in her tone.
The chef raised an eyebrow at her before focusing his gaze on Obi-Wan once more. "Most of the staff despised the Governor, but we valued our jobs. We were paid well to put up with the shit we were given. And to keep our mouths shut about everything else." He looked away, taking another long drag.
"What about friends, cabinet members, other people who visited frequently?" Obi-Wan wondered if mild flattery would loosen the chef's tongue. "In such an important position in the household, you must have known with whom the Governor kept company." He smiled and tilted his head in a way that Qui-Gon had always told him was irresistible.
The chef smiled in response and put out the tabac stick. "Well, I could be persuaded to recall some names." He winked at Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan felt Siri's twinge of amusement. They didn't have time to deal with this, honestly, but they were hitting dead ends everywhere. He smiled more widely at the chef, whose eyes had drifted rather blatantly to Obi-Wan's crotch.
"We would be quite appreciative of any help you could give us," he said, letting his tone carry a hint of suggestiveness.
"I have to get back to work," the man said, pulling a small card and a pen from his pocket. He wrote something on the back and held it out to Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan took it, letting his fingers brush the chef's briefly as he did. The man smiled lazily and left, hips swaying more than was strictly necessary.
Siri sighed noisily and rolled her eyes. Obi-Wan glanced at the card. On the front was printed the man's name and some contact information. On the back he had neatly printed two names, and the words "I get off at 25th hour."
"I imagine he does," Siri smirked.
Obi-Wan smirked at her. "Jealous?"
"No." The corner of lip twitched upwards just a bit. "At least he gave us a few names to start with. Do you want to look them up, or should I?"
"I'm familiar with the system, now, so I suppose I could do it. I wonder if the computer system at the Governor's residence is accessible through the network?"
Siri looked delighted. "You're thinking of hacking into a secured government network? I'm impressed, Obi."
"We're here at the request of the interim Governor," he noted. "He's missing, so it's within the bounds of our investigation to access any relevant files." He paused, thinking. "Parts of the system here are cloaked, so I could start there. It's easy enough to undo the cloak, once you know it's there."
Siri sucked in a breath quickly. "Of course!" she said, eyes wide. At that, she turned and sprinted from the room. Obi-Wan followed her, sensing the burst of excitement that had filled her so suddenly. She ran through the corridors, barely swerving to miss several of the staff who swore indignantly at her as she passed.
"Sorry!" Obi-Wan muttered at an irate janitor as he used a touch of the Force to jump over a patch of freshly mopped floor. Siri tore on ahead, showing no sign of slowing. When they reached the door leading out to the gardens, a wave of realization swept over him. He chased her across the grounds back toward the spot where Anakin and Ferus had disappeared, coming to a halt just in front of the power station.
"It's unmarked," he panted, wondering why he didn't think of it before.
Siri walked slowly around the structure, searching. "Yes, and you attacked it quite fiercely yesterday." She extended a hand toward the structure and gasped when it passed through the surface with a small flicker.
"Hologram," Obi-Wan noted, shaking his head. "Why didn't we notice it yesterday?" He swallowed down his frustration quickly.
Siri hefted the hilt of her lightsaber in her palm and glanced at him. He nodded.
They stepped through at the same time. Siri lit her saber instantly, as it was pitch dark inside the false structure. The green blade provided enough light that they could see each other's faces. Obi-Wan ignited a small glowrod from his utility belt.
"There," he said, pointing at a large metal plate on the ground.
Siri crouched down and ran her fingers along the edges. "It's definitely some sort of door. Probably leads down to a utility access corridor." She hefted her 'saber hilt once more, looking up at him questioningly. He nodded once, and she sank the blade into the metal, cutting along one side. He helped her pull the thick sheet of metal upwards. The locking mechanism gave way from the strain, and the doorway popped up easily.
Obi-Wan shined the glowrod down into the hole. A ladder snaked down one side, and there was clearly some sort of corridor below. It smelled vaguely of sewage and mold.
Siri grinned at his wrinkled nose. "After you."