In the evenings, after the children were put to bed, Padmé often found herself sitting and watching Ben run through katas. He’d taught her one or two which didn’t require the Force to perform, but for the most part she just watched. She found it perhaps more enjoyable than she should. Ben was growing old; there was more white in his beard than brown, but he was still an attractive man, especially when he was in motion in this way, his limbs drawn taut with his arms mostly bare, so she could see the sweat on them and on his face if he worked long enough, along with the intensity of his features. He reminded her of Anakin in the evenings.
But even with the Jedi Order and its rules long gone, he was as untouchable as Anakin should have been. Qui-Gon Jinn had only appeared to her once, but she knew he was always in Ben’s head, and she knew they loved each other; Ben had confessed it to her on one particularly dark day. Once also she had woken in the middle of the night to the sounds of soft groans and sighs. There was precious little privacy in their abode; each had only an alcove to sleep in, and hers was next to his, and so she had heard Ben call out to Qui-Gon, and what Qui-Gon could do to him without a body she could not imagine, but that he was doing something there had no doubt from the content of Ben’s exclamations, and that left the matter settled to her. Ben was taken.
The night where that changed, she noticed first that his usual concentration was lacking. He kept raising his eyes and wrinkling his brow, and looking, absurdly, as if he was arguing with someone. She eventually concluded he was, but she still thought it looked absurd.
She was not surprised when he finished early, and sat down next to her. She did wonder why he was having trouble looking at her.
They sat in silence for a while, then he asked, “How long have you been here? Can you rememeber?”
“Five months or so. I don’t really keep track of the days anymore.” Silence again.
“Qui-Gon and I have been...talking.” Then he stopped again. He sounded like Anakin had when he hadn’t wanted to tell her something. It was disconcerting.
“And...” she prompted.
“We...when we were....well, involved, we did not expect sexual fidelity from each other.”
“Who else would you be having sex with?” she couldn’t help but ask.
“Not very many people, but occasionally, something happened, someone crossed our path who might feel a desire for it, for who it could bring comfort. And of course, we were determined not to allow our feelings for each other to affect our behavior in any way we could prevent them from doing so.”
“I see.” She supposed the Jedi had met a lot of people in extremely bad circumstances, who could often not be sure they would live to see the following day, who had precious little joy in their lives. It would make sense that to those who wanted it they would give a night’s comfort.
Like her, for instance.
“I thought perhaps things might be different, now, but...he’s leaving.”
“What?” Padmé was stunned. “He’s deserting us?”
“He has no choice. He has the power to return for only so long, and no longer. He will be here some time yet, possibly even years, but not forever.”
At the sadness in his voice, Padmé put her arms around him, a memory involuntarily coming into her mind of when she sat surrounded by similar looking-walls on this same planet and held another Jedi the same way. He, however, maintained the image of composure, if not the reality of it; she could feel him trembling. Ben leaned into her, his head pressing into her neck, while her hands absently caressed his back. It was comfort, not sensuality, but she could not escape the awareness that it could become sensuality.
“Sometimes,” she said, she wasn’t sure why but she wanted to speak, “I think I would give anything, just to be kissed again, held, touched. I’m just so tired.” She took hold of his left hand. “Your hand is like his,” she noted.
That hand traveled up to her face, cupped her cheek. She closed her eyes, imagined for a moment Anakin’s face before her, then opened them and stared into Ben’s face.
“He is still in my mind,” Ben told her. “If we do this, I think we may do so with him present.”
“I don't mind,” she told him. Let him make love to Qui-Gon while he made love to her. She hardly had the right to kick Qui-Gon out while she slept with his lover, and Ben wouldn’t be the only person with a third party in his head.
She leaned in to kiss him; he met her half-way.
Had it really been thirteen years since she had last been kissed? But he did not kiss like Anakin had, all aggression and possession. His mouth was that of a diplomat’s, coaxing her open-she was completely in his arms before she knew it.
They rose and walked wordlessly to the alcoves. She checked on Luke and Leia, like she did every night before turning in, and found them sleeping peacefully. Unfastening her garments, she came to his bed with them half on, half off, and found him sitting there, eyes far away, in communion with Qui-Gon? She lay across the bed and waited.
“He wants to show me how to best to do this.” He sounded a bit indignant. Padmé laughed. She couldn’t help it.
“I admit,” he continued, “my experience with women, as you may have guessed, is limited.”
“I’m used to that,” she replied, still chuckling. “Anakin had no experience of any kind. I had to teach him everything. Of course, he was a quick student in all things. Are you?”
“Qui-Gon always said I was.”
“I always thought him a wise man. But then, they say love is the best incentive any student can have.” Finding him lying himself down besides her, she pounced, easily sliding his tunic off, leaving them both naked from the waist up. Again she remembered Anakin, and their wedding night, when he had lay underneath her, dazed with new sensations.
“I’m certain they didn’t mean this particular kind of-oh!” The way he bucked under her confused her for a second, because she hadn't gotten that far down yet. But then she felt a touch to her mind, a presence asking permission to enter.
Yes, she thought, and suddenly she felt herself awash with emotions which were not her own, a powerful love, and an equally powerful longing. And then a voice, Touch him. Please, let me feel him.
She arched down and kissed Ben’s ear, then whispered in it, “He’s in my head now. When I touch you, he’s touching you.”
Her hands were nothing like Qui-Gon’s, she was sure, but they raked across his chest, then over his arms and she pressed their bodies together while moving to kiss him again. Qui-Gon moved deeper in her mind, again asking permission, and she gave control over to him, letting him kiss Ben as Ben liked it, teasing his inner lips with her tongue until he groaned into her mouth.
On wishing his arms would go around her, Padmé felt Qui-Gon leave her mind, and a moment later they were there, and again she could feel his hands, flesh and blood both, yet when the right hand lifted she could again remember Anakin, and removing his leggings. Her hands traveled to his, pulled them down. She could feel the heat he was letting off through her pooled-up garments. She pressed herself down, the feeling of him rubbing against her through the crumpled cloth making her ache, reminding her of how long it had been since she’d known anything besides her own hand. She all but kicked her garments off and straddled him, and felt Qui-Gon return to her mind, wanting to feel this with her.
She was driving both men crazy, she knew, lowering herself onto him slowly. Qui-Gon let out bursts of desperate need in her head, Ben moaned aloud. Again she saw Anakin before her, heard him begging her, and she slammed herself home, hearing three sharp cries as she did so.
Again allowing Qui-Gon to guide her, she rocked herself on top of Ben, sighing as she felt his hands on her breasts. They were awkward; he wasn’t sure what to do, but there was a determination in his eyes, cutting through the haze of pleasure, and the memory of Anakin, intent so strongly on pleasing her even when seconds from coming, was so intense she had to shove herself down on his body and bury her face in his skin to muffle what was almost a scream, an outpouring of emotions mixed and tightened together until she no longer knew what was pleasure and what was pain.
A pair of hands took hold of her head and cradled it, Ben’s voice whispered her name, asked if she was all right, and from Qui-Gon came such an overwhelming tenderness that she felt the tightness in her chest, which had been there the entire night, slowly ease. You are loved, he told her, and it echoed in her head even as he left for Ben’s mind. Ben kissed his way down past his ear to her neck and down her shoulders, and his hands began moving again, this time with no uncertainty, finding places on her back which made her gasp. Again she began moving on top of him, him meeting her thrusts hard, sliding her body against his, needing to feel him, their hands and mouths and tongues caressing anywhere they could reach.
Qui-Gon returned with a He’s going to-oh, my Obi-Wan, and the intensity of his love was enough to make Padmé drive herself harder onto Ben’s body, but she forced his gaze onto his face so they both could see it contort, hear him groan deeply as he came. Oh yes, my Obi-Wan, yes. Then, Padmé, let me give you pleasure. I can stimulate your brain to make you feel like you're being touched.
At her Yes, please, she felt him move in her brain, and next thing she knew, she felt a phantom pair of hands on her neck, on her breasts, her back, moving down to where her body was still joined with Ben’s and knowing just where to touch. She writhed against Ben, pressing her mouth against his when she could no longer keep silent, feeling him probe her lips again. When his tongue moved past her into her mouth and onto the sensitive flesh of her palate, it pushed her past the edge; she shuddered through one of the most powerful orgasms she had ever experienced.
A very gentle touch of farewell and Qui-Gon was gone, Ben was lying utterly spent beneath her, and she felt about the same way he looked. She pulled the blankets over them against the night’s chill and fell asleep in his arms.
Leia woke up the next morning to the urgent shaking of her brother and his frantic whispering: “Leia! Leia! Mom’s gone!”
“What?” Leia leapt out of bed. “What do you mean she’s gone?”
“Just that. I went to wake her up, and she wasn’t there!”
“Have you told Ben yet?”
“Oh.” It seemed Luke hadn’t thought of that. “I’ll go wake him now. C’mon.”
They ran over to Ben’s alcove, anxious for his help, only to find their missing mother in the bed with him. With that mystery solved, Leia now felt the temptation to roll her eyes. She had recently become aware of certain things adults did together, and while it disturbed her to think about it for too long, she had guessed shortly after their mother had come to live with them that she and Ben were likely to do those things sooner or later.
Luke took less time to be disturbed. “What the-? Leia, they’re naked! Let’s get out of here!” He grabbed her hand and started to drag her away, but it was too late. His outburst had woken the two sleepers.
“Oh!” Their mother looked mortified. “Um, good morning, Luke, Leia.”
“Morning, mom!” Leia called back. “We’re going to the fresher; Luke has stopped brushing his teeth again, so I’ll make sure he does!”
“I thought he was long past that habit,” Ben murmured to their mother. Leia did roll her eyes this time, but made sure to do so out of Ben’s sight.
Once they were in the fresher, Luke rounded on his sister. “Leia, why the hell do you think I don’t brush my teeth? I’m thirteen!”
“Then act like it! Don’t you realize we needed to get out of the main room to give them some privacy? And why were you going to wake mom up anyway? You’re thirteen, as you said yourself; you’re perfectly capable of making your own breakfast!”
“That wasn’t why I was waking her up! I...” he trailed off.
“What?” Some sixth sense told Leia this wasn’t good.
“Nothing. Now will you leave so I can wash up? And someone needs to bring me my clothes.”
When Leia went back into the main room, to her relief both her mother and Ben were dressed and sitting at the table together. “Leia,” she started, “we, well we...”
“It’s okay,” said Leia, “I know. Just try to get up and dressed before we wake up, okay? Would you like some breakfast?”