Character: The Force (AKA Narrator), which dictates: Xani, Obi, Ani, The First Padawan.
Timeline: Pre-Padme, post-Ani.
Warnings: Scary Female Persona.
There are plenty of privileges to seniority in the Jedi Temple. The senior Masters, for example, had access to texts in the library which Jocasta Nu would normally not have let anyone have without them first sacrificing a limb or three. The most senior-ranking Knights were given priority when booking for training salles. The senior padawans were allowed into certain padawan lounges where the junior padawans weren't permitted, and they were usually given more time off on their own, more leeway to do things personally, more responsibility
Xanatos hated the last clause. The padawan lounges he could stand, even if it was terribly had to sit in there and sleep all day, away from the noise of the common corridors and the madness of the shared apartment. The time off he found difficult to bear: there were so many people he could do, but so little time
to choose... The leeway to do things personally was dreadful
. How dare the Masters give him time to persue Master Aayla this way?
But the responsibility? That could go to Sith hell, for all Xanatos cared. Damn the Jedi code. Whenever Qui-Gon went off on some Council errand or teaching class when they were on plant, it alway seemed to fall on him
to look after the spawn. He took a deep breath. There are no pesky brats, there are Fellow Padawans
'Xani!' Ani wailed, running up to him. 'Obi won't let me fiddle with the thing he's experimenting on!'
A black-faced Obi-Wan stormed out of his workroom. Xanatos, 19 and ready to bear the full brunt of a 15 year old on rage, steadied himself. Obi-Wan held up a microspanner in a manner which was menacing enough to get Ani to scramble behind Xanatos' legs. 'He,' the second most senior/junior padawan growled, 'wanted to play with my lightsabre
'Oof,' Xani said, wincing in sympathy. Anakin was a genius at mechanics, he gave the boy that much, but Obi-Wan's lightsabre (or anyone's lightsabre, really) was Private Property. Anakin was on his own, there. Xanatos moved off to the kitchen unit, and Ani was exposed.
'Come here,' Obi-Wan said threateningly, advancing with the spanner. Ani's eyes widened at its approach: that was a nice spanner! How come Obi hadn't showed it to him before? That wasn't fair! Obi came closer, and suddenly Ani realised that, maybe he could complain about the spanner later. The shelter of his Master's tropical plants looked rather appealing.
'Don't kill him,' Xanatos said boredly from the kitchen, where he poured himself a drink of chai and leaned against the counter to watch. 'Master'll be furious. Just maim him, or something.'
'I'm going to do more than just maim
him, Xani,' Obi-Wan snarled. 'I'm going to masticate
Ani stopped his expedious retreat. 'What's mas-ti-cate mean, Obi? Is that something to do with Mas-ter?'
'No,' Obi-Wan intoned, and Xanatos could practically see the black flames of anger licking about his fellow sufferer. 'No, no. Ani, why don't you come here and find out?'
'Eep,' Ani said, his attunement with the Force telling him that cover was the most prudent option at that point in time. He ducked behind the couch. Obi-Wan pounced.
Obi-Wan was midair when the door swished open, the double ping of the system alerting everyone present that one of Qui's padawan had just walked in. Obi-Wan looked at Ani, who stopped cowering for a moment to look at Xani, who gave Obi-Wan a brief glance. Obi. Ani. Xani. All present. Three padawans.
As one, their combined glances swung to the door. Someone walked in.
,' Obi said under his breath. 'She's
'Obi-Wan Kenobi,' came the sudden and omnious voice. 'What are you doing to Anakin Skywalker?'
'Playing?' Obi-Wan tried, looking up guilty and hurriedly removing his hands from about Anakin's neck. The Evil loomed on them. Qui-Gon's first padawan. Hell on Coruscant, Bane of Lesser Padawans, Knight of the Long And Slow Death.
'Playing?' she breathed, as though Obi-Wan had just called her bantha poodoo. 'Why are you playing
'For fun?' Ani squeaked, knowing that the enemy of his enemy was, in this case, not his friend
. It was safer to side with Obi on this. Obi, at least, would make sure he died a good, clean and noble death. Qui-Gon's First Padawan couldn't be trusted for that. Anakin hugged Obi-Wan in a saccharine display of Padawan-Bonding. 'See?'
'No,' the Evil snarled. 'No, I do not see.'
Xanatos made himself very discreet. He was in prime position to run away; the kitchen unit was a mere few feet away from the entrance corridor, if he could just...
'Xanatos!' she screeched, her hyper-senses somehow alerting her to Xani's attempt at breaking away for freedom. 'Where do you think you are going?'
'To get you a drink?' Xani laughed nervously. She terrified the hell out of him. Whenever she visited, Xanatos had the uncanny feeling that, if he did anything to insult her, she would remove certain important bits of his anatomy as repayment. Probably using a fork. Or worse, a spoon
'Yes,' she said, breaking out into a smile which was no less nasty than her snarl. 'I'm sure you were. A cup of chai will do nicely. The way our Master likes it.'
'Two teaspoons of powdered glucose and dark?'
'Two and a half
,' she growled darkly, her eyes suddenly shadowed. 'How could you forget?' Xanatos desperately begged the Force to keep him safe, she was from the Dark Side, he knew it. He busied his hands and planted a brilliant smile on his face.
'Of course! Oh silly of me, ha-ha... I must be getting old.'
'Are you calling me ancient, Xanatos?' she asked, voice razor sharp. Xanatos swallowed thickly.
'What did you call me?'
'Um,' Xani stammered desperately. His 19 year suddenly seemed insignificant. He wanted to live longer, damn it. He jumped at the beep of one of the appliances, and almost lunged at it in relief. 'Oh, look, the water's boiling!'
The Evil was forced to redirect her intentions. She inspected the table top. 'Why,' she asked, voice dripping with rhetorical poison, 'is there dust on the tabletop?'
'Ani did it,' Obi said the exact same moment that Ani burst out: 'Obi did it!'
She paused. 'Are you lying
'No!' they both shouted, shaking their heads furiously. 'Never!'
'How dare you two be so insolent!' she snapped, stepping closer to them. They both instinctively retreated a step, almost falling on top of Qui-Gon's Nefarious Bug Eater, a gift from Master Yoda when he had last visited Dagobah a decade or so ago. The Evil advanced. 'In my day
, padawans treated their Masters properly
. There was no such thing as dust
on Qui-Gon's table! There was no such thing as the Nefarious Bug Eater being left to wilt
! There was no such thing as padawans talking back!'
Obi and Ani nodded to show their utter and complete compliance to her dictation. It was safer than making the mistake that Xani had made. Out of the corner of their eyes, they could see Xani taking deep, calming draughts of chai in an effort to calm himself. She leaned down so that they looked eye to eye.
'You are going to get the cleaner,' she said.
'We are going to get the cleaner,' they repeated. This was the one Jedi Knight in the universe who didn't need mind tricks. Her voice was enough to convince even Master Windu to shine her boots.
'You are going to clean this entire apartment,' she said.
'We are going to clean this entire apartment,' they repeated.
'There will be no dust,' she hissed.
'There will be no dust,' they chorused.
'There will be no dirt,' she scowled.
'There will be no dirt,' they assured her. She leaned back, beaming.
'Good!' Then her eyes narrowed. 'What are you standing about for?'
They legged it, glad to be away from the intensity of her glare. She turned to face Xanatos, who hurried up with a piping hot cup of chai, eager to please. Her slitted eyes looked him up and down. 'I've been hearing things about you, Xanatos,' she began.
'Nothing bad, I hope,' Xani replied. 'I want to make our Master proud.' Lies,
his conscience screamed. All lies! Everything you heard? Lies!
'They say you've harrassed Master Aayla,' the Evil continued slowly, drawing her words out as she took a long sip of chai.
'Me?' Xani said with a tone of surprise so genuine it had to be faked. 'Why? How?'
'They say you've been sleeping with anything that walks,' she went on.
'That is not true,' Xani denied feverishly. There was this nonhuman who could levitate.
'If I find that these rumours have any base,' she trailed off in warning. Xani put on his most sincere expression.
'Rest assured that you will not,' he said, mentally calculating how many credits he would be forking out to shut certain mouths and open certain others. 'My conscience is clear.'
'Very good,' she said, rising. Xanatos stood to escort her to the door. She gave him one final, piercing stare as they parted at the exit. 'Any more screw ups, Xanatos...' she threatened. Then she was gone.
Xani slumped his back against the door in relief. 'Sith,' he said, exhaling strongly. 'I need a a drink.'
Qui-Gon palmed the door and stopped short. Something was wrong. His windows were gleaming
. The dining table was free of dubious stains. The living room table was spotless and organised
. His plants looked healthy
. Xanatos was doing his homework
, and Obi was there next to him. Anakin was reading
some extract of the Code
. It was unnatural.
'Welcome home, Master!' they chorused. Happily. Eyes shining.
'Who are you three,' Qui said slowly, eyeing them, 'and what have you done to my Padawans?'
Xani's shoulders seem to slacken with a release of, apparently, great tension. He rolled his eyes in his usual way, and looked at Qui-Gon. 'Aren't you happy that we're being so obedient, Master?'
Qui-Gon heard the word "obedient" roll of Xanatos' tongue, and chuckled. 'I see,' he said in good humour. 'She visited again, didn't she?'
All three of his padawans winced at the female pronoun. Ani walked up to Qui. 'I was scared.'
Qui hugged Anakin. 'Don't worry,' the Master soothed. 'She's gone now.'
'Thank the Force for that,' Xanatos finished.