If there is one thing that Anakin has learned over the last twelve years it is that Obi-Wan has never in his life asked for or given a straight answer. He talks in codes that Anakin has been forced against his will to learn, and which Anakin suspects he learned as a tiny Baby-Wan from Master Yoda.
If he did, it would explain his total lack of engagement with Anakin’s frequent reminders that this behavior is not socially acceptable for people existing outside of the Jedi Order.
That being said, any attempt to pinpoint the origin of Obi-Wan’s habits is about as useful as licking an electric eel. Like most of the jedi, Obi-Wan doesn’t remember the era he spent being formed in a Stewjoni lake or whatever he was doing pre-delivery to the Temple. He’s got no basis for how normal people act and live and talk, and so the riddle-speak is, to him, just a skill that all good jedi cultivate.
He leans into it especially when someone has caught him doing something fucking stupid. Or lying. Or lying about doing something fucking stupid.
No amount of evidence can persuade him that he’s wrong and being an idiot once he gets a foot into the river of riddle-speak, so Anakin has learned to be quick and direct with shutting down the bullshit as soon as it rears its head. Obi-Wan always looks at him like he’s kicked his kitten when he does this, but its for the greater good, so they must continue on like this in ceaseless combat until Obi-Wan gets it through his two-inch-thick skull to just give a yes, a no, or an admittance of fault.
But then he and Ahsoka meet Knight Retasse.
AKA Obi-Wan’s padawan-brother. His big padawan-brother.
No one calls him Knight Retasse, they all just call him Feemor.
He’s taller than Anakin, blonder than Anakin. He looks like a human who’s been left in a bleach solution for too long—like cloud cover would still be too much light-exposure for him. Obi-Wan himself often reminds Anakin of the underside of a freckled starfish but this guy? He’s like a ghost among the living.
To be fair, being a ghost is sort of his job. The reason Anakin hasn’t ever met him is firstly because Obi-Wan hides everything from everyone at all hours, and secondly because Feemor is a shadow. He’s worked on the clear opposite side of the war from the rest of them. He’s been in and out of rabbit holes all over the Outer Rim, gathering and sending back intel from those who were wavering in their support for the Republic and, presumably, stomping on the toes of those who chose wrong in that endeavor.
Anakin forgives him and Obi-Wan for not introducing them on this basis, even though Ahsoka does not. Her pupils are as wide as they will go, fixated on the tiny little girl standing on the toes of Feemor’s boots, holding both of his wrists and swaying from side to side as she talks up at Obi-Wan.
She is maybe eight standard—pretty young for even a new padawan—but wearing all the right clothes.
Obi-Wan is radiating ‘I want one I want one I want one’ down at her. Anakin rolls his eyes and put a hand firmly on Ahsoka’s head.
Down girl, he wants to say.
Ahsoka and Obi-Wan radiate their feelings in the same ways these days.
Ahsoka shakes him off and tries to approach, which Anakin stops with a better grip on the back of her tunic. She twists around to show him her teeth.
“Her name is Mimona,” Feemor says to Obi-Wan.
“It is nice to finally meet you, Mimi,” Obi-Wan says.
“I met you before,” Mimi tells him, releasing Feemor’s wrists to sign as she talks.
“Did you?” Obi-Wan asks, joining her in the signing.
She nods emphatically.
“I wonder how that could be,” Obi-Wan says out loud.
“You’re in Master’s holo—little though.”
“And you recognized me?”
“You’ve got spots.”
Obi-Wan smiles. Anakin rolls his eyes harder.
“Would you know me if it weren’t for the spots?” he asks.
“Would you know me?” Mimi asks him back.
The old man is delighted out of his mind.
“Are you busy?” he asks Feemor. “I’ve got things at home. We could have tea.”
“I’m afraid that we are missing a shoe race,” Feemor says.
“Oh, my apologies for keeping you,” Obi-Wan says.
Mimi’s eyes expand in an instant.
“I won,” she announces.
Both Obi-Wan and Feemor look down to her.
“Did you?” Feemor asks in his strange bouncing accent.
Mimi stares at him.
“Yes,” she says.
“When did you win?”
“When you weren’t looking.”
“Fascinating in how winning would involve those very articles you’re wearing now being at home and at peace by the door.”
Mimi whips her face from him to Obi-Wan.
“Master is upset about shoes,” she says.
“Master is not upset,” Feemor corrects. “Master is correct.”
Obi-Wan blazes right past him to continue talking to Mimi like she is the true authority on this bullshit.
“Why is there controversy about shoes?” he asks.
“Because—because they live in different places sometimes,” Mimi explains. “Like in walls.”
“Oh my. In all walls?”
“No. Just caves. But little ones live under beds.”
“I could see that,” Obi-Wan says.
“Counterpoint,” Feemor interrupts. “If little shoes lived under beds, then should they not learn from the larger ones to stay by the door? Is that not their eventual station?”
“Also a good point,” Obi-Wan says.
“No,” Mimi insists. “They’re too little. They’re scared. Of being eaten.”
“By the bigger shoes?” Feemor asks.
“We can never fully dismiss cannibalism,” Obi-Wan says seriously.
Anakin can feel his whole brain glazing over and Ahsoka’s interest wilting into confusion next to him.
“What’re they even talking about?” she asks.
“They’re using parables to get her to leave her shoes by the door and she’s using parables to argue back,” Anakin says.
You know, it wasn’t a question he’d asked before when Obi-Wan did it to him, but now he’s starting to get the feeling that it’s not just an Obi-Wan thing, but a whole lineage thing.
Minus Anakin and ‘Soka, of course.
“I think maybe their master did this to them,” he decides.
“Someone should have arrested him.”
Oh, Anakin is positive that many, many people once tried.
“Anakin, Ahsoka, are you available for tea?”
Anakin looks up and sees that Obi-Wan has gotten his claws into that poor kid. She’s wrapped around his waist, holding on for dear life as Feemor raises one thick, pale eyebrow down at her.
“No,” Ahsoka says.
“Yeah, why not?” Anakin says over her.
Mimi is eight and a half standard and was originally found by Feemor himself. She’s been chasing him through the Order’s hallways since she was 2. They are such a strong match that the council found it fitting and acceptable to release her into an apprenticeship a little early.
Obi-Wan looks like he wants to steal her; Feemor flagrantly ignores this as though doing so will build a forcefield around her. He helps Mimi pour the tea for the elders (himself) first.
Ahsoka goes stiff when Mimi pours her tea.
“You don’t have to do that,” she whispers. “We’re equals.”
Mimi pours her more tea. Feemor intervenes just before the liquid conquers the lip of Ahsoka’s glass.
“You’re doing amazing, sweetie,” he says, dragging Mimi into his lap and handing her the teacup that Obi-Wan poured for her from a separate, much smaller pot.
She’s enraptured; it takes Anakin a few moments to realize that she hasn’t seen the other pot. She thinks it has come out of the main one after all the white tea finished pouring.
“We should do a lineage dinner,” Feemor says to Obi-Wan. “Haven’t had one since you joined us.”
“It feels inappropriate, no?” Obi-Wan asks.
“We can prop up his corpse.”
“He has no corpse.”
“We’ll prop up an effigy. He won’t know the difference.”
Mimi shows Ahsoka her tea. Ahsoka gestures for her to be quiet while the old guys talk.
“I’m not sure,” Obi-Wan says. “After the war, it’s all so...gruesome.”
“Look,” Feemor says, “There are no benefits to being in this line if there is not at least a meal to get out of it. Have we not suffered enough? Master would serve cake after a tragedy, we both know this. Something sweet to remind us of hope.”
“Master wouldn’t serve cake,” Obi-Wan says firmly.
“What would you know?” he says.
“He’d have given us each an apple and told us to take a bath before bed.”
“The point remains. He was not a wise man in many things, Obi-Wan, we must take what little wisdom we can glean from those years spent in a hell of his making.”
“I disagree,” Obi-Wan says, “I believe Master was a very wise man.”
Feemor blinks for precisely as long as it takes for a cup of caf to finish brewing.
“He was,” Obi-Wan insists.
“He was more incorrigible than he ever was with you, Obi-Wan. You should be the one we are propping up for the memory. My master told me on Day One that I was to do nothing that he did and to take everything he said to do with the knowledge that he almost positively did hallucinogens the day before or after the conversation.”
Anakin needs something to hold onto so he takes a giant, burning hot gulp of tea.
“I think, perhaps, that he’d mellowed out by the time he got to me,” Obi-Wan says with dignity.
“A shame,” Feemor says. “He cut his hair with you, too.”
“You say this like I made him do it,” Obi-Wan says.
“The records have been lost to time.”
“I didn’t make him cut his hair, I made him tear it out. There’s a difference and it’s vital.”
“He didn’t cut his hair with Xanatos.”
“I cut my hair with Xanatos. Little monster tried to grab it in wrestling.”
Ahsoka gapes at Anakin. He has nothing to help her here. He can only grimace back.
The before-times sound...rough.
“Were you not around at the time that Master found Xanatos?” Obi-Wan asks.
Feemor’s eyes narrow.
“I’m not that old,” he says.
Obi-Wan sips his tea.
“Brat,” Feemor says.
Obi-Wan sips again.
“Fine. For that, I will host. But you must attend, or I’ll drag you from your apple-bath.”
“I’ll consider it,” Obi-Wan says.
“There is no considering, I’m simply giving you a forecast of future events,” Feemor says.
“Oh, you have visions now, do you?”
“I do. I’m having one right now.”
“You’re very funny,” Obi-Wan says without laughing.
“Sometimes,” Mimi pipes up.
Ahsoka hides her face in her hands in second-hand embarrassment.
“Do you think so?” Obi-Wan asks.
“Very funny,” Mimi says, tipping her head back to smile at Feemor. “’Specially about shoes.”
“You little shit,” Feemor says.
Mimi bursts into giggles that she muffles in his elbow. Obi-Wan’s brow becomes mournful.
“I want one,” he tells Feemor sharply.
“You have one. Look at him.”
“Not that one. I’m done with that one. Anakin, you’re dismissed.”
Anakin salutes and starts to stand. The force drags him downwards.
“I want a new one,” Obi-Wan continues. “Small. Trusting.”
“So you can teach them how to bite unprovoked? No. You had your chance,” Feemor says. “They shouldn’t have given you one from the start. Look at Ani. Irreparably damaged because of your nonsense. Imagine what Master would have done.”
“Spoiled him,” Obi-Wan deadpans.
“Take more time between apprentices. You have not had your apartment to yourself for more than half a year of peacetime.”
Obi-Wan pouts by putting biscuits that Ahsoka can’t digest on her plate.
“Perhaps, I will,” he says.
“Good,” Feemor says. “I’m thinking the 17th.”
“I’m busy on the 17th.”
“Fine, make it the 19th. It’s Xanatos’s birthday, we can light a doll on fire for him.”
“A candle then.”
Obi-Wan cannot refuse this offer anymore. Nor can he fit any more biscuits on Ahsoka’s plate. He moves on to leaning across her to pile them onto Anakin’s.
“A candle feels appropriate. I’ll bring master’s favorite loaf.”
“Good, we’ll need to set the smoke detector off somehow. The candle won’t be enough.”
“More tea, dear?”
Anakin stares at Obi-Wan’s placid expression with as much exasperation as he can muster. It does not change, and nor does Obi-Wan. Ever.
“Yeah, okay,” he says. “More tea.”