In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a bit of good cheer and unashamed insanity that deals with the real reason Jedi discourage love. ***** It was a time-honored tradition, but something that no one particularly wanted to acknowledge. Worst of all, like most time-honored traditions, it was both an embarrassment and a service opportunity. Nevertheless, every twelfth day of the second month, the Jedi could anticipate the arrival of their assignments. They were delivered quietly sometime during the night without fanfare or knowledge of who dispersed the datacards. Some of the younger ones would anticipate the event with such great trepidation that they would wait until their Masters were asleep and then keep a silent vigil beside the front door. It was said to be one of the greatest lessons that a Jedi could learn if he applied himself properly to the task at hand, but those who had experienced it knew that it usually ended in something equivalent to heartache and tears. The older group was divided in its perspective, since most held sympathy for those who were not accustomed to it, but others gloated over the inexperience of their younger compatriots and took every opportunity to make the situation worse. The assignments pleased no one, but they were normally accepted with both resignation and obedience. For the most part, that is. Obi-Wan could remember his first assignment as if he were still twelve years old. He had been chartered by the Chandrilan delegation and it was considered both an easy task and a great honor, but he had made the mistake of attempting to blot out the entire event in a most inappropriate manner. To whit, he had accepted the Chandrilan cognac that was offered every few minutes in order to 'loosen up' as his Master had counseled. He had woken up the next morning half-dressed on the streets of Coruscant, head throbbing both from the hangover and the fact that he had run into Master Yoda sometime during the night. In the four years since that debacle, he had learned both temperance and humility in facing this challenge, but it didn't make the event any easier. "Stop watching the door," Qui-Gon commanded sternly. "Sitting next to it until the break of dawn won't hasten the delivery." "No," Obi-Wan agreed gloomily, "but I'll get first crack at it, as they say." He seemed to be more eager than the previous year, which suggested that he had an ulterior motive, but it was difficult these days to find a Jedi who didn't. "You have your eye on anything in particular this year?" "Not at all," Obi-wan muttered, peering intently under the crack of the door to spy the approaching messengers. "There is nothing to be worried about," Qui-Gon soothed. "It wil be a learning experience to say the least." Obi-wan turned a reproachful glare on him. "I'm sure you'd be just as anxious as I am if you hadn't been on the short-list of the Alderaanian delegation for the last thirty years." It was true that his assignment had been almost exclusively Alderaanian since his days as a Padawan and that was one of the more enjoyable aspects of this much-anticipated fiasco. The administrative aide that he had met in his third year and who was now the senior Senator was a good friend in particular. This is ridiculous. "Padawan," Qui-gon barked, "if you don't move in three seconds, I'm going to have to assign you to minding the younglings for the next three months." Within two seconds, Obi-wan had demonstrated remarkable agility in scrambling to the other side of the room. "I'm up! I'm up!" he yelped in obvious panic. "Good," Qui-Gon said calmly. "Now, let's have a sedate, civilized..." "Delivery!" They both scrambled back across the room, snatching up the datacards and heading off in opposite directions to find an available datapad. Obi-wan's hands were trembling so hard that he was amazed that he could even find the slot for his datacard, much less activate it, but his efforts were rewarded a few moments later when the text came on-screen.