Title: Gundark in the Room Timeframe: Sometime during the Clone Wars. Characters: Bail Organa, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala. Genre: Humor Summary: In which Anakin overreacts, Padme wishes she had married someone with a sense of subtlety, Obi-Wan pretends to be oblivious, and Bail is torn between exasperation and amusement. One of the most frustrating things about politics, in Bail Organa's opinion, was the frankly ridiculous amount of time spent talking around certain subjects. The Senate chamber was a place of elegant circumlocution, of people spending inordinate amounts of time dancing around the point they were really trying to make in order to avoid offending any of their political allies, or admitting to the less-than-admirable motives behind their opinion. Case in point: Bail had spent most of his day trying to convince various Senators that they ought to vote against the Military Funds Appropriations Act, the latest in a series of bills which - according to the Senator who had proposed it (though Bail was absolutely sure the man was only being a mouthpiece for Chancellor Palpatine) - would create a safer and more secure galaxy by allowing the Republic to increase spending on the war so that the military could be present in systems which as of yet had been left alone, and thus better defend against the Separatist threat to democracy. The one minor catch being that the credits being added to the military budget would be siphoned out of unimportant social programs like, oh, say public education and infrastructure. Bail had spoken to a number of his colleagues, all of whom had explained in great detail that they felt that the danger of the Separatist to their individual systems was more urgent than any other issue; Bail in return had politely suggested that there was absolutely no reason for peaceful systems to be overseen by the Republic military, especially at the cost of programs which actually directly benefited their constituents. And none of them had mentioned what everybody including Bail knew was the real reason why this bill had majority support: the seemingly directly proportional relationship between any given Senator's support of programs backed by the Supreme Chancellor and his or her current political influence. Bail hadn't mentioned it either, because that would only have put the person he was talking to on the defensive, but it was irritating as all hell to have to talk in circles in order to avoid mentioning what was actually being discussed. The point is, Bail Organa was no stranger to acting oblivious to a gundark in the room, but even he thought that feigning ignorance in the current situation was absolutely ridiculous. The situation in question? A dinner party, with two of his closest friends and the two's mutual closest friend. It wasn't entirely unusual for him to eat dinner with Padme Amidala and/or Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the addition of Anakin Skywalker was fairly new. The evening had been going pretty well, with only low-level awkwardness coming from the fact that he and Anakin seemed to have absolutely nothing in common to connect over. Padme and Obi-Wan both insisted that Anakin had hidden depths, but in the few times Bail had met him he hadn't noticed any redeeming features to the boy beyond his skill as a Jedi General. But tonight Anakin hadn't done anything particularly obnoxious or confrontational, and as they had begun to converse after finishing the meal, Bail had begun to accept the idea that the evening might actually be relaxing. Relaxing, that was, until Padme - who was normally pretty graceful, dammit - had gotten up to fetch some more wine, and tripped over the bottom of her dress as she returned to the table. Obi-Wan had looked over in concern. Bail, seeing that Padme was all right, had snickered a little at her misfortune. And Anakin had practically gone into hysterics and rushed over to her side. "Oh gods. Padme, are you okay? Talk to me angel, oh kriff, is that blood, stay with me, it's gonna be okay I promise-" To which Padme had hastily replied "Anakin, I'm fine. Seriously, it's just red wine, my ego's a little bruised but that's all. Ani, I'm fine, stop making a scene..." It had taken nearly a minute for Anakin to calm down and for them both to return to their seats. Which brought them to right now - all four of them sitting in awkward silence, trying to pretend that Anakin's reaction had been totally normal for a Code-following Jedi Knight with only a platonic interest in his friend (or for anyone else, for that matter. Bail loved his wife, but he was pretty sure he would never have a miniature panic attack just because she tripped). Padme and Anakin were blushing and avoiding eye contact with each other. The situation was borderline ridiculous. Bail was fully aware that Anakin and Padme were in some sort of romantic relationship - you'd have to be blind, deaf and stupid not to notice the way the two acted around each other. Obi-Wan was just as knowledgeable about the pair as he, judging by the very deliberate way he had been studying the table ever since Anakin had overreacted. What's more, Bail was almost entirely certain that Padme, at least, knew that the two of them knew. So the fact that all four of them were avoiding saying anything that even implied that there was anything more than friendship between the pair was the most futile, pointless exercise that Bail had ever taken part in. There was literally nobody to be fooled. "This food is delicious, Bail," Obi-Wan said eventually, gesturing at his plate which had been empty for a good fifteen minutes. "Thanks," Bail replied, wishing desperately that he had stuck with his original plan and invited only the Jedi Master; evenings with just himself and Obi-Wan were never anywhere near this uncomfortable. "I, uh, made it myself." Yet again, there was a long and awkward silence. "The weather's supposed to be nice tomorrow," Padme offered valiantly. Obi-Wan nodded sagely. "Yes, I heard that too." Anakin jumped up from his seat. "You know what? I just remembered that I have, um, a thing to do tonight, " he babbled. "Yeah, I told someone I would meet them and, uh, meditate. About something. A disturbance in the force. Yep, a disturbance. Oh, Padme, I'm going to go to your apartment first so that Artoo and Threepio can catch up with each other, so maybe I'll see you later. Or maybe not, because I'm not going to stay at your apartment, I'm gonna go back to the Temple for the night and meditate. Okay. Bye." He left. Bail raised an eyebrow at Obi-Wan, who pretended not to notice - unless the other man had been misleading Bail in his tales of Anakin's apprenticeship, the younger Jedi had never voluntarily meditated a day in his life. Exactly two minutes later, Padme made her excuses ("Early Senate session tomorrow, don't want to stay up too late" even though it was only eight o'clock and tomorrow's session was at exactly the same time as usual). She exited with only somewhat more grace than Anakin had, leaving Bail and Obi-Wan alone at the table. As soon as the door shut, Bail burst into laughter. He leaned forward across the table. " You should ask Anakin how his 'meditation session' went the next time you see him. I mean, I'm sure he's getting in touch with the Living Force in a very intimate way." "I have absolutely no idea what you're implying," Obi-Wan said, burying his face in his hands. "None at all." "Keep telling yourself that, my friend," Bail replied. "Another drink?" "Oh Force, yes please."