windsorblue: (fanboys linus)

Tatooine was entirely too bright and entirely too yellow. The heat irritated her, too, but not as much as the brightness and the unpleasant yellow pallor that twin suns cast as far as the eye could see. But, Tatooine was where business got done. And she had business to be done today.

Her target - she could all but see him as soon as she parked her ship. He was - uncomfortably - like a beacon, winking at her through the Force in a persistent and obnoxious manner, like a shiny coin half-buried in the sand. She moved through the streets of Mos Eisley with purpose, her chin high, looking down her nose at everything around her. Her boots would be dusty when she got back to her ship, coated in grainy and unpleasant yellow sand.

He was inside a seedy dive that called itself a cantina. How appropriate. She walked in and didn't smile at the bartender, who didn't smile back. Tatooine was deeply unfriendly, which didn't bother her much at all, but was, as far as she was concerned, more or less directly attributable to the brightness and the yellow.

He sat alone at a table for two, staring into his drink. She rested her hands on the back of the chair he wasn't using. "Well, if it isn't Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is an odd place for a glorious hero of the Republic such as yourself to be spending his days."

He looked up at her, and he smiled. "Just waiting for my best girl, my dear Ventress," he said. He waved for her to sit and pushed a glass towards her - a pink confection of a beverage in a long, thin glass, decorated with some sort of berry floating in the foam. "I've even ordered for you."

She crooked an eyebrow and pulled out the chair. "How charming." When she sat, she pushed the pink drink back towards him, took his mug of ale in exchange, and drank a long pull. "I'm glad to see you're still such delightful company, after all you've been through."

He smiled even more, if that were possible - as bright as the unpleasant Tatooine suns. "Promise me you'll never change, my sweet, and I promise I won't, either." He took a sip of the pink foamy drink and chewed for a moment on the berry garnish. "I take it you're here to kill me, then?"

"Shockingly, no. You're actually worth more alive than dead." She ran her finger around the rim of the ale mug. "For now."

"Really?" he said. That wiped a bit of the smile off his face, anyway. "How disappointing."

"Don't fret, Obi-Wan - I'm sure someone will be paying handsomely for your carcass soon enough."

"Darling, you say the nicest things." He sat back in his chair. "So if you're not here to kill me, why have you come? Just to say hello? You shouldn't have."

She leaned forward in hers. "Not to say hello, but I do have a message for you." She reached into her belt pouch and pulled out a piece of jewelry - a Togruta Akul-tooth headdress with a string of beads symbolizing a padawan braid down the back - that she laid onto the tabletop and pushed over to him.

Obi-Wan stopped smiling. He laid a hand over it and ran his fingertip along the beaded padawan braid. "Ahsoka's…is she dead?"

"No," said Ventress. "Tempting though it was to shut her up once and for all, she too was worth more alive than dead."

"To Palpatine?"

"To a young man on Raxus by the name of Lux Bonteri. His personal fortune is much smaller now, but he seemed to think she was worth it."

Obi-Wan eased back into his seat, his face relaxing. "Ah yes - I remember him." He scooped the headdress into his hand with the tips of his fingers. "Young love to the rescue."

Ventress held out her hand, palm up. "I'm not here to make a delivery. That's a message, not a souvenir."

Eyebrows curving upward, he dropped it into her open palm. One strand caught on his fingertip. "My mistake. Who will you be delivering it to, then?"

"Who do you think?" She closed her fist around the headdress, but that one strand was still hitched over his fingertip, and he was keeping that finger curled so as to not quite let it go.

"He'll kill you," Obi-Wan said quietly. "You know that - he'll kill you if he thinks you've harmed Ahsoka."

"Which is why someone else is handling that portion of this job. I'm not a complete fool, you know." She held his gaze, unblinking. "That boy - Bonteri - he's not a fool, either. If Skywalker's former padawan is going to remain upright and above ground, then Skywalker - sorry, Vader - and Palpatine have to stop looking for her. My associate will deliver this, spin a little yarn about how he had to disintegrate her ship and this was all that was left of her. Tragic."

"Your associate? Anyone I know?"

"Why, are you jealous?"

"A bit." Obi-Wan cocked his head slightly. "Jango Fett's boy?"

She smiled a thin little smile. "He has a reputation to polish, and I have one to conceal."

"So you managed to both rescue Ahsoka and stage her demise, which means that in addition to your fee, you also collect the outstanding bounty on a Jedi refugee, essentially getting paid twice for the one job." Obi-Wan disentangled his finger from the bead strand, letting it go. "And since young Fett doesn't have your history with Anakin, he might just leave Coruscant with his head still attached to his neck." He smiled. "You've always been the clever girl, haven't you, my sweet?"

'You've no idea." She finished his ale and stood up. "Until next time, Obi-Wan."

"Oh, I look forward to it, Assaj." He stood and bowed slightly. "As long as you don't come back to kill me, that is."

She snorted out a laugh. "Alright, next time I come, it probably won't be to kill you. But the time after that, you're fair game."


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