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Afternoon Fic: The Dragon General (Part 25 + After Credit Scene)

Afternoon Fic: The Dragon General (Part 25 + After Credit Scene)


WHAT!?  There’s an Afternoon FIC!!

Yep! Finally it’s finished!! *shifty look* What?

Yes there is a sequel planned.

Obi-Wan sat on the bench, in the now official ‘Dragon Room’ enjoying the peace and quiet.  He was thankful for the calm, it had been hard fought for, and desperately needed. 

“What are you thinking about?”  Kote asked from his place next to his Mate.  “You’ve been meditating for over an hour.”

“Just thinking about how we got here.”  Obi-Wan smiled over at him, then leaned sideways to rest against him.  “I was wondering what was worse: the battle with Papaltine or the one with the Senate.”

“I’m pretty sure the Guard has been having way too much fun reminding particular Senators that their vote counts, and how it would be in their best interest to vote Yes for Citizenship and Rights for Clones and Dragons.”  

Kote was so proud of Fox.  

The amount of audio and video recordings was astounding.  It said a lot that they got most of their material just walking the halls because most of the Senators didn’t acknowledge their presence or treat them as humans.

“I’m sure Quinlan and Anakin’s antics aren’t helping.”  Seeing the two work together had almost sent him straight to the Mind Healers.  Those two were never meant to find a common ground, Obi-Wan had spent most of Anakin’s Apprenticeship making sure they didn’t, the chaos one brought was bad enough, with both … well he was glad he didn’t have to deal with it. 

“I think for the first time in history, Fox is enjoying watching General Vos and Skywalker’s antics.”  Kote wrapped his arm around his Mate, holding him close.  “Senator Drago has been suddenly called back to his home planet.  It would seem that his proud acknowledgement of Dragon Hunting got his family into a lot of trouble with the local government.  The Prime Minister was horrified at the announcement and wanted to ensure the Republic that his people believed in the rights for all.”  

Obi-Wan snorted softly.  “The Berk people have an old history with Dragons, in the time of the Sith and Jedi war, they were Hunters.  Good ones.  Most of the Dragons lost during that time were because of them.  It was known never to go into that sector.  Then one day, Master Jinn and I were sent to their planet for the Coronation of the King.   They have a dual system, a Monarchy with a Democratic Senate and Prime Minister that is elected.”

“The Council sent a Dragon to a known Dragon Hunting planet?”  Kote tensed, he was going to have word with the Council.  

It wasn’t just the Senate that was going through some growing pains but also the Council.  The Council had declared the clones protected citizens under the Jedi Order, and at the moment those who were not on a Mission, either humanitarian or clean up from some Seppie hold outs, were finding a place in the Temple.  

After Mace had come clean about the fact Ponds was truly his Mate, he had been working more with his vod on how to handle the Dragons, and now the Council.   They had both become adjunct members to give an outsider point of view, to help the Jedi not get so wrapped up within their own institution that they miss problems, like Sith Lords.

“You don’t need to yell at the Council.”  Obi-Wan gave his Mate a knowing side-eye.  “It was a few years after Melida/Daan, it was likely more of a test for Qui-Gon than me.”  He shrugged lightly, remembering his old Master fretting the entire trip there, making sure Obi-Wan knew not to talk about Dragons, hint about Dragons, say the word Dragon.  “Ironically, during the mission, I was following a suspect and ended up coming across a Dragon.  The two of us stared at each other for a few moments, then he transformed back into human form, and it was the King’s son.   We’re still friends to this day, ironically it is one of the places I can hide for a few days as a Dragon.”

“Did the senator know about you?”  Kote was wondering if he should send Waxer and Boil out for a Hunt, those were the two leading up the new ‘Dragon Protection Unit’.

“Not likely, as he kept that little fact hidden from those who voted him into the position.”  Obi-Wan gave him a half smile.  “The King called me personally to make sure I was safe, and offered sanctuary if the Jedi Council or Senate did anything stupid.  Then assured that Senator Drogo was being called back, to answer some very personal questions.”

Kote pulled out a datapad and wrote down some notes, and sent them onto Ponds.  He was compiling a list of planets that harbor Dragons and have colonies on them, and those that are hostile to Dragons.  Fox gleefully was sending information to both of them, overloading their comms, of information he found lurking even deeper in the former Chancellor’s records.  

Skywalker’s not subtle questions about Dragons had led Palpatine to discover that Kenobi was one, and had put a bounty on the General’s head, hinting to certain Hunters that he was a Dragon.  Kote had wondered if he could raise the bastard from the dead just to kill him again.  

Ponds made Chancellor shaped targets.

Fox cackled, stealing a few hundred for his men.

Kote grinned wickedly, then exhausted himself on the firing range.

Ponds informed him that Mace had taken a few to the Dragon Room, transformed, and destroyed them with a child like glee.  

“How are you handling the whole Dragon situation?”  Kote asked his vod.

“I was, am, pissed he didn’t tell me sooner.”  Ponds stood from his seat, and stalked to the kitchen.  “He had years to tell me, and I had to find out in the middle of battle. Not just any battle, but one where he was taking on a Sith Dragon!”  There was some banging, then cursing until he came back with a bottle of Correllian Brandy and some expensive chocolates.  “Have some.  Bastard deserves to have his stash raided.”

Kote had tasted Correllian Brandy, Obi-Wan always had a bottle stashed.  He tapped into it mostly after dealing with Senators, but he had never tried the sweets.  

“I was annoyed that he hadn’t told me, but understood their need to wait for us to find ourselves.”  Ponds slumped into the chair with a heavy sigh.  “Then he told me that he pulled further back when I was almost killed by those Bounty Hunters, you know the ones who were using Boba.  He could barely look me in the face when he told me how close he came to going dark to save me, it was terrifying and humbling.   It was that moment I understood how far the Dragon would go to protect their Mate, and I’m not ashamed to admit we both ended up on the floor crying.”

Kote moved to sit next to his vod. “It’s scary as hell being connected to not just the Jetii but these powerful creatures.”

“How do we do this, Kote?” Ponds looked at him like a wide eyed cadet.  “How do we protect them?  How do we make sure they don’t destroy a planet because someone tries to hurt us?”

“We remind them they are Jetii.”  He took a deep breath focusing his thoughts.  He had wondered the same thing, after watching the General plow through the Seppies Army.  “And we stay by their side, as their equals, and we take out any demagolka that wants to hunt our Mates.”

Ponds laid his head on his ori’vode’s shoulder.  “I’m so glad you’re in this mess with me.  Mace explained now that we’re Mated, that death is the only thing that will seperate us and Dragons have such long lives.  No one knows for sure how old Yoda is!  I couldn’t do this alone.”

Kote pulled him close, holding his brother tightly.  He hadn’t wanted to think about losing his vode, that at one point he would be the last one standing.   Now he would have at least one vod with him, it was still going to hurt to be the only ones left, but at least they wouldn’t be alone.  

“I love our vode.”  He closed his eyes to hold back his own tears.  They got through a war he hadn’t expected to live through.  He didn’t want to think about a time when he would lose Rex.  “I’ll do anything to protect them, but what I feel for Obi-Wan, what I’ll do for him…”

Ponds sat back up and wiped away his own tears.  “I never thought I would feel such a strong connection to someone who wasn’t a vod.   The Dragon is beautiful, deadly, playful, pain in the shebs, and overwhelming.  You and me, Kote, we’re in this for the long haul.”

“It’s like we joined some club.”  He laughed light, then reached for the glasses and handed one to Ponds.  “Dragon Mate’s Club.”

Ponds laughed, then downed the drink.  “I was thinking of repainting my armour.  Kinda like yours but with more purple.”

“I think Windu would uncharacteristically lose his composure in public.”   The two laughed, then spent the next few hours complaining and planning how to deal with Dragons who don’t play enough and all to self-sacrificing.

“Ponds made Chancellor shape targets…”  He chuckled at the wicked smile that suddenly appeared.  “General Windu, from what I’ve heard, had fun tearing them to shreds.”

Obi-Wan stripped out of his clothes in record time, and was in full Tooka mode before Kote could admire all the bare skin.  “Give them to me!!”

He unashamedly recorded the Tooka shredding the targets with his claws then throwing them in the air, like confetti, as he pounced on them when they landed back on the ground.

***

“Excuse me?”  Kote stared at Block for at least a few seconds.  

“It would seem that when the clones were purchased it came with all the gear.”  He still wasn’t exactly sure how the Kaminos had ordered all the ships plus the equipment and no one noticed.  But then the financials that Count Dooku had provided answered some of those questions.  

Grand Admiral Jacen sat down behind his new desk, as he was now officially the highest ranking officer in the GAR.  

He had sent a nasty message to General Kenobi for orchestrating that particular promotion.  The Jedi, sent back a case of high end Corellian Whiskey, and a lifetime of Season Tickets to the theatre.  Stage had messaged him a few days ago, to let him know he had his first acting gig.  Garrett mysteriously picked up Season Tickets and was becoming a theatre fan.  “As in theory the Jedi paid for the clones, they get all the gear.   Since the vod … is that okay for me to call you that?”

Kote took a seat across from him in shock.  “It’s better than what we’ve been called by a variety of Senators and news sources.”

Jacen bit back the growl.  “Congrats on your citizenship and rights.  Which is a sad thing for me to say, but I hope you understand the intention behind it.”

“You have always been kind to us.”  He gave him a small smile.  “And thank you.  It said a lot about the Senate that they were ready to give us Citizenship, yet deny it to the Dragons.”

Block had stood in the Senate building watching in horror as the Senators debated to allow the Clones their rights, but the Dragons should still be considered a threat.   He had glanced at his new second, Admiral Wullf Yularen. “They do realize the Clones will just take over.” 

Wullf had shaken his head in disgust.  “I heard that Commander Cody has set up a Dragon Protection Squad.  At the moment it’s a mix of 212th, 501st, and 91st.  All of them are crazy, and have they met Skywalker? I’ve worked with the Jedi for years and he’s not sane.  And he is protective of his Master.”

“During the first year of the war, I accepted the fact that if anything was to go wrong.  The 212th would mutiny and take over the Negotiator, likely to protect General Kenobi.  I’m going with the theory that these idiots have no idea the hell they are about to unleash.”

“Oh I think they are going to learn.”  Wullf nodded towards the main entrances into the Senate arena, all of them were filled with Clones, fully armed.   Their armour was painted in a variety of colors, not just 212th Gold or 501st Blue, but he could see signs of the Wolffe pack, elements of the 91st, and the Croscuont Red mixed in.

The Senatorial Pod for Naboo moved to the center of the arena, with Commander Cody, flanked once again with Captain Rex and Commander Fox.  “Chancellor Mon Mothma.”

“Commander.”  She kept her calm, having noticed the situation instantly.  If she didn’t tread lightly, her hope for a peaceful solution was going to go up in flames, literally.  

“I wish to address the Senate.”  His bucket tucked under the arm.  The armour was clean, polished, the painted Dragon clear to everyone. 

“You have the floor.”  She waved her hand out towards the full Senate.   

“Senators.”  

It was a voice Block recognized instantly, the one that could always be heard across battlefields.  The one everyone listened to, not even his men ignored it during those few times they were in the middle of the battle with the clones.  He glanced out towards the Senators, noticing that a few were paying attention, while others were noticing the new guards. 

“The last time I addressed this cesspool of corruption.  I gave a warning.  The Vod would protect the Jedi and Dragons.”   He paused, giving everyone enough time to realize he was armed, and deadly serious.  “If this Senate declares the Dragons to be hunted, we will have no choice but to do everything in our power to protect them.”

“You can’t do that.”  One yelled, followed by others.

Kote snorted.  “I already have.”  And without further ado, he moved the Pod back to its original section, put on his bucket, stalked out, and didn’t look back.  

The guards stayed at their posts, as the Chancellor called for a vote.

“Well at least they came to their senses.”  Kote gave him a knowing look.  

What the Admiral didn’t know about was the data stream that went out to more than one Senator from Commander Fox.  A simple note stating certain information would be available on the main holo-net within seconds after the vote, reminding them how much their vote mattered.

Yet, even then it was barely a majority.  

He knew they were going to have to put extra guards on the Dragons, his Mate was going to hate every moment of it, but there was no way he was going to let some wannabe Hunter touch his ridduur.  

Boil and Waxer had touched down on Stewjon, working with the government and heads of the Dragon Clans.   Both had been adopted into Clan Kenobi, and last he heard they were actually working with Dooku, who was working with Jetii Archivist Nu on cataloging all the information Serrano had on Dragons and documenting their history.

Gree had informed him that Yoda was planning on heading back to Dagobah for a few years, to stay in Dragon form.  Finally take the time to heal from his loss.  He was setting up a group of men to rotate through the planet, to watch over the large Dragon.   The planet was one large swamp, and would be good training grounds for shinies.  His fellow Commander was slightly too giddy about living on the planet which had an abundance of species to study.

“As I was saying, the ships, weapons, equipment all belong to the Jedi and Clones.  As the highest ranking officer of the GAR, I would like to negotiate to have at least a few of them left for us to use.  Plus I’m authorized, well I actually wrote up the budget and had Senator Ryo put it through the Senate to get the Clones back pay, but I wanted to offer any of the vod opportunities to stay in the GAR, accepting their rank and position.”  He took a deep breath.  “I wanted to talk to you first, because we all know they will follow your lead.”

Kote read over the databad Block had handed over, and was impressed with the conditions for employment, plus pay.  There were many of the vod who would be interested in staying, though not all wanted anything more to do with war, they were still soldiers.  “I’ll talk this over with a few of the vod, and then we can set up a system for those who do want to stay.”

“I would also ask that you recommend who would be good as a Marshal Commander, as I am fairly confident you’ll be retiring from the GAR.”  He slid another datapad across the desk.  “I personally wrote these up, and took on at least three Senators to make sure this was approved.”  Leaning back in his seat, he couldn’t help the self satisfied grin. “I made sure they understood I had no problem bringing in Skywalker, Commander Fox, or General Kenobi.”

Kote stared at the terms and more importantly the figure.  

“Compensation pay, with hazard pay.  Plus retirement benefits.”  Block smiled brightly.  “Honestly, you deserve more as I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your skill set, but it was what I could get.”

He counted the digits, calculating in his head the pay rate, and whistled low.  “This is a pleasant surprise, maybe I can take Obi-Wan to dinner now.”  

“I heard there is a great tea shop a few levels down.”   Jacen chuckled, giving him a wink.  “I also would like to personally hand over the Negotiator to you, it’s been decommissioned from the GAR, which technically means stripped of it’s cargo and weapons.  It would seem I misplaced some paperwork, specifically the orders to strip the starship.  This job has been stressful and they still haven’t got me a secretary so you know how things slip through the cracks.”

Kote chuckled lightly.  “I’m going to guess there’s a few starships with the same lost paperwork?”

Jacen slid another datapad over to the Commander.  “These are the ones that will be retired, and handed over to their former Generals and Commanders.   The second list is smaller ships that are in the process of being transferred to the Jedi, how they get used or distributed is up to them.  The third list is the ships the GAR will be keeping in commission, as they were built after the war started and property of the GAR.”

Kote noticed the older Destroyers were on the first list, a lot of the smaller exploration ships were on the 2nd, and the larger Super Destroyers were on the last.  It was more than anyone would have even hoped for, considering none of them had actually contemplated the ships and weapons.   A quick scan had him noticing that armour, and weapons already distributed would be staying with the clones, and the last thing on the datapad was an early proposition to set up a training facility, a list of vod as possible trainers.   

“I would’ve asked you about training, but I figured you will be focused fully on the Dragon issue.  Most of the Commanders actually turned me down, retiring to work with their Jedi or at the Temple.  It was Master Ti that suggested Alpha-17, I wanted to run that by you.”

“He’s an asshole but will be fair to any shinies who sign up.”  Kote wasn’t surprised the Commanders turned it down.  

Wolffe had set up a protection squad for the Jetii that were going back out into the field for diplomatic and humanitarian missions.  Bly wasn’t shy about working hand in hand with General Ayla, and she wasn’t hiding their relationship.   Vos was so proud of his Padawan for bucking the system.  Fox had even handed over the Guard to Stone who had cried, asking what he had ever done to deserve his brother’s hatred.  Fox then took over as the Head of Security for the Temple, a position that didn’t actually exist, but that hadn’t stopped him.  

‘Kote I know what these people really think of the Jetii and us, they need guards.  Why do you think I convinced Wolffe to set up his new protection squad, the same reason you set up the Dragon one.  This place needs to be protected, the people in it, and if there was one thing that came out of this nightmare, I’m really good at paperwork, and stabbing politicians in the back.’

He wanted to ask if his new post had anything to do with Quinlan Vos, but decided not to find out how good his brother was at stabbing.

“Admiral.”  Kote stood up and held out his hand.  “I thank you for the work you’ve been doing, despite the pain it must be.  If you ever need help, you have my comm.”

“It’s been a pleasure Commander.”

“Kote.”  He gave him a small smile.

“Then it’s just Jacen.”  He gripped Kote’s arm, and gave him a quick bow.  Maybe, just maybe now that the war was over, they all could move on, find some peace, get some sleep, and make the universe a better place.  

And find new friendships along the way.

***

“Has anyone seen Obi-Wan?”  Mace stalked into the clones section of the Temple.  

The Jedi had lost more than they wanted to admit, and there were too many empty areas.  It had been Ponds idea to let the vod who wanted to work within the Temple to build their own area.   The clones would feel more comfortable being with their brothers, yet allowing them to have their own individual space, to decorate and use for their needs, that wasn’t some sterile grey or white room.   

The Council agreed, and handed over the west end of the Temple.   It was still a work in progress, but so far they had built common rooms, a mess hall letting a few of the clones who discovered cooking, to unleash their creativity.   Plus there were individual rooms, doubles, and larger sleeping areas.  

He stepped into the common room, which was open to the Temple, only a few had access to the private sections.  His focus landed on members of the 212th.  “I’ve commed him, and he’s either buried under some datapads or ignoring me.”

“Sir.”  Wooley gave him a quick wave.  “The Commander brought home some new tea last night…”

“Kriffin’ Dragon instincts.”  Muttering as he turned and stalked towards his fellow Jedi’s room.  He didn’t care what they were doing, he had a crisis and Obi-Wan needed to fix it.  

A few moments later, he overrode the security and stepped into the room.  “I really don’t care if you’re naked!  I’ve raised your scaly tooka shebs, and Mated to Ponds so it’s not like I haven’t seen it before.”  He stood in the bedroom door, one eyebrow somewhere above his non-existent hairline.  “So not all clones are created equal.”

Obi-Wan tossed the blankets to cover his Mate, while he climbed out of the bed gave Mace a rude gesture and headed for the washroom.  Kote gave him a death glare, then tossed the blankets aside, got out of the bed, put on a pair of pants, and strolled out to the kitchen.  

“Would you like some caf?”  The tone was friendly, yet dripped with disdain.

Mace was pretty sure the only thing keeping him alive was his connection to Ponds.  “Sure, make it strong. It’s been a morning.”  He ended up choking down an extra strong caf that made his eyes water slightly.  “I heard you’ve officially retired.”

“From the GAR, yes.”  He gave General Windu credit for at least taking two sips before putting the cup down.  He figured that was enough punishment and fixed a second, one less strained in used motor oil.  “I’ll be working with my fellow Commanders on shoring up security at the Temple, plus implementing protection for Jedi and the Dragons.”

“I thank you for that.” Mace gave him a nod, taking the fresh cup, this time savoring the caf.  “Knowing for the first time that our species will be recognized as more than a bowl of soup, is a relief.  I know it won’t stop the hunting and many planets will likely enact laws to forbid Dragons, but it’s a start.  And I know it was your persuasive speech to the Senate, and Fox’s impressive blackmail skills that changed that vote.”

“I learned from the best.”  He smiled over at his Mate who stalked into the kitchen straight to the freshly brewed tea that Kote had brought home the night before.  He handed over the hot drink, ignoring the noises Obi-Wan was making.  “So the reason you barged in here?”

He took a few more sips, then set the cup on the counter.  “Despites Wolffe’s new security set up, and I’m still not sure how Fox became Head of Temple Security or found himself an office, we have two guests waiting in the main hall of the Temple.   They refused to budge until they spoke with General Dragon Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Kote’s eyes narrowed, then looked at his Mate.  “You will not leave these quarters until I give the all clear.”  He stormed out of the kitchen, yanked his comm to get answers.  “Fox, who the kriff is at the front entrance?”

‘Hell if I know, but he won’t leave.  Kote, he is not afraid of the vode.  He actually has been respectful, and thanked us for our service.  At the moment he’s having a lovely conversation with Ahsoka and Master Koon about art of all things.  Wolffe isn’t growling so we’re not at defcon 2 yet.’

“We’ll be down in ten.”  He headed for their room, having no problem pulling on his armour, and making sure his weapons were visible.  Now that he wasn’t part of the GAR he was wondering if he should find himself a new set of armour, but wasn’t sure if he had the right to wear Mandolrian beskar.   

Obi-Wan sipped his tea, and gave Mace a contemplative look.  “Want to fill me in.”

“He’s Chiss,” Mace stated.

“He’s far away from home.”  Kenobi set his tea down, arms crossed over his chest hand automatically stroking his beard.  “Why would he come to The Core?”

“Considering he called you ‘Dragon General’, I’m going to guess it has something to do with the big giant ‘Lizard Death Match’.   I was on my way to talk to him, when Ponds blocked any attempts and pushed me to come find you.  I’m sure Gree has already been notified, and has extra protection on Yoda.”

“Chiss are past Wild Space, and into the Unknown Regions, a place not to travel lightly, plus they have a very insular family based society.  Considering they have the same reputation as Dragons, I could understand why one would reach out.”  

When he stepped out of the kitchen, he wasn’t surprised to see Kote in his armour, only missing the helmet.  There was something about seeing him in the armour with the painted Dragon.  Kote gave him a smirk, knowing full well what his Mate was thinking.  He handed Obi-Wan his lightsaber and robe.  “I won’t hesitate if this person becomes a threat.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less, darling.”  

By the time they reached the front of the Temple, Obi-Wan wasn’t surprised to see Anakin along with Rex, Fives, and Echo standing off to the side trying to be intimidating.  

Always fascinated with cultures, Obi-Wan had read what he could about the Chiss, especially after hearing some of the tales from Wild Space.   As a Dragon he knew not to believe in the lores and myths, but the little he was able to learn had fascinated him.  At one time he contemplated reaching out to the Chiss Ascendancy, as some of the rumors he had heard were about their connection to the Force.   Then Naboo happened, he had Anakin to raise, and well the rest they say was history or it will be written into the next set of legends and lore.  

The one thing it seemed the stories had right, was their appearance.  The blue skin, with dark hair was very striking, add in the red eyes, he could see how the Chiss became the Wild Space boogeyman.  This particular one must have some form of military training, as his outfit looked to be a uniform of sorts, plus there was a certain way military men stood.  Despite his attention on Plo Koon, he was taking in everything around him. 

No one had mentioned the darker skinned human who stood by his side, his outfit and mannerisms indicated that he was likely from Wild Space.  He seemed anxious, but not for himself, the way he positioned himself next to the Chiss – it was a protective stance.   His hand rested casually on the weapon on his hip, and though focused on the conversation near him, his gaze hadn’t left the clones in the area.

He had seen Kote and Ponds take the same stance, when they were in protective mode.

“Hello there.”  Obi-Wan ignored Mace’s eyeroll.  “I’m Obi-Wan Kenobi, you wished to speak to me.”

The Chiss turned towards him, giving a small bow along with a nod of his head.  “Thank you for taking the time to see me.  I appreciate the show of trust.”  He glanced at Kote, who kept his hand on his DC, and didn’t care if anyone was offended.  “My name is Mitth’raw’nuroudo, you may call me Thrawn.”  He gestured to his companion.  “My companion Eli Vanto.”

“It is a pleasure.”  Obi-Wan gave them both a small bow.  “We do not see many Chiss this far into the Core, actually I don’t think there has been a Chiss this far inward in a very long time.”

“No, but circumstances led us to reach out.”  Thrawn stood at attention, hands behind his back.

“I think you mean, you decided, and then bullied everyone until they saw reason.”  Eli had a small smile on his face, giving Thrawn an all knowing look.

“There are times that persuasion is needed, especially if we are to make new allies.”  

There was no doubt in Obi-Wan’s mind this was a pair who were used to sniping at each other.  Either the closest of friends, or something more.  “All is welcome, I suggest we head inside where there is a bit more privacy.”

“That would be acceptable.”  Thrawn stepped next to Obi-Wan as he led him further into the Temple, the two discussing the variety of art and architecture of the building.   Thrawn was fascinated by the different styles, as there didn’t seem to be one, something he would’ve expected with the Jedi as a type of religious order.

“Does your people only have one style?”  Obi-Wan asked. 

“No, art has a tendency to change with each family.”  Thrawn smiled slightly.  “There is much we could learn, especially considering the tales we hear.  I’m sure many are rumors, myths, and exaggerations.  Is it true you sat and had tea with a known enemy?”

“Yes, and that was early in the war.  We won’t mention flirting as an offensive maneuver.”  Kote answered, giving his Mate a slight glare.  

Obi-Wan side-eyed the Commander, getting a snort from Eli.    

Thrawn smiled slightly, “I learned that you are from Stewjon, I have not had the pleasure of learning about their culture.  It would be an honor to learn more, especially as you are an revered General.” 

“I’m a Jedi first, though from Stewjon, I was raised in the Temple.  I’ve only recently started to learn more about my own family and history.”   

The two fell into easy conversation, discussion moving between art, philosophy, history, and many other subjects.   Obi-Wan led them into the Dragon room, waving a hand towards the open yet secured area.  “This is the safest place in the Temple.”  

There were always at least two clone troopers standing guard, at the moment it was soldiers from the 91st.  Eli gave the clones a once over, then checked out the room, looking for potential threats and exit strategies.  

“Is there a reason you brought me down here?”  Thrawn asked while taking in the area, noticing the luxurious open space.  The ceiling was over ten stories high, there was a beautiful waterfall falling from the ceiling into a larger lake, just big enough for a water Dragon to play in.   The green covering of moss and grass was thick and likely very soft on paws.   It was a hidden oasis for a Dragon to rest, relax, and have room to stretch.

“Considering you requested General Dragon Kenobi, I figured you were more interested in talking to my more scalier self, than the Jedi.”  He slid off his robe, placed it on the bench, then proceeded to take off his shoes and belt.  Kote took the lightsaber clipped to his belt, and gave his Mate a look.  He was not going to handle him stripping down to nothing in front of strangers!

Obi-Wan chuckled lightly, at his antics, only stripping down to his inner tunics.  

Eli barely flinched when there was a red Dragon sitting in front of them.  Kenobi was bigger than he thought, but then he had only seen a small holo and the other three Dragons were huge in comparison.  

“Fascinating.”  Thrawn held out his hand, smiling softly when the snout landed into his palm.  “Interesting mixture of species, yet very effective.”

Eli sighed when Thrawn stripped fully naked, not caring that he had an audience.  He picked up the discarded boots and clothes, setting them on the bench.   He glanced over to the Marshal Commander, they both rolled their eyes at the antics.  “I gave up being possessive over others seeing him naked, it just doesn’t phase Chiss, well it does, but Thrawn enjoys tormenting everyone.”

“Obi-Wan has too many of my fellow vod lusting after his shebs, they know not to cross me but doesn’t stop them from trying to get an eyeful.”  Kote gave him a half smile, noticing Ponds as he moved towards the small group with a handful of Jedi robes.

“Mace has no kriffs to give, not one.”  He dumped the set on the bench, not caring if anything fell to the grass.   “So I’m going to guess, your Mate is the big blue one.”

Eli laughed lightly, glancing over to Thrawn, who was sitting tall next to the other two Dragons.  His dark blue scales glistened, the black wings laid along the body, tail flickered back and forth lightly, only sign of nervousness – the pincher was opened slightly.  The piercing red eyes were even more intense when he was in Dragon form.  “He saved me from pirates, was running normal cargo for my family, we have a supply depot on the edge of Wild Space.  I didn’t speak Chiss, he had no idea how to speak basic, but we both knew Sy Bisti.”  

He glanced back at the Dragon smiling at the sight.   There were many Dragons on Csilla, but most were reserved and part of the older families.  It was the talk of the planet and disgrace to many when Thrawn manifested, well at least according to Thriss, his brother.   So to see him talk to other Dragons, something settled inside of him, knowing Thrawn would have allies outside the Chiss Ascendancy.  

“There are more Chiss who are Dragons, it’s one of the reasons they stay hidden in the Unknown Regions.  Thrawn is a rebel in his own society, and stayed with me on Lysatra I had no idea he was courting me until … well until my parents decided it was time I got married and I discovered that Dragons and Chiss don’t take kindly to competition.”

Kote and Ponds snorted.  “Welcome to the Dragon Mate’s Club.”

Eli glanced at the two of them, then nodded.  “It would be good to have someone who understands annoying Dragons who don’t know how to keep their noses out of trouble.”

All three Dragons stared at their Mates, all three were promptly ignored.

***

Kote had never been this relaxed.

He was laying on a bed of soft grass, staring at a clear blue sky, listening to the soft sounds of water flowing along the stone stream.   Never in his short life, had he experienced such relaxation, and now that he had, there was no way he was giving it up.

Obi-Wan was off running with Quinlan Vos along the hills.   The Jedi was able to keep up with the Dragon, last he looked it seemed they were playing some sort of game of tag.  

The Kenobi Clan had accepted him without hesitation, something Kote had actually worried about considering he was a clone.  Benard and Layla wouldn’t hear anything bad about their son-in-law, and asked about the culture the Vod had built within the Madalorian society.   He had blinked at them, not sure how to answer considering no one had ever asked.   Layla had sensed his uneasiness, and changed the subject by sharing baby tooka stories of Obi-Wan.

And Skywalker was right.

Rhys was dramatic, but he could admire the burn everything down and ask questions later, philosophy.

Speaking of Skywalker, he was also out running with Vos and Obi-Wan, enjoying the freedom to just be.  Padme had joined them on the excursion to Stewjon, taking the time to get to know Shmi.  

Rex was taking bets that she couldn’t yell ‘I’m not Pregnant!’ much longer.  

Speaking of, he glanced to his left to see his vod enjoying the soft grass and sun.  “I think they call this a vacation.”

“Is that what this is?”  Rex laughed lightly.  “I like it.  Much better than those two days of leave we had on that moon.  You know the one, where the only thing you could find was cheap drinks and hookers.”

“Oh don’t remind me, that was the time Crys and Longshot got arrested for helping Waxer try to smuggle some type rat lizard thing out of an illegal zoo.  It took Boil, Wooley and most of Ghost to break them out so I wouldn’t find out.”  He shook his head at the memory.  It had been still early in the war.  The General and him had just watched from a distance at the calamity of errors.  How the idiots escaped, and became an elite fighting force, he had no idea.  “Later, Obi-Wan rescued the rat lizard thing, and released it back into the jungle.  I caught him talking to it softly, figured it was a Jetii thing, now I guess we know it was more of a lizard thing.”

Rex shifted until he was sitting straight and faced his ori’vod.   Kote glanced over at him, noticing the sudden ridgedness and nervous energy coming off of him.  He sat up, crossing his legs and letting arms rest on his knees.  “Rex?”

“I’m happy for you.  I mean it’s amazing that you have a Dragon as a Mate, it worries me …”

Kote moved next to his vod, and pulled him into his arms.  “I don’t like the idea of leaving any vode behind, let alone you.  You’ve been my annoying pain in the shebs little brother since I rescued you from the Alphas.”  He felt Rex snort, as he gripped tighter.  Kote closed his eyes, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening.  “I understand how it’s a curse and a blessing.   Kriff I don’t want to lose you, and I’m beyond thankful for the Jetii for figuring out how to stop the advanced aging, but damn it Rex it’s not going to be easy.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do next week, let alone decades or longer.”

Rex hated knowing Kote would have to bury him.  He was thankful Ponds would be with him, but really wished it would be him.  Not that he wanted to be Mated to Mace or anything, just he didn’t want to march away from his ori’vod.  

“Do you have plans? I mean, is the General going to stay with the Jetii?”  Rex wiped his eyes and sat back up to focus on the conversation.

“At the moment,” Kote shrugged slightly.  There was still so much to do at the Temple, rebuilding so many communities, plus helping build a future for the Vod.  “There is so much to do.”

“I don’t know alot about the Force osik.”  He hesitated, taking a deep breath.  Rex knew the vision he shared with Skywalker and Ahsoka was something Kote needed to know.  The more he thought about it, the more it made sense.  Kote was meant to be more than just a Dragon Mate, even Obi-Wan saw that.  “After the Sith was killed, a lot of dark energy spewed out.”

Kote nodded, he had felt the wave of it wash over him, more concerned for Obi-Wan than himself at that moment.  “And?”  

“I’m not sure what happened but suddenly I was in this other place, or in the middle of a vision General Skywalker was having.  It was Mandalore … Ahsoka was fighting Maul. I was at her back taking on Death Watch.  Not a shocking possibility with the instability that had taken place in the system after the Dutchess’ death.”

Kote remembered the devastation his Mate had felt at the loss.  Even at that moment, he couldn’t save a protectee, a woman he cared for even if they had different views on the world.  “Her death hit him hard, especially knowing that it led to Mandalore falling into a Civil War.”

“Well I think you’re about to finish it.”  Rex looked him in the eyes, showing his seriousness.  “You my dear Kote, will be Mand’alor.  You will rebuild the Mandalorian Empire.  A society to grow, a home for our vode, a place for future generations to flourish.  A strong power that will but an end to slavery and take out those who will continue to hunt Dragons.”

“You saw this?” he asked incredulously.  

“No.  I saw you kicking Vizla’s shebs. I just know you, and will do what needs to be done.”

***

“He’s not wrong.” Obi-Wan glanced over at his Mate, who had just finished telling him what Rex had informed him.  “When you woke up from the chip being removed, I felt your ‘Glory’.  I knew then you would one day be Mand’alor.  I had wondered if Jango knew one of his clones would hold the position he never claimed.  Or if he just wrote you and the rest off, because you weren’t True Mandalorians.”

“We’re not Mandalorians, we’re the Vode.”  Kote stood from the couch in the small home they were gifted while visiting.  “I wouldn’t take it for his honor, but for my brothers.”

“Santine was right, in some regards, about the level of violence and war in Mandalore’s history.  She was wrong in the idea that ignoring or banning it would make it go away.  Instead you ended up with Death Watch, and there are rumors that a few fringe elements were banned as far as Wild Space.  Plus she destroyed their heritage and took away the good elements by trying to wipe out the bad.  The Vode could change Mandalore, create a new world mixing in old and new traditions.”

“So you think we should invade?”  He asked, as he paced trying to get his own thoughts in order.  He had always been the ori’vode to whoever needed him, protecting his men, brothers.   He never thought of Mandalore, let alone ruling a group of people, even if it was his own vode.  

“I think it’s time we hunt down Maul and finally deal with the unhinged murdering Sith.”  Obi-Wan pulled him close, resting their foreheads together.  “What you do afterwards, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Will you be by my side?”  His voice barely above a whisper.

“Darling, it’s where I belong.”

 

Somewhere in Wild Space

 

“The Armour said I had to find his family.”  The Mandelorian watched as the child moved around the open space dock.  The small helper droids were trying to keep him out of trouble, but so far it wasn’t really working.  “I don’t know where to start.  How do I find these old wizards?”

Peli gave Mando a side-eye then sighed heavily.  “You really have no clue do you.”  The helmet just stared at her, yet she could read the innocent ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about’ expression.  “Were you dropped on your head when you were a baby?”

“I was founded by the sect when I was child.” He answered, which made the mechanic whine even more.  “What?”

“Oh Geeze I forgot you don’t get small subtleties.”  She grabbed his head and looked directly into the visor.  “I like you.  You have a good heart, you are a great dad to that kid, but you are so kriffin’ oblivious to anything around you it hurts.  It hurts!”

He pulled out of her grasp, yet still made sure not to hurt her.  “If you know anything!?”

Peli was about to cry in pure frustration.  

The Mandorlian, only known as Mando, had visited her dock many times, he trusted her with the child, the adorable little green thing, when he went on bounties in the area.  The fact he trusted her, with the little guy meant the world to her.   After she learned the sheer amount of the bounty was on the child, she had upped security and programmed her helper droids to protect him.  

Seeing a Mandalorian in Wild Space wasn’t too much of a shock.   They were known for being bounty hunters and traveled the galaxy, but she also knew that a very private sect had settled in the area, when she was just a child.  They kept to themselves, and if someone needed something done, and had the money, they were the ones to hire.   

Mando was unique because he wasn’t nearly as gruff or violent as the others.  Oh, she had seen him fight, and knew not to get on his bad side, and for the love of all things holy do not even think of hurting his kid.   But he had a kind soul, helped those who needed it – even if they couldn’t pay, and was a great dad.  

“I know we don’t get a lot of information out here in Wild Space, but even we get to hear about some stuff from the Core Worlds, especially with that war going on.”  She gave him a pointed look, hands on her hips.  “But you are not this oblivious that you missed the ‘Lizard Death Match’.”

“The what?”

She screamed out her frustration getting the child and the three droids staring at her.  “You do know there was a war right?”  Even if she couldn’t see his expression he was very good at conveying them with his helmet.  “Good, so a holo came out a while back showing a big fight on Coruscant.” She held up her hand stopping him from asking anything.  “It was a confrontation between the Jedi … your ‘old wizards’ and the Chancellor.  If you asked me, the man was creepy and was a power hungry bastard, so it wasn’t shocking that he ended up actually being a corrupted power hungry bastard.  Anyway, when they confronted them, one of the wizards – looked like that!”  

She pointed to the very large creature chowing down on a dead animal.  “By the way, when did that happen?  Last time I saw him, he was pocket sized.”

Din glanced over to the larger creature, who knocked things over every time he moved.  The three annoying droids were trying their best, but kept getting knocked around by the tail.   

When he had received the bounty for the 25 year old, he was expecting some snarky kid who had pissed off the wrong people.  Instead he found a child, a small green child that made him feel warm and fuzzy.   He removed himself from his sect to protect him, the Armour declaring them a new clan of two.   Stated that he should find his people, old wizards who had magic like the kid.

It wasn’t until they were trying to help a local village against a predator that kept stealing resources and at times small children, that he discovered the other side to the kid.   When the predator charged, instead of using it’s magic powers, it transformed into the form it was in now and attacked.  

A day later they were hiding in the space port, and the kid hadn’t shrunk down to pocket size.  Peli was one of the few people he trusted.  He had brought the meat of the predator with him, as a gift for helping.  Right now, though, the creature was eating most of it.

“He transformed into that to protect me.”  He waved his hand, then sighed.  “Kid put the droid down.”  There was a small rumble when the creature ran over to him, it’s head landing on his shoulder.  He ran a hand down the long neck, patting the larger body.  “Look kid if we’re going to get you home to your family, you’re going to have to go small again.  I don’t have enough room for you in the Razor Crest.”

Within a blink the little one was sitting on his foot, wearing nothing, looking at him with the saddest eyes.  He cooed and lifted his tiny arms, wanting to be picked up.

Din leaned down and pulled him into his arms.  “Let’s get you covered and I may have a few eggs lying around, how you’re hungry I have no idea.”  The kid cooed happily, then waved over his shoulder to Peli as they walked into the ship.

Peli waved back, wondering how the hell something that big fit into something so tiny.  “Goodluck.  Don’t forget you’re Auntie.”

Din shifted and gave her a salute.  “Thank you for your kindness and help.”

“Anytime big guy.”

Din settled the kid in his seat, then took his own in the pilot’s chair.   “I guess we’re going to the Core Worlds.”  He glanced back to see the kid slumped in the chair, eyes drifting close.  He adjusted the blanket around him, the whole time smiling under his helmet.  “It will be an adventure ad’ika.”

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