Summary: After discovering his padawan's chosen method of releasing his emotions, Obi-Wan decides it would be safer to take the matter into his own hands. Whether Anakin will agree with his decision or not is a different matter.
A/N: Hi! I hope you all enjoy this story! Lots of awkwardness, fluff, friendship, H/C and of course spankings will ensue ^^ If you don't like reading about spanking, don't read this story!
Disclaimers: I own nothing.
Obi-Wan knew that, really, it was none of his business. Yes, he was Anakin's master, but Anakin wasn't a child any more. He was a grown man now, or near enough anyway. He was a twenty year old excelling padawan who, alongside Obi-Wan, was in charge of a battalion of men with who they won battles with. He had proved on more than enough occasions that he could take care of himself.
But he was still Anakin's master. And no matter how old he was or how good a Jedi he was becoming, it was still his responsibility, his duty, to look after his padawan. He wanted to look after him (he'd been doing so for the past eleven years, he didn't see any reason in stopping now), but he wasn't sure how to go about doing so. Because, well... technically he wasn't in any trouble, at least none that he knew of. In fact, the reason that he was concerned was that Anakin was improving, not worsening, which was odd, but he did have his reasons.
Anakin had never been very good with controlling his emotions. Most of the fights that happened with the other padawans (though they weren't always his fault) did usually involve him one way or another. His temper had always been an issue, as had his pride and his utter belief that he was always right until proven wrong; he often made it very clear that he wasn't pleased when he didn't get his own way, which was childish and irritating, but still continued. At least, it had done till now.
Anakin was... calm. And it was almost unnerving. Of course, it didn't change every aspect of his personality, he still carried the same charming arrogance that he always had, but he had such a tight reign on his emotions like Obi-Wan had never seen before. The boy had never had so much control over himself and Obi-Wan wanted to know why. The way a conventional Jedi handled emotions was releasing their emotions into the Force through meditation. Anakin was meditating about as much as he had always done and that was not a great amount, despite his failed efforts over the years to make him meditate more. He hated meditation with a vengeance and often saw it as a punishment rather than a tool to help him. If he had so much self control through meditation, he would be meditating a lot, probably to the extent that Obi-Wan wouldn't see him most of the day because all he would be doing would be meditating.
So how on earth did his padawan magically have the self control of a Jedi Knight? It didn't make any sense. Though he couldn't understand how Anakin was managing his emotions, he did notice a definite pattern. He'd be at his best at the beginning of the week and then slowly deteriorate throughout. By the end of it, his temper would almost be as bad as it used to be. And then, that magical changed happened over night and suddenly he was fine again.
Then Obi-Wan's confusion only furthered when on one sleepless night he saw his padawan leave their apartment, only to return a few hours later. Throughout those few hours, Anakin's mental shields were as high as he could raise them. Whatever he was doing, he clearly did not want his master to know about it and that was why the Jedi was worried. The boy was probably leaving the temple to do Force only knew what and even though whatever it was was doing his padawan good, the thing itself essentially may not be good, if he were so desperate to keep it hidden.
Obi-Wan hoped that it was something he wanted to be kept private rather than something illegal. He knew it wasn't drugs (as if Anakin would be that stupid anyway) because he would have doubtlessly felt the high through their bond, nor was it podd racing. The boy had already got into trouble for going out to race before now and he knew that Anakin couldn't keep up his mental shields whilst racing. He may have some of the fastest reflexes of the whole order, but he couldn't master that level of concentration. So what was it then? What could, after eleven years of turbulent emotions and failed meditation sessions, finally enable Anakin to keep a hold on them?
The Jedi had every intention of finding out. Today was the last day of the week and wherever Anakin was going, he was going too. If it was something safe and legal, then he would allow Anakin his privacy and pretend that he had never caught on to what was happening. He just needed to check, mainly out of concern, but also partly out of curiosity. He rather wanted to see what method had succeeded where his had failed.
Obi-Wan watched with a wince as Anakin's speeder descended lower and lower into underbelly of Coruscant. The likelihood of whatever he was doing being safe and legal grew smaller and smaller the further he went down. As great a city as Coruscant was, it's lower levels practically bred crime. No respectable Jedi would be seen down there unless on business, especially now with the war, when the galaxy's attention now turned to the Order. It didn't bode well that Anakin was going to the lower levels. Obi-Wan could only hope that there would be some reasonable explanation, though he couldn't find one himself.
When he was sure Anakin was far away enough that he couldn't tell he was being followed, he began flew his speeder in Anakin's direction. He hoped that the boy wouldn't find out he was tailing him because he knew that he would throw a tantrum over it. Obi-Wan would prefer that scenario though to one where he had to lecture his padawan on the dangers of whatever it was he was doing. He'd much prefer to find out he was paranoid than finding his padawan in danger.
He hung back as Anakin landed, watching the young man climb out of his speeder and head into the building he had parked outside of. He didn't even bother looking around as he did so. Careless boy. Always so confident that he wouldn't get caught. Still, for once his pride was actually working to Obi-Wan's advantage. It would be easier for the Jedi to slip in to where ever he was if his padawan wasn't on red alert.
He parked his speeder next to Anakin's looking around him. The building itself seemed rather isolated and surprisingly clean for being so low down in Coruscant. It must be a rather high end club, yet there was no music blasting out of it. More baffled than ever, the Jedi made his way to the door pushing it only to find it wouldn't open.
"Do you have an appointment?"
Obi-Wan turned, his eyebrows rising in surprise at finding a comlink by the door. He pressed a button and spoke into it, "No, I don't. I was looking for a friend of mine, he just walked in here."
"Are you a Jedi?" the woman's voice sounded more curious than worried.
"I'm here on no legal matter, I assure you. I merely want to find my friend."
There was a pause, before she spoke again, "Wait for me in reception."
There was a loud buzz and the door slid open. Obi-Wan stepped inside, lowering his hood as he walked in. He was most definitely not in a club. The reception was bathed in the warm light of the chandelier hanging on the ceiling, the crystals reflective lights dancing on the walls. Whoever owned this place had wealth, the small couches and armchairs dotted around the room looked plush and expensive. It was quiet, almost peaceful, the only sound being the Jedi's footfalls.
The thought that came to his mind when he saw all of this grandeur was brothel, but he had never seen one sigh high end so far down. And also, there was no one there. Usually, judging from the missions he had been on where he had to go into places like this, there would be working men and women already trying to seduce him. Yet there was no one there. The whole situation seemed to be getting stranger by the minute.
"Master Jedi," he turned at the silky voice above him. The woman he spoke to was making her way down the stairs, the sight of her only confusing him more. She didn't look like a mistress or a prostitute. Her clothes looked expensive, but they lacked the extravagance and provocativeness that Obi-Wan had expected. Her black hair was done up in a tight bun and she seemed to have an air of... not arrogance but self assurance. She had power here and she was well aware of it, "How can I help you?"
He made a slight bow when she reached the stairs, "A friend of mind just walked in and I was wondering if you could tell me what he is doing here?"
She gazed at him for a moment, thinking, "Do you not know where you are?"
He smiled politely and shook his head, "I'm afraid not."
"How did you find us then?"
He paused, "I... was told I could find my friend here."
She raised a sceptical eyebrow, "Your informer must be incredibly quick to tell you about a boy who walked in here only a minute ago," she continued to stare at him, like she was trying to figure him out, "I know where your friend is, but I'm afraid I can't take you to him."
The Jedi frowned a little, but still kept his tone light, "Why not?"
"The privacy of my clients is paramount, Master Jedi. You must understand that if they don't feel safe here, if they don't trust me, they won't come back."
"I'm not here to make an arrest, I merely need to speak to him."
"Well, you couldn't make an arrest even if you wanted to. What we do here is perfectly legal," she said coolly, folding her arms across her chest.
"Really?" he asked, unconvinced, "and what is it that you do here?"
She didn't answer at first, merely looking the Jedi up and down, "We aren't a brothel. What we do does involve pleasure, but not the kind that you're thinking of."
"Forgive me, but your reluctance to tell me what actually happens here doesn't inspire much belief."
"I'm merely trying to spare your padawan the shame and embarrassment of letting his master know why he comes here, Master Kenobi," she smirked at the look of confusion on his face, "he mentioned you. You came up in, er... conversation," she leant against the wall, the smug look on her face irking him, "My... you two have a lot of issues to sort out."
"The issues between me and my padawan are none of your concern," Obi-Wan answered coldly, "now kindly tell me where is."
"He's an adult and in no danger, I don't have to tell you anything," the woman replied, the coolness of her tone matching Obi-Wan's, "I don't think he needs to have Daddy interrupting his little session."
The Jedi opened his mouth to speak, his cheeks burning with indignation and embarrassment before a sound interrupted them. It was distant, but loud enough to break the conversation. It was a strangled cry; Anakin had been injured enough times for Obi-Wan to recognise his cries of pain.
His head snapped back to the woman, who looked considerably less complacent, "Take me to him now or I will make sure that every single client that you have will never come back here again," he said, his voice brittle, scarcely hiding the determination that burned beneath it.
She shook her head, sighing, "You don't know what you're doing," she muttered, leading him up the stairs, "I don't suppose if I tell you what we do here now, you won't go barging in, will you?"
"Just take me to him," the Jedi ordered firmly.
"Well, at least your protective of him, if nothing else," she murmured, leading him down a corridor, "pity he doesn't know that."
She stopped at a door which was slightly ajar. She knocked and called out, "Brace yourselves, children, we have a visitor," she turned to Obi-Wan, "just remember, he came here of his own will. He asked and paid for this. My people are innocent in this matter."
"I will decide that for myself," Obi-Wan retorted, pushing past her and heading inside.
He didn't really know what he expected to see, but the scene he walked in on hadn't even crossed his mind as a possibility. Anakin was, or had been (there were two people who were hurriedly releasing his bonds) tied to a metal "X", his shoulders taught with his limbs being tied in accordance to the cross. It wasn't just the position he was in that made the Jedi gape in such an un-Jedi like fashion. Blood was trailing down his back, a long, thin red stripe cut across his back.
"Master!?" Obi-Wan's eyes tore away from the blood that was slowly making its way down the tanned skin to his padawan's face. He didn't think he'd ever seen it more red. If it weren't for the situation, he would have found it amusing to see the utter dismay on the boy's face and he might have even laughed as the boy squealed, "What the hell are you doing here?!"
"I'd like to ask you the same question," Obi-Wan retorted, folding his arms across his chest.
"You have no right to be here!" Anakin cried, his feet hitting the floor with a dull thud as his bonds came free.
"I thought you were in danger and it looks like I wasn't wrong," the Jedi all but snarled, his frown flitting to the mark on his back.
Anakin followed his stare, his face darkening, "You had no right-"
"I had every right!" Obi-Wan snapped, "I am your master, it is my job to protect you," he picked up his padawan's tunic off the floor and tossed it to him, "get dressed. We're going. Now."
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow at Anakin, "I'm sorry," he asked quietly, silently daring him to say it again, "what did you say?"
"I'm not going," the padawan glared at him, defiance etched into every line his glare made. Obi-Wan took a step forward, danger emanating off him.
"My very young padawan, if you do not put on that tunic and leave with me right now, I will see it fit to find reason to report what has gone on here to the Council," he watched with satisfaction as the defiance drained from his face, leaving behind and a look of daunting horror, "is that what you want?"
Anakin glared at him, knowing that he had lost. It was humiliating enough for Obi-Wan to see him in such a compromising position, but for the Council to know about this? The thought alone made him wonder if he could actually die of embarrassment. He threw his tunic on and stormed past Obi-Wan, snatching up his belt and cloak by the door. The Jedi huffed out a sigh, sweeping past the shell shocked woman and following his padawan down the stairs. This was going to be ugly.
Obi-Wan didn't think that he had endured such a stony silence before now. Anakin was seething in the seat next to him, pointedly glaring at anywhere other than his master. The boy could still throw outrageous tantrums twenty and he had always been the master of holding grudges. He may have been silent then, but as soon as they would get in, he would doubtless throw a fit. Yes, he was becoming a great Jedi (doubtless he would be better than Obi-Wan some day), but Force, he could be such a child at times.
He supposed he had some reason to be angry, he had inadvertently humiliated his padawan, which he did not want to do, but what did he expect? He was being hurt, whipped for heaven's sake. Of course he was going to intervene! Yet still, in spite of this, Obi-Wan was sure that to Anakin, he must seem like a paranoid, overbearing master, hell bent on making his padawan's life a living hell. Following him did make him seem a little crazy, but he didn't have much choice. Anakin wouldn't have told him anyway even if he asked.
They reached the temple, Anakin jumping out of the speeder before it had even come to a full stop. Obi-Wan sighed as he watched his padawan storm off into the temple, the boy's cloak flapping about him. He never made things easy. He got out of the speeder and followed Anakin at a far calmer pace. By the time he reached their apartment, Anakin was already waiting for him, pacing up and down the length of their living room. The boy fixed him with a venomous glare, the anger and embarrassment pulsing through their bond now Anakin didn't bother putting up his mental shields.
"You followed me," he snarled, his pacing coming to a halt, "I'm not a child, Master! You can't do things like that!"
"I'm your master and I thought you were in danger, I had every right to do what I did. Besides," Obi-Wan turned from him, heading into the kitchen, returning quickly with a chair, "you wouldn't have told me even if I had asked."
"That's because it's none of your business!" the boy snapped.
"Anakin, your safety has been my business for eleven years. Just because you think you're old enough to look after yourself completely does not mean that that it is true. Take off your tunic."
"What?" Anakin glared, displeased with the sudden shift in conversation.
"You're bleeding through your tunic," Obi-Wan stated, "take it off."
Anakin had always hated the look on his master's face, the one that made him think that he was above everything, that he was better than his padawan, but he could feel the concern coming from him, which mollified him a little. Glaring, he did as he was told, stripping off the blood garment. Satisfied, Obi-Wan began to walk away.
"We're not done!" Anakin roared, his eyes flashing.
Slowly, Obi-Wan turned, raising his eyebrow at the seething boy, "I'm going to get the medkit," he answered coolly. He turned, leaving Anakin with his temper barely in his control.
"Sit down facing the back of the chair," Obi-Wan ordered as he returned, medkit and a damp cloth in his arms.
"A please would be nice," Anakin muttered, sitting down and leaning his arms on the back of the chair.
"Fewer secrets would be nice," Obi-Wan retorted, sitting on the arm of the sofa facing his padawan's bloody back, ignoring how sick the sight made him feel. Once he was done here, he would make sure that that... place, whatever it was, would be shut down.
"It wasn't a secret!" he snapped, hissing as the cold cloth was pressed against his back.
"Yes, it was," the Jedi murmured, washing off the blood with a frown.
"Fine. It was. But it wasn't yours to find out," Anakin grumbled.
"I'm your master, of course it was mine to find out," he withdrew the bloodied flannel, reaching in the small metal box for the antiseptic, "I don't need to tell you that this is going to hurt."
Anakin didn't care about his back; his pride was hurt more than anything else. They fell into a dark silence, Obi-Wan calmly washing his padawan's wound, whilst Anakin glared and hissed and squirmed. He hid his face against his arms, the biting sting in his back starting to get to him a little.
"Why did you let them do this to you?" the question caught Anakin off guard and he sat up, turning his head at his master's quiet voice. The man didn't look angry any more, just... sad.
His shoulders sagged and he turned back, staring at the wall head of him, "You wouldn't understand."
"You can't know that unless you tell me," Obi-Wan replied, winding a bandage round his wound, "I want to understand what you were doing at that place."
"You know why I was going there," Anakin mumbled, "I was worried you'd figure it out, but not this fast."
With everything that had happened, Obi-Wan had actually forgotten why he had been there in the first place. He stared at the white bandage, blood already seeping through it, "This?" he whispered, "this is the reason why you've been so..."
"Jedi-like?" Anakin asked bitterly, clambering off the chair, "Yeah, it is."
"Anakin," Obi-Wan said slowly, rising to his feet, "you can't go back there. You can't do this-"
"Do you think I have a choice?!" Anakin snapped, twirling round to face him, "Master, nothing works. We have tried meditation for eleven years and it doesn't help me control my emotions and I need to now. I'm in charge of men's lives, I have to do this!" desperation leaked into the boy's expression, "I don't want to! Do you think I like going there?! I hate it, but if it works, then it doesn't matter!"
"But padawan," Obi-Wan implored, "look at what they did to you!"
Anakin sighed, "That's not what they usually do. I... I didn't know they were going to be doing that this time. Until tonight they'd never injured me like this."
"Why, what do they normally do?"
Anakin wasn't just bad at controlling his emotions; he was also terrible at hiding them. Colour rose to the boy's cheeks and he looked away, mumbling, "Nothing."
"Nothing?" Obi-Wan asked lightly, "Oh, well, if I knew nothing helped you to control your emotions, I would have done that years ago," Anakin shot him a sour look, "Padawan, I can always just go back there and ask them. Either you can tell me or I can hear it from them, but I will find out."
"They..." Anakin sunk into the chair again and groaned, "it's embarrassing!" he glanced at Obi-Wan, who had his arms folding across his chest, still waiting for a reply. He hid his face in his hands and mumbled something incoherent.
"I'm sorry, Anakin, what was that?" Obi-Wan asked, raising an eyebrow.
"They spank me," Anakin whimpered, wishing that the ground could swallow him up right there and then. Force, he'd prefer telling him about his marriage in comparison to this overwhelming sense of embarrassment.
Obi-Wan stared at him, a look of incredulity on the man's face, "They spank you? That's what works?!"
The boy couldn't even look at him. He gave a nod, his hands still hiding his face. Obi-Wan stared at him for a moment, before sinking back against the arm of the couch, "Oh Anakin," he murmured, stroking his beard, "I am sorry."
Anakin peered out of between his fingers, "Why?"
"As your master I should have helped you with your emotions. But clearly I haven't, seeing as you're now forced go to such lengths to control them."
Anakin stared at his master. He wasn't used to seeing the man so despondent. He really believed that this was all his fault, "It... it isn't your fault," he said, sighing, "I don't think meditation was ever going to work for me. I mean come on," he gave him a tiny smile, "I'm not exactly a model Jedi, am I?"
Obi-Wan gave a weary smile, "That doesn't mean that you're not a good Jedi."
Anakin scoffed, "Thanks, though I think there are those out there who'd disagree with you."
They lapsed into silence again, both of them mulling the conversation over in their mind, "Anakin, how did you even discover that this helps you?"
Anakin sighed, "Do you remember a few weeks ago I accidentally gave myself a black eye by taking off my belt?"
Obi-Wan couldn't help but grin at the memory. It was rather funny, "Yes."
"Then," he sighed, "I was really angry, I don't even remember why and then I accidentally did that and suddenly... I was just calm. It was like someone had slapped me and told me to stop being so stupid," he shrugged, "I... I tried to hurt myself- Master, please don't look like that," Anakin asked, wincing at the pained expression on the Jedi's face, "I'm fine, honestly. Like I said, I kept trying, but I couldn't force myself to do it to the extent that I needed. So, I looked it up and found that there were professionals who could do it for me. And that's why I went to that club."
Obi-Wan didn't respond for a few minutes, thinking over what Anakin had said. He could see his padawan's logic, that didn't mean that he liked it. The thought of Anakin trying to hurt himself to just to try to calm himself down hurt more than it should. "So... why spanking?"
Anakin flinched at the question; clearly his ego was still very tender, "It... because it doesn't injure me, not permanently anyway. It hurts and it's humiliating, but it doesn't leave any lasting injuries. Besides, there weren't many safe options besides it. And... it does the job," he stared down at his boots, clearly very uncomfortable with Obi-Wan's choice of subject.
"So..." Obi-Wan continued carefully, "they hurt you until..."
"Until I break," Anakin said quietly, "they push me to a point where I just break down and I can't hide or try to ignore how I feel any more. It's like I just purge all of my emotions in one go and then I'm set for the week," he glanced at Obi-Wan and smiled a little. He pointed to the man's face, murmuring, "That look right there. That's the reason I didn't want to tell you."
"Did you expect any other look?" Obi-Wan sighed, his eyes shining, "as a Jedi and a general you get hurt far too much as it is. I do not like the thought of you voluntarily hurting yourself along with all the pain you already experience."
"Well, it isn't like it doesn't serve a purpose, Master. In the long run, it does help me," he smiled at the man, who still looked rather shell shocked, "there are far worse things that could and have happened to me than being unable to sit for a few days. I'm surprised you didn't notice."
"I had no reason to suspect," Obi-Wan shrugged, though he returned the smile, "how much did those sessions cost, might I ask?"
"Oh, I saved up some money of my own. So don't worry, the Order's funds aren't going to be hurt by it," Anakin replied. He glanced at the time and sighed, "I ought to go back."
"You're not going back there."
Anakin's head turned to Obi-Wan, staring at him with raised eyebrows, "I'm sorry, did you hear nothing of what I just said?"
"Anakin, it may be a way to release your emotions, but it does not mean that it is healthy or safe."
"But I just said-"
"I know and I'm sorry, padawan, but I cannot allow strangers to hurt you, whether you need it or not," he could feel the boy's anger rising up in him and he sighed, "look. Am I allowed to have a few days to think about this? Before I can let you go off and let them do those things to you, I need to know that you're safe. Please?"
Anakin glared at him, before sighing, running a hand through his hair which seemed to be getting longer every day, "I don't know why you're bothering to ask me. It's not as if I've got a choice."
Obi-Wan smiled, "No, but I thought I'd be polite."
"Well, you'd better make your mind up soon, Master. In case you haven't noticed, I don't last too long without going to see them."
"All in good time my young padawan," Obi-Wan replied, squeezing the boy's shoulder in spite of the moody look on his face, "all in good time."