Anakin's heart seemed to have stopped—he stared at Obi-Wan's bowed head, still trying to work his stunned brain around his Master's words. Though he racked his memories, he couldn't recall a single time before this that Obi-Wan had asked his pardon for something he himself had done. Normally, it was the other way around.
"You—you want me to forgive you?" Anakin asked finally, in an overwhelmed voice. He had only meant it as an innocent question, but as soon as the words left his mouth, he realized how condemning they must have sounded to Obi-Wan. His Master sighed heavily.
"I understand," he said quietly. He stood to go, looking everywhere but at Anakin. "If you need more time—"
"Master, no!" Anakin said quickly, standing and grabbing Obi-Wan's arm. "Don't go." Then, in a small, almost timid voice, because Anakin had very little experience in this area: "I—I forgive you."
The words sounded wrong, somehow, coming from his mouth. They were too authoritative, too proud. Anakin was the humble one of the two, always asking his Master's pardon, and Obi-Wan was the one who granted it. But Obi-Wan turned slowly to face him, and there were tears shining in his pale eyes.
"I'm sorry," he whispered brokenly. "I'm so sorry—"
But Anakin couldn't take this forced distance anymore. He didn't wait for Obi-Wan to finish, didn't hesitate, just threw his arms around him and held him close, knowing that this was how they belonged. Obi-Wan was crying softly, and even as he did so, Anakin's heart was thrumming with joy.
But something still nagged in the back of his mind, and it had to be said. Feeling slightly guilty, Anakin asked, confused, "But how could you leave just for me? The Order—it's your life."
Obi-Wan's hands moved to Anakin's shoulders as he firmly met his Padawan's gaze. All that remained of his tears was the faint red around his eyes—being Obi-Wan, already his emotions had been brought to rein.
"No," he said quietly. "You are my life, Anakin—all the Order ever did was bring us together. There would be no reason for me to stay if you left."
Anakin looked at his Master's face, taking in the familiar blue eyes, the crease in his forehead, the shock of ginger hair that fell always over his eye, and he felt an overwhelming rush of adoration surge over him. All at once he wanted to hug Obi-Wan, to throw himself at his feet, to cry, to laugh, even just to stand there and stare forever. What came out of his mouth seemed horribly inadequate.
"I love you," Anakin said simply, blinking back tears. And it was enough.
In the silence that followed, both knew that any words spoken would prove utterly hollow. There are times when the heart, so often forced silent, can speak the loudest, and be plainly understood—this was one such time.
But finally the spell was broken, by some noise that neither Obi-Wan nor Anakin heard distinctly. Anakin laughed, and he saw Obi-Wan smile broadly at the sound. Together, they moved out of the corner and began making their way through the multitude of rushing fountains to the nearest doorway.
"Master," Anakin said after a moment, "I'm sorry I shouted at you like that."
Obi-Wan chuckled. "Apology accepted," he said genially. "And Anakin?"
Something in his voice made Anakin stop and turn to look him straight in the face. "Yes?" he answered curiously. Obi-Wan glanced down for a moment, then looked up into Anakin's eyes and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"Padawan," he said seriously, "If you ever lay a hand on my journal again, I reserve the full and unmitigated right to bash your head in with the nearest heavy object."
And that pretty well settled the matter.