A/N: Next chapter everyone! Thank you all for your great reviews. They really mean a lot. Those of you who have stepped up to the plate with the specifics are amazing! It's really does help me know the sections that you like the most, and things I can improve on.
And again for those who missed it: a specific review mentioning things you liked, or didn't like, helps to inspire me/improve my writing etc more than anything. I have a whole spiel about reviews on my bio page.
Estora, what would I do without you? I really appreciate you taking the time to beta for me, and help polish this story. You are completely wonderful and I adore you so much for the butt-kicking!
"That's not how you do it, boy!"
The hand struck him hard and fast. Anakin's teeth cut into his lip and blood welled in his mouth.
"Next time you choke me like that I'll bite it off!"He snapped, spitting out blood.
Yuzsa slapped him again.
"Clean yourself up, you're getting blood everywhere," Yuzsa said. "That big mouth of yours is for cock-sucking now. Not smart-ass comments. Threaten me again, and I'll just fuck you. Think first, boy. But thinking really isn't something you're good at, is it? You're a whore. Accept it. How we get you trained I couldn't give a shit about."
In his sleep, Anakin jerked and began to breathe faster. A light sheen of sweat covered him.
"You're so pretty."
Not him. Not him again. Please not this again.
Hands. Hands all over him. Touching him, pulling at him, taking his clothes off.
Shut it out. Shut it all out. This wasn't his life. He never left Watto. Watto was fine. This wasn't his life.
On his stomach. Legs shoved apart. He didn't want this, didn't want this, didn't want this...
"I want you to say my name."
Anakin gripped the sheets when a finger was forced inside him. This wasn't how he was trained. Where was the oil? He couldn't...he couldn't do this dry...he was going to bleed -
"I want you to say it. I want you to scream it. I want you to scream."
He winced when the finger was yanked out of him, felt his legs being shoved apart.
"Dejiak," said the man. "Don't you ever forget my name. I'll be seeing a lot of you."
He heard him chuckle before his world became nothing but pain.
Anakin jolted awake with a shout, his body snapping and limbs lashing out at invisible bonds. Covers twisted around his legs as he kicked hard. Heart racing he threw them off the bed. Didn't want anything on him, didn't want anything touching him, wanted it off, off, OFF.
Too dark, it was dark, darkness everywhere, where am I? Disoriented, his arm trembled out fast, his hand colliding with something solid. Seconds later, his fingers fumbled with the switch of his bedside lamp and his room was bathed in a muted orange glow.
He breathed in shakily.
This is my room.
He was safe. He was safe here. He was in the Republic.
The little house by the sea.
Breathing harder, he tried to ignore the tears still trailing down his cheeks, tried to stifle the harsh sob strangling his voice and pushing against his chest. He would not cry over this. They were just memories – memories that had no place with him anymore. No place in his life, in his head, in his sleep – nowhere.
He coughed and choked back any sounds that tried to escape his throat. Anakin wiped his hand furiously across his face, removing any traces of fallen tears. It was a betrayal when they defied him and fell. He tried to breathe slower. The drying sweat turned his skin cold. Shivering, he swallowed down the bile threatening to rise in his throat.
You're safe here. You're safe, you're safe, you're safe...
"You're gonna scream, aren't you whore?"
"You love it when I'm inside you."
"Such a sweet ass."
"Shut up. Shut up, shut up, shut up." His hands twisted through his hair and pulled hard, hoping the pain would distract from the nausea.
"I faced this," he choked. "This shouldn't be happening."
He flinched when someone knocked swiftly at his door.
"Anakin? Anakin are you all right?"
He didn't even feel himself move. One minute he was sitting up in bed and the next he was wrenching the door open and pulling a surprised Obi-Wan into his arms.
He ignored the pained grunt he heard and buried his face into Obi-Wan's neck. He was so warm against Anakin's clammy skin. He shivered as Obi-Wan's arms wrapped around his back and held him close.
How does your touch not repulse me? How do I always feel so safe with you?
He shuddered in Obi-Wan's arms and pulled him closer, wishing he could just melt into the other man. Was this going to be his life? One step forward and five steps back? Damn the whole universe, he dealt with this. At least he thought he had.
Why can I control my body, but not my fucking mind?
Pulling away slightly, he looked at Obi-Wan's pale face and could barely read the emotion in his eyes.
"I just- please I just need…please…" he stammered, then angled his head and pressed their lips together firmly.
The shock of Anakin kissing him was almost enough to dull the flashes Obi-Wan had been getting from Anakin's mind. Almost.
The jumbled mess that ran through Anakin's head shifted and spun, jarring him hard from one memory to another that he found himself recoiling in horror. The Force flowed around Anakin in frenzied waves, and the things he projected... Oh Force, the things that bombarded Obi-Wan's mind, even with his shields tightening to the point of breaking...
Obi-Wan ignored the stinging on his back from his sun burn as Anakin clung to him tighter, mouths moving together desperately. His lips were soft, so soft and perfect. Better than any shameful dream or parting thought.
A tongue parted his lips, and stars help him he let it happen. Anakin's lips were demanding, his kisses growing harder and more fervent. He let it happen and he shouldn't, but Force if this was what it took – if it's somehow what Anakin needed...
Let go, Kenobi.
"It's okay," Obi-Wan said, breaking the kiss before Anakin could reclaim it. "You're okay."
He didn't understand. He didn't understand why Anakin held him so tightly, kissed him so desperately, when the shadows of his past were running rampant through his head. Force, how did he survive? He knew he'd only scratched the surface of Anakin's tangled thoughts, but what he saw was enough. After everything Anakin went through, how he could still smile and laugh, be surprised and full of wonder... Would this man ever cease to amaze him?
His body relaxed into Anakin's, hands sliding up scarred back, caressing and comforting. After everything, Anakin was still somehow a creature of touch. He never shied away from Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan's assessment was proven right when he felt Anakin calm against him, melting into his arms.
"Release it to the Force," he whispered against Anakin's mouth.
The early morning light filtered in through the curtains of Obi-Wan's room highlighting small dust particles that floated through the air. He stared up at the ceiling, eyes blinking only when they started to burn from the dryness of the air. His breathing was measured, carefully counted out and controlled as if it would somehow slow the staccato tempo of his heartbeat. Ever since Obi-Wan woke and remembered the events of the previous night, he had been trying to sort things out in his mind. Trying to make sense out of his actions. Trying to ease the guilt.
But no matter how much the shame twisted in his stomach, he still couldn't move. He still couldn't pry his arm from around Anakin, or remove his fingers from gently playing with Anakin's surprisingly soft curls.
Obi-Wan's fingers froze when Anakin sighed deeply in his sleep, his weight pressing more firmly against Obi-Wan's side as he shifted. Obi-Wan held his breath while Anakin's hand fisted even more of Obi-Wan's sleep shirt as he settled back to slumber.
How had he even gotten here? How did he let himself...kiss Anakin like that? Especially with what was going on through Anakin's mind, how could he do that to him? The fact that Anakin initiated the kiss meant nothing to him. He had kissed back. That was the problem. He kissed him back and they somehow ended up in Obi-Wan's room, in his bed, holding onto each other like it was all that mattered.
Thank the Force that's all we did, Obi-Wan thought. Thank everything I didn't betray him more than I already have.
Hurting Anakin was the last thing he ever wanted to do. He cared about him. Too much. He could feel it. Every time Anakin looked at him, smiled at him, laughed and argued with him...
He didn't know what to do. It was just too new, too foreign. He was just Obi-Wan Kenobi, always the detached one, the distant one. What the Sith could he ever offer Anakin?
"You're as cold as Hoth, you know that Kenobi?"
He closed his eyes and sighed at the remembered words of a past association. His affairs had always been brief; former lovers, few as they were, always expected more. Obi-Wan never understood why, because he never made promises.
His previous –liaisons- had always been no-strings-attached sex for the most part. It never went any further than the physical. He always preferred to keep people at a distance, choosing his solitude over trusting something outside of himself. He'd been angry as a young man, viewing his partners as being just as meaningless as his whole life had been.
Eventually the anger cooled and he'd been left empty. Obi-Wan spent years shutting himself away from people, minding his own business, never reaching out, only holding back.
He never considered a life with anyone.
He wanted. Force he wanted, he could admit it now, but the things he had seen in Anakin's mind last night gave him even more reason to pause. To reflect.
The emotions Anakin brought forth in him were confusing and he didn't understand them. So he buried them, ignored them. Thought he was doing the right thing. But the way Anakin had clung to him, needed him...
He would not take advantage. He didn't want to...be like them. Obi-Wan shuddered, freezing immediately when Anakin stretched out along him. Without anymore movement, Obi-Wan went back to staring at the ceiling.
Anakin was...Anakin. He was different. And Obi-Wan stood by his past statement when he told Anakin that his past did nothing to diminish how bright he was, the light that was inside him, even after the glimpses of darkness he had seen last night. Nothing with Anakin could ever be as meaningless as Obi-Wan's past associations.
Blinking at the sunlight, the weight in Obi-Wan's stomach dropped again.
How can I be thinking of any of this now?
He barely suppressed snorting at himself in revulsion. Disgusted and ashamed of thinking of Anakin after the things he now knew about him. Things he wouldn't tell Anakin that he saw. He was starting to hate himself for it. Hate himself for wanting Anakin. For wanting things he shouldn't. Hated himself for falling -
A Jedi shall not know anger. Nor hatred. Nor love.
It came as softly as a gentle wind into his mind, an age-old component of the Code. He shouldn't be angry...he shouldn't hate...and he shouldn't lo-
"I'm not a Jedi," he said softly.
He was warm. Comfortably warm and content, sandwiched between blankets and firm body, Anakin didn't want to move. The body next to him didn't trouble him, nor did the arm around his shoulders or the fingers stroking his hair, lazily drawing circles against his scalp.
It was the nicest anyone had touched his hair in a very long time.
The chest beneath his head rose and fell in a steady rhythm, the movement causing his lightly stubbled cheek to rub against rumpled sleep shirt. It was an altogether pleasant sensation, he decided.
He smiled lightly. Obi-Wan was always pleasant.
Then it hit him. His eyes shot open and his body tensed. He barely noticed Obi-Wan going as still as he did, so caught up in his own thoughts. Memories of last night slammed straight into his mind like a podracer crashing into Beggar's Canyon.
He didn't...he couldn't have...
"Nobata... Uba koochoo..." he muttered in Huttese. No... You idiot...
The way he'd panicked last night, the emotions his nightmares brought racing to the surface... There was no way. There was no way his shields were in any condition to keep himself from accidentally projecting. Oh stars, what had he done? What had Obi-Wan seen?
Kark. Kark, damn it all. Damn it, damn it, damn it. I never wanted him to know –
Fingers running through his hair distracted him from his thoughts. Where –?
Focusing on his surroundings, he realized that they were in Obi-Wan's room. In Obi-Wan's bed. How –?
His eyes fell shut and he stifled a groan, more memories flooding back.
He kissed him. He actually kissed Obi-Wan.
The entire night was a disaster. The first time he got to kiss Obi-Wan and he was in a near blind panic. And over what? Some stupid dreams that had no business being in his head in the first place. His jaw clenched tighter and tighter the more he thought about it.
Never should have kriffing happened. I'm in control of myself. I have control. I control my body, and fuck it all I will control my blasted mind. Stars know what Obi-Wan thinks of you now, idiot, he berated himself. After all the times you threw yourself at him in the past, and now you succeed in actually molesting him, good job. Amazing he hasn't thrown you out by now.
Why hadn't he? Obi-Wan knew he was awake. Had he been talking to him?
"O... Obi-Wan?" he asked, hesitatingly.
The fingers in his hair stilled. That, Anakin took notice of. He's still touching me... Letting me lay here...
"Are you back with me, Anakin?"
"I, um...I'm...good." What was wrong with him? He was 'good'? Right, because he'll believe that, stoopa.
Anakin didn't expect the deep breath of air Obi-Wan released, like he had been holding it for an eternity. His tense body relaxed and Anakin unconsciously relaxed with him.
"You're sure? I thought you were having a flashback of some sort."
"I'm..." Okay? Fine? Not broken? They'd all be lies straight from his lips. "Why would you think that?" he asked instead.
"You zoned out, Anakin, muttering in what I'm assuming was Huttesse. I'm not fluent enough to know what you were saying."
Anakin laughed humourlessly, "Just insulting myself, really."
But when he actually thought about it, he could see how it might have looked to Obi-Wan. Waking up together, then having the crazy boy practically on top of you start speaking another language and stop reacting seemingly altogether, could be seen as worrisome.
I'm an idiot.
"You shouldn't –"
"I'm sorry." He couldn't look at Obi-Wan. He stared at the white sleep shirt covering Obi-Wan's chest instead. He hadn't moved to get away yet; Anakin would take what he could. After last night –
"I'm sorry...about last night. I...how much did you see?"
He didn't want to know. He really didn't, but he had to ask. Anakin himself could barely remember what he'd been dreaming about. Most of it was half forgotten, back into the abyss of his mind where it belonged. But there were other memories... He shuddered, then paused.
Obi-Wan's arms were sliding around his shoulders. Holding him.
He's touching me... Has he ever been so relaxed when touching me before?
Ankain's sighed into Obi-Wan's arms and closed his eyes. He had no idea what was going on, but it was certainly welcomed. What had Obi-Wan once told him...?
'Physical distance made emotional detachment easier.'
Distance and detachment; even though it's what the Jedi had taught him, Obi-Wan seemed to be getting the hang of it anyway. The stiff formality that was usually present in whatever physical contact they had had been steadily melting away since his swimming lessons started. Obi-Wan hadn't shied away the least bit when Anakin had been –
"Your sun burn!"
Anakin all but leapt off Obi-Wan's chest, he found himself half-straddling the man beneath him as he and Obi-Wan finally made eye contact.
"Is it all right? Did I -" hurt you? Last night he'd held him so tight. "I hurt you, didn't I? Last night? I know I did."
"It's fine. Really, it barely stings anymore."
"I didn't mean to -"
"I know. I know you didn't. Force, Anakin, the way I found you, I -" He cut himself off.
Yeah, looks like neither of us want to talk about it, Obi-Wan.
"You never answered me...about what you saw," Anakin looked away. He couldn't look at Obi-Wan while he asked, too afraid of what he'd see in Obi-Wan's eyes. Pity? Disgust? Repulsion?
"I..." He heard Obi-Wan sigh. Warm hands fell from his shoulders and smoothed down his arms. Anakin wondered if Obi-Wan even realized how much they were touching.
"Fragments. Fast and fleeting. Your mind was everywhere at once. Some...images were stronger than others. I tried not to look, Anakin, I wouldn't -"
"I know you wouldn't."
Obi-Wan never pried. He never looked, and even after the onslaught of last night, he still tried to respect as much of Anakin's privacy as was possible.
"What you've been through..."
"I try not to think about. It's over."
He risked a glance at Obi-Wan, and he saw it. Obi-Wan hadn't been disgusted with him before, but that was before he'd actually seen it, seen what Anakin had done, as jumbled as it may have been. But now that he had... Anakin still couldn't see disgust. But there was something in those eyes...
"It - it's not my business."
There was a question on Obi-Wan's mind; Anakin could see it written all over his face. He watched Obi-Wan's mouth open and close a few times, probably trying to determine how best to say it.
You're always careful with your words, Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan's lips pressed together in a firm line. Lips I kissed. He knew he should look somewhere else, to stop staring at Obi-Wan's mouth. But once he did, his attention was captured by Obi-Wan's bright blue eyes and his soft ginger hair splayed out against the pillow.
Anakin shook his head. "Nothing."
Obi-Wan's slight confusion was gone, replaced by the same questioning look he had given Anakin earlier. Fierfek. Might as well get this over with. He'd dealt with his past physically, and now talking about it might help him deal with it emotionally. It was worth a shot. There wasn't anyone in the galaxy he trusted more that the man beneath him, and stars knew he didn't want meditation to be the answer to his nightmares. It would probably give him more with the amount of time he spent falling asleep during it.
"Sorry," Anakin said. "You were asking something. And yes, ask it," he said when he saw Obi-Wan gearing up for another 'none of my business' blah, blah, blah.
"Just ask. I can handle it."
Obi-Wan met him with a steady gaze and sighed.
"There...was one consistent thing that I kept seeing," he said. A ball of cold dread started to grow in Anakin's chest and dropped down to settle in his stomach. He knew where this was going.
"Who was he?"
Anakin jerked and sat up, sitting cross-legged to face Obi-Wan.
He cleared his throat and shook himself. He could do this. He could talk about this.
"Do you remember the first time I tried to sleep with you?"
He took the blush that appeared on Obi-Wan's face as a 'yes'.
Anakin laughed. "Hells, it wasn't even an hour after meeting you, was it?"
Obi-Wan sat up and cleared his throat, "That's true."
"There was a reason for it, you know. I promised myself I'd sleep with my new master if you weren't him; out of pure, kriffing gratitude for not belonging to that psychopath. If he had bought me and I couldn't escape from him... I would have killed myself. I'd rather be dead than owned by him. You don't know what he was like. Being owned by the brothel was the only thing stopping him from really torturing me like he wanted." Anakin paused, and took a deep breath. "All the scars I have, they're his."
He didn't understand the look Obi-Wan was giving him. It wasn't pity, it wasn't shame. But it had to be one of those comforting things Obi-Wan did because he felt comforted, understood without being understood. Obi-Wan never judged him, and instead of backing away, Anakin was surprised when Obi-Wan scooted himself closer, their knees touching. Anakin reached out a hand to curl around Obi-Wan's ankle.
Dejiak. His name was Dejiak.
He thought it, but he didn't say it; refused to say it. For all Dejiak wanted him to remember, he would deny the bastard his name. Fuck him.
"You beat his bid. I know he was there. And I bet he was pissed. I can never thank you for that. For any of this." He waved his hand around the room. "And I know you keep saying that I don't have to, but... Obi-Wan, you have no idea."
"You're right, I don't. But I don't need to be thanked with -"
"Sex? Yeah, I figured that out. Eventually anyway," he smirked cheekily at Obi-Wan's ever reddening face.
"Vacuum bots," Obi-Wan flushed, "is what I was going to say. They keep eating my socks."
"I'll fix them. I swear."
Obi-Wan sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, which was slowly regaining its normal colour.
"Of course you will. I...Force, Anakin... You've been here for months and have never had nightmares as bad as this. Did anything happen to trigger this or...or...something?"
It was Anakin's turn to flush. "No."
He steadily ignored Obi-Wan's look of disbelief, but appreciated it when he let it slide. He always granted Anakin his privacy, if he didn't want to tell, he never forced it. Kriff, what was he supposed to say to Obi-Wan anyway? Well you see, I finally managed one fantastic orgasm on my own, for the first time in, oh you know, ever. Was thinking of you the whole time too, by the way.
Instead he settled for, "I can control my body, but not my mind - apparently. And don't tell me the key is more meditation."
"Meditation can be -"
"Really not interested in hearing it."
"If you would stop falling asleep -"
"If it wasn't so boring maybe I wouldn't."
"If we could do this at least once without you interrupt -"
"When do I ever interrupt you?"
"You just did it, Anakin."
"I don't want to meditate."
"We meditate quite often."
"You meditate quite often, I sit there and think."
The choking noise that gurgled and died in his throat as he attempted to contain his exasperation did nothing but bring a smile to Anakin's face. Obi-Wan wasn't quite sure if he'd suffered some form of aneurysm or just an Anakin-induced mini-seizure.
Scrubbing a hand over his eyes, Obi-Wan hung his head and shook it slowly.
Will he ever take meditation seriously?
I doubt it, he answered his own question.
"Is there anything else that helps, then?" he asked. "Your nightmares were never this bad before."
They hadn't been. Every now and then, Obi-Wan would find himself awake in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. It wasn't until he reached out though the Force that he felt the slight tremors from Anakin's room. They had always subsided quickly, though, Anakin settling eventually. Obi-Wan had never felt anything from Anakin like the panic he saw and felt last night. That was entirely new.
And hopefully not recurring.
Whatever he could do, however he could help Anakin through this, he would. He cared too much. Anakin just crept into his world and in through his shields without even having to try – and Obi-Wan just let him in.
Bloody fantastic predicament you've gotten yourself into, Kenobi.
He looked up and Obi-Wan's heart turned a beat too fast.
Bluer than any ocean he'd ever seen. The weight of his gaze pierced right through him. Shields or no shields, sometimes he wondered if they even did anything.
Can he see straight through me?
"Are you okay?" Obi-Wan asked.
Anakin looked away, sighing. Turning back to Obi-Wan, he shook his head.
"No," he said. "But I will be."
Anakin's admission touched something in Obi-Wan. He could feel something building in the young man, but couldn't quite grasp what it opened his mouth to respond, however he found himself interrupted by a solidifying within the Force.
"I'm not a whore," said Anakin, meeting his eyes directly.
The strength of his gaze left Obi-Wan breathless.
There it is.
The spirit, the fight, the passion, all that Obi-Wan was taken in by the day he first saw Anakin on that slave platform; the passion that seemed to wane during his confused first days of not being owned anymore, that diminished while he spent months trying to find himself; the passion that always stayed just beneath the surface. But it was there. That glowing strength he had seen was back. And it was stunning.
"No," he agreed, unequivocally. "You're not."
You're more than that, Anakin. So much more.