Anakin let out a relieved sigh as he bucked himself into his ship. Leaning his head back against the headrest, he closed his eyes briefly and tried to let the tension slip from his body. The familiar scent of metal and leather eased his strain a little, melting away the uneasiness that the Temple and the Jedi had made him feel. He doubted he would be entirely successful until he left Coruscant far behind though. Lightspeed couldn't get him back to Bandomeer fast enough.
His consoles lit up green and he had the go-ahead to take the ship out. He felt like he was on autopilot navigating through the skies. Finally breaking atmosphere further broke the tense line of his shoulders. Connecting to the hyper drive rings eased the churning in his gut, and seeing the stars change from a billion pin pricks of light to shooting past him at unfathomable speeds made him want to weep. He felt the heat burning in his eyes as he stared out the cockpit canopy in front of him.
On the other side of the hyperspace drop, Obi-Wan was waiting for him. Waiting back in their little house on the hill. It was more likely than him remaining in the Healers' Ward at any rate. If they really had treated his illness and he was on the mend, he would be nowhere near the place if he could be on his own. And if the Healers on Bandomeer had come clean to him the same way the Jedi had to Anakin, then Obi-Wan would have left to be by himself even sooner.
You knew the whole time then, didn't you Mi'aka? You gave him that shot. Anakin closed his eyes against the thought. It wasn't something he wanted to be true but… she was a Jedi. The Council would have had to tell her what was going to happen. And she did it, despite being someone Obi-Wan considered a friend, she'd still… Anakin couldn't believe that she hadn't known. As much as he hoped she hadn't, in his heart he knew. Obi-Wan's not close to many people…that betrayal is going to sting.
Anakin sighed and rubbed at his forehead. He felt run down. Exhausted. Like all of the anger he had expended between Dejiak and Windu now left him empty and hollow. But most of all, he was disappointed, and that disappointment ran bone deep, aching and dull.
What happened to the Jedi?
All of the stories he heard growing up were of heroic warriors of light who fought injustice and saved the galaxy. But where were they when the galaxy was suffering? Why did they leave the Outer Rim territories to fend for themselves? Why did they throw away potential Initiates and then use them for their own ends later on?
He didn't understand any of it, and probably never would.
I hope Windu was sincere, he thought, I really hope they're changing for the better.
Absent-mindedly his hand briefly fell to his pocket; the curve of the flexi Windu had given him was still safely tucked there, along with her holo.
Mom… Mom, I'll see you soon.
His body felt weightless when he thought about it. His chest tightened and fluttered at the same time, and the knowledge that he had her so close now brought him close to tears. He was afraid that he was going to be an utter mess when he finally saw her again. Anakin could only hope that he was able to get the words out before he broke down in her arms. He knew he was going to do it too. As soon as she knew it was him, he was going to hold onto her and never let go. Ten years worth of pain and loneliness, of heartbreak and hopelessness, was finally going to end the minute she held him again. He would finally get closure and answers.
Anakin smiled to himself. He couldn't wait to introduce her to Obi-Wan. If it hadn't been for him getting Anakin off Tatooine none of it would have been happening. He wouldn't have found himself again, never would have found his mother, never would have come in contact with the Jedi. Dejiak…might have still lived, he might have succeeded in buying Anakin - but only for a matter of time. Either he'd be dead or Anakin would be. Anakin would have freed himself from that life one way or another.
Closing his eyes, Anakin waited to re-emerge from hyperspace.
Walking through the AgriBuilding's hangar bay felt strange to him. It felt like he had been gone for years rather than just a few short days (the majority of which he had spent unconscious). So much had changed in such a short amount of time; most of it were the changes in himself. He felt different. He was different. Whether it was from the Jedi's betrayal, Dejiak's death, killing a Sith to save Windu, or finding his mother, he couldn't say – though he expected it was all of them.
Anakin strode towards the Healers' Ward, though his gut told him Obi-Wan was not going to be there, he still had to check. He didn't want to go back to their house only to find himself there alone. He had to confirm that Obi-Wan had indeed been released.
The sterile smell of the ward hit him as he walked through the doors. Obi-Wan often complained about the smell, it brought back too many memories of his many visits as a youngling. His steps took him to the room Obi-Wan had previously occupied and he was relieved to find the bed empty.
He glanced down the hall to see Mi'aka approaching him slowly. "He left yesterday."
"He always hated the Healers' Ward."
"Well… now with even more reason," she said. She dropped her head for a moment, and then looked up at him expectantly. "They told you?"
"Yeah," said Anakin. "They did." He waited for the old anger to come back now that he was face to face with her, but nothing came.
A muscle in her jaw jumped. I didn't want this to happen-"
"But it did."
"Are you angry?"
Anakin sighed. He couldn't blame her for asking. He'd developed a reputation of getting into fights over Obi-Wan. And what the Jedi did was far worse than the rumours and whispers of the AgriCorps.
"I think I burnt out all my anger on Windu. Looking at you now, I'm just numb."
And he was. He looked at her and he felt nothing. Had she ever really been a friend to them? He didn't know. It was probably real to Obi-Wan at least, he had to concede, but not having any true friends growing up himself it wasn't that hard to dismiss. I trusted you. He blinked the thought away.
"Obi-Wan couldn't even look at me," she said. "I didn't agree with the Council. I didn't want to go through with it, but that doesn't excuse the fact that I did. I betrayed your trust – both of you. Anakin, I'm sorry."
There were so many things he could say to her and so many ways he could react, but none of them he wanted to consider. She sounded sincere enough, and for years she had been Obi-Wan's friend. The Council had pit friendship over duty, and with everything Obi-Wan had told him about the Jedi, he found that he couldn't blame her for choosing to follow the Council's orders. He'd seen first hand how indoctrinated Obi-Wan still was and he hadn't finished his training. Mi'aka had. He would never know what kind of decision it was for her. If it came easy or if she'd tried to stand up for them but failed. He could ask, but what he told her was true: standing there with her he felt numb. The entire situation made him feel like he was watching it happen from an outsider's perspective even though he'd been the one to live through it.
"Is there anything I need to know about Obi-Wan's condition?"
Her shoulders sagged but she shouldered herself back up as any other Jedi would. Shoring her emotions and giving Anakin what he needed.
"He's still a bit weak, and still tired," said Mi'aka. "But he'll steadily improve over the upcoming days. Make sure he eats and stays hydrated, rest would also be good for him."
Anakin nodded. "Thanks."
She nodded her head to him in return and left. He watched her go with an unsettled feeling in his stomach, rolling uneasily as he thought about the damage the Council had done to all of them.
The tension that Anakin carried with him since Coruscant finally seemed to drain out of him once he stepped out of the hover vehicle in front of Obi-Wan's home. He could feel the knots bleed out of his back and neck, a peace coming over him that he had sorely missed. This tiny home and the man inside it were everything to him, and his relief that Obi-Wan was safe was palpable. All he wanted was to walk inside and wrap himself up in Obi-Wan.
Chiming the door, he let it slide open to admit him inside. There was a bit of disarray but even with Obi-Wan sick it was still neat, the cups and bowls were stacked but not yet done, the heap of blankets on the couch were in some semblance of order, as if someone had tried to fold them properly before rightly giving up. Anakin snorted at the vacuum bot as it went droning by dragging a sock behind it like a cape. He conceded that it was a quirk he was probably never going to be able to get rid of.
Reaching for the bot, he picked it up and dislodged the stuck sock from its mechanism. Anakin swore the sound it made was almost sad before he set it down and let it resume it's vacuuming.
"I think I'm going to call you S0-X."
The bot beeped at him and went hummingly on its way.
"I definitely accidentally made you sentient somehow…"
Anakin shook his head and locked the door behind him. Hanging up his outer robe, he made his way to Obi-Wan's room. Though really, now that he thought about it – was really on its way to becoming their room. Slowly but surely, he had been migrating not only himself but some clothes of his into Obi-Wan's room in the short time he'd started invading Obi-Wan's bed. He could see one of his own robes lying across the chair in the bedroom and little knickknacks were gathered on the night table ready for Anakin to tinker with before falling asleep.
Allowing himself a small smile, Anakin made his way further into the room and stared down fondly at Obi-Wan's sleeping form in the middle of the bed. He was still drawn and pale, but was far healthier than the last time Anakin saw him. Sitting down beside him, Anakin ran his thumb gently over Obi-Wan's cheek. The beard was new.
Anakin lay down on the bed, and careful not to jostle Obi-Wan awake, Anakin wrapped his arms around Obi-Wan and pulled him as close as he dared. Nuzzling his nose into Obi-Wan's hair he inhaled and let himself fully relax, falling fully into the first natural rest he had since leaving.
The aches and pain of illness that he'd become accustomed to no longer woke him from sleep. Obi-Wan still felt sluggish and bit run down, but he could tell that any lingering sickness was dissipating. The first few days he'd been home, he'd made a home for himself on the couch due to its proximity to the kitchen, fewer steps to take while he mended. He'd finally convinced himself he felt well enough to climb into a proper bed last night and upon waking he did feel much more restful. And warm. Also not as alone as he'd been when he'd fallen asleep.
Blinking open tired eyes, it took a moment for him to realize he was being held and an even longer moment for his heart to catch up and realize he was looking at Anakin's sleeping face. Reaching out a hand, Obi-Wan smiled and brushed a curl back from Anakin's forehead and ran his thumb down along the left side of his face. He was really there. He was back. Obi-Wan cupped Anakin's face and stroked his cheek.
"Anakin." He called, gently. "Anakin, wake up."
Anakin hummed and started to shift. Obi-Wan couldn't take his eyes off him, watching him wake was like watching the sunrise. The quiet, nuanced beauty climbing the horizon, scattering the dark and lighting up the world. Anakin's small movements, the sigh on his lips, his bright blue eyes opening and the slow, beautiful spread of his smile. He lit up Obi-Wan's world.
"Good morning, Anakin."
Anakin's grin was the only warning he got before being pulled into a tight, all-encompassing hug. Obi-Wan closed his eyes and melted into Anakin's arms, before returning the hug full force, with as much energy as he had to spare; to have him in his arms again, after what felt like an eternity without him made everything else fall away. Nothing else was as important as this bright, beautiful young man who had found his way back to him.
Burrowing his face into Anakin's neck, he jumped as Anakin jerked away from him with a laugh.
"That tickles," Anakin said, eyes crinkling and filled with warmth. "You grew a beard."
Obi-Wan snorted. "Not by choice. This is what happens when I don't shave in a few days. I'll gladly take it off once-"
"No, I… I think I like it." Anakin ran his hand over Obi-Wan's cheek enjoying the scratch of his whiskers against Anakin's skin. "I think I really like it."
Anakin's eyes held soft fondness, and the brief way they dropped to his mouth was the only warning he got as Anakin pressed their lips together and sighed into his mouth. His whole body went lax, just completely and utterly fluid in Obi-Wan's arms. Obi-Wan tightened his arms and pulled Anakin into him as close as he could. He pressed his dry lips softly against Anakin's plush mouth giving him small, short kisses. Anakin wrapped a hand around the back of his neck and pulled him closer still, sucking deeper wet kisses into his mouth.
Anakin curled his leg over Obi-Wan's hip and drew him in tight to his body. They were pressed firmly together, warm under the cocoon of blankets. Obi-Wan shivered and pressed harder into him, a leg unconsciously coming to rest between Anakin's own. With a startled 'oh', Obi-Wan realized they were both slowly on their way to becoming hard.
"I missed you," said Anakin. His movements against Obi-Wan were slow, unhurried. "Is this okay?"
A small nod of his head, and a kiss to Anakin's lips was Obi-Wan's only answer. Anakin sighed into his mouth. There was nothing desperate about their movements, nothing fast. Just a slow, gentle glide against each other, their mouths hardly leaving the others; it was soft gasps, and stolen breaths, a tender meeting of their tongues. It was Anakin discovering that he loved the brush of Obi-Wan's whiskers against his lips, the pleasant scratch that he could already imagine trailing down his body. Release, when it came, took them both by surprise. So caught up in each other, the pleasant heady buzz of reunion, that when it came they were unprepared.
Panting lightly, they both stared at each other, a hand brushed through curls, a thumb gliding over lips -touching and memorizing.
They knew they had to talk. About a lot of things and they would. But right then - in that small, single moment of theirs – everything was perfect.
Anakin smiled at him bright and beautiful and pulled Obi-Wan in for another kiss.
"Welcome home," Obi-Wan murmured, before Anakin consumed him entirely.
A/N: Thank you for your amazing patience and amazing support. We're getting there. Slowly but surely, we're getting there!