Obi-Wan was the first to break eye contact.
The Imperial officers had arrived and the commander, a humanoid of middle years, was already speaking, voice hurried and his apprehension ringing clear and bright in the Force. But all Obi-Wan heard was the white noise of his own madly pumping heart.
Re-engage, Kenobi. He blinked a few times to augment the process and finally took stock of the small company. Five men. All of them physically still in contrast to their wildly oscillating emotions. Obviously well trained, though two of the less active men were breathing nosily, laboured breaths unnaturally loud in the still hangar. Their exhalations were visible in the air, a visual reminder of the frigid temperature. Not that he needed further reminders. The occasional draughts of recycled air that swirled around his bare legs was confirmation enough. Obi-Wan shivered minutely, trying to suppress the natural functions of his body.
He also kept his head raised, neck screaming even louder at the continued torment. He paid particular attention to the commander, ignoring the ache and consigning it to the 'attend to later' pile that already housed his sprained wrist and sliced feet. The important thing was to prioritise, because there might not be another opportunity to judge the type of people that Chancellor Palpatine was trusting to run his new Empire.
He took in small details, such as the stain on the left officer's shoe and the naked, entirely unhealthy interest the officer at the back showed him. Small details that his mind was quick to shove aside in favour of what it considered more pressing.
He called you his son. The words were not spoken out of spite. There is more to this than simple vengeance. Vader is conflicted. What was it Master Yoda said?
Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
Wise words, and yet Anakin had only taken the first step on the path to the Dark Side, and he was already diverging. Obi-Wan's continued existence was proof of that. The Dark Side was obviously not as swift a moral alignment as the archives led him to believe. First hand evidence being an indisputable thing. There is hope. Not all paths run straight and true, some wind, some diverge; some change course and others simply dwindle to nothing. There is hope, Kenobi. Hope.
There is hope, in you.
Obi-Wan started at the last line, because it was not his own. Of those left, who had the power to use telepathy at great distances? Master Yoda?
Gathering the Force he reached out but only encountered silence. Hello? he projected feeling faintly bashful. Dead space, with nothing but his own thoughts for company. Had he imagined it? No. His arrogance wasn't that great. Was it?
There is hope, in you.
Obi-Wan started again, eyes widening. There was something recognizable about the voice this time. Something familiar and warm. Could it be...?
"What is it?" Vader demanded tersely, breaking his concentration. To his chagrin he started a third time. Sith, he never used to be this jittery.
He shook his head in answer, suddenly aware of six sets of eyes focused solely upon him. He didn't wish to speak, was too conscious of his joke of a voice.
"Behave then!" Vader scolded.
Obi-Wan felt the colour rise to his cheeks despite his efforts to fan back the flames of embarrassment. It was immeasurably harder to observe the officers with his dignity thus compromised. The non-judgmental, sightless floor was so much easier on the eyes. Perhaps if he just listened for the time being? Sight was just one of the senses, after all. And one most likely to mislead.
Vader's speech was clipped and stony, unborn violence underpinning every syllable. The commander, in contrast, was speaking in conciliatory tones, enquiring after the success of the mission and asking after the performance of the Eta-2-Actis. One didn't need to be Force sensitive to sense Vader's darkness. The commander was walking a thin line between caution and friendliness. He was obviously a favourite of Chancellor Palpatine's, to talk to the Emperor's Right Hand with that level of confidence. Certainly not someone to be crossed lightly. Observe. Be quiet. Stay still, and learn what you can, Kenobi. There are advantages to being little.
"Lord Vader, I am afraid we missed your arrival because—"
"—You spent a ridiculous amount of time whizzing around the ship," Obi-Wan interjected, glancing up at Vader, before his gaze snapped to that of the commander's. "So you figured you had more time."
Judging by the dismayed face of the commander, he was right on target.
There was an expectant silence. The Imperial officers a step behind the commander, eagerly waited, like Gundarks seizing up potential prey. Interesting to see how quick they were to turn on their own superior officer. That could be exploited, later.
Obi-Wan was waiting too. Just what would Vader do? He'd been warned not to speak and certainly not to show him up. Did the latter qualify? What happened to be quiet? He almost cringed as Vader drew him tighter to his side. "This is my son, Obi-Wan."
One of the officers gasped.
Obi-Wan tensed, the revelation (for it was still that) shocking him into alertness, the sleep slipping from him with all the ease of a cloak slipping from one's shoulders just before combat. Obi-Wan felt his earlier focus return, but the fatigue still lingered at the edge of his awareness – a reminder that this was merely a reprieve, and one with repercussions. When he finally succumbed to exhaustion the effects would be all the quicker and more powerful for the delay. There was always a price to be paid. That was the nature of energy. The adrenalin that flooded his system would only further tax his system, making the end toll pricier.
It was completely unexpected. Obi-Wan had naturally assumed that his presence would be explained away or for no mention to be made of it. Surely, Chancellor Palpatine had not authorised this? Secrecy had seemed such a necessity given his Jedi status that he hadn't even thought to question what story would be given upon disembarkation.
Obi-Wan had this to say for the commander. He was quick to recover. The name was famous throughout the galaxy, even sans the surname, and someone in such a high position would certainly be familiar with it. Obi-Wan fancied he could see the cogs in his head turning.
"Hello, young man," the commander said brightly, abruptly kneeling down to address Obi-Wan, and broadly smiling, though it didn't reach his eyes, which were shrewd and intelligent. Assessing.
Obi-Wan felt his lips thin at the unimaginable slight. He had thought it intolerable to be talked down to by Vader, but this was unaccountably worse. He was simply struck speechless, and could even feel his eyes widening. This would not do at all. This was not happening. None of his Jedi training was helping. This had never come up in all his years as a padawan, knight and master. Just. What? How did...?
Obi-Wan was saved from trying to answer by Vader's intervention. "Did I give you permission to speak to him?"
Immediately the commander straightened, fear spiking. "I'm sorry, Lord Vader. I didn't mean to assume that—"
"Your attempts to curry favour are transparent." The temperature in the hangar noticeably dropping. "Have co-ordinates set for Naboo and have the ship depart as soon as possible."
"As you wish, Lord Vader," he said with a curt bow, before departing with his men, his back straight but his fear still resonating through the Force long after he'd departed.
Obi-Wan looked back up at Vader. "I wonder what Chancellor Palp—"
"Emperor, Obi-Wan. Don't be so bold. No one with half a brain would call him that now."
"Emperor," Obi-Wan mused, as if testing out the title on his tongue. "I suppose it beats calling him master."
"Careful, Obi-Wan," Vader warned, the darkness that now defined him growing stronger. The air growing thick with anger.
"Tell me, Vader," Obi-Wan persisted, heedless of the gathering storm clouds. "Is your master aware of your little trip to pick me up?"
"It doesn't matter," Vader replied, sounding unsure for the first time. "He will grant me this, for failing to deliver his promise."
Obi-Wan sensed new loss. Pain.
"Pad—ahhh." Voice cut short by the sudden Force Choke.
Obi-Wan broke away from his attacker, and stumbled to his knees, hands clawing at his throat, in a panicked attempt to negate the hold. He sensed the deadly intent behind the command, and it only increased his terror. This was nothing like the whisper soft pressure earlier. The child reared inside, mindlessly babbling and fuelling his panic.
Think, Kenobi. You know you can beat this. But with each second that passed, thinking became a great deal harder, as his brain was denied oxygen.
Accept it. There is no death, there is only the Force.
Obi-Wan struggled with his own teachings for a few seconds before he allowed his hands to go limp. He fell over onto his back and stopped moving, resigned to his fate. He would accept this, despite feeling strangely cheated.
He waited, with black encroaching upon his vision. The hangar ceiling was a military grey, fast darkening. R2-D2 was beeping furiously, the sound beginning to grow faint as the scales tipped in death's favour. All his senses shutting down in concert, his sight the only exception as it held on a little longer, faithfully transmitting the grey expanse of ceiling. Not really the last thing he desired to see before becoming one with the Force. A sunset would have been nicer, or his quarters in the Temple. Something beautiful or familiar. Not this.
Release. Everything came into focus at once, and the urge to sit up and gasp was upon Obi-Wan. He resisted the natural impulse and remained still and at peace, if only in body. Perhaps Vader's arm was just a tad tired? Yes, that had to be it.
Continuing to breath, however, was sadly unavoidable so Obi-Wan took in a small lungful of air, conscious of the dangers of taking too much oxygen in at once. Though he had no idea why it mattered given that a murderous Sith Lord was likely just struggling with a new Dark Side power. Any second now he expected a repeat assault. Perhaps Vader would last a little longer this time? Just enough to allow for a proper conclusion.
His lungs burned and his eyes began to water. Obi-Wan remained still, the cold hangar floor quickly eating into his damp skin. Sith, but he wanted to die warm, comfortable and content, preferably alone in his bed. He didn't want to die cold, uncomfortable and watched by hundreds of impersonal clones. Granted, it was not a very Jedi-like sentiment, and it was certainly one that he would never be so careless as to verbalise. It was a secret hope. One that Obi-Wan had harboured as the war dragged on interminably. He was a Jedi; he went into battle fully cognizant of the risks and was always willing to sacrifice life and limb in the pursuit of peace. But he was, at heart, a gentle man who chose words over swords whenever possible. A quiet scholar, who looked forward to retirement from active duty, and a position teaching diplomacy or manning the extensive archives after Jocastu Nu's retirement. And here was the manner of his death, mocking his last moments.
"Obi-Wan?" The voice hesitant, fearful.
Speaking would expend far too much energy. It was also sure to hurt.
"Answer me, Obi-Wan!"
Ah well. Raw throat be damned. I don't think much to your stamina, Obi-Wan thought wryly. "How do you manage it?" he rasped out instead because it was unwise to make allusions to Vader's prowess in the bedroom, especially with the status of Padmé and the baby still unknown. He wanted to ask after their safety more than ever after sensing Vader's grief, but as his aching throat proved, they were obviously a taboo topic. What kind of loss was it? he wondered. Had Padmé commandeered the ship he'd stowed aboard? Was she right at this minute fleeing the Empire? Wisely opting to run away from her husband-turned-monster? Or was she dead, the child dead with her?
Footsteps closing in on his position. R2-D2 still whistling. "Manage what?"
Obi-Wan shifted a little to keep his circulation going. "The sudden mood shifts must be exhausting."
A chuckle and the rustle of cloth. The thoroughly boring ceiling replaced by something interesting at last. Obi-Wan looked up into his captor's face. "There you go again. Fear. Anger. Amusement. All in the space of a few seconds."
A flash of irritation. "It's called feeling. You should try it sometime."
Obi-Wan lifted his right arm, and waved it around for emphasis, his fingertips beginning to turn blue, whether from the low temperature or shock he couldn't tell. Perhaps a combination? "I'm cold and tired, Vader. This blasted floor is freezing! I feel that. Now, finish what you started."
His sight was starting to dim again, the edges of his vision darkening. Clearly this body was incapable of taking further damage, which was why he opted to break away from polite etiquette to get his two credits in before losing consciousness."If you'd be so kind, I'd prefer you finished it with a lightsaber." Please, don't make me explain why.
Obi-Wan really wanted to bring a hand to his face then. But the absence of his precious beard forbade such an action. The itch to bite his bottom lip flared up again, but Obi-Wan ruthlessly batted it down, despite the growing urge to find a physical expression for his pain. He wetted his cracked lips, tasting copper. "Oh, I don't know, the plasma energy might warm me up a little."
A sudden palm on his forehead. Warm and blistered, and also ridiculously large. Is my head that small? "You're not well, Obi-Wan. I'll get you to our quarters quickly."
The warmth at his forehead only served to exaggerate how cold the rest of him really was. Obi-Wan shivered afresh, being unable to hold back the tremors any longer.
Vader reacted predictably; face tightening in worry before he scooped Obi-Wan into his arms. There was a lesson there, somewhere. Something that could be used to his advantage, if he could only think what.
Obi-Wan resented the familiarity and thrashed weakly. "I'm not your ..." he cringed from saying the actual word. "I'm not that. Stop."
Vader responded by tightening his grip, holding Obi-Wan firmly to his chest, until the small rebellion ran its course. It didn't last long. Obi-Wan was tired, his left wrist was no help at all and a small part of him welcomed the warmth. The 'clone' part that he really needed to name, to enable him to lay proper blame in future.
In no time at all, Obi-Wan's body was pressed against Vader's damp tunics, nose squashed against his collarbone and his left wrist protectively clutched to his chest as he drifted off to sleep.
"A second tantrum, already?" Vader softly scolded as he strolled from the hangar.
Obi-Wan definitely had a smart answer to that, but sleep was a strong siren, and he mumbled groggily, shifting slightly in an effort to get comfortable. If he was going to have no say in the matter, then he most certainly wasn't going to martyr himself by increasing his physical discomfort. That would benefit no one.
Vader's quarters on the Exactor were suitably grand and opulent. However, the colour scheme wasn't exactly befitting a Lord of the Sith, an observation Obi-Wan couldn't help making as he was carried in, snugly ensconced in said Sith Lord's arms.
Vader laughed. "Would you prefer black, Obi-Wan?"
"Oh no," Obi-Wan said with forced cheer. "I like the beige and blue."
"Good," said Vader depositing Obi-Wan onto one of the brown leather sofas that littered the area. "'Cause you'll have to live with it a lot of the time. Stay there," he warned, before moving to one of the three doors that lined the right side of the room.
Obi-Wan was tempted to disobey on principle. He wasn't a youngling, to be ordered around. Yet, rebellion had to be carefully administered. Besides which, he had the niggling fear that such a churlish act would further confirm Vader's conviction. And really, Vader had plenty of ammunition already. No, better to remain seated at present.
The sitting room was well heated and housed no less than three sofas and two armchairs, strategically placed in a semi-circle presumably to accommodate informal meetings. The lighting strips in the ceiling were turned low, to complement the few standing lamps that dotted the circular area, their shades a tasteful cream. Obi-Wan sat back against the maroon cushions, grateful that his tunic had dried. Now at last, he could finally get warm. With little else to do, he attempted to survey the room in greater detail.
Directly across from him sat an identical high backed sofa, a black cloak carelessly thrown over the top. Behind it, a huge floor to ceiling viewing window stretched from one end of the sitting room to the other. The line of transparisteel broken by a large holoprojecter in the far left corner, a few holovids carelessly scattered around it.
A bunch of datapads were also stacked haphazardly on a low table by the sofa, fighting for space alongside a few used cups, rims stained brown with coffee.
"I see the Dark Side hasn't improved his tidiness," Obi-Wan muttered fondly, with a forgetful smile that quickly died as memory reasserted itself. With a pang, he wished he had someone to share his observation with. The old Anakin would no doubt have scowled, pretending offence, though the mischievous gleam in his eyes would betray his true feelings. Obi-Wan sighed, resolved to end this depressing line of thought before he lost himself to memory.
The growing niggle at the nape of his neck proved a nice distraction. Obi-Wan scratched at the top of his tunic, noting how the coarse and scratchy material was irritating his skin. He frowned. The cloth was little different from his Jedi robes, so why the discomfort? Ah, but then you forget that this skin isn't hardened by long campaigns in all weathers, and the natural aging process. This skin is new, Kenobi. Soft and untried. Like you in this situation.
Intrigued, he reached out with his good hand and experimentally rubbed at the skin on his legs, feeling faintly ridiculous. The skin was indeed soft and smooth, though goose pimpled. Obi-Wan quickly returned his hand to his lap, dismayed at the further proof of his switch in bodies. The fact that his toes didn't reach the edge of the seat wasn't helping, either. Sith, what a predicament.
The short nap had also done little to alleviate his fatigue. His eyelids were growing increasingly heavy, and the warm air only served to aid his sleepiness. I could use some coffee now, he thought, eyeing the stained cups with longing.
Assured that he was alone for the present, he yawned widely, arms outstretched in an effort to dispel the traces of lingering sleep. And, if he was honest with himself, he also did it because the action was pleasurable.
The sofa certainly was comfy. Obi-Wan rested his eyes briefly, and relaxed further into the cushions.
And that was how he remained until a hand gently shook his shoulder. Obi-Wan groaned, turning so that his face was pressed into the expensive cushions.
"Cute. But I need you awake for this."
Obi-Wan snuggled deeper into the sofa, the words indecipherable in his sleep fogged mind.
Another shake, this one rougher. Obi-Wan turned his head, one sleep encrusted eye blinking open.
Sith! Obi-Wan battled back his alarm, as he peered at the large figure casting him in shadow.
"Your wrist needs healing," Vader said matter-of-factly.
Obi-Wan ran a hand through his hair in irritation, heart racing from the shock of being gently awakened by a Sith Lord. "Why bother?" he bit out. "You'll only harm me again."
As soon as the words were spoken, he regretted them. Such a hasty retort was more befitting a padawan than a master. The regret must have shown too, because Vader only responded with a tight grin, before kneeling next to the sofa. Damn the ingenuity of this face!
"You'll have to start behaving then, won't you?" he chided, tapping Obi-Wan's leg for emphasis. "Naughty children have to be punished." Tone equal parts amused and indulgent.
Obi-Wan really wanted to disappear into the cushions then. He settled for holding his wrist out instead, hoping to get this particular charade over with quickly, if he couldn't have his first wish.
Vader's grip was firm and lacking gentleness. Obi-Wan anticipated the pain, and allowed none of his hurt to show as his wrist protested the rough treatment. It was such a little injury, after all.
Vader closed his eyes in concentration. Obi-Wan felt the shift in his regard, and glanced down at the discoloured skin peeking out from between Vader's fingers. Slowly, the purplish blue morphed into a greenish yellow, as the process of healing accelerated. The act itself left Obi-Wan feeling inadequate. He could heal himself; he thought indignantly, his mouth partway open to protest as much, when Vader spoke. "All done. I healed your feet too. That wasn't too hard, was it?"
And so he had. Obi-Wan had been so caught up in his own thoughts that he'd failed to see the process to its conclusion.
"You can let go now."
A look of hurt passed across Vader's face, his grip slackening. "Why so cold?"
"I should think that was self evident. What are you trying to achieve?"
Vader relinquished his arm, and glanced away. "We can be a family," he repeated softly, though Obi-Wan sensed his frustration with the direction in which the conversation was headed. Did his delusion really run that deep? Did he really believe it was going to be a simple case of heal and make up? Had he watched too many melodramas in his youth?
Obi-Wan drew his legs up, and rested his hands on his knees in preparation for further aggression. It was a small measure, but it had the effect of diminishing his increasing feelings of vulnerability.
"No. No, we cannot," he began firmly. "Our family lies dead in the Temple. Where you left them." He tried to keep the accusation from his voice. He tried to keep his tone neutral, because the words themselves were explosive enough, but his grief betrayed him. And all the pain and blame bled through in defiance of his wishes.
Much like the yellow that began to bleed into Vader's eyes. Obi-Wan tensed, braced for an eruption, though it didn't still his tongue. "Is the truth too difficult for you?"
"Don't make me hurt you."
"It's too late for that. Not everything is as easily fixed as a sprained wrist. Are you going to heal a crushed trachea too? A snapped spine? A haemorrhaging heart? I'm not one of your machines, Vader. If you carry on like this you will kill me."
"No," Vader denied, shaking his head, "I won't. I promise not..." But his voice petered away, his words as weightless as leaves blowing in the breeze.
Did he finally realise the futility of promising what the Dark Side, in all its malevolence, would disallow? This much was certain, Anakin would no longer have his back in a fight. Or any arena in life.
"It will consume you completely, if you let it," Obi-Wan said into the silence.
Vader's head snapped back around to glare at Obi-Wan. "You don't know the power of the Dark Side!"
"You're right," Obi-Wan conceded calmly, trying for control. "And I don't wish to either. Have you looked in a mirror recently? Can you hear yourself? You sound intoxicated. This isn't you. This is," he rubbed at his face, struggling to continue. "You are not the Anakin I knew."
"You're right. I'm more powerful now than I ever was. I'm not held back by some stupid code any longer. I did the galaxy a favour. I'm going to bring peace to my new Empire."
"How much longer will you cling to fantasy? It cannot save you from your actions. Peace isn't worth having if it can only be achieved through the murder of innocents."
Vader stood abruptly, towering over Obi-Wan's small form. The air growing dense with anger. He stabbed the air with his index finger as he talked, voice deepening in authority. "You are never to mention Order 66 again. That topic is off limits."
Obi-Wan craned his neck upwards. "Order 66," he repeated. "Is that what you called the oper—?"
Crack! Obi-Wan's head snapped to the side from the force of the slap. Tears of pain pricking at his eyes.
"What did I just say? You had your chance, Master. You blew it! Let's see if I can do a little better."
"It's not a competition."
"I'm going to win this," Vader snarled. "You're going to love me the way a son should love a father."
"I did love you, Anakin," Obi-Wan said quietly, his cheek smarting.
"Not enough!" Vader exploded. "Not like a father should love a son!"
Obi-Wan covered his face. This was going to hurt, but what didn't now? "You can try to force it. You can try. But it will not come. Mustafar should have taught you that much."
Vader folded his arms, looking unimpressed. "I'm the teacher now, Obi-Wan. Now go use the 'fresher before bed."
Obi-Wan had had neither the energy nor inclination to use the refresher, so he'd used his brief time alone to gather his scattered thoughts. There were too many questions. A plethora of potentially dangerous topics to touch upon, and he had finally decided to risk one last enquiry before he dropped dead on his feet from exhaustion.
His body cried out for sleep, but his mind was still buzzing with a multitude of questions. The kind that made sleep restless and disturbed. Experience told him it was better to go without sleep, than to succumb to the toss and turn of a disrupted cycle. Obi-Wan had reasoned that he might rest easier with just the one answer. One answer was progress. He knew just what to ask too. It was a relatively safe question, one he considered neutral enough to venture asking.
Darth Vader waited in the spacious sitting room, long body sprawled on the only low backed sofa. The very picture of casual contentment. Evidently one could not always trust one's eyes as this picture lied.
"I've been meaning to ask you..." Why was this so difficult? Perhaps it was because he had to ask in the first place. When had he ever had to rely on Anakin for anything? Oh sure, Anakin had saved his life countless times, but this was completely different. This was information about himself. Information he should know by rights.
"Yeah?" Vader prompted, impatient at the long pause.
"How old am I?"
Vader smiled smugly. "I thought you told me that. Middle years wasn't it? Thirty Nine? Forty Two. I forget, anyway."
"I would like to know," Obi-Wan persisted, gaze unwavering and feet firmly planted on the carpet. There was the accompanying urge to plant his hands on his hips, but he resisted.
Vader uncrossed his legs and casually threw his arms behind the sofa. "There's a great many things I would like to know, too. But the galaxy is a cruel mistress."
"What do you want, Vader?" Obi-Wan asked wearily. He could all too clearly see where this was going. Was nothing free?
"You. On my lap. Now."
"You can't be serious."
Vader crossed his arms. "I guess you don't want to know as much as you say you do. Kids are never able to make up their minds."
Obi-Wan felt his insides crawl. It seemed pointless to ask again, but he did anyway. "Why are you doing this?"
"You never understood me, did you, Master?" Vader answered instead, rising from the sofa and stalking forwards.
Obi-Wan was unsure how long he was going to survive his mercurial temperament until he cracked himself. But he stood his ground, as Vader loomed over him, using his physical height alone as a means of intimidation.
"It's been a long time since I was your master, Anakin." The words were soft and sad. Obi-Wan hiding nothing of his feelings. Another wave of tiredness washing over his beleaguered body as he said it. The words alone acting to deflate him.
"Six point two years," Vader said quietly. "You were only in the tank a couple of days before I pulled you out. The growth rate was remarkable, something to do with your midi-chlorian count. I imagine they'd have cloned me in half the time."
"I see," Obi-Wan said, for lack of anything better to offer. Well at least he had one answer.
A few seconds passed as Obi-Wan tried to muster his old humour. "I think your timing was a little off," he said at last, knowing he'd missed the transport ship but needing to say it anyway to prove he was still Obi-Wan Kenobi, still the old Jedi Master of the dry humour, stiff upper lip and quick quip.
The truth is supposed to set you free, he reflected sadly. Yet, hearing it did the opposite. Obi-Wan felt smaller. He felt heavier too, though he was undoubtedly lighter now. Having the knowledge of his actual age was cold comfort in the end. The reality of his situation bearing down upon with an intensity that had been lacking at the facility.
Six years old, Kenobi. Six! You haven't even made double figures. Though you should have guessed as much before now. Force, help you. Six!
A chuckle. "You try so hard, don't you?"
Obi-Wan hung his head, finally lacking the strength to keep it lifted. Sith, but he'd never felt this tired in his entire life, and that was saying a lot given his exhausting career.
Vader dropped to his haunches, putting them almost, but not quite, at head height. "I'm putting you to bed now, Obi-Wan. Are you going to make this difficult?"
Obi-Wan didn't look up to meet his eyes. His body was becoming heavy, his thoughts sluggish.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you!" Vader shouted. The raw power of his shout blowing his fringe from his forehead.
Obi-Wan lifted his eyes in a compromise. "No. I..."
It was so hard to hold on. Obi-Wan knee's slowly buckled, the sensation of soft carpet on his legs a massive relief to his overtaxed body.
It would not be long now before he passed out. Desperately he tried to rally the Force, but he was either too tired to make a connection or the Force was being uncooperative again. Obi-Wan suspected the latter. Bugger!
He was certainly far too gone to resist the arms that lifted him into the air, lacking the strength to even offer up token resistance. And that was important, somehow, though the why of it was quite beyond recall.
Vader was speaking, but the words were delayed with Obi-Wan making sense of his sentences a short time after he heard them. "I haven't a room prepared just yet, so you'll sleep in my bed. I'll take the sofa."
"Mm, how..." Obi-Wan made an inarticulate sound after, head beginning to loll dangerously upon Vader's outstretched arms, until the Sith Lord tucked his head into the crook of his arm.
Obi-Wan distantly registered the warm hand at the small of his back holding him in place. Safe. Secure. Yet, not. That was his last impression as sleep staked its claim a third time.