Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by George Lucas. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: I normally don't write anything light-hearted and cheerful, but I wanted to have a bit of fun. I was bored. Boredom creates the strangest fics... Enjoy! And thanks to my readers and reviewers in advance!
OF THUNDERSTORMS AND RAIN-DANCING
Tip, tap, tip, tap.
The pitter-patter of rain against the window-pane was a comfort to some, an annoyance to others, and a relief to most gardeners and nerf herders in the galaxy. For Anakin, it was something out of a horror holo-vid.
The blood-curtling scream echoed through the halls of the Jedi Temple, waking up everyone in the general vacinity (or at least everyone housed in the West Wing). Lights flickered on in adjacent rooms, and muttering and whispers could be heard through the walls, but Anakin was oblivious to his surroundings.
He sat up in bed and stared at the window with wide eyes. Water (which might as well be acid), trickled down the glass pane, threatening to seep into his room and devour him. Anakin had never seen anything like it. Sure, he had nearly died in a pod race a time or two, and he had dealt with door-to-door Jawa salesmen and rabid Tusken Raiders, but none of that could have possibly prepared him for this.
Thunder clapped in the distance, followed by the crackle of lightning. The sky outside of his window changed from a mellow, pale blue color to bright violet in less than an instant.
Anakin threw back the covers with a terrified cry, jumping out of bed and flying past the window before Lightning could so much as think about striking again. He flung open the door to his bedroom in a desperate attempt at escape...
only to crash into his new roommate, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Anakin had never seen Obi-Wan at night, and the older man looked a mess. His spiky brown hair stuck out in numerous directions, he had a nasty case of bed-hair, and his robe had been hastily thrown on, probably to hide his half-nakedness from his new Padawan. Anakin found that rather amusing... but he wasn't about to think about it now. The rain! It was going to murder them both before he even got the chance to tell Obi-Wan how ridiculous he looked!
The boy gestured wildly, pointing at the window with an expression of mingled fear and border-line insanity on his face. Obi-Wan's eyes followed Anakin's. The older man stared at the window without blinking, unphased. How could he be so calm? They were about to die, and he stood there with his arms crossed, nonchalantly observing the situation. Why wasn't he doing something?
"Look!" cried Anakin, flailing his arms. "Look at the window! Oh, Force, please! Save me! Save me!"
His running about the room in a crazed frenzy didn't seem to have any affect on Obi-Wan either. The man remained in the doorway, watching Anakin's performance in amusement.
"Anakin, it's only rain."
"Rain? Oh, Force! Oh, Force! Oh, for the love of the Force!"
"Oh, stop that! A little rain isn't going to hurt you." Obi-Wan was suddenly serious. He grabbed Anakin by the collar of his nightshirt just as the boy was about to crawl under the bed. "I assure you, rain is nothing to be afraid of."
Anakin had never seen rain in his life. He had been desert-bred, living on the barren planet of Tatooine since before he could remember. He had never even heard of rain until just recently, when he had read about it in one of Master Yoda's books on "Planetary Observations". It had been a rather dull read, and "rain" was the only interesting topic it had included, but Anakin remembered nonetheless. The pictures in the book had been very frightening. A Rodian standing in the middle of a bantha pasture, struck by lightning. A "tornado" sucking up an entire village. Yoda had assured him that the author had simply been exaggerating the "dangers of ignoring thunderstorm warnings", but Anakin didn't believe that.
"Nothing to be afraid of? Look at it! Look! If it breaks through the window, I'll get sucked up! You'll never see me again!" Anakin moved his hand in a sweeping motion. "Swoosh! Just like that, sucked up through the window!"
"Rain does not suck children out through their windows, Anakin."
Anakin brightened up a bit at this news. Obi-Wan sounded sincere. The older man probably knew more about rain that Anakin did. He had lived with it his entire life, and he was still alive. He hadn't been sucked up... yet.
"Tornadoes do, but rain most certainly does not."
Relief fled from Anakin's face instantly. His blue eyes widened once more, and he ran a hand through his hair frantically, screaming and pointing at the window.
"Tore-neigh-dough! Tore-neigh-dough! There's a tore-neigh-dough! Tore-neigh-UMPH!"
Obi-Wan clapped a hand over the boy's mouth to cut him off. "Shush! Do you want to wake up the whole temple?"
Anakin shook his head.
"No more yelling. Understood?"
Anakin nodded, eyes still the size of saucers. "I shwear to the Forsh!"
"Alright, then." Obi-Wan removed his hand, and Anakin inhaled dramatically, as if his Master had been suffocating him.
"That was almost as bad as the rain..."
Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, moving away from Anakin. He retreated to his previous position by the doorway, watching the boy from a distance. Anakin hated it when he did that. Sometimes he wondered if Obi-Wan disliked him, or if his Master was afraid he had some sort of contagious disease. This was the closest they had been since their return from Naboo.
It had been four weeks since Qui-Gon's death. It had been almost a month, and he and Obi-Wan had yet to have a simple conversation. Anakin was usually off studying with Master Yoda and the other initiates his age. He avoided his dry, humorless Master at all costs, even going so far as to dodge past him in the hallways and lock himself away in his room when he spent time in their quarters. Obi-Wan didn't seem to mind. He was off doing... well, whatever Jedi Knights do. Anakin never worried about him. Obi-Wan seemed to be dealing with Qui-Gon's death well enough, and he never tried to talk to his Padawan. Thinking he was anti-social and didn't want to be bothered, Anakin left it that way.
Until now. Obi-Wan had openly conversed with him. Granted, it was under special circumstances, but still.
"I think you'd better go back to bed."
Every hope Anakin had of ever getting to know Obi-Wan was dashed. The boy lowered his head shamefully, allowing his new Padawan braid to flop uselessly over his shoulder, hanging suspended near his face. He spun about on his heels and waddled toward his bed like a whipped child.
His face splitting into a grin, Anakin turned to face Obi-Wan once more. His rain-phobia was forgotten for the moment. "Yes?" he asked wryly, adding, "Master", as an after-thought.
"Are you all right?" It seemed like a random question, and Obi-Wan must have noticed that as well, for he coughed to clear his throat and explained himself. "I mean, the rain. Are you sure you don't need anything...?"
Obi-Wan scratched his head nervously. He wasn't very good at this whole "Master" thing. He hardly knew what to say to Anakin half of the time. "Oh, well, if you're sure you're all right, then I suppose I'll just--"
"Hold on, Obi-Wan!" Anakin stopped him just as his Master opened the door to leave. "Sorry. I meant "Master". I'm just not used to calling you that." Warmth slowly spread to his cheeks. Calling Obi-Wan by his first name was very disrespectful, but the older man didn't seem to notice.
"Don't worry. I keep doing the same thing."
"Master..." This next request was risky. "Would you mind staying with me? Just until I fall asleep again?"
For a moment Anakin believed Obi-Wan may turn around and walk out the door. The two of them stood in an awkward silence for what felt like hours, with Anakin anxiously nudging at the floor with his toe, before Obi-Wan finally said anything.
"Really? You would do that for me?"
"Uh... Well, yes, I suppose."
Anakin practically leapt on Obi-Wan. He grabbed him by the sleeve of his robe, dragging him away from the doorway, and Obi-Wan reluctantly followed.
"Thanks, Master! That's probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me! Well, besides that time Watto gave me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for staying after hours to clean his buzz droids... but I guess that doesn't really count, because the peanut butter was all chunky and gross, and I didn't even have time to finish my sandwich because he kicked me out of his shop, and there was a dust storm outside, so I had to throw it away and run home before I--"
"That doesn't sound very nice to me."
"Oh, it was nice. For Watto, at least. That was the first time he ever gave me anything besides a good 'ol kick in the butt."
Anakin led Obi-Wan to the wooden chair by his bed, forcing his Master to sit down while he crawled under the covers. Once he was safely snuggled in between his sheets and comforter, Anakin lay his head on the pillow and closed one eye, keeping the other on Obi-Wan lest he try and escape.
"I take it this "Watto" wasn't a generous person."
Anakin shook his head with a yawn. "No, not really. But I got used to it."
The silence was even worse than the rain. Anakin had always hated silence, but awkward silence was excrutiating. And it seemed that every time Obi-Wan was around, awkward silence ensued. His Master didn't appear to be a very talkative man. Sure, he talked with the other Jedi Knights on occasion, but never Anakin. He had talked with Qui-Gon, as well. Why not Anakin? Was something wrong with him?
"Master?" asked Anakin, flinching when thunder shook his bed.
"Is there something wrong with me?"
"No, of course not." Obi-Wan paused, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. "Why would you think that?"
"Well... it's just..." Anakin opened his other eye, looking Obi-Wan full in the face. How could he say this nicely? "It's just, you don't really seem to..." He shook his head. No. That was too blunt. "You don't really talk to me very much. Did I say something wrong before?"
"I don't dislike you, Anakin, if that's what you're getting at. I am just... unaccustomed to having a Padawan. Honestly, I wasn't quite ready to become a Jedi Knight myself. Qui-Gon's death was rather abrupt."
"No, there's no need to apologize. It wasn't your fault." Obi-Wan sighed, running a hand through his spiky, mishapen hair, and Anakin feared his Master may cry. "There was nothing you could do. There was nothing I could do. I've come to accept that."
Anakin reached up a hand to grasp his Padawan braid, twisting it sub-consciously. "I wish there was something I could do to make you feel better."
"Try not to worry about me. I'm perfectly all right." Obi-Wan chuckled softly, a noise that he'd hardly ever heard coming from his usually dull Master. "It's you I worry about. You and your blasted fear of rain."
"I'm not afraid anymore, Obi-- uh, Master. I'm over that now."
"Over it already?"
"I find that very unlikely."
"I'll prove it to you!" Anakin grinned from ear to ear. "Tomorrow morning I'll run outside and dance in the rain, and then you'll see that I'm not scared. You'll have to promise not to tell your Jedi Knight friends about this. They'll laugh at me. So you have to promise! If I run around and dance in the rain, we'll forget this ever happened. Alright?"
"I swear to the Force!"
Obi-Wan smiled, a true, genuine smile, ruffling Anakin's short hair with a laugh. "Alright, then. I hold you to that promise."
So Obi-Wan did have a sense of humor? That was nice to know.
"It'll be just like that time on Tatooine, with me and Kleft-Toe and Wafer. They were going to blackmail me with this picture they took of me in my Nerf Herder underwear, but I fixed their pod and they burned that picture. Of course, they ended up taking another one, but that's beside the point..."
They sat there a moment longer, comforted by the silence, until Anakin yawned and murmured a quiet, "goodnight", closing his eyes and welcoming sleep.
Obi-Wan had nearly fallen asleep himself. When he felt Anakin's Force-signature steadily slowing, he stood from his chair, placing a hand tenderly on the boy's forehead before turning away from the bed and heading toward the door. Once he reached the doorway, he looked back one last time.
It was the first time Obi-Wan had ever called him "Padawan". Anakin smiled and drifted into a state of sub-conscious dreaming.
The next morning was bright and sunny, much to Anakin's displeasure.