Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars. I'm merely expressing my love for the fandom.
Lost and insecure, you found me. You found me, lying on the floor. – The Fray
It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt. - Tacitus
Anakin winced as Obi-Wan prodded the purple bruise gradually forming over his jaw. Face still flushed with anger, the Padawan breathed harshly though his nose, keeping his eyes fixed on a spot on the floor next to his Master's booted foot. The past hour or so hadn't been a happy one to say the least.
This wasn't the first time he'd been involved in a fight within the Temple's walls. As an initiate, he'd been in a fair few scrapes with his fellow padawans. A simple observation made by another student would spark something inside him and he would lash out. The Council and Obi-Wan, surprisingly, would let it slide and say it was because he wasn't used to the Temple's rules and regulations. He'd still get reprimanded but they understood that growing up on a planet like Tatooine would require a certain amount of self-defence and fighting spirit. It would simply take time for Anakin to learn to control himself.
However, as the years went by, the Council, and significantly, Obi-Wan, were becoming less and less lenient regarding his actions. There was no denying the young man was extremely talented in his abilities but his spontaneous behaviour and unprompted anger constantly held him back from being the Jedi they all knew he had the potential to be.
As far as Anakin was concerned, he seemed to think that he already surpassed all of his colleagues (and some of the Masters) at the tender age of seventeen. And that was the problem. Obi-Wan feared his Padawan's inflating ego would eventually be his downfall. Anakin loved to push the boundaries. On numerous occasions during their missions together, although none particularly dangerous, Anakin's curiosity would often get the better of him and he'd wander off claiming he was following "the will of the force". Obi-Wan would find him in places a seventeen-year-old Jedi Padawan definitely should not be. Bars, tattoo parlours, pod races, brothels…
Obi-Wan shuddered at the memory of that last one. He appreciates how intriguing such a place can be at seventeen but not whilst they were supposed to be settling a minor dispute on-planet. Obi-Wan had to practically drag Anakin out of there and refused to talk to him all the way home.
This time, however, Anakin's curiosity wasn't the problem. Once again, he had allowed his emotions to control him. Another Padawan who went by the name of Rocca had apparently made a comment about Anakin's background so, naturally, Anakin had launched himself at him, fists flying. Fortunately, a Knight had separated the two before any real damage could be done and marched them both straight to the Jedi Council.
Obi-Wan had been deep in meditation when he felt the burst of unconcealed anger and upset through the Force. Anakin. The nature of such emotions could only have come from his Padawan. He simply sighed and began to make his way to the Council room where his Padawan was undoubtedly waiting.
After a well-deserved berating from the Council, Obi-Wan had led Anakin straight to their quarters where he sat the young man down on the couch whilst he assessed the seriousness of his injury.
A bruise on his young Padawan's jaw, however, wasn't what worried the older Jedi.
Rising from his kneeled position on the floor, he glared at his apprentice.
He turned on his heel, walked into the refresher and went straight to the medpack. The first few fights Anakin had had, Obi-Wan had lectured Anakin endlessly on the proper behaviour expected of a Jedi. On one occasion, he had told Anakin to meditate with him for an hour every morning, noon and night. Obi-Wan knew Anakin had trouble releasing his emotions into the Force which is why he said they'd do it together. Anakin being Anakin, however, took this as an opportunity to accuse Obi-Wan of being patronizing and belittling.
As of late, it had become a routine. Obi-Wan would collect Anakin from whichever room or corridor he had disrupted, march him into their quarters and insist on an explanation. Contrary to his Padawan's belief, Obi-Wan didn't like scolding Anakin. He was a bright boy. His teachers were pleased at how quickly he was progressing with his studies. Obi-Wan had never doubted his ability with a lightsaber. Not to mention he was frighteningly gifted with anything mechanical. In truth, he was actually astounded at how quickly Anakin had adapted to the Jedi lifestyle. Anakin had most definitely come a long way from the awkward, nine-year-old he once was. But, much to Obi-Wan's frustration, when it seemed Anakin was on the right path to becoming a mature, settled Padawan learner, he would perform one of his theatrical stunts and they would have to start over.
Why couldn't Anakin just tell him what was wrong?
Obi-Wan put his forehead against the cabinet and sighed, preparing himself for the inevitable confrontation between him and his Padawan which often followed occasions like this one. It's going to be a long night…
His Master didn't need to tell him twice. The anger emanating directly from Obi-Wan was enough to keep the most disobedient of Padawans rooted to the spot.
As the older Jedi turned and walked out of the room, Anakin lifted his eyes from the floor and stared out at Coruscant's city lights. He was used to frustration and disappointment radiating from his Master. Nothing he did ever pleased Obi-Wan. It was always what he did wrong and never what he did right. Granted, Anakin didn't expect a "Well done, Padawan!" after this evening's incident but any form of praise was most definitely in short supply when it came to their relationship. After six years, maybe he should be used to it by now. But every criticism, every sigh of defeat was a saber through the heart. He hated disappointing Obi-Wan. He didn't do it on purpose. He was just so angry all the time. He couldn't contact Padme. He couldn't go and see the Chancellor (a relationship he knew Obi-Wan was jealous of). He couldn't even go and see his own mother.
"You must learn to let go of all attachments, Anakin."
His mother, for Force sake! She wasn't just an 'attachment'! She was the human being who had raised him, protected him, cared for him and loved him and they just expected him to forget about her?
Anakin closed his eyes before memories of his mother invaded his thoughts. He wasn't going to cry right here in his and Obi-Wan's living quarters. He wouldn't let his Master witness his tears. He was a Jedi now after all.
Once a slave, always a slave.
Anakin felt his cheeks reddening with rage once again at the memory of Rocca's comment. He'd never liked him anyway. Hell, he deserved everything Anakin gave to him and more. He wasn't -
The young Padawan was quickly broken out of his thoughts by an all too familiar Coruscanti accent. He opened his eyes to find the source of the voice standing over him, an ice-pack in one hand and some salve in the other. A frown had delicately embedded itself onto his Master's handsome features.
Anakin blushed with embarrassment and cast his eyes directly at the floor. So engrossed was he in his thoughts that he hadn't heard his Master enter the room.
"Don't look away from me." Obi-Wan admonished in a tone that brooked no argument.
Anakin instantly obeyed and almost winced at the obvious fury being revealed to him through their bond. Only Anakin seemed able to infuriate his Master so. Obi-Wan was known for being the calm, composed Jedi Knight. Although he wasn't exactly throwing a fit, Anakin knew a battle of wills was taking place within the young Knight.
Anakin fidgeted, clearly uncomfortable with Obi-Wan's scrutinizing stare accompanied by the unnatural silence that followed. Noise was something Anakin naturally carried with him everywhere he went. Probably one of the reasons he doesn't like meditating, Obi-Wan reasoned. Most likely he didn't appreciate the relaxing effects that the quiet possessed and therefore did everything in his power to deny Obi-Wan those golden moments.
Obi-Wan watched Anakin squirm under his stare for a moment longer before sitting himself down next to his young charge. Putting the salve on the table, he went about gently placing the ice-pack on the decolourisation around Anakin's jaw. The young man flinched at the contact but otherwise remained still as Obi-Wan pressed the pack more firmly against his skin.
"Why do you insist on disobeying me, Anakin?"
"He started it – "
"I don't care who started it!"
Anakin fell silent. His Master obviously didn't want to know what Rocca had said. Evidently, Anakin just started fights for the pure fun of it.
"You haven't given me any reason to believe otherwise."
Anakin inwardly cringed as he silently fumed at himself for not paying attention to his shields. Right away, he raised them as high as possible before shooting Obi-Wan a sithly scowl.
"I can't remember inviting you to read my thoughts."
"Watch your manner, young one." Obi-Wan said sharply. "I didn't need an invitation. You were projecting your thoughts so loudly the younglings would have picked up on them."
Anakin clenched his jaw and immediately regretted it. During the fray, Rocca had managed to land a neat kick to his face and in his displeasure, he had completely forgotten about it. A dull ache steadily broke through the cloud of anger and he cringed.
Obi-Wan noticed the boy's discomfort and removed the ice-pack. He reached for the salve, deftly applied some to his fingertips and began to tenderly spread it across the damaged skin.
"He called me a slave." Anakin's voice trembled ever so slightly. Obi-Wan simply blinked, pausing in his ministrations. He knew the boy's background was a sensitive subject area but that still didn't give him the right to exchange blows with every person who brings it up.
He looked at Anakin and coolly stated, "That doesn't justify your actions, Padawan."
Anakin just stared, disbelieving at his Master. Yes, Anakin had acted out of anger but he was Obi-Wan's Padawan! He was supposed to stick up for him and tell him that Rocca was wrong to have said that. He was supposed to say that Anakin wasn't a slave anymore, that he was a Jedi, a student, Obi-Wan's student…
Suddenly, Anakin understood - Obi-Wan didn't think of him as a Jedi. Obi-Wan still saw the nine-year-old slave boy from Tatooine.
He roughly batted Obi-Wan's hand away. Rising from the couch, he headed straight to his room without as much as a glance towards his Master.
Obi-Wan had lived with Anakin long enough to recognize the signs of a tantrum approaching. However, he had also allowed Anakin to get away with storming off to his room for too long so before Anakin had a chance to cross the living room, Obi-Wan was in front of him, arms crossed, denying his Padawan access to the comfort and solace of his room.
Anakin narrowed his eyes and tried to walk around the older man but a firm grip on his arm stopped him.
"You are not going to run away from this, Anakin." Obi-wan said, sternly. "You're going to sit down and we are going to talk – "
"Like hell we are!" Anakin pulled his arm free of Obi-Wan's grip and met his Master's icy stare. "I don't have anything to say to you."
"Oh, I think you do, young one."
"STOP calling me that!" Anakin shouted. "I'm not a child anymore! Stop treating me like one!"
"Seventeen hardly renders you an adult, Anakin. However, you're making it very difficult for me to see you as anything but a child when you insist on throwing temper tantrums like one." Anakin started to turn away before Obi-Wan held his shoulder in a firm grip, rooting him to the spot. "You will listen to what I have to say, Padawan. You are of no use to me if your head is constantly filled with resentment and anger. You are a danger to yourself and the other Padawans in the Temple. Starting from now, we will not leave this Temple until you learn to clear your head and control your emotions."
Anakin eyes widened at his Master's comments. He couldn't be serious. He was the most skilful student in the entire Temple! Not allowing him to venture further than these walls was ridiculous, not to mention humiliating!
Obi-Wan noticed the shock on his Padawan's face and a part of him suddenly felt guilty. No, a voice in his head whispered, he must learn his place. You're the Master, he's the student. You're only doing what's best for him. Not waiting for a response, Obi-Wan turned his back on Anakin and walked back to the couch, picking up the forgotten ice-pack and salve.
For the second time that evening, Anakin just stared in disbelief at his Master. Confined to the Temple for defending himself? "You are a danger to yourself and the other Padawans in the Temple." His Master's words rang in his head like an alarm bell. So, Obi-Wan did think he was dangerous. Anakin had known from the beginning that Obi-Wan was jealous of him, feared him even. His powers far surpassed his Master's and he resented Anakin for it, criticising him at every possible opportunity.
Well, Anakin thought, two could play at that game.
His words caused Obi-Wan to turn around to face him, confusion evident in his face. "Excuse me?"
Anakin continued, "You always have been. Ever since Qui-Gon brought me from Tatooine. You're jealous of my power and you're jealous that Qui-Gon chose me over you."
Obi-Wan began to slowly walk towards where Anakin was standing. "Anakin…"
He ignored him. "I heard that Qui-Gon didn't even want you as his Padawan in the first place. You had to beg for his approval. The great Obi-Wan Kenobi had to beg for an apprenticeship."
Obi-Wan stopped only a metre or so from his apprentice. "How dare you – "
"How does it feel, Master, to know that your Master chose a worthless slave over you?"
His Padawan's words assaulted his heart like blaster bolts. "Enough, Anakin!"
Anakin's voice lowered to a mere whisper as he leaned toward the older man and sneered, "Who's the pathetic lifeform now, Master – "
The slap seemed to echo around the room as Obi-Wan's palm met the skin of Anakin's cheek. Obi-Wan had never hit Anakin. The Jedi didn't punish their pupils with physical harm. Striking out in anger or fear was seen as a path the Dark Side. And Obi-Wan had done both, nearly sending his Padawan face first into the wall.
Before Obi-Wan could do or say anything, Anakin sharply turned on his heel and walked towards the door of their quarters, not sparing his Master a glance.
And with that, he was gone. The automated door slid shut behind the retreating back of his Padawan and Obi-Wan was left alone.
Anakin's boots thumped against the cold, marble floor as he marched through the Temple's corridors.
Once a slave, always a slave.
Once again, Rocca's remark resounded in his head. But instead of the anger and upset it had caused earlier, Anakin found himself regrettably agreeing with his colleague. The words rang true after all. When Qui-Gon had stumbled across him in the deserts of Tatooine eight years ago, Anakin had believed he was finally getting away from the restrictions and the beatings of his slavery. Now, he was a slave to the Jedi. To Obi-Wan.
And Anakin hated him.
His cheek still burned from where the Jedi Master had hit him. Anakin felt a slight sense of satisfaction that Obi-Wan had lost control, if only very briefly. Anakin knew that bringing up Qui-Gon would upset the elder Jedi but he found himself not caring. He wanted Obi-Wan to hurt. He wanted Obi-Wan to be angry. He wanted Obi-Wan to feel a trace of his own pain and despair.
He had succeeded.
And suddenly felt guilty.
Anakin's pace slowed as he recalled the vindictive remarks he had thrown at his Master. Obi-Wan hadn't deserved any of that. Anakin had acted like a spoiled brat, throwing a tantrum when things didn't go his way. Well, Anakin thought, if he can't take criticism, he shouldn't give it out so freely.
The change in temperature brought him out of his thoughts as he found himself outside the Temple, staring up into the busy airways of Coruscant. The lights from various transports and buildings were like fireflies against the dark, blue night sky.
His feet seemed to move of their own accord towards the hustle and bustle of the city. He needed to get away. From the Temple. From Obi-Wan. And from his thoughts.
Obi-Wan felt physically sick.
Never before had he raised his hand toward another Jedi. And now here he was sitting on the couch, head in his hands and replaying Anakin's departure over and over in his head. The whole exchange transpired so quickly Obi-Wan had to wonder if it actually happened.
Concentrate on the here and now, Padawan.
Qui-Gon's voice filtered through the haze and Obi-Wan nearly laughed out loud. Well, right now, Anakin wasn't here. And it was his fault. The Council had told him he was too young to take on a Padawan of his own. And they were right. The wish of a dead man was all that was keeping Obi-Wan and Anakin together. You know that's not true. Obi-Wan sighed in resignation. No, it wasn't true. But that's what it felt like. He knew he wasn't the right Master for Anakin. Where Anakin needed praise, Obi-Wan gave criticism. The closer Anakin got to Obi-Wan, the more distant Obi-Wan became. Anakin's constant need for comfort intimidated him. He wasn't his mother, for Force sake!
"You're jealous of my power and you're jealous that Qui-Gon chose me over you."
A sharp pain lanced through Obi-Wan at the memory of Anakin's cruel words. It was partly true. Obi-Wan had felt betrayed that day in the Council room when his Master announced that he would take Anakin as his Padawan so soon after meeting him. Obi-Wan had had to earn his place in his Master's heart. And even after all the years they'd been together, Qui-Gon passed him over within minutes for a mere child.
"Care for you, Qui-Gon did." A hoarse voice said.
Startled, Obi-Wan raised his head to meet a pair of searching eyes. "Master Yoda! I didn't hear you come in!" The young Jedi quickly rose from the couch and gave a slight bow which the green troll waved away dismissively before planting himself on the seat next to Obi-Wan.
"Lost in your thoughts, you were."
Obi-Wan sighed. "Forgive me, Master."
Yoda gave the younger man a slight nod before continuing, "Unpredictable, rebellious and bold, your old Master was."
"Sounds like someone else I know…" Obi-Wan muttered before letting out an undignified yelp as Master Yoda whacked his kneecap with his gimer stick.
"But also devoted, loyal and compassionate. Much like your old Master, young Skywalker is. Fiercely loyal to you, he will always be. Looks up to you like no other. Though too stubborn you are, to see it!"
Obi-Wan had seen such attributes in Anakin. Shortly after he had taken the boy on as his Padawan, the young Knight had been practicing some fairly basic katas to regain his focus. About 5 minutes into the kata, Obi-Wan had noticed a figure out of the corner of his eye desperately trying to mimic Obi-Wan's movements. The older Jedi had purposefully slowed the pace so that Anakin could copy. It was the first kata Anakin had learned under his new Master. And to this day, he insisted they always do it together.
Obi-Wan smiled sadly at the memory. "I cannot be who he wants me to be, Master."
Yoda's long ears perked up. "And who might that be, hmm?"
The young Knight paused and swallowed hard before answering, "Someone like Qui-Gon – ow!"
Clutching his assaulted kneecap, he shot a puzzled look at the old Master who was now pointing his gimmer stick directly into Obi-Wan's face. "Young you may be, but foolish, you are not! Like a father to young Skywalker, Qui-Gon was. But a brother, you are." He prodded the stick in Obi-Wan's direction to emphasize his point. "A brotherhood, the Jedi are and will always be."
With those simple words, Obi-Wan watched in fascination and slight bewilderment as Yoda hopped off the couch and walked slowly towards the door. "Suggest you find your Padawan, I do, young Kenobi. In the Temple, he is not."
Obi-Wan sobered at that and swiftly rose from the couch. "Not in the Temple?" He reached out with the Force and tried to contact his Padawan through their bond. A cloud of fog and a dull ache seemed to stalk over where Anakin's coherent thoughts should have been. Wonderful, Obi-Wan thought, a drunk, seventeen year old Jedi Padawan with anger issues.
Opening his mouth to thank the green Grand Master, Obi-Wan quickly snapped it shut again when he realised Master Yoda had already left. Not wasting another second, he grabbed his brown cloak and headed straight for the hangar. There was no way he was carrying Anakin all the way home.
"Don'tcha think you've had enough, kid?"
Anakin glared. "I'm sorry, I didn't realise you were paying me to drink?"
The bartender (Anakin didn't catch his name) merely shrugged and poured the young Jedi another shot of spice liqueur, watching as Anakin downed it in one. As Anakin had tilted his head back, he noticed the gnarly-looking bruise on Anakin's jaw. Pointing to it he asked, "What 'appened to the other guy?"
"What?" Anakin gave him a confused look before realising where the bartender was pointing to. "Oh. He got away Scot free. Another."
Realising he wasn't going to get much more conversation out of this particular customer, the bartender served him his drink and walked to the other side of the bar, engaging in conversation with a group of Rodians.
Anakin downed his twelfth shot of the night, savouring the acerbic taste as it slid down his throat, washing away the memories of his confrontation with Rocca and Obi-Wan. His wandering feet had brought him to the underlevels of Coruscant. Known for its pollution and high crime rate, Jedi Padawans weren't expected to loiter around these parts of the city. Chaos and disorder governed these streets; not convention and regulation. And Anakin liked it.
However, not being an experienced drinker like those around him, he wasn't used to the balance issues that came with an excessive consumption of alcohol. The young Padawan stood up from his barstool and was startled when his legs refused to work properly. Stumbling away from the bar, he flung his hand out to catch onto something – anything – that would prevent his inevitable meeting with the floor and grabbed a scaly-looking arm. Before Anakin could look up to see who or what he had grabbed onto, said scaly arm flung him halfway across the room where he crashed violently into a set of vacant tables and chairs.
The roars and cheers from the other customers rang in Anakin's ears as he struggled to get to his feet amidst the broken furniture. He tried tapping into the Force to ease the pain currently lancing through his head but all he could distinguish was a dense fog. Starting to regret drinking that much alcohol, his eyes quickly scanned the bar to find the perpetrator when a chorus of laughter caught his attention.
His head snapped to his right where he saw a group consisting of two Humans, a Rodian, a Geonosian and – there – a Trandoshan, pointing and laughing hysterically. Anakin saw red and launched himself at the reptile. Unfortunately, in his haste, he hadn't realised that the Trandoshan was twice his size and a lot stronger. So when Anakin attempted to tackle it to the floor, he was slightly surprised to find the creature's claw-like hand around his throat, lifting him two feet off the floor and starting to squeeze. Anakin choked but still attempted to swing his fist (albeit clumsily) into the reptile's face, crying out in pain when his hand was caught in a vice-like grip. Swiftly, he was flipped over the creature's back and slammed into the floor.
All the air left Anakin as his back smashed into the sticky, alcohol soaked floor of the bar. Before Anakin had time to think, a foot came crashing down on his ribs and he heard the numerous cracks as a couple gave way under the weight of the Trandoshan. A pain like he had never felt wracked his body and he couldn't breathe as he heard the laughter and jeers from the gathering crowd.
The taunts and heckling from the various characters in the bar fuelled his rage, transforming his pain into pure adrenaline. Focusing on his anger, he grabbed the creature's leg with both hands and yanked the Trandoshan's feet out from underneath him. Anakin felt a sense of satisfaction as he heard its head crack against the floor. Twisting his arm, he landed an elbow directly into the face of his opponent. Swinging himself around, Anakin prepared to leap onto the creature before one of its feet smashed into his face, sending him backwards onto the floor once again.
Remarkably, his nose wasn't broken but Anakin could definitely feel a trickle of blood flowing from a cut just above his left eye. Not to mention the bruise he had already gained from Rocca was now throbbing madly. He struggled to stand when he felt a foot smash into his injured side, causing him to cry out and fall face first into the floor.
His head was swimming and he was struggling to focus. Breathing harshly with one cheek against the cool floor, Anakin could smell the pungent stench of alcohol, sweat and urine and almost gagged. He couldn't move, didn't want to move. If everyone would just leave him alone, he would gladly stay here and not move a muscle for the rest of eternity. Anakin gave up.
The sound of slow, heavy footsteps invaded his thoughts and he squeezed his eyes shut. I'm sorry, Obi-Wan. I'm sorry for what I said, I didn't mean it! I'm so sorry! His thoughts went straight to his Master as he squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the blow that would surely arrive. Instead, a horrific squeal tore through the bar as something landed next to Anakin.
Confused, Anakin opened his eyes and slowly turned his head to see a glowing blue tube, a severed limb and a pair of familiar brown boots a metre or so away from his face.
A familiar voice, too. Anakin painfully rolled over onto his back and tried to get back to his feet but his limbs were too heavy. Suddenly, a strong arm had hooked itself underneath his legs and around his shoulders and lifted. Anakin allowed his head to rest against his rescuer's chest as he was carried out of the bar and away from the scrutinising stares of the onlookers. A steady heartbeat drummed next to his ear and Anakin found comfort and a strange reassurance in its consistency. It reminded him of when he was a child back on Tatooine and his mother would let him sleep in her bed when he'd had a nightmare. He would fall asleep to the sound of her beating heart, reminding him that nothing would harm him as long as her arms were around him, keeping him safe.
That comforting sound softly disappeared as Anakin was gently poured into the seat of a two-seater speeder. He cried out as something knocked against his injured side. He squeezed his eyes shut against the pain as he heard a voice whispering tender words of comfort into his ear.
The young Padawan was vaguely aware of being strapped in and then suddenly moving through the air. Lights and sounds passed him by in a blur and Anakin felt his consciousness wavering. He couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. He was spent. As his eyes began to close, he felt a strong hand grip his shoulder. "Stay with me, Anakin."
The same voice that had whispered to him moments earlier had changed into a firm, commanding voice that demanded his attention. Anakin tried to open his eyes but the need to sleep was too overbearing.
The whole trip from the bar to… wherever he was going, didn't take very long and before he knew it he was being lifted from the speeder and carried again to a room which was dimly recognizable in his disjointed state.
He was placed on the edge of a bed as his sodden tunic and boots were removed. Two hands were placed on both sides of his face and Anakin finally looked into the face of his rescuer. Ginger, shoulder-length hair, blue eyes, a beard… Obi-Wan? Obi-Wan had come for him?
"Padawan, can you hear me?" The older Jedi asked, concerned about Anakin's startled expression. The boy had looked at him as though he didn't have a clue who he was.
Anakin blinked, nodded and immediately regretted it as a sudden nausea swept through him. "Feel sick…"
Two hands gently pushed him down onto the bed causing the young Padawan to hiss in pain and clutch his injured ribs. Breathing hard, he grimaced and watched as his Master swiftly left the room. Fighting down the sickness for the moment, Anakin stared at the ceiling, trying to block out the pain. He suddenly had a fierce desire to go home to his mother.
"I will come back and free you, Mom. I promise."
The empty promise raided his thoughts. He had failed her. Just as he had failed Qui-Gon. And Obi-Wan.
He stifled a sob. He had embarrassed himself enough tonight and he most definitely will not cry in front of his Master!
With that thought, Obi-Wan came back into the room carrying a glass of water, a sick bucket and medical supplies.
Setting the glass and bucket on his Padawan's bedside, Obi-Wan quickly set to work on tending to his young charge's injuries. Quickly sweeping his eyes over the wounded boy, he decided his Padawan's injured side could wait and he began checking for signs of a concussion. He didn't particularly want to have to send Anakin to the Healers but he would if he had to.
Using the Force to bring a chair next to the bed, Obi-Wan sat down and placed his hands on his Padawan's temples. "I need to check your shields, Padawan. Raise them up as far as you can."
Anakin did as he was asked and Obi-Wan nearly sighed in relief. Although his Padawan's head was a mess and it would have been all too easy to break through them, the boy could still control them to an extent. That was good. It meant he hadn't sustained an injury to the head. Just a Force load of alcohol, Obi-Wan thought, disapprovingly.
Satisfied with his Padawan's mental state (for the time being), Obi-Wan set to work on his outer injuries.
He gently pried Anakin's hands away from his side and prepared to check for broken or fractured bones. Eyes fixed on Anakin's expression; he began to feel along the boy's side. A gasp of pain halted his movements as he found two slight cracks above Anakin's hip.
"I need you to sit up for me, Padawan."
With his master's help, Anakin painfully pushed himself up so his back was leaning against the headboard. From his position on the bed, he noticed he wasn't in his room – but Obi-Wan's. Why would Obi-Wan put him in his bed?
Anakin watched as Obi-Wan finished winding the steriplast around his torso, hissing slightly when the older Jedi tightened it around his ribs.
"Why did you come for me?"
Obi-Wan was slightly taken aback by the question and looked up to see confusion and puzzlement loitering in his Padawan's eyes. "Should I have left you there instead?"
The boy looked down at his hands twisted in the sheets and nodded. "After everything I said." He fought the tears down for the second time that night but couldn't stop the break in his voice. "I haven't been very nice lately."
The older man sighed and leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees. "Anakin, I won't deny that what you said was upsetting, not to mention completely disrespectful." Anakin burned with shame and embarrassment. "Look at me, Anakin." Obi-Wan ordered, albeit gently. The Padawan slowly raised his head. He placed his palm on the cheek he had hit earlier that evening. "You were angry, as was I." Obi-Wan began to clean the blood off of Anakin's face as he added, "Besides, your welfare is more important to me than some silly argument."
That was a first, Anakin thought. Did he just hear Obi-Wan admit that he cared?
Unfortunately, Anakin was just too tired to examine Obi-Wan's comment properly. The efforts of tonight's escapade had taken its toll on the young man. Unable to fight sleep any longer, he felt himself slowly drifting into a deep slumber. Obi-Wan watched Anakin's eyes close and laid him back down before pulling the covers over the injured boy. He rested his palm on his Padawan's forehead and sent calming waves through their bond. The last thing he needed tonight was a nightmare.
The older man finished cleaning and smearing bacta over the cut on Anakin's brow before checking the time. 00:07AM. Well, my young Padawan, it would seem you've outdone yourself this time. Obi-Wan dimmed the lights before removing his own boots and settling into the chair next to Anakin's bedside.
Lost in the depths of sleep, Anakin looked incredibly young. The childish pout he had perfected over the years was more pronounced as he slept. A delicate frown embedded itself onto his features, making him look no older than a child.
He recalled what Rocca had said to his Padawan. No child should have to experience the horrors of slavery, Obi-Wan thought, solemnly. The older man grimaced at the notion of a nine-year-old boy witnessing the exploits that surrounded slavery. Anakin had more experience in his first nine years being a slave than the most senior Padawans had. Hell, even some of the Knights. And that troubled Obi-Wan.
He knew Anakin had frequent nightmares about his mother. Many a time, Obi-Wan had awoken to the sound of Anakin calling out, helplessly. Unbeknownst to the young man, Obi-Wan had often slept in a chair next to his bed for the remainder of the night and chased away the nightmares that plagued his Padawan.
He hated seeing Anakin in pain. As frustrating as he was, the boy had imprinted himself in the elder Jedi's heart whether Obi-Wan liked it or not. Anakin was now a part of him. Had been for six years.
I'm sorry, Master.
He looked to discover a sleepy Anakin staring at him from underneath his half-open eyes and he smiled.
There is nothing to be sorry for, young one.
Obi-Wan suddenly noticed wet tracks making their way down Anakin's bruised face and he leaned forward in order to tenderly wipe the tears away with his thumb.
Rest. We'll talk properly in the morning.
The young Padawan looked up at him with tear-filled eyes and pleaded through the Force. Stay with me?
His Padawan's small voice in his head made Obi-Wan's heart wrench.
Of course. I'll be here when you wake.
Reassured, Anakin gave him a small smile before closing his eyes.
Goodnight, my Padawan.