It was hot.
There was a constant buzz of noise in the background, the pained and terrified noises of the other unfortunate, enslaved beings in the cargo-hold-turned-cell-bay filled the stuffy air. The stench of sweat and blood permeated the hold, and there wasn't much room to move.
Whimpering quietly to himself, eighteen year old Anakin Skywalker pulled his legs close to his chest, wincing as the movement tugged at the long, stinging gashes on his back. He could feel warm, sticky blood flowing from many of the wounds, the slavers not having bothered to clean him up before pushing him into his tiny cell for transportation. He was headed to an auction on Zygerria, to be sold along with hundreds of other slaves to the highest bidders.
He'd been on what should have been a diplomatic mission with his Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, but they'd been separated on-planet during an attack on the planet leaders, and in the chaos Anakin had been kidnapped.
The slavers seemed to know what-or rather, who-they were dealing with, because they'd put a Force Inhibitor collar around his neck and taken his lightsaber. Anakin was strong in the Force, so the sudden lack of it was taking a great toll on his body, sapping his strength much faster than if he had complete access.
He hoped that Obi-Wan would find him quickly, fearing what would happen if he was sold and taken too far away for the Master to reach.
He'd always been a steady rock for Anakin to lean on, his gentle presence and calming mannerisms very soothing to the often frustrated Padawan. He was Anakin's best friend, with quick wit and a charming smile and always ready to talk should Anakin ask, Anakin's hero-his idol, a Master swordsman and silver tongued negotiator, an amazingly successful young Knight, and-and for the past year or two, the object Anakin's secret affections.
Anakin had been sixteen when he'd realized that his idolization of his Master ran far deeper than that of the other Padawans, and rather uncharacteristically had meditated until he'd clarified his feelings for himself. He hadn't been as surprised as he could've been-his Master was an attractive man, and one Anakin was often around.
He'd known he was lost-completely and utterly in love with the older man-a few months later, as they sat on their balcony for their afternoon meditation. Anakin hadn't been able to sit still, so the Master had taken his hands in his own, telling the young man to center himself through their clasped hands, and closed his eyes. A long sought after peace had filled the younger Jedi, and he'd reopened his eyes to eagerly inform his Master of his progress but the words died on his tongue.
Obi-Wan had looked otherworldly, the sunlight dancing over his face and through his hair, seemingly setting the reddish locks on fire. Anakin hadn't been able to look away for the whole hour they sat there, content with drinking in his Master's exquisite features and feeling the strong, callused hands in his. He wondered then-and again, right now-how it would feel to kiss Obi-Wan, to feel his lips brush against Anakin's own; and to love him, to spend every day basking in his presence, Force signatures twining together.
Anakin sighed and shook his head-such a relationship was impossible. Obi-Wan was practically married to the Jedi Code-he'd be horrified to hear of his Padawan's feelings for him and would most likely have him reassigned and sent to a mind healer. That would never do-Anakin couldn't stand the healers.. And he couldn't stand the thought of losing his Master. He'd suffer through his emotions alone-forever, if need be, if it meant he could keep his Obi-Wan by his side.
Shaking his thoughts away, he shifted closer to the door, pressing his cheek to the cold metal bars to try to see down the dark hallway.
There was a large alien at the end, an evil looking electro-whip on his belt and a blaster strapped to his thigh. He was tinkering with the dissected parts of Anakin's saber-Anakin had nearly had a fit when he first saw that-and every so often would walk menacingly down the corridor, sometimes lashing out at one or another of the captives.
Anakin swallowed hard-he had already fought the alien's smaller crewmates as they fit the collar on him, and had been duly punished for the trouble he'd caused. They hadn't used their electro-whips, thankfully.. Those whips could kill a being with just a few well placed strikes. The whips they'd used-plain, knotted bantha hide strips-had hurt, but from what he could feel the wounds didn't seem to be too extreme.
They just kriffing hurt. A lot.
Not being able to sooth them with the Force or bacta made Anakin greatly uncomfortable and even more aware of the steady streams of blood trailing over his skin, and his awareness and slight claustrophobia were heightened by nerves and pain.
A sudden beeping was heard in the corridor, and the alien shifted with a grunt, leaning over to read a message and type his answer on a datapad. He then stood, muttering darkly under his breath, and turned to stalk down the hall towards Anakin's cell. As he came closer, the Padawan scrambled away from his door, hissing as he pressed his abused body against the far wall. The alien stopped by his door, unlocking it, then reached inside to grab him by the arm and drag him out.
Anakin resisted, digging his heels into the ground, but it did little good against the superior strength of the slaver, who tugged him easily into the corridor. He backhanded the Padawan, swearing at him in a language Anakin didn't know, and dragged him from the cell block.
Dizzy from the powerful blow, Anakin didn't resist, blinking rapidly to regain his vision as he was hauled through the ship. The bright lights in the halls disoriented him, so he was unprepared when the big alien came to a stop. The momentum made the Padawan stumble, and the alien rolled his eyes and thrust Anakin through a door, slamming it closed behind him.
Anakin threw out a hand to steady himself, eyes finally focusing, and found himself inside a refresher. There was an old, hollow eyed Togruta man with a silver collar about his neck before him, and the being bowed before tugging at the tattered remains of Anakin's tunic.
The Padawan knew that bathing was a luxury most slaves could not afford and also knew he would quite possibly not get another chance to do so for quite a long time, so he didn't question the man, tugging his tunic over his head. Modesty was not an issue for the Jedi, and Anakin was no exception, stripping quickly and stepping into the shower. Hissing as the water stung the cuts on his back, he scrubbed through his hair, speedily undoing and redoing his Padawan braid. He quickly cleaned the dirt and blood from his body, smoothing the provided bacta over his wounds to prevent continued blood loss before stepping out, the Togruta leaning forward and handing him a pile of clothes that were not his.
Confused but accepting of the kindness the man was showing him, the Padawan put them on, silent dread slowly overtaking his mind as he stood in the loose pants and chains.
The garment was a deep blue, soft fabric, riding low on his hips with thin gold chains looping around his waist and over his chest and shoulders-his dread morphed to horrified understanding as he was handed an arm cuff. He slowly put it on, a terrified haze settling over his mind.
He'd been a slave for nine years of his life-seen and been sold in many auctions-and he knew only pleasure slaves were sold in such elaborate outfits. It was meant to entice wealthier buyers, a way to show off the slave's features and make them stand out. Finally finding his voice after hours of silence, he spoke to the Togruta.
"I-why am I wearing this? Isn't it meant for someone else?"
For a brief, wonderful moment, he hoped there'd been a mixup, but the man shook his head, gesturing to Anakin's face and chest before speaking in low tones.
"You are who they have chosen-your face will bring good money-much money-at the auction." The slave shook his head with a sigh. "There is no way out. Your situation is unfortunate, but you will come to accept it. In time."
Anakin swayed where he stood, dizziness taking over for a moment and leaving him vaguely nauseous. His mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. The slave gave him a sympathetic look before opening a previously unnoticed side door, giving him a gentle push towards it.
"Sleep, while you can. Enjoy what's left of your freedom." His words were harsh but true, and Anakin nodded, stepping into the closet sized room. The door closed behind him with a click and the sound of a bolt sliding into place, and the Padawan was left alone.
Numbly, Anakin sank onto the floor of this new, cleaner cell, raising trembling hands to his face. He could see no way out of this, and desperately prayed to the Force-even though he couldn't feel it-for salvation.
His Bond with Obi-Wan was strong-surely his Master would find him in time? Nothing could completely block a Bond. Hopefully the older Jedi could feel him-perhaps they'd only blocked his end.
Anakin screwed his eyes shut, concentrating all his energy on sending one thought to his Master, over and over again.
Master.. Help me.. Zygerria.