He was cold. He'd been cold for weeks.
The night air was temperate, in fact, and a few years ago he
wouldn't have reacted to it at all. But he'd been running since
he left Amidala on Alderaan. He hadn't slept, or eaten enough;
he'd lost what little insulating fat his Jedi-trained body had
previously sustained him with. He didn't even remember to be
hungry anymore. Just kept moving, in and out of shadows,
occasionally leaving a small trail to ensure that his stalker
didn't abandon the pursuit.
In the reflection of a shop window, he caught his reflection.
The baby-roundness that had marked his face long into knighthood
was gone. He was all brows and cheekbones, now; his eyes almost
vanishing into the cavern the two bone features created. His
nose and ears, which had never been noticeable before, pushed
starkly away from his face, exposed by his thinness and
close-cut hair. The image he made frightened even him. He
wasn't surprised that the few late-evening pedestrians who
spotted him crossed unobtrusively to the other side of the
street. His desperation had to be carved across his skin.
He'd promised himself that Vader wouldn't find them. He'd
staggered into Amidala's throne room with burns running up both
his forearms and dragged her bodily off the throne. She'd
thought he was insane. For three months, she'd been grieving for
the husband who'd fallen into fire and supposedly died, and in
the most recent weeks she'd even been able to get up and
function. He supposed that not even a quarter of her court had
yet realized that she was pregnant. The gowns hid her abdomen,
and so early in the term she was barely showing. She'd stood
across from him, though, with both arms wrapped across her belly,
and Obi-Wan's had thought of all the horrors that might come to
her and the unborn one if he didn't protect them.
For ten hours he'd raved, and in the end she'd only believed she
was in danger because she could see that the forests below Theed
were on fire. Even when they were running for the ship, she'd
insisted that Anakin would never hurt her. Sitting on the floor
at her feet while the ship took off, he'd tried to explain that
it wasn't Anakin, not really, only a sick thing formed from the
remains of Anakin Skywalker's body who knew everything that
Anakin Skywalker had known.
He'd taught that thing everything it knew. It made him sick.
In the dark, after he'd eased her into Force-assisted sleep, he
leaned against the wall and cried. For her, for his lost student
and friend, for himself and what he was going to have to do.
Bail Organa was a good man and an old friend, and he accepted the
pregnant queen into his household with only a quick glance that
revealed his own fear. Organa had seen the thing called Darth
Vader already, when Palpatine had brought his armies to Coruscant,
and he was smart enough to be afraid. Amidala wasn't with him,
not officially. Officially she'd never left Naboo. So she might
be safe enough, as long as the Sith weren't looking for her.
He made sure that Vader's attention was elsewhere by making
himself a target. The thing that had been his padawan-learner
seemed more than satisfied to focus its energies on running one
emaciated Jedi Master to ground. Right now Obi-Wan was a little
ahead. He had a few hours to rest before he needed to start
arranging his next transport. Again he wished he'd been more
gracious when Organa had given him the money he needed to keep
his end of the chase up. That gift was his edge. Someday he was
going to owe his friend a very big favour in return.
He just wished he wasn't so cold.
In the blocks around the spaceport, there were a half-dozen inns
that catered to illegal operators and to the desperately poor.
He had a room in one, on the third floor. The two flights of
concrete-enclosed stairs were barely lit, and graffiti was
spattered across the walls in a half-dozen different colours of
paint and something he suspected might be blood. Racist slurs,
random obscenities, the occasional political slogan. Abuse
heaped on the parentage of various beings. Words that raged
against poverty and powerlessness.
His room was tiny, just wide enough for him to step past the
narrow bed to the washbasin. His Force-sense screamed at the
number of things alive in the running water. If he'd been less
tired, he would have taken the time to purify it, but now he
was willing to go to bed dirty rather than give up the energy.
Under his cloak, he was wearing a spacer's jump-pants and
sweater. Both came off with a little effort, and he was able to
wrap the cloak around himself again and crawl into bed with his
'saber clutched against his chest. Tried to gather enough
serenity around himself that he could actually rest. He hadn't
had time to meditate properly in almost two weeks, and the
compounding nervous energy left him twitchy even when he was
exhausted. Eventually, he had to settle for drifting. Letting
his body rest and his attention wander.
. . . the palace at Theed. Somewhere in the state records, there
was a holo of the three of them in the queen's presence chamber.
Amidala presiding over the court with a Jedi knight on either
side of her. Anakin's entire being had been focussed on her.
He'd loved her so much. Obi-Wan, seated on the other side, her
left, was almost a mirror-image of the young knight. Both of
them still delicately blond, Obi-Wan only a little wider in the
jaw. He was smiling, but unfocussed. He'd been drifting then,
too. Reaching as he always did for the dead man that he was sure
must still be present in the palace on some level. In fifteen
years, Obi-Wan had never sensed a trace of him, but he hadn't been
able to let go of the compulsion to reach . . .
. . . standing before the Council and shaving his head. It had
been his last ceremonial act before they'd evacuated the Temple
and he'd gone to Naboo to find the Queen. The long hair had
marked him as a Jedi Master, and it wasn't an honour he deserved.
He'd trained one Padawan, and done it badly, and his student had
finally turned. He supposed it could have been predicted. Like
Master, like Padawan . . .
. . . big fingers rubbing the back of his neck, running over his
Padawan braid, telling him that not all the evils of the world
were his fault . . .
"They aren't, Padawan."
He came awake too fast; it felt like falling. His awareness
jolted into his body sickeningly hard. The adrenaline rush
pushed him out of bed and across the room, so that his back was
against the washbasin and he finally had room to ignite his
Without a visible opponent to sustain it, though, the fight-or-
flight response drained away too fast and his knees gave. Decided
that he might just stay there, buried in his cloak, until
daylight. Or maybe for several millenia.
He only gradually became aware of fingers stroking the back of
his neck again, and even once he'd recognized it, the gesture was
so non-threatening that he couldn't pull himself together enough
to look up. Slowly, the stroking ranged farther out, petting his
scalp and his shoulders, his too-vulnerable naked back. He was
gathered up and held and rocked, and it was so easy to just lean
into that touch and rest. For the first time in days he wasn't
cold. The touch was warm, and it smelled so good. Qui-smell in
the midst of this filthy place. Luminous Jedi-skin against his.
The Force around him was electric in a way it hadn't been in
"Shhh. It's all right, Obi-Wan. You can rest. You've been
very, very brave, and I promise you'll be safe until morning.
Relax, let go, let me take care of you . . ."
It was everything he wanted to hear, but lately he'd learned not
to trust his desires. Instead of letting go, he dragged his eyes
open, needing to know what had caught him in such a vulnerable
Luminous flesh. Blue tinge in it and a strange shimmer in the
Force around it. He pulled away again, scrambled back across the
small space, almost naked and utterly without dignity. Blue
flesh, blue hair, indigo eyes.
"Master." After all these years, he still had a child's accent
when he said it. Pulled himself to his feet with as much dignity
as he had left and wrapped the robe around his nakedness.
Qui-Gon only watched him. So still, kneeling there as if he were
still mortal, looking compassionate enough that Obi-Wan could
almost believe that the man could still regret things, as if he
hadn't achieved the perfect, fucking serenity of the Force.
Turning that poor-Padawan look on Obi-Wan. Where in Sith hells
had he been when any of this could have been prevented? When
Obi-Wan was still carrying through on the promise he'd made to
train Anakin Skywalker.
An enamel pan, oddly pretty and meant to be used for washing, was
the only thing within reach, so he threw it. Hurled it with all
the force left in his arm at the apparition sitting serenely beside
the washbasin. It passed through him, as Obi-Wan had
intellectually known it would, and cracked when it hit the wall.
He decided he didn't care. He'd been angry for months, and without
meditation he hadn't had any way to give that anger up. The
Sith-be-damned ghost was a legitimate target, finally, and loosed
everything he had at it.
He'd thrown the only thing within reach, but he screamed every
curse he knew. Spit blame and rage at Qui-Gon in a dozen
languages, laid responsibility for the situation at his door, at
the Council's, at the Force's, at his own. The filthy place
absorbed his voice so easily. And Qui-Gon only watched,
shimmeringly serene, until Obi-Wan's strength gave out and he let
himself fold onto the bed.
When Qui-Gon came to him this time, he didn't resist. Buried
himself in his own robe and the blue shimmer and didn't think
about how his Master's body could be both insubstantial and
"I want it not to hurt anymore." Barely whispered. Qui-Gon's
presence surrounded him and folded outward, until it was all he
could sense. Folded warmth around him, waited for him to stop
trembling. Then arms came, and a body to support his own. He
hadn't been held like this since he was a Creche-child.
Fingers petted him. The touches ran up his arms and legs,
delicately over his torso, traced his face and neck. It was the
same comfort-contact he would have been offered after a nightmare
when he was a child. It reassured him that he was safe, and that
he was beautiful and precious, cherished and gifted, of the
Light, meant to be Jedi. That he was exquisite and longed for.
Lips on his electric in the dark. One big hand cupped the back
of his almost-naked skull and massaged gently, pushing the blood
though it and teasing him into something like relaxation. He'd
forgotten how huge Qui-Gon was. The shimmering body covered him,
making a cage of arms and torso that blocked out the room's
filthiness and desperation. Locked him in, held him down, and
kissed him more and more deeply. He tried to pull back, just
once. Gain his bearings, reassess the situation, but the arms
around him wouldn't let go.
"Hush, Obi-Wan. Let the Force give this to you." A faint touch
in his mind, and he could feel the Force opening around him the
way it ordinarily only did in deep meditation. Felt the Moment
and the Force's gratitude for his willing suffering. How to
reward him, it had given him back the man he'd adored and lost
half his lifetime ago. To protect him until he was strong
He didn't understand why that should hurt so much. "You didn't
choose to come, then?"
Qui-Gon sighed. "Choose is a misleading term. I was offered the
ability to come to you now. If it had been left to my discretion,
I might have chosen to come sooner." He pressed a kiss to
Obi-Wan's temple. "I did not leave you alone because I didn't
The statement broke the last of his armour. He pressed himself
up into that mouth, kissed it demandingly. Wrapped himself
around Qui-Gon's increasingly material body. He should have
had more dignity. He was, in spite of his own grief, a Jedi
Master and a middle-aged man. It had been more than a decade
since he'd last offered himself up like this, naked and
straddling a lover's lap like a Corellian whore. But all he
could think was that he'd forgotten it could feel so good. His
robe was still around his shoulders, protecting him from the
chill, but his chest was bare and his cock was bare and he was so
hard, harder than he could ever remember being. He'd be
satisfied just to be cradled by those arms while he rubbed
himself to completion against his Master's tunics.
Laughter chuffed in his ear. "Patience, pretty one." Qui-Gon
stilled him, then caught his face in both hands. Bent a little
and kissed along his jawline from ear to ear. The beard tickled,
and he found himself struggling against the grip on his face and
He'd missed this so much. He hadn't had a lover in years. He'd
trained Anakin, they'd fought together in the War, this crisis
had come up, that crisis. In the intervening time, he hadn't
found anyone to match him as well as his Master did. He could
almost forget that they'd never had this in life. In a dozen
years of training, Qui-Gon had gifted him with unnumbered kisses
and embraces, but only once the brush of the lips had been that
of a lover, and the possibility hadn't been one they'd had time
to explore. But he could pretend, so easily, that this was the
opportunity he should have pursued when he was twenty-five. And
Qui-Gon would let him, would call him pretty, would let him
believe he wasn't aged and brittle and skeletally thin.
When Qui-Gon laid him down, Obi-Wan let himself move with the
gesture. He rested on his back and tried to watch his Master,
but Qui-Gon shifted for an instant, and when he came back into
focus his clothes were gone. Only the cloak was still there,
framing his chest and abdomen and pulling Obi-Wan's attention to
the cock that rose away from that body. Hard, dark, big in a way
that he'd barely remembered. The older Jedi waited until Obi-Wan
met his eyes before setting beside him. Patient. Perfectly
serene and of the Light.
The image broke a moment later when Qui-Gon plunged down and
pressed him fiercely into the thing mattress. He was pinned,
shaking again, wanting to get loose and to pull that warmth and
pleasure into him.
He let go, finally, and let Qui-Gon shape him. Big hands
arranged his body, spread his legs, stroked his belly and his
cock. Qui-Gon's beard scraped a little as he kissed the inside
of Obi-Wan's legs and licked his knees and hip-hollows. Fingers
brushed just under his balls, running electric pleasure up him.
Force-tendrils reached under, stroking that place and lower, so
that they finally traced over his asshole and settled there.
For long minutes, they caressed the thin skin while Qui-Gon's
breath warmed his cock but never quite touched it. He wanted to
reach down and give some sort of pleasure in return, but only
Qui-Gon's shoulders were within reach, and he had to content
himself with locking both fists in the Jedi robe that pooled
around his Master's body.
Felt so good to be naked like this and protected. Their cloaks
together replaced the armour he'd had to give up to let Qui-Gon
this close to him. He twisted a little under the caresses,
wanted something -- more, deeper, anything touch that could
intensify the pleasure twisting up him.
He got it, finally, a slow, deep penetration by the Force-
tendrils that had teased him for so long. Qui-Gon had shifted
again to kneel between his legs, and now he lifted Obi-Wan's
calves up, exposing him. Bent down, taking the legs onto his
shoulders, and mouthed Obi-Wan's scrotum gently.
Softly, "You shouldn't tease me." It sounded more fragile than
he wanted it to, but he wasn't sure how much of this he could
take without shattering.
Qui-Gon only straightened, though, and arranged Obi-Wan's body
around his own so that he could bend completely and kiss his
Padawan. So sweet to be touched like that, skin to skin the
whole length of his torso. Being kissed so deeply he thought Qui-
Gon would swallow his heart. He thrashed under the larger man's
weight, begging for the gentle stretching to end, for Qui-Gon to
*take* him before he broke completely.
"It's all right, my Obi-Wan. Breathe with me now." And Qui-Gon
offered him air, impossibly warming, that led him down into an
almost perfect relaxation, so that he accepted the first thrust
with a whimper rather than a howl.
So good. He'd never been this stretched, no previous lover had
pushed him this far. Used his knees to grip his lover's body so
he couldn't pull away. It was good, it was hard, it burned. He
needed it this deep. The strokes over his prostate pushed him to
answer the thrusts with a rhythm of his own, bucking up each time
so that he could take Qui-Gon deeper. Qui-Gon wouldn't let go of
him, clung with his mouth and his arms and the armour of his cloak
around them. Warming him from the inside. One hand released his
shoulder, finally, and slid between them, gripped Obi-Wan's cock
and stroked him in counter-rhythm to the thrusts.
Obi-Wan found himself begging for more. Begging not to be left
alone again. Over and over, "Please Master, please Master,
please Master, oh please Master yes, oh please, yes Master so
good, please, please, please . . ."
"It's all right, Padawan. I said I would guard you and I will.
Qui-Gon shifted just a little and angled the next thrust so that
it caught Obi-Wan's prostate fully and sent light-flares off across
his vision. One thumb brushed the hyper-sensitive patch just
below his glans and he was gone, screaming and begging and finding
that in orgasm he could finally release the worst of the rage he
He could feel Qui-Gon channel the pent-up emotion away from them.
The Force absorbed it without flinching. Without the rage
binding him, he could relax and cling to the larger body while
Qui-Gon eased him down, kissed him deeply, and flooded warmth
into him accompanied by whimpers of ecstasy that must have been
his own orgasm. He was warm enough, finally, and protected.
For a long time afterward, Qui-Gon lay just to the side of him,
keeping them both wrapped up and petting him softly. Whispering
nonsense comfort to him. Obi-Wan curled up a little,
instinctively matching his own body to the line of his Master's.
He must have slept, but he didn't remember it. He remembered
waking and being watched by indigo eyes within a field of
shimmering blue. Force-energy crackled in the corners of the
Obi-Wan said, "I reached for you every night and you weren't
Qui-Gon nodded. "I know."
He sat up and started to gather his things. "I have to go."
Urgency rising in him. "Vader will be here soon." Paused and
looked across. His Master's form was less visible as the light
increased. "I'm going to lose you again, aren't I?"
The ghost stilled and focussed on him. "Possibly."
Obi-Wan looked up from his dressing. "I don't understand."
Long, slow breath. "There are different possibilities. If you
serve the Light at the expense of your own desires, it offers you
"You make it sound so mercenary."
Quiet Force-laughter, almost inaudible. "I tend to be blunt,
even now. But you may want to consider whether my company is
adequate reward for years of suffering." Insubstantial touches
on his face. "I wouldn't have chosen this life for you,
He nodded. "I know. I love you too." Shouldered his bag and
turned towards the almost-faded image. "Master." Pause.
Silence. "Thank you."
Nothing answered him.
He went out and down the stairs. Someone was curled up in the
bottom of the stairwell, weeping softly. Obi-Wan reached out
reflexive to offer comfort, but the body jerked away from him and
continued crying. Outside, the dawn was coloured with a toxic
chemical mix. Still, it was sunlight. He had to find a ship,
keep moving. When he spread his awareness out now, he could feel
Vader approaching. Good. Let the twisted thing chase him and
not harm innocents.
He padded to the spaceport, still dirty and anonymous and
frightening to the more prosperous passers-by. Wondered what
they might think if they knew he had a lightsaber concealed under
the hem of his sweater. Wondered if they had any conception of
what they'd lost in the past months. He twisted around to look
at the sky, wondering why his heart was so light.