He hated crowds. He really, truly did. They were loud and pushy and noisy, and it was generally a situation Obi-Wan avoided if at all possible. But the crowded slave market on Tatooine had to be one of the worst. Not only were the people rude and brash but it was a slave market. How Obi-Wan ended up in this part of Mos Eisley he couldn’t really be sure, but what he did know was that everything around him only served to make him more and more uncomfortable with each passing moment as he was shoved along with the crowds.
He was packed in so tightly with species of every variety that it would have been near impossible to try and turn around and leave, if he could even remember the way he came. The mind tricks he had learned at the Jedi Temple were almost entirely useless and there were too many bodies seemingly focused on a large platform they were crowding around.
From the yells, jeers, and hollers it was a slave auction. Completely despicable in the eyes of the civilized and the Republic; how he had managed to pull the short straw for the trip to this miserable desert planet he could only imagine. The others had to be manipulating the draw with the Force because he had been using it to cheat too and look where it got him.
Obi-Wan sighed and coughed at the smell of the bodies around him and the unsettled sand and dust that floated up to choke his nasal passages. Whatever complaints he had had about Bandomeer he could forget them completely. Tatooine was much worse and there wasn’t really all that to look at…except sand…and sand, and some more sand. At least his adopted home planet had water, and the mountains were nice.
It was a far cry from Coruscant though, and the Temple that he had been raised in since practically birth. All he had known about the galaxy had come from the teachings at the Jedi Temple. It was his home, his sanctuary, his school, and his training ground. And then like so many other failed initiates - it wasn’t.
His heart sunk again at the memories that pushed their way through to the surface. It had been nearly twenty years since he had joined the AgriCorps and yet his thoughts still wandered back to that day. That sad, lonely day that he had been packed onto the Monument with what meager possessions he had and shipped off to Bandomeer to become a farmer.
He had left his home and his friends and had to create an entirely new life with new people, and new roles on a completely foreign planet. It was nothing like the busy traffic and endless buildings of his old home planet. Not at all. It was fresh air and inland fields, the large ArgiBuildings stretched high, but not as high as others he had seen. Oceans and rocky plains that could be seen for miles on the hillside by the little cottage he deemed to call home. It had been a nice change to get out of the dormitories and live on his own. The small crops he tended to were only a few miles away as was the small town that overlooked it in his area. It was funny almost, how alone he’d always been and now the solitude was really all he had.
Obi-Wan grunted as he was forced back a few paces, and shoved forward as the being whose toes he had accidentally stepped on didn’t appreciate it all too much. He couldn’t help but glare at the dark shape as it continued shoving people out of the way to get a spot closer to the stage which, Obi-Wan now realized, begun the bidding war for slaves.
How did he get himself into things like this? All he had to do was pick up a few seeds.
Their contractor had apparently been “shot down” and couldn’t make it to Bandomeer as the repairs would “take months”. Right. Months his ass. When Obi-Wan had tracked the man through the Force he had found him in a bordello of ill repute having the time of his life. Obi-Wan was definitely going to have a talk with the genius who had arranged this deal, or at least write a strongly worded letter. He hated the main AgriBuilding, it was to him a reminder of all his failings to become a Jedi. All that work, and where was he? Living near the coastline and farming. He could have been out in the galaxy doing who knows what, saving how many lives? Living up to the Jedi Code and being the best Jedi he could have been.
But that was the past was it not? There was no use dwelling. Master Yoda probably had a quote for that but he he’d be damned if he could remember it.
Obi-Wan shifted and fanned his robes. This planet was much too hot.
He couldn’t be sure of how much time had passed, but it felt like forever. And in that forever probably more than a dozen slaves had either been purchased or bartered and he had only managed to struggle maybe a good four feet from where he had initially been standing. The shuffle of people moving to collect slaves had jostled him to and fro, the majority of buyers being much bigger and heavier than he was.
It was uncanny how nobody moved unless a slave owner was heading to the stage.
Again, he hated crowds.
“Get off me! Son of a bitch! Miya bata! Slimo do belia nok!”
Obi-Wan started at the shouting. His attention was drawn to the platform as a struggling and swearing young man was led out by his captors. Shouts and catcalls rose from the audience as well as the crowd’s increased mutterings. The announcer seemed to agree with them as he started prattling away in Huttese.
The words passed over Obi-Wan’s head as he just stared at the struggling being in front of him. The slave kicked one of the guards hard in the knee that sent him to the ground. The slave was rewarded for it with a shove and backhand across the face.
It had to have hurt to land on his back with his arms tied behind like that.
Obi-Wan didn’t realize he was staring and at what for the matter, completely eluded him.
But it was bright. And spirited.
The slave was gripped roughly and hauled to his feet as he glared at the entire crowd. His anger and pain echoed in the Force, uncontrolled and fierce.
It was all Obi-Wan could do to tighten his shields. The slave was Force sensitive. He had to be. And there was something there, an ache in Obi-Wan’s chest that became so tight he may have well had stopped breathing.
And when the guards stripped the young man’s shirt off his back, he was sure he did.
Nothing but the most perfectly Force-touched golden skin lay bared for all to see.
And before he realized it, Obi-Wan had raised his hand to bid.