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There are warm hands touching his naked skin, still smooth and unmarked by the trials of war or fire. He can breathe again, too, because his breath is hitching at the sensation of calloused fingers roaming over his cheeks, his neck, his chest. The ever-present hiss of the respirator, forcing him to breathe evenly, is gone.

 

The scratch of beard provides an intoxicating contrast to soft lips, and he buries hands of flesh in thick, auburn-colored hair.

 

He knows this is a dream.

 

“Obi-Wan...” he says, in a voice that is strong and youthful.

 

Obi-Wan doesn't reply, instead using his mouth to suck on the junction between his neck and his shoulder.

 

“You replaced me,” he says, accusingly, as he shivers.

 

“Of course I did,” says Obi-Wan, after teasing the spot to redness. “What else was I to do, after you failed me?”

 

“You gave him my lightsaber.”

 

“The boy needed a weapon.” Obi-Wan trails a hand downward, teasing at his inner thigh. “I just happened to have a spare.”

 

“I will take him from you,” he says, even as Obi-Wan kisses up the hollow of his throat. “He will become my weapon, instead of yours. He will know the power of the Dark Side. You died for nothing.”

 

“Perhaps. But at the very least, I was spared the tedium of listening to any more of your twaddle.” Obi-Wan cups his face, running a thumb over his lips. “Do you really think I have any desire to listen to your childish posturing?”

 

“I hate you,” he hisses, wishing that he could push the man away. Wishing even more that Obi-Wan would kiss him properly. “I will see all of your plans crumble into dust.”

 

Obi-Wan obliges his unspoken desire, just barely, kissing him softly on the lips. “If that is your destiny,” he says. “Then that is what shall come to pass.”

 

He knows, then, that he is nothing to Obi-Wan but another Darksider. A passing nuisance like Ventress or Maul or Dooku.

 

“Of course,” says Obi-Wan, reading his thoughts. “Did you think I could have left you to burn, if I ever truly loved you? You were a duty to me then, as now. The context has simply changed.” Obi-Wan stokes a hand through his hair. “How very like you, to think that I share in your twisted obsession.”

 

“Liar,” he whispers, though the word lacks any kind of conviction.

 

“You know it to be true.” Obi-Wan kisses him again, his tongue just barely dipping into his mouth, leaving him aching for more. “How else would I have been able to replace you?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“He is everything you were not,” says Obi-Wan, who is suddenly moving inside him. It feels so good that he cannot bring himself to speak. “I care for him as I never cared for you.”

 

Breathless, he barely manages to say, “Your words ring hollow, when you touch me like this.”

 

“Do not deceive yourself, Darth,” says Obi-Wan, almost kindly. “I do this because I pity you.” Obi-Wan nuzzles into his ear, his thrusts steady and unrelenting. “Have you not longed to be touched, after all? Is this not what you truly wished to happen, when we were reunited?”

 

He wants to protest, to insist that all he's ever wanted is Obi-Wan dead at his feet, humiliated. But he still cannot form the words, struck dumb by the sparks of sensation emanating from every nerve in his body.

 

“You got your wish, Darth.” His thrusts pick up in speed. “I am dead. And yet, you dream of me still.”

 

“Not dead,” he struggles to say. “I saw the robes. You--” a gasp, as his body is wracked with an intense wave of pleasure, “--you found a way to transcend death, as Qui-Gon did.”

 

Obi-Wan pulls back, and pity is indeed written across his face. But – blessedly – he does not stop. “A comforting fairy tale,” he says. “Is that why you speak to the empty atmosphere, as though I can still hear you?”

 

“Liar,” he says again. “I can feel you, still. I can feel --” His words are cut off as Obi-Wan finally kisses him, deeply, lovingly, and he finds himself clinging to the man.

 

It is then that he wakes, alone and gasping for air in his meditation chamber, his lungs burning with the strain of keeping him alive. He reaches out to the Force, to the Dark Side, in order to ground himself in reality once more.

 

A dream, he thinks, and nothing more. A phantom created by rogue neurotransmitters.

 

“Of course. You're much too enamored of your own righteousness to taunt me in my dreams.”

 

As always, there is no response. Not even a stirring in the Force.

 

“You can't ignore me forever, old man,” he says, loud enough that his throat aches. “You will beg for my mercy, when your last hope proves fruitless.”

 

The boy is the key, he thinks. Turn the boy, train him, and Obi-Wan will wish he'd begged sooner.

 

He immerses himself in the Dark Side, pulling it around him like a cloak, but it does nothing to ease the ache under his skin.