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Always Been There

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Obi-Wan didn’t know any lullabies, but Anakin did.

Obi-Wan found it out once when he returned from Anchorhead in the evening. Usually they went there together for supplies and whatever scarce news they could get, carrying Luke in a sling, but this time Luke had cried all night for no visible reason and the day brought such a blazing heat that Obi-Wan had deemed it better to go alone.

He stopped at the doorway and silently watched his friend cradling the boy in his arms, singing a monotonous melody in a low and husky voice, unaware of Obi-Wan’s presence.

It seemed almost surreal, a warrior singing softly to an infant, and yet Obi-Wan knew that there was nothing to be surprised of – Anakin had been raised by a mother, no wonder he remembered things from his childhood. Unlike Obi-Wan, he had had other experiences in his life apart from the one of being a Jedi, and maybe that was the reason why now he was better at adapting to the new life they had been forced to start. He had wept like a madman over Padmé’s death; still he seemed to be more at ease in the galaxy fallen apart and on this particular planet. Obi-Wan had not cried over anything, as if something inside him had blocked his tears from rising, but he felt completely lost, the ground pulled from beneath his feet.

Since their arrival on Tatooine they hadn’t talked much about everything that had happened, no words being enough to describe the end of the world. Their primal goal was to survive. In the everyday routine of the harsh existence in the desert there was no place for regrets and grieving for the past. And anyway Obi-Wan was not someone who knew how to grieve.

He took the bottles of blue milk out of his backpack, a deep frown creasing his forehead.

“I’ve caught a bit of HoloNet news in a cantina. The Emperor has attacked Kashyyk and the Wookies are being accused of treason. There must have been some Jedi there, too, but I did not quite get it if they escaped or were all killed.”

“I wish we could just go there and fight,” Anakin muttered through clenched teeth, his belligerent impulse somewhat subdued by the presence of a baby in his arms.

Obi-Wan just glanced at him saying nothing: they had been through with this conversation a while ago. The remaining Jedi and their supporters were to hide and wait, no matter how impatient some of them might be.

Anakin put the sleeping Luke to his bed in the small room designated as baby’s, and they ate their late dinner in silence. Once it was over, Obi-Wan cleared the dishes from the table and went out of the house, making a few large steps towards the desert. The night that fell brought as little freshness as it could, and a small wind cooled his sweaty forehead. The desert stretched before him obscure and empty, an image of the world overwhelmed by darkness, and no light could be seen even at the horizon.

“I used to enjoy nighttimes like this when I was a kid.”

Obi-Wan didn’t have to look back to feel Anakin’s presence behind him, and only sighed.
“It is the only time of the day when the air becomes at least somewhat breathable.”

“Yes, but it was more than that. The work day was over and mother sometimes used to sit outside the house talking to our neighbors, and we kids used to play or tell each other scary stories, or look at the stars and dream of freedom, and adventures, and flights.” Anakin sounded dreamy, lost in his memories. “We were so naïve. When I arrived at the Temple, I missed the warmth and the quiet of a desert night. Coruscanti nights were so cold and noisy.”

Obi-Wan shook his head, the mention of Coruscant and of life now-gone-forever bringing more pain than he could have expected.

“I understood you so little at that time,” he confessed.

Anakin chuckled softly, but when he spoke again his voice was deadly serious.

“You miss the Temple life, Obi-Wan, don’t you?”

Obi-Wan wanted his reply to sound matter-of-fact but could not chase pain and bitterness from his voice.

“Why should we even speak of that? Everything is destroyed now, Anakin. We have to move on and live day by day, until the time comes when we can do something. If it comes at all.”

“You are too despondent, Master.”

“I am only realistic.”

“No, you are not!” Anakin shook him slightly by the shoulder. “There is always hope, Obi-Wan,” suddenly he sounded almost infuriated. “How can you so easily forget it? If we are to survive we have to keep it in mind!”

Obi-Wan said nothing, staring straight in front of him into the dark.

Anakin opened his mouth to add something to his previous words, but then instead of it laid a tentative hand on his shoulder. He waited for a second and, receiving no reaction, slowly wound his arms around Obi-Wan from behind and carefully pulled him closer.

Obi-Wan tensed, unaccustomed to being touched and held that way, but made no move to withdraw.

“And not everything is destroyed. You still have me, and Luke, don’t you?” He rested his chin on the other man’s shoulder and smiled a little feeling Obi-Wan relax slightly into his embrace. “And what’s more, there is something that has always been there, Obi-Wan, and still is, and nothing would destroy it.”

Obi-Wan’s breath hitched as he felt the warmth of Anakin’s arms spread across his chest and go deeper inside him, and he slowly turned his head to look into the young man’s eyes. It took him a few seconds before he trusted himself to ask:

“What something?”

Anakin smiled and brushed his cheek against Obi-Wan’s, then turned his head, consciously aware of the fire that he was about to ignite and delighting in the realization that he finally dared to do it, and kissed him gently on the lips.