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Letting Loose

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    “Kriff,” Anakin said upon walking into the room.

    Obi-wan slowly followed behind him. “Hmm?” He asked, distracted by the padd he was holding.

    “If you would stop reading while walking and pay attention, Master, you would see our problem.”

    Obi-wan looked up, finally, “What problem- oh.” He sighed deeply. “If this is Quin’s idea of a joke, I will cut off all his hair the next time I see him.”

    Quinn was the one who had asked Obi-wan to take over this mission for him. That meant that Quinlan-fucking-Vos had made all the plans and reservations, Obi-wan and Anakin just filling in for him physically.

    Which was fine. Except there was only one bed.

    “We can go ask for another room,” Obi-wan said tiredly, “they might have a room left.”

    Anakin shook his head. “I was chatting with the woman at the front desk, they’re completely full for the whole week. It's 'cause of the conference, you know? Apparently, the whole city is really busy.”

    Obi-wan just sighed again. “I’ll sleep on the floor, then.” Anakin looked over at him in concern. Obi-wan looked so tired, Anakin was actually worried he might fall over.

    “I don’t think so. You’re still recovering from our last mission.” He walked over to the bed and sat on it with a little bounce, analyzing it. “We can share, it’s big enough.”

    “I know it’s big enough, that’s why I’m so annoyed,” Obi-wan said, moving to the room’s only window.

    “What?” Anakin asked, twisting to face his master.

    Obi-wan leaned his forehead against the glass, looking out at the people wandering around below them. He refused to make eye contact with Anakin. “Quin has been bugging me about ‘letting loose,’” Obi-wan answered.

    “Letting loose?” Anakin asked, confused.

    “Whatever. Let’s just go to bed.”

    Anakin squinted, staring at Obi-wan as the other man walked into the small connected bathroom. ‘Letting loose? The kriff does that mean?’ Anakin shook his head, sighed, then started preparing for bed himself. ‘Maybe I’ll be warm enough sharing with Obi-wan, I won’t need an extra blanket tonight.’

    He changed quickly, then pulled back the covers of the bed. It wasn’t long until Obi-wan came back into the room too, sporting a pair of comfy looking pants and a scowl. Even with the scowl, Obi-wan was beautiful. Without a shirt, his abs were on full display.

    Sometimes Anakin forgot just how physically powerful Obi-wan was, despite his Master’s small frame. Even without Force-boosting himself, Obi-wan could easily carry Anakin around, and Anakin already weighed more than him.

    Going bare-chested also allowed Anakin to see all his scars, of which there was a surprising amount. Some of them Anakin knew about- he’d been there when Obi-wan received the scar, like the thick gash on his right shoulder. Some, Obi-wan had told him about, like the strange puckered scar on his right abdomen from an old-fashioned slug thrower.

    Others, still, Anakin didn’t know the story behind. There was a surprising amount of old scars, scars from when Obi-wan was a padawan, that must have gone too long before being healed due to their sizes and shapes. Most of these scars Anakin still didn’t know the story behind.

    The only time Anakin had asked, Obi-wan’s reaction had put Anakin ill at ease. He never asked again.

    “Anakin?” Obi-wan asked. Anakin shook himself out of his thoughts.

    “Yeah? What-up?”

    Obi-wan approached the bed and sat carefully, as if he thought the bed would bite him. “You were staring off into space. What’s wrong?”

    “You have a lot of scars,” Anakin said plainly, “and I suppose I was worried.”

    Obi-wan didn’t wince, exactly, but the tightening of his hands and eyes suggested that he’d wanted to. “Mm.”

    “It’s just that, well,” Anakin paused, “you aren’t that much older than me.” Obi-wan’s face turned stony. Anakin barely noticed. “You’re only 12 years older than me but, like, you’d have been a padawan for 11 of those years, and that’s a lot of scars, even for 11 years, and, I mean, a fair number of those are newer, but-”

    “8 years,” Obi-wan said quietly.

    “-what?” Anakin asked.

    “I’d only been a padawan for 8 years.”

    “Oh.” Anakin said. “8 years?  But- I thought-” Anakin cut himself off, deep in thought, and face squinting as if he was doing complex math.

    “The math isn’t that hard, padawan,” Obi-wan chuckled. “Most of my scars are from when I was 14. It’s not a story I like to tell, but, well, I had left the Order briefly.”

    “You what?” Anakin yelped in shock.

    “There was a war between two opposing factions. A third group stepped up, attempting to stop the fighting. That third group was composed of all children and, well,” Obi-wan moved further onto the bed, arms crossed protectively against his stomach. “I joined the group of children, helped them, fought for them, and when Master Jinn wanted to leave the planet, I didn’t leave with him.”

    “He left you there alone?” Anakin asked quietly.

    Obi-wan didn’t answer. “The Young, that was the name of the third faction, we managed to stop the fighting. We’d reached a tentative peace. I was 14 and still one of the oldest in the group. None of us had experience with diplomacy or treaties or-” Obi-wan choked on his word. “I called the Jedi for help. By the time Master Jinn arrived again, Cerasi was dead.”

    “Cerasi?” Anakin asked.

    “She-” Obi-wan shook his head violently. “It was all for nothing. I went back with Qui-Gon and never returned.”

    “Did you love her? Is that-”

    “No. Well, yes, but not- not romantically. I- I did love her,” Obi-wan admitted, “but the way I love is not- I loved her like a dear friend. We weren’t in love but we were still more.”

    “Oh.”

    “It doesn’t- it doesn’t matter.” Obi-wan said, “Let’s go to bed.”

    “Obi-wan,” Anakin said, placing a hand on his Master’s shoulder, “I-”

    “Bed, padawan,” Obi-wan said firmly, moving under the covers and displacing Anakin slightly as he did so. He pulled the covers up to his neck, almost protectively, and turned away from Anakin.

    Anakin gave up and slid into bed as well. He’d never known any of that. He’d never known that Obi-wan had once been in love. Or, well, something akin to love, perhaps.

    Anakin stayed awake for a while, thinking, even after Obi-wan’s breaths had finally deepened. Somewhere along the line, as he’d fallen asleep, Obi-wan had rolled over onto his back. The covers slid down to reveal his shoulder, the white line of a scar just barely visible where his skin touched the sheet.

    His hair was bright against the white sheets, a beautiful red color. Anakin turned to face him, memorizing every line in his face. It was the last thing Anakin saw as he fell asleep.

    

    Obi-wan awoke with a start. A heavy body trapped his right arm and thick brown hair threatened to suffocate him.

    “Ugh.” Obi-wan tried to push his padawan off him, but instead, Anakin curled closer. “Anakin.” No reaction. “Anakin!” Obi-wan basically yelled.

    Said young man startled awake. “What?” He opened his eyes, bright-blue looking into grey-blue. “Oh. Hello, Master.” He said.

    Obi-wan jerked his head back a little. “Please get off my arm.” He said flatly. Anakin didn’t move, instead staring into the other man’s eyes. Obi-wan visibly grew more uncomfortable. “Anakin?”

    This startled Anakin back into reality. “You have really pretty eyes.” Obi-wan tried to shove Anakin off again. “Master-”

    “Don’t,” Obi-wan said. “Just get off my arm.”

    Anakin finally did so with a pout. “It’s true. You’re really pretty. Uh, or handsome. Both?”

    Obi-wan almost jumped out of the bed, he was so hurried. “No.”

    Anakin continued, “and you were really warm last night. I haven’t felt so warm since we went to Savareen.”

    “No.”

    “I- Obi-wan?” Anakin finally seemed to notice how uncomfortable his Master was.

    “Don’t. Please. I knew this would happen- this was probably Quin’s plan-” Obi-wan stood woodenly by the door of the fresher. “We aren’t doing this. I don’t-”

    “Doing what?” Anakin asked, sitting up and letting the sheets fall around him.

    “This! It starts with compliments. It always starts with compliments.”

    Anakin looked puzzled, “I mean, it’s all true. You’re really beautiful. And strong. You have really nice abs-”

    “No!” Obi-wan basically yelled, slamming into the bathroom.

    “No, what?” Anakin asked loudly, “it’s true!” Obi-wan didn’t answer. “Obi-wan?” Anakin asked, moving to the bathroom door. “I can stop complimenting you if it really bothers you.” Obi-wan still didn’t answer. “I just really enjoyed sharing the bed with you. I felt safe. You always make me feel safe. You make me feel at home. And last night, you told me that story, and I realized that maybe one day you would find someone else and fall in love and leave me. Anakin started tearing up and slid down to the ground. “Because I never thought that you would do that but suddenly I know you have done it before. And I don’t have anyone but you. Well, anyone that makes me feel warm and loved and safe and I don’t want you to leave.”

    Obi-wan finally opened the door. “Anakin,” he said quietly, leaning down. Anakin looked up at him, bright blue eyes watery with unshed tears. “Oh, padawan,” Obi-wan muttered, kneeling across from him and pulling him into a hug. “I’m not going to leave you, Anakin,” he said quietly.

    “But-”

    Obi-wan shook his head, “I love you, Anakin,” Obi-wan responded, “you are my brother, my padawan, my partner.” Anakin drew in a deep breath. “I cannot love you like a lover. But I will not love anyone else that way either. I’m not leaving you.”

    “But- Cerasi? You said you loved her.”

    “Yes,” Obi-wan answered quietly, “I did. In a different way. We were not romantic. Anakin, I do not feel romantic love. I have not and will not ever want a romantic relationship. But I cared for her. I care for you, Anakin.”

    Anakin shuddered, “Okay.” He looked up, finally. “I’m sorry.”

    “Hmm?”

    “For making you uncomfortable. Is- can we still share the bed, even if it’s just for warmth? Because I really was warm last night.”

    Obi-wan laughed, “Anakin, of course. We can even cuddle.” Anakin made a questioning but excited sound, making Obi-wan laugh harder. He held Anakin’s cheeks and pressed a kiss to the young man’s forehead. “I may not ever love you romantically. I will not ever want to have sex with you-”

    “Oh.” Anakin suddenly understood.

    “-but that doesn’t mean I don’t care for you and that I don’t want hugs.”

    “Obi-wan?” Anakin asked. “Did Vos mean ‘have sex’ when he said you needed to ‘let loose?’”

    Obi-wan paused. He cleared his throat. “Yes…”

    “Vos is an asshole.” Anakin decided.

    “Oh? I mean, I’m not arguing with you, Padawan, but what do you mean?”

    Anakin shrugged, straightening himself out and standing up, “You don’t like sex. Right? I always thought you seemed to have an aversion to even the idea of sex.”

    Obi-wan stood up as well, blushing brightly. “Well. Um. You’re right? I don’t like sex.”

    Anakin nodded, “and Vos wanted us to have sex. So you’d loosen up. But we don’t need to do that.” Anakin paused. “Well, maybe he wasn’t all wrong. ‘Cause I think cuddles helped.”

    Obi-wan laughed again. “I guess.” Obi-wan moved back into the bathroom to finish getting ready but turned back to Anakin one last time. “Are you alright now, Anakin?”

    Anakin smiled. “Yeah, I think I am. Hey, Obi-wan?”

    “Yes, my padawan?”

    “Is it okay if I say I love you? As long as I mean it platonically?”

    Obi-wan turned and drew Anakin into a hug. “You used to tell me that you loved me when you were younger. I missed it when you stopped.” Anakin leaned into the hug. “I love you, too, Anakin.” Obi-wan said, “I love you dearly but not romantically. You can always tell me you love me.” Obi-wan drew back slightly, “but maybe not in front of Vos.”

    Anakin laughed, “Okay, Obi-wan. I love you.”