“You look terrible.”
Anakin scowled up at Obi-Wan as menacingly as possible without lifting his head from his desk. He probably did look terrible, seeing as he had been sitting in his room with his face up against datapad screens all day.
His posture had deteriorated until he couldn’t hold his head above his shoulders; his eyes were dry and sore from the light of the screens; his brain was mush from reading and typing words that no longer held any meaning for him.
Not to mention the fact that he hadn’t had any real sustenance all day. He was so engrossed in his work, so anxious to get it over with, that all he was mentally capable of preparing for himself was caf — the results of which were evident. He was jittery, his head hurt, his stomach hurt, and, most cruel of all, his energy was still depleted.
So yes, he was sure ‘terrible’ was a generous adjective, but still, he scowled.
He was met with a soft smile and raised, surrendering hands. “You look terribly tired,” Obi-Wan amended.
Anakin groaned and let his eyes shut again, wincing at his throbbing headache. The worst part of it all was that it was his own doing. He had assumed that Ahsoka was handling all of their mission reports for the past month, but she had assumed the same, and so none of them had gotten done.
Windu made his disappointment and his expectation to have them done by the next day clear in that morning’s Council meeting, so he and his padawan divided the load to get them done as quickly as possible.
They had worked on them together for a a few hours, but they couldn’t stand the stiffness of the Archive chairs any longer, so they retired to their own rooms and agreed to skim them over together before submitting them tomorrow.
Even when divided, there were so many reports to get through, so many details to recount, it was driving Anakin mad. The fact that it was his — and Ahsoka’s, thank you very much — fault made it that much worse.
“Anakin?” Obi-Wan asked, concerned at Anakin’s frown and unwillingness to open his eyes.
“Mmpf,” he groaned, unable to do much more. Everything hurt; he was sure even laying down to sleep would be agony.
“Now this truly is terrible,” Obi-Wan tsked under his breath, and Anakin was grateful for the low volume. Usually his former master’s voice was everything to him, and even though it still managed to soothe him now, he couldn’t handle anything louder than a murmur.
He felt as Obi-Wan approached him and crouched next to his chair. Although his body begged him not to, he opened his eyes to look down at Obi-Wan, who was squatting and looking up at him with great concern.
The older man reached out a hand and gingerly tucked unruly curls behind Anakin’s ear. The gesture was so tender Anakin ached to press into the touch, but didn’t dare move his head.
“Have you gotten a lot done?” Obi-Wan asked, voice remaining a whisper.
Giving a noncommittal grunt, Anakin let his eyes slip closed again as Obi-Wan gently cupped his cheek.
“May I help to alleviate your headache a bit?” he asked. Anakin did his best to push his approval through the Force, and it must have worked, for Obi-Wan stood. “I’m sorry, dear one, but we have to lift your head.”
Anakin groaned and winced the whole time, but Obi-Wan managed with careful hands to sit Anakin upright. He cradled Anakin’s head in both hands, thumbs in front of Anakin’s ears and fingers reaching back to the base of Anakin’s skull. It did feel nice to have the weight held by someone else, but moving his head made the throbbing increase tenfold.
“Tell me if and when you want me to stop,” Obi-Wan said, and Anakin gave the smallest nod he could.
Then, his mind was flooded with Obi-Wan’s presence in the Force. It was different from how it was when Obi-Wan typically entered his mind — this was slow, and warm, and the golden glow of Obi-Wan’s Force signature was dim and calm. It washed over his mind in a caress as gentle as Obi-Wan’s hands holding him now. He felt it, as each wave washed away the ache. His senses were no longer burdens bombarding him at all times; even the Force seem to quiet as Obi-Wan’s signature pushed out anything that would cause pain.
Although he never wanted it to end, he knew how taxing Force healing was, so he whispered, “Stop.” He was relieved to find the action didn’t hurt him, and neither did opening his eyes to see Obi-Wan looking down at him with an assessing gaze.
“Better?” Obi-Wan asked, still holding Anakin’s head in his hands.
Anakin smiled and raised his hands to grasp Obi-Wan’s wrists, simply holding him in place. “Much. Thank you, Master.” He hoped he conveyed how grateful he was for the man, how much he loved him and his kindness.
Obi-Wan smiled in return and brought his hands forward to swipe his thumbs along Anakin’s cheekbones. “Of course, my love.” He leaned down to give Anakin a quick, soft kiss, and Anakin smiled wider against the man’s lips. Pulling away, Obi-Wan licked his own lips and grimaced, making Anakin frown. “Am I right to assume you’ve had nothing but caf today?”
Anakin broke eye contact with a sheepish glance to his empty caf mug, heating up at the sound of Obi-Wan’s soft laughter; even though it was at his own expense, it was so nice to hear — when the sound didn’t threaten to crack his head open, that is.
“Come, I’ll see what I can manage for you,” Obi-Wan teased, more at himself than at Anakin. With a snort, Anakin acquiesced and followed Obi-Wan to the kitchen, sitting at the small table as Obi-Wan instructed. He watched fondly as the man went through Anakin’s cabinets, deciding on some bread and fresh fruit jam.
Before long, a plate with three pieces of jam-covered bread was placed before Anakin, as well as a glass of water. “Eat,” Obi-Wan instructed simply, easily falling back into their master-padawan dynamic. It made Anakin smile.
Anakin ate as Obi-Wan ate a few slices himself, and Obi-Wan happily refilled Anakin’s water glass twice as Anakin seemed to suddenly realize just how dehydrated he was. It made him smile sheepishly at Obi-Wan, who simply offered him a fond, even pleased smile.
Once he was finished, Obi-Wan took care of their dishes, allowing Anakin to rest at the table. He felt even better now, his stomach full and no longer aching, and the water helped soothe his head even more. He felt like he was becoming more and more of a person from the simple acts of eating and drinking — from Obi-Wan’s care.
“Thank you, Master,” he said again, knowing he could never say it enough and that the words could never carry the full weight of his gratitude. “That was some of your best work — possibly the best meal I’ve ever had,” he joked, although, with how much he had needed to eat, it felt like one of the best meals he’d ever had.
Obi-Wan scoffed as he returned to the table. “I spared you my cooking because I am ever so kind, and particularly lazy right now.” Anakin laughed, knowing the latter part was an absolute lie; Obi-Wan was never lazy, and a lazy man would not care for another the way Obi-Wan was now.
Indeed, a lazy man would never move to stand behind Anakin’s chair and bring his hands to his shoulders and begin massaging them with firm, sure movements. A loud groan escaped Anakin and he hung his head forward, eyes fluttering shut. He heard Obi-Wan chuckle behind him, but he didn’t care; his shoulders and back were in so much pain from sitting all day and Force it felt so good.
“If you’d like, we could draw you a bath. The warm water would soothe your muscles, and I’m sure it would feel refreshing,” Obi-Wan offered as he worked on a rather large knot.
“Would you join me?” Anakin asked through clenched teeth, the pleasure-pain of the massage sublime.
“If you’d like me to, yes.”
“Then yes, let’s take a bath.”
Shortly after, they were in the bathroom, and Anakin let Obi-Wan undress him as the bath filled with warm water. He was slow with his movements, careful not to jostle Anakin too much and placing each garment in a nearly folded pile as they were removed. Anakin was sure he was watching him with a dopey smile the whole time, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.
“How would you like to sit?” Obi-Wan asked as he moved to start taking his own clothes off. Anakin pushed an image across their never-quite-severed bond of Obi-Wan seated with his back against the tub and Anakin in between his legs, back pressed to Obi-Wan’s chest.
With a nod, Obi-Wan shut off the water and got into the tub as requested, opening his legs and arms to beckon Anakin in. It was not hard to do so at all, not with the enticing image of a nude Obi-Wan in a tub with a soft smile and loving gaze.
Force, how’d Anakin get so lucky?
He climbed in, situating himself between Obi-Wan’s legs and squirming until he was satisfactorily pressed against the man behind him.
At some point, Obi-Wan had grabbed a cloth and soap and began to drag it along Anakin’s skin. It was soothing in the caress and in the physical remnants of this incredibly taxing day being washed away. Before long, Anakin was completely lax against Obi-Wan, eyes shut and breathing deep.
“Are the reports going well?” Obi-Wan asked, running the cloth along Anakin’s collarbones. Again, Anakin grunted in response; they weren’t done, but a lot were, and he was actually putting effort into them. The reports were, though, quite literally the last thing Anakin wanted to be thinking of in that moment.
He could hear the amused smile in Obi-Wan’s voice as he went on: “I figured as much, with how much you two had failed to submit.” Before Anakin could defend himself, Obi-Wan added, “I can help you finish them tomorrow.”
“What? No-” Anakin started, eyes snapping open.
“Sit up, darling, I need to get your back,” Obi-Wan interrupted with an air of nonchalance.
Anakin did as he was asked, and went on as Obi-Wan dragged the cloth against his back in the most delightful manner. “You don’t have to do that, Obi-Wan. Besides-”
“You can lean back again,” Obi-Wan interrupted again, and Anakin obeyed.
“Besides,” he went on as Obi-Wan ran the cloth along his stomach, “there’s no way they’ll all be done in time if I don’t keep working on them tonight.”
“Quite right — unless I help you,” Obi-Wan responded, leaning them both forward as he reached for Anakin’s thigh.
Anakin bent his legs at the knee to give Obi-Wan easier access, earning a pleased grumble from the man that reverberated from his chest to Anakin’s back and made him shiver despite the warm bath.
“But Master, you really don’t have to,” Anakin tried again, watching Obi-Wan’s hand move along his skin. Obi-Wan gave his own noncommittal hum and nuzzled their cheeks together, making Anakin sigh at the feel of the man’s beard on his skin.
When Obi-Wan finished cleaning Anakin’s whole body, he rung out the cloth and draped it along the edge of the tub. Before he could mourn the man’s touch, Obi-Wan patted Anakin’s hips so he’d scoot forward. Anakin did, and let himself be lowered so Obi-Wan could wet his hair.
Obi-Wan leaned forward, looking down at Anakin who stared up at him. “I know I don’t have to, Anakin, but I’m happy to help you,” he answered and had Anakin sit up again. He grabbed Anakin’s shampoo and ran it through his hair in large, slow circles along his scalp. A pleased sigh left Anakin as he closed his eyes once more and submitted to the touch.
“Besides,” Obi-Wan went on, lowering Anakin once more to rinse his hair, “there’s no way I’m letting you work anymore today. You’ve done plenty, and deserve to rest.”
“But-” Anakin tried as he was sat up again so Obi-Wan could run the conditioner through his curls.
“Nope,” Obi-Wan said with finality, and that, apparently, was that. Anakin lowered once more for his hair to be rinsed, and sat up again. This time, he leaned back against Obi-Wan again and sighed as he relaxed completely into the man. Obi-Wan quickly wrapped his arms around Anakin’s torso, nosing at his neck to press sweet kisses there and along his shoulders.
“I wonder how it’s going for Snips,” Anakin wondered aloud, despite the way his current bliss had his mind drifting far and away. “I’m sure she’s not enjoying her time as much as I am right now.”
Obi-Wan snorted and smiled into Anakin’s skin, making a smile break out on Anakin’s own face. “Perhaps, perhaps not,” Obi-Wan conceded.
They stayed there like that for as long as they could before their skin pruned and the water lost its comforting heat. Obi-Wan got out first, and had a towel ready to wrap Anakin in once he followed suit. Anakin allowed Obi-Wan to dry him, smiling stupidly the whole time.
Obi-Wan finished by drying his hair, the two of them laughing at the absolute tangled mess it was afterwards. Anakin allowed Obi-Wan to comb it for him, watching with pure adoration as Obi-Wan concentrated so sincerely on the task at hand: managing Anakin’s unruly hair without hurting Anakin in the process.
(Not that Anakin would have cared. Obi-Wan could do practically anything to him, and he’d love the man still. Plus, he wasn’t necessarily averse to any amount of tugging on his hair — this they knew well.)
Once Anakin’s hair was in order, they returned to the bedroom and put on fresh clothes. Obi-Wan went for a pair of comfortable pants, while Anakin opted for a loose-fitting shirt and shorts.
Obi-Wan pulled back the covers and turned to Anakin with a smile. “Go ahead and climb in. I’ll be right back.”
Too exhausted to fight or question Obi-Wan, Anakin obeyed and fell gracelessly into the bed, much to Obi-Wan’s amusement.
It was hard not to fall sleep immediately, but he waited until Obi-Wan returned with more water. He handed it to Anakin, who sat up and drank about two-thirds before handing it to Obi-Wan. The older man accepted the glass, finishing its remains before placing it on the side table and climbing into the bed beside Anakin.
Obi-Wan situated himself under the covers, laying on his back and holding out an arm for Anakin. Anakin, however, was simply stating at him with a big smile, his amusement palpable.
Obi-Wan raised one eyebrow, questioning, “What?”
Anakin laughed and shook his head, taking his place in Obi-Wan’s outstretched arm. “Nothing, that was just cute.”
Obi-Wan barked out a laugh, lowering his arm to wrap it around Anakin. “Cute?”
“Mhm,” he nodded, running his fingers through Obi-Wan’s chest hair. He didn’t have the energy nor the interest to explain that them sharing a glass of water felt domestic, felt cute of them to do.
“Whatever you say, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said fondly. “Are you ready to sleep?”
“Yes,” Anakin exhaled in agreement, the reminder of his exhaustion making his body suddenly heavy. He felt Obi-Wan nod and lift his free arm to turn off the bedside lamp, bathing the room in much appreciated darkness.
Just before succumbing to the sleep that tugged on his eyelids, Anakin pressed himself closer to Obi-Wan. “Obi-Wan?” he spoke softly.
“Mmm?” Obi-Wan hummed, trailing his fingers soothingly along Anakin’s flank under his shirt.
“Thank you for taking care of me today, and everyday.” It was true, Obi-Wan had always taken care of him. Yes, today was particularly stressful, but Obi-Wan was always there to ensure Anakin was happy and healthy. There was never a moment where he felt like Obi-Wan didn’t care about him and his well-being, and it sent warmth through Anakin’s chest.
“Of course, dear one. I love you,” Obi-Wan said as though it was the simplest thing.
“I love you,” he said back, because it was the simplest thing, to love and be loved by Obi-Wan.
And, just as it had with each golden wave, each bite of jam-covered toast, each sip of cool water, each brush of cloth or shampoo covered fingers — Anakin’s terrible day vanished until all he knew was the press of Obi-Wan’s skin, the warmth of his bed, and the darkness of his room that was quickly replaced with that of his closed eyes.
Feeling the best he had in a long time, Anakin fell asleep.