torch, August 1999

Disclaimer: not mine. The characters, I mean. This is not a nice story. In fact, it's probably the least nice story I've ever written. Title borrowed from Belle and Sebastian. Thanks to Te and elynross for providing directions. Flames to flambeau@strangeplaces.net. Do not archive this story without permission.

Happening to you

There was a deceptive light in the room, the fine orange-grey haze of late twilight, hiding more than it showed. Cool air drifted in through the open window, caressed his sleep-warm skin, and he sighed very softly in response. Every muscle in his body sang its fatigue. He liked it, it made him feel good. The thin sheet that covered him was plain but not rough. He stroked against it with one fingertip and then sank into perfect stillness again, into near-sleep.

He had driven himself hard during the day's exercises, partly out of a genuine desire to excel, and partly to reach this state of exhaustion so that he would not have to contend with any sudden rushes of heat that led to strange inner stirrings and sweaty-palmed touches, or sticky dreams and sticky awakenings. Oh, he knew it was normal, natural, expected, he had been told a long time ago, long before it started, long before he started to want to... but at the same time there had been something about the telling that... Obi-Wan didn't know whose embarrassment it was he felt, but he wasn't ready to face up to his own desires tonight, natural or not.

And even if he had been, this was not the right time. Without turning over, he knew that Qui-Gon was standing in the doorway, watching him. His master always did that, every night, checking in on Obi-Wan before going to his own bed, his presence a soft force-touch that Obi-Wan could feel whether he was awake or asleep. Even in his dreams, it made him feel that he belonged. He closed his eyes.

To his surprise, Qui-Gon didn't walk away. The moment lengthened, and Obi-Wan drowsed in it, wondering if his master intended to stand silent sentinel over his dreams all night. Wondering if his master could ever sense his dreams, the ones he carefully never thought about after waking. He pressed his cheek more deeply into the pillow.

When he finally heard soft footsteps, they were moving towards him, not away. That was unprecedented. Qui-Gon crossed the room to stand by the bed. Obi-Wan kept his eyes closed as if that would put off the moment when he found out what was wrong — something about his training, something he had done, some mission that meant they would both have to leave now, some mission that meant his master would be leaving without him—

Fingers ruffled his hair. "Ssshhh, don't worry." The mattress dipped as Qui-Gon sat down. "Don't worry, everything's all right." Obi-Wan felt muscles that had begun to tense up relax again as if in instant obedience to his master's voice. It was soothing to have his hair stroked like that, over and over, by Qui-Gon's strong, competent hands. He sighed.

The heavy weight behind him shifted, and then he could feel warmth all along his back through the sheet. Qui-Gon was lying behind him, very close on the narrow bed. Still stroking, fingers moving down to brush over the short hair at the back of his neck and it felt almost like the cool air had felt before. Qui-Gon's touch slipped down his throat, up over his face, brushing gently against his cheek.

"Obi-Wan." When his master said his name in that tone of voice, he wasn't supposed to answer, just to listen. "It's all right, Obi-Wan... From the moment I saw you I knew you were different. Special." Qui-Gon's fingers were on Obi-Wan's mouth now, tracing his lips. "I knew it was right to choose you." Qui-Gon was very close; Obi-Wan could feel his breath. "Nothing could ever change that." Soft scrape of beard against the back of his neck. "Nothing, not your dreams, not anything."

Obi-Wan swallowed, hard. There was a gritty lump in his throat. Qui-Gon had seen, Qui-Gon knew... he wanted to melt into the sheets and disappear. And still the warm strong hand kept touching him, petting him. He'd thought his dreams were secret, had believed his waking mind to be shielded. He had no control, he was as bad as the youngest beginner. He didn't deserve to be a padawan.

"The bond between us is strong," Qui-Gon whispered and stroked over his shoulder, down his arm, pushing the sheet away. "I know... It's all right. I know what you want." Hot breath. Tongue tracing his ear, sending unexpected chills through him and Qui-Gon's hand was on his chest now, slow and deliberate. Thumb rubbing over his nipple and he twitched. Qui-Gon knew, Qui-Gon knew and was... was touching him like this, and...

And it was like nothing he'd dreamed, to have another's hands on his body. Qui-Gon's hands. Qui-Gon's body pressed up against his. New sensations everywhere, like bubbles popping against his skin, Qui-Gon touching him in the most unexpected places, touches that built up the excitement in him until he could barely breathe. Touching him, and shifting his body, handling him as easily as in combat practice, because size and strength and experience were all on Qui-Gon's side.

The pulse hammered in his throat, blood pounding in his body, making him ache. It was worse than the dreams, it was more. He couldn't let his master see him like this. His master wanted to see him like this. Was doing this to him. His body felt small and awkward under Qui-Gon's hands, and still he bucked into the touch, responding, trying to learn. The sheet was gone, and Qui-Gon untied the drawstring of Obi-Wan's loose pants, working them down and he could feel his master's naked body against his own.

His breath caught in his throat.

One of his legs was lifted and then a thick, hot, heavy shaft was rubbing between his thighs and he shook, helplessly. Qui-Gon licked at him. "Sssh, my darling, my little darling." Hot words against cold wetness on his neck, words flavored with spices from the dinner they'd shared earlier.

Qui-Gon's large, strong hand closed around him and stroked him and it felt so different from when he touched himself and he couldn't stop shaking. It was really happening. It wasn't a dream.

No, this wasn't at all like his dreams. It was so... real, the smell and the sweat and the panting breaths, that low grunting sound his master made, thrusting hard, slapping against Obi-Wan's body. The insistent stroking that drew his response with the inescapable pull of gravity, or the force.

Strange how the shiver-silver feeling inside was a lot like fear, but this was Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan would die for him, and Qui-Gon had said that it was right, that it was all right, and Qui-Gon was doing this to him and he had to obey his master and he couldn't stop his hips from moving his spine from arching and—

He came in a convulsive burst of passionate shame, gasping for air.

Qui-Gon's thrusts against him grew rougher, and the fingers that dug into him were bruisingly strong. There was that sound again, and again, and powerful staccato jerks and then a burst of heat, spattering him as he'd spattered himself with thick white stains.

Silence followed, as Qui-Gon grew still and heavy. Obi-Wan didn't dare to move. The world had changed on some fundamental level and any move he made might upset its new balance. He lay in his master's arms, pliant as a rag doll, shifting minutely in response to Qui-Gon's breathing. Nighttime sounds came carried on the breeze, as before.

When an eternity of nothing had passed, Qui-Gon moved. Disentangled himself, sat up, kept Obi-Wan lying where he was with one firm hand on his shoulder. Bent over him. The same face, teacher's face, master's face.

"You were perfect." Qui-Gon kissed his cheek tenderly. "Sleep now." Kissed his eyes shut. "Obi-Wan... You can't tell anyone. They wouldn't understand." Kissed his forehead. "It's our secret, Obi-Wan, little one." Kissed the tip of his nose. "Sweet dreams."

Footsteps, Qui-Gon padding out of the room again. The air coming in through the window was almost cold now. Obi-Wan thought about pulling the sheet up over his shoulders. There was sticky wetness on his legs, on... him, and he thought about using a corner of the sheet to wipe himself clean. But he still couldn't move.

Qui-Gon had chosen him. Qui-Gon wanted him. Qui-Gon said it was all right. If his master thought he was ready, then—

The room would be dark now if he opened his eyes. He was more tired than he ever remembered being. He should sleep. It was just that... if the world had changed, maybe his dreams had changed as well. Obi-Wan wasn't sure he wanted to know.

* * *

A healthy dose of pain

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