torch, flambeau@strangeplaces.net
August 11-30, 2005

Disclaimer: A long, long time ago, in a fandom far, far away. Post-RotS. Editing by elynross. Do not archive without permission.

And these are the quiet hours

The sand gets everywhere. In his boots, in the creases of his robe. Between his toes and under his fingernails. In the food, sometimes. It's on his sheets, a subtle punishment against his skin. It's on the floor under his feet, slowly scouring the stone down to make more sand.

Sometimes he thinks if he could pick himself up and shake himself out, he'd find sand in the cracks of his soul.

Every night, he goes to bed alone.

~

—face down on the bed, so tired, breathing half air and half blanket, muscles aching even after a long hot bath. His braid is plastered in a wet coil against his neck. A large hand closes about his ankle and tugs a little, then thumbs dig into the arch of his foot and he makes a sound into the sheet that would be a moan if he had the energy for it. Yes, master. That feels wonderful. Don't stop. Qui-Gon's chuckle is warm on his skin.

After forever and no time at all, Qui-Gon touches his other foot, pulls his legs apart, arranges him with easy certainty on this unseen mattress and strokes gently up the backs of his thighs. Relax, he says, and Obi-Wan doesn't even have the muscle coordination to laugh, and then he feels the kiss of soft mouth and scratchy beard against the back of his knee.

—laid bare, spread open. Tired and strung out and whimpering as Qui-Gon licks him in some pattern he can almost name, the arrowed flight of migrating birds in a silent grey sky, the reticulate veins of a leaf floating in a pool of chilly rainwater.

—weight pressing him down, strong heavy body covering his own. Qui-Gon kisses the back of his neck over and over. He's tired and breathless and can't move, trapped in this luxury of touch, breathing in the saltyhot scent of skin and sweat.

Relax, Qui-Gon says. Obi-Wan closes his eyes and spreads his legs. The blanket is nearly as soft as Qui-Gon's lips.

—face down on the bed, just one single light burning a steady gold when he blinks his eyes open, and then he closes them again and opens his mouth, breathing in a harsh breath as Qui-Gon sinks into him. Spread out, so tired, and Qui-Gon is in him and around him, deep smooth glide in and out.

Relax, Qui-Gon says, and it's slow and eurhythmic. Obi-Wan breathes out and out.

The light flickers, and when he clenches his hands in the sheet, something shifts grittily against his fingertips.

~

He rolls out of bed before he can even get his eyes open, and walks over to the window, naked and sticky and staggering just a little. There's sand on the windowsill. He opens the window and the night air bites at him with little star-shaped teeth.

Interesting dreams, Qui-Gon says behind him. I remember.

He spins round, and no one's there. Just the unmade bed, the bare floor, the blackness of the open doorway.

Turning back, he looks out at the sand. It's everywhere; he can taste it on the midnight breeze, and when he rubs at his eyes, tiny grains are ground between his lashes.

Keep trying, Qui-Gon says, closer now. Keep trying.

He stays where he is, muscles growing stiff and joints locking, stays where he is and stares into the darkness, waiting for the blue glow of a distant dawn.

* * *

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