Work Header

brother, let me be your shelter

Work Text:

Something is very wrong, and Obi-Wan won’t share it with him. 

When Anakin is not busy worrying about it, bitterness coils in the pit of his stomach. Obi-Wan never shares anything of importance with him. He’s never honest about his pain, about anything that might give him cause to fret. About anything at all. 

Moderately uneventful, he’d said, and Anakin had known in the moment, too, that he’d been lying through his teeth. 

He looks a bit…  wrong, Ahsoka had tried to explain. He had looked wrong on the hologram, but that had been nothing compared to how he’d looked when Anakin had finally, finally made it back to the temple and laid his eyes on him. 

Obi-Wan’s physical wounds ( his leg, he won’t even tell Anakin what had happened to his leg ) seem to be healing. That much is true, but there’s still something in his eyes. Anakin knows him better than anyone. That much is indisputable, and he can tell. 

He gets headaches, he says.

“Anakin, have I got something on my nose? Stop staring at me like that and pick up your ‘saber.” Obi-Wan’s voice draws him from his thoughts and he seems amused, if exasperated, by Anakin’s clear distraction.

Once he shakes himself free of the worry that had enveloped him, it’s easy to fall into their little game. They know each other’s moves and countermoves so well that it isn’t likely either of them will win, but it’s fun just the same. It makes for good stress relief.

Or so it usually does. It isn’t ten minutes before Obi-Wan begins to falter, missing a beat here and there. He fails to hit his mark, and then he doesn’t manage to dodge Anakin’s slash. 

It’s then that he stills, visibly wavering. 

“Are you alright?” Anakin lowers his lightsaber, taking an uncertain step forward. Perhaps Obi-Wan is only fooling around. A hit like that shouldn’t have been enough to cause any damage, he’s taken worse a thousand times over, and these are only training sabers...

Obi-Wan’s eyes roll back into his skull. 

He goes over backwards. 

There’s no time for Anakin to catch him, not that he could have moved if he wanted to. Obi-Wan is twitching and spasming once he hits the ground, muttering, moaning --

For a moment Anakin is frozen in place. He doesn’t even register his own movement when he drops his training ‘saber and darts to Obi-Wan’s side, already fumbling for his comm link. His brain is a step behind his limbs. 

“Master Che!” he half-shouts into the comm as his other hand goes to Obi-Wan’s shoulder, panic causing his voice to rise. “Master Che, something is --  we’re in the training salle, my master just collapsed, he, I think he’s having a seizure!” 

In his terror, he doesn’t remember that Obi-Wan is no longer his Master, doesn’t think to correct himself. He feels like a little padawan again, watching Obi-Wan be terribly injured on some mission on a backwater planet. 

Beneath his hands, Obi-Wan’s back arches off the ground and he sobs out Anakin’s name.

Anakin drops the comm link in his efforts to keep Obi-Wan still, to comfort him, something. “I’m right here.” He doesn’t know if he’s pleading or reassuring, his voice some strange mix of both. “Master, I’m right here, I’m not going anywhere, I swear.” 

He’s muttering again, most of his words incomprehensible, anguished. There’s something about Anakin’s hand that he doesn’t have time to try to make out before the door opens and Master Che enters. 

She looks calm, relatively unhurried, and anger born of fear swells up, causing him to lash out. “Do something! Hurry!” 

“Knight Skywalker, this is normal. I need you to listen to me.”

The anger is like a tidal wave threatening to crash over his head. 

“Normal? He - “ Springing to his feet, he gestures wildly toward his master, who’s now rigid on the ground, curled into himself. “He collapsed! Why aren’t you doing anything? You have to save him!” 

I can’t lose him, he doesn’t say. I’m not ready.

“Knight Skywaler,” Master Che says again, coming to kneel at Obi-Wan’s side. As Anakin watches, shaking, she puts a hand to his master’s forehead and a moment later, Obi-Wan relaxes marginally, though the trembling doesn’t cease. “This is normal for Master Kenobi since his return from his most recent mission.”


Master Che looks as though she’s weighing some great risk before she speaks again. Obi-Wan is gradually easing beneath her hands, slowly uncurling. Anakin aches to go to him again. His nails dig into his palms. 

“You were not informed because it was on a very need-to-know basis,” she says at last. Anakin catches a flicker of thought before her shields rise, something about the Council. The anger blazes hotter still. The kriffing council, always keeping everything from him, because gods forbid he give two bantha pats about Obi-Wan’s wellbeing -- 

“But I believe it is in the best interest of his health that you are aware, so that you can help him if this should happen again,” she says, meeting his gaze. 

Anakin sees this for what it is. A mere kindness, a rare gift from the Twi’lek healer. His jaw clenches just the same, and he nods. 

She tells him about Zigoola.

Later, Obi-Wan has been returned to their quarters, though Anakin is concerned that he might need to be in the Halls instead. Master Che has assured him that isn’t the case, that while this had been a bad one, he will recover. His master will just be tired today. Might even have another one. 

Anakin hates this.

He’s drawn up a chair at the side of Obi-Wan’s bed, watching his former master sleep, because, though he’s been told that constant supervision isn’t necessary, there’s a part of him that cannot bear the thought of Obi-Wan having another of those visions alone. 

Need-to-know, she’d said. 

Bantha shite. 

Obi-Wan hadn’t told him because he never shares anything that might give Anakin cause to fuss. He never tells him anything. And how is Anakin supposed to help him, be equals with him, protect him, if he never knows what’s going on?

There is a cruel part of him that wants to shake Obi-Wan awake and demand to know why he does this. He doesn’t have to. As his upset leaks into the Force, his master stirs awake, turning his head toward him. 

“An’kin,” he sighs, words blurred with sleep. “Wh’s wrong?” 

He’s still groggy. Anakin is used to seeing him able to jerk from a dead sleep into action.

Something cold and unpleasant settles in his chest. This is all wrong. He’s built Obi-Wan into something nearly invincible in his head  --  Obi-Wan should not be ill like this. He is not supposed to collapse in the training salle, or have seizures, or hear voices. He’s meant to be a pillar of strength. He gets hurt, but he always bounces back. This is not bouncing back.

His nails are digging into his palms again. Obi-Wan blinks at him in the dimness, waking up little by little. 

Anakin feels sick.

“You should’ve told me,” he blurts, and Obi-Wan sighs again. He starts to push himself into a sitting position. 

“Master Che told you why I couldn’t.” 

“You never tell me anything. I’m always out of the loop.” 

Obi-Wan stares. “Anakin-” 

“You don’t let me take care of you.” 

“I don’t need --” 

“Yes, you do!” The Force swells around him abruptly, and Anakin thinks he hears something in the living room crack. His voice rises. He doesn’t remember getting to his feet, but he’s standing now. “You do! You’ve been having seizures for weeks! What if it was in the middle of a battle? We’re at war, Obi-Wan! What if I wasn’t there to help you and you’d hit your head?”


He hates that Obi-Wan is still so calm, but the flicker of anxiety he does catch doesn’t make him feel better. 

“What?” he snaps anyway. “What excuse are you going to --” 

“You’re right. I should have told you.” 

Well, that hadn’t been what he was expecting. His lips part slightly. 

“If not the nature of the mission with Bail,” Obi-Wan continues, seizing his advantage in Anakin’s silence, “then at least of my condition. I could have been a liability to you or my men, had I collapsed in battle. It wasn’t fair of me to keep it from you.” 

That had hardly been what he’d meant, but the fight is bleeding out of Anakin. He sinks back into his chair, putting his head in his hands. 

“I just wish you’d let me take care of you sometimes.” He exhales sharply. Maybe this comes back to his desire to feel like Obi-Wan actually needs him around. He crushes the thought. “Like you take care of me.” 

“That’s my job,” Obi-Wan points out, and he still sounds so mild. He also sounds sleepy again, now that the worst of the argument is over. The guilt startles to settle in. He should be letting Obi-Wan rest, not starting arguments. At least not right now. Master Che is going to kill him, if she finds out. “The master takes care of the padawan, not the other way around.”

“You know it’s not that simple,” Anakin says, but the anger is quiet for now. He leans forward, pushing Obi-Wan back down at the shoulder and dragging the blanket back up over him. 

A weary little hum. For once, Obi-Wan doesn’t argue. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you more.” 

He’s gratified, a little. “Alright, Master.” Anakin shifts in his chair, getting comfortable. Tomorrow, he wants to talk to the healers about what to do in these situations, even if it does mean Obi-Wan will be furious with him for going over his head. 

His master’s Force signature is on the verge of drifting back into sleep. 

“Will you tell me what happened to your leg now, at least?”

A pause. “I had Bail run my lightsaber through it. To allow me to focus.”