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Title: Branded by Roses
Author: Di-Ana Wolf
Email: di-ana_wolf@wolfenet.com
Pairing(s): Obi-Wan/Anakin
Rating: R
Archive/Distribution: CoC, ff.net, O-A archive; fabulae, and M_A, if they want it. Anyone else, please ask.
Category: Angst, Slight Romance
Summary: Sometimes not knowing what you've got until it's gone isn't the problem; knowing what you've lost is.
Warnings: If you need "c" with your "h" and/or happy endings this fic is not for you. A little bit of blood plus Bastard!Ani (are these promises or warnings?).
Feedback: Roses are red, violets are blue, a naked Jedi in bed, is what feedback gets you. (*Ahem* Yes, please onlist or offlist; constructive crit welcomed offlist.)
Disclaimers: Anakin and Obi-Wan belong to George. All hail George. No money being made off this, don't sue.
Thanks: to you for reading it, to angel, Azarad and Athena for betaing it, and to all of CMW *mwuah* Love you guys.
Authorís Notes: Response to "Angsty Anakin in August" Challenge from the O-A list. This part is mostly Anakin's perspective.
_ denotes italics and Anakin's memories _

~*~*~*~*~

Anakin was lying down on the bed in his private quarters. He ran his fingertips lingeringly over the wall, the only barrier physically separating him from Obi-Wan. His hand dropped down to his chest, and he traced the character that Obi had carved over his solar plexus with soft fingertips. Even through his clothes, Anakin knew exactly where the light scar was.

He rolled over and lightly touched the small wooden box that lay on the table beside him. One of the few precious and rare things he had on this planet that was dominated by metal and glass. And that box held even more precious things; rare gifts that his Master had given him before...that happened.

It had only been a few days ago. Anakin and Obi-Wan were sitting on the couch in the main room, his head resting on Obi-Wan's chest while Obi talked about the things they were to do that day. He turned his head, softly nuzzling his nose into the tunics, listening to the deep rumble as Obi-Wan continued. Training, class, midday meal, sparring, meditation, more class, yes yes he understood.

Obi-Wan laughed softly at the mumbled response. Anakin kept nuzzling until he rested his cheek against bare skin. He had kissed Obi's skin softly before joining his Master in the soft laughter, and Obi had placed a soft lingering kiss onto the sharp spikes of his Padawan hair cut before pulling him closer. Anakin loved this spot, loved the smell of Obi-Wan's bare skin, like sage and sandalwood.

He had been happy. The kiss to his head went on a little too long.

Until Obi-Wan pushed him up, and those words fell from lips he had kissed, fell from lips that he loved. "We need to talk, Anakin, Padawan."

Obi-Wan obviously wanted his dutiful Padawan, probably needed to discuss some council meeting that Obi had. "Yes, Master?" He couldn't help batting his eyelashes just a little bit, playfully, teasing his too beautiful Master.

The playfulness faded when Anakin saw no mirth in those blue-green depths of Obi-Wan's eyes. They were solemn now, almost... sorrowful. Anakin's brows came together, almost frowning. The Force spiked, the barest hint that something was wrong.

"This has to end."

The words packed a punch that fell squarely to his gut. They still packed a punch that knocked his breath straight out of him. The rest of the words faded into the background, leaving only those four words. Those four words that had ended his happiness, his innocence, and left behind only a weeping void.

As Anakin pulled the lid of the box, he also shut the memory of those four words out, and picked up the first rose Obi-Wan had given him. Maybe the memory of the roses would help ease the ache that he felt soul-deep, maybe fill the void with the love and the laughter that he had shared with Obi-Wan.

It was pure white, the edges untouched by decay. Anakin had used a simple touch of Force, preserving it when it had reached full bloom, before the petals had begun to fall off, and the rose die.

He remembered the rose well.

Obi-Wan had picked it up the day they decided was The Day. The day that they would go beyond the fevered kisses, the lingering touches, the harsh cries when their bodies would separate and they would each go into their own private quarters, hot and unsatisfied.

The rose had not begun to bloom when Obi had traced the fine white petals over his lips, over the swell of his chin, and down his throat. Obi-Wan had kissed along the path the rose made, whispering soft endearments before sitting up, the delicate flower held between thumb and forefinger. It was then that he had carved the character into Anakin's chest using a single thorn from the rose. 'Eternal love,' he said, smiling down at Anakin before he scooped a single drop of Anakin's blood off his chest and placed it on the rose.

He laved the cruel cut of the rose with his tongue before they made love in Obi-Wan's quarters in the too-bright Coruscant night.

Touching the darkened red spot on the tip of one pure white petal, the first tear slid down Anakin's cheek. 'White for your purity, your innocence, your unending faith,' Obi had said. Purity... Purity really didn't matter anymore Anakin decided.

Anakin set the rose back in the wooden box. It was not easing his pain. His fingertips drifted over the red rose that Obi had given him on their first anniversary. Anakin had carved the same character over Obi-Wan's solar plexus with a thorn from that rose. A dark spot marked one petal; that's where he had placed a drop of Obi's blood.

Farther down, a red and white rose, one of Anakin's favorites. It held a single mingled drop of their blood, he could still feel the essence of their mixed Force signature. 'Purity and passion,' Obi said when he pricked both their fingers to make that drop. Another searing tear streamed down Anakin s cheek. This was not the rose he was looking for either.

His fingers drifted over the last rose in the box. Fine satin petals under his fingertips, this was the rose he was looking for, the one that held the memory he wanted. He plucked it delicately from its' resting place, and twirled the stem in his fingertips.

Obi-Wan had gotten this rose for him when they had completed a mission. The petals were green near the stem, like Anakin's first lightsabre, and darkened into a blue like Obi's at the tips. He could still remember receiving this one perfectly.

The memory was whole and sweet.

_He had been walking down the street, looking for his Master. Negotiations were over, and the people on this planet were celebrating. Anakin was so happy he could have skipped down the street. Tomorrow they would leave for Coruscant, going back home, where he could feast on Obi-Wan, feel those lips on overheated skin. Home to their quarters where they would make love all night long and not have to worry.

He turned a corner into an alley and a large hand fell over his eyes, and his muscles bunched and tightened, preparing for a fight when he was pulled back against a body. Anakin knew the body he was pressed against, he knew it almost better than he knew his own.

He felt Obi's other arm wrapping around him, holding the rose barely beneath his nose, flush against his lips. He inhaled, and the soft fresh scent helped him to relax into his Master's embrace. The hand had lifted from his eyes, and he automatically looked down at the flower while Obi whispered a soft, "Surprise" in his ear.

"It's beautiful Master," he whispered back.

Obi placed a soft kiss just below Anakin's ear, and Anakin had turned in his arms, letting out a soft captivated cry before wrapping his arms around Obi s neck and kissing the soft pliable lips of his Master. Obi had laughed when they parted in need of air and grabbed him around the waist, hoisting him up until Anakin's legs wrapped around his waist.

There was no fear in this alleyway, no need to hide their love. He smiled down at his Master, the soft golden sunlight falling into the alley, striking every highlight of his Master's hair, every shadow and plane on the beloved face, and emphasizing the golden flecks in his green-blue eyes.

They made love again that night, in a meadow, away from the capital city, beneath the stars and the moon. They had made love until they were sore and no amount of Force would help. Obi-Wan had curled around Anakin, sheltering him, protecting him, and that night Anakin swore that the universe consisted of only one thing -- their love for one another.

When the sun rose the next morning they had made love again on the grass. The sky was gold and pink and lavendar, and the first rays of the sun caressed them, sealed them, made them whole. _

Anakin held the rose just beneath his nose, the smell still fresh, and pressed the stem against bare chest.

_"Just a dare Anakin."_

He felt the sharp prick of the thorn pressing into his skin, in the center of the character that Obi-Wan had carved into his flesh. A character that would forever be carved into his soul.

_"It's just a kiss."_

Anakin drove the thorn in deeper, wanting the pain to distract him from these memories. The memories of a night where he had foolishly taken a dare Maybe the pain would cleanse him, cleanse his soul, rip the hated memories from his mind and leave him only with memories of his time with Obi-Wan.

_Hands warm and hot all over him. It was just supposed to be a kiss, but there were mouths all over him. Devouring, licking, sucking, biting mouths that made his blood boil. Lips and tongues and teeth that promised him bliss and delivered him into his own private hell._

Anakin fought hard to remember only he and Obi-Wan, together, two halves of the same whole, but tears still slipped down his cheeks unchecked. Obi had ended their relationship; he was left with only roses and tears and the whispered echoes of Obi-Wan's voice that had shattered what hope he had left "I saw you last night Anakin. I saw you with them."

~*~End

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