"But it wasn't there yesterday."
Both Jedi glared at each other from across the mediation mats, Lestrade nursed his tea bowl. "Traditionally there is silence at morning tea."
"Master, you have a black eye." Sherlock snapped.
"Observant as ever, I see." Lestrade chuckled. Sherlock fixed him with an angry gaze that was interrupted by Lestrade's Force shove. Sherlock tumbled backwards gracelessly. "Feeling clumsy today, my young padawan."
"Feeling mistrusted, Master." Sherlock replied sharply. He pulled himself to his knees and repositioned the meditation mat. Lestrade raised his eyebrows.
"I was in a sparring bout with my old master. The old badger slipped a heavy punch under my guard. I simply did not want to be little you with such a boring tale." Lestrade said easily.
"It wasn't…" Sherlock said softly. He waited for Lestrade's patience to wear thin and break, but the elder merely smiled.
"You cannot deduce me a liar, Sherlock, because I have not lied to you." Ever the voice of reason, Lestrade winked quickly.
The little boy took in the black eye deeply, he rose without permission and gently prodded it with his finger. Lestrade frowned. "Believe it or not, Curly, that hurts me."
Sherlock gave no apology, his finger gave a smaller sharper poke and Lestrade threw the boy over his shoulder. He twirled the boy around lightheartedly. Sherlock squeaked with panic. He instinctively went limp in the elder's arms until he was set down.
"Don't do that again, please." Sherlock said with a terrified expression. "I'm sorry, Master. I-I…"
"Sherlock, I was playing…" Lestrade was at once concerned. Sherlock looked down at his feet, he knew normal boys would have probably delighted in play.
"Oh." The boy's heart was still in his chest, Moriarty had thrown the child over his shoulder whenever he was being naughty. It was the best way to contain a struggling padawan. Lestrade leaned forward slightly, Sherlock flinched away. "I don't like play very much, Master."
Lestrade put a careful hand on the boy's shoulder. Sherlock looked into the friendly brown eyes and mentally kicked himself. Of course Lestrade would never hurt him without cause. Sherlock knew Lestrade would only beat him when it was necessary, but still the boy wavered.
"Okay, Sherlock." He said gently. "Okay, no more play."
Sherlock thanked him softly, Lestrade kept his hand on the boy's shoulder until the child looked at him. The tall knight smiled warmly. Sherlock unconsciously leaned into his master's strong leg, Lestrade said nothing.
"Perhaps we should start our lessons for the day."
Lestrade sat Sherlock at kitchen counter with a small glass of nectar to apologize and a datapad. Sherlock's eyes grew wide at all the information set before him. He immediately began thumbing through the history of the light side.
Lestrade watched him thoughtfully.
The door to their peaceful quarters slid open, revealing a frowning Qui Gon Jinn. The tall knight stroked his beard thoughtfully. Lestrade went to him almost unwillingly, Sherlock kept his dark head bent over his lessons, but listened intently towards the conversation.
"I told him no." Lestrade said sharply.
"I understand, Greg. He says he only wishes it meet the boy…"
"And you were foolish enough to believe him."
"Your former master has a right to demand to see your padawan. I was forced into showing Dooku Xanatos."
"I do not want Sherlock exposed to him. It will not go well." Lestrade touched his blackened eye sorely. The nasty bruise was starting to green at the edges.
"You spoke to him last night then?"
"Yes. I refused to let him see my apprentice. He was quite irate."
"Did he hit you?" Sherlock interjected horrified. "Did your master hit you?"
"Sherlock." Lestrade said, for the first time sternly.
"Bloody knew it." The child murmured into his lessons. "You lied."
"We will discuss this later." Lestrade said firmly.
"We will discuss it later or you will continue to lie later?" Sherlock found his courage. He noticed the tall Jedi smiling behind his master, the stranger punched Lestrade lightly in the arm. Humor light his eyes.
"Your room. Now." Lestrade commanded.
Sherlock looked down at the table, not in shame, but in fear of being whipped. "May I take my datapad?" He muttered.
"And my nectar?"
"Yes. Be careful not to spill."
Sherlock prayed Lestrade did not notice his hand shaking terribly as he reached for his cup. The Force was not with him because Lestrade dismissed Master Jinn swiftly and strode to his padawan. Sherlock braced for a slap.
"I didn't lie to you." The knight said softly.
"You didn't tell the truth!" The boy said angrily.
"Jedi do not lie."
"I didn't want to frighten you, curly one. You jump at your shadow if its fist is raised. You are safe here, I want you to feel safe here. It was truly a sparring match in which I was hit, but I was slightly handicapped for the exercise." Lestrade sat at Sherlock's side.
"Handcuffed. You'll learn such defensives as time goes by."
Sherlock played with the rim of his glass silently. He closed his fingers around the cup and sipped it. "They were Force inhibitors." The boy said softly.
"Yes, young one."
Sherlock swallowed the lump forming his throat. "You were hit because you are my master, and I am wicked."
Lestrade took the cup from Sherlock's hand and rested it lazily on the boy's head. Sherlock smiled slightly as it balanced. "No. I was hit because people are close minded and arrogant. They do not understand things they disagree with."
Sherlock touched the other half of their bond experimentally, Lestrade respond with soothing waves that made Sherlock relax instantly.
"Shall we learn more about the saber today?"
Sherlock nodded enthusiastically, spilling the nectar. Both Jedi giggled.
"Good man, Curly."
"You're giving it a saber!"
Sherlock put his master between himself and the hateful woman Jedi. He held the pieces to his training saber in his arms, the hilt, the crystals, the activation buttons, different gears, Greg had promised to teach his padawan how to build a fully functioning saber after a week of using the temple's barely functioning temporaries. The elder bristled.
"I am teaching him to build his first saber, yes." It was the first time he had ever gotten angry in front of Sherlock, and the boy clearly did not approve. The child did not waver, but across their bond Sherlock nudged him gently.
Don't be mad.
Sally glared at the child so angrily even Greg took a step back. "What has the boy ever done to you, Sally?"
"You have never been on the other end of his "gift", Gregory Lestrade. And the moment you are…" Sally took a step towards the child, but Greg caught her arm warningly.
"I will protect him until my dying breath." Greg said coldly. "Do not take a threatening step towards him and expect to get pass me."
He turned away from his former friend and guided Sherlock to a working station. Traditionally there was a droid to teach younglings how to build sabers. Lestrade forgot the stupid things name, but it had been around since he was a boy. He didn't want to leave Sherlock at the mercy of the barely wired correctly robot.
They knelt across from each other over a small table in the middle of the work area. Sherlock laid all his piece across the table and glanced skeptically. "Are you sure I'm allowed, Master?"
"Course you are. You're not a prisoner, kid." Greg kicked himself for letting Sally near the child, Sherlock's self-esteem was low enough without others bashing it further into the ground.
Sherlock nodded numbly before clicking the pieces together for his saber. Greg watched in awe as a little boy with no previous light saber training put together a fully functioning saber in less than five minutes. Greg let out a hearty chuckle. "Sherlock! Where did you learn to do that?"
"It's obvious, Master." Sherlock said easily. He flushed slightly at his master's proud gaze. "The pieces only fit in certain areas. Only an idiot would try putting them in the wrong spots."
Greg forgot himself and playfully swatted Sherlock on the head. The boy managed not to flinch, but did have a look of pure alarm cross his face. Swiftly Sherlock composed himself swiftly and punched Greg in arm.
Greg experimentally gave the boy a small shove. Sherlock dodged and punched at the elder's chest. The knight caught the small fist and flicked the boy in the head. To his delight Sherlock started giggling. They left their play at that. Greg was just proud that the boy had begun responding positively to being a normal child.
Sherlock was shown how to clip the saber to his traditional Jedi dress. Sherlock practiced withdrawing the saber swiftly, Lestrade taught him how to use the Force to have it out and activated without losing a leg. Sherlock was a very fast, very serious learner.
They stopped as soon as Sherlock's stomach growled.
Lestrade surprised the boy with a small sandwich, Sherlock stared at him thoughtfully. "You want to make me fatter."
"I want you to be a healthy weight." The elder prompted.
"Fat." Sherlock smirked into his sandwich.
They ate in silence for a time before Lestrade decided it was time to return for written lessons. Sherlock followed him closely, the boy could hardly keep up with Lestrade's stronger stride. The elder giggled.
"Whatcha doing down there, Curly?"
Sherlock shot him a scowl. "Trying to keep up." He mumbled angrily, it was hardly fair Lestrade mock him.
"Come here then." Lestrade laughed as he steered the boy in front of him. "Now you walk and I'll keep up with you, alright?"
Sherlock looked completely caught off guard. "I'm supposed to walk behind you. It's a sign of respect and…"
"Kid, just walk." Lestrade grinned mischievously. "I have to respect you too for this relationship to work. Think of it as my way of saying so." He prodded the boy gently with the back of his boot. "'Course it's also a lot easier for me to pick on ya from back here."
Lestrade had been easing the boy into a normal routine of playing and picking on each other. Sherlock seemed slightly more open to being a child at certain times, mostly when they were alone. The boy otherwise remained serious and withdrawn.
Sherlock claimed he was too old to be picked on and was immediately teased harder. Lestrade pulled the boy into a very light headlock, Sherlock tensed, but resolved the matter by pinching his master in the arm. Lestrade hissed.
"Below the belt, Curly."
Sherlock grinned at his elder until a dark shadow passed over the smiling pair. The white haired man from the battle field stood centimeters away from Sherlock. The boy choked on his own bile and darted behind Lestrade. There was an older ginger boy standing behind the Jedi master.
Lestrade tugged Sherlock's ear patiently.
"Lestrade." The white haired man said lowly. Lestrade quirked an eyebrow and reached a hand to comfort his padawan. Sharp teeth left a small wound on the palm, Sherlock blushed at his instincts. His master ignored the grievance and carded his hand through the soft curls. "I am merely checking on your week's progress with the boy. And making sure you wish to remain with him."
Sherlock's heart seized, Lestrade merely shrugged. "Well we've bonded, so no choice really."
Lestrade didn't notice Sherlock peeking hopefully at the older boy, looking for a friend. He caught the ginger boy's angry glare and felt Sherlock's hand curl into his pant leg. Lestrade felt sadness through the other end of the child's bond. Sherlock asked to be excused.
Lestrade knelt before his padawan. "What is it, Sherlock?"
"The ginger kid hates me, and the white haired man is going to become a Sith lord someday." The boy said as if it were obvious. "And I'm hungry."
Dooku moved so swiftly Lestrade could barely catch his hand. Sherlock's eyes had widened in fear, and the nature of a paternal figure crept into Lestrade's chest. He gripped the old wrist tightly.
"How dare he?" The master hissed.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "You're awful quick to anger for a regular Jedi. Plus you're clearly power crazy, look at the way your padawan walks, and you've taught him to judge others."
Lestrade threw Sherlock a livid look, the boy cowered.
No, no, Lestrade shouldn't be mad at him. He had done nothing wrong.
"You wretched little…" Dooku pulled against Lestrade's grasp, but the younger held firm.
"He is mine to discipline, not yours." The knight said forcefully. He shoved Dooku back and stood firmly between him and his padawan.
"See that he is punished." The white haired man snarled.
"Come on, kid."
Sherlock let himself be steered towards the bedroom, he focused on not trembling beneath his master's strong fingers. Lestrade opened the door to their quarters, and Sherlock leapt away fearfully. "You asked me what was wrong! You can't get mad at me for answering a question."
Was this it? Lestrade surely had no choice but to beat obedience into the boy. Sherlock hadn't even made it a week before his new master had to punish him. Lestrade sighed heavily.
"Sherlock learn to think, would you? There is a time and a place for such accusations." Lestrade sat on the couch tiredly, his good mood gone. "Next time you believe someone will be a Sith tell me we'll discuss it later, alright?"
"I…" Sherlock silently begged Lestrade not beat him, or at least not to whip him.
"Go to our room, wait for me." When the boy hesitated, Lestrade spoke more firmly. "Go."
Sherlock scampered into the room.
The first thing he did was room his shirt gingerly, there were still open cuts and several large bruises that pained him, Force he hoped Lestrade would be somewhat easy with him. He neatly folded his shirt, then decided he didn't care and tossed it away angrily. He had let Mr. Lestrade down.
Sherlock sat on the soft bed, the bed of warmth and placed his hands behind his back.
Lestrade came in shortly after.
Sherlock turned slowly, Lestrade had his belt held in tightly in his hand.
A whipping then.
Sherlock slunk off the bed slowly with a small nod. He knelt at his master's feet. 'S okay, Master. I understand. You're kinder than Moriarty was, so I accept your punishment. I won't run away." He placed his palms on the ground, signaling he was ready for the lashes. He forced the feeling of unfairness that rose in his throat. Or maybe it was the bile. "But you did ask what was wrong, so not too many, okay?"
Lestrade made an odd strangle noise that nearly caused Sherlock to turn. There was a soft, warm palm that spread over the boy's back. Sherlock cringed. Lestrade had only semi-seen his back, usually it had been covered by the robe.
"My God, Sherlock." Lestrade sounded oddly close to tears for a man about to punish someone. "What have they done to you?" Sherlock turned to look at him slowly. Lestrade reached forward slowly and cupped his cheek. "I was putting this away, kid. I could never hit you, understand?" Lestrade chucked the belt away from him with all his might. Sherlock whimpered.
"I was bad…kinda."
"There was a misunderstanding, Sherlock." Lestrade stroked his back slowly, avoiding the open cuts and bruises. "You were not bad."
Sherlock gaped at him. "I'm sorry, Master… I was looking at the norm for Siths, beginner's mistake…"
"Come here." Lestrade commanded. Sherlock half crawled and was half pulled into strong arms. The child buried his face in the large bicep. "Is there more?"
Sherlock squeezed his little eyes shut and twisted his face against the man's chest. "I don't want to…"
"Where?" Lestrade rubbed the base of his neck soothingly. "Please, tell me."
"Legs." Sherlock nearly screamed as the elder went for his pants. The boy shoved away from him. "You mustn't look!"
Lestrade had never felt such pain in his life, he allowed tears to fall from his eyes. The Jedi motioned for Sherlock to come back to him. The child refused him for only a second. "Do you trust me?" His master voice didn't waver with his tears.
"Yes." Sherlock said without thinking.
"Please, Sherlock. Let me see."
"No! Please, Master! You'll have to take me back to him if you look! That's what always happened if I ran away. Healers saw m-my…" The child looked away. Whenever he escaped someone always took him into a doctor. It was how they found out, it was how Moriarty always got him back. He couldn't bare for Lestrade to know he was a…a…
Lestrade stood over him and pulled him into a tight hug. "Shhh."
Sherlock sobbed. "Don't look, please."
There was the softest of tugs and Sherlock's pants rested around his ankles. His master gave the smallest of sobs. He must have seen the Sith's crest burned into his thigh. The day he had received it, it had been nearly unbearable. It wasn't burned into his leg with fire, it was burned in with Force ice. So long as Sherlock belonged to Moriarty it would never fade, if his papers would transfer it would switch to that owners brand. Sherlock sniffled uncontrollably.
"You won't take me back." He muttered. "Promise me, you won't."
There was a law, if Lestrade did not take him back than he had illegally stolen Sith property. On the right planets Lestrade could be made a slave himself.
"The words, Master. Please."
"I will never, ever take you back to that sick man. I promise you."
Sherlock felt his pants being pulled back up. He rested his head against Lestrade's shoulder. "Thank you." He muttered. Lestrade held him closely.
"You need a healer, Sherlock. I didn't realize how bad your back…"
"No! No, Master! No, I can't!" Sherlock struggled against the hug viscously. Lestrade clutched him to his chest tightly, the boy hit him repeatedly in the upper body. The older man released him.
Sherlock flung himself at Lestrade's feet swifter than thought. "Master, please. I-I can't do it." The boy's voice broke. The healers were worse than the torture. He pressed his forehead to Lestrade's boot. "Please. Please, Mr. Lestrade."
Lestrade swept the trembling boy off the floor and onto the bed. Sherlock clung to his neck desperately as the knight lay at the child next time him and held him close. "Okay, okay. Shhh shh sh. No healer, no healer. It's okay, Sherlock. It's okay."
Sherlock sobbed for all he was worth against the sturdy chest.
"It's alright, Curly."
Sherlock's sobbed changed into soft sniffles that tickled the elder's neck. Lestrade, ran a soft, soothing hand over the boy's neck, face, and back. Sherlock calmed under the practice hand.
"I am sorry I hit you, Master."
"Quite alright." Lestrade said calmly. "You were forgiven the moment the deed was over."
Sherlock sighed against the strong neck. They were silent for a second.
Lestrade didn't make Sherlock finish his sentence, he merely nodded his constant.
Of course the boy could spend the night.
A week later Lestrade brought Sherlock to a meeting with the Naboo senator Palpatine.
Sherlock gave a small gasp the moment he saw the white haired man enter the room. Lestrade frowned. "What is it, Curly?"
"We can discuss it later, Master."