Sherlock sat at the table silently.
His feet dangled under his chair as the serious boy studied his lessons. He sat with no shirt and a back covered in bacta ointment, per Lestrade's instructions. Sherlock took detailed notes and meditated on the memories of his Sith teachings. He stopped his master as the elder headed towards the door.
"Master, their histories conflict," Sherlock said earnestly. The boy's gaze flickered over his master's outfit, training clothes, old, worn, no saber at his hip. Sherlock pouted heavily. "You are going to spar your master again."
It was no question.
"Yes, Sherlock," Lestrade answered anyway.
"I'm coming too," the boy stated at once. He slid off his stool and strode over to his master's side. Lestrade narrowed his eyes, but his padawan shrugged. "You say I should observe the best, Master. Clearly this man has a mastery of saber technics if he can beat an unarmed, bound man."
"Behave yourself, Sherlock." Lestrade said fondly. He ruffled the boy's hair affectionately, a sharp snort was his apprentice's response. "I do not want you and my master crossing paths."
"Why?" Sherlock peered up at his master with no curiosity in his eyes.
"Does it matter why?" Lestrade's voice became slightly stern.
"He'll stop hitting you," Sherlock said softly. The knowledge that his master endured abuse made small shivers run down the boy's thin figure. Silently he stared at his feet, willing the awful master to leave his teacher alone.
"It is an agreeable price to keep you away from him."
Sherlock puffed out his chest bravely. "I don't want that price to be paid any longer, Master. I can help you, just let him see me."
"Curly, not all Jedi are…." Lestrade struggled for the word. "Pure. Sometimes very mean men become masters. I don't want you to be reminded of him."
Sherlock glared up at Lestrade almost angrily. "Not a child."
"Yes, young one. You are."
Lestrade pressed a firm hand on the top of Sherlock's young head, ending the conversation. Sherlock squirmed under the firm pressure, his eyes dropped to the floor. "You'd be there." The child's voice was quiet. "You said I was safe with you."
Lestrade knelt before his padawan, the boy who was becoming like his son. His fingers attached themselves to the child's slim shoulders, brown eyes met icy blue. "You shall always be safe with me, kid. And that is why you must accept that you will never meet my master."
"I want you to be safe too." Sherlock stamped his foot determinedly. "It hurts when…"
"When the people who are supposed to take care of you don't, and you feel as though it is your fault because adults, teachers should always love their children. But for whatever reason yours doesn't and no matter what they continue to hurt you. And it isn't fair because…adults should protect children, any children." Lestrade cupped Sherlock's chin. The boy's expression told him the target had been hit spot on.
"Every day I see you, Curly, I become more proud of you than anyone. I will not put you through such pain again. Even if that means I must endure a little rough sparring."
"Tell the council," Sherlock pleaded.
"The council will…he is a great Jedi, Sherlock. They will slap his wrist, no more."
Sherlock frowned. "That isn't fair."
Lestrade released Sherlock's chin slowly. With a sad smile he bowed to his apprentice and went from the room. "You are to stay here, Curly. I shall be back within a few hours' time."
Sherlock, at the mercy of his own pride and his master's stubbornness threw himself between the elder and the door. "No."
"Sherlock Holmes," Lestrade said paternally. "Get out of the way."
"No. You're going to have to make me, and the only way you can do that is by scaring me."
Lestrade's eyes narrowed. "Don't you dare put that in front me, Sherlock. You know I would never harm you in any way."
"You subject yourself to a beating every other day and you do not think that hurts me?" Sherlock's voice grew higher with his rage. His eyes began watering fiercely. "You will not hurt yourself for me, Master."
They glared at each other furiously, Lestrade wanted to shake the boy. Sherlock's ice blue eyes squeezed shut as his master leaned forward. Lestrade studied the child, Sherlock was not one to show weakness unless absolutely called for. The elder sighed heavily. "I yield to you, my padawan."
Sherlock cracked an eye open, his master smiled at him encouragingly and the boy exhaled. "Truly, Master?"
"Yes, you cruel boy." Lestrade guided the child away from the door. His hand strayed to his comm link, Sherlock kept his eyes trained on his master warningly. The elder sighed. "Master," he spoke into his link unwillingly.
A gruff response came through the other side.
"I cannot attend our session today. I ask your forgiveness."
Sherlock strained to hear the reply, whatever it was his master flinched. The boy leaned his weight into his teacher's side. Lestrade leant back. Both Jedi tumbled onto the sofa, neither giggled.
"Yes, Master." Lestrade was solemn. "Must it be so presently, Master?"
Sherlock frowned, he was going to face Lestrade's master soon, too soon. The elder ran a hand through his silver hair. Sherlock had never before seen his mentor in such a mood.
Lestrade finished the call with a small, "Yes, Master."
Sherlock pressed his hand against Lestrade's strung bicep. The brown eyes look nervously to his padawan. "We have an hour, Curly."
"An hour?" Sherlock asked angrily. "He thinks he can just come at a moment's…"
"Sherlock, be still." Lestrade's voice was tired. "Be still and calm."
"You are frightened of him," Sherlock deduce softly.
"Only of…only of what he may say to you, kid. He was not happy when I took you in, he informed me I was to be disowned."
Sherlock swallowed at the words. If he was such a burden why did Lestrade insist on keeping him? Sherlock tugged at his master's sleeve until the friendly brown eyes meet his blue. "I'll be good," Sherlock said shortly. "I can be good if you need me to, Master."
Lestrade brushed off his padawan's promise. "You are always good for me, Curly."
"I am not afraid, Master," Sherlock swore. "You should not be either."
"I am not afraid, young one."
Sherlock wasn't sure whose half of the bond the thought came from.
Sherlock swore to himself that he would behave for his new master.
Just this once.
If they were not too dull.
He followed behind in Lestrade's shadow as closely as he could. The tall knight barely seemed to notice his padawan absent from his side, Sherlock swallowed as he mentally prepared himself to behave.
Lestrade had done much for him, it would be repaid.
The door to the lavish quarters opened, and Sherlock desperately wished he had paid better attention to his former master's instructions about proper behavior.
He breathed in deeply.
Greg sucked in a deep breath.
Sherlock was standing slightly off to his side, Greg felt a slight amount of fear in the young boy's mind. Greg vowed to protect Sherlock silently as they both entered. Sherlock gasped of course.
The knight was proud of the size of his quarters, not too big, not too small, a nice balcony overlooking the city. His master's was beyond measure, it was proudly decorated all in white, and there were several balconies. Little did Sherlock know the council had never visited his master home before. Clearly they would have charged him with vanity.
Greg glanced down at his padawan. "Don't get any ideas, kid. This kind of life style is…"
"Grand, extravagant, beyond your reach as a knight because it is a great reward," a deep voice finished for him. Sherlock barely swallowed his rage as he forced his back to bend to a stocky, balding man.
"Master." Greg bowed with his apprentice. Sherlock, however, did not rise with him. He waited for Lestrade to touch his back softly before coming back to attention. The child rested his hands behind his back and carefully averted his gaze.
A wave of confusion came from the boy's half of the bond.
Look at me please.
Sherlock obediently look towards Greg, the knight wanted to take his chin gently for a closer look, but his master spoke. "Is this the Sith then? Thought he'd be taller."
Sherlock stiffened, but remained silent.
"This is my padawan Sherlock Holmes. A young Jedi in the making." Greg took Sherlock's slender shoulders and guided him to stand before the observant master. The boy did not so much as tremble.
"Hello, sir," he said clearly, not giving the fat Jedi satisfaction of fear. Sherlock bowed.
"Polite, little bugger. You've put him on a tight leash, Lestrade. Good man."
Greg flinched. He touched Sherlock's half of the bond gently, the boy did not respond to his caress. Sherlock diverted his gaze to the floor, hiding his hate.
"Let us sit," the master said proudly.
"Yes, Master," Greg said darkly as he took a step towards the large couch in the center of the room. Sherlock waited for Greg to sit before kneeling on the floor by his feet. The Jedi master nodded approvingly, Greg gaped in horror. Sherlock rested his palms on his knees and averted his eyes obediently.
He looked like he was trying desperately to bite back hatred.
It was then that he knew exactly what Sherlock was doing.
"Sherlock, up," Greg commanded steadfastly.
"Now. Up. Master forgive us, we need a moment." He firmly gripped the child's slender arm, Sherlock naturally grimaced in the knight's grasp. The man waited until he was outside the quarters with door firmly shut, before he knelt in front of Sherlock and shook him. "Never do that again Sherlock, do you understand me?"
Sherlock trembled with fear at his master's tight hold and heated words.
"I know you are frightened of me now, but I cannot convey my point in any other way. You will not behave as you would for him. You will not kneel at my feet. Ever." He shook the boy again. His broad hand took hold at the back of the child's neck and pulled their foreheads together. "Sherlock, do not act as my…my…little one, please. You are my padawan, my student, my child. You are not my slave."
Sherlock gaped at the man who was holding him. "B-but Master, if I am not good he will…"
"Sherlock, no more of that. You will be as you are when we are in private. You will not be as my obedient padawan. You are a brat of a boy, Curly. Never forget that. You are my welcomed brat." Greg traced delicate patterns over the boy's ears, every now and then tugging on dark curls. "You are free, Sherlock. Never, never, kneel before me like that again."
Sherlock surprised himself by wrapping his arms tightly around Greg's neck. "You are very frightening when you are angered, Master."
"Only because I am so defensive of my brat." Greg stroked the dark hair gently. Secretly he was ashamed of how much he enjoyed when Sherlock was frightened and acted his age. The boy tightened his grip.
"I am defensive of you also, Master," Sherlock whispered. "He is rude to you, he has no right to judge a good Jedi when he himself is vain and has known several women."
Greg stopped himself from admitting his own sin of knowing a woman.
But at least he only knew one.
He caught Sherlock's chin a final time and reminded him not to perform such acts again. The boy was not a slave any longer, he was free. Greg wanted to pull Sherlock closer again, but saw the child's shields fall down once more.
Their vulnerable time was done.
Sherlock trembled as he sat next to his master.
Lestrade leaned his weight into the child's shoulder, Sherlock steady himself at the mild comfort. The boy rung his hands nervously, but Lestrade placed a warm palm on Sherlock's small knee. Sherlock frowned.
He is glaring, Master.
That is okay, Curly.
The boy squirmed, his stomach growled with the fierceness of a rancor. Sherlock frowned, now that his body was growing accustom to being fed, it had become much more demanding. Sherlock look towards Lestrade, who politely asked his master if he had seen his fill of the child.
The answer was of course no.
"Master, he is hungry," Lestrade urged.
"A little hunger cramp never hurt anyone."
Sherlock scowled. "Says the man twenty pounds over his weight average."
Lestrade snickered, but for the sake of appearances shushed the boy with mock stern. Sherlock smiled shyly, the knight winked. But the Jedi master leaned forward in a fashion that reminded Sherlock so much of Moriarty his body responded by sitting on his hands and bowing his head. Lestrade took his shoulder gently.
"Someone has disciplined you well, padawan. It wasn't Gregory, that's for sure. My former student is too soft to instill obedience in a young mind. You have potential, lad. Undoubtedly your master ruins it by allowing you to speak freely." The master glared at the dark headed boy. "I always believed a good wack kept a padawan firmly in check."
Sherlock's head shot up, his eyes blazing. The loyalty that flood across their bond was immense, Sherlock jumped down from his seat. Lestrade felt the room shake with Sherlock's fury. "You hit my master without cause then, sir. I think you will find he is no longer your learner and therefore should not be kept in check. And by your own council's beliefs and morals hitting a child is wrong, the fact that you could not inspire loyalty and obedience in your padawan is not my master's fault!"
Lestrade barely had time to shield his padawan from his master's wrath. He yanked the boy close to him, twisting violently and presenting his back to his former master Lestrade felt a chair meant for Sherlock shatter on his back. Sherlock paled. "Master…"
"Shush, shush, you did the right thing. I told you to be you. It's okay, barely felt it," Lestrade assured. He rubbed Sherlock's back soothingly, but the child wiggled from his grip. Sherlock felt the desire to hide form inside him, he had ensured his master's beatings. No matter what he did the outcome was always evil. His master caught his arm and pulled him so the tiny forehead rested against solid stomach muscle.
"Master," Lestrade began, running his thumb over Sherlock's ear gently. His body hid Sherlock from view. "You will not see my padawan again, nor will you threaten him again. You raised me and for that I am grateful. But understand that is the only thing keeping me from reporting your abuse to the council. If you see Sherlock again, I will report you."
"Yes, finally." He knelt before Sherlock and smiled into the confused blue eyes. "Thank you, Curly. You were right." He pulled on the forming padawan braid with a small smile. Sherlock's eyes lit up.
"I told you to tell," he whispered.
"I know. I will listen to you next time, padawan. I promise."
Sherlock's lips twitched in a near smile. "Thank you, Master."