mattlauercansuckit: (Chaos)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title and one foot on the ledge
author [livejournal.com profile] patientalien
rating R
word count 2568
summary Anakin goes to LA alone; "Suits"-verse, alternate ending to the original
notes This is one of my alternate "unhappy endings" for this 'verse. Because I can't stop writing it. Title from "Chances Are" off the Country Strong soundtrack.
warnings drug addiction, suicide, character death


-----





"Hey," Anakin said after a moment of silence. "Do you want to come to LA with me next week? I'll pay."

Ferus furrowed his brow, not really sure how he felt about traveling with Anakin, even a supposedly-recovering Anakin. "Uh, why?" he asked.

"I need to tell Obi-Wan I'm sorry. Like, that I'm really sorry. For Padme and the drugs and putting him through hell and everything else." There was a slight chuckle. "It's not a making amends thing, it's an I want him back thing. I want to at least try. But I don't want to go alone. So."

Ferus took a moment to absorb the confession. He thought about the work he had to do, thought about the reputation he'd built up. Wondered if it was really okay to take off for however long just because Anakin wanted him to. He decided that it wasn't. "I can't," he said. "I'm sorry."

There was silence on the other end of the line, then, suddenly, "Oh, sure, okay. Later." The phone went dead before Ferus could respond.

He considered calling Anakin back, recanting his previous refusal. He couldn't bring himself to; couldn't allow himself to once again get dragged into Anakin Skywalker's particular brand of dysfunction. He went back to work.

-----


Two weeks later, an email from Obi-Wan caught his attention. The subject line merely read "ANAKIN", and Ferus opened it up, his stomach flip-flopping nervously. "Have you heard from Anakin?" the message read. "We were supposed to meet last night, and he did not show up. I'm concerned. Please call me."

Feeling a roiling dread in the pit of his stomach, Ferus quickly dialed Obi-Wan's number. The older man answered immediately, and Ferus said, "I haven't heard from him recently. He asked me to go with him to LA, but I couldn't..." He trailed off, feeling guilty. It hadn't been a matter of couldn't - it had been a matter of didn't want to.

"I don't want to get overly worried just yet," Obi-Wan said thoughtfully, "but, well, I know him." He sounded somewhat dejected, defeated.

Ferus nodded tightly, though he knew Obi-Wan could not see him. "I'm sorry," he said, not sure what else to say, not sure if he should offer to fly out to LA that night, not sure what he could possibly do to help if he did.

"Just... if you hear from him, please let me know," Obi-Wan requested. Ferus hung up feeling miserable and sad, and like he could have done something different.

-----


Obi-Wan Kenobi tried to push thoughts of Anakin out of his head. He'd been wary when the younger man had contacted him, but hopeful. He'd gone to Hazelden on his own, this time, had professed a desire to turn himself around, a declaration that he was feeling better than he had since he could remember.

It hurt to realize that Obi-Wan didn't trust the sentiments. Anakin had lost himself too many times, had dragged too many people down with him, for Obi-Wan to fully accept the change at face value. He wanted to try, but he prepared himself for disappointment.

There had been a time when he never would have thought he'd be in this position. He'd known of Anakin's burgeoning difficulties when they'd first met, knew about the semester of his sophomore year that he'd had to leave for 'health reasons'. At the time, it seemed like youthful indiscretion, something that would be corrected by routine and stability. Obi-Wan had tried to offer that, had failed.

His phone rang; when he saw it was Ferus Olin, his heart sank. "Hello?" he answered, carefully, hesitantly.

"Anakin called me." The voice on the other end was strained, and Obi-Wan tried to move past his own anxiety. "Like, five minutes ago. I'm going to give you the address - I, uh, he's really not good."

Obi-Wan hadn't been expecting anything different, he realized grimly as he wrote down the address. "I'll go. Thank you, Ferus."

His GPS took him to a posh boutique hotel in Beverly Hills. He found he was a little surprised; he had half-expected some sleazy motor lodge or something of the sort. Regardless, he rode the elevator with dread bubbling up in his gut. When he knocked, he didn't expect Anakin to answer - almost expected to have the wrong place. But the door cracked open, and he saw a familiar, wary blue eye peering through the opening.

"You can't come in," Anakin informed him. "I don't know if they've sent you or if you've come on your own. I can't let you in." He sounded completely lucid, but Obi-Wan knew better.

"Nobody's sent me, Anakin," Obi-Wan assured. "I promise. Please let me in." He mentally prepared himself for what he would find; though Anakin had fallen off the wagon more times than Obi-Wan could reasonably count, it had always been in a fairly controlled environment. Anakin was completely on his own, and that scared Obi-Wan more than he wanted to admit.

The door swung open just far enough for Obi-Wan to enter. Anakin slammed it behind him and quickly re-did the locks. Obi-Wan looked around, surprised that the only real evidence of what was going on was a half-empty bottle of JD on the bedside table alongside a smudged mirror and the black Amex provided by AdForce. "I'm looking for jobs here," Anakin announced suddenly, rubbing his arms. "I can't go back, I don't want to go back, they're going to hurt me if I go back."

Obi-Wan frowned slightly. "Nobody wants to hurt you," he said carefully. "Does your grandfather know where you are?"

Anakin nodded, jerkily, scratching the back of his neck. "He told me to find something out here," he said, and Obi-Wan had no idea if it was true or not. "He told me to use the card as long as I needed to and find a job out here and then I can't come back and I'll be all alone." His breath hitched slightly, and he went to the bed, grabbing the bottle and filling the glass that sat beside it. "I came here to ask you to take me back," he admitted, and laughed bitterly.

A great weight settled in Obi-Wan's chest. Though he wasn't sure if Anakin was telling the truth about Palpatine, if he was, the implications were disheartening. Anakin, despite all of his troubles, had always been able to fall back on the support of his grandfather. If Palpatine was rescinding that support, Obi-Wan wasn't sure what would happen to Anakin. Anakin wanted to be taken back, wanted them to have a relationship.

When he'd broken up with Anakin, it had been the most painful thing he'd ever had to do, but in order to protect himself and, he had thought at the time, to protect Anakin, he had left. And, he thought ruefully, Anakin had been in a much better mindset at that time than he was now. "We were supposed to meet for dinner," Obi-Wan reminded him. "What happened with that?"

Anakin drank down half his glass and looked down at his lap. "I got sidetracked," he hedged, playing with the sleeves of his shirt. "I'm sorry."

"You're always sorry," Obi-Wan shot back before he could stop himself. "We can't keep playing this game, Anakin." He couldn't come to Anakin's rescue, he realized, if Anakin did not want to be rescued.

"I'm sorry!" Anakin exclaimed, slamming the glass down. "I told you! I have an interview tomorrow, so I'm going to have a job. I'm going to get clean again and then we can be together." He sounded so certain, so convinced. It hurt Obi-Wan to distrust him.

"I'll call you tomorrow," Obi-Wan said softly. He couldn't stay any longer, couldn't look at Anakin and think about what could have been. He would call, but he had to take some time, had to decide how to proceed.

Anakin looked hurt, but Obi-Wan went to the door. "We'll be together," he said. "I promise."

-----


Obi-Wan tried not to think about Anakin as he went about his business for the rest of the day. It wasn't his place to keep Anakin from falling, it wasn't his responsibility. Except, he kind of felt like it was. He still loved the boy, still cared deeply for him. When things were good, they had been very, very good, after all.

He made good on his promise, calling Anakin the next day, only for his call to go directly to voicemail. He called the hotel, and the same happened. He left messages in both places, not expecting a call back.

Several hours later, his phone rang, showing Anakin's number in the caller ID. "How did your interview go?" Obi-Wan asked, already knowing the answer: Anakin hadn't even gone, probably hadn't even had an interview in the first place.

"I got the job!" Anakin replied brightly. "I start on Monday! I'm celebratin', come cel'brate with me!"

Somewhere in the back of Obi-Wan's mind, he thought it was still a lie. Surely Anakin couldn't walk into an ad firm and walk out with a job. Then again, Anakin's professional accomplishments and education made a very strong impression, and his natural charisma tended to win people over quickly. Maybe it wasn't a lie; maybe things really were going to change. "Where are you?" he asked.

Silence for a long moment. "Not sure," Anakin admitted. "Beverly Hills. Near the hotel, I think. I'm, uh, I'm a little drunk. Everybody's really nice, though - I bought everybody drinks!"

Obi-Wan pinched the bridge of his nose; he really didn't want to traipse through every drinking establishment in Beverly Hills, after all, and he didn't want to think about the kind of trouble Anakin was going to get into being in such a philanthropic mood. "Can you figure it out?" he prompted.

Silence again, muffled talking on the other end. "The Frolic Room," Anakin replied after a long moment.

Obi-Wan sighed. "Since when is 20 minutes away right next to the hotel?" he asked. He considered his options: he could go retrieve Anakin and try to get him to clean up before his new job started (if that was even the truth), or he could cut ties now, leave well enough alone. He'd been able to, nominally, during the time before he'd gone to AdForce and as painful as it would be, he was sure he could do it again. He just didn't know if he wanted to.

"I miss you," Anakin sniffed into the phone. Obi-Wan made his decision, and grabbed his keys.

-----


Getting Anakin to leave was a hassle; the young man's idea of "a little drunk" was very different from Obi-Wan's, and always had been. Obi-Wan had always been of the opinion that when one could no longer walk without assistance or was throwing up, one was well past "a little drunk."

"You're not being even remotely helpful," Obi-Wan pointed out, pushing the elevator button for the correct floor. Anakin giggled stupidly and leaned against him, wrapping both arms around Obi-Wan's neck.

"Love you," he slurred. "Sooooo much." His knees buckled and Obi-Wan had to quickly grab him around the waist to keep him from falling. "You saved me!" he exclaimed, nuzzling his face against Obi-Wan's neck.

The elevator dinged, and Obi-Wan had the untenable task of getting Anakin back into the room. It took some time, but he was eventually able to do so, dropping the young man onto the bed with a grunt. "Go to sleep," he ordered.

"Sleep with me," Anakin prompted, waving Obi-Wan over to the bed and fumbling out of his clothes.

Obi-Wan shook his head. "No," he said. He had decided, on the way back to the hotel, that he couldn't keep doing this. He couldn't spend his life worrying, picking up the pieces. He couldn't live with wondering if Anakin would ever get clean or if they would be doing this dance for the rest of their lives. It would be painful, but he had to let Anakin go. "I'm sorry, Anakin." He circled around the bed to catch Anakin's gaze. "I have failed you."

Anakin sat up straighter, looking confused. "Wha... Obi-Wan."

"Don't you see?" Obi-Wan demanded, though he was sure Anakin would not remember the conversation, "what you're doing to yourself is keeping you from happiness!"

Anakin stumbled to his feet, bumping his hip against the bedside table. "It's the only thing that makes me happy!" he cried. "And you! Obi-Wan, please!"

"The fact you had to add me as an afterthought tells me all I need to know," Obi-Wan replied, bowing his head. "I love you, Anakin. But I cannot save you."

-----


Months passed. Obi-Wan returned to his life the way he'd known it before Anakin had come back into it, and did his best to ignore the occasional calls, texts, and emails. He tried to ignore it when he saw Anakin's name on the roster of a local ad agency. He tried to avoid events he knew Anakin would be at, even when it meant damaging his own reputation.

He couldn't avoid him forever, and the few times their paths crossed, a pang cut through Obi-Wan's heart; Anakin was just the same. Obi-Wan had to admit to himself that he'd hoped Anakin would have taken his rejection as the wake-up call it should have been, but he hadn't, and Obi-Wan simply strengthened his resolve. He could not get involved.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi?" The number was unfamiliar, but Obi-Wan answered. There was always the tiny part of him that was waiting for Anakin to return. He answered to the affirmative, and the speaker's next words washed over him in a horrible wave. He only heard bits and pieces: "County coroner... listed as next of kin... suicide... claim the body..."

Obi-Wan dropped the phone, and did not pick it up again.

-----


Anakin's grandfather paid to have his body shipped home. Obi-Wan followed close behind, numb. He knew the stages of grief and felt like he was going through all of them at once; if he hadn't left that night, if he had never left in the first place. If he had been more open, more supportive, if he'd given better guidance, if things had been different. If Anakin hadn't pushed so hard, hadn't fallen so far.

Everything passed in a blur; at the funeral he sat beside Ferus, across the aisle from Padme. He let the sermon flow through his consciousness and tried to release his grief. It was impossible. He would never see Anakin's smile again, never hold him or talk to him. Would never experience those wonderful times, which Obi-Wan wished had out-shone the worst times.

"How are the twins?" he asked Padme afterwards, trying to keep his voice from shaking. This woman, this strong woman he'd shared Anakin's affections with for so long, and they'd never spoken more than two words to each other.

She bowed her head. "They're too young to understand," she said. "Besides, their daddy's never really... They never really knew him." She wiped away an errant tear, violently. "Then again, I don't think I did either."

Obi-Wan nodded his understanding; sometimes he felt the same way, and knew he would never get a chance to change that. He went back to Los Angeles and tried, once again, to pick up the pieces.
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