summary: on a routine mission, you and bakugou are trapped under a falling building. it leads to some, stunning revelations. pro hero reader and pro hero bakugou, mid twenties.
a/n: smut, praise, degredation, daddy kink, love, infidelity, reader is kirishima’s GF, unprotected sex, hurt, angst, comfort.
Bakugou: you have to tell her. Today.
Kirishima: it was an accident!
Bakugou: did you trip and fall into your exes pussy?
Kirishima: fuck, dude you’re supposed to be on my side.
Bakugou: I’m right. And you know it. You tell her today.
Kirishima: she’s gonna hate me.
Kirishima: do you think I could convince her to not dump me?
Bakugou: yeah, I think you could.
Bakugou follows you into the lower level of the parking garage, keeping a few steps behind you, glancing over his shoulder, frowning in the darkness as his phone beeps. He glances at it.
Kirishima: god that would be amazing
Kirishima: she gives soul sucking head, man
Bakugou: you’ve mentioned.
“Stop.” You say quickly. “Don’t move.” For anyone else, Bakugou might have instinctively waved his arms, or jumped as high and landed as hard as he could, but for you, and only for you he grunts, and waits for whatever you’re sensing. He watches as you activate your quirk, glowing softly and lifting a few feet in the air, closing your eyes as he feels you search the area.
“We alone?” He asks after a long moment.
“We are,” you breathe, disbelief coloring your voice, “Somethings,” you pause, “Something’s wrong.” Bakugou’s tongue swipes over his lower lip as he thinks.
“We followed ‘em here,” He growls eventually, “We’re in enemy territory for sure, but ya don’t usually spook like this.” He watches you realize it at the same time that it happens, your eyes shoot open and your lips part, to speak to give him the information that he’s already gathering as the garage collapses around you. He moves a millisecond faster than the falling debris, tackling you out of the way of a huge slab of concrete, as the building falls. All you can do is cling to him as he expertly navigates the disaster zone, leaping and diving out of the way of falling cars, taking his free hand and blowing a gigantic mini van to smithereens, his other arm locked on your waist as he dives out of the way of a collapsing column. You both hit the ground and slide across the ground, Bakugou shielding your body with his own as there are more loud crashes. Neither of you moves until the deafening crashes quiet, the air filled with dust. Your arms are wrapped around his neck, and when his heart rate calms a little, he can feel your face pressed to his skin.
“Are you alright?” You whisper. Bakugou wiggles a little in the darkness, feeling each of his limbs, testing the joints.
“M’alright.” He says in a low growl, lifting his head and looking around. You’re in a little cavern, pressed against tilted pavement, heads higher than your feet, less than 10 inches of clearance between you and the car engine above your heads, not enough room for Bakugou to lay on his side. “You ok?”
“Um,” You breathe, eyes fluttering open. “My head hurts.” He pulls up off of you a little, inspecting you carefully.
“Shit,” He says lowly, as he sees a light trickle of blood on your forehead, “I wasn’t fast enough.”
“You were incredible.” You say, voice hoarse, holding him tighter, shaking a little. “Don’t move too much, this is fragile. We were, incredibly lucky.” He nods, then looks away.
“Sorry.” He says. “Shouldn’t be holdin’ you like this.” You laugh, and the sound tinkles though the quiet.
“I don’t think Eijirou would mind.” Bakugou watches the gentle warmth wash over your face as you say Eijirou, relief that you feel that should be contagious when he hears you say his best friend's name. “Speaking of, I’m sure he’s coming to get us right now.” You close your eyes, relaxing against the pavement. “Sorry that I didn’t sense the explosives sooner, I’m kind of in my head.”
“What’s goin’ on?” He asks and he watches surprise bloom on your face.
“It’s not like you to care how other people are doing?”
“Bored.” Bakugou says, still refusing to look at you, shifting his weight, keenly aware of the contours of your soft body against his. “C’mon.” He grunts. “What’s up?”
“Kirishima said he needed to tell me something.”
“I um,” You squirm underneath Bakugou. “I’m nervous.” You look at the way Bakugou is holding his body over yours. “You can relax, I don’t expect you to hold a plank until Eij gets here.” Bakugou reluctantly lowers his hips on top of yours thinking of the most disgusting things possible, of Deku, of his parents kissing, of-
“Oh,” you make a noise as his weight presses some air out of your lungs, and then he can feel you giggle against him. Fuck. “Yeah so,” you whisper, faces inches from each others, “I’m nervous I think, um, I think he might want to move in with me.” Bakugou no longer has to concentrate on the blood flowing from his brain to his crotch because he’s certain his heart has stopped beating.
“Yeah he’s been really attentive lately, like whenever he works late he sends me flowers in the morning, and he’s always telling me how much he cares about me.” You sigh happily. “And I don’t know how to tell him I’m not ready.’
“To move in with him?” When Bakugou speaks there’s another loud crash and he covers your body with his again, dust falling around the two of you while you tremble beneath him. There’s another minute of silence.
“I’m sure that’s them looking for us.” You say softly. “Bakugou.” The blonde doesn’t lift his head from your neck, you smell like sunshine and honey, and his best friends shampoo. “I love him, you know I just need more time.” Bakugou nods again, and then you hear a soft vibration.
“Holy shit,” he says in a low rasp, “Could my fuckin’ phone be workin’?” You giggle again and the sound is so bright and clear, so at odds with your situation, with the darkness and the dust. “It’s in my back pocket, can you reach it?” You nod, and he supports his own weight above you again, grateful for the distance, that is until you scoot dow underneath him, reaching your hands up onto his back and taking his cell phone out of his pocket, and holding the cracked screen up, the text barely legible.
“It’s Eij!” You squeal, and the excitement in your voice rips his heart out, but then your face falls to match his mood. “Oh no, they’ve engaged villains above us. It’ll be awhile.” You attempt to swipe to unlock his phone and he realizes what’s waiting for you and nearly loses consciousness, collapsing on top of you and swatting the phone away without thinking. It clatters into the unknown and you scowl at him. “Bakugou what the fuck?”
“It was an accident!” He lies poorly, and you know what, fuck it, fuck Kirishima, he fucking deserved it. “My arms are tired.” He stops holding himself up at all and lays directly on top of you, slotting a thigh between yours, laying his head on his bicep, so that you have to rest your face on the ground. You wince a little at the pure weight of his body on you, but you’re not distracted.
“No it wasn’t, what the fuck was that?” You say turning your face to him, so close you bump noises in the dusty darkness.
“It was an accident.” He bares his teeth at you when he spits the word and you shake your head, eyes narrow and cold.
“You have the highest athletic intelligence of anyone I’ve ever met,” You hiss, and your breath is warm on his face. “Why would you throw your own phone?” He inhales through his nose, screwing his face up, taking one moment to savor just how fucking good your body feels pressed up against his.
“I can’t tell you.” He says finally.
“Really?” You raise your eyebrows, and then concern bleeds onto your face. “Bakugou, if, if the league has something on you, on Eij, on anyone, I’d have your back, I’d help you, I know you’re a good man, you’d never betray-”
“That’s not it.” He barks so loudly that there’s another crumbling of dust and instinctively you hide your face in his chest, letting out a small whimper. “I’m sorry,” he breathes cradling you to his body, “I’m sorry I shouldn’ta yelled.”
“It’ll be a while.” You mumble, not absolving him. “Before we’re out of here, so if you could try not to be an asshole, I know you don’t like me.” He blinks at you. “I know you don’t so don’t try to deny it, you’re respectful at work, and nice when Eij brings you around-”
“Stop calling him that.” The words tumble out of Bakugou’s mouth before he can stop them and your eyebrows move downward as your lips press together.
“I knew it.” You mutter, pulling as far away from him as you can get in the small cavern, “I knew you didn’t like me, because you’re in love with him.” Bakugou’s eyes shoot open, he blinks a couple times, not sure he heard you right.
“You’re in love with him.” You say petulantly. “And it’s obvious, you never want to spend time with the us, you’ve been distant, any time I come in the room you fucking leave,” he groans and mashes the heels of his palms into his eyesockets, “Don’t deny it.” You continue, “You asked last week if Jeanist wouldn’t put us on any missions together! I heard you, I was outside the office.”
“Fuck!” Bakugou snarls, and another cloud of dust and small rocks rainst down, this time on the two of you but he fully shields your body under his own, his face inches from yours. “Fuck, fuckin’ Kirishima, jesus fuckin’ Christ.”
“So it’s true?” You breathe, and he watches as crystalline tears form in your beautiful innocent eyes, pupils wide in the darkness, cleaning some of the dust off of your face. He rolls his eyes.
“No, you absolute fuckin’ moron.” He snaps. “You’re so goddamn stupid sometimes, you know that, you’re so fuckin’ blind, you love so easily, you give and you give and you give, and it’s never goddamn transactional, I, I can tell you’re not keepin’ score of how often you make shitty hair lunch versus how often he’s late to dates you have planned, I can tell you barely notice that he only does nice shit for you as apology,” you balk at this, opening your mouth to disagree, then closing it. “I can tell you don’t see that he’s not fuckin’ listenin’ to you when you talk about, about basic goddamn shit, about groceries, about your family, I,” He closes his eyes, and feels the weight of the cars and the concrete and it feels nothing compared to the weight of the words on his tongue. “And he’s cheating on you.” You swallow.
“He’s been sleeping with Momo. From college. Creati.” Bakugou says. “And you get flowers after, and taken to dinner, and swept of your goddamn feet because Red Fuckin’ Riot’s such a goddamn nice guy.” You swallow, there’s a silence. You’re looking at Bakugou but your eyes are glossy and unfocused. “I’m sorry.” He says. “I’m sorry, I uh,” he looks away, “Wish I were in love with him.” You close your eyes.
“I wish I could be alone right now.”
“I’m sorry.” Bakugou says again, voice deep and husky. “I shouldn’t-”
“You should have, sooner.” You say, and he watches you make a heroic effort to keep the ends of your lips from curling down, and then bring your hands to your face. “Oh my god,” you choke out a sob, “Oh my god, I love him so much. Oh my god.” The sound of your sobs echo in the the small space, and all he can do is watch you fall apart underneath him.
“I’m sorry.” He repeats for a third time. You barely hear him, crying with your whole chest as the future you’d imagined yourself into, “I’m so fuckin’ sorry, I shouldn’t have, I mean, fuck.” He’s kicking himself, the chasm between you deepens as you keep crying and he wants to touch you, he wants to cup your soft cheeks in his rough, dirty hands, but he doesn’t want to soil your perfect face. He throws caution to the wind. “Can I-”
“Please,” you beg, throwing your arms around his neck and sobbing into his shirt. He crushes you against him, rubbing circles into your back.
“Sorry I called you a fuckin’ moron, you’re not, he,” Bakugou struggles with his words. “He shoulda told you. After the first time.”
“How many times?” You say, voice raw and broken, he can feel your lips move against his chest.
“I don’t know.” Bakugou says.
“Is it because,” you mumble into his chest, “Is it because she’s prettier?” Bakugou barks out a laugh and then quickly realizes you were serious.
“Wait, is that a fuckin’ joke?” He pulls you away from him so that he can look you in the eyes. “No, you, ah,” you’re flushed, he can barely make out the high plains of your face in the low light. “You’re so beautiful.” He breathes, wiping your face clean with his sleeve. “He just, he’s never happy with what he has.” You laugh, the sound is bitter but promising.
“Yeah, he’s pretty jealous of you.” Bakugou cocks his head. “The whole hero rankings thing’s totally gotten to him.”
“Huh.” Bakugou feels your hips against his, praying for the wherewithal to keep the blood in his body above his waist.
“So wait, if um, you don’t hate me,” you ask, “Why didn’t you want to do missions with me anymore?” You sniff a little and he holds the elbow of his costume out, letting you wipe your nose on it.
“You’re disgusting.” He informs you and you laugh a little, the slightest edge of joy to the sound, though your voice is still tight from crying. “I uh,” he closes his eyes, fuck it, fuck it, he could die here, you both could die, at any fucking moment in here, “I’m uh, I’m in love with you.”
You couldn’t have been more surprised if the rocks around you gave way and crushed your bodies.
“I’m in love with you,” he mutters, looking away, “I love the stupid shit you do for shitty hair, I love the way your nose scrunches when you laugh, I love how goddamn powerful you are, how you don’t take shit from anyone, I love that no matter what you eat it ends up all over your fuckin’ face, I love-”
“Katsuki,” you say, eyes wide, “I didn’t-”
“Of course you didn’t,” Anxiety seizes his chest, outwardly manifesting as self immolation, “Of course you fuckin’ didn’t because I’m a goddamn incredible liar, and an even better hero and I don’t wanna hear bullshit from the comission about me needing to learn restraint when I have gone this fuckin’ long without pinning you to the wall and showing you who should goddamn be takin’ care of you, because it’s nearly killed me on more than one fuckin’ occasion.” His voice his a touch higher than usual, wounded and raw. There’s a pause.
“When um, when did you know?” He thinks about it, savoring the squish of the fat on your hips underneath his strong fingers, well aware he’s never going to have another chance to touch you.
“Remember when you brought him lunch, and uh, he wasn’t in?” You nod. “I texted him, but he said I could eat it. And I found the little note you left him.”
“Oh god,” You bury your face in his chest. “Which one?”
“You’d uh,” He laughs a little, “You’d written him just, about your morning, and about how you missed him, and the ink was smudged, like you’d been in a rush that morning, and I thought, how uh, nice it would be, to make lunch, for someone like that, and have them open it at work, and know uh, that I gave enough of a shit about them to cut their sandwich into triangles even though I was runnin’ late.”
“Huh.” You swallow, nestling against him in the darkness.
“Fuckin’ what?” He snaps. “What, go ahead and laugh at me?” You tilt your head up towards his.
“No it’s just I thought, you’d be thinking about what it would be like to have someone make the lunch for you, not the opportunity to make the lunch.” He looks at you like you're insane.
“No, no the point is you get to make the lunch, you get to do shit like that for the people you love, to bring them like, you know a little fuckin’ joy or some dumb shit like that.” You laugh then, and it’s the happiest noise he’s heard in a few minutes. “Gonna say anything,” he asks gruffly, “About me bein’ in love with you?”
“I genuinely never considered it.” You say honestly, and his heart starts to break in his chest.
“Yeah uh,” He says. “I get it. If you like shitty hair I’m sure I’m not your type.”
“Um, actually,” You chew your lower lip and the damn breaks, he feels himself start to get hard in his pants, it’s a miracle he’s lasted this long anyway, with you, this close to him, with the way he can feel your breasts against his body, the way his hands feel on your back. “When you were at U.A. University, I used to watch the sports festivals.” He pulls away so that he can look you in the eyes, hands moving to hold you, to keep you from squirming away from his harsh gaze. “I used to think, um, I used to have this like, girlish crush on you.”
“Really?” He breathes, scarcely bringing himself to believe it, searching your face for hints of dishonesty, and you let out this feminine little giggle, trying to hide from him and look away but he’s holding you too tight.
“I just, you were so um, manly I guess, for lack of a better word, you always won, and I um, I thought about, what it would be like, to be with the man who always won.” He moves one hand from your back and cups your face, stroking your cheek.
“Really,” he says, in a low growl, “Of all the clout chasin’,” you giggle again, writhing at his touch, “College co ed bullshit,” his lips brush your jaw, “You wanted to be with the man who always won?”
“I liked how you’d snarl at the reporters after.” You admit, speaking into his lips at this point. “I liked how even though you could have relied on power,” you breathe, “You never did, you always,” you feel his hand slip lower, taking a fistful of your ass, “You always had a strategy.”
“I didn’t say stop talkin’.” He growls. “When you were touchin’,” he moves down a bit, “That pretty little pussy of yours, dreamin’ about me, what were you thinkin’?” You feel his mouth on your cheek, your ear, and you gasp, reaching for the words, he’s so close to you.
“I used to imagine,” you feel the swipe of his tongue on your skin, you grind your hips against his thigh, “That you’d push me down on my bed,”
“Like this?” He ask, wrapping a hand around your throat and pushing you back down to the ground and your breath hitches, your pupils blow wide.
“Yes, just like that,” you roll your hips against him now, “And I would think about your hands,” you moan, face hot, “Slipping under my panties,” he trails two fingers down your body, reaching under the skirt of your hero costume.
“And how would I touch you,” he breathes, slipping your panties to the side, his breath hot on your skin.
“Ah,” you moan as he parts your folds, “Softly at first,” you feel his teeth sink into your neck, “Like, you wanted to take your time with me.” He chuckles, and you feel another burning kiss on your neck.
“Oh princess,” you hear him growl, “You bet that sweet ass of yours I do.” His grip on your neck tightens as you feel him start to circle your clit without touching it, gently teasing you. “You’re fuckin’ drippin’,” he chides, “Tell me what would happen next, fuckin’ pervert.”
“Th-then,” you say, “I used to imagine your f-fingers, um,” you look away embarrassed and he releases your throat and holds your face as he starts to rub at your puffy clit.
“Uh, uh,” He says, eyes flashing, “Tell me what you want baby, use your damn words.” Your eyes tear up again at the humiliation of it but your part your lips and keep going,
“I um, then you’d fuck me with them,” you say, voice barely above a whisper, “And it would be better than touching myself, because,” you back arches as he picks up the pace on your clit just a little, “Fuck, Katuski,” you mewl, “Because they were so much bigger than my own.”
“Like this?” He asks, dipping two fingers into your soaking, aching core, his other hand drifting back to your neck. “You’re soaking,” he says roughly, and you moan loudly, barely hearing him. He curls his fingers inside of you and you keen for him, ears ringing as he sends wave after wave of pleasure through your body, you can’t sit still, you writhe underneath his touch. “What next, princess, talk to me.”
“Then I would picture,” you gasp, “I’d picture you climbing on top of me,” he shifts his weight, bracing himself on his elbows, hovering over you, lips on yours, but not quite kissing you. You go to move your mouth against his, but he pulls away, smirking, flashing his sharp canines. “Katsuki,” you whine and he shakes his head.
“I’m not gonna do it until you beg me.” He growls, “So open that pretty little mouth of yours, and tell me how badly you want my cock.”
“Katsuki,” you bite down hard on your lower lip, now actively fucking yourself on his fingers, rolling your hips, “Please, I want you to fuck me, I want it, I want your cock so bad, I’m, I’ve thought about it, I’ve thought about you when,” that’s enough for him, he cuts you off before reaching down and unzipping his pants, freeing his length, hard and purple with need. He rubs it against your softness, pressing the head to your swollen clit, and you let out a loud whine,
“Patience, princess,” he growls, “One last thing,” you nod emphatically, tears running down your dusty cheeks, uncomfortably warm in the hot space, “In those filthy little daydreams of yours, did you call me, Katsuki?” His mouth hovers above yours, the promise of release weighing heavily on both of your minds.
“N-no,” you admit. He grins evilly. “I um,” you close your eyes, and he allows you this small dignity as you say, “I called you daddy.”
“Daddy huh?” You feel him sheath himself inside you and the breath leaves your lungs in a hot, startled gasp. “Daddy.” He repeats. “You dirty fuckin’ slut,” he groans and you lift your head to kiss him, and he finally allows it, lips meeting yours with a feverish desire. You wrap your arms around his neck.
“Ah, oh god,” with every snap of his hips against yours you reach a higher ecstasy, grateful that your loud cries are being muffled by the rocks and debris around you, “Daddy, daddy, please,” you beg into his mouth, “Please don’t stop, please,” he groans loudly,
“Feel s’good baby,” he chokes out, “Want you so goddamn badly,” You feel his grip on your shoulders tighten, “Been thinkin,” he snarls, “About your tight fuckin’ cunt,” he bites down on your neck, animalistic grunts and growls filling the air, “Every goddamn night, since ya met him.”
“Daddy, please,” you warble, “Wanna cum, please, please can I cum?”
“No,” he snaps, “You’re gonna cum with daddy, I wanna feel you cum on my goddamn cock,” he picks up the pace, slamming himself into you, you can feel his heavy balls smacking against your ass.
“Please,” you beg again, you’re teetering on the edge, and Bakugou shudders, with the wet walls of your pussy squeezing him every time his head kisses your cervix he’s barely holding on.
“No.” He says again, “Fuck, baby, feel s’good,” he presses more burning open mouthed kisses on your neck, your hands tangled in his hair, pulling hard as you hold on for dear life. His cock hits you at the perfect angle, slamming against that bundle of nerves inside of you with merciless abandon, and he knows it, if you squeeze your eyes open you know he can tell that he’s making a complete mess of you. He kisses you again, hard and sloppy, he can’t get enough of how fucking soft you are againist every calloused part of him, he’s dreamed about this so much, and killed himself for it, he can’t believe you’re really writhing underneath him. The thought of the nights he’d fucked his fist to the imagination of your silhouette, to the dream of the warmth of your skin.
“Daddy,” you plead, and this time, he relents, kissing you hard again before speaking.
“Go ahead slut,” he snarls, “Cum on my cock, go on I wanna fuckin’ feel you.” You let go of the hot coil in your stomach with a loud whine, voice dripping with desperation.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” you swear as your orgasm cuts through you, your vision whiting out as your cunt flutters around Bakugou’s cock. He chases his own high, thrusts becoming sporadic, his grunts less human and more wild. You cling to him, as you feel him become impossibly hard inside you, and let go. There’s a few minutes where the only noise is your soft breathing, the sound of your lips brushing, your little gasps as you curl inward, finding the places where your souls concave, with the soft intimacy of those who know that things will change when the first person shatters the silence. Bakugou leans over you, brushing some hair from your face. He watches the words form behind your eyes before you speak.
“We shouldn’t have done that. Eij is gonna freak.” Your beautiful face is painted with worry, and despite yourself, you curl into his chest. “Bakugou he’s going to be so upset with me.”
“I’ll take care of it.” Bakugou snarls, with more malice than he means. “He’s not gonna say shit to you.” You blink a few times and he kisses you softly. “Consider it done.”
“You would do that for me?” You ask, aware now, of the shards of light, peeking through into your hideaway.
“Been a long time comin’.” Bakugou says, pressing his lips to your forehead. He traces patterns on your back, while the two of you lie in the darkness. It feels different, being with Bakugou like this, before he seemed to be all sharp edges, cutting the people around him on his broken parts, but in this moment, you feel like you understand a bit more, that he has the capacity to be soft. “Seems like your head was a surface wound.” You nod, swallowing.
“You saved my life.” He puffs out his chest a little.
“That’s my job.” You laugh a little, and the two of you move closer together as the crashes become louder, and when dust starts to fall on the two of you again, Bakugou flips around, holding his palms towards the rocks above, and when things start to crumble around you he lets off a huge blast, as big as you’ve ever seen, coating both of you in dust and smoke. When it clears, you’re curled into his chest, a leg hooked around his waist, face buried in your neck. You hear a loud whoop, and Kirishima, Denki and Jirou stand on top of the debris.
“I fucking told you they were fine!” He skates down the pile of gravel and pulls you off of Bakugou, planting a kiss on your grey streaked face. Bakugou leaps up to get between you but a bright blue glow emanates from your body before energy starts rolling off of you in cerulean waves. Kirishima is blown back from you, slamming against the wall hard enough to leave cracks in the cement. “What the fuck babe,” he says, as Denki moves forward to grab your arm but Bakugou catches his elbow, and you speak,
“You cheated on me?” A hush falls over the group and the only sound is the camera clicks of a few extremely intrepid paparazzi members. For a second, it looks like you’re going to hit him, but you soften. “Eij,” your voice wobbles, “Why?” The camera sounds intensify and Kirishima flashes his palms.
“I never meant to hurt you.”
“Why,” you gasp, lip trembling. “Why wasn’t I enough for you?”
“That’s not,” he pauses, “It wasn’t about that.” His eyes flick to the reporters, their numbers growing. “Baby,” he says, opening his arms, “C’mere, okay, I want, I need you to come here.” You shake your head, and close your eyes.
“It’s um,” you laugh lightly. “It’s fine, because,” you giggle, and Bakugou’s face breaks into a wide sneer. “It’s fine,” you laugh harder, “Ah,” you turn around, and Bakugou hops up to the main level and snakes his arm around your waist.
“Sorry, bro.” He says, co opting Kirishima’s catchphrase, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Don’t think fuckin’ your ex was very manly of you.”
“What the fuck,” Kirishima yells, running after the two of you as Bakugou casually leads you out of the disaster zone. “Hey, what the fuck did you do with my girlfriend, Bakugou, what the fuck?!” Bakugou leans down and growls in your ear.
“Seems like ya didn’t need me after all.” You cling to his arm.
“Good thing I want you anyway.”
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How the “Obi-Wan failed Anakin” subplot was retconned by George Lucas.
So an argument I see a lot in some “Obi-Wan failed Anakin” posts is saying “Ben failed Luke’s father, he said it himself in ROTJ”.
Now, while I could simply quote LucasFilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo, who tweeted in 2017...
“If a fictional character thinks something, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right.”
... and leave it at that, I think it’s interesting to see just how far the “Obi-Wan failed Anakin” subplot went with Lucas, before he retconned it into something else entirely.
The original subplot:
In a story conference for Episode VI that was first transcribed in 1981 and later collected in The Making of Return of the Jedi (2013), Lucas discussed this with Lawrence Kasdan and Richard Marquand:
“Ben [takes] the blame for Vader. “I should have given him more training. I should have sent him to Yoda, but I thought I could do it myself. It was my own pride in thinking that I could be as good a teacher as Yoda. I wish that I could stop the pestilence that I’ve unleashed on the galaxy.” His burden is that he feels responsible for everything that Vader has done.”
And in an interview done with in 1996, collected in the book The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 (which I highly recommend getting, so insightful) Lucas discussed how he planned on portraying Obi-Wan in one of the earliest screenplay drafts for The Phantom Menace:
“The story has Obi-Wan as a young Jedi in his mid-twenties. He’s ambitious and takes on the mentorship of this kid who starts out about eight or nine years old. […] Even though he’s too old to start the training of a Jedi, Obi-Wan feels the Force is so strong with him that he has to train him as a Jedi. […] Obi-Wan begins as this strong Jedi character but when you see all six movies, you’ll see that what Ben is doing with Luke is very close to the same mistake he made with Anakin.”
So Obi-Wan was the only Jedi we saw for the first half of the script.
And, by the way... he wasn’t always in his mid-twenties. As concept artist Ian McCaig puts it:
“Obi-Wan’s age changed all over the place — at one point he was substantially older, like a youngish 50. For a long time we had a character who was samurai-like, with a ponytail and long sideburns.”
So hey, bottom line (and as illustrated below by artist Doug Chiang):
Obi-Wan, alone, comes to negotiate with the Trade Federation. Just like he and Qui-Gon did in the final cut, he fights his way off the ship, he rescues the Queen...
... and he finds Anakin.
He is impressed by his skills with the Force. He decides to bring him to the Jedi and he insists that Anakin should be trained.
So far, this is consistent with what is mentioned in Return of the Jedi, and it’s clear that, at this point in time, the narrative Lucas was originally going for was the notion that: “In his ambition and arrogance, Obi-Wan trained Anakin but overestimated his own abilities as a teacher, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Darth Vader.”
Bringing in Qui-Gon:
But months later, when tackling a newer draft of the script, Lucas decided to split Obi-Wan’s impact on the story into two… and that’s when he made the decision to give a bigger role to another Jedi who originally appeared much later in the film.
Thus was created a Jedi mentor for Obi-Wan called Qui-Gon Jinn.
“I wasn’t able to develop Obi-Wan’s character fast enough. When I got through the rough draft I realized that I had a second Jedi that comes in about halfway through the script who is an interesting character and the more I thought about it the more I thought of things I could do with these two Jedi together because one alone didn’t have much to react to.”
And when I looked further into it... this isn’t actually new information!
This was also mentioned in the old Databank on earlier versions of StarWars.com, and in The Art of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in which they also explain that they briefly considered making Qui-Gon be Obi-Wan’s Padwan, and having Ewan McGregor playing “Padawan Qui-Gon”, before they finally settled on having Obi-Wan be the apprentice instead.
Other fun fact: there’s a scanned copy of the 1997 shooting script online (you can download it here)... and in it, you’ll notice that in the scene where they have dinner at Shmi’s house, some of the character description still reads “OBI-WAN” instead of “QUI-GON”, because they forgot to replace some of them :D
But as a result of bringing in Qui-Gon and shifting around the character dynamics, the decision of ambitiously taking Anakin in no longer falls on Obi-Wan… but on Qui-Gon.
How the addition of Qui-Gon changed the subplot:
If we look at things objectively, Qui-Gon saw a boy with an enormous M-count and massive potential in the Force, and figured “this kid must be the Chosen One”. And part of Qui-Gon’s character is that he feels, instead of thinking… he uses his instincts. And his instincts are never wrong (or so he thinks).
But while Qui-Gon’s instincts are correct (Anakin is indeed the Chosen One, no question there), he’s going about it the wrong way.
“So here we’re having Qui-Gon wanting to skip the early training and jump right to taking him on as his Padawan learner, which is controversial, and ultimately, the source of much of the problems that develop later on.”
- The Phantom Menace, Director’s Commentary, 1999
“I think it is obvious that [Qui-Gon] was wrong in Episode I and made a dangerous decision, but ultimately this decision may be correct.”
- Cut Magazine, 1999
He’s insisting this kid become a Padawan at once, without having him spend some time with the younglings to adjust… and everyone else is saying that that’s crazy. Cuz it is. But he is unable to consider the fact that he’s mistaken.
His instincts are never wrong, right? So he just keeps pushing for it.
Then he gets killed and with his dying breath, he forces the task of training Anakin onto Obi-Wan, who hasn’t even gone through the Trials, yet.
So right here, the original subplot has been retconned:
Obi-Wan no longer takes Anakin on because he’s an ambitious big-shot Jedi who arrogantly goes ‘pfft, if Yoda can do it, I can too’.
Instead, at the start, he takes Anakin on reluctantly... not because Anakin’s a problem, but because Obi-Wan feels that he, as a Master, won’t be up to the task.
Still, he steps up and takes on the responsibility. And while the task itself is ambitious, Obi-Wan doesn’t do it for the “glory of training the Chosen One”. He’s just keeping a promise, by being there for a 9-year-old kid who was taken away from his mother and whose paternal figure just died.
He decides to train the boy, honoring Qui-Gon’s memory.
The new subplot:
Now, while Obi-Wan’s fear that he may be inexperienced may be accurate in some areas... it isn’t in others. Namely, Obi-Wan’s ability to deal with a personality like Anakin’s.
Anakin had many character traits in common with Qui-Gon, including the following flaws:
They’re both headstrong, unruly mavericks.
Neither is very forthcoming about their own emotions.
Some people are outgoing, and need someone who will listen. Others are not, and need someone who will ask them and get them to talk. Anakin and Qui-Gon are examples of the latter. They get lost in their own thoughts and don’t open up unless they are pressed.
But this means that Obi-Wan already had experience dealing with this sort of personality before taking on Anakin. So he knows exactly what to do.
Whether Anakin is stressed...
... or is just bottling up his feelings...
... most of the time, Obi-Wan will get Anakin to open up.
(credit to @ashleyeckstein for that last GIF)
As Lucas said:
“One of the primary issues between this relationship between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon is that this is establishing Obi-Wan as the kind of straight arrow, the center of the movie, and Qui-Gon as the rebel, as the one who’s constantly sort of pushing the envelope. Which will switch itself in the next movie when, rather than having his master be the rebel, he has his Padawan learner become the rebel. I’m using Obi-Wan as sort of this centering device through all these movies, even as we get in with Luke and everybody else later on.”
- The Phantom Menace, Director’s Commentary, 1999
Obi-Wan is a centering device.
He’s not so dogmatic that he will do anything the Jedi Council says, though he will try to stay within the lines. That said, you can change his mind, if your point is valid, unlike Qui-Gon who will hunker down on his own stance.
Obi-Wan is the middle ground (despite what the memes say 😃).
He’s the stable Yin to chaotic Yangs like Qui-Gon or Anakin.
So it turns out that pairing Anakin with a master like Obi-Wan... is actually a great fit! They complement each other, there’s a symbiosis.
And so he trains and practically raises Anakin as a paternal/fraternal figure, they become friends. Then, when Anakin is knighted, they become equals.
Anakin becomes an almost-perfect Jedi Knight, despite the terrible odds he faced. He is brave, kind, generous, powerful, loyal, he’s the best fighter pilot in the galaxy. He is more street-smart than your average Jedi, he has political connections like Bail or Padmé. He’s training a Padawan mere months after being knighted. By the end of the Clone War, this guy’s in the Top 3 fighters of the Jedi Order.
Anakin becomes a goddamn superstar, in the Jedi Order. And Obi-Wan is very proud of the man he’s grown up to be, despite the odds he was facing.
So eventually, Obi-Wan leaves for a mission which could turn out to be just a wild Bantha chase... he imparts one last lesson, says his goodbyes to Anakin...
... and comes back to this.
He is understandably devastated... and, of course, in true Jedi fashion, he blames himself:
But here’s the thing.
Forget that Obi-Wan is the ultimate selfless Jedi. Let’s put that aside.
Any parent would blame themselves for how their kid turned out. And sometimes? They’d be right to do so.
This isn’t one of those times.
Obi-Wan did his best; and Anakin’s choices - influenced though they may have been - were his own.
And that’s the new moral of Obi-Wan’s story, in the Prequels, according to Lucas.
“When you’re in this position as a mentor, whether you’re an actual father or not, this person is your charge, but you have no control over how they’re going to use that knowledge. [...] You hope they’ll turn out okay, you hope they do the right things, you hope you raised them right, and all that stuff. But there’s no guarantee or anything. You never know what’s going to happen. That’s the challenge.”
Obi-Wan will never stop thinking he shares some blame in his boy’s downfall. We see that he eventually is able to see things more objectively in From A Certain Point Of View, though, clearly, in Return of the Jedi part of him still feels he is somewhat at fault.
But we, the audience, know: he did his best.
And if his teachings hadn’t been regularly sabotaged by Palpatine for 13 years, if the Devil himself hadn’t manipulated Anakin and turned his own fears against him... Obi-Wan’s best would’ve been enough.
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