Title: Brands of Healing

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Star Wars

Rating: PG13 (for very, very tame smarm)

Parings: Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan(~15/16 yrs)

Spoilers: none, really

Disclaimer: Contrary to what you might think, I didn't come up with the Star Wars universe or its characters. As such, I get no money from this, only innocent enjoyment. Oh, um, but Tala all is mine (not that anyone else would want him)

Summary: A simple Sneezey!Obi PWP ficlette in which Obi catches a cold and Qui sets his mind to healing his Padawan any way he knows how.



Brands of Healing



     Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was normally the epitome of calm and collected, even when missions took wrong turns and even when straying from orders. Nevertheless, he looked quite a bit less calm and more anxious than almost anything else, at present. After having been booted from his room quite forcibly, he had paced the corridor outside his quarters to give his nerves a rhythm to abide by. However, that had not worked well either. Finally he had taken to simply standing outside his front door, hands tightly clasped, trying his best to sense what was going on inside, when he knew very well he was blocked out for a reason.


     When the door slid open at last, Qui-Gon jumped on Tala, the Healer, who exited. "How is he?" The Jedi Master asked at once, demanding a suitable immediate answer and, perhaps, proceeding to squeeze the man's arm a bit too tightly until he got one. "What's wrong?"


     Tala, who had abandoned his training as a Jedi to instead heal the universe, was tall, gangly, with frazzled hair and constantly tired eyes, but the kindest face imaginable. He and Qui-Gon had met when they were very young and became roommates during their early years in the academy. From then on, they had enjoyed a certain amount of informality, loyalty and trust. "He's just coming down with a bad head cold," Tala assured him and he reached up to carefully pry Qui-Gon's fingers off his upper arm, which took a considerable amount of force. "It's going around. I'd guess almost half the young padawans have had it by now."


     But half of the padawans weren't *his* padawan. "But will Obi-Wan be all right? What does he need? What can I do?" His eyes were soft, pleading. His hand no longer clenched Tala's skinny arm but now stroked it gently. "Please, you must tell me what I can do. He looks so miserable."


     Tala smiled and shook his head. "Honestly, Qui, you act as though you've never had a cold yourself," he said with one bushy brown eyebrow raised. Then, when the man's expression seemed to increase in worry and desperation, he answered, "Make sure he gets plenty of liquids and rest. Make sure he stays warm and gets enough to eat when he actually feels hungry. He's not too young to perform healing trances, so help him through a few if he's not too tired." He leaned forward a little to stress his next point, and spoke plainly, "He'll be just fine in a day or two."


     Qui-Gon nodded, stepping back a little to give Tala room, then suddenly moving forward again to embrace the man. "Thank you," he choked out, squeezing his friend hard in gratitude. Tala nodded accordingly, waited a few respectful moments, and went to back out of the hug, but Qui-Gon held on too tightly.


     "That's good..." Tala mumbled, trying to break out. "There we go..." but the man still hugged, even after Tala gave him a reassuring pat on the back. Tala finally sighed and made to squat down, squeezing and slipping out from beneath the man's arms. Qui-Gon gave him a feeble, apologetic look to which Tala replied, "I'm glad to be of service, my old friend. Though I should be getting back and I've got a few other house calls to make on the way." Tala turned to go.


     Qui-Gon nodded, clapping the man on the back roughly to speed him on his way. "Thank you for coming all the way over on such short notice," he whispered.


     Turning back, Tala waved a hand, dismissing it. "I'll talk with you later, Qui-Gon." He gave a last nod and then headed back down the corridor.


     Stuffing almost trembling hands into the front pocket of his robe, Qui-Gon reentered his quarters. Obi-Wan sat roughly where Qui-Gon had left him, and in roughly the same position and condition as well. The young padawan learner sat cross-legged on the couch with a large grey blanket wrapped around his shoulders. His nose around his nostrils was red, and his eyes were slightly red. Tissues were scattered over his lap, flowing onto the couch and onto the coffee table in front of him where the box resided beside a large bowl of cooling water.


     Obi-Wan sniffed and looked up at him, his tired face breaking into a weak smile. "Master..." but the smile quickly faded. His head turned down and one hand moved from holding the blanket close about him to instead search his lap for a usable tissue. He felt around slowly for a few seconds until his breath caught, and then he quickened his search. Finally locating one, he immediately lifted it to his nose, heaving, "huhUHSHHTTT! HehSHHUHH!" His shoulders hunched forward and the blanket slipped from one shoulder, exposing a thin sleep shirt which was still unbuttoned from the examination. "heh-UHSHHhhhh!"


     "Bless you." Qui-Gon swooped down onto the cushion beside Obi-Wan. His hand slid from Obi-Wan's cheek down his neck, and onto his shoulder then below, pulled the blanket back into place. "Tala said you've just got a cold," he said reassuringly, reaching his arm around Obi-Wan's shoulders and wrapping the boy's braid around his finger, twirling absentmindedly.


     "I know," Obi-Wan said, snuffling heavily into the balled up tissue. "I'm not worried," and he gave his Master the smile again, stronger the second time around. "Were you?"


     Qui-Gon's recognizably worried expression changed quickly to a calm one. "No... of course not," he lied quite unconvincingly. "I know if my padawan can survive initiation a simple head cold should be no problem," and he returned the smile.


     Looking skeptically, Obi-Wan lowered his hand and its tissue to his lap. "Then why did you spend twenty minutes this morning on the communicator trying to find your healer friend to come see me?"


     Qui-Gon narrowed his eyes, but the smile stayed behind them, as though he knew he had been beaten. "What did I teach you about asking questions which you know you should not be asking?"


     With a grin this time, "You also taught me not to answer a question with a question, Master."


     Qui-Gon melted into light chuckles and, his hand down at Obi-Wan's other shoulder, pulled the lad to him. His other arm reached over his front, taking him in a warm hug from behind. "Arr!" he laughed and shook the boy gently with a firm, tight hug. "You're getting too smart for me already!"


     Obi-Wan laughed and snuggled back into his master's warm, inviting lap. He had grown too big for Qui-Gon's lap months, if not years, ago, but neither he nor Qui-Gon complained or mentioned the fact as they cuddled together in warmth. Full, lengthy minutes passed by in which they sat together in contented silence and stillness. Obi-Wan had just considered asking for permission to fall asleep in that position when he felt the desperate need to sneeze come over him again. He straightened a bit, realizing how very far away the tissue box was from him now. He struggled a little against Qui-Gon's hold which had just moments ago been a warm embrace and now a confining restraint.


     "Padawan?" came the soft voice, questioning him from over his shoulder.


     With a shake of his head, Obi-Wan tried leaning forward enough to reach the tissues, but they were feet away and even without the restricting arms around his chest they were out of arms' length from where he sat now on the couch. "I can feel another tickle in my nose, Master," Obi-Wan said, wiggling his nose like a rabbit and giving a great sniffle. "I think I'm... going to sneeze..."


     "Sit back and relax," commanded Qui-Gon, resting his hands on Obi's shoulders with a tight squeeze. "Use the force to let the tissues come to you instead of you straining to get to them."


     After giving his tickling nose a good rub to stay the tickle an extra few seconds, he made unblinking eye contact with the box. Slowly, it found itself lifted into the air and floating smoothly over to Obi-Wan.


     "Good!" exclaimed Qui-Gon encouragingly. "That is--" but he broke off. He realized and acted all in one second. The boy was about to sneeze, and though the tissues were close, he still hadn't time to take a single one to use. So Qui-Gon leaned over his shoulder, pulling a tissue out with his own powers and levitating it to the boy's nose and mouth.


     "huh'IHHSHH! hehTUSHHH! HISSHH!" he sneezed, rocking forwards and back, still grasped tenderly on the shoulders by his master. Obi-Wan plucked the tissue out of the air, halfway crumpled it into his hand and gave a firm blow. His nose, however, continued to run a bit and he sniffled wetly a few times before saying, quite breathlessly, "Thank you." He would not let this cold ruin his manners, whatever happened.


     Qui-Gon gave a nod to recognize it, then continued. "As I was saying, that was a very good job. You had excellent control, especially considering you're not in perfect health."  The young padawan gave a weary nod and coughed dryly, careful to lift a fist to his mouth just in time. "I think I would enjoy a cup of tea right now," Qui-Gon mused. "Would you like me to fix you one as well?"


     But Obi-Wan shook his head. No matter how many times Qui-Gon instructed him to try a sip, assuring that he was sure to like that particular flavoring, Obi-Wan had not grown accustomed to tea. It was bitter and flat. Even with flavorings, sugar, honey, and lemon added, it was still not enough to interest his taste buds. "No thank you." But he scooted over onto the couch so that his master could get up.


     "Nothing, Obi?" Qui-Gon asked, rising and reaching down to feel the degree of warmth on the boy's forehead.


     His master's eyes were gentle but contained great strength and though he knew he could not be controlled by Jedi mind tricks, the look in Qui-Gon's eyes still convinced him that he wanted, or needed, something. "Juice?"


     "All right then," Qui-Gon nodded approvingly, apparently satisfied, and left for the small kitchen nook at the far end of the room.


     Left to himself, Obi-Wan suddenly felt more miserable. His nose ran so much that blowing seemed pointless. He held a bunch of tissues up to his nose as his head swam with congestion. The tickle built in his nose again, steady and strong. It forced him forward, his breath catching in his scratchy throat. "heh-YIHshhhh! Huh-EHSHHH!" He coughed, fighting for breath. "heh-AHSHHH! IHSHUHH! EHShhuhhh!" His blue-gray eyes opened slowly, watering from the force. He transferred the tissues into one hand and gave a good blow to his nose.


     "Your juice," Qui-Gon announced, handing it down upon his return.


     Obi-Wan looked up from the tissues, sniffling. Quickly he balled up his handful and set them aside. He pulled a few fresh tissues from the box to use next time, his nose still tickling madly, and took the juice. The first sip burned his throat at the swallow, and he winced. But he continued drinking, and the next swallows weren't quite as painful. "Thank you," he breathed after draining the glass of every easy drop. "I was thirsty," Obi-Wan explained, lifting the empty glass back to his lips to hope for another drop or two.


     Qui-Gon hadn't bothered to touch his tea in his watching Obi-Wan. "I'll get you more then," the Jedi master insisted. He rose and took the glass from Obi-Wan as he abandoned his own cup on the coffee table opposite the used tissues. When he returned only seconds later, Obi-Wan drank quickly once again, but left a bit when he stopped.


     They sat in silence for a few minutes, Qui-Gon sipping his tea, Obi-Wan sniffling and trying to make the last bit of juice he had last just a little while longer. His hand with the tissues hovered at his chest, halfway from his lap to his face, ready. His nose twitched, his breathing shallow. And the sneezes struck all at once. "heh-EHSHHH! Ihh-HUSHHH!" His nostrils flared and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. The tickle played a while, his chest rising and falling, eyes squeezed tightly. "hehhh..." It was toying with him, stringing him along. "eeh-huh..."


            //Just let it out, Obi-Wan,// Came Qui-Gon's voice in his mind.


     Suddenly, as if Qui-Gon's words themselves had triggered it, the sneeze struck him. "HEHTSHHH!" The force tossed him forward, but he straightened with a deep sigh of relief. He rubbed the tissues at his nose as he took fresh ones from the box with which to blow his nose.


     Softly and with sympathy, "Bless you." Qui-Gon's hands reached over, comforting in shoulder and back massages. Obi-Wan rolled his head back and around in a circle to stretch his neck. "Thank you, Master," he whispered, closing his eyes. Then, deciding it could not hurt to ask, "Healer Tala said you might be able to lead me in a healing trance?"


     "Mmm, did he now?" Qui-Gon asked, rather pleased at the maturity of his padawan to bring up the subject first. He gently kissed the back of the boy's neck as his hands glided about, skilled in their task. "Would you like that, Padawan?"


     Obi-Wan nodded, feeling himself almost already lost among his master's command of the force. "Would you, Master?" Then, remembering his manners, "Please?"


     "Of course, lad," he whispered, helping the boy turn so they sat across from each other on the couch. He adjusted the boy's blanket so that it again fell over his shoulders. "Take my hand," Qui-Gon instructed. Their palms touched, Obi-Wan's fingers in line with Qui-Gon's long ones. Their fingers moved and bent so their hands were linked together, all save for one finger. Qui-Gon's middle finger bent in-between their hands and stroked Obi-Wan's palm softly. The boy twitched at the tickling sensation, but a strong urge of force from Qui-Gon helped him work through the tickle to the soothing feel. "Close your eyes," Qui-Gon whispered, the fingers of his other hand brushing the boy's cheek.


     "What if I should sneeze?" Obi-Wan asked, his eyes shooting open again with concern.


     "Then you shall sneeze, and I should be inclined to bless you," he answered with a smile. "Eyes closed now, Young One. Feel our bond. And follow my lead."


     It was something like music, nature's music. Music out of the bright white which lay beyond what his human eyes could see. The sort of music trees of songbirds made in the wind. The sort of music a fish-filled ocean made against a soft sand shore, The sort of music the sun made when it peeked through the clouds to warm the ground. His cold seemed far removed from him, as if pushed away as the purity of music surrounded him. The music, and his master. The finger continued to caress his palm softly, slowly, reminding him of the world beside the music. Obi-Wan felt the force embrace him, cleanse him, relax him into a place he very much wished to remain in forever.


     But then his body seized up and the music reached fever pitch just before screeching in discordant tones and sailing back like a lightning bolt. The congestion returned and his body was held straight and fast by the fierce tickle in his nose. He tried to break his grip with Qui-Gon, but had not the strength to do so. Thwarted, he raised his other hand, cupped over his mouth and nose. "heh-EHTCHHHH! Huh-ehh...uh-CHISHHH! CHOSHH!" He sniffled wetly, and used what strength he could muster to pull his eyes open. Obi-Wan found himself again looking at white, this time in the form of a tissue Qui-Gon held out to him. He took it with his free hand and clamped it over the lower half of his countenance for a good blow.


     "Bless you," Qui-Gon whispered in accordance with his informal promise, and broke their physical link as well. He straightened the blankets and placed the tissue box on Obi-Wan's lap. "How are you feeling?" Qui gently caressed the man's face, first the cheek, then the gentle cleft in his chin. He was gentle and soothing in his own way of healing.


     Obi-Wan sniffled wetly, focusing up on his master's face. "Sick and sneezey again." He rubbed at his nose with the tissue, then with his hand. "But for a while, it felt wonder-eh...wonderful..." his body tensed up again, and he snatched up another tissue. "heh..." his mouth dropped open and the sides turned down, his eyes squinted. "heh-EHSHHH! Huh-CHETSHHH! Ehh-Hushh-UHH!" He gasped for air, and gave a strong blow. Then he rubbed two fingers beneath his nose, then the whole side of his hand beneath. "Feeling very sneezey," he corrected himself, faintly. Then, softly, "I'm sorry to have broken the trance."


     Qui-Gon shook his head. "You sneezed because you are ill. That was the entire reason for the healing trance. It is not something you should apologize for." Obi-Wan seemed calmed by the answer, and more so by his master's next assurance, "That was very good for your first try. It lasted much longer than it seemed." Indeed, it had seemed like moments when in truth it had been hours.


     "I know," he snuffled, rubbing palm against his nose. "But I've still got a sneezey tickle in my... nose... heh-EHSHHOO! Ihh-HUSHHHH!"


     Qui-Gon reached over and helped him scoot closer, facing the coffee table. He waved his hand over the water bowl, and slowly tiny bubbles rose to the surface. The bubbles rose quicker and quicker and bubbles grew larger and larger until the water in the bowl was boiling. "Come, lad," Qui-Gon urged him to bend forward over the bowl, while pulling the blanket up and over his head.  


     The warm steam engulfed him, making his nose tickle and run but clearing his head. He shivered as the hot air warmed his face and neck only. Qui-Gon's arms and body came from behind in a secure, tight squeeze of a hug to warm his body. "ehh-Hushhhh! Hehshooo! Huh-Kehshhh!" His sneezes were less harsh and less loud, muffled beneath the blanket and freed by the steam. His body still shook, though not as badly either with Qui-Gon's secure hold around him. "heh-Ihshhhhh! Heh-Chishuhhh! ehhh...ihhh-Ketchuhh! Ihshuhh!" And when he sneezed, it felt liberating, like warm, comforting releases to his stuffy nose.


     He remained beneath the blanket, sniffling constantly, sneezing frequently, and shivering occasionally, for quite a while. When he finally looked up, his face was flushed like the red at the end of his nose, but he was smiling. "Better," he said. He turned his head again, to stifle a yawn, but the tickle was relentless. "heh-CHESHH! Ihhh-CHIShhuhhh!" he sneezed, his body shaking. He had grown tired of so much sneezing.


     //Would you like me to leave you in peace for a nap, my little one?// Qui-Gon asked, reaching over and putting a cool hand to the boy's hot forehead, made hotter from the steam.


     "No, I... I..." he held up one finger to signal the approaching sneeze. "Wait. I... I'm going to... to sneh... ehhhh-" but he could not finish. His voice raised in tone and desperation and he just managed to pluck out a tissue when the sneeze struck. "heh-EHTSHHUHH!" It seemed to both of them that the sneeze would stop there. In fact, Obi-Wan was about to blow his nose, when more snuck up on him. "heh-IHHSHHH!" The blanket fell again, this time off both shoulders and back behind him. "heh-IMPSHHH! Huh-SHUTSHHH!" His body, more than his mind, seemed exhausted by the sneezing. His arm could barely hold the tissue high enough in place. His form could barely stay upright as it shook. "heh-IPSHHHH! hehUHTCHHH! CHUSHHH!"


     Qui-Gon reached both arms out, wrapped them around Obi-Wan, and pulled him close, back onto his lap. Obi-Wan gave into the support, sneezing weakly into Qui-Gon's chest as he shook. And Qui-Gon held him tighter than ever, one arm tightly around him, the other against his cheek, directing the boy's head to his chest.


     "huhh...ehh-UMCHUHHH! Ehh-SHUHHH! ehhSUSHHHH!" Obi-Wan continued to sneeze, feeling another tissue at his nose, rubbing. He heard, as if from afar, the faint instruction to blow again, and he obeyed, squeezing his eyes shut tighter as he did so.


     "Again, Obi." This time, the voice seemed much closer.


     Obi-Wan obeyed, taking another deep breath and blowing.


     "And again," Qui-Gon's voice was stern, commanding obedience, and yet soft and comforting at the same time.


     So Obi-Wan blew his nose again.


     There was a shuffling, moving, then another tissue at his nose. "And once more. Deep breath."


     Obi-Wan emptied his nose on the tissue, sniffled, and looked up at his master. From his vantage point, he could see mostly chin-covered beard and nose, but caught the hint of two soft eyes praising him.


     His own blue-grey eyes closed despite themselves, as he was surrounded by the warmth of the blanket once more, wrapping around him and around Qui-Gon at the same time. He sniffled and moved enough to rub his finger beneath his nose. He felt a soft kiss like a brand upon his forehead, and knew at once he was welcome to sleep without even needing to inquire. With a relaxed sigh, he snuggled onto as much of his master's lap as he could fit upon and fell asleep to Qui-Gon's heartbeat against his ear.