Title: 2005 Gift for A
Fandom: Star Wars
Disclaimer: These characters and their world are not mine. I've no rights and no money.
Summary: Obi-Wan makes the decision to participate in a battle even though he's got a cold.
Notes: Written as a gift fic for A during the 2005 holiday season.
2005 Gift for A
There was just something about Indewit that caused Obi-Wan to come down sick. Every time Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had visited the planet, and it was four times now, Obi-Wan became ill with something within days of their arrival. The first time it had been tonsillitis, and Healers had been forced to remove Obi-Wan's tonsils. Luckily the supply planet had ample amounts of ice cream. The second time it had been a nasty stomach flu. It had confined Obi-Wan to a pallet on the floor of the bathroom for days and had moved on to Qui-Gon when done with Obi-Wan. The third time the culprit turned out to be pox of some sort which had brought terrible itching as well as a light fever.
This time, thankfully, it turned out to be just a bad head cold. And Obi-Wan, being older and wiser about such things now, had insisted he could perform his duties, despite the ailment. Obi-Wan turned out to be right, at least when it came to their current task of collecting provisions and supplies. Obi-Wan could more than handle sitting and making notes to update the current counts of rations or water or various medical supplies as they were carried past him by bots.
However the effort to assemble supplies was nearly finished and the Jedi soon would be moving on to assist the Delians in the war on Pargon. The question was whether Obi-Wan would be with them or not.
"ihhhhh-HIH-KTChooo! ihhhShuhh!”" Obi-Wan blew his nose and leaned into Qui-Gon, rubbing his cheek against Qui-Gon's chest.
Qui-Gon's arms were around him and squeezed him more tightly. "Perhaps you should not go with us, Padawan. I can pay for your room here so that you can stay as long as needed. You can rest and get over your cold."
"Without you," Obi-Wan added. "You will still be going?"
Nodding, "Of course. They will need me."
Obi-Wan cleared his throat. "And you will need me." He sniffled and rubbed his nose into the handkerchief again. "I belong at your side in a battle and I will not leave you just because I have a little cold." He pulled out of Qui-Gon's embrace to stand on his own. Qui-Gon was a good foot taller, so Obi-Wan had to look up to meet his eyes. "When do we leave?"
Qui-Gon looked doubtful and reluctant, but he still replied, "Two hours. Time enough for a real shower and a hot meal. They are luxuries we will not be afforded on Pargon."
Obi-Wan understood, and gave a nod before burying his nose in the handkerchief again. "ihhKShhh! Hehh-hihhhTChoo! KShoo!" He was bent in half from the sneezes. "ihhhShoo!" He straightened and blew his nose repeatedly.
Qui-Gon put his hand on Obi-Wan's back and patted. "I don't want to have to worry about you during the battle. I might be able to protect you some of the time, but I won't be able to watch over you the whole time. If you cannot take care of yourself..."
"I will," Obi-Wan said. "I will take care of both of us. Trust me."
"I do," Qui-Gon said, placing a kiss on the top of his padawan's fuzzy head. "I believe in your convictions and your skills. It is simply your sneezes with which I take issue."
"I will not let them interfere. The mission is too important."
Obi-Wan sounded steadfast and sure of himself. Qui-Gon only hoped the young man was correct.
He pressed his hand against Obi-Wan's forehead and Obi-Wan snuggled into Qui-Gon appreciatively. He had a bit of a fever and the touch felt nice. He was more than happy to forgo a shower and meal if it meant being touched and held like this longer. Obi-Wan closed his eyes, wishing that it would not end.
The battle had been raging for hours now. Obi-Wan could feel his body aching for rest, but he would not retreat back past the lines. He had made it this far and planned to see it through. He would not neglect his duties and he would not abandon his master for anything.
Oh, but his body hurt. His head felt full and throbbed fiercely every time he moved. He raised a hand and scrubbed at his nose, then immediately turned and waved his hand, using the Force to beat back a wave of attackers. Three large boarish soldiers were knocked off their feet, taking with them several others. With the lack of weapons pointing at him from that side, he felt it safe to turn and swing at his attackers on another side. Their weapons were somewhat crude, lacking technology and scientific advancements and relying, instead, upon brute mechanics and force. But that did not make the guns less harmful or the blades less sharp.
If anything, it made it more difficult to fight. Laser blasts could at least be deflected with the application of a lightsaber. But now he could use his weapon only for offense and had to worry when the warriors grew so close they might cut him.
They were down two Jedi already. The Council had sent more than twenty, and only two of those had been Padawans. As the battle continued well into the evening, Obi-Wan began to understand why so few Padawans had gone and why so many supplies had been needed. He also began to feel tired. It was not simply exhaustion from the fighting or fatigue from his cold... but a tiredness from within that made him long almost impatiently for some sort of resolution so that he might lie down.
Of course he knew he could not let himself feel impatient. He needed to stay calm if he was going to continue fighting at his best. Or as close to best as he could get while fighting with a head cold.
"HehhShoo! EHHTChooo!" Obi-Wan rubbed the back of his hand against his nose as he swung his saber about in a figure eight, cutting one attacker in two and slicing the outstretched arm of another. He ended the twirling with a stab, his lightsaber going straight through a warrior who stood at least a foot taller than Qui-Gon. But, as he did, he sensed attackers on either side of him. And he felt a tickle brewing in his nose. "hehhh!" He swung his saber out to one side and turned his head to the other side, along with his other hand. On his left, his saber sliced through the barrel of a rifle and on his left two warriors were compelled to smash into each other. His padawan braid swinging back and forth already, his head snapped forward again. "EhhKkkShhhhh!"
The hardest part of it was anticipating the sneezes and making certain he was not leaving himself vulnerable when doubled over sneezing. When he felt one, or in most cases more than one, coming on, he had to clear the area around him by about six feet at least, with the exception of Qui-Gon, of course, who was fighting just off to one side. Usually beating them back was not so difficult, what with his ability to use the Force. But as the battle went on, he relied more and more on his lightsaber and his moves. Though he always felt the Force within him to some extent when he fought, he used it full-on mainly in extreme situations.
Situations like this one. Even when the warriors attacked in numbers, Obi-Wan could find a way to narrow it down or isolate the groups and target them one or two at a time. This time, a band of no fewer than seven were charging straight at him with swords at the ready. Obi-Wan knew that even if he sliced the blades what remained of them would still reach him with disastrous results. He knew even a wave of the Force could not hold all of them back for long enough. He felt another sneeze but rubbed his nose furiously a few times. The tickle backed away. The warriors were getting closer and their speed had picked up. He had maybe two seconds, if that.
Obi-Wan took a step back to buy himself time and hit something. He could sense it was Qui-Gon and did not have to turn around. Instead he did the only thing he could think of and crouched down. Gathering his strength, he pushed off from the ground and jumped into the air. He knew he had to stop them, because otherwise they would reach Qui-Gon and he could not have that at all.
He came down, swinging, his saber an extension of his arm. He spun on his feet, swinging until he realized every one of them lay dead on the ground around him. It afforded Obi-Wan a moment to pause. He looked up to see his master. Qui-Gon was looking right back at him. He gave a small smile and a nod of approval. Obi-Wan began to smile back but saw behind Qui-Gon one of the warriors, sword raised above its head and coming down.
A wave of panic rushed over Obi-Wan. He sprang up, arms outstretched, ready to protect Qui-Gon any way he could. He heard his master yell something. It sounded as though he were in pain. But Obi-Wan did not hesitate long enough to look. He drove his lightsaber right into the warrior. Its snout trembled and beady eyes grew wide. Obi-Wan was so close that he could see the tiny black hairs on its pasty brown face. And in its eyes he saw, beyond surprise, anger.
He did not see, however, the fact that the warrior still had his sword in hand. Obi-Wan felt the sharp stab of pain in his abdomen. He gasped and felt himself falling backwards.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion then, even though he felt several seconds behind in his mind. He gripped the handle of his lightsaber tightly but heard it go out, even above the roar of the battle, just as he wanted to use it. He continued to fall backwards, realizing too late how close to the ground he was. Before he could brace himself, he hit the ground and it drove all breath from his chest. Worse, still, was that the warrior was falling, too. In a great, heavy mass of leather and armor, it fell on top of him, covering him entirely before he could reach up and prevent just that. Now that it was impossible to do so, he wished to be able to see Qui-Gon. Some part of the warrior's armor hit Obi-Wan's already aching and warm forehead. With the warrior on top of him, his eyes were hidden, but at the sharp pain in his forehead, everything went dark around him.
The next thing Obi-Wan knew, he was waking up. He found himself in cot, upon sheets, and wrapped in blankets. He knew them well as he'd helped load many of these very things onto ships, but he had not expected to use them, himself. He found himself in the makeshift hospital ward set up by the few healers the Jedi had brought with them. He found a curtain hung around his bed. And he found that he was alone.
More panic filled Obi-Wan, and he tried to make peace with it as he had been taught. He knew better than to let the unknown frighten him. But all he could think of was the battle and his master. His master... He was sure Qui-Gon had to have been hurt but he could not bear to think of what that might mean.
Obi-Wan sat straight up in bed and called out, "Master? Qui-Gon!" There was some distress in his voice, though he was trying, still, to calm himself. Why had he been cut off and abandoned if not to hide something from him?
The curtain was pulled back on one side and Qui-Gon stood there. His robes were torn in at least a handful of places, but he stood tall... and clearly alive. "Padawan, you're awake!" he observed, stating the obvious. Relief flooded his face and flooded their bond, and it was mirrored in Obi-Wan's face. "Are you all right?"
Obi-Wan nodded emphatically. "Yes, fine. And you?"
"Yes, I'm fine," Qui-Gon said.
"What of the battle?" Obi-Wan asked. "Should we go back out?"
"It is over," Qui-Gon said reassuringly. "With our assistance, the Delians have prevailed. Their enemy's ranks were decimated and the overthrow was stopped. We have given them enough to regain their lands, boundaries, and influences on their own. The war, I am certain, is not completely over. But our interests have been preserved and far fewer Delians were killed than anticipated. We have done well." Qui-Gon sounded rushed, and glanced over his shoulder quickly. "Please excuse me for one instant, Padawan."
"Master?" Obi-Wan sounded worried and wished very much that he didn't. Jedi were supposed to be calm and trusting. Obi-Wan felt neither of those emotions at the moment.
"One moment please, Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon disappeared from view. The white curtain fell closed halfway and all Obi-Wan could see through the gap was another white curtain which supposedly surrounded someone else. He wondered how extensive the casualties and injuries had been.
Left alone, Obi-Wan began to notice his own injuries. He had felt rather achy before he'd been knocked unconscious, but now his whole body felt sore, especially his head. Though he had done his best to ignore it while fighting, now there was an undeniable throbbing in his temples that made his stomach feel a little sick. But slight nausea was the least of his troubles. Though his whole body felt cold, he knew his temperature was probably much higher than it should be.
His chest hurt terribly, as well. He had to lean from one side to the other in order to pull the thin, white dressing gown up past his rear so that he could get a good look at himself. Bandages were wrapped around his middle but the concentration seemed to be in one spot which practically burst with gauze. Tentatively he touched a finger to it and pain raced through him, stabbing outward from the area. He sucked in breath and closed his eyes until the pain faded. Then he quickly pulled his gown back down and pulled the blankets up to his neck. Sitting up in bed, his back felt cold and exposed, but he was worried if he lay back down he might fall asleep.
He should not have been so worried, however, as several sneezes came upon him. "ehhh..." He gripped his chest through his dressing gown as it stabbed at him when he drew a deep breath. "hehhTShhhh! Oww!" Obi-Wan winced and froze, half bent over, as his whole body filled with pain. Everything from his sore nose to aching thighs hurt even more when he sneezed. But when he heard familiar footsteps approaching, he quickly righted himself and tried his best not to look so damaged.
Qui-Gon returned with a folding chair in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. Obi-Wan focused on the hand with the bottle. He noticed Qui-Gon held it with thumb and forefinger only. The other fingers were folded against his palm concealing something. Obi-Wan guessed what it was a moment before it was revealed: a small green capsule. "Swallow this immediately, Padawan." Obi-Wan hesitated. Qui-Gon set the chair down right beside the bed and sat down in it. He held out his hand with insistence. "It will help dull the pain."
Obi-Wan thought briefly of denying he was in pain. But he was certain Qui-Gon would know better. So he took the pill and stuck it on the back of his tongue, and he took the water and washed it down. The water was cool and tasted fantastic to him. Before he knew it, he had gulped down nearly half the bottle.
Qui-Gon intervened, easing the bottle down with a warning to go slowly. "I am glad to see that you are feeling thirsty. You should drink all you want. But please do so with moderation. Your body has gone through much. There is no reason to give your system a shock now."
Knowing his master was in the right, Obi-Wan took a sip of water and smiled to see Qui-Gon nodding back at him.
"Now," Qui-Gon said, leaning forward slightly. "Please tell me how you feel."
"I'm--" he started, but was cut off before he could insist he was well. Truthfully, now that he knew Qui-Gon was alive and not so terribly hurt, he felt he could handle any injury or illness and still feel fine.
"I know what you would say," Qui-Gon said with a smile. "But I want the truth this time. How do you really feel?" He reached out and took Obi-Wan's hand. He squeezed it reassuringly.
"I don't think my cold has improved any," Obi-Wan said, rubbing at his nose. It tickled again but after the last time, he really did not want to sneeze again. He was well aware that he would not be able to hold off the sneezes for the duration of his cold, but he would take what he could get for as long as it would last. "And my chest hurts where he... Master, what happened exactly?"
"You were stabbed with a sword. It went right into you but missed your major organs. I got you to the medical tent here as soon as possible and they operated on you and stopped the bleeding. It will take time before you've recovered, however."
Obi-Wan nodded. He rubbed hard at his nose, which hurt to rub, and gave in as the tickles persisted. He hugged his arm against his chest, bracing himself, and cupped his other hand to his face. "ehh-ehh-IHTCh!" He tried to hold it back a little, but that only made it hurt more. "Owww!" He winced and leaned forward at the pain.
"Obi-Wan!" Qui-Gon said with alarm, wrapping a strong arm around Obi-Wan to hold him in support and comfort. "Please..." he requested, trying to reach out to his padawan through their bond. Obi-Wan paused, then let his shields down so his master could do a proper evaluation. He did notice, however, that Qui-Gon kept his own shields up for the most part.
That worried Obi-Wan. "Master," he said, straightening and relaxing as the pain passed. "You said you were fine, but I saw you getting hurt as well. How do you really feel?"
"I am fine," Qui-Gon answered again, repeatedly stroking Obi-Wan's short hair. "It was not deep, merely a scratch. You were watching out for me, as I knew you would be, and kept me from harm." He pressed his lips to Obi-Wan's hot forehead and gave him a strong, grateful kiss.
As nice as that felt, Obi-Wan was not fully convinced. "I want to see your wound," he said. When Qui-Gon continued to hold him and did not move, Obi-Wan pulled back, wincing slightly at the movement. "Please. I need to be sure you are all right." He squeezed Qui-Gon's hand, then let it go. "ihh-IHChhhh! HITChuhh! Ah!" He rubbed at his chest through the dressing gown, trying to calm the sharp pains. Then he looked back at Qui-Gon hopefully.
With a sigh, Qui-Gon stood. He peeled away his layers of the Jedi uniform, folding the robe and outer tunics over the back of the chair, then lifted up his shirt. It was, as Qui-Gon had claimed, small. It looked as though the blade had made contact, but it was more a scrape than anything else and a scab had already formed.
"You just wanted to see your master half-naked, didn't you?"
Obi-Wan looked up at the curtain to see it pulled back further, revealing a smiling Tala D'Marke. He looked even more sleep deprived and frazzled than usual. But Obi-Wan smiled back to see him. "I would prefer to see him completely naked. Sniff! Sniff!"
Tala took a neatly-folded handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it over to Obi-Wan.
The moment he took it, he held it to his face. "hehh-HEHShh! Oww-IHSHhuhh! Sniff!"
"Hurts when you sneeze?" Tala asked. Obi-Wan did not have to nod. Qui-Gon did, however. "I can imagine it must be torturous. The sword did not hit any organs, as Qui-Gon no doubt told you, but it came very close. The painkiller should kick in soon, but if it hurts more than it does now, I want you to call for me immediately. Either way, I will need to see you again within a week to be sure you are on track. Your healing will be slow. Don't push yourself. Trust in the Force to help you along."
"I will," Obi-Wan promised, dabbing the handkerchief at his runny nose.
"I must go see to other patients now. I trust you two will keep an eye on each other?" Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon agreed and thanked him. "And you might be able to hold Obi-Wan to keep him from shaking so badly when he sneezes," Tala recommended to Qui-Gon on his way out.
Qui-Gon picked up his chair and moved to the other side of the cot. Then he motioned for Obi-Wan to roll onto his side and took Obi-Wan in his arms. Obi-Wan leaned back against Qui-Gon as Qui-Gon's arms wrapped around him, tight and careful to avoid squeezing him in the wrong place. As Obi-Wan settled in and closed his eyes, Qui-Gon sighed. "What's that?" Obi-Wan asked.
"I was simply thinking... I know you feel perfectly miserable right now, but I cannot help but think the outcome was positive, on the whole. You and I are still alive, still together, and the battle was won. It could have been much worse." He paused, considering his next words carefully.
Obi-Wan's nose seemed to take advantage of the pause. "hehh-IHH!" Qui-Gon held him tightly, not leaving his body room to flail about. "IhhhK'Shuhh!" He winced afterwards, but did not cry out in pain like before. And when he blew his nose in the handkerchief, it did not hurt nearly as much as he had feared.
Qui-Gon loosened his grasp and petted Obi-Wan's head again. "As I was saying, even though you are sick, I am certain that the outcome would have been worse had you remained on Indewit."
Smiling pleasantly to know his Master had been glad to have him around, Obi-Wan relaxed back fully against his master and closed his eyes. Qui-Gon petted him a little, then placed his hand on Obi-Wan's forehead. Obi-Wan smiled widely in gratitude, and Qui-Gon kept his hand there until his padawan fell asleep.