Title: A Lesson Learned
Fandom: Star Wars
Spoilers: none, really... as long as you know the
characters you'll be all right in reading
Disclaimer: I come in peace! I don't own these Jedi, or the concept either. G.L. does and he gets the money, not me.
Summary: Short fic-let in which Obi-Wan's nose tickles and Qui-Gon attempts to teach an important lesson.
A Lesson Learned
Jedi Master Qui Gon Jinn smiled with amusement. But it certainly was not the current diplomatic meeting that made him smile, for it droned on and on with lengthy speeches about honor and loyalty and nationalism that could easily be summed up in a few sentences. Nor was it his current company, for the delegates were old, set in their ways, and difficult to sway even if he were to use Jedi mind powers. No, the thing that made him smile so broadly was his own little Padawan learner.
Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi looked fine and normal. He wore the same robe as always, opened in the middle to reveal the same tunic, belt and pants. He wore the same boots, sported the same haircut, and even looked as peaceful and contemplative as ever he did.
But Qui-Gon knew that deep down, his Padawan was feeling much differently. They had only just come from breakfast, flushed straight down the hall and into the small meeting room of tradition. A room which they apparently reserved for diplomatic meetings, based on the extravagant content. However, a room which obviously had not seen a meeting for a very long time. Deep down, his Padawan was fighting something that desperately wanted to come out.
"Padawan?" Qui-Gon inquired, raising an eyebrow and turning his head towards Obi-Wan. The situation pointed much to well to a lesson than he could have planned. "Why don't you explain the current diplomatic stance of the other two parties involved?"
A look of utter terror passed Obi-Wan's face for such a brief moment that only his Jedi Master could have caught it. He licked his lips briefly as well to buy himself time, then nodded. "As you wish, Master." He then launched into discussion about how one system wanted further trade rights, while the other wanted expansion rights. Neither could agree on development rights either, as everything from natural resources to use of land for production was discussed. But Obi-Wan spoke more slowly than usual, seeming to choose his words carefully rather than simply relying on the natural, relaxing rhythm of the force.
Qui-Gon, nodding repeatedly in agreement, stood and paced back and forth behind the row of chairs on their side of the table. //Are you having trouble expressing these simple facts this morning, my young Padawan? Perhaps you did not meditate as long as you needed this morning? Or perhaps the breakfast does not agree with you?//
//No, Master,// Obi-Wan replied, sounding anxious. Qui-Gon noticed how he swiped at his nose quickly. //I am fine.//
He was not fine, and Qui-Gon still smiled at this. In fact, his lack of fine-ness was worsening by the second. And still Obi-Wan had not been forced into admitting his condition. "We would very much like to hear your thoughts, Ambassador." Qui-Gon stopped pacing to stand behind Obi-Wan, and placed his hands on his Padawan's shoulders to give a wave of comforting force. //This is fine?// he inquired, his smile showing through his thoughts as though he had said it.
With attention drawn off the pair of them, Obi-Wan took the opportunity to rub again at his nose. His nostrils flared, and he pinched them shut. His body stiffened at once, and a flash of irritation passed over his face this time. He pinched his nose tighter, turned, ducked his head down, and stifled a sneeze. It was quick, soundless, and barely noticeable apart from the bob of his head, the closing of his eyes, and his hand at his nose.
But as soon as he had sneezed, both Jedi realized that what Obi-Wan had been restraining and what Qui-Gon had been amused at was now dangerously close to the point of showing rudeness. Still, Obi-Wan said nothing, and Qui-Gon realized that it was because his little one did not know what to say. //Master? I need...// he rubbed at his nose again. //I...// but he couldn't manage to admit his defeat.
Qui-Gon, still standing, bent over the table, palms flat on the thick marble surface. "I am afraid I must request a brief recess so that I may confer with my Padawan in private." He thought briefly of telling them that they needed to send a message to Coruscant, or some such thing, but decided against lying for now. Regardless, the recess was granted and the other delegates used the time to refill their cups of water and discuss the weather of the day.
Qui-Gon dug a hand into Obi-Wan's upper arm, ushering him up. Then, jovially, took hold of the end of Obi-Wan's braid and led him from the room with it like a leash, chuckling. When they were far enough down the hallway, which was mere seconds, Qui-Gon stopped Obi-Wan, seized him by the shoulders, and turned him so that they stood face to face. "How fine are you feeling now?" he asked, knowing well what the answer was. "Why did you not tell me the moment you were bothered?"
"I am sorry, Master," Obi-Wan said instead. The young Jedi always wanted to follow every rule, obey every custom, do everything that was expected of him. "It's my nose," he explained, rubbing at it again with a quick hand movement that masked the importance of the action.
"I see," Qui-Gon said, though he had seen just fine from the start without any explanation. "And you cannot control it?"
"Well, I can--" he broke off. He had been about to tell an untruth, which was certainly against his code. And his Master surely had been able to tell, right from the beginning. "Master..." he breathed helplessly. "Even with the force... I cannot control... my nose... it tickles so much... I am so sorry"
Qui-Gon melted, shaking his head in sympathy. "There, now. You're making it harder on yourself than even I meant it to be. Haven't got a handkerchief with you?"
Obi-Wan looked up into his Master's eyes and shook his head. His eyes were watering, from tears of shame or from the force of holding back the tickle. "I... I'm going to sneh..." he rubbed a finger under his nose roughly. "Going to sneh... to sneeze-ehh..." His cheeks flushed red with embarrassment and he pinched his nose tightly to keep the sneezes from coming.
So quickly Qui-Gon reached over and put one hand gently on the back of Obi-Wan's head. His other hand went to the small of Obi-Wan's back and together the hands pulled Obi-Wan closer so that the Padawan was fully against him. "Burry your head in my chest to muffle the sound, then. We cannot have the delegates aware that you are violently allergic to their meeting room."
Obi-Wan, looking hesitant but desperate, tried to pull back. But the hands held him close, caressing, holding, commanding. So the obedient Padawan did as he had been told and his nose found Qui-Gon's shirt. "ehh-IHSHH!" came the first sneeze. His hand reached up and clenched around the fabric of Qui-Gon's shirt as the sneezes came faster and stronger. "ehh-HIHSHH! YehIHSHH! EHSHHH! Eh-IHSHHH!" Qui-Gon's arms wrapped around him in a comforting hug. "ehh-IHTSHHH! EHSHHH! Hih-YIHSHHH! YESHOO!"
They were strong, forceful sneezes which shook him entirely. But he clung on for support, trapped against Qui-Gon's warmth in front and behind. "heh-YEHSHH! IHHSHH! EH-SHUHH! Eh-TCHHH!" Slowly, the sneezes began to slow. "ehh-IHSHHH! heh-EHSHH! UHSHUHH!" And his grip on Qui-Gon's shirt loosened as well. "ehh-IHSHHH!"
"That's a good lad," Qui-Gon soothed, loosening the hug and rubbing his hand up and down Obi-Wan's back again. "Sneeze it all out."
"ehhh-YIHSHH! YESHUHH! Ehhh...heh...eh-IHSHH!" He sniffled wetly and rubbed his face against his Master's shirt. "ehhh-IHSHH!" Then pulled back entirely. "I think that's it," he sniffled, rubbing his nose with the cuff of his robes. "All that d-dust... " he shook his head at the futility of it all and sneezed again, squinting, leaning forward into Qui-Gon. "heh-eh-YESHOO!" It had simply been too much for his highly attuned senses to take in.
"I will teach you how to block it, if you wish," Qui-Gon said, stepping back and rubbing Obi-Wan's fuzzy head affectionately. His eyes twinkled. "Or we can take these breaks every few minutes to allow your little nose the release it desires?"
Obi-Wan shook his head, still rubbing at his nose and sniffling. "No, Master. I would like to... to learn...." The tone of his voice raised as he raised the crook of his arm to his face. "ehh-IHSHH!" came the muffled sneeze. "I need the help."
"There, now, that wasn't so hard, was it?" He kissed Obi-Wan's forehead and led him over to the side of the hall were they could sit on the floor and he could more easily impart the knowledge. Obi-Wan had always been a quick study, and he had no doubt that neither the dust nor the hubris would not be a bother to him again.