Fandom: Star Wars
Rating: G/PG (for snuggliness/smarm)
Disclaimer: George Lucas created and owns this universe. I just play and get nothing in return. Master Zintar's mine, though.
Notes: Written for the 132 Moods of Sneezefic challenge and sort of inspired by a comment on the MA List.
Qui-Gon stood in the doorway to his padawan's sleeping chamber. The dim light from the common room snuck past his large frame and shone down on the sleep couch where Obi-Wan slept. The young man was draped in his blue blanket and stretched out across the couch, which was just wide enough for his body and just long enough so his feet didn't dangle over the edge. If he kept growing at the rate he was, they would need to acquire a proper bed for him soon. But Qui-Gon could still remember how, when he'd first taken Obi-Wan as a padawan learner, the boy was so small he was practically dwarfed by the sleep couch.
With a sigh at that memory and a smile at the string of memories that followed, Qui-Gon took a sip of the tea he held then stepped back. He requested the door close, with a wave of his hand, but kept it open just a crack just in case.
Then Qui-Gon settled down at the desk on the far side and back of the common room, where the small desk lamp illuminated the communications display and the text message he had received from Master Kalla Zintar. He took another sip of tea, set the cup down carefully so its clunk against the metal surface would not be too loud, then typed a few buttons to signal the running program that he cared to send a reply.
I understand your situation all too well. When Obi-Wan was very young, he had dreams nearly every night as well. He always had such an active mind that it never seemed to want to rest. The worst, of course, were the nightmares. They came more often than not, and had him crying out loud in terror.
Like you, I consulted other masters for advice, and they all told me the same thing: to guide him through more meditations. But after a terrifying dream, it was difficult to tell him to calm down and empty his mind in order to lead him through proper meditations. And no matter how at peace he was during our sessions in the day, at night his subconscious displayed horrors for him. I could understand them, given all of what he went through. But no matter how many times we tried to relax, embrace and make peace with them, they returned at night and his instincts were always to fight against them.
Though a little unorthodox, my final solution was to invite him into my bed. Whenever he woke after a bad dream, I would allow him to climb into bed with me. At my side, he seemed to relax as no meditation or sleep allowed. Instead of fighting, he seemed to put his faith in me, knowing that I was strong enough and skilled enough to fight anything that he might run across in his dream world. After several months of nightmares occurring less frequently, they stopped altogether apart from a few special circumstances. Concentrate on your own padawan's circumstances and meditate on the situation, and perhaps the solution will come to you.
He sent the message, then sat back in his chair. The back of the desk chair gave and he bounced back and forth slightly. He was lost in thought now, recalling memories of nights just like this one which had not been as quiet. Qui-Gon was thankful for the quiet now, and the peace that came with it, as he thought about what to do next. There was no rush in deciding, as he doubted he would be able to sleep much this night. He had a bit of work left that he should do, but really all he felt like doing was finishing his tea and doing some recreational reading.
Either might have won out in the end, but Qui-Gon did not get a chance to find out. The quiet was broken suddenly by a loud yell. Knowing well what it was, Qui-Gon did not rush right over that. He knew it would not do to worry. Instead, he stopped by the fresher to wet a washcloth in the sink. Only then did he make his way back into Obi-Wan's room. He pressed the washcloth on Obi-Wan's head and petted the young man's cheek. "Padawan... Obi-Wan... come back to me." He reached out through the Force and found Obi-Wan easily. It was still a few minutes before Obi-Wan awoke, though. Which meant a few minutes filled with crying, thrashing about, and shouting.
When he opened his eyes, they were filled with fear and anxiety. "It's all right," Qui-Gon soothed, still holding the cool compress in place and stroking Obi-Wan's cheek. He'd learned all the comforting words in the universe meant nothing to Obi-Wan at moments like this without comforting touches. "It was just a fever dream. You're safe here now with me."
Obi-Wan sniffled and softened slightly at the realization. Then he sat up and wrapped his arms around Qui-Gon's neck, nuzzling. He pulled away after a moment and cupped both hands to his face. "hehhh..." He seemed to be trying hard to fight it, but a tender hand against the back of his head encouraged him to try to relax. Obi-Wan immediately snapped forward "h'tchhh! hetch-uhh!" Qui-Gon reached over and pulled a few tissues out of a box. He slipped them into Obi-Wan's hands and petted Obi-Wan's back as he blew his nose. Obi-Wan looked up at Qui-Gon, eyes wide, nose sniffling wetly. "Could you stay with be a little while loger? I dod't wadt to be alode." He sniffed hard twice, with a blow of his nose in-between. "I dod't feel good at all."
"I know you don't," Qui-Gon said, easing Obi-Wan down onto his side then petting him comfortingly. "I will of course stay until you fall back to sleep." He held the washcloth to Obi-Wan's forehead again, and the young man closed his eyes, snuggling up with his blanket again.
With a little help from Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan relaxed enough to slip back to sleep without much effort. There were a few small sneezes and a half dozen sniffles, but those soon gave way to snores.
Though he remembered his work, reading, and cup of tea, Qui-Gon decided to remain at Obi-Wan's side a little longer. Perhaps it was Obi-Wan's clinginess a few minutes earlier or perhaps it was the bout of nightmares after the message he had sent Master Zintar, but he sensed he was needed there still. He knew he should not be so worried about Obi-Wan, but it would take more than that knowledge to calm his nerves. So Qui-Gon sat on the floor, his back against the sleep couch, and closed his eyes.
He was not sure how long he had been meditating, but he was pulled out of it by the familiar sound of yelling. He scrambled to turn around and put a hand on his shoulder. He shook the young man, calling out to Obi-Wan again to wake.
And, again, Obi-Wan did. Tears ran down his cheeks and he coughed from the yelling. Qui-Gon passed over tissues, and there was much more blowing. "I dow it's just a dreab. Xadatos... Bruck... I dow it's a dot real... it could't be real... but... but it felt so real..." His fists were clenched, his shoulders tight.
"Shhhhh, calm down." Qui-Gon wrapped an arm around Obi-Wan in a supportive hug, and petted the back of his head gently. "I understand. It's all right." He hugged Obi-Wan closer.
Obi-Wan nuzzled into Qui-Gon's chest and shoulder, sniffling. He tried to pull back when he needed to sneeze again, but Qui-Gon held him tightly. So he simply tensed up and shook against his master. "hitChhhhh! heh-HEHChhhhhhhh! KChhuhhh!"
Qui-Gon gave him tissues, then he held Obi-Wan's head gently in his hands, looking the young man straight in the eye. No matter how much older and experienced Obi-Wan grew, when he got sick he seemed like the needy, young padawan learner Qui-Gon remembered from years back. And Qui-Gon did not hesitate to offer to help. "I would be happy to sit by your side all night, Padawan Mine. But we might both be more comfortable in my bed. I know it has been a while, but I believe you will still fit."
Obi-Wan smiled weakly and nodded without giving it more than a split second of thought. "Blease."
Hugging his blanket around his shoulders, Obi-Wan made his way straight to his master's room and into bed. Qui-Gon had tissues, but took Obi-Wan's box as well, just to be sure there were enough. He set up a wastebasket by the side of the bed for used tissues and tucked a thick, white feather comforter around Obi-Wan. Then he settled down on the other side of the bed.
Obi-Wan shivered as the blankets were moved around. Then he tensed up again. "hehhh... hahhh..." Qui-Gon put a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder reassuringly, and the shoulders sagged. "hetChahhhh! Hehhh... KShuhhhh!" When Qui-Gon went to pull his hand back, he found Obi-Wan's hand covering his. It tugged lightly, guiding Qui-Gon to hug his padawan again, this time from behind.
With Qui-Gon holding him, Obi-Wan relaxed fully. He gave his nose one more good rub, dropped the tissue over the side of the bed towards the wastebasket, then closed his eyes with a sigh. In no time, he was asleep. This time, he slept peacefully and calmly, without a trace of a nightmare. In fact, he barely moved at all in his sleep. Qui-Gon lay behind him, holding his padawan safely in his arms all night long as he, too, managed to fall asleep.