Title: Evaluating

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Star Wars

Pairing: Obi/Qui

Rating: PG13

Warnings: Fluff

Disclaimer: The great flannel one. Not I. I make no money off this.

Summary: Obi-Wan does some self-evaluation and works through his head cold as Qui-Gon looks on.





Part 1


     "I'll com you tonight sniff, sniff, about the details," Obi-Wan said, offloading nearly all of the books and papers onto Bant.


     She 'ooof'ed but smiled and accepted it all. "And I'll finish up these banners after my master and I spar."


     Obi-Wan nodded. "Snfff!" And he rubbed the butt of his hand against the base of his nose. "Sniff, SNIFF! Master Qui-Gon and I are supposed to, sniff, have dinner now."


     "Then you had better go," she said, tilting her head in the direction of the door to Obi-Wan's quarters. "If you're having dinner, you'll need to clean up first." Obi-Wan stared at her confusedly but her head bobbed up and down in a subtle, encouraging, 'trust me' sort of nod. "And feel better. Get rid of that sniffle, Obi."


     The comment had come just as he'd reached up and rubbed his nose with another strong sniffle. He nodded to her and said goodbye. Then he ducked into the quarters he shared with his master.


     He found the rooms warm and smelling of spices, though he suspected they smelled much better than he could discern with his nose all stuffed up.  //Well, there you are, Padawan.// Qui-Gon, wiping his hands on a dishtowel, stepped back and into view around the partition that divided the kitchen from the rest of the common area. "How nice of you to grace me with your company. At this late hour I'd thought you'd forgotten about taking dinner with me."


     "I'm sorry, Master," Obi-Wan apologized with sincerity. "Sniff! I had a lot of , sniff, sniff, work to do for the festival."


     Qui-Gon nodded and disappeared into the kitchen area for a few minutes only to come out again with a stack of dishes and silverware in one hand and a pot in the other. He set the things down on the table, gave Obi-Wan a strong look, then returned to the kitchen to retrieve the side dishes and drinks, two more short trips in all. "I see," he said as he walked back and forth, making sure his voice was loud enough to be heard clearly but speaking in a casual, light tone. "And you felt that working on schedules, flyers, and banners was more important than keeping a promise and appointment with your master?"


     Obi-Wan hesitated to answer. It was true that he should have kept his promise, or at least commed his master to let him know he was running late. But the festival was largely his responsibility- and one of his first major ones within the Temple, at that. The festival was to include hundreds of participants and literally thousands of visitors, all of whom needed to be pleased. Yet he loved his master and, even more, the quiet times he could spend with the man outside of training. But he wasn't supposed to put those feelings before his duties, no matter how much he loved having dinner with Qui-Gon. And Qui-Gon has sounded as much the affronted lover as the disapproving master. Obi-Wan did not believe it was entirely fair to have to rate his commitments in this way, especially when it all boiled down to simply losing track of time during a very busy day.


     "Question retracted," said Qui-Gon, who had been reading his padawan easily. He set down the water glasses. "I'm glad you're home," he said warmly. "Now, come over here, My Own. Let me get a good look at you."


     Remembering Bant's advice about washing up, Obi-Wan grudgingly obeyed. He put down the datapad and small stack of papers he had not handed over and walked to his master. He sniffed hard a few times as he walked, wanting to get his nose in order first and deciding sniffing at a distance was better than sniffing and ruining any sort of warm sentiment.


     Qui-Gon held his arms out in welcome, and they greeted as usual, with Obi-Wan hugging Qui-Gon round the middle with his arms wrapped around tightly, and with Qui-Gon similarly wrapping his arms around Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon gently kissed the top of Obi-Wan's head. "You look quite unwell," Qui-Gon said. Obi-Wan rubbed his cheek into Qui-Gon's chest and could not help but sniffle twice from his terribly runny nose. "And you sound sniffly." He stroked the back of Obi-Wan's head with a soothing touch. "Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea for you to be up and about just now."


     "Sniff?" Obi-Wan looked up at Qui-Gon, blinking. "I don't need to be in bed. It's just a little sniffle, Master. Sniff, sniff!" He nuzzled his face into Qui-Gon's chest. "I can put up with a bit of a runny nose."


     "You look exhausted, Padawan Mine." Another stroke to his head, this time determining Obi-Wan had a normal temperature, and Qui-Gon's arms tightened the hug.


     "This festival is a very important deal and I'm proud to have been put in charge of it. In a few days it will be over and I will be able to sleep. Until then I can fight this. I'm a Jedi, and this is just a little sniffle in my nose. There's no need to worry about me, all right?"


     "Mmm," Qui-Gon replied noncommittally. Then, "I believe the dinner's getting cold."



Part 2


     It was early yet when sleep slipped away and Obi-Wan regained his consciousness. He blinked twice, trying to evaluate himself and decide whether or not he would be able to fall back to sleep. In his current condition, he was doubtful. Especially as his nose immediately began to tickle. No wanting to wake his master who was lying right up against his back, Obi-Wan propped himself up on an elbow with the intention of slipping out of bed and going to the bathroom to blow his nose.


     Suddenly, however, Obi-Wan took a sharp breath in that he could not control. "KSchhhhhttt!" Obi-Wan blinked again as Qui-Gon groaned himself awake and Obi-Wan suddenly realized he'd sprayed his master's arm. Obi-Wan rubbed a curved finger against his nose and sniffled. "So sorry," he whispered. He reached for a tissue and dried Qui-Gon's arm.


     He felt Qui-Gon's hand pet the back of his head, then Qui-Gon's lips kiss the back of his neck. "It's all right," Qui-Gon said, breaking into a yawn just afterwards. "Good morning, Padawan Mine. How are you feeling?"


     Obi-Wan simply sniffled.


     "Padawan?" Qui-Gon slid his hand over and tugged Obi-Wan's braid until the young man turned his head. "I asked--"


     "Yihh-Shuuhhhhhh!" Thankfully, he missed Qui-Gon's face, but unfortunately sprayed his chest. Obi-Wan coughed and closed his eyes. "I'm so, so sorry."


     "I said it's all right." Qui-Gon kissed his cheek gently. "Now should I even bother to ask how you're feeling? Or should I just get up and make a pot of tea and contact Bant to tell her you're sick and spending the day in bed?"


     "No!" Obi-Wan exclaimed a bit too overzealously. Then he sniffled and rubbed his finger under his nose. "I mean, I don't think that's necessary."


     Qui-Gon stared him down, Master-to-Padawan, taking in all the little details that added up to it being absolutely necessary for Obi-Wan to spend a day or two in bed getting over whatever he had contracted. And Obi-Wan, well aware of what that stare meant, did his best to hide what evidence he could. He turned his eyes away so Qui-Gon wouldn't see they were bloodshot. He tried to control his breathing which was starting to grow unsteady. He cleared his throat and sniffled, hoping his voice sounded clearer when he spoke next. "Really, Master, it's just a sniffle."


     But as he spoke, what little control he'd gained was quickly lost. His face fell and breath caught. "YihChuhh! IhhhShuhhh!" He cupped a hand to his face and sniffled wetly.


     "And sneezes, too, I see," said Qui-Gon, with another penetrating sort of look.


     Obi-Wan tried to look confident. "But this cold is all in my nose, Master. Go on, feel my forehead. I don't have a fever, just a sniffly, tickly nose cold. I can work around it. You know I'm capable of that, surely."


     Qui-Gon must have, because his stern expression of concern faded. He laid a hand upon Obi-Wan's temple and petted gently. Obi-Wan found himself leaning into the touch, encouraging it by moving his head against it. But he stopped himself before he was completely overtaken by the comfort. Too much neediness would make Qui-Gon worry all over again.


     He put on a strong, convincing smile. "I will be able to handle my job and my cold." He sniffed hard and gathered himself up into a sitting position in order to begin morning meditations, having calculated that their normal morning affection and snuggling time had been exceeded. "There's no need to worry about me," he reassured Qui-Gon, before closing his eyes and easing himself into a Force-guided trance.


     "Mmm," replied Qui-Gon with quite a bit of doubt in his voice. He yawned again and stretched, then sat up and joined his padawan in meditation.



Part 3


     "On behalf of the Jedi Order, I take great pleasure in welcoming you all here today," Obi-Wan whispered, trying not to look down at the datapad on the sink counter in front of him. Instead, he kept his eyes focused straight ahead at the mirror and his reflection in it. "This festival is..." He paused, feeling the unavoidable tickle creeping up on him.


     He raised one arm and buried his nose in the crook. "IhhhChoo! Snuff! Yihh-Chushhh!" He lifted his head and wiggled his nose. "Sniff, sniff, sniifffffffff!" The hand not holding his speech reached over to the box of tissues by the sink. He blew one-handed then coughed a half dozen times into the tissue, hoping it would muffle the sound well enough. All the coughing he'd been doing this afternoon would surely wake his master up from his nap if the sneezes didn't do it first.


     Obi-Wan cleared his throat and began at the top of the page. "On behalf of the Jedi--"


     "Padawan?" Obi-Wan glanced to the side to see Qui-Gon standing in the 'fresher doorway. "You're practicing your welcome speech for the festival?" Obi-Wan nodded. "Good for you." He stepped forward, leaned close, and kissed the top of Obi-Wan's head. "I'll leave you to it, then."


     Glad to be left alone to practice, Obi-Wan sniffed, cleared his throat, and began again. "On behalf of the Jedi Order, I take great--"


     "Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon popped back in again with an amused expression. "It's all right. I'm awake. No need to whisper any more."


     Obi-Wan looked down at the datapad as a rosy hue filled his cheeks.




     Obi-Wan cleared his throat and turned to Qui-Gon with his hands up. "First, Master, there's no cause for alarm," he whispered as loudly as he could, which wasn't much. "And second--"


     He didn't get to second before his master exploded. "No cause for alarm? You've completely lost your voice!"


     "I can still whisper," he stressed. "With a microphone, there won't be any problem. See?" He cleared his throat. "On behalf of... of..." His nose twitched and his face fell. And he directed the sneeze into his shoulder. "YihhChooo!" When he lifted his head, he saw Qui-Gon standing behind him, looking at his reflection in the mirror.


     Two hot, strong hands found their way onto Obi-Wan's shoulders. "Nice try. But you're sick, and you're absolutely not going to the festival."


     Obi-Wan's eyes widened at Qui-Gon's reflection in the mirror, instead of looking over his shoulder at his master. "But I've worked so hard at it. It's all I've thought about for weeks. And to be asked to deliver the opening was such an honor. Sniff! Sniff! I just can't give up now."


     "Taking care of yourself when you're very ill is not giving up, Padawan."


     Obi-Wan coughed and shook his head. "But I'm not very ill. It's just a sniffle and a few sneezes."


     "And so much coughing that you've lost your voice," Qui-Gon pointed out.


     "But I don't have a fever!" Obi-Wan said, trying to get above a whisper in order to prove his point. However most of the words were silent and bits of the rest came out in as a few high-pitched squeaks. He reached up to the mirror and pulled open the door to the medicine cabinet behind it. Quickly, his hands reached around, searching desperately for a thermometer. Whispering again, "You can take my temperature right now if you don't believe me. I don't have a fever. I'm not sick--"


     Obi-Wan went silent as Qui-Gon's arm mirrored his and a hand grabbed his wrist, holding it still. "Padawan, I believe you. And even though your temperature is normal, you're still sick."


     "But..." Obi-Wan stammered, trying to think of something to say. "But..."


     "'But' is not a sentence," Qui-Gon said in his best teacher voice. "And neither is it a reason I should allow you to compromise what little health you have." His hand slid up Obi-Wan's arm and massaged the shoulders firmly. His thumbs reached up and brushed Obi-Wan's jaw. "There will be many other festivals and ceremonies. And there will be other chances to prove yourself to everyone."


     "Ihhhh..." Obi-Wan's eyes slammed closed and his hand snapped up to his face, cupping around nose and mouth just in time so he didn't sneeze all over the refresher. "Hitchuhhh! YiiihhChschhh! IhhhShhhh!"


     More shoulder-rubbing accompanied Qui-Gon's gentle, "Bless you, Padawan Mine." And a soft kiss sealed the sentiment. The kiss blended into a nuzzle, with Qui-Gon breathing warmly into the top of Obi-Wan's head, short fuzzy hair and all. "Let Bant cover the opening this time. You've certainly taken much care with the preparations. I am confident that the festival will run smoothly with you in bed. I want to see you take care of your cold, now." His hands slid down and wrapped around Obi-Wan in a hug.


     Completely unable to say no to such overwhelming persuasion, Obi-Wan sniffled and nodded. "Yes, My Master," he whispered, closing his eyes. He set the speech aside and turned in Qui-Gon's arms, snuggling into his chest. "I know you need to be at the festival," he whispered. "SniffsniffSNIFF! But perhaps you have a few moments to spend with me first?"


     Qui-Gon hugged tightly. "I can tuck you into bed and sit with you a little while," he said nodding. "And I will give you a full report of the festival when I get back, if you're not asleep by then."


     "If I am, you can wake me up," Obi-Wan whispered. "I'm sure you can figure out a way to do that."


     "Mmm." Qui-Gon patted his padawan's back. "We'll see." Then Obi-Wan broke away and headed for the bedroom, with his master following right behind.