Title: All You Need is Love
Fandom: Star Wars
Rating: PG (just a lot of shmoopiness)
Disclaimer: Lucas created the boys. I merely take advantage of them and get no money at all.
Summary: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan demonstrate that "Absence is to love what wind is to fire – it extinguishes the small and inflames the great."
Notes: Written for Weekly Hatching #130, General.
"Absence is to love what wind is to fire –
it extinguishes the small and inflames the great."
//Now I want you to remember your meditations. You will not have me there to guide you, and you must look to the living Force in times of indecision.//
Obi-Wan's hold on the strap of his bag tightened, but he maintained his calm appearance. //Yes, Master. I know.//
//Remember your teachings. You are not merely one Jedi, you represent all Jedi.//
//Yes, Master.// Obi-Wan resisted the urge to sigh. He knew all of this. He had spent practically his whole life learning this. And Qui-Gon had spent the last day drumming it into his head, as though he had at some time forgotten it. This wasn't even the first time he had been on his own for a mission. His master was simply being paranoid and overbearing. As usual. //I will be fine, Master.//
The two came to the base of the ship, mere inches from separation. The mission would last a standard week, five whole days. Five days of work. Five days of being without each other.
//Do I get a kiss at least?// Obi-Wan inquired, as he took hold of Qui-Gon's hands tenderly. Qui-Gon tensed visibly, and Obi-Wan could feel the reluctance and worry through their bond. //Honestly, Master. There are so few of the Counsel's rules you follow to the letter. And this rule is not even a formal—//
Qui-Gon cut him off. //This is neither the time nor the place for such a discussion, Padawan. I wish you to have a safe journey. Com me if you need me.//
//I will not need to contact you,// Obi-Wan replied coldly, still smarting from the lack of affection. //But I will mind myself and travel safely.//
“May the Force be with you.” He did not speak the rest of what was on his mind. And he knew his master would not say it out loud, either.
“May the Force be with you,” Obi-Wan replied. He looked once more into his master's deep eyes, then started up the metal ramp into the ship. The sound of his boots hitting the ramp echoed in the hanger. And he forced himself not to look behind him even as the ramp retracted and the hatch closed. He greeted the captain and took his seat in the hold with the relief supplies, planning to spend the flight checking over the inventory.
As soon as the door closed, Qui-Gon turned and walked towards the hallway, without looking back at the ship. He sensed that the departure would be smooth and uneventful, and there was no need to dwell on that which he now could not change. He had work to do back in what was going to be his otherwise empty quarters.
Five days. Qui-Gon could be so irritating sometimes. 'Mind the living Force. Present yourself with dignity. Meditate ten times a day.' As if I'm a lowly initiate instead of a padawan of seven years? As if I'm the one who neglects the rules whenever it is convenient? All I wanted was a quick goodbye kiss. Was that too much to ask for of Qui-Gon? Apparently so.
I sat down in a seat behind the pilot. We were coming in for a landing. Now the real fun would begin. I only hoped I could see to what needed to be done in the time I'd been allotted.
Five days. Five days on a mission to organize and set up relief work in a previously war-torn portion of a planet. Five days without my master nagging me and watching my every move. Five days in which I did not have to pick up my master's clothes off the floor and place them in the bin. Five days of not listening to him snore in the bed beside me at night. Five days free of washing his dirty dishes. Five days where I could do as I liked and not have to worry that my master's decisions might be going against counsel rulings. Five days of independence and duty and proving to everyone that I could do a proper job without my master hovering over me. Five days alone.
Five days. Obi-Wan could be so irritating sometimes. 'Mind the Jedi code to the letter. But kiss me in public and flaunt what we are for the whole planet to see.' As if I am some lowly nobody who cannot think for himself? As if I am his padawan instead of the other way around? All I wanted was to say a dignified farewell without completely losing my senses. Was that to much to ask for of Obi-Wan? Apparently so.
I returned to my quarters, taking off my robe and dropping it over the back of an armchair. I smirked as I remembered how Obi-Wan usually nags me about doing that just. I had a feeling that Obi-Wan's time away would be good for us both.
Five days. Five days as a solitary Jedi, worrying only about my own work and not having to watch my back every time I felt like giving my lover a kiss. Five days without my padawan nagging me and watching my every move. Five days in which I could leave my clothes anywhere about my quarters that I pleased. Five days of stretching out in our bed instead and not having to fight for the covers. Five days free of complaints about my cooking. Five days where I could do what I liked and meditate without interruption. Five days of independence and relaxation with only a few projects which required my expertise. Five days alone.
Four days. Something doesn't feel right. I overslept today and I had to rush to finish the paperwork I had promised the Minister. All this running around has given me a headache. At least, I hope that it is from the running around.
But the work has been wonderful. It feels good to be out here, getting my hands dirty, helping others. The situation had been not been dire prior to my arrival, but the food and medical supplies made a huge difference nonetheless. And I much preferred spooning out soup to children who were homeless due to the war to pouring over the documents the governments wanted him to review and approve. Politicians were not, after all, his favorite people in the world.
When I surveyed the medical camp, however, I felt uneasy. It wasn't just because of my headache.
Four days. Something doesn't feel right. I practically fell asleep during meditation this morning, and then I took a long nap mid-day and was nearly late for a meeting with Master Windu. As it was, I did not pay much attention to our meeting because I had a throbbing headache.
But the rest of my day went well. I led a small group of initiates around the library, and I practiced saber drills with some of the other masters in the afternoon. There was a great amount of mission reports to go through, so I stretched out on the sofa with a stack of datacards, my reader, and a steaming cup of tea. Though I drifted off to sleep for an hour amidst the work, I woke with the realization that it was all right. I did not have to get up to make dinner at any appointed time.
When the healers contacted me, however, I felt uneasy. I knew what they wanted of me, but decided not to immediately return their message.
Three days. I pressed my hand to my forehead, then to the back of my neck. I felt warm to the touch, but I knew I was burning with fever.
I definitely had a bad feeling about this. A spat of colds had been going around the temple, mainly concentrated in the younglings. I was fairly certain now that I was coming down with one. A cold, I mean, not a youngling. Because the latter didn't make any sense.
Not that colds made much sense, either. And this one was a slow, deliberate onslaught. My head felt fuzzy, my throat scratchy, and my nose a bit tingly. I must have contracted it right before leaving Coruscant. My only comfort from the whole thing was that at least Qui-Gon would not see me like this. He would not be around to worry about me. He would not even need to hear about it if I only sent him text communications.
Except that I was going to miss him. Even more than I already did, that is. Because I don't really like being sick and I especially don't like being sick and alone.
Three days. I pressed the back of my hand to my forehead and took the thermometer out from under my tongue. As I'd suspected, I was running a fever.
As my padawan would say, I definitely had a bad feeling about this. The healers had called me to the dome to help out, because an outbreak of colds at the temple had left them short-handed and without Obi-Wan round I had free time. The problem was, I had more than just free time. I had a cold.
So after I trudged down to the healers, practically dead on my feet, it was they who helped me instead of the other way around. The headache was increasingly worse, my throat stung when I swallowed, and I feared going anywhere without my handkerchief because my nose was dripping almost constantly. My only comfort was that Obi-Wan could not see me like this. He always fussed so much over me, needlessly. And as he was only sending me text communications, there was no need to reply to him any other way.
Except that I would have liked to have heard his voice and see his face. I know that would have made me feel better.
Two days. I spent my last day on the planet almost exclusively in bed. When I wasn't sneezing, I was coughing or sniffling, and none of it made me presentable enough to show my face at the celebratory banquet that night. I was somewhat disappointed about that, since I usually enjoy those sorts of things. Of course, the reason I usually enjoy them is because I'm there with Qui-Gon. I like being anywhere with Qui-Gon, even when he refrains from getting close to me and displaying affections in public. He is the Jedi master and has a reputation to uphold. That's understandable. It's worth putting up with just to be with him.
“hehhh…nng… ehhhh-ih-IHHShooo! hihShhoo!” I waited for my body to come to a rest, after it had shaken with the sneezes. Then I pulled tissues from the box I'd been hugging under the covers. I pulled them out in great big handfuls and blew my nose into them until it hurt. My nose, I mean, not the tissues. Though I suppose those didn't feel so great, either. That didn't mean my nose was any clearer, though. No matter how much I blew it, it still felt stuffy and tickly. And that was the least of my worries.
My stomach growled. Though the food brought to my room was more than sufficient, it was nothing like my master's cooking. And snuggling up in bed with blankets was nothing like lying in my own bed with Qui-Gon's large arms wrapped around me.
It felt like a year since I'd last seen him. My heart ached, and part of me felt empty. Why had I thought this week away would be a good thing? I couldn't wait until I was back home.
Two days. I spent the day in bed as much as humanly possible. I was sneezing too much to do much of anything else. But when I wasn't sneezing, I was making some other horrible noise from coughing to sniffling. I was repulsed when I glanced at myself in the 'fresher mirror. And, yet, I still wanted Obi-Wan there with me. Even though I felt disgusting, I wanted to be holding him, kissing him. Obi-Wan's kisses were utterly intoxicating. They filled me and made me forget myself. Naturally I was hesitant to kiss him in public, scared that one kiss would lead to another and another would lead to inevitable groping. But now all I wanted was to kiss him, regardless of the setting. That was only natural for people who loved each other the way he and I did. That was understandable. It would be worth risking anything just to be with him.
“hahh-TISH-uhhh! Sniff! hahh-TChishhh!” I pitched forward, spilling my tea on the table. I groaned, thinking of how long it had taken to make it. I carefully set the cup and spoon in the sink, which was already packed with dirty dishes. Then I slunk back to bed and under the covers, finding my handkerchief there. I wiped my nose with it, then held it to my nose. It was running badly, which made my head feel full and made my throat itch.
I shivered. It was nice to be able to stretch out in bed, but it felt terribly cold and empty, even with the covers pulled tight around me. I hugged a pillow to my stomach in Obi-Wan's absence.
It felt like a year since I'd last seen him. I felt incomplete without him. Why had I thought this week apart would be easy? I could not wait until he was back home.
I pulled my eyes open. The darkness of space stared back at me in the ship's window. The distant stars were mere dots against the blackness, and I hoped the one Coruscant revolved around was closer.
My eyes snapped shut again. “hihhh-Choo! ehhh… ehhh-EHShooo!” I shivered in my robes and thought of Qui-Gon to make myself warm again. I'd been dozing on and off in the cargo hold the whole trip, but I hadn't really slept well in days. It was too quiet. “ehhhShooo!” Apart from all the sneezing.
This was a horrible cold. It was awful that I would be returning home in this sorry state. But at least there would be a real reason not to kiss Qui-Gon when we reunited. Much as I wanted the kiss, there was no way I wanted him sick with this cold.
“ihhh-KITChoo!” I curled up more and tried to go back to sleep to make the time pass more quickly.
“hahhh… hahhh…” I knew it was coming. I waited, handkerchief hovering at chest-level. “hahhChuhhh!”
I opened my eyes, daring to imagine he might have come back a day early and joined me in bed. But our bedroom was the same dark and empty place it had been the last time I'd looked. Except that now I was uncomfortably tangled in the sheets and blankets.
My eyes closed just as quickly as they'd opened, as I felt another sneeze coming on. There was always another sneeze coming on. “hahhh-AHHSchhhh! Sniff!' I blew my nose and pretended it didn't sound so bad.
This was a horrendous cold. I felt terrible that this was how I would have to welcome Obi-Wan back, assuming it did not go away completely by tomorrow morning. If it did, I vowed to give him a wonderful kiss hello.
“ahhhKShuhhh!” I sorted out the covers, then tried fall asleep to make the sneezes stop for just a little while.
Qui-Gon wore an extra tunic and had an extra handkerchief on him as he stood in the hanger, waiting for Obi-Wan's ship to arrive. Yesterday had been the worst of the cold, by far, and today he felt at least well enough to drag himself out of bed and into something other than sleep pants. If it had been anyone other than Obi-Wan, though, he definitely would not have bothered.
Obi-Wan stood by the door in the cargo hold. He knew he was foolish to stand during the landing, but he wanted to leave the ship the moment they had landed. The ship had excellent dampeners; the problem was that he still felt somewhat dizzy and unsteady on his feet. If he made it back to his quarters without stumbling, he would be proud of himself. But he wanted to greet his master on his feet like any good padawan.
Everything was forgotten in those first few moments when the door opened and the ramp extended to the floor. Their eyes met and smiles grew on both faces. Obi-Wan hurried down the ramp, his bag slung over one shoulder, while Qui-Gon quickly walked over to close the distance between them.
//Welcome home, Padawan.// He extended his arms, feeling that a hug was safe to give, and frankly he could not resist not touching him now that Obi-Wan was there.
//It's good to be home, Master.// Obi-Wan coughed into a fist and did not immediately move into the hug. “We brobably shouldd't…” He sniffed hard. “I'b afraid I hab a cold.”
Strange for Obi-Wan to see, his master grinned at this. “I believe I have the sabe ode,” Qui-Gon said with an almost equal amount of stuffiness in his voice. He stepped forward and not only put his arms around Obi-Wan's middle, but also kissed his cheek with more tenderness than he'd ever expressed before in public.
Obi-Wan kissed Qui-Gon's cheek, then jokingly checked Qui-Gon's forehead for fever. //Kissing? I've only been gone a week, right? What happened to my master?//
Qui-Gon chuckled. //He missed his padawan terribly.//
//I missed you so much, too.// Then Obi-Wan quickly cupped both hands over his nose and mouth. “ihhh-Chhew!” came his sneeze, slightly muffled but far too wet for him to lower his hands right away. He was debating using the sleeve of his robe when Qui-Gon pulled a clean hanky out from a pocket. //But you—//
“I brought two,” Qui-Gon replied. “Go od. Thed you cad tell be how your bissiod wedt.”
Grateful, Obi-Wan took it and swabbed his nose. “I did dot let by cold idterfere with the bission,” Obi-Wan assured his master. He spent the walk back to their quarters recounting the highlights. Obi-Wan's voice dropped away as he stepped inside and surveyed his surroundings.
The dirty dishes piled in the sink had overflowed onto a good portion of the counter. The floor was absolutely littered with blankets, clothes, and balled-up tissues. The smell of eucalyptus hung in the air, making Obi-Wan's nose run after just a few seconds there.
Qui-Gon looked apologetic, and presumed Obi-Wan must be hiding a frown behind the handkerchief. “I'b sorry about the bess,” said Qui-Gon with a sniffle. He dug his other handkerchief out and blew his nose. That only irritated it, and a few seconds later he was doubled-over and sneezing. “hehhShuhh! hahhhChishhhh! ahhhHishhh! H'Chshhh!”
Obi-Wan rubbed Qui-Gon's back comfortingly. //It's all right,// Obi-Wan told him. //You're sick. I don't care about the mess.// Obi-Wan sniffed and coughed and sniffed again. //How about you make some of that wonderful tea and I'll make a dent on those dishes…//
//Then we can get out of these clothes and into bed together.//
//And not leave, even for meetings and work.//
Qui-Gon smiled. //Sounds like an excellent plan. I'm extremely tired.// He kissed Obi-Wan again, this time deeply and on the lips. His body felt light, and his arm slid around Obi-Wan to ground himself there. Obi-Wan kissed back hungrily, eagerly, his tongue stroking Qui-Gon's and his sniffly nose rubbing against Qui-Gon's.
Obi-Wan sighed deeply when they had parted. “I haved't beed sleebig well,” he confessed. “I bissed your sdores.” With Qui-Gon's nose as stuffed as it was, it sounded like he would be getting his fill of them today.
“Add I had far too bady sheets add bladkets.” Qui-Gon could not wait to wrap Obi-Wan up in the blankets and snuggle him close and warm.
The tea and the rest of the plan, Obi-Wan suddenly decided, could wait a few minutes. He pressed himself into Qui-Gon's chest, hugging tightly, his head on the man's warm shoulder. “Love you, Baster,” he whispered. He sniffed and nuzzled his face into Qui-Gon's neck. He slid his hands under the man's robes and under one tunic, then another and another until he reached Qui-Gon's chest.
Qui-Gon shivered, and at first Obi-Wan thought it might be his cool hands against warm skin. But then he realized Qui-Gon was on the verge of sneezing again. “hahh… ah!” Qui-Gon pressed his handkerchief to his nose and mouth and turned his head away from Obi-Wan, who only hugged him tighter. Qui-Gon relaxed and let the sneezes out. “ahhh-HIHSchhhh! ihhhShuhhh! H'Shuhhh! Sniff! hehhShuhh! hahhShahh!” The second he finished wiping his nose dry, he hugged Obi-Wan back with both arms.
Listening to his master breathe thickly and sniffle Obi-Wan closed his eyes. //We're not going to get to that tea or to bed for a while, are we?//
Qui-Gon laughed, but sent love, caring, and reassuring vibes through their bond along with his amusement. //I think you're right. Tea and bed still sound wonderful. But for some reason, I do not mind.// “I dod't wadt to stob holdig you yet, by love.”