Title: Excuses

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Star Wars

Rating: G/PG

Pairing: Obi/Qui

Disclaimer: All hail Lucas, not me.

Summary: General fluff as the boys attempt to do work and Obi has a head cold.





After the death of their gallant leader, the movement soon lost its backing. There was nowhere for its supporters to go for the retribution they had long been seeking and while half of society slipped into moral decadence, the other silently grew displeased and vengeful. With ideals still in place, it took but one strong voice in the crowd to allow it to rise up again. This voice belonged to one Ibrinum Denhov, who at twenty-three was a man of poor roots but considerable knowledge and strength of character. To many, this marked the end of the third dynasty and the commencement of the fourth, though revisionist historical texts note the specific day of the change as the one in which the palace was raided and the king was impaled upon his own bedpost. Though an apparent victory, rioters retreated to the Harlington ridge and sought safety in the mountains and caverns beyond until the king's private army could be properly dealt with. The movement, thereafter referred to as the Harlington conquest also brought with it a spirit


     Qui-Gon stopped reading, his gaze frozen on that word not because of what he'd read. He could have sworn to seeing movement out of the corner of his eye. But as he sat, motionless, frozen, silent, there was nothing more. And so he resumed.


also brought with it a spirit of nationalism long since thought dead in the nation. It was not the freedom from oppression that sparked these feelings, however, but the mere notion that something could actually be done to improve their situation. For a people who


     There it was again. Just behind him and to his left. The movement was so brief that by the time Qui-Gon moved his eyes to follow it, all he caught sight of was the very tip of a padawan braid.


     When he turned his whole head, he saw nothing but an empty doorway spanning the bedroom and the common room, in which Qui-Gon currently sat working. Qui-Gon could see it was dark inside the bedroom, as it had been all day, and because of this he could not see inside beyond a few feet. Despite the lack of visual evidence, Qui-Gon had felt sure he'd seen something, and was just as certain as to what it was he'd seen. Qui-Gon set his reading on his lap to give his full concentration to the something. The someone, rather. "Pad-a-wan," he called with a light, almost-singing tone to his voice.


     There was a moment's pause, then Obi-Wan poked his head out from just behind the doorframe, his braid swinging back and forth so that it dusted his shoulder. "Yes, Master," he replied almost timidly.


     Qui-Gon's voice was gentle and calm and he looked on his padawan with a smile. "You are supposed to be in bed, Padawan Mine. You need rest to help you fight that cold in your nose." As he spoke, Obi-Wan slowly inched out from behind the wall, bit by bit. Qui-Gon could see Obi-Wan had wrapped around his shoulders the blue blanket he always snuggled into when he had felt especially sick, and in his hand was a crumpled white handkerchief. "Perhaps hours of reading have blurred my vision, but I see you not in bed at the moment."


     Obi-Wan nodded. "There is nothing wrong with your vision. I... wanted to get up and see if I could..." he hesitated, suddenly rethinking his reason for being up. But, knowing how Qui-Gon did not like when he failed to complete a thought started, he went on. "I'm feeling much better now, Master. And it's lonely sleeping all day in the bedroom. Couldn't I sit out there with you and start work on all the assignments I've missed since coming down sick?" Quickly he added a slightly anxious "Please?"


     The Jedi Master took his time in answering. Far be it from him to ignore such a heart-felt 'please' from his padawan. But still fresh in his memory was the 'please' from two days prior when Obi-Wan had practically begged Qui-Gon to call his teachers and make his excuses to them so that he would not have to get out of bed. Qui-Gon had complied with the request, and had summoned a healer while he was at it. From there it was not difficult to recall all the sneezing and sniffling and snuffling Obi-Wan had done day and night. And were he to forget, a large pile of used hankies at the top of the laundry bin would have been enough to remind him.


     Qui-Gon eyed him, noting the blanket and handkerchief again, as well as the rumbled sleep pants and long-sleeved shirt hanging off a straight and sturdy frame. "You may," he said finally, seeing Obi-Wan bounce on the balls of his feet upon hearing the news. "If you get chilled or if your cold gets any worse, I want you back in bed. All right?"


     Obi-Wan nodded eagerly and hopped to it. He disappeared into the bedroom for a moment and came back out with an extra handkerchief and a datapad. He clicked a chip into it as he headed straight for the couch.


     After climbing up onto the couch, Obi-Wan settled down, kneeling then sitting down on his legs just beside Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon reached back to make sure the blanket covered Obi-Wan's sock-covered feet. He took one look at the joyful look on Obi-Wan's face and had a hard time not melting with one of his own. "Just for a little while. I don't want you tiring yourself out." He reached up and ran his hand lightly over Obi-Wan's head, the short fuzzy hair tickling his palm. He smiled and slid his hand down, cupping Obi-Wan's far shoulder through the thick blue blanket and squeezing comfortingly.


     Obi-Wan smiled and sniffled as he looked down at the datapad, scrolling through the long list of past due assignments. With his head hanging, his nose seemed to run much more than it had a few moments ago. He held the balled-up hanky to it, sniffling and snuffling and rubbing and wiping. Qui-Gon tightened his hold around Obi-Wan slightly out of concern. "It's just some sniffling," he explained.


     "I know," Qui-Gon nodded. "And I'm glad you're feeling better. I just--"


     "You worry about your padawan. I know."


     Qui-Gon smiled and nodded. "Indeed." With his fingers splayed, he could just reach Obi-Wan's cheek with his thumb without taking his hand completely off Obi-Wan's shoulder. He stroked gently a few times. Then he picked up his datapad.


Ibrinum Denhov, who at twenty-three was a man of


     He'd read that part already. Qui-Gon skimmed, trying to find where he'd left off. There was something about nationalism or...




     Qui-Gon's head turned to the side just to see Obi-Wan open his mouth wider and pull his head back slightly only to have it snap forward into the handkerchief.




     "Bless you," Qui-Gon said, leaning over and kissing Obi-Wan's temple. It seemed two was the count for this small bout of sneezes, and Obi-Wan sighed and returned to his datapad while Qui-Gon did the same with his own.


 For a people who had suffered so long, the sudden empowerment came with relief and confusion. The movement dissipated before it could continue on its path, spiraling off in the form of separatist groups which


     "Excuse me. I'm sorry. Is my sniffling bothering you?"


     "Hmm? Oh, no. Barely noticed it. No need to apologize." The fact that Obi-Wan had been sniffling rather constantly had, in fact, registered with Qui-Gon. But he'd been so used to hearing it over the last few days and wasn't as worried about their presence as the rest of Obi-Wan's more difficult to manage symptoms. He scooted up right next to Obi-Wan and squeezed with a tight hug. "Sniffle and blow your nose all you need to."


     Almost with relief, Obi-Wan re-crumpled his handkerchief, took a deep breath, and blew his nose rather thoroughly. It must have tickled his poor, sensitive nose because not a second after he'd finished blowing, he needed to sneeze again. "h'Choo! h'Chshooo! heh-hehShoo!" He paused, eyes closed, waiting for one more. When it didn't come, he blew his nose again.


     At another tight squeeze, Qui-Gon felt Obi-Wan's shoulders rise and fall with a sigh. Then his padawan tilted his head and laid it upon Qui-Gon's shoulder. He hugged his blanket closer and held his datapad up so he could read it properly. And Qui-Gon hugged Obi-Wan close then did the same with his reading.


separatist groups which accomplished virtually nothing within the next two decades. The most well known of these was the radical, cult-like Minnowians. Led by Zintha Minnow, their main focus was


     "HIHShuhh! hehhChuhhh!" A deep breath, then, "Sorry. Sniff, sniff!"


     Though he was doing a fair amount of sneezing, Qui-Gon did have to admit Obi-Wan was sounding better. Not so much with a decrease in symptoms, but in his much clearer voice. The stuffiness and grogginess in his voice were almost completely gone.


     "How's your reading?"


     "Hmm? Oh, it's rather bad, actually. The narrative is all over the place. And I still have three more dynasties to get through." He rolled his eyes. "How are your assignments?"


     "It's going to be a while yet before I catch up," Obi-Wan admitted. He was still reading through the list, in fact, and had not even started on any. "hehhhChuhhh! hahhhShhhhh! Sniiiifff! And slower still if I keep sneezing every few seconds instead of getting work done."


     "Don't push yourself," Qui-Gon warned.


     "I won't," Obi-Wan promised, rubbing his nose and lowering his handkerchief so he could use both hands for the datapad.


Led by Zintha Minnow, their main focus was


     "Obi-Wan, can I get you some tea? Or perhaps just some juice?"


     Obi-Wan looked up, smiling. "Surely you're not trying to procrastinate, Master?"


     Qui-Gon smiled at how well Obi-Wan knew him. "Of course not," he replied pleasantly. "How about soup? Or scrambled eggs and sausage? I could make you whatever you like."


     With a sigh, Obi-Wan nuzzled into Qui-Gon's shoulder. Qui-Gon hugged him back. "All right. Tea and toast." He sniffled. "Please."


     Qui-Gon was more than happy to set his reading down for a little while. Tea and toast wasn't an especially complicated order, but he took his time with it. After a long day of reading, it was nice to have an excuse to take a break. And there was no better excuse than taking care of his sick padawan.


     He could hear Obi-Wan sniffling as he finished running the tap water and put the kettle on the stove. He heard a sneeze as he popped two pieces of bread into the toaster oven. Qui-Gon stood back against the counter and watched from the kitchen. Obi-Wan did seem to be working, despite his needing to stop to sneeze every so often. And Qui-Gon loved to watch Obi-Wan work. The concentration and serious attention Obi-Wan gave all his assignments would have made Qui-Gon proud, except that he didn't think that had much to do with his influence. Obi-Wan had always been eager to please, and Qui-Gon had hoped that as his master, he might make Obi-Wan understand the balance in life between working hard and relaxing hard.


     Obi-Wan sneezed twice, just as the timer went off. Qui-Gon could hear him sniffling above the scrape of a knife and butter against each triangular piece of toast. And when he returned with a small tray of tea, sugar, and a plate of toast, he had to wait a few moments for Obi-Wan to finish blowing his nose before he sat down and offered it over.


     "Thank you," Obi-Wan said, taking the tea at once and sipping it before adding heaping spoonfuls of sugar and blowing to cool it.


     Then came a cycle of drinking, studying, and tending to his nose. Qui-Gon tried again to delay the inevitable return to his reading, but Obi-Wan seemed a little jumpy to be watched closely.


The most well known of these was the radical, cult-like Minnowians. Led by Zintha Minnow, their main focus was a manual redistribution of wealth. They soon discovered, however, that an inequality works both ways and a protracted counter movement against a mismanaged movement resulted again in bloodshed.


     Qui-Gon paused in his reading. His head was starting to hurt from it.


     "huhh... ehhhhChuhhh!" Obi-Wan shivered as he put his now empty cup down and reached for his handkerchief. He blew his nose and, with another shiver, he picked his datapad up again.


     "Padawan," Qui-Gon said, tightening his hold around Obi-Wan and rubbing his hand up and down Obi-Wan's arm. "Perhaps it would be wise of you to go back to bed now?"


     Obi-Wan shrugged and nodded. He spoke softly, "But... it's lonely in there."


     Chuckling lightly, Qui-Gon set both datapads aside and pulled Obi-Wan closer. "Is that what all this is about? You feeling lonely?"


     Again, he shrugged and nodded.


     And, again, Qui-Gon chuckled. "Oh, My Own, you should have just asked if you could join me here on the sofa."


     "You said that if I didn't feel well enough to attend classes or do work that I should stay in bed until I felt better," Obi-Wan pointed out, then immediately shivered and sneezed several more times in succession. "ehhh-HIHShooo! hehhChushhhh! hihhChuhhh!" He snuggled into his master for warmth and found strong arms hugging him tightly. "And I did feel a little better, like I really could do work. It's just being up so long.... Hih--" His breath caught and eyes fluttered closed. "Hehh-CHIIIH!" He scrubbed the handkerchief against his nose. "I'm feeling all sneezy and sick again."


     "That's it," said Qui-Gon, resolutely. He waved his hand and the datapads slid across the table and toppled over the far edge onto the floor and quite out of reach. "No more excuses," he said firmly. Then he eased Obi-Wan to lean forward and he pulled his legs up onto the sofa as well, stretching along the back of it. He raised his arm invitingly and smiled warmly. "Come, Padawan Mine. I think we could both use some snuggling right now."


     Obi-Wan lay down beside his master, wrapped up in the blanket still and snuffling up against Qui-Gon's chest. Qui-Gon wrapped his arms around his padawan, stroking the young man's back comfortingly as he listened to the sniffles which were now accompanied by tiny, happy sighs.