Fandom: Star Wars
Warnings: lots of smarmy fluff
Disclaimer: Lucas! Not me! It's all him, baby!
Summary: Qui-Gon isn't feeling well... and the boys get sappy
Note: This was completely inspired by a discussion on the master-apprentice list, I just don't have the guts to post this sort of thing there! LOL
Another Note: A jumbuck is an Australian word for sheep, if the hints aren't enough to point this out during the story. I think I was listing to too much Waltzing Matilda while writing this.
Obi-Wan blew across the surface of the bowl as he carried it through the maze of untidiness that had become their quarters as of late. It seemed that no matter how much time Obi-Wan spent picking things up again, it just did not work without Qui-Gon's assistance. That was, however, not the reason everything was out of place and all over. Qui-Gon had taken in a young jumbuck which, despite it having but three legs, decided it liked to jump over everything in order to make sure it followed Obi-Wan everywhere, getting terribly anxious when either Jedi was out of its sight. Obi-Wan nearly tripped over it on his way to the bedroom on a pile of clothes in the center of the living area. The new animal wasn't the only reason for the mess, though it toppled lamps and anything from the shelves or tables ended up on the floor. The true culprit was Qui-Gon.
"All right, I think it's cool enough now." Obi-Wan knelt on the bed and offered the bowl over with both his hands clenched around it.
Qui-Gon's eyes rolled up to see it. Deciding he might as well take a better look, he pulled himself up off the pile of pillows. He sniffed at it, and swallowed hard. "I don't want it any more." He fell back on the pillows, bouncing. Obi-Wan had to work hard not to be jolted so that the soup spilled.
Obi-Wan sighed and sat down on the bed, staring at the soup that had taken him an hour to get just right. The first three bowls had been too hot or too cold or had too many noodles or too many vegetables or too much broth. This time, however, it was exactly the way Qui-Gon wanted it, and Obi-Wan had looked forward to that proud look his master occasionally flashed him. Apparently, he would not see that look this time. "All right," he said, picking up the spoon and eating a few spoonfuls. "Are you sure? It's yummy." He held up the spoon and swung it carefully in front of his master's face.
Qui-Gon turned pale and closed his eyes. "I don't want it," he repeated. Coughing, he turned from his back onto his side and curled up.
With another sigh, Obi-Wan set the soup aside and reached over. His fingers were warm from holding the bowl, but still his master shivered as the fingertips raced across the sweaty forehead. He sniffled and scooted closer, his head slipping down from pillows onto Obi-Wan's warm thigh. "Can you think of anything you do want, then?"
Qui-Gon closed his eyes. "Just you." His hand gently stroked the legging-covered thigh. "Maybe now that you're here I can finally fall asleep."
In addition to stumbling across their quarters leaving clothing and balled up hankies in his wake, he had been lying in bed for days without proper rest. Every time he slipped into sleep, he woke from it feeling terribly sick to his stomach, which somewhere in his unconsciousness took to mean that if he did not wake up again, his stomach would settle. The fatigue was taking as much of a toll on him as anything else, however. But no matter how much he tried, he simply couldn't fall to sleep properly.
The jumbuck took that opportunity to jump onto the bed after Obi-Wan. It stood, unsteady and wobbly on its three legs on the soft mattress. It gave a nervous bleat, then jumped over Qui-Gon and back onto the floor on the other side of the room. Obi-Wan cracked a smile. "Well, now. I think I'd take that as a sign if I were you." He ran his fingers through the course brown hair and smiled.
"One," he counted.Qui-Gon nodded wearily and closed his eyes. But he didn't get a chance to relax. His body tensed and Obi-Wan gripped his shoulder to hold him steady as he convulsed with each sneeze. "hahhh-IHGShhhahh! Hah-Ehshehhh! ihhhhChehhhh! Hah-Ahgshhhh!" They were strong sneezes, without much form for Qui-Gon was too tired for that. He simply let them come and didn't try to shape them into something that sounded more like a sneeze.
Obi-Wan sensed a handkerchief nearby, but couldn't find one that looked clean enough to be used. Nonetheless, Qui-Gon reached out amidst the blankets and grabbed one, clutching it in one fist suddenly as another sneeze struck. "hahhhEhgshuhhhh!" Then he rubbed it against his nose, sniffling. "Rebide, be, Obi," Qui-Gon said, snuffling into the already used handkerchief and trying to find a clean corner to blow his nose into. "To dever go back to Altari Three durig their flu seasod."
"Somehow I don't think you'll need much reminding," Obi-Wan said, tugging the blanket up over his shoulders and tucking it around him so no cold air could poke in on the sides. Qui-Gon sniffled, shivered, then pulled his arm out and pushed the blanket down again. Even with Obi-Wan here, he couldn't seem to get comfortable enough to sleep. Not with all the sneezing and fever at least. Obi-Wan had tried everything he could think of. Cold compresses, cough syrup, hot steam baths, chicken noodle soup, and more tea than he cared to think of.
The jumbuck jumped back up onto the bed, still unsteady but anxious for another glimpse of the two of them. Obi-Wan guessed it was much younger than it should have been, and most likely not used to living away from his flock. But the rest of his flock had been ravage by wild beasts and could be no comfort to it. It took a few steps forward, then its legs buckled and it nuzzled against Qui-Gon's blankets. Qui-Gon reached out and stroked it, then dug his large hands into its coat. The warmth of the wool took him over, and he sighed.
His nostrils twitched, and his nose wrinkled, and I reached down and scratched the bottom of his nose for him in understanding. "Thank you, my Obi-Wan," he whispered, snuggling closer to him for warmth.
Obi-Wan smiled and gave Qui-Gon's shoulder a squeeze. That expression was reserved for Qui-Gon, but he could not deny he loved it. "How I love when you call me that."
The corners of the Jedi Master's mouth twitched into a bit of a smile, but it was clear he was fighting something. "ehhhHugshuhhh! hahTchuuhhh!" He sneezed again, shaking weakly, scaring the jumbuck to jump back down. Qui-Gon looked momentarily guilty, and Obi-Wan wanted to reassure him that it would be back soon enough. But more sneezes struck. "ahhhHEHschhhh! ahhhEhghhhshhh! Ahhktchhh!"
Obi-Wan rubbed a handkerchief at his nose, wiping it dry, then scratching and rubbing the itches away through the soft cloth hanky. Qui-Gon didn't have to move at all, but practically purred as Obi-Wan took care of him. "You care for me..." Qui-Gon said, lifting one hand and locating Obi-Wan's.
"Of course," said Obi-Wan, unable to resist a glance over at the soup, now cooling on the bedstand. "I love you."
Qui-Gon followed the movement of his eyes, and practically turned green on top of pale. He swallowed again. "I mean, you care for me the way I care for you, sometimes. When I broke my back last year falling off that cliff. When I come down with the flu like this... and you never call me yours the way I do you."
"I do!" Obi-Wan protested.
"You don't..." Qui-Gon whispered, closing his eyes again. "But you don't need to say it the way I do." It was true that Qui-Gon was the elder, the one who had searched his entire life for love. And now that he had found it, he wanted to prove he would have it always.
"But I do," Obi-Wan said again, but Qui-Gon was distracted by the jumbuck's return. It bleated, and he answered its call. It made an odd, childish, howling sort of noise and snuggled up against him again, the way he was snuggling against Obi-Wain. He dug his hands back into the thick warmth. After a while, his pettings slowed, then stopped altogether.
But Obi-Wan continued his long after his master had fallen asleep in his lap. Then he recovered the soup and finished it off, remarking to himself about how fantastic a bowl of soup it was. Then, unable and unwilling to pull himself out from beneath Qui-Gon, he used the force to tidy up a little in the bedroom.
Not long after, Qui-Gon stirred. His nose tickled again, and the sound of a cough rasped in his throat. Obi-Wan could sense his panic about waking up, and thought perhaps of grabbing him by the shoulders and pulling him to the bathroom before his master got sick on another set of sheets. But instead he lifted a crumpled handkerchief to Qui-Gon's nose. "Blow," he whispered, and Qui-Gon, still half asleep, obeyed. Obi-Wan bent down and kissed his master's forehead, then used the force to direct Qui-Gon back to sleep again. Miraculously, he went along with that as well, drifting off with a few snuffles and some more snuggling and shivering. But in the end he was indeed asleep. "My Qui-Gon," Obi-Wan whispered, parting mussed hair and sending damp strands to one side or the other, but pulling them all back from his sweet face. "I claim you with every kiss, every touch, every breath. I just don't need to say it out loud." Obi-Wan kissed his master's nose, watching it wrinkle instinctually in his sleep. "But you don't actually need to hear it, do you?"