The Ondarian Virus
This part's rating: PG
See part 0 for full header
Additional Notes: Like Obi and Qui, Bant and Tahl are also not mine.
Obi-Wan's hand pushed through the steadily growing pile of crumpled tissues to pull a fresh one out of the box. He lifted it to his face with one hand almost absentmindedly as his other hand controlled the scrolling speed on the terminal. For the last hour he had been going through the massive amount of correspondence that had accumulated since before their mission to Ondari. And for the last hour he had been sneezing and sniffling almost constantly. "huhhh-CHIHH! Yehh-Chushhh!" He wiped his nose, balled up the tissue, and dropped it into the pile with the others.
Qui-Gon had been a bit reluctant to allow Obi-Wan to check his messages, but Obi-Wan had insisted he felt well enough. He was feeling better, though not quite as good as the day before. And as he sat at the desk in the common room he tried to get through his task before the illness started getting worse and prevented him from doing anything productive. Qui-Gon had insisted he do nothing but relax, but Obi-Wan still did not quite have the hang of that. Besides, checking messages was certainly not as strenuous as, say, the saber class he would have been in now if not for his cold.
Most of the messages were announcements regarding speakers or meetings with visiting guests. Some were assignments all the padawans were given. Some were messages to Qui-Gon that were copied to him because of the missions he accompanied his master on. A few had been sent directly to him, regarding things he might be able to help out with around the temple. Those were the ones that pained him the most to reply to. 'I regret to inform you that I will be ill for the next four weeks and unable to help you research the origins of the various languages from Bider' and 'I would very much like to meet with you about the possibility of hosting a seminar for the initiates on the subject of negotiating, however I will not be able to do so until four weeks from now when I am over my current illness.'
started to glaze over as he worked his way through the messages.
"ihhh..." He paused a moment in the middle of one reply and reached for another tissue. "hehhh-KIShhhh! eh-KEHshhh! Shehhh!" he sneezed. He gave himself a moment to blow his nose and rub at his eyes before focusing on the small terminal which displayed his half completed reply to Master Makum about saber drills he regrettably could not participate in, even though he was quite honored to have been asked to train with the very selective master's hand-picked group.
"hihh... hih-KIHShhhh!" Another sneeze caught him off guard, though he'd managed to cover his nose and mouth just in time to prevent spraying the console. He blew his nose and wiped it dry, then finished up his reply. He was starting to feel weary, and found himself only skimming through the sender and subjects of the messages. He sent replies only to those he thought most important, instead of working his way carefully through the messages as he knew he should. After a while, however, his head and eyes began to hurt and he gave up on sending replies.
While skimming through the list, Obi-Wan spotted a letter from Bant and knew before opening it what it was about. Bant wrote to him many times, but always on the same day every year. Her letter on that day was always about the same thing, though it was always a bit different. Yesterday had marked the anniversary of the day her first master, Master Tahl, had been murdered. And this message contained her thoughts and remembrances. They were thoughts she could have just as easily let go into the force, as she had finally made peace with the fact long ago. But she had always confided in Obi-Wan and he knew it was cathartic for her to write the letter every year. She never expected or requested a reply from him, but he always gave one.
"HETChhhh! HiKShhh! ehhKUShhhh! Sniff!" Holding the back of his hand against his nose, he grabbed another tissue and rubbed his nose with it. His reply to Bant was already a week late, and it looked like it might have to wait a little longer. Perhaps it was the subject matter, or his light fever, or just the fact that he was due for a nap, but his eyes were watering now. He wanted badly to reply, but his head felt heavy and stuffy. He knew if he replied now, it would not be as thoughtful as he wanted it to be.
So with reluctance Obi-Wan closed the message and looked over the rest of them. He lifted his head when Qui-Gon entered the common room, sitting down on the sofa with a blanket and a datapad. A day off from work for the Jedi master meant a few days of heavier working in order to make up for it. Both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had agreed that it had been well worth it.
Obi-Wan sniffled, his nose running, and grabbed another tissue. He stared at the terminal, though his vision was growing fuzzy, as he sensed his master looking over at him. Too many sneezes and he would be told to go back to bed to relax. And while that would not be too terrible a thing, he did want to get through all his messages first. So he snuffled and rubbed at his nose, trying not to sneeze.
Though he tried to read the messages, the only thing he could focus on was a growing tingle in his nose. Obi-Wan rubbed his nose more to no avail. "ehhh..." He snatched another tissue and covered the lower half of his face with both of them to muffle the sound. His eyes closed. His breath caught. His body snapped forward. "Mmphh! Kmph-uhh!" He sighed and sat back in his seat, staring at the messages as he felt Qui-Gon staring at him. He tried his best to ignore the stare.
Tried and, like the sneezes, failed. "Obi-Wan, why don't you close that down and come over here for a minute?" It was not a request.
Obi-Wan closed the listing and headed over to the sofa, taking the tissue box with him. Qui-Gon set the datapad aside and held an arm out. Obi-Wan sat down on Qui-Gon's lap, with his legs out on the couch lengthwise and his back against the sofa's arm. Qui-Gon wrapped part of the blanket around Obi-Wan, then hugged the younger man tightly. Obi-Wan replied with a kiss and a sniffle. He set the tissue box on his lap and pulled a few from the box to stay his runny nose.
Qui-Gon stroked Obi-Wan's head, then his hand settled on the padawan braid. His fingers hesitated at the bead, and his eyes met Obi-Wan's to ask permission. Obi-Wan, sniffling into the tissue, nodded and turned his head a little to give his master better access. His forehead rested upon Qui-Gon's shoulder and his face rubbed against Qui-Gon's robes.
Qui-Gon smiled and gently slid the bead off the braid. He gently unwound the tight braid and straightened the crimped pieces between his thumb and forefinger. "I have been giving yesterday a considerable amount of thought," he told Obi-Wan. He knew well how nervous the unbound braid made his padawan, so he enjoyed it for but a moment before beginning to do the braid back up. Obi-Wan snuggled closer to him, both at the re-braiding and the mention of the day before. "This cold of yours is not anything like those we have weathered before. We are used to either pushing the symptoms aside and doing our jobs or giving in completely to the illness and putting aside the work in order to recover properly." Qui-Gon paused in his braiding as Obi-Wan nodded in agreement.
Much skill allowed Qui-Gon to keep the braid straight and to start braiding again right away. "This time it's a bit different, and I believe I have not been correct in dealing with it. We should have discussed this back when we learned this cold would last for six weeks." Qui-Gon took a deep breath and carried on. "It was not fair of me to expect you to do nothing but relax for nearly a month. I do not wish your illness to grow worse from not taking care of it, but you are clearly able to do some things and to know when you feel well enough to do those things." Qui-Gon's fingers paused as Obi-Wan nodded again. "And so I am proposing that you and I both concentrate on a balance and on truthful communication."
Obi-Wan lifted his head, sniffling. "I always try to be truthful with you."
"I know, my Obi," Qui-Gon reassured him, giving his forehead a kiss. "But you do try to hide the extent of your symptoms sometimes, do you not?" He gave the communications terminal over on the desk a nod. Obi-Wan lowered his gaze and did not deny it. "Likewise, I try to hide my worries about you for your own sake. But I suggest that now we attempt to be honest with each other and, more importantly, with ourselves." He kissed Obi-Wan's forehead again.
Obi-Wan's breath caught and he tensed up as the need to sneeze gripped him. He pitched forward into Qui-Gon, who held him comfortingly. "hitchhh! hehhKShhh! ehhhTchhhh! Ihhh... ihhhChh!" Qui-Gon handed him a few more tissues so he could blow his nose, then cuddled him tenderly.
"What I am trying to say is that I do not believe I was right in asking either of us to break our normal routines all of a sudden, just because you are sick. If you feel well enough to help me with work, then you may. If you feel the need to stay in bed and take it easy, do that instead. And if you are feeling miserable and need me to leave my work a while to snuggle with you, just tell me."
Obi-Wan nodded again and sensed it was his turn to speak. He did so as Qui-Gon carefully finished the braid and fastened the bead onto the end. "I shall be truthful with you," he said, sounding it already. "Add I brobise to take it easy add relax if I start feelig too badly. But I do sobetibes feel the deed to work. I biss by Jedi duties... add I biss you." Qui-Gon nodded in understanding and Obi-Wan smiled. "Add I biss being able to breathe through by dose." He sniffed wetly in example.
Qui-Gon chuckled. He placed two fingers on Obi-Wan's cheek and guided it up and over so he could kiss Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan kissed back, formalizing his promise to his master and lover.
"Good." Qui-Gon sighed deeply once the kiss ended. "Now, how about I put on a pot of tea for us and I bring a tablet into the bedroom so you can dictate a letter to Bant?"
Obi-Wan nodded gratefully and rose. He headed to the bedroom with the tissues in hand. "ehhh-HIHSchhh! ehhhKShhhh!" He needed them before he even reached the bed.