The Ondarian Virus

Part 12


This part's rating: G

See part 0 for full header


     I rolled over onto my side as the coughs shook me awake and I struggled for a full breath. Struggling seemed to be all I was doing today, apart from sleeping that is. According to the thermometer earlier I wasn't running much of a fever, but I was finding that difficult to believe now. I shivered and pulled the covers around myself more tightly, making it a point to ignore the tickle building in my nose. Just once I'd like to wake up and not feel like sneezing my head off immediately. Couldn't that be arranged somehow?


     "ihhhh..." Please? "hehhh-KISHHHH!" Ugh. Apparently it couldn't. "hehh-IHShhh! EhhKShhh! hehhKShhhhh!" I sniffed hard took a few deep breaths, not really wanting to move any more.


     I could hear my master on the com in the common room, talking to Master Windu about a matter I couldn't quite make out. There was something about trading routes and rationing supplies, but I could tell it was nothing terrible. There was always a harsher tone to Qui-Gon's voice when he was concerned, and in addition the mood in our quarters was calm and business-like. I would hope that if there was a problem he would wake me immediately, sick or not. I usually sat in on his communications, just so I had an idea of what was going on. I can still remember my first time sitting in on one of his communications, that sense of importance and pride that I could be trusted with business meant for the masters. I would have liked to have been there now, listening in.


     Though, honestly, I would have preferred being just about anywhere but in bed trying to hold back another fit of sneezes. "hehhh..." Unsuccessfully, I might add. I was sure Master Windu was fully aware that I was sick, but that didn't mean he wanted to hear me sneezing in the background of the communication. I was certainly glad he could not see me, but that did little to stop the fact that I really did need to sneeze again. "ehhh..." I buried my face in the blanket to muffle the sound. "huhhh-Ehffff! Shuffff! Hih-hih-Kiffff!"


     Another couple of hard sniffs later and I felt ready to fall back to sleep again. Only now my nose was running and my mind was racing. Half of me wanted to be out there at Qui-Gon's side, and the other wanted to stay right here in bed with him at mine. I wouldn't call him, though. Even with the intention to always be honest with him, I couldn't call him over in the middle of a conversation just to attend to me. I would be all right. It was just a bit of a runny nose and some sneezes. And a headache. And a little case of the chills. And a scratchy throat. And the sneezes. Those were certainly worth mentioning again. They were strong and impossible to deny.


     "hahh-SHIII! ehhhChishhh!" And wet. "ehhh-KITSchhhhh! Ugh!" I groaned.


     Tissues. Where were the tissues? I lifted a heavy hand, patting the blankets in a desperate search. I remember leaving the box between me and the edge of the bed, but all I felt now were blankets. Sith but I needed the tissues!


     Wearily I opened my eyes and looked around. I was feeling so disoriented in my inability to locate the tissues that I almost expected to wake up and find myself out on the sofa. Or in a strange bed on a space station for that matter. But I was still in our bed and Qui-Gon was indeed at the desk in the common room. He had clearly moved the tissue box to the bedside table, however. It was a perfectly logical thing to do, to keep me from rolling over onto them and crunching the box. I reached out for it but my arm flopped down onto the bed uselessly once I realized the box was too far away.


     I didn't want to get up, and I was too tired to use my command of the force to nudge it even a little closer. Besides, I would probably have knocked over the glass in front of the box if I'd tried. So instead I reached beneath my pillow for the handkerchief I always kept there. After feeling around between the cool sheets and pillowcase, I remembered I'd used it days ago and not thought to replace it.


     So I rolled over onto my other side, sniffling and shivering as I shifted beneath the covers. I checked under Qui-Gon's pillow and immediately located his handkerchief. Thankful for it, and almost unable to stop sniffling as my nose ran, I held it to my nose and blew hard. It hurt, but not as badly as it would if had I been using tissues. I was almost glad I hadn't been able to reach the box.


     When I finished, I flipped back onto my other side so that I could look out of the open bedroom door. From where I lay, I could see part of Qui-Gon. The brown cloak, tan leggings, and black boots were the only things I could really make out. As I relaxed into the pillows and pulled the blankets up a little more, I felt something hard beneath my pillows.


     I smiled and reached under, pulling out my lightsaber. It felt like forever since I had last wielded it, or even just worn it at my side. I longed to be able to do so again. Having felt good enough to go through my messages yesterday, I'd received a taste of my usual routine and duties that only made me miss it more today. I still felt like a Jedi, of course. I simply felt a little less like one.


     The sneezing did not help my cause. "ehhhKShhfff! ehhh-Hushff!" I sneezed into the handkerchief, hoping that I wasn't being a disturbance. The sneezes were slightly easier to keep quiet than the coughing, though, and I could feel a tickle in the back of my throat. I swallowed curiously and felt pain stab at my throat and the top of my mouth. Wincing, I looked up at the glass of water just out of reach on the bedside table.


     Not wanting to risk spilling it, I did not make an attempt to get it. Instead, I turned my head into the pillow and shuddered as the coughs came. They were loud and strong, and once they started they wouldn't stop. After a dozen I gasped for breath and then immediately coughed some more. The coughs shook me and hurt my throat even more. When the fit finally passed, I lifted my head, breathing carefully so as not to trigger any more coughs. I couldn't breathe at all through my nose thanks to the stuffiness and could only breathe very cautiously through my mouth. Things would have been much easier if I could just do without breathing for the next few weeks. Of course a few sips of water might have helped but I couldn't mange to put together the energy to sit up and crawl over to it.


     I could, however, snuggle back into the blankets where it was warm and comfortable. So warm and comfortable that I could almost conceive of falling back to sleep again. I was sure I must have a fever again, to feel so cold and tired. But when I touched my forehead it felt normal. Qui-Gon would be able to tell me. He was still talking to Master Windu on the communicator.


     And I was still feeling terribly sneezy. "ihhhh-cough!" The deep breath had triggered the coughs again and I dissolved into another fit of body-shaking, spasmy coughs from which I could not easily escape. I had escaped Rebel fighters on Yagrin Seven, bloody-thirsty cats in the caves of Mindar, and slave traders in the Sourcrum quadrant but I couldn't manage to free myself from these coughs.


     Somewhat luckily, they backed away for a few moments in order to let me get a breath in edgewise. It was long enough to blow my nose, which calmed the tickle in my throat. Hoping that maybe if I blew enough, I'd start feeling better, I set my mind on the task. However it left my nose with a tickle and my breath began to race again. "ehh-KSHHH!" I sneezed too quickly to stop myself. "IHKShhhh! ehhhSHuhh! ihhShuhhh!" Carefully I blew my nose a few times more, doing my best not to blow so much that I irritated it again.


     Afterwards I realized that I could not hear Qui-Gon any longer. The absence of his deep, familiar voice was a bit disconcerting. Surely he had not left without coming in to see me?


     "I heard you sneezing and thought that must mean you were finally awake."


     I looked up to see Qui-Gon walking in with a pleasant smile on his face. I couldn't help but smile back when looking at it. I knew he had sensed when I woke and did not need to hear me sneezing, but I liked his way of saying it. "I did't..." My voice was rough and scratchy. I stopped and cleared my throat a few times. "I..." It hadn't helped. //I did not want to disturb your conversation,// I communicated to him.


     "You did not," Qui-Gon said, sitting down on the bed in front of me so close that his side pressed against my front. Even though the blankets, his warmth was pleasant and comforting. Sensing my desire for water, he lifted the glass of water to my lips and tilted it slowly so I could drink at my own pace. When I nodded to him to say that I'd finished, he set the glass down and pressed his palm against my forehead. He held it there as I sighed, being careful with my breathing. His touch simply felt too good. "You are a little warmer, I think," he said softly, but his voice did not have that bit of worry in it that it usually carried when he spoke of my symptoms.


     //I feel tired, Master. But I keep sneezing.// Sniffling, I rubbed the very used handkerchief at my nose.


     He waited for me to finish, then Qui-Gon gently took the crumpled handkerchief from my hand. He moved the tissue box over to the bed and pulled out a tissue to rub my nose for me. Even though the tissue was harsher than the soft cloth handkerchief, his touch was so tender that the rubbing did not hurt in the least. I smiled and closed my eyes. Just having him beside me made me feel better.


     As much as I wanted to be a tough, skilled Jedi, if I had to be sick at all, it was nice to know my master would look after me. I could have taken care of myself all right if I'd had to. But Qui-Gon was so much better at it and made me feel so good. With our recent promise of an honest exchange, I did not mind letting him know how much I wanted him there.


     I yawned and coughed a little. "So tired," Qui-Gon whispered sympathetically. "Did you sleep well?"


     Beneath the blankets, he could not see me shrug, so I did not bother with the motion. Nor did I bother telling him about the dreams I'd had. Jedi were not supposed to dream. I had outgrown mine when I was still in the crèche but sometimes they returned when I was ill. Their presence made me feel uneasy and restless even when asleep. //Not as well as I'd have liked. And not as long, either.// He nodded.


     I felt another tickle in my nose, almost surprised that it had been so long since my last sneezes. Reluctantly I took a few more tissues and closed my eyes in preparation, wishing I could just go back to sleep.


     I felt Qui-Gon's hand again on my forehead, heavy and comforting. He ran his thumb up and down the bridge of my nose. Slowly, the tickles backed down. "Mace and I were speaking about converting one of the established trade routes as an emergency relief route of mercy." He continued to stroke my nose, and I could feel gentle waves of healing from the Force flowing around me from him. Qui-Gon continued to talk, though I knew quite well that he did not expect me to listen. "The difficulty would be in finding enough Jedi to enforce the route and keep it safe from space pirates."


     //Space pirates...// Space pirates was the last thing I heard and the only thing I could say before falling back to sleep beneath my master's touch.