The Ondarian Virus
This part's rating: PG13
See part 0 for full header
Additional Notes: This part is a nod towards circe and part of her recent mention to me about common Obi themes in the fandom. It was one of my incomplete ideas that was wonderfully filled in when I read her comments :-)
Obi-Wan's healing trance was disturbed by a faint tickle in his nose. He ignored it for as long as possible, trying to reach out to the Force for assistance. The tranquil vibes danced around him, tingling his skin. If he concentrated, he could feel them seeping in, soothing his throat and calming his nerves. It was day fifteen into his illness, with fifteen to follow. And while he was glad that it was half over, he was also a bit depressed to know there were three more weeks of the same to go through. Getting worse, getting better, and inevitably getting worse again.
Similarly, just as he'd hoped the need to sneeze had died down, it sprung up again in full. He pulled out of the trance with a nod to the Force, and went straight for his handkerchief. "eh-hehh..." He bent forward, nose meeting the handkerchief before he'd raised it to his face. Obi-Wan's nose wrinkled behind the thick folds of the handkerchief, and he tried to hold the sneeze back this time. Partially because of the date and partially because he wanted to keep in control, Obi-Wan didn't feel much like letting this or any other sneezes out. The sneezes, however, had other ideas. "ihhhhh!" He breathed out instinctively as the urge seized him. He rubbed at his nose and closed his eyes, willing the sneezy feeling away. But all too soon the tickle had grown greatly and overpowered him. The build-up began, taking him with a shiver and short, building breaths. "heh-uhh-huhhhh-Ihhh-HIHHH-" Then he pitched forward more. "KUTChhhhh!"
It was only one sneeze this time, but his nose tickled slightly to indicate more would soon be on their way. Obi-Wan preferred longer fits of sneezing to just one or two at a time. It made him feel weak to put so much effort into sneezing and only produce one. And he felt as though if he got them all out at one time, it would delay more from coming for a while. These single, frequent sneezes were definitely not to his liking.
Nor was the tickle in his throat. The top of his mouth all the way to the back of his throat felt hot and raw, and pain shot through it when he swallowed. The only thing that really helped was drinking ice water. After downing half a glass, it didn't hurt quite so much to swallow. Obi-Wan had even retrieved a few ice cubes from the freezer and sucked on them, holding them to the top of his mouth with his tongue until they melted. But that was only a temporary solution.
"hehhh..." He could feel another sneeze on its way now. He tightened his grip on the handkerchief and tried to control himself this time. "hehhh-ehhh..." That was easier thought than done, however, as the sneeze seemed too strong to want to back down. He pinched his nose through the handkerchief, but the urge was still there. "ehhh-hihh-IHHH!" His breath held, his eyes tightly shut, Obi-Wan held off the sneeze. Then he sighed in relief, letting his breath out as the tickle backed off. "Ha, got you that time," he told it.
But then a surge in the Force disturbed his concentration and he pitched forward as the sneeze took him off guard. "EHKShhhhhh!"
The surge had been caused by Qui-Gon's return, and the Jedi master appeared in the bedroom a minute later. He found Obi-Wan sitting cross-legged in the center of their bed, his shirt off and a handkerchief in hand. Obi-Wan blew his nose.
"Still sneezing a lot?" Qui-Gon asked, sitting down on the bed with a bag in his hands. After their exploits the day before, Obi-Wan eyed the bag suspiciously. His master's shields were up now, which could only mean Qui-Gon wanted to bag's contents to be a surprise. Qui-Gon reached over and felt Obi-Wan's forehead for fever. He was relieved to find it was normal. "As this day marks the halfway point for your cold, I thought I would pick up something special on my way home."
Obi-Wan grinned. "Ice cream! You brought me ice cream, didn't you?" The padawan was nearly bursting with excitement. This time it just had to be ice cream.
Qui-Gon, however, looked quite crestfallen. The smile which had been on his face just a moment before was replaced by a frown, and he looked down, not wanting to meet Obi-Wan's eyes. Instead, he reached into the bag and withdrew a package of handkerchiefs, tied up in paper not as a gift, but to make it easier to carry the package. He cleared his throat and tried to spoke with a voice filled with regret. "You were running low and handkerchiefs, and I know you've been feeling especially sneezy today. And I realize they feel better to your nose than those tissues do..." He fingered the package absentmindedly, squeezing it, smoothing out the tan-colored paper used to wrap it, tightening the bow made from the string that tied it. Then he reluctantly handed it over with a shrug.
Obi-Wan took it and feigned a look of pleasure. "Thank you, Master." He undid the bow and pulled back the paper to find a small stack of handkerchiefs. "I am sure they will come in useful." He tried to give Qui-Gon an encouraging smile, but failed to be very convincing.
As it was, however, they were a very thoughtful gift. His nose was tickling again already and the handkerchief he had been using was nearly used up by now. He lifted it to a spot just in front of his face. He might have tried to hold it back, but knew Qui-Gon would disapprove of his doing so. So he closed his eyes and prepared himself for the sneeze which ended up being two. "kuh-Shuhhh! hahhShuhhh!" He blew his nose a few times and then discarded the handkerchief. That remark of Qui-Gon's days ago about needing to do the laundry sooner than usual rang in Obi-Wan's head and he felt badly for contributing to that need by using so many handkerchiefs.
But his nose was runny and needed a little more attention, so he still reached for one of the new handkerchiefs. It felt delightfully soft against his slightly red and chapped nose and he smiled warmly. Even if it had not been the present he'd have chosen, it had been a terribly thoughtful one, befitting his master.
He pulled back the paper and string to survey the three short stacks of folded handkerchiefs in order to count how many there were. But something shiny caught his eye as it stuck out in the spot where he'd removed the first handkerchief. He paused in thought, then moved another of the handkerchiefs to reveal a single metal spoon.
Obi-Wan's heart jumped and he looked up just as Qui-Gon pulled a carton of ice cream out of the bag, then tossed the empty bag away. "I *knew* it!" Obi-Wan exclaimed, grabbing the spoon at once and then launching himself forward. He wrapped his arms around Qui-Gon's neck and hugged tightly.
Qui-Gon grinned at the reaction and resisted the urge to comment on how Obi-Wan had suddenly been reduced to a two year old. After all, it wasn't uncommon for Qui-Gon to feel a bit needier and debatably act younger when ill. He kissed Obi-Wan's ear, as it was the closest part of his padawan that he could kiss. Then he eased Obi-Wan off and opened the ice cream carton between them. Then he lowered his shields to their normal level, letting Obi-Wan in with sympathetic, caring warmth.
"This is fantastic," Obi-Wan said, dipping his spoon into the strawberry-vanilla swirl. "Apart from the sneezing, my throat has been in agony all day. He took a bite and then sighed deeply, closing his eyes and throwing his head back so that the ice cream fell against the back of his throat. Then he smiled and lowered his head, looking back at Qui-Gon. "Thank you."
Qui-Gon smiled back. "You are most welcome. Now are you planning to eat that whole carton yourself or may I have a bite or two once in a while?" Obi-Wan got another spoonful and lifted it to Qui-Gon's lips. Qui-Gon accepted the spoon, taking in the ice cream and smiling again. "It does taste good, doesn't it?"
Obi-Wan was on his third spoonful by the time Qui-Gon finished his comment. He nodded and swallowed. "More?" he offered, scooping up an especially large bit of the white and red swirled ice cream. Qui-Gon nodded. Obi-Wan grinned and dipped the spoon back in, doubling the size of the spoonful then quickly directing it to his master's mouth.
Laughing, Qui-Gon tried to take it all in one bite. He almost managed it, though the laughing did not help. He pulled back, trying to swallow and holding a hand up to his mouth. "Thanks," said Qui-Gon, glad his padawan was feeling a playful today, even if it was due to the ice cream.
Obi-Wan joined in with the laughter, watching his master try to deal with the mouthful. When he lowered his hand, Obi-Wan grinned. "You have a little..." He pointed to Qui-Gon's chin. "Ice cream..." He leaned closer. "On your... your beard..." His lips touched the short, rough hairs of Qui-Gon's beard. His tongue joined as he licked off the drips of ice cream. But his mouth being so close to Qui-Gon's was a temptation he could not resist. He pulled back a little, lifting another spoonful of ice cream to his mouth. Then he kissed Qui-Gon, open-mouthed and messy with the ice cream melting. Obi-Wan sniffed wetly, trying to breathe during the kiss.
Finally he broke it off, swallowing and sniffling and going straight for a handkerchief. "Sorry," he whispered, his breath racing. "I have to... sneeze... hahh... heh-IHHShhhh! YIHTChhhh! Eh-Tchuhhhh!"
Obi-Wan had snapped forward weakly with each sneeze, and Qui-Gon eased him back up gently. He pushed the younger man's padawan braid back, tucking it behind his ear. "No apologizing. If you say that every time you sneeze you'll be hoarse at the end of this. And your throat already hurts, right?" As Obi-Wan nodded, sniffling, Qui-Gon scooped out more ice cream and lifted the spoon to Obi-Wan's lips. Obi-Wan ate the spoonful, then licked the spoon clean on both sides.
"I can apologize if I want to," Obi-Wan said, wiping his nose. "When it feels right."
"Well then, a belated triple bless you," Qui-Gon said with a chuckle. He noticed Obi-Wan give a little shiver, and immediately checked his forehead again.
"It's just the ice cream," Obi-Wan told him.
Qui-Gon was not too sure. Perhaps it was the ice cream, but his temperature seemed a little higher than it had a few minutes ago. He made a mental note to take Obi-Wan's temperature tonight after they'd had enough ice cream. "Well, then. I shall have to warm you up, Padawan." He pulled over one of the many blankets on the bed and wrapped it around his own shoulders. Then he sat back against the pillows and gestured Obi-Wan over.
Obi-Wan sat back against Qui-Gon, the ice cream and handkerchiefs in his lap. Qui-Gon wrapped his own arms, and the blanket along with, around the relaxed Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan had another few bites of ice cream, then aimed the spoon over his shoulder so Qui-Gon could have a bite. Laughing as the spoon jiggled when Obi-Wan shivered, Qui-Gon hugged his padawan closer and craned his neck, finally catching the spoon in his mouth.
Obi-Wan left the spoon in Qui-Gon's mouth as he felt another sneeze coming on. He did not apologize, but a few heavy breaths warned Qui-Gon sufficiently. "ehhh-hahhh-hehhh-EH-CUFFFF!" He sneezed into the handkerchief, not wishing to sneeze on the ice cream of course. "Ehhhhhh-KShhffffff!" He blew his nose, then took a few moments to breathe deeply and relax again before taking the spoon back.
Obi-Wan had another bite and sighed again. The look on his face this time was genuine. "Force but I love this, Master. It's almost worth getting sick just to be able to snuggle in bed with you and a carton of ice cream."
Qui-Gon chuckled and kissed the top of his head. "And it is half over now."
"Still a whole half to go," Obi-Wan said, realistically.
"Half over," Qui-Gon repeated. "And I know you shall weather it as well as you did the first."
Obi-Wan shrugged and ate more ice cream. "If the days are anything like today, I will."