The Ondarian Virus

Part 20

 

This part's rating: G

See part 0 for full header

 

     The twentieth day of Obi-Wan's illness turned out to be a bad day.

 

     All things considered, Obi-Wan's cold was far better than it had been in days. His temperature was normal again and had been for quite some time. His face had more color to it, and his eyes had less red. His cough was infrequent, lighter, smoother. His congestion was bothersome at best.

 

     And, yet, it was a bad day. Most likely it would have been a bad day even if he could have gone outside their quarters. It probably would have been a bad day had he been able to perform his normal Jedi duties. It would have been a bad day for Obi-Wan Kenobi even if the young padawan were not the least bit sick. As Obi-Wan always got up on the same side of the bed Qui-Gon could not use that as the reason, though he knew better than to actually try to find a reason for it. From time to time, bad days just happened.

 

     Obi-Wan stood at the large glass window on the far side of the common area. Normally they kept the blinds drawn so that those in passing ships could not look in at them. They were open now, pulled back by Obi-Wan's own hands. He stared up past the speeding blurs, busy streets, and bright lights of Coruscant to gaze up at the stars. Their tiny balcony was but inches away, but he was not allowed to step outside.

 

     He stood in bare feet, sleep pants, and a loose shirt on top. To stay warm he had his cloak on, the hood pulled up over his head and the sides pulled closed in the front. His arms were crossed over his chest and he stood straight and resolute. He clutched a balled-up handkerchief in one hand, using it only when absolutely necessary. He sneezed freely but rubbed his nose every so often. Otherwise he was motionless, staring up into the sky in thought.

 

     His shields were up fully, which was usual on his bad days. But as this was most definitely one, neither he nor Qui-Gon did not discuss the matter. In fact, once Qui-Gon understood Obi-Wan was having a bad day, he put his up for the duration of the day as well. It was quite a change from the intimacy they had shared the day before, but not an unexpected one. As the will of the Force usually dictated, everything eventually came to a natural equilibrium.

 

     Qui-Gon had not avoided interacting with his padawan, once he realized the sort of day it would be; he simply kept the interactions to a bare minimum, not wanting to get on Obi-Wan's bad side. There were no lengthy conversations about anything interesting in work or in pleasure. Obi-Wan grunted more than he spoke, and if he bothered answering at all he was short with his answers and snapped when Qui-Gon asked him a question.

 

     When his padawan turned his nose up at the breakfast offerings, Qui-Gon suggested alternate dishes and fixed Obi-Wan a bowl of oatmeal when that was the item to which Obi-Wan voiced the fewest objections. Qui-Gon had let him fend for himself for lunch and dinner, though the contents of the kitchen cupboards and the fridge still produced a list of complaints.

 

     Similarly, Obi-Wan had not felt like doing much all day and had rebuffed every well-intentioned suggestion of Qui-Gon's. He picked up his report and worked on for a few minutes before discarding it. He went through a few holovids, watching less than half of each before he lost interest. He felt too restless to sleep yet too tired to do anything even remotely productive. He stayed in the bedroom as much as possible, and Qui-Gon stuck to the common area.

 

      Some time in the afternoon he settled into the bed with one of his last clean handkerchiefs and a hot cup of tea. He tried reading one of his master's books, despite a dull, annoying headache. Several hard sneezes into the task made him spill his tea. His cold fogged his senses and slowed his reflexes, and he had been unable to prevent the spill. He had, however, managed to miss the priceless book and instead drenched several layers of blankets down to the sheets. Qui-Gon had told him not to be frustrated about it, that nothing had been ruined, but the accident had certainly not improved Obi-Wan's mood any.

 

     The first time he had been anything but annoyed or frustrated was after dinner when he stood silently in front of the window to watch the sunset. Even in a bad mood, he could find nothing wrong with that. Simple. Beautiful. Peaceful. So he stood for quite some time, as the sky turned from a cloud-filled blue to turquoise with orange and purple streaks and then to a dark blue, grey, and black. He watched as the stars came out, counting and naming each one. He refused to allow the sneezes and less frequent coughs to distract him from this task.

 

     It was late in the evening when Qui-Gon started to feel drowsy. After taking a short sonic shower, brushing his teeth, and changing into sleep pants, he was ready for bed. On the way from the 'fresher to their bedroom, however, he paused then went to Obi-Wan.

 

     Positioning himself behind, he wrapped his arms around Obi-Wan and pressed his lips to the back of Obi-Wan's head, just above his ponytail. Obi-Wan neither leaned into nor pushed his master away. He neither stiffened nor relaxed at the touch.

 

     They stood together in silence for a while, and Qui-Gon slowly let his shields down, making sure Obi-Wan was well aware of the gesture. Then he yawned deeply. "It is late and I am heading to bed now. I've changed the sheets already. You may join me whenever you like."

 

     Obi-Wan gave a single, short nod of understanding. Then he snapped forward with a series of strong sneezes. "hehhhShh! HahKShehhh! huh-Shihhh! Sniff! eh-HIHShhhh! hahh-Kshhh! Sniff!" He snuffled into his rumpled hanky. Rubbing his already chapped nose with the damp handkerchief did little good, but he did not want to leave his place at the window to retrieve one of his few remaining handkerchiefs.

 

     Qui-Gon waited for him to finish. "If I am already asleep when you come to bed, have a good sleep and sweet dreams. And if I am already up when you wake in the morning, chances are I'm just down in the laundry room. Laundry day has come early this month." With both the mission and Obi-Wan's cold, he now had no hope of sticking to the normal schedule. There was extra formal wear, abnormal amounts of sleepwear, several changes of sheets, and of course a growing pile of handkerchiefs which would need a special washing.

 

     Qui-Gon kissed the back of Obi-Wan's head and gave him a tight hug. The he pulled away and headed towards the bedroom, leaving Obi-Wan alone again in front of the window.

 

     "Master?" Obi-Wan called, turning and looking back. "I'm sorry about my behavior today. Tomorrow will be better."

 

     Qui-Gon closed his eyes and gave a nod. Bad days happened to everyone. Even he had them from time to time. He was simply better at hiding them. "I'm sure it will. Goodnight, Obi-Wan."

 

     Obi-Wan nodded back. "Goodnight." He stood by the window for a few more seconds. Then he pulled the blinds closed and headed into the 'fresher to get ready for bed.