The Ondarian Virus

Part 24


This part's rating: G

See part 0 for full header



     Even on the days when Obi-Wan was not sick, very mornings were conspicuously absent of Obi-Wan in their quarters. Qui-Gon used the time for a variety of purposes, though sometimes he stayed in bed and slept in with Obi-Wan. Sometimes he would use the time for work his padawan was not supposed to see, and other times he would cook a breakfast that was sure to put a smile on his sleepy padawan's face. And on other mornings, such as this one, he sat in their spare room and meditated.


     Having time to meditate alone had always been important to Qui-Gon, and encouraged Obi-Wan to do the same. His own master had never left much time for Qui-Gon to be alone with the Force, though Qui-Gon supposed that was because he already had such a strong hold on the Living Force, even as a young padawan.


     Meditating alone was a way of listening to the universe, and of communicating back on a very basic level. He loved doing nothing but feeling the Force around him, with no distractions and no needing to lead. He could enjoy the relaxed, calming feelings and feel energy filling him and energizing him for the day.


     He liked meditating alone, but he still smiled when he felt the presence of his padawan in the room. Obi-Wan's warm body half settled in his lap, and the soft top of his head brushed his chin and neck. Qui-Gon smiled, knowing Obi-Wan was curled in a way to listen to Qui-Gon's heartbeat and breathing. Still deep in meditation, Qui-Gon managed to lift a hand and pet his padawan's head.




     The sneeze jostled them both, but it was the sound that made Qui-Gon consciously decide to pull out of meditation. He opened his eyes and smiled again, his hand still on Obi-Wan's head, petting in soft, short strokes. "Bless you. And good morning."


     Though he had no fever, the room was cold, and he snuggled into his master a little more. "Good bordig," he replied as cheerfully as someone who had just received a bad mark on an exam. He sniffed hard, then tried again. //Good morning.//


     //It is early yet. I've not known you to wake at this hour unless there were something wrong.//


     //I'm just too sneezy to sleep,// Obi-Wan explained, closing his eyes. He was too tired to keep them open. And too sneezy, as well. "yehhShhh! Ehhh-HITChhhhhh!" He lifted a handkerchief to his nose and blew. As he did so, he winced greatly and gave an short but unmistakable moan.


     Qui-Gon shifted uncomfortably beneath Obi-Wan. "Are you in so much pain, Padawan? Even with a handkerchief instead of tissues?"


     Obi-Wan nodded and sniffled. He gently dabbed the handkerchief at his nose, flinching at the touch but trying to make it softer than a normal rub would be. His nose was red and terribly chapped from so much sneezing.


     "I think I may have something for you," Qui-Gon said, giving Obi-Wan one last pet then trying to pull out from beneath his padawan. Obi-Wan obliged, scooting off. Qui-Gon rose, stretched, and headed out of the room. Sensing that Obi-Wan was free to come with, Obi-Wan rose as well.


     Qui-Gon found him following into the 'fresher and over to the cabinet. Qui-Gon had stocked it with all the essentials for cold care, from thermometers to tissues. He selected a small, bright yellow jar, and closed the cabinet.


     Obi-Wan scrunched his nose. "Bore creab?"


     Qui-Gon nodded and gestured for Obi-Wan to head back out again. He led Obi-Wan to the sofa and sat down on it, cross-legged. Obi-Wan sat down on his master's lap, leaning against both Qui-Gon and the couch. "This isd't the sabe kide as last tibe, is it?" Obi-Wan asked. Despite his lack of fever, it was too early and he was too sick and tired for having that sort of fun. Especially after all if it they had had the day before. "I'b very sdeezy but I'b dot quite as stuffed ub as last tibe. Huhh!" He pressed a finger to his nose and winced, then pulled it away again. "hehh... hehh-IHHKShhhh! Huffshuhhh! HupTchhhh!"


     "I don't know. You sound pretty stuffed up to me," Qui-Gon said kindly.


     Obi-Wan shrugged and blew his nose hard into the handkerchief. He groaned at the pain, then whimpered and buried his face into Qui-Gon's tunic.


     "Shhhh," Qui-Gon calmed him, rubbing a hand up and down Obi-Wan's back. "No, this isn't like the last time. It's a special cream that should make it feel better for you to sneeze." He popped the lid off the dipped several fingers in, taking out a large dollop of cream. Then he dipped a finger into that and paused, considering the next step. "Better blow your nose as much as you can now." Obi-Wan looked skeptical, but obeyed. When he was finished, Qui-Gon touched his lotion-covered finger to the tip of Obi-Wan's nose.


     With a gasp, Obi-Wan's eyes widened. Qui-Gon kissed his forehead as a distraction. "Stings a little, does it?" Qui-Gon asked concernedly. Obi-Wan nodded and whimpered. "That will go away in a moment. Let me just rub it in. You will see."


     Trusting his master, Obi-Wan lifted his head and clenched his teeth, preparing for more. Qui-Gon rubbed the cream into Obi-Wan's nose, concentrating on the nostrils and underside of Obi-Wan's nose. It hurt for a moment, but then it began to feel good. Very good.


     Qui-Gon took a bit more of the cream and rubbed it into the area just beneath Obi-Wan's nose. The lotion soothed the chapped areas as Qui-Gon applied it liberally. Obi-Wan sighed and leaned into the touch. The more he put on, the less it stung and the more it soothed. The more he put on, the better Obi-Wan felt. But once in a while, Qui-Gon's finger made his nose tickle a little. He resisted the urge to sneeze for as long as possible, pursing his lips and holding his breath.


     Before long, however, he could not resist the urge. "Ah, Qui? Hahh!" He raised the handkerchief a little, letting it hover at his chest, at the ready. "huh... I, ah, have to... to... sdee... sdeeeehhh!"


     At the last moment, Qui-Gon pulled his hand back and Obi-Wan raised the handkerchief. He did not want to touch it to his nose and risk wiping off the lotion. But at the same time, he sensed the sneeze would be strong. Holding in his sneezes usually made them a little worse when they finally struck. And Obi-Wan did not want Qui-Gon to watch him sneeze that way. "HERSHhhhhhh! HEHKShhhhh!" He sneezed viciously. "HEPPSchhhhhhhh! Ughh!" He groaned and reluctantly pressed the handkerchief to his nose to hide the resulting mess. He blew his nose and wiped thoroughly, finding that it did not hurt as much as usual for a while. After the tenth blow, however, most of the lotion had been rubbed off and it hurt again. He looked up weakly at Qui-Gon.


     "It is all right," Qui-Gon said softly. "I can put more on. If we put it on enough times, it should help heal almost completely. And by the time your cold is over, you will feel just fine."


     Obi-Wan smiled and wiped his nose dry. "Baybe just a little bore right dow, thed? I'b sure I'll have to sdeeze agaid... I feel so sdeezy. But just edough to keeb it frob hurtig so I could go back to sleeb?"


     Qui-Gon closed the jar and rubbed the remainder of the cream he had extracted onto Obi-Wan's nostrils. So many sneezes and blows had chapped his nose terribly, and the skin beneath his nose which was usually so soft was, in fact, rough beneath Qui-Gon's fingertip. "I cannot promise that much, but if you keep sneezing, we'll keep trying."


     Smiling pleasantly, Obi-Wan closed his eyes and trusted his master. Qui-Gon gently rubbed more in, taking care not to irritate the sensitive nose again. When finished, Obi-Wan blew his runny nose very carefully. Then he curled up and set his head on Qui-Gon's thigh. "Feeling sleepy?" Qui-Gon asked. It was definitely too early for Obi-Wan to be awake.


     With a harsh yawn, Obi-Wan nodded. //Can I sleep here, Master? Would you mind looking after me this morning until you have to go to your meetings?//


     Qui-Gon ran his hand over Obi-Wan's head, his fingers sinking into the short, extra-soft hair. "It is early yet. I can stay with you for a while longer." He pulled one of the blankets off the back of the sofa and draped it over his padawan.


     Obi-Wan's breath caught almost immediately after this and he shook with another viscous sneeze. "EHHShhhhh! HEHChhhh! HIHTchhhh!"


     He lifted the handkerchief to rub at his runny nose, but Qui-Gon took it from him. "I'm looking after you, remember?" Qui-Gon said, smiling. "I'll take care of that." Gently he dabbed the handkerchief at Obi-Wan's nose to dry it. "Just sleep," he said soothingly, his voice sounding soft, deep, smooth. Obi-Wan put all his trust in Qui-Gon and fell to sleep.