The Ondarian Virus

Part 9


This part's rating: PG

See part 0 for full header



     Settling down on the bed beside Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon placed a cool, damp washcloth on his padawan's forehead. Obi-Wan sleepily opened his eyes and smiled. "Does that feel nice?" Qui-Gon asked. He frowned at Obi-Wan's hot red cheeks. "You're burning up, Lad." Obi-Wan nodded and closed his eyes.


     Qui-Gon set a fresh box of tissues and a bowl of cool water down on the bedside table. Then he reached down and slowly unbuttoned Obi-Wan's shirt. The satiny material slipped beneath his fingers as buttons were eased out of their buttonholes. He opened Obi-Wan's shirt. Obi-Wan's smooth chest rose and fell with quick, shallow breaths. Qui-Gon took a cloth from the bowl and wrung it out. He pressed it gently against the hot chest. Obi-Wan flinched unexpectedly, then rose to the touch and smiled slightly.


     He looked uncomfortable, however, and Qui-Gon decided to give Obi-Wan something else to think about for a change. "I had lunch with Master Windu today," he said casually, dabbing the cloth against Obi-Wan's chest. "We were discussing the appointment of a new trainer for the initiates now that Master Laou has taken on a padawan of his own."


     Qui-Gon dipped the cloth in the water, then wrung it out again. He wiped at Obi-Wan's neck and chest, following the gentle angles of Obi-Wan's collarbone. "There is one Jedi Knight they are considering who has excellent saber skills but they are unsure that he will be able to handle imparting information on a variety of different sorts of students. There is another, a Master, who has comparable skills and has worked with a number of padawans. But he just lost a padawan and may not be through dealing with that yet. There are several other candidates with a variety of skills that might be able to handle the job brilliantly." Qui-Gon spoke slowly and calmly, but he could tell Obi-Wan was missing bits of what he was saying. Qui-Gon re-wet the cloth on Obi-Wan's forehead. "Do you have any suggestions, Obi-Wan?"


     "They should let the iditiates have the last say about the choice," Obi-Wan said, trying to follow the discussion. "The iditiates always feel rather helbless and..." He seemed to be winded and coughed a few times. Then he closed his eyes and continued on telepathically to save his voice. //The initiates feel as though they do not always get the best trainers. If they are to be expected to perform so well as to have masters take them as padawan learners, they must be given fair and extensive training. They will feel better if they are able to work with each and give their opinions.//


     Qui-Gon nodded. "I will tell Mace that. He thought you might have a fresh perspective. You are closer to the situation than we are, after all."


     Obi-Wan opened his eyes, looking up at his master suspiciously. "Did he really suggest you ask be? Or are you just tryig to fide thigs to bake be feel useful?"


     Qui-Gon dipped the cloth into the water, then moved it over to Obi-Wan's chest. When he squeezed, water rushed onto the padawan's chest and small streams of water when everywhere, across stomach and biceps, and down each side. "He really suggested that I ask you," Qui-Gon said. Then he locked eyes with Obi-Wan and smiled. "After I told him I wanted to find something to make you feel useful."


     A weak smile spread on his face. //I think I knew that,// Obi-Wan said, closing his eyes again.


     Qui-Gon dipped the cloth back into the water, his fingertips submerged beneath the cool surface as he wet the cloth. It chilled him a little but he did not really mind.




     Qui-Gon looked over to see Obi-Wan slowly reaching up and holding the other cloth to his forehead. The young man's nose wrinkled and his breath hitched. Worriedly, Obi-Wan tried to sit up a little. "No, here, I will help." Qui-Gon pulled a few tissues out and folded them in half. Then he helped Obi-Wan sit up a little so he could breath more easily. Qui-Gon took the cloth and put it in the bowl of water with the other. Then he pressed the tissues to Obi-Wan's nose just in time. Obi-Wan pulled back, drawing a deep breath, then snapped forward. "ihhhKEHShhhh! ehhhKUHShhhh! KTShhhh!" Obi-Wan coughed from the congestion, then blew his nose a few times. Qui-Gon was able to pinch Obi-Wan's nose through the tissues with just the right pressure. Then he carefully wiped Obi-Wan's nose dry.


     Obi-Wan coughed a little, and Qui-Gon lifted a glass of ice water to Obi-Wan's lips. //Thank you, Master,// Obi-Wan said, sounding weak though he had not even used his voice.


     After easing his padawan back down, he took the cloth and placed it against Obi-Wan's hot forehead. Obi-Wan had looked uncomfortable for a moment, then sighed with a look of relief when the cool cloth touched his skin once again.


     "The meeting I had tomorrow was rescheduled," Qui-Gon said, trying again to distract his padawan. "So I'll be able to stay in all day with you." Obi-Wan smiled, though the smile was short-lived. His condition kept him from smiling for very long. Qui-Gon quickly added, "And I would like you to help me look over a briefing we're sending to the Senate, when you're feeling better."


     Obi-Wan nodded in a way that gave Qui-Gon the distinct impression that his padawan did not care so much about senate briefings at the moment. Dipping the cloth in the cool water, and rubbing it against Obi-Wan's chest, he gave a comforting smile. "Don't worry. I'm sure your fever will be down again soon. Tala did say that some days would be better than others."


     With a sigh and a nod, Obi-Wan replied, //I know. I'm just getting a bit tired of this.//


     Still smiling, Qui-Gon rubbed the cloth against Obi-Wan's chest in slow, steady circles. He teased one of Obi-Wan's nipples, making the younger man smile reluctantly. "Tired of the attention? Tired of me touching you? Tired of getting to relax here all day while your master is out trying to please the very demanding council without his very talented padawan's help?" Obi-Wan's smile broadened a little more.


     But then his face twitched and nostrils flared briefly as he took a quick, deep breath. Qui-Gon was quick with the tissues, pulling three out of the box at one time and pressing them to Obi-Wan's nose. He certainly did not mind Obi-Wan sneezing openly, but he also knew Obi-Wan did not like the sensation of sneezing on himself. And with his shirt open and his inability to sit up or roll over on his own, Qui-Gon did not want Obi-Wan to feel any more uncomfortable.


     Obi-Wan's eyes closed, his breath hitched, jaw dropped. Qui-Gon cupped the tissues to Obi-Wan's nose and mouth and sent a gentle, comforting feeling through their bond to let Obi-Wan know it was all right to sneeze now. Whether he understood or whether he simply could not hold out any longer, Obi-Wan sneezed. "HEHShfff! IkkShhfff!" He blew his nose a little, then sighed and relaxed back against the pillows. Qui-Gon wiped his nose gently as Obi-Wan raised his hand and rubbed at the bridge of his nose and bottom of his forehead all at once.


     Qui-Gon took the cloth from Obi-Wan's forehead, wet it in the cool water, and touched it to his forehead again. The energy Obi-Wan had expended while sneezing made the young man feel hotter than he had been, and the cool touches made him sigh with relief. Qui-Gon waited until Obi-Wan's breaths slowed and eyes closed before ending the routine. "We will give it a few minutes, then check your temperature again," Qui-Gon explained.


     He helped Obi-Wan off with his shirt completely, as it was wet now in places from stray drops. Then he reached down to pull the covers up over his padawan. But Obi-Wan shook his head. "Doe," he said, pushing the covers away. "I'b too hot."


     "I know," Qui-Gon said sympathetically. "I know you have a fever, but you really do need to stay warm. How about just one blanket?"


     Obi-Wan shook his head again, frowning. He waved his hand and the sheet and blanket in Qui-Gon's hands, which had been halfway up Obi-Wan's legs, slid out of the Jedi master's hand and down to the bottom of the bed. "Dod't wadt theb. They bake be feel all sticky add sweaty. Add thed it's hard to breathe."


     Qui-Gon suppressed a sigh. Obi-Wan was never this fussy, even when sick. This illness was really starting to get to him, and no briefing to the Senate would make him feel better. Qui-Gon took a deep breath and centered himself, then smiled calmly as he looked down at Obi-Wan. "Then how about I get into bed with you to keep you warm?"


     Obi-Wan gave the idea a moment's consideration before nodding. Qui-Gon pulled off his shirt and turned from facing Obi-Wan to sitting alongside him. Then he lay down on his back. He pulled Obi-Wan close, arm around the young man's shoulders with a tight squeeze. Obi-Wan snuggled into Qui-Gon's side and draped his arm over Qui-Gon's chest. "Comfortable now?" Qui-Gon asked, his cool, water-pruned fingers stroking Obi-Wan's cheek and forehead.


     Obi-Wan nodded wearily. "I thig I'b ready for ode," Obi-Wan said softly.


     "One what?" Qui-Gon asked, kissing Obi-Wan's wet forehead and rubbing his hand up and down the soft, bare arm in an attempt to kiss Obi-Wan warm.


     "Ode of those better days," he replied. "I'b sick of beig sick."


     Understanding, Qui-Gon gave Obi-Wan another squeeze around the shoulders. "Trust in the force, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, wishing he could offer more in support. "Just rest and keep warm and I am sure you will get one soon."