Title: Lost and Found Boys

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Star Wars

Rating: G

Disclaimer: The Jedi and their world are owned by Lucas. And Xan is a creation in Jude Watson's Jedi Apprentice (official) book series. I don't own any of it, but the plot, such that it isn't, is mine.

Summary: Qui-Gon finds it difficult to deal with a sick Padawan or two

Notes: Sure, though I should mention all I know about Xan I know from online summaries as I've not read the books.



Lost and Found Boys


     Qui-Gon switched off the communicator and picked the datapad up off his lap, preparing to rise from the couch. Most unexpectedly, the door to his quarters slid open at that moment and he settled back on the couch. "Ah, Padawan. Just the person I was about to set out to find. I am assuming by your early return this means you have a good explanation for missing saber training this morning, Xanatos?"


     The young man nodded and shrugged off his robe, tossing it onto a chair. "You seem to know everything about it already, Master."


     "Master Windu called me personally about the matter just a moment ago," Qui-Gon explained. "And I would like an honest answer to my question, thank you."


     He raised a hand to his face, swiping at his nose. His midnight blue eyes closed as he gave a wet sniffle, and when he opened them he stated, "I think I'm coming down with something. I don't feel so well." Leaving the datapad behind, Qui-Gon pushed off from the couch and went to him. As he neared, he held his hand up, going straight to feel his Padawan's forehead for fever, but Xanatos jumped back. "What're you doing?" he asked, a bit shaken and suspicious. "Don't trust that I actually am sick?"


     Qui-Gon sighed. Thanks to their heightened levels of midi-chlorians, it was not common for Jedi to fall ill, or act differently when feeling unwell. However, Xanatos seemed to be blowing things far out of proportion. "Of course I trust you," he replied. "I simply wanted to check to see if you have a fever, to make sure you are not coming down with anything too serious. Have you never seen anyone do this before, here or back on Telos?"


     The young man shook his head. "I can't even remember the last time I was sick. I don't exactly pay attention to this sort of thing." Well that explained things a bit. It was clear that whatever path Xanatos was on, its end would most likely not be in healing.


     By now, Qui-Gon could sense the apprehension through their training bond, and feel, too, that whatever Xanatos had come down with, it was not life-threatening. He could see, just by looking at him, that his young Padawan learner felt sicker than he ever had before and did not know how to deal with it. Qui-Gon watched as the dark-haired young man turned and sneezed freely, weakly. "hehhYIKuhchhhhh!" He rubbed at his nose, but there was a second sneeze hiding there that he wasn't able to rub out, as much as he tried. His breathing caught, and he snapped forward, sneezing to the side. "hehYEEHShhhhh!"


     "Bless." Sympathetically, Qui-Gon patted his upper arm. Xanatos tensed against the touch, so Qui-Gon pulled back. "Why don't you go change into your nightclothes and get into bed to rest for a while?"


     For a moment, Xanatos looked lost, not quite sure what he wanted to do, what he should do. He looked as though he had the strength for a fight and was about to insist he should stay up and help his master with whatever work they had been assigned, or even go to class and tough it out. He ran a hand over his short, spiky black hair in worry, eyes darting from the common area to his bedroom. It seemed that however strong his urge to stay and seem tough was, his cold was preventing him from giving into it entirely.


     "Go on," Qui-Gon said softly. "Sleep will help. You can work later when you feel better."


     Xanatos sniffled and nodded. He rubbed a finger beneath his nose as he turned and headed to his room, leaving the door open just a little behind him.


     Qui-Gon entered minutes later to see him to bed. "I've brought you a few handkerchiefs and a bit of tea," he said, descending upon the young man.


     Xanatos had climbed into bed shirtless, though most of him was hidden beneath the blankets he'd pulled up to his armpits. The need to rub at his runny nose had, apparently, not gone away at all. At the words and the sight of his master looking cheerful and helpful, he groaned and rolled over onto his side, his back to Qui-Gon. "I didn't say I wanted those. I just wanted to be left alone. I feel sick enough without having someone hovering over me." He sniffled hard and the rubbing at his nose became harsher. "It's bad enough I got sick at all, without someone standing there watching me go through all... all this." He cupped a hand to his nose and mouth quickly as his dark eyes closed. "hehhh-YIHShhhh! YEHSHuhhhhh! Ughkk!" He grimaced and shook his now wet hand.


     "Hrm." Qui-Gon contemplated the scene before him. "Well, I can take the handkerchiefs and tea away if you don't need them, then." Xanatos rolled back over and waved his hand at the handkerchiefs. One shot down to him, and he gave his nose a honking blow, rubbing it into its folds. Qui-Gon suppressed a smirk.


     Xanatos spent a while blowing his nose and trying to clear his throat. When he looked up, he did not thank his master for the handkerchiefs. "I don't like that kind of tea. I like the kind with the orange flavoring," he said finally, through the handkerchief.


     "I will make you a cup of that, then," Qui-Gon replied, feeling as though the boy was reverting back to the days when he thought the universe was there for his taking, and its inhabitants there to be his subjects. Just a bit of proper training had changed this idea within him, but having been born to the richest man on his home world, and having been born with great Jedi powers, it was a hard instinct for him to reject completely. "If you so desire one?"


     Xanatos shrugged stubbornly but at least he did not rudely refuse outright. He folded the handkerchief in half and blew his nose again, with a look of intense concentration and dislike. Then another sneeze struck, shaking him weakly. "ehhhYShhhhh!" And he followed it with more nose blowing that used the handkerchief up pretty badly. Qui-Gon leaned in and handed him a fresh one. Xanatos took it and rubbed his nose dry. "Could you just leave me alone now?" He said to Qui-Gon about it, but his eyes shone with gratitude enough for Qui-Gon to notice.


     "Get some rest," Qui-Gon said again. "I'll be around if you need anything. Don't hesitate to call." The young man nodded and pulled the blankets up to his chin, still clutching the handkerchief and rubbing it at his nose.


     Qui-Gon saw very little of his Padawan during the next two and a half days. Xanatos chose to suffer through his cold alone in his room, not once calling out for his master's assistance. Qui-Gon checked frequently on him, however, though he did so only when he was sure the young man was fast asleep. He moved quietly through the room, leaving fresh handkerchiefs and taking the used ones away, leaving trays of food and taking away empty plates and bowls. Sometimes he sat on the edge of the bed and stroked Xanatos' head gently, comfortingly, though lightly enough that it did not wake him. The only time he really saw the young man awake was when Xanatos left the room to use the 'fresher and return quickly to bed.  


     But after the two and a half days, Xanatos emerged from the 'fresher having taken a real shower with water, and instead of ducking quickly into his room to avoid his master he stayed out to speak with him. "I'm feeling a lot better," he admitted, rubbing a towel over his short hair to dry it.


     "That's very good to hear," Qui-Gon replied, patting the seat beside him on the couch. Xanatos took the invitation and sat down on it, bringing his legs up with him and bending them beneath his body. "I'm sure you must be quite relieved to feel well again."


     Xanatos nodded, rubbing a finger under his nose. "Well, I'm still feeling a little sniffley, but otherwise well." He carefully gathered the few strands of hair he had been growing out for his braid, and he made a point of avoiding his master's eyes. "Though I do feel a bit guilty. I should not have been so rude to you. I know you were only trying to help me." He began doing up the braid, but his hands shook slightly.


     Qui-Gon reached around him on both sides and cupped his large hands over the young man's to keep them steady and make him pause a moment. The head lifted and the midnight blue eyes met his. "I understand that you were feeling very poorly, and that is new for you. Everyone acts differently when ill and you handled it exactly as you needed to in order to feel better. I do wish you would have let me help, but you have never needed me as a son would a father." Which, Qui-Gon noted to himself, was probably because he still had such strong memories of his own father and his place on his home world. "I accept your apology, however. And am very pleased you are feeling better." His hands overtook Xanatos' and the young man relaxed at last in Qui-Gon's presence. Qui-Gon sent an approving wave of the force through their training bond. "Now let me work on your braid while I explain to you the next task the council has appointed for us." He worked the jet black hair between his fingers until it formed a braid that hung just past his Padawan's chin.


* * *


     Qui-Gon sighed and switched off the communicator. His Padawan always had a good reason for missing lessons, but governmental policies was one of his favorites. He had spent so much time preparing for the debate the class was supposed to have that day that it simply seemed very unlike him to miss it. The door slid open moments later, and Qui-Gon looked up, putting on his stern face to see that there was no dire emergency gripping his Padawan. No loss of limb. No blood-stained tunics. No urgent call away on mission.  "Padawan. I was just about to go find you. I do hope you have a good reason for missing lessons this morning and not informing Master Briddock ahead of time? This is not at all like you, Obi-Wan."


     The young man nodded and shivered in his robes, crossing his arms over his chest for warmth. "I think I might be coming down with something. I haven't been feeling very well."


     Qui-Gon arched an eyebrow. Now that he got a good look at Obi-Wan, he did notice the pale tint to his skin. And even from the couch he could sense something wrong with him. Trying not to be overprotective, and knowing his Padawan could take care of himself, Qui-Gon resisted the urge to go straight over and feel his forehead. Qui-Gon did not want to make the same mistake twice, after all.


     Yet it was more difficult to keep his distance from his self-sufficient Padawan as he watched Obi-Wan's face fall to the need to sneeze. But he remembered how Xanatos had been then, and did not want to make Obi-Wan feel worse. So he stayed on the couch as Obi-Wan sneezed. "ihhh...ihhhShoo! ehhhShuhhhhh!" The sneezes were fierce, snapping him forward, making him bend nearly in half, and taking his breath away for moments after. He rubbed at his nose, sniffling and wiggling. "Yes," he said, turning his attention back to his master. "Not feeling very well at all. I just couldn't make it through class."


     Qui-Gon gave him a look of sympathetic understanding. "Well, I think the best thing to do, then, would be to get changed into your nightclothes and get into bed for the rest of the day."


     Obi-Wan nodded back, but hesitated. He looked from his master to his bedroom, then back again. A lost look in his eyes showed he was unsure as to what he wanted to do. He had always been strong, and full of conviction. It was bad enough to have to miss a lesson. But now that he was sick, he was not exactly sure how he wanted to handle it.


     "Go on," Qui-Gon prodded, waving casually with his hand. "Sleep will help, I promise. Then, later you can do what you need."


     Obi-Wan nodded obediently and turned, heading slowly for his room and his bed. He paused in the doorway, palm against the wall to steady himself as another sneeze struck, this one just as wet and forceful as the others. "ehhh-hehSHUHhhhh!" He sniffed hard and swiped a hand beneath his nose. Then, with a deep breath, he turned to look at his master, still sitting on the couch and watching him. "What I need is you," he said softly but decisively. "I wasn't thinking about my work just then for a change. I really don't feel well enough for that. D'you think I could... maybe sleep out on the couch instead? Just so I know you're nearby?"


     Qui-Gon had a hard time not melting right on the spot, and wondered how he'd ever managed to look stern just minutes before. He held out an arm in invitation. "Of course, my Obi-Wan."


     With speed he usually only showed when sparring, the Padawan crossed the room at once and falling into his master's arms with a hug. Qui-Gon gently stroked his head, running his fingers over the soft brown hair. Relaxing at once at the touch, Obi-Wan snuggled into his warmth. Qui-Gon tightened the hug. It was not a full standard minute before he needed to sneeze, however. Qui-Gon sensed it was coming, but did not let him go. Obi-Wan's eyes closed and he cupped a hand to his face quickly. "ihhChuhhh!"


     "Bless." Qui-Gon pet the back of his head, then pulled back a little to look down at his Padawan. "Why don't you go get changed and bring your favorite blanket out here, and I'll find some clean handkerchiefs and make us some tea. How would that be?" Obi-Wan smiled and nodded. He gave his master a tight hug, then sprang up. The quicker he changed, the quicker he would be back again. Qui-Gon could hear him rushing around in his bedroom. Moving so quickly was exhausting, however, and the Padawan collapsed weakly onto the couch when he returned, unable to move again for a while. Luckily, he did not have to.


     Qui-Gon descended upon him with warmth, not the least of which could be attributed to the tea. He pulled Obi-Wan over, letting the young man curl up beside him on the couch, head in Qui-Gon's lap. Then he spread the blanket over Obi-Wan and tucked it around him. Obi-Wan closed his eyes and let out a grateful sigh. Qui-Gon petted the side of his head gently. "There now. Feeling a little bit better?"


     Obi-Wan did indeed look as though he felt better to be settled in, but his nose was twitching a bit and his throat itching. He sniffled and rubbed at his nose before nodding. "Yeah, a little better."


     "Ah," Qui-Gon smiled, petting his cheek, and then the bridge of his nose. "I get it. You're feeling too sick and sneezey to say you're any better, but don't want to hurt my feelings. Is that it?" Obi-Wan buried his face in his master's lap with a sheepish smile. "It's all right for you to feel sneezey. I'll just have to work harder on helping you out then."


     "That's good, because... 'cause..." Obi-Wan's breath caught. He tensed, about to sneeze, but Qui-Gon had already sensed it through their bond and held Obi-Wan's shoulder supportively. "hehh... hihhIHShhhh! IHKshhhhh!" Handing over the handkerchief, he waited for Obi-Wan to blow his nose a few times before pushing the tea on him. "Mmm," Obi-Wan sighed, sitting up halfway to drink the tea better and leaning back against Qui-Gon. "Even though I like the tea with the orange flavoring better, this is really good. Thank you."


     "I'll make you some of that a little later," Qui-Gon said, chuckling silently to himself. "Would you like that?"


     Too intent on drinking the tea without spilling it, Obi-Wan simply 'Mmm'ed again and nodded but that was answer enough. When finished with the tea, he curled back up, handkerchief clutched tightly in his hand, blanket tucked tightly around him, and let Qui-Gon stroke his head until he fell asleep.


     During the next few days, Qui-Gon hardly spent a moment without Obi-Wan at his side. The only time he was alone for any considerable amount of time was when one of them went to use the 'fresher before quickly returning to the couch. Qui-Gon took care of the handkerchiefs, getting clean ones when needed and easing used ones out of his Padawan's clutches. When Qui-Gon was hungry, he put off the desire until Obi-Wan grew hungry, at which point they discussed what Qui-Gon would make them for dinner. When tired, Qui-Gon pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and stretched out beneath it, with Obi-Wan stretched out on top of him, head on his stomach. Qui-Gon did not sleep much. Instead he spent the hours petting his Padawan and listening to be sure his breaths were even though heavy with congestion. But in the moments when they were not sleeping, there was much talking. Obi-Wan enjoyed hearing stories of Qui-Gon's accomplishments, and they discussed upcoming tasks quite a bit so there was hardly ever a quiet moment.


     But after roughly two days, Obi-Wan emerged from the 'fresher, towel-drying his hair, and settled on the other side of the couch. "You must be feeling better," Qui-Gon said with a smile. "Because you certainly look it. And you're sneezing so much less, I've noticed."


     "The shower felt wonderful. And I do feel much better," Obi-Wan agreed, letting the towel rest around his shoulders. Not a moment later, he turned his head and directed a sneeze into his shoulder. "ihhhhShhhhh!" Qui-Gon started to bless him, but Obi-Wan held up a finger, signaling that he wasn't done. Qui-Gon waited patiently. "hehh..." Obi-Wan rubbed his nose into the towel. "hehh-heh-IHHKShhhh!" He sniffed hard and smiled sheepishly. "Okay, I still am a little sneezey, I suppose."


     "That will pass soon. I think the worst is over," Qui-Gon reassured him, and Obi-Wan looked quite relieved to hear it.


     "I, ah," he blushed slightly, but did not dare look away. "I am sorry for getting so needy. I realized you were a bit reluctant at first but I just wasn't feeling well and didn't know what else to do and--"


     "Hush, Padawan." Qui-Gon shook his head, chuckling again. "I appreciate your apology, but the truth is that I would have been quite miserable had you not let me take care of you. Miserable... and worried, too. I am glad to know that I could help you to feel better and I would do it any time without being asked. Though I am glad to know that when you need my assistance, you are able to trust me and ask me for it." Obi-Wan was practically beaming as Qui-Gon sent a wave of approval and caring through their bond. "Here," he held a hand out. "Let me fix your braid for you."


     But Obi-Wan shook his head and straightened up. "I can do it myself. I'm getting much better at getting it even without having to look in a mirror. I can just sense it now. See?" Qui-Gon smiled and leaned back to watch his Padawan's fingers work the light brown hair into a perfect braid that hung down halfway between his chin and shoulders.