The Difference Love Makes

by Ceryndip

Qui-Gon Jinn rose to a higher level of consciousness aware only of something upsetting his padawan in the night. His eyes opened as the door to his quarters opened. He had given Obi-Wan his door code when he accepted him as his Padawan Learner. Until now, the boy had never used it.

“Obi-Wan?” the Master asked the darkness.

A silhouette of a boy appeared in the bedroom doorway.

“What’s the matter, Padawan?”

“I don’t feel well, Master.”

Qui-Gon pushed himself up on his elbows, “Is it your head or your stomach?”

“Both, Master, my head aches and my stomach is queasy.”

“Come here, Padawan.” Qui-Gon felt the boy’s forehead as he came within reach. He was warm but not overly so. The Jedi saw no need to awaken the healers tonight. His padawan’s condition needed monitoring the remainder of the night but treatment could wait until morning. He had heard there was something going around and it simply had to run it’s course. He slid over in the bed allowing room for the boy in his master’s bed. He raised the covers and beckoned him in.

The Jedi Master slept lightly keeping frequent check on his padawan’s rising fever. He called on the force to ease the boy’s symptoms enough to allow him to sleep. Mentally, he revised the schedule for tomorrow beginning their day with a trip to the Temple hospital instead of meditation and saber class.

Seeking warmth for his slight chills, Obi-Wan snuggled into his Master’s side. Qui-Gon wrapped an arm around the boy and pulled him closer tucking the covers in around them.

Master Yoda was scheduled to teach Obi-Wan’s first class of the day, Qui-Gon called on his commlink to explain that his padawan would be absent.

“Come to see him on my way to class, I will. Obi-Wan is not the only padawan absent with sickness today.”

Qui-Gon felt Yoda’s presence at the door and used the force to key it open it for him. He did not get up to meet the Master as his padawan was sleeping so soundly sprawled across his chest. He allowed Yoda to find his way through the living area to the bedroom.

“Good morning, Qui-Gon, a long night did you have?”

Qui-Gon nodded, “Yes, Master.”

Yoda climbed up onto the bed and raised a hand toward Obi-Wan, closing his eyes for a moment, calling on the force. “Yes, sick your padawan is. Released from classes he is and you from your duties.”

“Me?” Qui-Gon was surprised.

“Yes, to care for your padawan.”

“I thought you’d want me to take him to the healers,” Qui-Gon explained.

Yoda regarded Qui-Gon and his sleeping apprentice thoughtfully. “Speak I will, then decide what is best for your padawan, you will.”

Qui-Gon nodded his agreement.

“More than Master and Apprentice we are, know this you do. Family we become, parent and child.” Yoda glanced meaningfully at the two of them. “Obi-Wan seeks his master knowing his weakness and distress will be met with strength and safety, knowing you will not betray his trust. Go to the temple hospital in the night, your padawan could have. He did not, his Master he sought instead. He chooses your care over the healers.

“A sickness there is passing among the padawans. Those who go to their Masters for comfort are well in a day or two but for those who go to the temple healers, recovery is often longer, two or three days before the fever breaks.”

Qui-Gon was surprised, “But the temple provides good care.”

“Yes, it does, care they receive there. But strange the bed is and unknown the care giver. No bond of trust there is for the young padawan to rely on in their weakness. Sleep is restless. Your padawan does not restless seem here,” Yoda observed. “He sleeps deeply with much security at your side. Trusts you to watch over him, to care for him, while he heals, he does.” Yoda climbed off the bed and headed for the door, turning back almost as an after thought, “One more difference, I see. In Qui-Gon’s bed, there is also love. The difference this makes, I think. Check back with you later today, I will.”

Yoda shuffled out leaving Qui-Gon with much to ponder. He observed his padawan sleeping, his large hand protectively rubbing circles on the small back.

He felt Obi-Wan stir in his arms and watched him wake slowly, eyes opened and then closed, then opened again. Qui-Gon gave him time to focus on his surroundings.

“Good morning, sleepyhead. How do you feel?”

“Warm, comfortable, better, I think.” Obi-Wan made no move to withdraw from Qui-Gon’s loose embrace. He continued to lie with his head resting on his Master’s chest blue eyes looking up at him.

Qui-Gon felt his forehead, “Your fever has not risen in some time, perhaps it will break soon.”

Suddenly, Obi-Wan came fully awake, scrambling to sit up, “We should get up, we’re late.”

“Easy, we have Master Yoda’s blessing to lie in today.”

“Oh. Well, in that case,” Obi-Wan flopped back against his Master again.

Qui-Gon lifted his apprentice off him, “I’ve had quite enough of being your pillow for awhile, Padawan. I’m going to get up and make breakfast.” Qui-Gon rose from the bed. “Are you going to join me in the main room?”

Obi-Wan sat up and slid to the edge of the bed. He closed his eyes, swaying with obvious dizziness.

“Lie down, Padawan,” he advised gently.

Obi-Wan slowly reclined, Qui-Gon pulled up the covers, “I will be right back.” He stepped into the small bathroom and returned with a cool, damp cloth. He sat on the edge of the bed and placed the cloth over his padawan’s eyes.

“There, is that better?”

“Yes, Master.”

“It is perhaps a bit too soon for you to be up. We will try again later, rest now. I’ll go start some soup.”

Qui-Gon looked in on his apprentice a few minutes later to find him sleeping again. Knowing that rest was the best thing for the boy, he allowed him to sleep. Qui-Gon busied himself with catching up on things around his quarters. He had some paperwork and research matters that needed tending to.

About midday, he heard shuffling in the bedroom. He looked up to see Obi-Wan dragging the pillow and blanket from the bed with him as he came. He flopped onto the sofa and lay there.

Qui-Gon rose and picked up the blanket from the floor, arranging it over the boy, “Feeling better?” he asked as he felt Obi-Wan’s still warm forehead.

“Yes and no, Master, my head still hurts and I feel kinda achy and cold.”

“But you felt well enough to get out of the bed?”

Obi-Wan nodded, “It was lonely in there by myself.”

“You feel up to trying some soup?”

The boy thought about it a moment, “I feel a little hungry, I think.”

Qui-Gon retrieved a bowl of soup and a glass of water knowing that with the fever the boy needed fluids more than anything else.

“Eat slowly, Padawan.”

“Yes, Master.”

Qui-Gon returned to the table and resumed his work, while keeping a watchful eye on Obi-Wan. He was pleased to see his padawan set an empty bowl on the low table before he curled up under the blanket and went back to sleep. Qui-Gon realized that it didn’t matter that he was working as long as he was near the boy. Obi-Wan just wanted him to stay close in case he needed him. Qui-Gon gathered up his datapads and moved to the lower table. He sat on the floor and rested his back against the sofa.

Obi-Wan’s fever broke during his nap. Qui-Gon was rewarded with a cool forehead when the boy woke.

“Stay here, Padawan,” Qui-Gon said with a gleam in his eye, “I know just what we need.” The Jedi disappeared into the kitchen and returned carrying two of the frozen treats that Obi-Wan loved, one for each of them.

“What’s the occasion, Master?” Obi-Wan asked.

“No reason, it’s a day for indulgences. So, why not?”

“Indulgences, like sleeping in?”

“Yes.”

“And reading what I want to read instead of my texts?”

“If you wish, Padawan.”

Obi-Wan flashed him a big smile and ran to get an extra datapad with which he quickly accessed the temple network and down loaded something from the archives into before returning to crawl under the blanket again.

The boy spent the remainder of the afternoon alternately reading and napping beside his Master.

“Master Yoda is back,” Qui-Gon commented from where he was still working. He waved a hand at the door and it opened for the diminutive master.

“He was here before?” Obi-Wan asked surprised.

“Yes, this morning before you woke up.”

“Yes, sprawled in your Master’s bed, you were. Using him for a pillow, a proper use of your Master, this is?” Yoda asked. Obi-Wan blushed.

Yoda walked up to the padawan still blanket covered on the sofa, “Better, you are, I see. What read you, young Obi-Wan?” Yoda took the datapad from his hands and examined it with a gleam in his eye, “Many times when your age, your Master was, would I find him in the gardens reading such instead of minding his studies.”

Qui-Gon chuckled.

Yoda handed back the datapad, “His padawan, you are.”

“It is a day for indulgences, Master,” Obi-Wan replied.

“So it is, Padawan, so it is. Tomorrow, you return to classes, yes?”

Obi-Wan nodded, “Yes Master.”

“Tomorrow, light duty for you, watch saber practice only. You will tire quickly. Recovering you still are.”

“Yes, Master.”

Yoda turned to Qui-Gon who, sitting on the floor, was still slightly taller than Yoda , “You see, Qui-Gon, back in a day.”

“Yes, Master. I thought about what you said and realized that you were correct.”

“A strange day this is when Master Qui-Gon agrees with a council member. On my way, I best be before your mind, you change,” Yoda teased before turning back to Obi-Wan. “Rest well, Padawan, and I will see you in class in the morning.”

“Yes, Master, goodnight, Master.”

“Let’s turn in, Obi-Wan.”

“Here?” The padawan had assumed he’d be going back to his quarters tonight.

“I think we’ll be more comfortable in the bed. That sofa’s not big enough for us both,” Qui-Gon smiled as he leaned over and checked his apprentice for fever, “One more night, I think, just to be sure you are well and do not suffer a relapse in the night.”

“Thank you, Master.”

“What for?”

“Taking such good care of me.”

“It’s what master’s and padawan’s do. You’re welcome, Padawan.”

end
7-11-02

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