Master Qui-Gon Jinn rolled to his side trying to ignore the restlessness flooding through his training bond with his Padawan Learner. Night lacked the distractions of the waking hours and seemed to amplify their bond as the night amplified so many seemingly normal things. The Padawan’s discomfort had become his Master’s. The boy was not yet adept enough to control his side of their bond in his sleep or in this case his near sleep. Twice Obi-Wan had nearly fallen asleep only to pull back and begin tossing and turning again.
The Jedi Master couldn’t begin to imagine what might be bothering the boy, they had had a good day at the temple. He had sparred well and his teachers had nothing but praise for his studies. They had meditated together and nothing had darkened his Padawan’s spirits. So, why couldn’t the child settle down? He had taken on the boy as his Apprentice only recently and they were still finding their way with each other. Qui-Gon sighed, he was tired and this Padawan imposed insomnia was frustrating him. He would talk to Obi-Wan in the morning, for now, they both needed to sleep. He opened their bond fully and send a strongly worded force suggestion to sleep. Obi-Wan quieted immediately. Qui-Gon sighed with relief and rolled to a more comfortable position, preparing to sleep at last. Just as he was about to drop off, a trickle of discomfort found it’s way into his mind, yanking him back from the rest he so craved. Within moments the trickle had become a deluge of restlessness again.
Groaning in frustration, Qui-Gon threw back the covers and strode into his Padawan’s room. Without a word he perched on the edge of the boy’s bed and placed his hand over his Padawan’s forehead and eyes, thumb and middle finger touching his temples, and commanded him to sleep. He felt the small body relax beneath his hand, only then, did he register the heat emanating from the boy. He lifted his hand and took in the pale face, the faint shivering from chills. Guilt washed over him as he realized he hadn’t even asked Obi-Wan what was wrong, obviously the child was ill. He berated himself for not being more patient.
Qui-Gon replaced his hand over Obi-Wan’s face and gently prodded him back to wakefulness.
“Master?” He looked confused.
“Obi-Wan, I’m sorry. I put you to sleep without realizing that you weren’t feeling well. I should have asked what was wrong first. How do you feel?” Qui-Gon pulled up the blankets and tucked them around his student.
“My head hurts, Master, and my stomach’s not doing so well either.”
Qui-Gon laid a gentle hand against the boy’s forehead better gauging the intensity of his fever. “Rest here and I’ll be back with something to help you.”
The Jedi returned with a capsule of medication and a mug of steaming tea for Obi-Wan to drink.
After giving the medicine a chance to work while he drank the tea, Qui-Gon asked, “Is that better, now, Padawan?”
Sleepy eyes answered him, “Yes, Master, my stomach is calmer and my head doesn’t hurt so much.”
“Obi-Wan, you know you can come to me.”
“I know, Master, but you were sleeping. One of us should get some sleep tonight.”
Qui-Gon smiled, the boy didn’t realize that he’d been keeping them both awake. He didn’t need to know. “Would you like me to help you get to sleep, now?”
Obi-Wan nodded and snuggled into his warm bed as his Master gently sent him back to sleep.
Qui-Gon rose without turning on a light and quietly moved toward his Padawan’s room. He knew the young man would be expecting him. It was a scene they had repeated throughout Obi-Wan’s time as his Apprentice. As the boy had grown older and become more adept at using the force to help himself, Qui-Gon had allowed him more time to solve his own infrequent bouts of sleeplessness but occasionally a little help was still needed from his Master.
He opened the door and entered, moving to the bed immediately, “Padawan? What’s the matter?”
“A dream, Master.”
“A dream?” Qui-Gon prompted.
“Our last mission, I know we were not meant to succeed. The two sides were not truly ready for peace. Until they are, no cease fire will hold but I keep seeing the faces of the children. How can a people do that to their own children?”
Qui-Gon laid a hand against Obi-Wan’s cheek and then brushed the hair from his forehead as he thought how best to answer him, “I don’t know, Padawan. It’s as Master Yoda says, hate leads to suffering, and sometimes it’s the littlest ones who suffer the most. Until the adults are ready to let go of their hate, there is little we can do except provide what aid we can for the innocents and hope that their leaders come to their senses soon. We cannot dwell on these matters for which we have no answers or we will never get to sleep. Best to leave it for meditation time. Perhaps, together, we can find your answers there.” Qui-Gon pulled up the covers and tucked them around his Padawan.
“I know, Master. It’s easier not to think about it during the waking hours. At night the thoughts are harder to chase away. The dream disturbed me.”
Qui-Gon nodded his understanding, “Can you go back to sleep now? You need to rest, we have a busy day tomorrow.”
“I’ve been trying, but I can’t get their dirty, hopeful faces out of my mind. Will you help me?”
Obi-Wan closed his eyes as his master placed his hand gently over his Padawan’s eyes, pausing a moment to note the cool skin beneath his fingertips before sending the sleep command. He removed his hand and pulled the covers further up, tucking them more securely around his Padawan, knowing they would not have too many more of these moments together. The boy had become a man.
Until he had become a Master himself, Obi-Wan Kenobi had no idea how hard it was to sleep with a restless Padawan in the next room. He wondered if Qui-Gon had felt as put out as he did, as he slowly made his way through the dark apartment toward his Padawan’s room, probably he did.
His master’s voice echoed laughter far back in his mind, laughter aimed at him. Obi-Wan frowned briefly with disapproval and hid the emotion before opening the door to Anakin’s room. ’Patience is a lesson to be relearned daily,’ Qui-Gon had said, he neglected to mention the part about nightly as well.
Obi-Wan perched himself on the edge of young Anakin’s bed, so recently vacated by Obi-Wan himself.
“Anakin? Are you alright?”
The boy was curled into a tight ball, huddled under the covers.
“I can’t sleep. I’m cold. Why is it so cold here? I’m never warm. I’m afraid, I will never be warm again.”
“I’ll be right back, Padawan,” Obi-Wan left the room and pulled a heavy blanket from a cupboard which he spread over Anakin’s bed.
“Is that better?”
Anakin nodded, “Thank you.”
Obi-Wan sat on the edge of the bed again and tucked the blanket around his apprentice. “Tomorrow morning we will get you some warmer clothes. In time you will adjust and won’t feel so cold anymore. You will acclimatize.”
“I hope so.”
“Is something else bothering you?” Obi-Wan sensed that the cold wasn’t the only thing making his Padawan miserable tonight.
“I miss my mom.”
“I know you do.” Obi-Wan understood missing family. His own Master was in his thoughts daily. If he concentrated hard enough, he could feel Qui-Gon’s presence far back in his mind but it had proved to be an elusive presence. It came and went on it’s own terms. Master Yoda had told him that it was merely his own memories surfacing, that an individual could not maintain a sense of self once it had become one with the force. Obi-Wan wasn’t convinced.
“You know that you can always come to me,” Obi-Wan said.
“I know,” Anakin replied, “but you were sleeping.”
Obi-Wan smiled at the memory of his young self holding the same conversation. It was a comfort to him that these uncertain things would be alright. They were on the right path together.
“When I was young and could not sleep, Master Qui-Gon would always come and help me sleep.” Obi-Wan now knew that those midnight visits were as much for Qui-Gon’s benefit as his own.
/”Well done, Padawan,”/ echoed in his mind.
Obi-Wan closed his eyes momentarily giving his attention to the elusive voice, /”Where were you and your wisdom when I spent meditation practice arguing with our apprentice today?”/ he countered.
/”Better see to the here and now, Padawan, be mindful,”/ and then it was gone again. Obi-Wan returned his attention to young Anakin.
“New places can be unsettling, but I will always be there for you, Anakin. I will help you. Would you like me to help you sleep?”
“Yes, please. Will it hurt?”
Obi-Wan smiled at the question, of course, Anakin hadn’t grown up at the temple. No one had ever put him to sleep through the force before.
“Not at all. Someday you’ll be able to do it yourself.” The young Master placed his hand over his Padawan’s forehead, pausing a moment as his own Master always had to make sure everything was alright before he gently prodded the boy into the arms of Morpheus.
10 June 2002
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