Let it never be said that the Jedi Council was unwilling to listen to or debate with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. In fact, at times, they were especially generous and discussed matters with him for hours until an agreed upon resolution was arrived at. Today was one of those indulgent sorts of days. After hours of wrestling with the issue at hand, the Jedi master would have preferred if Yoda had taken one look at the report he had submitted, made a decision, brooked no appeal, and bade the Force be with him. Qui-Gon Jinn was in no mood at all to listen to or argue with the Jedi Council and his humor was made even worse by the dull throb of a tension headache. The ache pulsed behind his eyes, growing more intense with every step he took around the circular Council room. His circuit finished, Qui-Gon took his place at the center, stood next to Obi-Wan, and observed the reaction to his latest statement. Slipping his hands into the sleeves of his robe and bowing his head, Qui-Gon kept his expression neutral and betrayed no sign of annoyance. The lazy light of evening illuminated the Council chambers, etching a gold glow around the standing figures as they awaited the final pronouncement of the Jedi masters. The speech that Mace Windu insisted on giving was long, but it allowed Qui-Gon the time to rest his mind and reorganize his thoughts. Before he had a chance to do thus, the irrepressible urge to sneeze began to flutter through his nostrils. Looking away from the masters who sat directly in front of him, he attempted to quell the feeling by breathing a little more shallowly. The tickle, however, grew instead of fading and his eyes took to watering, thereby earning him a slight look of interest from his padawan. Ignoring the look Obi-Wan gave him, Qui-Gon discreetly raised his left hand to his nose, touching it gently, as he knew he could not hold back the sneeze by concentration alone. Rubbing his nose slowly he struggled to remain attentive and not draw any undue attention to himself. The words uttered by Master Windu pricked at the edge of his consciousness as his concentration drifted. In a few seconds the tickle seemed to subside, although Qui-Gon expression had shifted from one who was intent to one half expecting to sneeze. A brief moment later, the tickle in his nose suddenly developed into a full blown sneeze and sent his hand directly back to his nose. The force of the sneeze was too quick for him to stop; it compelled him to turn his body, this time toward Obi-Wan, and to yield to the urge. Inhaling deeply through his mouth as he pinched his nostrils loosely, Qui-Gon sneezed two quiet, stifled sneezes. "Huhhh, unchhhahhh, huhunnchhah!" Hair tumbling over his slightly hunched shoulders, Qui-Gon bowed his head as the power of the sneezes overcame him. Not only did the pounding in his head increase, but in a few moments his nose started to run as a reaction to the sneezes. Sniffling back the effect of the sneeze attack, Qui-Gon looked up to see the whole assembled Council and his padawan staring at him in silence. He had missed the whole gist of the past pronouncement and had absolutely no response to offer. The seconds stretched by in uncomfortable silence, broken finally by the dull thwap of Master Yoda's cane on the floor. "Enough this is! When a Council meeting this long becomes, listens nobody does." Yoda grumpily awaited the approval of the other Council members and then dismissed the Jedi master and his padawan from the room. "Speak to you later, we will, Qui-Gon Jinn. Perhaps a rest you need, hmmm? Leave us, may the Force be with you." Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan lowered their heads in a bow and walked out of the room in silence. Once outside of the room and in the corridor of the Jedi Temple, Qui-Gon sighed deeply and massaged the bridge of his nose. The sneezy feeling still lingered, just enough to remind him that he needed to sneeze, but not strong enough to bring on another sneeze. A light touch at his elbow alerted him that he and his padawan had reached the entrance to their quarters. "Master? Here, we're home now." Obi-Wan gently guided his master through the doorway and gave him the same interested look he had in the Council chambers. Removing and hanging up his own and his master's cloak, Obi-Wan stood before Qui-Gon, slipping his hands around his waist in order to remove belt and tunic sash. "Padawan, really, I can do that myself." Qui-Gon muttered and looked down on the young man's head as Obi-Wan quickly unwound his sash and nuzzled his chest for a few seconds. Glancing up at his master, Obi-Wan affectionately tightened his embrace. Qui-Gon did look tired, whether he himself admitted it or not. Hugging his padawan back, Qui-Gon only loosened his hold when he felt his nose start to run again and herald the return of the sneezes. Obi-Wan relinquished the embrace a little, allowing his master enough room to turn his body away and lean forward. No longer in the stifling, formal atmosphere demanded by the Council meeting, he sneezed freely into the crook of his arm, not relishing the though of holding back any more of his sneezes. "Huh-eshoooo! ehshoooo! Aheshoooo!" The relief felt at letting out the sneezes was so good that he rested his head in the crook of his arm for a while, letting the tingling aftermath fade from his nasal passages. Upon raising his head he encountered the steady gaze of his padawan, who in turn leaned forward, tilted up his head and kissed his master softly on the lips. "Blessings, Master," Obi-Wan whispered almost noiselessly, tickling his master's lips with his breath and another small kiss. The padawan smiled as he nudged the tip of his nose against Qui-Gon's, rubbing it with affection at the sound of a tiny sniffle. "I think Master Yoda was correct, my Master. Plus, I do think that you are suffering from a lack of attention." Obi-Wan broke contact to take off his own belt and sash, kicking off his boots in the process. "Obi-Wan, if I recall correctly, a certain padawan has lightsaber katas to practice this evening." Pressing his fingertips to his temples, Qui-Gon sighed and turned to his apprentice before he walked over to the couch. "And I got my fair share of attention from the Council today, Padawan." Making his way toward the common area of their quarters, he pulled a handkerchief from his tunics and sat down. Sighing again, he pondered why he had suddenly fallen victim to an itchy, runny nose. Wiping his nose to get rid of the sniffles, he let closed his eyes and let some of the day's pent up tension seep out. "Oh, not that sort of attention, Master. And I refuse to spar with a partner who has the sniffles." Obi-Wan knelt down in front of his master and slipped Qui-Gon's boots off and then ran his hands up his master's legs, stroking his way up calves, knees and thighs. He then rose and settled himself next to his master and took the handkerchief away from Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan lovingly encircled his master's shoulders with one arm and leaned next to him, as close as he could without sitting in his lap. He touched the handkerchief to his master's nose with the lightest of movements. At the same time, a trail of delicate kisses was dropped from the base of Qui-Gon's neck to his ear. A teasing lick elicited a gasp of pleasure as Obi-Wan darted his tongue out. "No, Master, no sparring." His low voice and warm breath tingled inside Qui-Gon's ear. "Mmmm, no, better stay here, with me." Laughing against his master's skin, Obi-Wan kissed the tip of his earlobe and then his cheek. Qui-Gon had taken to pinching his nose to get rid of the itchy feeling in a manner that made him look very endearing to his padawan. As his master turned to speak to him, Obi-Wan danced his lips over Qui-Gon's mouth, easily hushing any refusal. Qui-Gon pressed his lips to his lover's and returned the kiss, then quickly drew away. "Obi-Wan, you won't spar with me because I have a runny nose. But you do this?" As if to elucidate his question, Qui-Gon stroked his padawan's face and dropped two kisses on his forehead. Obi-Wan looked up at him innocently and tapped his master's nose with his index finger. "Lovely, always so lovely to me." Obi-Wan smiled at confused look on his master's face. He traced a line from his master's forehead down to the tip of his nose, smoothing out the confused expression with a caressing touch. "Let me take care of your sniffles, please, my Master?" Obi-Wan spoke in a teasing tone, his seriousness betrayed by the waves of care and lighthearted love that traveled over their bond. Obi-Wan took up the handkerchief again as he observed his master's nose twitch and eyelids waver. The sneezes built up slowly and caused a look of anxious anticipation to hover on Qui-Gon's face. Obi-Wan leaned closer, nuzzling his master's neck and making incomprehensible little comforting sounds. He then held the handkerchief to his master's nose and Qui-Gon quickly clapped his own hands over his padawan's as he bent forward. "Hahhheshooooo!! Ehh, ahshoooo!" Qui-Gon stopped, inhaled deeply, and lifted his head to expel the rest of the sneezes, the firm touch of his padawan still securing him. "Hashooo! Ahh, heh, ehhhiihh... Achoooo!!" A groan arose deep in his throat as he felt a kiss at his temple and the staying warmth of lips on his skin. He removed Obi-Wan's hands from his own and took the handkerchief to blow his nose. The arm that had been wrapped around Qui-Gon's shoulder eased off and Obi-Wan took to stroking his master's hair, loosening the hair tie and then petting some more. Actions Qui-Gon would have considered excessive, even unneeded, had the affection come from any other person. He wasn't really ill, just an annoying tickle in his nose, more an inconvenience than anything else. Yet, the need to care that Obi-Wan demonstrated, the offer of a little comfort touched him. "Obi-Wan, even here you look after me?" Qui-Gon leaned his head on Obi-Wan's chest, surrendering to the relaxing touches. "Yes, Master, here, anywhere." He whispered slowly, muffling his words in his master's hair. "We could rest here or in the bedroom? Cold, Master?" Worry threaded through his words and over their bond as Obi-Wan felt his master shiver as he stroked the long hair. "No, not really cold, my Obi-Wan, no It's too early for bed." Ease replaced tension even as his case of the sniffles started to get more intense. Obi-Wan was just so tenderly protective, it was hard not to laugh as ripples of affection accompanied the little kisses his padawan rained on his head. "Then we rest here." Firmly, Obi-Wan set down his hand on Qui-Gon's leg. "Go put on something more comfortable, I'll take care of the rest, love." Obi-Wan hugged Qui-Gon tightly before letting him get up and go into their bedchamber. The sounds of rummaging came from the other bedroom and then the study as Qui-Gon changed into sleep clothes. Obi-Wan walked toward his master as Qui-Gon entered clad in soft cotton sleep pants and an old tunic that hung open to his waist. Obi-Wan had relinquished his outer tunics, wearing only a thin undertunic and trousers. He smoothed Qui-Gon's tousled hair, took his had, and led him to the couch. Qui-Gon, after one step, paused, and raised his hand in response to the young man's uncertain glance. "Ah, AhHishhhooo!! Eshooo! Hhashh!! ahHashoo!!" Mumbling a quiet excuse and smiling, he padded over to the couch. The sneezes had been strong and sudden, mussing his hair again. "Blessings, Master, you never sneeze this much." Obi-Wan lifted the hand he was holding to his mouth and kissed the palm and wrist. Sitting down on one end of the couch, he pulled a pillow onto his lap. "Come, Qui-Gon, lay down, right here." He motioned toward his lap and smiled shyly and hopefully. Qui-Gon scrutinized his padawan for a second, holding his finger under a runny, itchy nose. Rubbing his nose, he smiled happily and gracefully removed a box of tissues and a blanket before he eased down onto the couch. Obi-Wan draped the blanket over him and leaned over to kiss the tip of his nose as he settled down. "Obi-Wan!" He turned away from Obi-Wan, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his tunic. "Oh, now, really, Qui-Gon," handing him a tissue, Obi-Wan hushed him softly, "calm down, rest a little. Look, I've borrowed one of your paperbound books." "Padawan?" "I'm going to read to you." Obi-Wan opened the slim volume of poetry and held it in one hand. His other hand lightly caressed his lover's face and chest. "This one first, because I know you love it." Hadion ouden erotos, ha d'olbia, deutera panta estin; apo stomatos d'eptua kai to meli. The words he read slowly, as if savoring a fine, rare and delicate wine, emphasizing favorite lines of Qui-Gon. He continued to read other verses, stopping infrequently, either to quietly bless Qui-Gon or to kiss one of Qui-Gon's fingertips. "Bed, Master?" Obi-Wan closed the book and passed the back of his hand gently over Qui-Gon's cheek. "Mmm, suppose I did need to rest." Sleepily sighing, Qui-Gon rose and stretched. With a yawn and a sniff, Qui-Gon rose from Obi-Wan's lap and waited so they could walk to the bedchamber together. Obi-Wan shut the lights off with a flick of the Force, wrapped his arms about his lover's waist and happily trundled off to bed. Obi-Wan stripped off his clothes as Qui-Gon slid between the covers. He joined his master, curling his body around Qui-Gon, snuggling as warm sheets heated his skin. Obi-Wan curled up more closely, hugging Qui-Gon as his body tensed, kissing his shoulder as the sneezes started. "Huhheshhooo!! Ahishhhaahh!" Coughing delicately, Qui-Gon eased into the embrace of his young lover as the sneezing passed. "Bless you, dear one," Obi-Wan whispered, nuzzling and tickling his master's ear with his nose, "thou art sweeter to me than honey."