Title: Setting A Precedent
Archive: Ask me, please. Just so I know where it's going. :)
Disclaimer: Star Wars = George Lucas. Not me.
Timeline: *shrug* Obi's 19 or so.
Obi-torture with resultant Qui-angst: Mild
Summary: Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan return from a mission to discover they seem to have set a precedent for arriving at the Jedi Temple …
Special thanks to Jane Jinn for her delightful comments and advice, and thank you, members of betas_anonymous, for voting this one to the 'save' category.
Dedicated to all Obi-torturers. :) Is that horrible?
Setting A Precedent
"Master! Come quickly!"
Obi-Wan Kenobi's frantic call startled Master Qui-Gon Jinn from the light doze he'd allowed himself to slip into. The large Jedi struggled upright on the cushiony flight couch, shoving aside the thin blanket his Padawan had thoughtfully placed over him to ward off the chill of space travel and sending it to a scattered heap on the decking.
"Obi-Wan?? What is it?"
Qui-Gon hurried to the cockpit where his apprentice was leaning forward over the co-pilot's console, peering out the forward window with his light eyebrows characteristically furrowed as his face scrunched in confusion.
"Look," Obi-Wan gestured with a slim hand to where the Temple landing platform was visible. Craning around the curly head of the New Republic pilot, Qui-Gon could see that a small group of people was clustered off to the side of the platform. He noted that a few of them were Healers, and an anti-grav stretcher floated beside them. "What do you think is going on?" Obi-Wan questioned, a worried frown pulling at the corners of his full mouth. "An emergency? Maybe they're awaiting a medical ship, Master – perhaps we should put down elsewhere?"
"I don't know," Qui-Gon admitted, still staring. "But there's Mace, and Master Yoda, as well." He looked to their pilot. "Is this the correct landing platform?"
The pilot's grey-streaked curls bobbed as she nodded. "Yes, sir." If she was annoyed by his lack of faith in her abilities as a pilot, she didn't show it – and she appeared just as confused as he and Obi-Wan. "I've double-checked. This is the landing pad that has been specifically designated for you and Padawan Kenobi."
Perplexed, Qui-Gon exchanged a bemused shrug with his Padawan.
"I suppose we'll have to wait and find out, then," he decided. "I didn't think we caused too much trouble this last mission, Padawan – certainly not enough to warrant this welcome."
"I'll get our things," Obi-Wan offered, tossing his Master an insubordinate smirk as he left for the rear of the ship. You can find out how much trouble we're in, came clearly over their bond. Qui-Gon frowned, but his Padawan was already gone.
Brat, he thought very clearly, and heard Obi-Wan's light ripple of laughter in reply.
The captain set the ambassador-class vessel down with a gentle hiss of the repulsors. Qui-Gon thanked her and strode to the lounge, palming the hatch release. Obi-Wan hadn't reappeared yet, but Qui-Gon was too curious about the gathered welcoming party to wait for his apprentice. As soon as the hatch touched the permacrete, Qui-Gon was ready to disembark, but the welcoming party stampeding up the ramp halted his forward movement. They were already shouting as they barreled into the small lounge.
"It's not this one, it must be the other one!"
"The Ward's ready!"
"Hurry! This could be our best time yet!"
"Ha! Let's see the night shift beat this!"
Qui-Gon jumped out of the way to avoid being run over as the anti-grav stretcher was rushed past. "Excuse me – ?!!" Mace Windu and a Healer were suddenly standing beside him, and Mace was murmuring in a soothing tone words that Qui-Gon couldn't make out.
Master!! Obi-Wan's startled mental cry came just seconds after the party had disappeared into the rear of the ship. The panic in his Padawan's voice was unmistakable. Master, help me!
My Force, what is going on?? Before Qui-Gon could move toward the back room, the stretcher was pushed back out, bearing his struggling Padawan.
"Here's the sedative!" A Healer was running up the ramp, bearing a hypo in one hand. "Is he stabilized??"
Obi-Wan's panicked blue eyes widened at the sight of the long needle and he turned a frantic look on his Master as he pushed against the hands holding him onto the stretcher. "Master, help me!"
"He's going into convulsions!" one of the Healers snapped as Obi-Wan's flailing arm barely missed him. He caught Obi-Wan's wrist and jabbed the needle home. Obi-Wan's eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped against the stretcher.
"It's all right, Jinn, it's all right," Mace and the Healer let go of Qui-Gon's arms as the unconscious Obi-Wan was carted off the ship. "He'll be fine."
"Fine??" Qui-Gon was outraged and more than a little confused. "What are you talking about?? He was fine when we landed!!"
Windu patted Qui-Gon's shoulder. "I'm sure. Don't worry, Qui-Gon, he'll be fine, I promise you. Don't our Healers always patch him up?"
"Mace!" Qui-Gon turned on his friend. "He was fine when we landed!"
Windu's reassuring smile wobbled a little. "What?"
"Obi-Wan was fine," Qui-Gon repeated, his long strides eating up the walkway.
"But – but," Windu stuttered, protesting, "that's impossible!"
Qui-Gon froze mid-step, turning to regard Windu curiously. "What?? Why??"
Windu ran his hands through his non-existent hair. "One of you always return injured! We were ready this time!"
Qui-Gon was about to protest when he realized … Mace Windu was absolutely right.
"We were ready," Mace murmured again sadly.
The Healers informed him that Obi-Wan would be coming around shortly, but warned that he would be somewhat … muzzy from the effects of the unneeded sedative. Also, they sheepishly admitted, in their haste to get back to the Ward, the anti-grav sled had had a slight accident, and Obi-Wan's ankle had been broken. He would need to be kept overnight for observation.
Qui-Gon was less than pleased by this news.
He stalked into Obi-Wan's usual room and found his apprentice just stirring. "Mashterr?" Obi-Wan asked hazily, his eyelids blinking rapidly as he struggled to adjust to the light in the room.
"Yes, Obi-Wan, I'm here," Qui-Gon replied, pressing the back of his hand to Obi-Wan's forehead. The young Jedi's skin was cool.
"Mashterr, can I ask you sshomething?"
Qui-Gon frowned at the thick slur of the medication in his Padawan's voice. "Go ahead, Obi-Wan. I'm right here."
Obi-Wan shifted to prop himself up on an elbow and gazed at Qui-Gon with muzzy eyes. "Do you like me?" he asked with all the seriousness his glazed voice could carry. "'Cause I know that I get into a lot of trouble, and end up in the Healers 'sha lot, and I don't really mean to and I know I'm a pain and all but Mashterr really I don't mean to and – "
Qui-Gon curled a hand around Obi-Wan's shoulder and squeezed. "Padawan, you're not a pain." His lips twisted as he considered what he had just said. "Well, maybe sometimes – " he teased. Obi-Wan grinned lopsidedly, and Qui-Gon wondered if he should answer Obi-Wan more in depth or if it was simply the medication talking.
"Why don't we ever have pillow fights?"
Qui-Gon wasn't sure he'd heard correctly. "What??"
"Or dance parties? Or pedicure parties or other fun shtuff??"
Oh Force, Qui-Gon thought. The medication had really scrambled Obi-Wan's brain. "We-e-ell … "
"'Cause that's what the other Masters and Padawans do," Obi-Wan rambled guilelessly, his overly bright blue eyes considering his Master. "They have lotsh of fun together and do neat things. Reeft and his Master raid the kitchens at night and Bant and Tahl have pillow fights and we never do fun things together, Mashterr, except try to visit all the Healers in the galaxy. Which isn't really fun … "
"Obi-Wan?" Qui-Gon interrupted cautiously.
Obi-Wan paused mid-ramble. "Yeah?"
"Do you … want to have a pedicure party?"
Qui-Gon sighed in relief.
Distracted, Obi-Wan lifted his head groggily to survey his bandaged ankle and dropped back onto the pillow with a sigh. "I wouldn't be able to decide between Ravishing Red and Sithly Shtrawberry," he continued hazily, blissfully unaware of his Master's sudden choking fit. "Which do you think, Mashterr?"
After a few moments of using the Force to thump his own back, Qui-Gon managed, "I'm sure either would be nice for you, Obi-Wan."
"Thank you, Mashterr," Obi-Wan said sweetly, turning his head so he stared up at the ceiling, obviously deep in thought.
"Mmhm?" Qui-Gon was still watching his apprentice worriedly.
Obi-Wan's glazed eyes were worried. "So you really do like me?"
"Yes, Padawan, very much," Qui-Gon replied softly as he lowered himself to sit beside Obi-Wan.
"That's good," Obi-Wan said, pleased. "Sometimes I'm not sure."
Qui-Gon swallowed hard and ran his fingers gently over the bandage that had been taped over Obi-Wan's puncture wound. "Always be sure, my Obi-Wan. Always be sure." He offered his disoriented apprentice a small smile. "Rest now, Padawan. I'll be here when you wake up."
As it happened, Qui-Gon was in the middle of bawling out the Healers when Obi-Wan awoke. He had discovered that the Healers were more distressed because, due to the grav-sled accident, they had made "their worst time ever" than they were about accidentally breaking Obi-Wan's ankle in their haste to beat the record that had been set by the night shift healers after a bad situation on Corellia had gotten worse and Qui-Gon had nearly ended up in a body cast. The Jedi Master completely abandoned his reputed calm and dressed the day shift Healers down very sternly.
As Qui-Gon was re-entering Obi-Wan's room, leaving trembling Healers in his wake, he heard a tiny sigh in the darkness that was the only indication of his Padawan's state of consciousness.
"Master." Obi-Wan's voice sounded immeasurably tired.
Qui-Gon stepped around the doorframe, scaling the lights up to dim. Obi-Wan's profile was just visible in the semi-darkness. "Padawan. Feeling any better?"
"I just want to go home, Master. Why are we even here?" Obi-Wan started to push himself off the bed, but in the faint light Qui-Gon saw a grimace cross his face as he regarded his bound ankle, perplexed. "What happened?"
"A bit of a mix-up, Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon paused. "We seem to have … set a precedent for returning to the Temple."
Obi-Wan's eyebrows drew together in an annoyed frown. "You know, I don't end up in the Healers all of the time." He cast a distracted eye over himself. "Hey, these are my favorite pajamas," he noticed. "I must have left them here last week."
The Jedi Master hesitated. "I'm … sorry we're always managing to get into some scrape or another."
Obi-Wan thought back for a moment about all the times he had been shot at, shot, beaten, tortured, burned, and used as bait – not to mention the mental abuse, nor the many occasions on which Qui-Gon had had to reattach his Padawan braid after it'd been severed for some reason. Well, he supposed that could all be neatly packaged under 'some scrape or another.' He absently wiggled the toes that peeked out above his white-bandaged ankle.
"Think nothing of it," he said pleasantly.
"Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said sternly. "Be serious."
Obi-Wan turned sober eyes to his Master. "What would you have me say, Master? It's not my fault? It's not your fault? Master," he said seriously, "we cannot always help the situations we are placed in. And if our suffering and angst and torture and torture and torture are for a good cause, then we must shoulder our burden and continue on."
Qui-Gon shook his head. "You speak from much experience, don't you, young one?"
Obi-Wan's mouth tilted in a half grin. "Well, I won't say I haven't had a fair share."
Qui-Gon shook his head again. "Poor Obi."
"But look on the bright side, Master."
"What's that, my Padawan?"
Obi-Wan tugged lightly on his Padawan braid, holding it up for Qui-Gon to see. "My braid is still attached," he grinned, twisting it between his fingers. "You don't have to reattach it this time. It's still here."
Qui-Gon couldn't help a smile. "Yes, it is, Obi-Wan." His smile widened to a grin as he reached over and tugged the braid just behind Obi-Wan's right ear.
"Ow!!" Obi-Wan exclaimed, shooting his Master a wounded look and re-capturing the thin plait from Qui-Gon. "What??"
Qui-Gon grinned. "Just making sure, Padawan," he replied as he tousled the ginger hair. "Just making sure."
There, see? I returned Obi-Wan in one piece. He was wearing a cast ...