He decided to give his Master the benefit of the doubt -- or at least privacy. "Master, shall I head to the dining hall for dinner, without you, then?"

"Hm, yes, that will be fine," came the still-distracted reply.

Curious, but willing to let it go, Obi-Wan gave his master a short bow, and left the room. He thought about it as he walked. What could have his master so distracted?

Obi-Wan was unaware of anything that had happened recently -- he'd been too wrapped up in his own troubles and feelings to be aware of much, though. With a stab of guilt he realised that something could well have happened, and he might simply have missed it.

It couldn't be too bad, else his master would have said something to him, if only to warn him....

Wouldn't he?

Obi-Wan wondered, then, worried. These new thoughts kept him occupied until he reached the dining hall. When he was seated at a table with some of his friends, he considered how best to ask. It wouldn't look good, his asking for gossip about his own Master.

But how else could he find out?

"You gonna eat that, or toy it into submission?" Bant asked.

Obi-Wan looked up. "Huh? Oh... eat it, I suppose."

"Uh-huh. You have to actually put it in your mouth to eat it. Being human, and all," she continued, when Obi-Wan didn't eat.

"Bant?"

"Yeah?"

He sighed. "Do you know what might be bothering my Master?"

She snickered. "I could name a dozen things. Wanna narrow it down some?"

"He seems distracted, and I.. well, I've been preoccupied with something else, and I don't know if something might have happened recently. I... was hoping you might have overheard something?"

She looked at him, jaw dropped slightly. "You're asking me to spread gossip?"

He thumped her gently. "Do you know, or not?"

Shrugging, she went back to her dinner. "The only thing your Master worries about is you, Obi-Wan. Anything else he lets slide. If you want to know what's worrying him, ask him." She went back to her dinner.

He started to consider what Bant had said -- if Qui-Gon were worried about him, he would have said something. If he were worried that Obi-Wan were worrying about something, and not talking to his Master about it -- as he had been -- Qui-Gon would either speak up, or wait patiently. He wouldn't act distracted.

Unlike his Padawan, who would worry, act distracted, and say nothing. Obi-Wan sighed. He'd known his Master for years, and yet he had no clue sometimes how the man thought.

"Obi, does this mean one of you has finally popped the question?"

Obi-Wan looked up at Atian, confused. The other young man was grinning, and two other Padawans on his other side were grinning at him. "What?"

"Popped the question! Get with the Force, Obi-Wan, we've been waiting all month for one of you two do it. It looks like one of you has." Atian was smiling, encouragingly.

Obi-Wan had no clue what he was talking about. The only question he wanted to pop was.... He flushed. Atian and the others laughed.

"You did? Or he did? Why are you here, anyway? Waiting for an answer? Or waiting to give one? Come on, Obi! Give!"

There was something to be said for the Jedi Temple grapevine. Obi-Wan had no interest at the moment in saying it, however. He stood up and backed away from the table. "Excuse me." One thing everyone knew about the Jedi grapevine was, in matters of its own members, it was eerily accurate.

"Obi-Wan? You gonna go answer him?" Bant asked.

"No. But apparently I need to go ask."

The End

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