"Master," Obi-Wan said with a short bow.
Qui-Gon stood to the side of the door, and waved Obi-Wan inside. "Obi-Wan. You needn't ring the bell." As Obi-Wan walked past, Qui-Gon laid his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder.
"I thought it best," Obi-Wan replied, not meeting Qui-Gon's gaze.
Qui-Gon's forehead scrunched in thought. "You thought it best? Whatever for?"
Obi-Wan moved away from his Master, walking toward his room. "I am sorry, my Master."
Qui-Gon walked over to stand behind Obi-Wan, and replaced his hands on Obi-Wan's shoulders. Squeezing the tense shoulders gently, he shook his head. "You've nothing to be sorry for, my Obi-Wan."
Not trusting himself to speak, Obi-Wan shook his head.
"Come Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon said, gesturing toward the couch. "Let us sit."
Obi-Wan again shook his head. "I would rather retire for the evening, Master. I am very tired."
He was surprised, however, when Qui-Gon replied, "I'm sorry, Obi-Wan, but this truly cannot wait."
Once they were sitting on the couch, Qui-Gon found he couldn't ignore the tension in Obi-Wan's rigid posture any longer. He rested a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder, and motioned for him to turn slightly.
Casting a confused glace to his Master, Obi-Wan turned. "I'm sorr . . ."
"*Don't* say you're sorry, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon interrupted. The harsh edge of his voice faded when he added, "Just let me talk, all right?"
Obi-Wan nodded, jumping slightly when he felt Qui-Gon's hands digging into the tense muscles around his shoulders.
"What I said in Bant's quarters," Qui-Gon began, "I am afraid I might have not been very clear."
"Master . . ." Obi-Wan turned, trying to interrupt.
He was silenced when Qui-Gon squeezed his shoulders and shook his head. Once Obi-Wan was again still, he continued the massage. "I had hoped you would come to me," Qui-Gon said a moment later. "Not Master Yoda."
He continued kneading Obi-Wan's shoulders. "I do wish you would talk to me when you're upset," he said, having leaned forward enough that his breath fell across Obi-Wan's ear.
Obi-Wan's breath caught in his throat, and he fought the urge to lean back into Qui-Gon's warmth. He couldn't bring himself to explain that Qui-Gon was the last one he felt able to talk about his confused feelings with. Not when said Jedi Master lay at the heart of the problem.
Instead, he licked his lips. "Yes, Master."
"How do you feel, my Obi-Wan?"
Obi-Wan looked at his hands. "You said you knew how I felt."
Qui-Gon's hands stilled their movements, and he turned Obi-Wan to face him. "But I would like to hear you say it."
Long lashes fluttered as Obi-Wan looked up at Qui-Gon almost nervously. "I love you, Master," he said in a hushed whisper.
With a smile, Qui-Gon cupped Obi-Wan's cheek in his hand. "Qui-Gon."
Startled, Obi-Wan looked at Qui-Gon in confusion. "What?"
"For now do not call me Master. I'm simply Qui-Gon." When the confused look didn't fade, Qui-Gon's smile widened just a bit. "Obi-Wan?"
"Yes?" the young man asked, searching Qui-Gon's blue eyes for understanding.
Obi-Wan jumped when Qui-Gon pressed his lips to his own. A fleeting touch, he pulled back in the same movement. Obi-Wan blinked. Qui-Gon rested his forehead on Obi-Wan's, his hand still pressed against his Padawan's cheek.
"I love you, too, my Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon replied in a whisper.
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