Asking to miss lightsaber practise had sounded good at the time. He'd even found a history text which seemed interesting enough that he could say without lying that he was engrossed in his lesson. Faced with his Master's concerned expression as he'd started to ask, however, made him wonder if he'd lost all control of his brain cells.

"What's wrong, Padawan?" Qui-Gon asked as he entered Obi-Wan's room.

Obi-Wan was lying on his bed, reader in front of him. The entire day had been geared towards not letting Qui-Gon find out there was a problem. He felt like smacking himself on the forehead. "Nothing, Master," he began, but the words stuck in his throat.

He watched as Qui-Gon crossed the room, looking at him carefully -- much too closely. Obi-Wan felt himself flush as he looked away. Then he felt a hand on his head, ever so lightly before the contact disappeared. But it was enough that Obi-Wan looked up once again.

For a moment everything froze. Then Qui-Gon sat down, gracefully lowering himself to sit on the floor beside Obi-Wan's bed. "There was a time, Obi-Wan, when you talked to me about what was troubling you."

He looked away, again. That was when what troubled him didn't involve his Master, and certain uncontrolable feelings.

"This has been going on for some time," his Master continued.

Obi-Wan nodded. "I'm sorry, Master. I know it's affecting my concentration. But I can't--"

He felt the light touch, again. First on his head, then on his shoulder. He trembled as the ghostly touch brushed his back, barely discernable through his cloak. He wanted to lean into it, but didn't dare.

But Qui-Gon's hand pressed more firmly, anyhow. Resting just over Obi-Wan's shoulder blade, Qui-Gon's hand lay flat, just enough of a weight that Obi-Wan could imagine he felt the warmth through his clothing.

He sighed as the touch found him relaxing, despite his anxieties about what he wished he could do. Then the hand brushed down his back and he tensed all over again.

The silence that had surrounded them seemed to take on a different air, then. Obi-Wan could feel his Master's curiousity, his concern -- and belatedly realised that the other Jedi could feel Obi-Wan's roiling emotions as well.

He glanced up, guiltily, and found Qui-Gon looking back at him with a kind and loving expression on his face. Very much the sort of look he'd seen a thousand times before, very often directed even at himself.

Not exactly what he'd expected to see once his Master discovered the nature of his trouble.

"Master," he began, unable to force more than a whisper.

"You needn't hide your feelings, Obi-Wan. Regardless of what I may feel in return. Do not hide what you feel."

Miserably, Obi-Wan nodded, fighting the urge to dive into his Master's arms. "I love you," he whispered. He felt a finger beneath his chin, then his head was being raised to meet Qui-Gon's eyes.

For a long, terrifying moment there was no reply. Obi-Wan found himself waiting for the response which he'd been fearing most. But Qui-Gon simply continued looking at him.

Obi-Wan was confused. He'd made his confession, he'd admitted what he felt to the man he still believed he shouldn't have told.

And his Master was just sitting there, looking at him.

The tension began to fade beneath growing confusion.

"Master?"

Qui-Gon's smile widened slightly, but still he said nothing. There was no tension in him at all, that Obi-Wan could tell. Just patience.

This was a response he hadn't anticipated. Obi-Wan blinked, and pushed himself up into a seated position. Looking down, now, at his Master, Obi-Wan tried to understand.

It was as if he'd said nothing -- then as soon as he thought it, he realised it was not true. Was it as if what he'd said changed nothing? Obi-Wan knew that wasn't quite right either.

"I do, you know," he said again, testing Qui-Gon's reactions.

"Yes," was all his Master said.

Obi-Wan slid down to the floor in front of Qui-Gon, still not sure what was happening, but no longer quite so afraid of the consequences. "Master? Do you--" He bit off the first, foolish question. "Does that matter?"

"Of course it matters, Padawan," came the not-so-expected reply. Obi-Wan had begun to suspect this would lead to a 'we can accept our emotions though they need not rule us' lecture.

Qui-Gon reached out again, touching his face ever-so lightly. Obi-Wan smiled. "Thank you," he said, not certain he could list everything he was suddenly grateful for.

Then Qui-Gon pulled him forward in a grip that was nearly too light to feel, much less follow -- thought follow he did until he found himself pressed against his Master. The only point of contact that registered was the touch of Qui-Gon's lips against his own.

The kiss was short, and light -- a simple point of contact that was broken only physically, a moment later.

Obi-Wan moved sideways and Qui-Gon gathered him into an embrace. Obi-Wan discarded the hundred questions that were clamouring to be answered and tried to understand what was going on. He stretched up, and was met halfway by his Master, and returned the kiss.

The turmoil which had filled him these last few weeks was gone; the emotional urgency had eased until there was only something unnamed, left.

"I love you, too," Qui-Gon replied when they broke away once more.

Obi-Wan smiled. Not unnamed, at all.

the end

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