Albeit a bit warily, Qui-Gon turned toward the path on the right. He had to duck down to continue very far into the cave, and silently cursed the lack of light that existed once he was around the first sharp turn.

He had been walking for a few moments, and was deep into the tunnel when he heard not the voice, but a low rumbling sound. Qui-Gon had just enough time to process the sound of a rock slide before he felt the heavy impact of the tumbling stones.

There was a bright flash of colors behind his eyes when he felt the rocks hit him, and he was forced to his knees. He grabbed ahold of his head, clutching it tightly against the pain before dropping to the ground, unconscious.

*

The first thing Qui-Gon was aware of, when he slowly began to regain consciousness, was a wet cloth being drug across his forehead. He opened his eyes quickly, his last memories being of the cave's collapse.

He struggled to sit up, but was held back by a pair of strong hands. "Not so fast, Master. You've been ill."

Qui-Gon's gaze searched for the source of the voice, skimming the softly lit room before settling on Obi-Wan. He blinked, not trusting his eyes. Instead he reached out with the Force. "Obi-Wan?" he asked aloud, and along their bond.

The last memory he had of his student was tearing him from his mind. The Jedi Master winced, feeling the phantom pain from the encounter.

"Yes, Master?" Obi-Wan asked, confusion flickering in his eyes. When Qui-Gon again tried to sit up, Obi-Wan placed a hand on his chest. "Please stay still. You're still recovering from the fever."

Qui-Gon squinted. He had no idea what his Padawan was talking about. He was relieved to feel him along their bond, however. Obi-Wan's presence was the only thing he had been sure of in quite some time.

"Fever?"

His apprentice nodded, and the cool cloth was replaced on his forehead. Obi-Wan nodded again, and Qui-Gon felt him searching along their bond. He was having some trouble associating the concerned Obi-Wan that was tending to him, with the young man that had been collapsed in his arms.

"How long?" Qui-Gon finally managed to ask. He tried to lick his lips, but found his mouth to be dry.

Obi-Wan held a cup of water to his mouth. "I came home from speaking with Master Yoda three days ago, only to find you sitting in the common room. You were staring off into space."

When Qui-Gon was finished drinking, Obi-Wan replaced the cup on a small stand beside the bed. He couldn't help but noticed the dark smudges under Obi-Wan's tired eyes. "Fever?" Qui-Gon repeated his earlier question, but he was still unsure of the actual facts. Memories of Obi-Wan shuddering in his arms, and rocks falling from caves were jumbled in his mind.

His Padawan nodded. "You scared me to death, Master. I was sitting on the couch, and you suddenly slipped from your chair. I called for the healers immediately."

Qui-Gon raised a tired hand, and cupped Obi-Wan's cheek. He immediately felt guilty for worrying his student. "I am sorry to have scared you. Thank you, my Padawan."

"Master?"

He smiled at Obi-Wan's confusion. "For taking care of me. I am touched."

*

Obi-Wan looked down at Qui-Gon. He tried to release his weariness into the Force, only partly succeeding. "It was my duty, and my pleasure, my Master."

He could tell Qui-Gon was tiring, and placed a hand on his forehead. "Sleep, Master."

Qui-Gon grabbed his hand, and he stopped. Staring into his Master's eyes, Obi-Wan felt his heart catch. "There is something . . . I have wanted to tell you for some time, my Obi-Wan."

"It can wait, Master. You should sleep." Obi-Wan smiled softly, running a hand along Qui-Gon's hair.

Qui-Gon shook his head. "No."

Obi-Wan smiled, he couldn't help but love the man. For an instant, he felt an answering emotion along their bond, but dismissed it. Shaking his head, he placed his hand on his Master's cheek. "Sleep." Adding a touch of the Force to the command, Qui-Gon quickly drifted off to sleep.

Once he was sure Qui-Gon was indeed asleep, Obi-Wan leaned forward and kissed him gently on the forehead. "Sleep well, my Master. I shall be here when you awake."

The End

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