Qui-Gon stopped just outside Yoda's door and closed his eyes, searching through the Force for the bright light that was his padawan, but after a few minutes he had to give up. He couldn't sense Obi-Wan anywhere. Obviously the young man didn't want to be found. Not that that stopped Qui-Gon from looking, but his efforts were in vain. His apprentice was too good at hiding.

Eventually, the Jedi Master gave up and went back to their rooms. Obi-Wan would be found when he wanted to be found, and not a moment before. Several hours passed before Qui-Gon heard the door open, felt his padawan's presence in the Force, now that Obi-Wan was so close he could not completely shield himself.

"Obi-Wan," he called out when he realized the young man was about to go straight to his own room. He felt the hesitation before Obi-Wan forced himself to turn into the living area.

"Yes, Master?" The words were delivered in cool, polite tones as Obi-Wan stood in the doorway, hands in his robes.

Qui-Gon wet his lips, stalling while he searched for the words to begin this conversation. Best to begin with the easiest part. "I'm sorry."

His apprentice quickly hid his surprise, but it shot through the Force like a wave. Was it really so rare for him to apologize to his student? "For what, Master?"

"For more years than I care to think about right now, I thought I knew myself. But it turns out I was wrong. I've been lying to myself, and today I lied to you."

Obi-Wan blinked hard. "Master...?"

"I do care for you, Padawan, much more than I admitted. And I'm sorry that my blindness hurt you."

"This is about the conversation you had with Master Yoda, isn't it?"

"No." Qui-Gon realized his apprentice wouldn't come any closer on his own, so he crossed the room to stand a few feet from the younger man. "My master reminded me of a few things I'd managed to bury in myself. But the feelings come straight from me and me alone." A wry grin crossed his face. "It just seemed I needed a little nudge to realize it."

Obi-Wan's lips twitched as he took a few steps toward Qui-Gon. "A nudge, Master?"

"A small push, then."

"Possibly a thrust in the right direction?" Obi-Wan teased, taking a few more steps forward until he was almost touching his master.

"Definitely," Qui-Gon responded, leaning down to kiss the younger man.

The kiss was soft and sweet, leading to others that were increasingly demanding. Finally, Qui-Gon broke away, breath coming quickly as he stared intently down at his Obi-Wan. "Perhaps we should continue this discussion elsewhere."

"Discussion?" Obi-Wan echoed with a grin, one eyebrow shooting up. "Is that what it's called?"

"Negotiation?"

Obi-Wan laughed. "I'm quite sure that's not the exact word either."

Qui-Gon took his hand and pulled him toward the nearest bedroom. "Then come with me and I'll see if I can't demonstrate the word instead."

The young man laughed again. "It certainly promises to be the best vocabulary lesson I've had."

Qui-Gon smiled. It would be an interesting lesson for them both.


the end
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