Qui-Gon stopped just outside Yoda's door and closed his eyes, searching through the Force for the bright light that was his padawan. It took almost no time to find him meditating in the east gardens. He slipped up next to the younger man, waiting silently until Obi-Wan's eyes opened.

"Master!" Obi-Wan jumped up from the bench. "I didn't know you were there. I'm sorry."

"For what, Padawan?"

Obi-Wan looked down at his hands. "For not realizing you were standing there." He lifted his head again, his mask of serenity back in place as he met Qui-Gon's gaze. "Was there something you wanted?"

"As a matter of fact, there was." He waved a hand at the bench. "Will you sit with me?"

"Of course." They sat on the low stone bench, not quite facing each other. After a long moment of silence, Obi-Wan cleared his throat. "Master...if this is about our conversation earlier, I don't plan to wander around mooning over you. You needn't worry."

"I am worried, Obi-Wan, but not about that. 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."

"I know you're a Jedi Master," Obi-Wan said with a grin, "but I don't believe even you can be expected to tell me something you don't know."

That brought an answering smile to Qui-Gon's face. "But I should have known."

Obi-Wan took his master's hands in his own. "It doesn't matter," he said softly. "You figured it out, and hopefully without any new bruises from Master Yoda's walking stick."

"I managed to avoid that," Qui-Gon responded with a smile that slowly faded as he leaned forward and captured Obi-Wan's lips with his own.

Obi-Wan pulled back with an answering smile. "Good. All the same, I think I should check you thoroughly, just in case."

"If you think it's best," his master agreed, barely managing to keep a straight face. "Home, then?"

"Definitely," Obi-Wan said as they stood and strolled out of the garden hand-in-hand.

the end
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