The Night of No Sleep
In which, Qui-Gon is thoroughly vexed
"Look, it's only for a day or two. What can happen in a day?"
"I don't know why I can't stay with you all. We two can share a bed, the others can take the couches--"
"Do you really want to sleep in the same bed with Yoda in the house?"
"Don't worry. The Council will take good care of your house, that's our job." Mace draped a comforting arm around Qui-Gon's shoulders. "Look, you'll have a little talk. You've got plenty to work out still. And in a couple of days, you get your house back."
Qui-Gon nodded, sighing. Mace planted an affectionate kiss on the taller man's chin and departed, leaving Qui-Gon standing in front of Obi-Wan's door.
Qui-Gon knocked tentatively, fiddling with the strap of his satchel. "Just a minute," echoed Obi-Wan's voice from within the tissue-thin walls.
Obi-Wan opened the door. His white uniform, worn so rarely these days, sparked a poignant flash of nostalgia in Qui-Gon--he half expected to be swept into his student's enthusiastic embrace.
"Oh--hello, Master. I'm doing homework right now, but later--"
Qui-Gon's eyes brightened hopefully.
"--I can make up the couch."
Qui-Gon deflated and followed Obi-Wan inside. A bright-eyed, sharp-nosed padawan sat at Obi-Wan's table with a large stack of books. "Master, this is Peet. Peet, Master Qui-Gon." The boy nodded absently, scanning the dictionary before him.
"What in the world is going on, Master? You didn't say."
"They're fumigating the Jedi Temple, and the Council has commandeered my house for the duration." Qui-Gon silently prayed that Obi-Wan would satisfy his curiosity at that.
"Why are they fumigating the Temple? That's not like them."
"An infestation of Altairian swamp-rats," Qui-Gon sighed.
"Why do I get the feeling you've been picking up pathetic life forms again, Master?" muttered Obi-Wan.
"Well, it was just sitting there in the gutter, obviously hurt. But I lost track of it in all the confusion lately, and next thing you know Yoda finds a nest in his underwear drawer. How was I to know that they breed asexually? Anyway--they only gave us two hours notice, and all the hotels are full due to the Indigo Gungan Girls concert. I'm sorry."
"It's no problem." Obi-Wan waved his hand dismissively, seating himself next to Peet with another enormous volume.
"What are you studying, Padawan?" asked Qui-Gon, collecting himself. "Perhaps I can be of some assistance."
"We're translating for our poetry class, Master. 'The Three Petals of Midnight'--Malastairian erotic poetry."
Qui-Gon's mouth went very dry. Obi-Wan gave him a steely glare, daring him to react.
"Obi-Wan!" cried Peet abruptly. "It's 'chastely-ribbed STALK of desire,' not 'column!'"
Qui-Gon felt faint. "Air," he mumbled, lurching toward the balcony door.
"Right, the eyes, that makes sense," said Obi-Wan, casting a sidelong look at Qui-Gon as he collapsed against the balcony rail.
He was never going to survive this. Never, never, never. An entire night in his sometime lover's apartment? Maybe two? Was he just supposed to forget the scent of Obi-Wan's hair, or the tiny mole on his...
Qui-Gon ran his hands fretfully through his hair, gazing tragically into the bright room where his Padawan leaned over words of love with a quick, handsome boy. Dammit, all he had ever wanted was a little fun! Just a good, carefree, Force-driven romp between the sheets. But instead he was thrown over for a few tattoos and an ass that looked good in leather.
Qui-Gon threw a stormy glance at Maul's balcony door, which, naturally, opened to reveal the freak himself. Maul cast a disdainful look down at the Jedi while lighting up a smoke.
"Do you mind?" Qui-Gon snapped.
"Not at all," said Maul, taking a long drag and flicking the empty packet at Qui-Gon. "Help yourself."
Qui-Gon crumpled the packet with a frown. "Tobacco pollutes the soul."
Maul grinned, giving the Jedi an eyeful of blackened teeth. "That's not all." Qui-Gon snorted in disgust.
Obi-Wan's cultured voice drifted out from the apartment. "Oh triple pleasure, the chastely-ribbed stalk of desire. Limpid pool of the soul, your silken gaze, your green eyes." Both men shivered.
Qui-Gon regarded Maul, whose attention was fixed on the animated, white-clad figure inside. "We're in the same boat now, I think. I'm staying over for a few days." If he was thwarted in his desires, the tattooed freak might as well be, also.
"You think?" Maul smirked. "Obi-Wan said to expect him over tonight after he finished his homework...so I could 'check his work.'"
Qui-Gon whimpered deep in his throat and banged his head slowly against the railing. Maul grinned evilly, tossed his butt over the edge and went back inside.
Qui-Gon wrapped the pillow around his head and tried to burrow under the sofa cushion. Surely that howl was Maul--his padawan never made sounds like that. Did he?
The Jedi twisted again, staring miserably up at the rhythmically shaking wall with the pillow clamped firmly over his ears. The couch wasn't nearly big enough for him, unlike the extra-long bed he and Obi-Wan had picked out in happier times.
Happier times for him anyway. Obi-Wan sounded perfectly content at the moment, or at least he was pretty sure that voice was Obi-Wan's. Either that or a car alarm. Thank the Force, they seemed to be finished.
Qui-Gon heard a quiet murmur of voices on the other side of the wall. He closed his eyes and recollected the meditations on jealousy, wrapping himself in serenity.
Until the wall started shaking again.
It was going to be a very long night.
Obi-Wan slipped the front door open, carrying his boots in his hand. Qui-Gon lay still, curled up on the couch, having no desire to speak to the man. Obi-Wan left the lights off and stole through the living room into his own bedroom, closing the door silently.
Peace at last, thought Qui-Gon, and slipped finally into fitful sleep.
Light, and a strange hum.
Qui-Gon swam up from sleep, his eyes refusing to open in the cruel brightness. What on Coruscant was that hum?
Something cold and metallic blundered against his leg. Qui-Gon yelped and sprang upright to the astonishing sight of Obi-Wan, eyes half closed, wielding a vacuum cleaner on his Master.
"Obi-Wan, what in blazes are you doing?" he squawked.
"....clean...." mumbled Obi-Wan in a distant voice. He shoved the nozzle against his master's chest. Qui-Gon batted it away, incredulous.
"....tidy up, Master...." The man's eyes were unfocused, almost like he was drugged again. Qui-Gon had unpleasant flashes of Happy Farm visits before he realized: Obi-Wan was sleepwalking. Or sleep-cleaning, as the case was.
This was a new development. Qui-Gon sat back against the couch arm, rubbing his forehead thoughtfully--unmindful of the vacuum nozzle, which swung up against his neck, inhaling an enormous section of long, unbound hair.
"AIIIIGH!" Qui-Gon yanked at the vacuum, succeeding only in snarling his hair firmly in the mechanism. He kicked at the machine, sending Obi-Wan sprawling.
"...wha?" Obi-Wan sat up slowly, looking around. Qui-Gon kicked at the machine, one hand on the nozzle and the other twined in his hair. Obi-Wan blinked and flipped the switch on the vacuum.
"Master, what are you doing?"
"Sleeping! Trying to sleep! What the devil were YOU doing?"
"Sleeping?" Obi-Wan looked at Qui-Gon's hair. "That doesn't look very restful."
Qui-Gon glared at the boy in frustration. "Help me untangle this, Padawan."
Obi-Wan quirked a smile and pushed himself up to his knees, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a Jedi Army knife (complete with midichlorian tester). Qui-Gon took one look and hit the wall, leaping to his feet on the couch with one hand outflung in a warding gesture. "Back off! My hair is staying on my head, Obi-Wan." The boy smirked, regarding him with even green eyes, pulling out the screwdriver attachment. A few loosened screws and some delicate prying freed the trapped hair.
"Goodnight, Master." Obi-Wan folded the knife and headed for bed, leaving Qui-Gon sitting wide-awake on the couch.
The boy paused. "Master...try not to blend anything in your sleep, OK? That could get really messy." Qui-Gon spluttered, protesting, but the bedroom door was shut firmly.
Sleep. He looked at the pillow. It was dotted with muck from the vacuum. He flipped it over--the knots were bad enough already.
The other side of the pillowcase was marred with two long gashes. Gashes which corresponded to a suspicious degree with the two horns on the back of the head of Obi-Wan's freakish, boorish, irritating, violent, devastatingly sexy neighbor. Qui-Gon groaned aloud, eyes squeezed shut. He flipped the light off with a touch of the force and collapsed onto the pillow, pounding it with his fist until exhaustion claimed him.
Sleep. Things HAD to be better in the morning.
A loud bang startled Qui-Gon into wakefulness. He jerked his head up into the gray pre-dawn light, searching for the source. An attack?
The room was still. But voices betrayed action on the other side of the wall, in that hideous freak's apartment. A piercing--and familiar--voice said something about sloth and expanding waistlines, then there was another bang of the front door.
Qui-Gon let his head drop down onto the pillow, his body crying out for rest like a nestful of infant grackles squalling for worms. Dawn was at 6 am, which meant that he had just a few hours before he needed to report for morning exercises. Surely he could get some modicum of rest before then...
Sleep, blessed sleep...
Two feet of humming red light saber had emerged from the wall mere inches above Qui-Gon's horrified eyes. Drywall dusted his face and the tangled mat of his hair.
Obi-Wan burst in as the lightsaber disappeared back onto its side of the wall. He pounded on the wall. "Dammit Maul! Watch your fucking backswing!"
"Piss off and get me some coffee!" the freak replied.
"Get it your fucking self, Mr Wide-Awake-At-Six-in-the-A-bloody-M!" Obi-Wan stalked back into his room, slamming the door.
Qui-Gon rolled slowly off the couch, keeping a low profile. Muttered curses drifted through the paper-thin wall, followed by the characteristic swish and muffled thump of a light saber practice routine. Punctuated by the hisses and yowls of an inconvenienced cat.
Qui-Gon's hands shook. Either that or his eyes. How much sleep had he gotten last night, anyway? An hour?
The couch was filmed with drywall and vacuum muck. The covers were tied in knots from his earlier writhings, and his body was soaked in nervous sweat.
Qui-Gon pushed himself up on hands trembling from exhaustion, making his way over to the tiny kitchen nook. Coffee. Yes, coffee was definitely the answer. Coffee would chase away this whole long, wretched night.
Obi-Wan arose for good two hours later. Qui-Gon heard him humming something in the shower--anarchy in Naboo?--sounding obscenely cheery. Well, naturally. HE had gotten laid last night, and quite thoroughly from the sound of it.
The bathroom door slammed open. Qui-Gon winced at the noise.
Obi-Wan bounced out, grinning at his Master. "Good morning!" He hopped over to the coffee machine and topped up a mug bearing the logo "Bounty Hunter VII--Revenge of the Ewok."
"You look like hell, Qui-Gon. Didn't you sleep well?" Qui stared at the cheery padawan with bloodshot eyes, his coffee cup clattering against the tabletop. Purple sparks skittered under his tapping fingers.
Oh shit, thought Obi-Wan. I think he snapped.
"Drink your coffee, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon ground out. "We have lessons." The sparks died down as Qui-Gon wrestled the Dark Side, and won.
Qui-Gon sent Obi-Wan ahead to join his yoga class in the garden. He sank exhausted onto a bench by the garden wall, folding himself in half with his arms wrapped around his knees.
Someone settled beside him, resting a companionable hand on his back. "How did things go?" Mace asked.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Please tell me I can sleep in my own bed tonight."
"You can sleep in your own bed tonight."
"Thank the Force."
"Got some bad news, man."
"Yoda got into your stash..."
"And your underwear drawer."
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