Qui-Gon Jinn woke to the strange, unnerving silence of his apartment in the Jedi Temple. It was early afternoon, judged by a glance he cast at the window, and the Jedi just wanted to die of shame. He’d promised his little Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he’d take him to the Zoo today, but he’d endured such a horrible night, with scary as hell nightmares in every few hours that Qui-Gon simply couldn’t make himself crawl out of his bed in the morning. He felt utterly exhausted, his head and eyes hurt, and even the thought of getting up made him sick. Then he finally fell asleep around 7 a.m.
Now he pushed aside the warm blanket and got up, stumbling into the kitchen, still pretty much half asleep. He needed tea, a lot of it, and quickly. When his recreational drug of choice kicked in, he was awake enough to find the note someone left him on the table in the common room. Qui-Gon recognized the handwriting immediately: it was his master’s, and it told him that he took upon the task to go to the Zoo with little Obi, and if he wanted to join them, then they’d gladly wait for him.
Qui-Gon couldn’t stop grinning as he called Dooku and informed him that he’d catch up with them in an hour. He heard Obi’s enthusiastic cry over the comm channel, and he sent an affectionate wave through their bond, however, he wasn’t sure that the kid would feel it. Their bond was quite new and far from its full possible strength yet, so distance significantly affected its efficiency.
Dooku promised him that they’d wait for him at the Gift Shop, and after he brushed his teeth and took a quick shower, Qui-Gon left the Temple and headed toward the Zoo. He got there in half an hour, and his little Padawan greeted him with a happy yell and a child version of a bear-hug.
“I’m happy to see you, too, little one” Qui-Gon said warmly, picking Obi up. “But you’re almost nine, you shouldn’t squeal like a little pig. Hello, master” he added, smiling at Dooku gratefully. “Have you had a good day so far?”
“Indeed we had” Dooku nodded, ruffling Obi’s hair with obvious affection. “We’ve seen banthas, nerfs, and so many dreadful water-creatures that I can’t even count it anymore. However, your little brave Padawan wasn’t afraid of them a bit.”
“Are you better, master?” Obi asked, hugging Qui-Gon’s neck and snuggling closer to him, resting his head on his shoulder.
“Yeah... I just needed a good sleep. What’s next?”
“Master Dooku said I can have a plushie from the Shop” Obi answered, looking at Qui-Gon questioningly if his master agreed to it.
“Then you’ll have a plushie” Qui-Gon nodded, putting Obi down, and they all entered the Gift Shop.
It wasn’t too big, and it was crowded with guests from the Zoo, souvenirs and toys, so many of them that the two Jedi masters just stared in stunned disbelief. Obi, on the other hand, seemed perfectly comfortable in the sea of plushies, making a painstaking effort to choose the perfect one for himself.
“Obi was worried about you. He said you had a ‘very-very-very bad’ night” Dooku said as he and Qui-Gon retreated into a corner from where they could still keep an eye on Obi.
“Yeah, I just couldn’t sleep... and when I did, I had batshit-crazy nightmares, and I don’t even know why” Qui-Gon shrugged, ready to drop the topic for good. “Thank you for bringing Obi here, he was looking forward to it so much... I feel terrible that I’ve failed him.”
“He isn’t angry with you at all, you just made him a bit worried” Dooku assured his former Padawan. “He’s such a loving, kind child... He reminds me of you.”
The two Jedi smiled at each other with a deep affection that spoke volumes of years spent together and a bond that was as strong as one between a parent and his child.
“You remember my old plush lion? I wonder what happened to him...” Qui-Gon said as he watched Obi examining the toys carefully.
“The one you named Liam? Yes, I remember it... It was a rather ugly little thing” Dooku claimed, and Qui-Gon stared at him indignantly.
“He was just shaggy, not ugly” he muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. “Not everybody can look so aristocratic as you.”
“That’s right, and you’re the living proof of it” the older Jedi stated, but he took away the edge of the offense with a fond smile and a gentle stroke on Qui-Gon’s long, silky hair.
Qui-Gon couldn’t help but laughed, hugging his former master quickly.
“But if you want, then you can choose a new lion for yourself as well. If I buy a gift for my grand-Padawan, then I suppose my Padawan deserves the same chance” Dooku added, and Qui-Gon’s eyes lit up with happiness.
Soon Qui-Gon found a pretty lion, with beautiful, well-kept mane and a royal expression on his face; even Dooku couldn’t say a bad word about him. The lion was as aristocratic as he could get.
A few minutes later Obi joined them, holding a thick, long plush snake in his arms. The snake was dark blue, with some black pattern on its back, it had green eyes and its mouth was open, revealing a small, pink tongue. It was the least snake-like snake plush in the whole shop, but it was cute in its own funny way.
“He reminds me of you” Obi claimed, looking at Qui-Gon with a happy smile on his face.
“Uh, well... Thanks?” Qui-Gon answered, not quite sure whether he should laugh or get offended a bit; he’d been compared to a snake, after all.
“The colour. It has the exact colour of your eyes” Dooku explained, and Obi nodded, confirming it.
“Oh. Okay, then. How should we call him?”
It seemed Obi wasn’t too creative when it came to naming his plushies. He’d already had a tabby kitten named Softy.
After being done with shopping, the Jedi and the Padawan went to see the loth wolves and the kath hounds, then Obi played for a while with the small, friendly and cuddly creatures named gizka.
It was late afternoon when they headed home, Obi in his master’s arms and sleeping soundly, snoring softly into Qui-Gon’s shoulder. Dooku carried the bag with the plushies from the Gift Shop. They didn’t talk much, and when they got home, Qui-Gon put Obi into bed, leaving Hissy with him.
“It seems you could use a nap as well” Dooku said as he prepared tea for both of them.
“I can’t argue...” Qui-Gon sighed, which quickly turned into a yawn. “But it was a great day, I enjoyed it very much.”
“I’m glad to hear that” Dooku smiled back at him, and after they drank their tea, he led Qui-Gon to his bed, tucking him in and giving him the plush lion they bought.
His former Padawan hugged it instinctively, and in the next minute he fell asleep. Dooku left the apartment with a huge smile and a warm, fuzzy feeling. It was indeed a great day.