Quin opened the door to their rooms, grateful to be home, hoping to get a shower, some food, and with any luck to spend some time with his favorite people.
It had been a long few weeks under cover and if he was honest he missed them. He'd spoken to Obi-wan a couple of times, most recently to let him know he was on his way home, but he'd managed to miss Anakin again. He sometimes wondered if they were on opposite schedules, or if his new and painfully shy partner was avoiding him. It was hard to tell with Anakin, their relationship had only just begun to seriously develop before Quin was sent out, and while he was affectionate, Obi-wan was always there to help bridge the gap.
Quin had to admit if anyone had told him he would be in a serious relationship with one person, let alone two he would have sent them to the healers for an evaluation, but Obi-wan had always been an exception to every rule he made for himself and the more time he spent with Anakin the faster he seemed to become an exception in his own right. As Anakin's walls started to come down he got to see the shy, smart and witty man peak out. He was loving and fiercely loyal to those he cared about. Quin never let himself take Anakin's fledgeling trust and love for granted, which lead him to the present situation.
The apartment was quiet as Quin walked towards the kitchen, but something felt off, "Anakin? Obi-wan? Are you home?"
Quin frowned when there was no response, but things still felt off, so he reached out to the Force, feeling Anakin nearby as he began to look around their rooms. His heart jumped into his throat when he saw Anakin's unconscious form on the floor in the hallway that lead to the fresher. Quin was kneeling at Anakin's side before he truly registered what he was seeing.
"Anakin!?" Quin exclaimed as he touched his young lover's shoulder thinking. This is the second time I've found you unconscious, thank the Force you're not bleeding this time. Anakin was breathing, but his skin felt like touching an open flame even through his light sleep shirt, his hair was plastered to his neck and forehead with sweat as he rolled him on his back so he could check him over.
"Anakin?" Quin called again as he gently stroked his cheek, "come on Sweetheart open your eyes for me."
"Nobata. Nobata tu tu." Anakin whimpered as scared, fever bright, cerulean eyes opened roaming over whatever horrors were playing through his mind in his delirious state.
"Shh shh, Ani. It's ok Love." Quin soothed, cupping his cheek.
"Quin?" Anakin rasped, looking around confused, and disoriented as awareness began to filter in.
"Yes, I'm here." Quin smiled fondly but his worry made his tone sharper than intended, " What happened Anakin?"
Anakin tensed as if waiting for a harsh rebuke. "Hey, it's ok Love. I'm not angry with you, I just need to know what happened and if you're hurt." Quinlan soothed, gently stroking Anakin's cheek with his thumb.
Anakin blinked, looking around confused as he realized he was laying on the floor. "I don't know. I didn't feel well and I got up to go to the fresher..."
Quin gently brushed his sweat soaked hair out of his eyes, "I think you fainted Sweetheart. You feel like you're running a high fever."
Anakin coughed wetly as he curled into himself.
"Have you been to Medical?" Quin inquired.
"I was working with Rex and Cody, when I started to feel sick. I came home and took a nap, but I don't remember falling..." Anakin trailed off, eyes fluttering as he fought to remain conscious.
Quin frowned in concern as Anakin's eyes rolled back and he passed back out. Quin ran to the fresher and started to run a lukewarm bath before he returned to Anakin's side thinking, Ani you have got to stop scaring me like this, as he gently picked Anakin up and carried him into the fresher.
Quin stripped down, before he began carefully undressing Anakin. Normally Quin would make sure Anakin would be comfortable with the idea of being in a bathtub with him or have Obi-wan take care of him, but Anakin's fever was dangerously high and Quin had no idea where Obi-wan was so it was up to him to make sure Anakin didn't boil that beautiful brain of his. His sole nod to Anakin's comfort was leaving both their undergarments on as he stood with Anakin in his arms and lowered them into the tepid water.
Anakin let out a low moan as he tried to move closer to Quin and away from the chill of the water. Quin carefully supported Anakin against his chest as he ran a soft wet cloth over the feverish man's chest and neck.
"I'm sorry Ani, but I've got to get your fever down." He rumbled quietly as he softly kissed the top of Anakin's shoulder. "Just relax and let me take care of you Sweetheart."
Anakin blinked hazy blue eyes as Quinlan ran the cool cloth over his face and neck, before rinsing the cool water through his sweat soaked hair all the while keeping a soothing stream of words.
"Quin?" Anakin asked through chattering teeth. "Cold."
Quinlan softly wiped Anakin's cheek, "yes I'm here." He kissed Anakin's curls, "you really aren't cold Love, you're doing a great impression of Tatooine's suns at the moment."
Anakin tried to burrow closer to Quin as he shivered, "cold."
"I'm sorry Sweetheart, just a few more minutes and we can get out." Quin reassured.
Anakin rested limply against Quinlan's chest burying his face against his neck seeking comfort as he drifted barely conscious.
True to his word Quinlan drained the tub and wrapped Anakin in a towel before carrying him to his bedroom. Once Quin laid Anakin down he grabbed clean clothes for himself and dressed quickly, before getting new sleep clothes for Anakin. Quin made short work of drying Anakin off and rousing him enough to help him get dressed. Once he had Anakin dressed in new sleep pants, Quin tucked him into bed, before turning to go get a glass of water.
He stopped when he heard Anakin whimper, "stay?"
Quin knelt down next to Anakin's bed and cupped his cheek, "I'll be right back Sweetheart, I just want to get you a glass of water, you're dehydrated."
Anakin shook his head and gripped Quinlan's hand firmly. Quin gently brushed the damp strands of hair out of his eyes, "you need to drink some water. I won't be gone long."
Anakin reluctantly let go as Quinlan quickly headed for the kitchen to get water. Quin almost dropped the glass he was filling when he looked up to see Anakin, pale and sweating, wrapped in a blanket, fighting to stay standing as his body trembled.
"Anakin!" Quin exclaimed, "why are you out of bed? I was coming right back."
Anakin looked at Quin confused as he guided Anakin to the couch and settled him there. Once Quin was sure Anakin was settled he grabbed the water, and sat next to him.
"Why didn't you wait for me?" Quin asked gently.
Anakin rested his head against Quinlan's shoulder as he mumbled, "I missed you."
Quin smiled into Anakin's damp curls, pulling him close, "I missed you too Love." Quin kissed Anakin's forehead, "can you drink a little for me?"
Anakin blinked sleepily, and shook his head. "Sweetheart, you have to try to drink something." Quin coaxed.
Anakin curled up against Quinlan's side, burying his face in Quinlan's chest. Quin ran gentle fingers through Anakin's tangled curls,
"Anakin, if you don't try to drink I'm going to have to take you to Medical."
Anakin lifted his head as Quin moved the glass to his lips. Anakin took a few sips before turning his head away. "Thank you, Love. Are you feeling sick to your stomach?"
"A little, my chest hurts." Anakin rasped, breaking into a wet coughing fit.
"Does Obi know you're sick?" Quinlan asked.
Anakin shook his head, "he's been in meetings since this morning."
Quinlan chuckled, "and you've been avoiding him cause if he knew you were this sick he'd drag you to Medical."
Anakin gave a wan half-smile, "maybe."
Anakin snuggled into Quinlan's side, wrapping his blanket tighter around his bare shoulders.
Obi-wan walked in the door talking to Vokara on his com. "No, I haven't seen Anakin today. Maybe he got distracted, it's not like him to miss his training time with you. I'll send him..."Obi-wan trailed off as he looked at the couch and saw his two lover's curled up together.
Quin was gently wiping Anakin's face and neck with a rag as he quietly hummed a lullaby from Kiffu. Anakin looked awful, his skin pale, except for his bright red cheeks. He was moving restlessly against the couch, oblivious to his surroundings.
"Obi-wan what's wrong?" Vokara inquired.
Obi-wan shook his head, as he opened himself to their bond trying to figure out what was wrong. "I found Anakin, Vokara. He seems to be sick."
Vokara frowned, "what are his symptoms?"
Obi-wan looked at Quin questioningly. "High fever, wet coughing, some nausea, and exhaustion." Quin answered.
Vokara sighed, "he's been helping me with a few of the new younglings that arrived from the outer rim. They came down with Corellian fever, but Anakin should be immune, most people get vaccinated as children."
Obi-wan knelt on the floor in front of Anakin and Quin, "I don't know if he did 'Kara. Qui-Gon didn't exactly get medical records when he freed him. No one thought anything of it because he gets sick so rarely."
Anakin coughed and whimpered in his sleep as Quin began to pet Anakin's hair and resumed humming.
Obi-wan stroked his cheek, "shh dear one it's ok."
Vokara frowned, "I'll grab my bag and come check him over. If it's Corellian fever we can treat his symptoms there, but he'll be quarantined in your apartment until he's better and the two of you will need to be quarantined too."
Quin sighed, "Vokara, he was with Rex and Cody earlier, should they also be quarantined?"
Vokara shook her head as she prepared her bag, "no the clones are immune to it and they don't spend any time with the younglings. I'll be there shortly gentlemen."
Obi-wan cut the connection as he looked worriedly at Anakin, "oh Ani, why didn't you tell me you were feeling this bad?"
Anakin moaned low in his throat as he pulled his arms up against his chest as if protecting himself. Obi-wan gently held his arms as he called, "Anakin, wake up little one."
Anakin startled, if Obi-wan and Quinlan hadn't been holding on to him he would have fallen off the couch. Anakin's eyes rolled sightlessly, reminding Obi-wan of the febrile seizure he had after his injuries got infected. Obi-wan pulled the blanket off him as Quin rinsed the now warm cloth in cool water as he began to run it over Anakin's face, neck, and chest.
"Anakin, shh, shh little one. It's ok. We've got you." Obi-wan soothed.
Anakin reached blindly for Obi-wan's hand. "Anakin, are you with us?" Obi-wan asked as he squeezed Anakin's hand.
Anakin blinked sluggishly as he fought to stay conscious. He coughed violently struggling to focus on Obi-wan. "Obi?"
Obi-wan kissed the back of Anakin's hand as he kept hold of it, "yes dear one I'm right here."
"M cold." Anakin mumbled through chattering teeth, his thin body trembling.
Obi-wan squeezed his hand, "I'm sorry dear one I can't give you the blanket yet, you're not cold. You're running a high fever."
Anakin curled in on himself trying to get warm, in turning away he exposed his back, so Quinlan rinsed the cloth and began running it over his back and neck. Anakin let out a quiet whine and tried to burrow away from the cloth.
"I'm sorry Sweetheart, but we need to bring your fever down." Quin stated softly as he kissed Anakin's damp curls. "How long until Vokara gets here?"
In answer the door buzzed. Obi-wan moved quickly to answer. "He's in here Vokara."
Vokara went to work quickly assessing him, "Anakin how long have you been feeling sick?"
Anakin blinked sleepily, coughing to clear his throat, "a couple days. Thought I was just run down." Anakin broke into a violent coughing fit. "I started feeling worse this morning and cut work short with Cody and Rex to take a nap."
Vokara frowned looking at the readout for his temperature as she moved onto listening to his lungs. "You don't do anything halfway do you?" She muttered.
Quin looked at Anakin concerned, as he ran his fingers through his sweat damp hair, "so what's wrong with him?"
"He's running a 104.5 degree fever, and he's showing symptoms of both Corellian fever and pneumonia." Vokara looked at Anakin, "normally I would say let's take him to Medical, but I'm willing to try and manage him here for his comfort, but also because it will be easier to quarantine him here. This will only be a test run tonight, if he gets any worse we'll need move him to the Halls of Healing and possibly put him in a bacta tank for a day."
Obi-wan nodded, "what do we need to do?"
"I will be starting an IV to get him hydrated, and I'm giving him an injection to help lower his fever and antibiotics for the pneumonia. If you can get him in a lukewarm bath to help manage his fever do so. Also he is on bed rest, I don't want him up and taxing his system anymore than it already is. Push fluids as much as you can, with the fever he will get dehydrated quickly." Vokara stood, "I'm going to give him the injections and then I'll be back with the IV set-up in a half-hour, that should give you time to get him in the bath and put him to bed."
Obi-wan showed Vokara out and went to the fresher to run the bath. When he came back to their main room Quinlan had Anakin cradled in his lap, ready to move him. Quin was speaking soft reassurances in Anakin's ear as the young man rested his head against Quinlan's shoulder watching him as he drifted in and out of consciousness.
"Do you need a hand moving him?" Obi-wan asked.
"No I got him, but you get to sit in the bath with him this time." Quin smiled, "I got that pleasure a couple hours ago."
Obi-wan smiled, "I can do that."
They headed to the fresher, Obi-wan turned off the water and stripped down, before climbing into the bathtub. Obi-wan held Anakin up while Quin stripped him down, once Anakin was unclothed Obi-wan sat down and helped Quin lower him into the bathtub. Obi-wan gently held onto Anakin to keep him sitting up. Anakin's head rested limply against Obi-wan's shoulder as he began to shiver in his arms. Quin used the soft cloth to sluice the cool water over Anakin's chest and neck. Anakin let out a quiet whimper as the cool water ran down his chest.
Obi-wan kissed Anakin's temple, "shh, you're doing so well little one. Just rest." He reached out to Quinlan, squeezing his arm, "welcome home, we missed you."
Quin smiled, "it's good to be home, I missed you both too." Quin gently wiped Anakin's face with the cloth, "I wish he was feeling better."
Obi-wan smiled, "I'm sure he does too. He was so excited for you to come home."
Quin arched a slightly skeptical eyebrow. Obi-wan shook his head, "I'm serious Quin, he missed you. You wouldn't believe how disappointed he was when he'd miss your calls." Obi-wan squeezed Quinlan's hand, "I know we have a long history, and Anakin and I also have a long history, but even with the short time he's had with you he is completely smitten. You understand him because he is similar to you. He feels not only understood, but safe with you. I had always wished we could have spent more time with you when he was younger. I think it would have helped him feel less alone amongst the Jedi."
Quin squeezed Obi-wan's hand in return, "he's a natural Gray isn't he?"
Obi-wan nodded against Anakin's curls, "yes, I wish I had known it was an option earlier. I wish I understood and fought harder for that option. I can't help, but think so much pain and confusion could have been avoided. The more I learn about the gray path the more I feel like I didn't do enough to get us on the best path for him."
Quin cupped Obi-wan's cheek, "I remember when he was right around 13 or 14 and you came to me worried that he wouldn't be able to walk the standard path. Do you remember the conversation we had about how to straddle the line between Jedi and Gray Jedi? You worked so hard to find the best way to help him while not drawing the ire of the council. I would have helped you more if they would have let me, but everyone was so worried he would fall to the Sith if he didn't walk the standard path."
Obi-wan scoffed, "we almost lost him anyway, because the Jedi left him feeling alienated and if not for a fluke Palpatine would have been able to exploit that feeling."
Quin leaned in and kissed Obi-wan softly, "it was the will of the Force that you two were bound together, even the Force wouldn't let him fall." Quin kissed him again, "if Anakin is to bring balance to the Force he must first bring balance to the light and dark within himself and his tie to you helps with that. Your willingness to learn what it means to be Gray helps even more. We will navigate this and see him through the other side in tact Obi. You have my word."
Anakin half-smiled listening to his lover's talk, even in his feverish haze he felt safe and loved. Obi-wan and Quinlan were home to him. He was a little worried that Quin didn't seem to know how important he was to him. Anakin promised himself that he would do more to show Quin that he was loved and wanted, and not just by Obi-wan.
Anakin gathered all his energy to open his eyes and take Quin's hand using the Force to push affection. "Uma ji muna kwelloo pukaneekee." Anakin rasped fighting to stay awake.
Quin gave a questioning look to Obi-wan , who was smiling as Anakin drifted back off, "he said he loves you, yellow flower. He reverts back to huttese sometimes when he's very sick, or disoriented."
Quin smiled fondly as he gently cupped Anakin's cheek returning the affection along the fledgeling bond, "I love you too Ani. It's ok just rest sweetheart." Quin looked at Obi-wan, "yellow flower?"
Obi-wan grinned, "it's a nod to your yellow tattoos, as for the flower it's as close to an endearment as huttese has. He has called me pukaneekee before, infact I'd say this is further proof of how much he likes you."
Quin smiled as he pulled out a large fluffy towel and pulled the stopper. He wrapped the towel around Anakin's shoulders as Obi-wan sat him up.
Quin carefully picked Anakin up and cradled him, "alright little one let's get you to bed, and comfortable before Vokara gets back."
Quin laid Anakin on the bed before grabbing new sleep pants and sliding them on. Anakin stirred a little as Quin tucked him in.
"Wateela." Anakin croaked as he was overwhelmed with a coughing fit.
Quin sat on the edge of the bed and propped Anakin up while Obi-wan came in with a cup that he handed to Quin.
"It's water. He's thirsty." Obi-wan answered as he pulled on his own sleep clothes. Once he was dressed Obi-wan went to meet Vokara at the door.
Quin held the cup to Anakin's mouth as he sipped the water slowly. When Anakin was finished he set the glass on the bedside table. Anakin wrapped his arms around Quin's waist as he tried to pull him closer.
Quin kissed the top of Anakin's head, "do you want me to get in bed with you?"
Anakin nodded sleepily. Quin shifted Anakin over a little so he could crawl in bed, as soon as he was settled Anakin moved over and rested his head against Quinlan's chest, wrapping an arm around his waist as he began to drift off again. Quinlan wrapped a supportive arm around Anakin's back, running gentle fingers through his hair.
Obi-wan and Vokara found Anakin asleep against Quinlan's chest as he dozed lightly. Quinlan's eyes opened when he heard them enter the room, but Anakin slept on oblivious. Vokara went to work setting up the IV set-up before she took Anakin's arm and inserted the needle.
She handed Obi-wan two packets, "this tea will help lower his fever, he can have it every 4 hours also here's the antibiotics, he should take them twice a day. I'll be back to check on him tomorrow morning, but if you need anything or he seems to get worse com me and I'll be here quickly. Do you remember how to change the IV bag?"
Obi-wan nodded, as he took the extra IV fluids, "yes I remember. How long are you going to be running the IV?"
"I want to run IV fluids tonight and see how he's feeling tomorrow morning once the meds have had an opportunity to start working. If his fever is lower, and he's able to drink enough I'll take the IV out tomorrow afternoon." Vokara answered.
Obi-wan nodded as he walked her to the door, "thank you for coming and taking care of things so quickly, Vokara."
"It's not a problem Obi-wan, in fact I would say it's a little my fault he's sick. I should have checked his records before having him help me with the younglings. If you need anything tonight call, otherwise I will see you all in the morning." Vokara answered. "Take care of your boys. Good night Obi-wan."
Obi-wan smiled, "always. Have a good night Vokara."
Obi-wan walked quietly down the hall, slipping back in their room with just a whisper of sound, his robe brushing the door frame. Obi-wan slid under the blankets and curled up around Anakin's back, draping an arm over him so he could touch Quin.
Quinlan shifted slightly so he could return Obi-wan's touch, "well, it's not quite how I thought my homecoming would go." Quin paused squeezing Obi-wan's hand and kissing the top of Anakin's head, "but I wouldn't trade this for anything."
Obi-wan smiled as felt Anakin's Force signature reach out and wrap around theirs twinning the three signatures comfortingly together. Obi-wan snorted at the surprise on Quinlan's face as he felt what Anakin was unconsciously doing. Obi-wan squeezed Quinlan's hand, "if you ever wondered how important you are to both of us, you don't have to any more."
Quin smiled as he squeezed Obi-wan's hand and nuzzled Anakin's hair. "You two are something else."
The three men settled into a comfortable silence as sleep over took them.