Obi-Wan’s breath came out in large white puffs before his eyes, which were running in protest of the icy wind. His hooded head was bent low simultaneously protecting his face from the nipping snowflakes which fell in torrents around him, and focusing on the deep snow beneath him as he tried to keep his balance.
Force, he hated snow.
It was an unusual thing for an eight year old to hate snow but he struggled in the cold, despised the wet, and couldn’t stand being unable walk in a straight line without skidding all over place. Literally.
He wouldn’t even be out in it if the politicians on this planet had come to an agreement sooner. They had been close to decision three days ago, before it had started snowing, but one of the factions had felt victimised and the discussions continued until earlier that morning, allowing the snow to settle thicker and thicker and fall progressively heavier. At least they were on the way back to their ship now, but because of the woodland terrain they’d been forced to land in the nearest clearing three miles east of the capital city.
Obi-Wan’s focus jarred back to the present as the snow gave way under him and he stumbled, quickly righting himself and trudging on. His arms rapidly switched from wrapped around himself to preserve warmth and flailing around him to maintain his deteriorating balance.
Ahead of him his master seemed to be having no trouble at all, walking almost effortlessly through the snow with his arms crossed bracingly in front of him. Obi-Wan would have been a little jealous and perhaps irritated if he wasn’t more concerned by the growing distance between them.
He tried to walk in Qui-Gon’s footsteps, something he never thought he would do so literally, but they were so far apart it was difficult to do so without jumping from one to the next.
“Keep up, Obi-Wan,” Qui-Gon called over his shoulder, his deep voice almost getting lost in the howling wind.
“Y-yes, Master,” Obi-Wan hoped the wind hid how his voice trembled almost as much as he did.
The wind blew against them now and Obi-Wan, try as he might, could not muster enough energy to pick up his pace and it was with a small stab of panic that he watched the distance between himself and his master grow bigger with each step the elder took.
It wasn’t so much that he thought Qui-Gon would leave him behind on purpose as that his master simply wouldn’t hear him drifting further back, and that there would be too much snow to find him again. This train of thought was setting Obi-Wan’s active imagination into overdrive as all different scenarios of himself being lost in the snow appeared before his eyes.
“Obi-Wan?” Qui-Gon must have sensed his panic through the force as he stopped in his tracks and turned to his apprentice.
“Master? I d-don’t want to k-keep us here longer than neces-ss-sary, but could you s-slow down a little, please? I’m not sure I can keep up with you in all this snow,”
Qui-Gon watched as his Padawan attempted to get the words out past his chattering teeth and felt his heart clench. He needed to get the poor boy out of this weather as quickly as possible, but Obi-Wan was still tired from the negotiations on this planet where the days were nearly twice as long as on Coruscant making the snow, which he would have struggled with anyway, twice as difficult to get through. And the spike of panic he’d felt from Obi-Wan was the boy becoming worried about him getting too far ahead - he hadn’t realised until he’d turned how far the distance had grown.
Qui-Gon mentally cursed himself before back-tracking to meet the frozen child halfway. “Don’t fear little one, I won’t leave you behind. But we need to get back to the ship as soon as possible,”
“I’m s-sorry, Master, but I can’t walk any fas-ster,”
Qui-Gon looked pensive for a moment “But I can,” he turned his back and crouched before his Padawan, “hop on,”
Obi-Wan’s eyes widened in disbelief as he hastily bridged the gap between them and scrambled onto the older man’s back, clinging onto his masters robe with numb fingers.
Qui-Gon stood and adjusted the boy on his back and set off again. “Are you alright back there?”
“Yes, thank you Master,” Obi-Wan’s voice was muffled as he buried his face into the back of Qui-Gon’s robes. It was cold and wet from being snowed on but it was still better than the harsh wind and relentless snow battering his face.
Qui-Gon smiled at his apprentice’s politeness before picking up the pace. He’d actually been walking slower then his usual so that Obi-Wan could keep up but it still hadn’t been enough. But now with the boy securely on his back he set off at almost a light jog, pushing himself faster as he felt Obi-Wan trembling against him.
“We’re almost back to the ship now,” he spoke calmly but encouragingly over his shoulder.
“Master? Do you think we could have some coco when we get back to the ship? I was on my best behaviour during the mission...” came the meek response.
Qui-Gon smiled as the ship came into view.
“I should think that can be arranged, little one,” he said warmly, eager for a hot drink himself.
He’d even put a few little marshmallows in for Obi-Wan, he had been very well behaved after all.