Title: The Moonlight Side
Category: Drama, Slash, Angst
Summary: Rogue Jedi, Quinlan Vos, encounters an old friend while on a mission for Count Dooku.
Disclaimer: Star Wars, like American Grafitti 2 and many flannel shirts, belongs to George Lucas. I make no credits.
Author's Note: Takes place during the Star Wars: Republic comic series, after issue #54, before "Jedi: Dooku". If you have no idea who Quin is, please take a look at the link below and join in the drool fest. Aside from Quinlan's hotness, I highly recommend the series, especially the issues drawn by Jan Duursema. http://www.rebelscum.com/comics/SWrepublic77.jpg<http://www.rebelscum.com/comics/SWrepublic77.jpg>
Special thanks to Jedi Rita and Silver Alaska, two of my very favorite people in the whole galaxy. I could not have finished this story without them.
hlglne's note: I have so much trouble finding this fic online and it needs more worship. muwhahaha.
"The Quarren have betrayed us and intend to reveal the location of our headquarters on Borleias," Count Dooku said in his typically icy tone.
It was a tone Quinlan Vos had become quite familiar with; it masked seething anger and extreme annoyance, and inevitably, it prefaced some distasteful duty that Quinlan had to carry out on Dooku's behalf.
"I suppose I'm the lucky one who gets to remove the Quarren from the picture," Quinlan replied.
Dooku's hologram shimmered and crackled with the distance, but his booming voice carried over clear and strong, taunting the rogue Jedi.
"Now, now, Quinlan. You mustn't think of yourself as a mere enforcer. There is far more to you than that; besides, the Quarren have already been taken care of." He said it so coolly and nonchalantly, it made Quinlan twitch.
"Unfortunately, the read-outs for the facility are already off planet." The tension returned to Dooku's voice, his displeasure painfully obvious. "The traitor is set to rendezvous with the Jedi on Ord Mantell. I need you to stop him."
"And if the Jedi get in the way?" Vos chimed in, already knowing the answer.
"Then treat them as you would any other obstacle and remove them."
Quinlan had to actually hear him say it before he would truly believe. This man had, himself, been a Jedi, a great one. How could he have drifted so deeply into the darkness? Fallen so far from what he once was? And how much more would it take before Quinlan found himself sliding down that same treacherous slope? It was better not to think about it. Like Dooku said, he would face his "obstacles" when he encountered them.
"Will the Jedi be a problem for you, Vos?" Dooku's piercing eyes stared out at him from the shifting hologram, but Quinlan set his jaw and returned the stare.
"Not at all, Count Dooku."
Garish lights flashed in the damp alleys, casting flickers of color onto the heavy shadows, shadows that had become Quinlan's closest friends of late. They were becoming a part of him. He had spent far too long in this kind of covert work, and it was wearing away at him, pulling him down just as his Masters said it would. But it was too late to stop now, too many things needed to be done. Pressing himself against the wall, he crept closer to the alley's edge, cloaking his presence from the eclectic assortment of aliens passing by.
The last of the Quarren traitors had been eliminated as Dooku ordered, but not before one of them had passed on the plans for the Separatists' headquarters to an Aqualish messenger who had agreed to deliver them to the Jedi. The crowd parted just enough for Quinlan to catch a glimpse of that messenger as he glanced around nervously and ducked into the bar. A few moments later, still wrapped in shadows, Quinlan followed him into the seedy establishment, taking a seat at the bar and scanning the room for his mark.
The fidgeting informant sat at a nearby table turning his glass round and round in his webbed hands. Perhaps he should have just grabbed him in the alley and killed him before he had even made it into the bar, but Quinlan had to be sure of how much this messenger knew before he could allow himself to do that.
Tossing back his drink, Quinlan rose and wound his way through the crowd, dropping into the chair opposite the Aqualish. The informant's eyes grew wide with surprise for a moment, then he seemed to sigh with relief that his mission was nearly over. That relief soon faded when he got a better look at the man sitting across from him.
"You don't look like a Jedi," the Aqualish blubbered.
Quinlan smiled, two long black dreadlocks falling in front of his eyes. "And how many Jedi have you met in your life, my friend?"
"Uh...none actually. You're just...not what I expected," the informant confessed.
"Do you have it?" Quin asked, abruptly changing the subject.
The Aqualish glanced around surreptitiously before he reached into his pocket and drew out a disc. He set it on the table and started to slide it over to the Jedi but stopped short, glancing up at the man's dark eyes. Quinlan stared him down, searching his thoughts with the Force.
"Are there any surprises on here?" Vos asked.
The informant looked confused and scared, but the expression clearly told Quinlan that he didn't know anything about what was on the disc. Satisfied, he reached into his pocket. The jittery Aqualish nearly jumped up and ran, but he visibly relaxed when he saw the Jedi pullout a stack of credits. The messenger's hands darted out, grabbing the currency and stuffing it in his pockets as he rose from his chair and stumbled through the crowd to get away as quickly as possible. Quinlan waited until he reached the door before he began to track him once more. He had to be certain that there were no other loose ends of which he was unaware.
The rogue Jedi had just reached the street when he felt a presence behind him, another who was strong in the Force, someone he knew quite well. Breaking off his pursuit of the messenger, he melted back into the comfort of the shadows, keeping to the alleys when he could, blending into the crowd when he couldn't. He wasn't necessarily trying to lose his Jedi pursuer, but in his opinion, it would be best to avoid this particular confrontation if at all possible.
The surroundings grew darker and shadier as Quinlan moved deeper into the heart of the city. The air here was heavy, thick with smoke, pollution and fear. The scent of refuse clung in his nostrils, choking him, but still he pressed on. He felt the other Jedi growing distant, having a hard time tracking him through the dank underbelly of Ord Mantell.
He was just a few steps from losing him completely when he turned down an alley and gracefully leapt onto a rusted metal staircase attached to the side of a building. Below him, he heard shuffling, drunken footsteps and whimpering; it sounded like a woman, and he paused for a moment to assess the situation.
From the shape of the shadowy forms, he could tell it was a couple creeping into the alley for a fuck, but when he leaned down to get a closer look, his heart stopped. The Twi'lek woman was pressed against the wall, her hands pinned above her head as a man brutally pounded into her. She looked so much like Aayla, his former apprentice. Logically, he knew it wasn't her, but the sight still sickened him and tore at his heart. He wanted to jump down and castrate the beast who was violating her, but it wasn't his place. She was probably just a prostitute trying to make a few credits and survive in this wretched hellhole; she would hardly thank him for causing her to lose a client.
The girl began to cry out and struggle against the man, as he continued his assault; the sound wrenched Quinlan's heart out. He knew he had to leave, escape while he could, so no one got hurt, but he was frozen to the spot, trapped by his own rage, unable to act, unable to run away. He shut his eyes and tried to will it all away, to regain his center and move on, but his silent meditation was shattered by the *snap-hiss* of a lightsaber.
"Perhaps, you should leave the young lady alone," said a smooth cultured voice from the darkness. A step closer, and Quinlan saw a shimmering blue blade held by a dark cloaked figure. The words echoed in the dank alleyway, the weight of the Force behind them.
The man backed away in a daze as the young woman collapsed onto the filthy duracrete. "Perhaps I should leave the young lady alone," he droned as he adjusted and refastened his clothes.
"And you should leave her your credits, as well," the Jedi said softly.
The man bent over the girl, and she shrieked as he reached for her. The Jedi stayed tense and ready to strike if needed, but the man was only helping her to her feet. He handed her a stack of credits. "Yes, you should have these credits," he told the amazed young woman before he wandered out of the alley in a daze.
The Jedi approached the girl who was still leaning against the cold wall, shaking with fear. "Are you alright?" he asked. She nodded then burst into tears on his shoulder, still clutching the credits tightly in her hands. He whispered something unintelligible into her ear, and she nodded then reached up to kiss his cheek before she turned to go.
The Jedi searched the alley for some sign of the man he was tracking, but the distraction the girl provided had given Quin time to fully cloak his presence from his pursuer. The Jedi clearly believed he was alone in the dank, shadowy alley. Quinlan watched the other man for a moment, wishing that he could just walk away from this, but it seemed that the confrontation was inevitable. With a loud creak, the rusting metal on which he stood revealed his presence before he was fully prepared for it, but he recovered the situation quickly by flipping onto the next level and positioning himself to leap.
"Quinlan!" the Knight called into the darkness. "Quinlan! I just want to talk to you!" The Jedi strained his eyes and extended his senses through the Force, but Quinlan was gone.
Silent as a stalking feline, Vos created only a slight ripple in the Force as he dropped from above, catching the Jedi off guard. Quinlan's foot hit the other man in the back, spinning him around and backing him into the wall with thud, a blaster pressing into the Jedi's heart before he had the chance to reach for his lightsaber.
"And what do we have to talk about, Kenobi?" Quinlan spat at him. "Too many people have already tried to convince me to come back."
"You're a Jedi, Quinlan. I refuse to believe it's too late for you to return. The Council will understand. They wouldn't have tried so hard to bring you back if they truly believed that you were lost to the Dark Side," Obi-Wan reasoned.
"The Dark Side," Quinlan chuckled. "You're such a fool, Kenobi. Do you honestly think that is why they tried to bring me back?" Obi-Wan's eyes narrowed in apparent confusion. "They want to use me for information. That's all."
"I won't believe that, Quin." Obi-Wan protested.
Quinlan unhooked the Jedi's lightsaber from his waist and tucked it into his own belt, still holding the blaster pressed to Kenobi's heart. He met the other man's defiant gaze and stepped in closer to check him for other weapons, his hand roaming freely over the Jedi's lean, muscular form.
"You know it's true. You've felt it yourself. That's all the Republic wants from us, to use us to enforce their laws, to fight their battles, to lead their armies, to be their generals," Quinlan almost spat out the word in Obi-Wan's face.. "They want us to die for ideals that have been dead and buried for centuries. How can you stomach it? It defiles everything the Jedi have stood for. I won't be used that way, not anymore."
For a moment, Quinlan saw a green spark of rage flash behind Obi-Wan's eyes, but passed it off as the colored traffic lights that flickered just outside the alley.
"And Dooku's not using you?" Obi-Wan challenged. "Now who is the fool? I know how Dooku operates. You are only a means to an end in his eyes."
Quinlan felt his jaw tighten at the words. They were true, of that he had no doubt. Everyone used everyone else in this fucked up excuse for a galaxy. Hell, he was using Dooku, and he was quite certain that Dooku knew it. The question was how much did Dooku believe? That was the point of this entire mission. He needed Dooku to know that he was loyal, that the Jedi weren't a problem. He knew it was a test from the moment the words left Dooku's lips, but could he bring himself to do what needed to be done in order to pass it?
"Quinlan, I need the disc. Countless lives depend on it, Jedi, clones, innocent people on contested worlds. You can help them, Quin." Kenobi's voice was soft, almost a whisper lost in the noise from the street, but it echoed in his head until it felt like it would split open, and it wasn't just the sound of Kenobi's determination he heard; it was something more elusive and personal. "That's what it means to be a Jedi, Quinlan. Do you remember what that's like?" The words wrapped around him like a lover's arms, so secret and intimate that they burned. Obi-Wan reached up and put his hand on Quinlan's where it rested atop the blaster. His other hand moved slowly towards Quinlan's face.
Quinlan was lost deep in thought and sensation, but his prisoner's movement snapped him out of it. He lashed out in a blur, throwing off Kenobi's hands and hitting him across the face. Obi-Wan stood there stunned for a moment, then his face slipped back into a mask of serenity, the pain hardly registering in his aquamarine eyes. Why wasn't he fighting back? That would, at least, be something he understood, something he could face without doubt or fear.
Obi-Wan looked him in the eye, his lip bloody. "I will do whatever I must to get the disc, Quinlan," he said calmly. "But I don't want to hurt you unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Then don't make me hurt you," Quinlan growled. His instincts told him to knock Kenobi unconscious and escape, but there was something deeper pulling him in another direction. The heat he had felt earlier crept back into his mind. It had been buzzing just beyond the edges of his consciousness from the moment he had first felt Kenobi's presence.
Suddenly, a shiver ran up his spine, the creeping chill of someone watching him. He searched the Force around them and found no one, yet the chill remained, digging into his bones like icy bolts of lightning. He grabbed the Jedi by the collar and spun him around, pressing him into the grimy wall, the blaster digging into his back.
"I don't want to kill you, but I will if you try anything foolish," Quinlan whispered into Obi-Wan's ear. His scent was clean and reminded him of the incense from the Temple; it must have clung to his robes or perhaps it was just part of him. It made Quinlan feel calm and safe in a way he hadn't felt in very long time.
"I give you my word," Obi-Wan replied. Something in his voice had changed. It wasn't serene or defiant. there was trust behind it, and an echo Quinlan couldn't quite identify, something that twisted his stomach into a knot.
"Come on," Quinlan snarled as he led Obi-Wan into the street. He kept the blaster concealed beneath the Jedi's cloak, ready to fire if he broke his word and tried to escape.
The street lights dazzled their eyes after so long in the darkness of the alley, and they twisted through street after street, up levels and down as Quinlan tried to shake the feeling of being watched. He was certain that they had lost whoever or whatever it was that had been watching him, but it was the feeling itself that disturbed him, like he had come a breath away from death, like he had failed. It had probably been something in the alley that he had touched.. His psychometric abilities allowed him to pick up memories and impressions from object around him, and perhaps something had transpired in that alley, something bad enough to spook even him.
"I can feel your paranoia, Quinlan," Obi-Wan said as they headed down another crowded street. "You don't' have to live like this. People care about you... Master Tholme, Master Yoda, Aayla. She's worried sick about you."
"They would be better off if they forgot all about me. I've already told Aayla that," Quinlan said bitterly. He knew how she must feel, but he couldn't allow himself to worry about it. She had her duties, and he had his; they would, most likely, never intersect again.
"She wanted to come with me when she heard about this mission," Obi-Wan told him. "But I wouldn't allow it.. You're putting her life and her career in danger, Quin. I had to promise her that I would bring you back if I encountered you. It was all I could do to keep her from openly defying the Council."
"You're lying, Kenobi. Aayla wouldn't be that stupid!" Quinlan shot back. He knew the Jedi was trying to hit him where he was most sensitive. His attachment to Aayla was well known, and it had been used against him in the past. He had always been fiercely protective of her, and he hated to see Obi-Wan using her this way, as a ploy to get what he wanted.
"She knows how disillusioned I've been with the Republic; she has to know that I can't be swayed," Quinlan continued. "She still believes in the Republic and what it stands for; she's young and can afford to be idealistic. I can't, not anymore. She's better off where she is. She's safer facing the blasters of the battle droids than she is living in my world."
"And what about you? Are you safer and more satisfied living like this?" Obi-Wan asked, turning to face him. "You've exchanged one set of lies for another."
"At least I chose this life, and I'm not blindly following orders and foolish ideals," Quinlan retorted. "Besides, what gives you the right to have such a superior attitude?"
They were in the middle of a street arguing like a couple of idiots over issues that could never be resolved. He had wasted far too much time on this matter, and was going to have to get rid of Kenobi one way or another.
"I know where I stand and what I believe in," Obi-Wan argued. "Can you say the same about yourself, Quinlan?"
Before they had the chance to continue the argument, both men turned simultaneously feeling the ripple of aggression just in time to avoid the blaster bolts screaming towards them. The fire was coming from the rooftops above them, and they leapt into action. The street around them had cleared out completely, and Quinlan grabbed his blaster, returning the fire and ducking into a doorway just as a laser singed off a lock of his hair.
These guys were very good, and if Quinlan thought he was faring badly against them, Obi-Wan was doing far worse. He had found cover for the moment, but had no weapon to defend himself, and his hiding place was slowly being whittled away by the powerful laser rifles of the snipers.
As much as Quinlan hated to admit it, he knew it was unlikely that he would be able to hold off what appeared to be more than a dozen highly trained assassins from his current position.. He needed Kenobi's help. Using the Force to guide it, Quinlan tossed the Jedi's weapon back to him as he sprayed the rooftops with cover fire.
An instant later, Quin heard the familiar and welcome hum of Kenobi's saber as it sprang to life, the laser fire ricocheting off the shimmering blue blade. Within moments, the two Jedi were able to even up the odds a bit by taking out at least three of the snipers, but they were still in far too vulnerable a position. They wouldn't be able to keep up their current defenses unless they were able to turn the tables on their attackers and come up with some surprise tactics of their own.
Quinlan's dark brown eyes flashed up to meet Kenobi's for a fleeting moment. That was all he could afford, but it was enough to get the other man's attention and to communicate his plan. Kenobi advanced his position, drawing more fire to himself and deflecting it with elegant sweeps of his lightsaber.
By the time the snipers realized he was gone, Quinlan was already bursting through the doorway that lead to the rooftop where a contingent of the attackers was stationed. His blasters blazed as they exchanged fire, but when the smoke cleared, he was the only one left standing. On the street below, Kenobi was still fending off the remaining snipers, but Quinlan sent him a signal through the Force, and in a flash, Kenobi leapt onto the rooftop with his attackers. Quinlan joined him an instant later.
This group of assassins was larger and much deadlier than the other, and an intense fight ensued. Yet amidst the heat of the battle, Quinlan paused to watch the grace with which Obi-Wan moved. He was a brilliant swirl of blue in the darkness, intense and mesmerizing. Perhaps he had been away from the Temple too long, Quin told himself, but he desperately missed this, missed what it felt like to fight beside someone like Kenobi, someone with such grace and honor and power. Kenobi was right, he had forgotten what it was like to be a Jedi.
This painful revelation left a knot in his gut, but the sizzle of flesh jarred him back to the moment. The blaster bolt had only grazed his right bicep, but the wound was deep enough to make his arm burn and to send white sparks of pain flashing across his field of vision. More bolts zoomed past him as he narrowed his eyes and returned fire. The rest of the battle was a blur of lights and smoke as Quinlan focused on eliminating the threat that faced him and his companion.
The night grew silent as Obi-Wan shut off his lightsaber and the final assassin hit the ground with a grunt, the wound in his chest still smoking as Quinlan bent to examine him. The crew had been highly trained, but did not appear to be part of one of the bounty hunters' guilds. They looked more like mercenaries, possibly even ex-military from their attire and clean-cut appearances, not the typical scum one would find on a world like Ord Mantell.
Cautiously, Quinlan picked up the man's weapon. He had expected a flood of images of past kills, but it was almost clean. All he saw was a face flashing through his mind, a store room, voices, money. He searched his mind, trying to place the face he had seen. She was a high priced arms dealer he had encountered on Nar Shadaa. She dealt in only top of the line merchandise, the latest technology, the best of the best. So these guys were well financed, that was clear. They were exactly the kind of men Dooku would hire, but why would Dooku send someone so obviously in his employ to take him out? The Count was nothing if not subtle.
Quinlan's thoughts were disrupted by the distant sound of sirens; the authorities were on the way, and though they were undoubtedly corrupt and inept, he did not want to be around when they arrived. He motioned to Obi-Wan, and then took off for the other end of the roof, leaping down into the alley below. Kenobi followed him closely, clearly not wanting to lose him again in the darkened streets.
They stuck close to the walls as they twisted down streets and alleys, but they were still far too close to the crime scene for Quinlan's peace of mind. The screech of a siren greeted them when they turned a corner, and Quinlan grabbed Obi-Wan and pressed him against the wall and into the shadows as the flashing lights whizzed past them. He hesitated for a brief moment, enjoying the warm solidity of the other man's body before they crept back down the alley.
When they emerged onto the next street, Quin found exactly what he had been looking for, a means of escape. He leapt onto the parked speeder bike and fiddled with the wire for a few seconds. The engine hummed to life, and he motioned for Obi-Wan to join him.
"Come on, the police will start scanning this area soon, and someone surely saw us when the shooting started. We need to get as far away as possible," Quinlan explained.
Without a word, Obi-Wan climbed onto the bike behind him, and they shot off into the night. "Who were those men, and why were they trying to kill you?" Obi-Wan asked after they had made their way to the lower levels of the city.
"Dooku's henchmen, I think," Quin replied.
"I thought you were one of Dooku's henchmen," Obi-Wan retorted.
Quinlan turned away to hide the sneer that was spreading across his lips. "Perhaps the Count doesn't trust me as much as I think he does. Perhaps he has good reason not to."
"You're not as far gone as you appear to be," Obi-Wan said into Quinlan's ear. Kenobi was pressed tightly against his back, holding onto his waist as they zoomed through the city, the warmth of his breath on his neck and ear, a sharp contrast to the cool air whipping around them. "You could have let them kill me. I would have been out of your way."
"I have my reasons," Quinlan said enigmatically. "Besides, I needed your help if I wanted to survive."
"Always watching out for yourself now, aren't you? That's not the way I remember you when we were Padawans at the Temple."
"That was a lifetime ago. None of that matters now. It's not a part of me anymore," Quinlan lied. He had learned tonight just how untrue that was. It did matter. Kenobi reminded him of everything that had once mattered to him, everything he thought he had left behind.
They swooped down to one of the lower levels, turning once corner after another, doubling back until Quinlan was certain that they weren't being followed. Quinlan felt the strength and certainty of Obi-Wan as he rode behind him. It was so comforting and calm. Comfort and calm were distant memories in the world where Quinlan lived. They were luxuries he could not afford, but perhaps he could allow himself to indulge in them just this once.
Quin pressed himself back against Obi Wan, deeper into the other man's embrace as he took the speeder bike into a sharp dive. Kenobi tightened his grip around Quinlan's waist, the feeling sending a rush of blood straight to Quinlan's groin. He could sense the adrenaline coursing through his companion. The Force swirled around them in waves of red heat, making his heart pound wildly. They rode through the abandoned industrial district in silence. The unacknowledged flame slowly kindling between them, growing and sparking along the planes of their bodies where they touched, melting them together.
Raw, heated images ripped through Quinlan's mind of sweating bodies and the salty taste of skin. A hunger gnawed its way up his spine, tingling through his arms and legs, his skin nearly screaming with it. This was probably some trick of Kenobi's, a play to distract him into turning over the disc. Tightening his shields, Quinlan pushed back, repelling the feelings that had his blood boiling, but instead of returning to their source, they bounced off the unseen boundary, doubling the waves of heat washing over him.
Anger flared within Quinlan, along with shock. He searched Obi-Wan's calm veneer, searching for the source of this aching desire, but he was not pleased to discover it's true origin, himself. He worked to refocus the growing energy, channeling it into anger that he could release into the Force.
"Why haven't you asked about her?" Obi-Wan's voice rose clear over the hum of the speeder bike engines, slicing through Quinlan's defenses.
"You already told me about Aayla. I don't want to talk about her anymore."
"Not Aayla, Khaleen. Or have you forgotten so quickly about the woman who sacrificed her freedom for yours."
All the anger and desire Quinlan thought he had released returned in that instant, shredding his self-control and causing him to veer dangerously close to a pile of jagged durasteel refuse. He pushed back against Obi-Wan as he regained his bearings.
"Where is she?" Quinlan snarled through clenched teeth. "I swear, if anything has happened to her..."
Obi-Wan's fingers tightened around Quin's waist. "She is unharmed."
The tiniest edge of relief crept into the corner of Quinlan's mind. At least she was safe. This woman loved him, and though he could not return the emotion, he didn't want her to suffer for it. Of course, everyone who had ever mattered to him, had ended up suffering because of him. Why should she be any different?
"She's in prison, still convinced that one day you'll come rescue her, cursing you and praying for you in the same breath," Kenobi reported.
The bitter taste in Quin's mouth grew worse. Khaleen was a fool for loving him still. Neither of them was meant to have much of a future. He was practically a death sentence for anyone who got close to him, and he certainly didn't wish that on the misguided girl.
Setting his jaw, Quinlan silently brought the speeder bike around, diving into the gaping entrance of a ruined storage facility. He set the vehicle down gently and cut the engines.
"Khaleen needs to learn to live with disappointment..." Quinlan slipped off the bike and leaned in close to face Kenobi. "Just like the rest of the galaxy."
As if slapped in the face, Obi-Wan shut his eyes, and when he reopened them, the warehouse's flickering emergency lights cast such shadows in their blue green depths that Quinlan could hardly recognize him. He had to look away, to disappear deep into his hiding place, away from the scrutiny and disapproval of one he respected so.
Quinlan turned and escaped through the doorway that led to the lower levels of the storage facility. Quickly turning down one hallway then another, running from his past, drawing his pursuer even deeper into his sanctuary. He was lost, more lost than he ever imagined he could be. the warnings of his Masters and friends rang in his ears. "Don't get so involved." "Be wary of the darkness." Don't allow attachments to get in your way." All the things he thought he had control over were spinning around his head, spiraling out of his reach, no more under his control than the setting and rising of a sun.
It was dark now, too dark for him to see his way, yet still he continued to seek his hideout, his hands trailing over the rough texture of the walls, seeking familiar landmarks and impressions to guide him. He did not dare to use his lightsaber for illumination; it would give him away. He had found his way in the dark before. He could do it again. Perhaps he could lose Kenobi in the darkness, not have to face his friend again, not have to lie to someone he cared about once more.
The corridor took a familiar turn and brought him before a rough metal door. He pushed it open and took a deep breath, feeling like it was his first breath after a long period being held under water. A hand pressed against his chest a split second later, and a lightsaber sprang to life, casting strange blue shadows onto the walls.
The adrenaline of the upcoming conflict flashed through Quinlan's blood in a wave of fire that melted his anger into white-hot desire. He couldn't speak, couldn't fight or draw his saber. He pushed at Kenobi, backing him into a wall, pinning him there. The saber, still lighted in his friend's hand cast a beam of blue light across Obi-Wan's face.
Quinlan leaned in and licked Obi-Wan's lips. Kenobi shuddered against him as Quinlan let out a guttural growl and moved his mouth over the other man's jaw and down his neck, teeth scraping over exposed flesh, like an animal savoring its prey. Quin's hands dug into Obi-Wan's shoulders with a bruising grip. He wanted to rip him apart, choke him, shred his flesh and bathe in his blood, devour him whole, bury himself so deep inside that neither of them existed anymore.
The harsh sound of Kenobi's breathing filled his ears. He felt the rhythm of it pressed so close to him, tight against his chest, tingling over his face. A different rhythm grew between them as well. Hips began to grind against one another, and Quinlan felt himself straining against the tight leather of his trousers. He reached out and wrapped his hand around Kenobi's lighted saber, wrenching it from his grip and shutting it off. He tossed the weapon onto his makeshift bed, leaving them in utter darkness once more.
Quin's hands moved roughly over Kenobi's torso, tearing open his tunics and tossing aside his belt. Obi-Wan's skin felt hot against his fingertips and the hard muscles beneath trembled slightly. He focused on the sensation, reading the man he held captive pressed to the wall. The images he felt showed him heat, pleasure, and desire with the slightest edge of fear to it. The power of it left him dizzy. He had to have more.
Quinlan pulled off the armor that covered his upper body and let it clatter to the floor. He leaned in and scraped his rough chin over the sensitive skin of Kenobi's collarbone before hungrily lapping at the warm, irritated flesh. Kenobi attempted to kiss Quinlan, but Quin drew Obi-Wan's lower lip into his mouth, digging his teeth in until Kenobi gasped in pain. The gasp sent a chill of passion through Quinlan, and he reached down to stroke Kenobi's hardened cock through his leggings. Obi-Wan buried his face against Quinlan's neck and groaned, his fingers twining in the long, black dreadlocks.
Quinlan's head was swimming, drowning, lost in desire. Its intensity frightened him. He had always liked danger and a little bit of pain with sex, but this was different. It was almost a murderous rage that roared inside him. He had to fight it, but it felt so good, so exhilarating. The air crackled with energy all around them. He felt Obi-Wan shaking against him, felt the hard length of him pressing into his hand, felt the power he had over Kenobi. That's what he felt, that's what burned in his own aching groin. He could bring Kenobi pain or pleasure or even death if he so wished, and suddenly, the responsibility of it washed over him. Kenobi had not fought or struggled; he had submitted utterly, and the power was like a drug. It clouded his mind and turned him into something even he feared.
Quinlan released Kenobi, and staggered back, fumbling in the darkness to turn on the glow lamp that hung from a pipe on the wall. The dim amber light was barely enough to dispel the thick darkness of the room, but it was still enough to allow him to see the look on Kenobi's face. His expression was raw with need, begging for his touch, reaching out to Quinlan with a look of utter surrender.
Unable to face it, Quinlan shut his eyes and sank down onto the bed. His eyes were still shut when he felt Obi-Wan's hand on his cheek, tender and pleading. He felt himself being pushed to his back, his shirt tugged over his head, his boots pulled off.
Lips were moving over his chest, kissing the scars, a tongue lapping at his throat, fingertips tracing over the sacred designs tattooed across his face, and around his arm. The darkness and rage hadn't dissipated. It still simmered just beneath the surface, waiting to bubble up once more. He hated it. It made him feel vile and filthy, so undeserving of the attention being lavished upon him. If he'd had the strength, he would have pushed Obi-Wan away. He would have run off, disappeared into the night.
"Quinlan," Obi-Wan whispered into his ear. "Stop running away from who you are. I feel it inside you. You're not lost."
Quin opened his mouth to protest, but Obi-Wan silenced him with his fingertips. Kenobi's lips traveled down Quinlan's chest and stomach as his hands moved to Quin's trousers, freeing the straining erection. Kenobi's tongue traced over the intricate yellow design just below Quin's navel.
When Obi-Wan's lips finally closed over his cock, Quinlan arched up with a gasp. The velvety feel of the Jedi's mouth left Quinlan shuddering, groaning, helpless. Quinlan leaned back and allowed the sensations to wash over him. The rough tapestry of pipes and wires above his head blurred into a maze of stars and designs as the pleasure built within him. In the distance, he heard hoarse cries, hardly recognizing his own voice as it echoed off the cold metal walls. When he finally came, the edges of his vision seemed to sink in around him, and he had to shut his eyes to stop himself from drowning. When he opened them again, he saw Obi-Wan looking down at him, no disapproval or fear. Only peace stared back at him, a peace he'd once had long ago.
But he no longer deserved peace. There were things he had seen, things he had done...despicable things. He walked a fine line on these missions, but how many times had he crossed that line? Too many. His eyes burned; raw tears lingered just beneath his eyelids. The things he had done for the sake of the Jedi had made him unworthy of being a Jedi. He hated the Council for doing this to him, hated the Republic for making it necessary, hated the Confederacy for their mere existence, hated...hated in a way that he never thought possible, in a way that never should have been possible.
Obi-Wan knelt beside him, serene, meditative, so unafraid of the beast Quinlan had become. Was he a fool? Or could his faith possibly be that strong?
"Aren't you going to take the disc?" Quinlan asked. "I'm tired of fighting for it." He reached into his pocket and threw the disc on the bed.
"I'm not here for the disc, Quinlan," Kenobi replied simply. He paused and allowed the words to sink in. "Not any more."
Quinlan knew that Obi-Wan had plenty of opportunities to take the disc. He also knew that his control over the situation was merely an illusion, a dangerous, seductive dance between the two Jedi. "You should leave," Quinlan said.
"I'm not leaving, not unless you come with me." Obi-Wan's hand was pressed flat against Quinlan's chest. His heart pounded against that warm, reassuring hand, and he felt the excitement rising in him again. "Until then, I'm yours to do with what you wish."
Quinlan sat up straight and was on his feet in a flash. "You should go, while you still can," he warned.
"That's not really what you want," Obi-Wan told him. He approached Quinlan slowly like he would a skittish animal.
Quin looked down and saw himself reflected in those liquid blue-green eyes, saw the hope there. It made his knees weak, made him want to be enfolded in Obi-Wan's strong arms. It hurt. There was a sinking feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. He had spent so much of his life being stoic and strong.
Control of his fears and desires was second nature to a Jedi. The instincts ingrained in him since his childhood, the instincts of honor, justice, peace and control. They were lost, the very things that made him a Jedi. Even if he went back to Coruscant, he could not go back to that life. Over thirty years of training was gone, boiled down to the lowest common denominator, the basest of survival instincts. He'd had that training stolen from him before, but that was inflicted upon him by another. This had been done entirely by choice. He'd allowed himself to become a pawn in Dooku's plot. He'd allowed the cover to become real.
The worst of it was that he knew all of this. It couldn't' be denied, but neither could it be reversed. he saw it all, saw what he had become reflected back to him in the eyes of a Jedi who had faced the Darkness many times and not faltered. He knew it, but still he could not rid himself of it. He turned away from Obi Wan.
"Quinlan," Obi-Wan whispered. "Look at me. I need you to look at me. I don't care who you think you've become; I know who you are." Kenobi's hand reached out and touched his cheek, the tip of his thumb lightly brushing Quinlan's lashes. " You can be that man again."
"That man is dead," Quinlan replied bitterly. "You, the Council, Aayla, Khaleen, you should all forget that man ever existed."
Obi-Wan reached up and stroked Quinlan's jaw and neck, stretching up to place a gentle kiss on his lips. Quinlan tried to turn away from it, but Obi-Wan held him tight, refusing to let him escape the embrace. Warm and soft, Kenobi's lips moved over his, pleading with him to return the kiss. Arms wrapped around him, and he reluctantly relaxed into the kiss, allowing himself to be carried along by it.
"Please come home with me, Quinlan," Obi-Wan whispered into his neck. He kissed Obi-Wan again, the other Jedi's mouth yielding to his, melting into his. It felt so good, so perfect, or it should have. The sinking nausea was filling the pit of his stomach once more, filling him with guilt and doubt. He pushed Kenobi back, to allow him any closer would just bring disaster to both of them.
Obi-Wan looked back at him and sighed. "Will it make it easier for you if I put up a fight?"
Quinlan looked at him strangely for a moment, remembering that he stood naked and unarmed before Kenobi. No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, than he found himself pinned to the wall, arms held tightly behind his back. He pushed and struggled against the other Jedi's body, his cock growing hard once more. Anger flared hot inside him, pushing him back over that fine line. It took so little for him to cross it. Kenobi thrust his hips against Quinlan's. He felt so weak, so easily manipulated. He gathered his strength and in a single powerful move, ripped himself out of Obi-Wan's grip. He grabbed Kenobi and shoved him down onto the bed, pinning his arms and legs, completely immobilizing him.
Obi-Wan struggled, lifting his hips off the bed, grinding them against Quinlan's cock. Quinlan groaned and pushed down harder. He wanted to crush the Jedi, pin him down, annihilate him, fuck him until there was nothing left of him but raw flesh. He looked down into Obi-Wan's eyes and was shocked to find an answering lust in them. He wanted this, was pushing him towards it, those eyes challenging him, begging him. As much as Kenobi's body struggled, his eyes pleaded, his tongue darted out to wet his lips, lips that just a few minutes before had been wrapped around his cock.
Desire and anger, lust and hate, they were ripping his mind apart. He wrapped a hand around Kenobi's throat, holding him in place as his mouth descended on his chest, lapping and biting at nipples, scraping and sucking his way down Obi-Wan's body. His dark locks trailed over Kenobi's pale skin, the dim glow lamp casting sinuous shadows that looked like writhing serpents devouring the Jedi.
He ripped down Kenobi's trousers and pulled off his boots, tossing them aside. Kenobi writhed and struggled, then screamed as Quinlan took his cock into his mouth. The sound made Quinlan even harder, the power set his blood on fire. He let Obi-Wan's cock slip from his lips as he glided back up the Jedi's body until their erections brushed against one another, hips grinding frantically.
Quinlan reached into a pack beside the bed and opened a small bottle, coating his cock with the slippery liquid. He pushed Kenobi back down then lifted his hips and pressed into him, the tight muscles resisting him every inch of the way. Obi-Wan grunted and strained beneath him, hands scrabbling at the blankets as Quin pushed himself deeper. It took all of Quinlan's self-control not to thrust and push in harder, but he desperately wanted to. His entire body ached and burned with the desire to fuck Obi-Wan into oblivion, and the struggle only intensified the sensations. He pushed in further until Kenobi cried out and shook beneath him.
"Oh yes, Quinlan," Kenobi gasped. Groaning Quin's name again, he lifted his hips and took him in even deeper.
Quinlan closed his eyes and began to thrust, long powerful strokes that started slow but grew faster and more intense with each passing moment until he was pounding into Kenobi. All the anger poured out of him as he thrust; it flowed through him in the Force until it transformed into something else, something unidentifiable.
He heard Kenobi gasping and crying out, felt the hot sticky semen between them, but he continued to pump into the other man without mercy. The anger welled up inside him, and he took it out on Obi-Wan, his hands digging into the Jedi's wrists as he fucked him. The darkness grew as well, spinning into a single vivid point of blackness, spiraling down away from him, turning in on itself as the tension built in his body. It tore through him and plunged past him into nothingness as he groaned and came.
Quinlan collapsed next to Obi-Wan, gasping for air, drenched in sweat as if he had broken a fever. The body beside him trembled. From fear or pleasure, he wasn't sure. He wasn't ready to look at Kenobi yet. He wasn't sure if he ever would be.
He threw his arm across his face and tried to shut out the sound of the other man's breathing, tried to make himself disappear. The moment stretched out into a blur as he replayed the images of their tryst in his head. He hated himself for how he had used Kenobi, and he hated how good it felt. A hand stroked down the center of Quinlan's chest, and the gesture made him tense and turn away.
Obi-Wan called his name softly, almost in a whisper. Quin could feel the warmth of Kenobi's body behind him, edging nearer but not quite touching him yet. The warmth grew closer, and fingertips glided down his spine and over his shoulder, but this time, Quin didn't pull away. He took a deep breath and allowed Obi-Wan to touch him. Kenobi's strong arm wrapped around him as his body pressed up against his back. Quinlan's instincts got the better of him and he began to struggle, but Kenobi held him tightly, not allowing him out of his embrace.
Obi-Wan buried his face against the back of Quinlan's neck, his lips pressing against the warm, slick skin. "Stay here with me, Quinlan," Obi-Wan whispered.
Quinlan shut his eyes and sank back into the warmth of the other man's body. He wanted to run, but couldn't. Those arms were so strong; they kept him from falling, falling back into the shadows where he had lived for so long.
"It's all an act," Quinlan said at last. Kenobi's breathing had become so steady, so deep and even that he might have been asleep, but Quinlan knew better. Obi-Wan was one of those Jedi who rarely slept; he only fell into a trance to rest his body, but his mind was fully aware.
"I've been lying to everyone," Quinlan continued. Obi-Wan had not moved, had not given any indication that he heard, he just held him in his unwavering embrace.
"For months and months, to everyone around me...I don't even remember when the deception began. I've lied to Dooku, to my rivals, to my allies. I've lied to the Council and to Master Tholme when I told them I could handle this mission. I lied by making them think I had gone too far. I lied to Khaleen about who I was. I lied to Aayla...one lie after another."
Quinlan felt himself shaking, his breath coming in ragged, uneven gasps, a great emptiness filling his gut. But Obi-Wan's arms still held him tightly, the steady rhythm of his chest bringing Quinlan slowly back from the edge until he could speak again.
"It was what I had to do, and I had to lie to myself in order to do it. You'll never understand what that means, Obi-Wan. You'll never know how it feels to hide from yourself and everyone else for so long that you forgot who you were before you started hiding."
Quinlan felt the tiniest little brush of Obi-Wan's beard across his shoulder, a silent reassurance that he was not alone in the darkness, that he was listening. Quin lay there in silence for a long time, allowing the words of his confession to dissolve into the shadows around them, and for the first time in longer than he could remember, he didn't want to run, and for a few moments, he felt it, the serenity he had seen in Obi-Wan's eyes.
Kenobi's embrace relaxed, and Quinlan felt the other Jedi's lips on the back of his neck, his hands gliding over his arms and chest. Quinlan closed his eyes and allowed the sensations to fill him and melt together, flowing into him. He turned slightly, seeking out Obi-Wan's mouth with his own.
Obi-Wan's hand moved up and down Quin's chest as they kissed, eventually moving lower and lower, over his hips and down his thigh, across his stomach and finally, down to his cock, stroking gently. Quinlan groaned into Obi-Wan's mouth, pressing himself tighter against Kenobi. The Jedi's hands were moving again, digging into his thighs, stroking his face as his lips moved over Quinlan's shoulders. Two slick fingers slid down his back and gently pushed against his opening, sliding inside.
Quinlan trembled with need, arching his back and pushing harder. He couldn't think, couldn't speak. All he could feel was this perfect, electric connection with Obi-Wan. The fingers were soon replaced by a warm, hard cock, filling him, sliding deeper and deeper inside him. Obi-Wan's hand closed around his cock and together, they began to move, long and slow and deep. Quinlan dissolved into the heat of Obi-Wan's body, allowing himself to be completely consumed by the moment.
It was like the deepest, most sublime meditation. There was no future or past, only the present, only the heat. None of the things he did mattered at this instant; it was just pure sensation and surrender. Quinlan felt the power of the other man's muscles thrusting against his, the warmth of the hand gripping his cock, the indescribable feeling of being stretched and filled with fire. His ears were filled with the sound of their mingled groans and the slap of skin. And his mind was overrun by the tension building inside his body, growing inside him until he felt like his skin would melt away.
The ecstasy reached its climax without warning, and he felt the heat explode through his body. He was shaking and crying out, Obi-Wan's arms wrapped around him as they both shuddered with pleasure, lost in one another. Quinlan wasn't sure how long it lasted; he just knew that he wished it could have gone on forever.
The euphoria was still lingering at the edges of Quinlan's consciousness, when he felt Obi-Wan turn him onto his back and curl up against his chest. They stayed intertwined in silence for a long time, not wanting the moment to end.
"I can't pretend that I understand what you've had to do, Quinlan," Obi-Wan sighed, finally breaking the silence.
"I don't know if I understand it either, but I know that this is my duty, and I must see it through. I've had to convince myself that if I look at from a certain point of view, it all makes sense, and it's all true, but I would never wish that kind of life on anyone else, especially you. This is a path I have to travel alone," Quinlan replied.
"What do you want me to tell Aayla?" Obi-Wan asked.
"The same thing I told her, to forget about me. If the Force wills it, I may see her again someday. I'm not totally beyond hope, not yet at least." Obi-Wan ran a hand down Quinlan's chest, and gazed up into his dark eyes.
"Promise to take care of her for me?" Quin asked. The glimmer of hope that had been there a moment before was quickly fading; he could feel it slipping back beneath the armor he wore around his heart.
"You have my word," Obi-Wan said quietly. These were dangerous times. They both knew it, but it was all they could do to hope for the best.
Quinlan reached out and kissed Obi-Wan again. He felt so good, so true, he could stay lost in him forever, but soon it would be time to move on, to another world, another mission, another deceit. The shadow of it loomed over him, even now. Quinlan felt his eyelids growing heavy, and though he tried to fight it, he surrendered to his exhaustion and slipped away into sleep, his arms around Obi-Wan's shoulders.
Quinlan awoke to a cold, empty bed, like he had for so many mornings before this one, but the emptiness seemed even greater after what had happened the night before. Kenobi was gone, on his way back to the Temple, the Temple that had seemed so far away only a few hours before. Now, he felt like he carried a part of it hidden deep within him again, in a place the shadows couldn't touch. Obi-Wan had given that back to him once more.
But that was not the only thing that Obi-Wan had given him. He had given him trust, and if Quinlan had any reason to doubt that before, he was certain of it when he rolled out of bed and found the data disc on the ground beside his lightsaber. Whether Obi-Wan had looked at the information on it or not, he wasn't sure. It didn't really matter because he had what he came for, and Obi-Wan had had enough faith in him to fail at his own mission, so that Quinlan could someday succeed at his.