He had learned to get his psychometry under control, and he very rarely actively sought to use it outside of missions. He was all for feeling emotions, he would just prefer that it was his own emotions that he was feeling. But the force was practically screaming at him, he sighed and pulled off his vambraces and gloves, darting a hand out and grabbing the datapad resting on his friend’s desk.
The grief hit him so hard he nearly fell to his knees. His head was pounding, pain and hurt and grief and loss screaming inside and around him, the emotions were so strong that Quinlan couldn’t get an accurate reading of what was happening. All he knew was that he was alone, the last one left, and then there was confusion and fear and muted anger, and suddenly he wasn’t alone, but he still was, and the grief was still overwhelming. And then he felt the stirrings of determination, he could feel the pain and the grief and the loss all forming together into a dangerous resolution.
He dropped the datapad, pulling himself out of the emotions that didn’t belong to him. He gasped for breath, trying to understand what he’d felt, the few muted things he’d seen, but nothing made sense. Nothing except for the fact that the Force had driven him to that datapad, and that he needed to act now. He burst out of the door, grabbing the first clone trooper he found. “Where is General Kenobi?”
The clone straightened up, “He was headed planet-side.”
“Did he take anyone with him?”
The clone frowned unhappily, “No, he didn’t.”
Quinlan nodded, “No, he wouldn’t have, not for what he’s planning. I need a ship, and I need to know where Obi-Wan was headed, now.”
The clone straightened, and Quinlan could see that he understood that this was serious, the man nodded, “Yes, sir.”
Quinlan took off at a run towards the hangar, he trusted that the clone would have the ship ready when he got there.
He pulled his ship into a landing next to Obi-Wan’s small fighter, he could feel the Force pushing him forward, demanding he go faster, faster. He let it speed his run, forcing down the panic stirring within him. He could feel a dark presence further ahead and recognized it instantly as Dooku’s, between the two of them was a second presence, one that was hardly even trying to shield his presence, that underlying layer of grief was still there, urging him forward and warning him.
The Force gave him an extra dose of speed and he burst into a clearing. Obi-Wan was there, moving through it.
The man stopped, and turned, there was surprise evident in his eyes. “Quinlan? What in the force are you doing here?”
“Just that, the force sent me. Don’t do this Obi-Wan.”
Obi-Wan’s eyes widened. “Quinlan, I have to.”
“No, you don’t have to.”
“This has to end. I do this, you go back, read the datapad, it will tell you everything, and then the rest of you can fix this. This can be fixed, it can be ended. Please, Quinlan.”
Obi-Wan squared his shoulders, “You can’t stop me, Quin. Don’t try.”
Quinlan took a step forward. “In a fair fight, no, I probably couldn’t, but Obi-Wan, the Force sent me here, and the Force is going to help me drag your ass back to your ship.”
“The Force doesn’t care. Not really.” Obi-Wan sounded bitter, but Quinlan could hear something almost heartbroken under that bitterness.
“What happened, Obi-Wan? What happened that convinced you that your only option was a suicide run?”
Obi-Wan shook his head. “You won’t understand, Quin, and I don’t want you to.”
“What happened, Obi-Wan, that made you feel so much grief that it literally knocked me to my knees? What happened that made me feel like my heart was being torn out of my chest? What happened, Obi-Wan that made you feel like you were the last one in the Galaxy?”
Obi-Wan shook his head again. “Please, Quin, let me do this.”
Quinlan took a few steps forward. “I can’t, Obi-Wan. I can’t let you do this.” He could feel Obi-Wan’s uncertainty, “I’m going to help you Obi-Wan, whatever it is that’s going on, I’m going to help you. We can fix whatever it is.”
“We’re at war, Quin, you can’t promise that.”
“I don’t care. You are not alone, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and whatever happened, you and me, we’re going to fix it. I swear.”
Obi-Wan shook his head. “You don’t understand.”
“Maybe I don’t, but I felt you Obi-Wan, I couldn’t quite see what was happening, but I felt you.”
Obi-Wan hesitated, “Quin…”
“Obi-Wan, don’t do this. Please, don’t do this, because I will fight you, if I have to, if that’s what it takes to stop you, and I don’t want to have to fight my brother.”
Obi-Wan froze and his face twisted in pain. “No, no I don’t want that either.” This time there was no mistaking the utter heartbreak in his voice.
Quinlan reached out and gripped Obi-Wan’s shoulder. “Come on, Obi-Wan. Force knows that Dooku knows we’re here, let’s get out before he actually does something about it.”
Obi-Wan grimaced again, and Quinlan watched him glance over his shoulder in the direction that Dooku’s presence was. “General Grievous is there too, two CIS leaders, one bomb.”
Quinlan shook his head, “No, not today.”
Obi-Wan looked like he was fighting some internal battle, but he finally nodded.
Quinlan watched Obi-Wan climb out of his fighter and followed him until they made it to the armory. Obi-Wan scowled at him as Quinlan made a show of watching him disarm himself. Quinlan felt slightly sick as he watched Obi-Wan put away more and more explosives. A few of the clones were watching them curiously, but other than a small nod towards them from Obi-Wan, there was no interaction. Quinlan felt a little guilty, at some point he would need to actually get to know the clones that Obi-Wan served with, but right now he was far more concerned with making sure that Obi-Wan got rid of all of the explosives.
Obi-Wan turned to him, “Happy?”
Quinlan frowned, “Hardly, but that will do.”
Obi-Wan snorted, “Good. Now if you’d excuse me, I’m going to go…” he waved a hand in an encompassing gesture, “do something useful.”
Quinlan followed him out of the armory, “Actually, what you’re going to do is go find something to eat, and then we’re going to talk and then you are going to sleep and then you can do something useful tomorrow.”
Obi-Wan glared at him. “Force help me, Quinlan, I do not need you to dictate what I can and cannot do.”
“You gave up the right to stop me when you tried to go on a suicide run.”
There was a clatter and Quinlan turned to see two clones, one of them had dropped his helmet but was ignoring it to stare at Obi-Wan. There was unmistakable worry there, and a little bit of fear.
“General?” The clone who was still holding his helmet asked, there was a seriousness to this clone’s voice, Quinlan frowned, if he wasn’t mistaken (and he could very well be) this was the same clone that he had run into outside of Obi-Wan’s quarters.
Obi-Wan sighed, “Commander, it’s… It wasn’t like that.”
“You said you were going to do some minor scouting and that you would be rendezvousing with General Skywalker.”
Obi-Wan flinched, “I might have been slightly misleading.”
The clone took a few steps closer, “Permission to speak freely, General?”
“Always, Cody, you know that.”
“Don’t you karking dare do that again. Don’t…” He took a deep breath, “Don’t do that to us.”
Obi-Wan’s face softened, and for the first time Quinlan saw something close to remorse. “I am sorry, Cody. I… Haven’t been in my right mind since…” He hesitated, “Since the accident.”
Quinlan noticed the two clones exchange subtle looks, “General, did we do something?”
Obi-Wan looked away, “No. No, you’ve done nothing.”
Quinlan could feel the clones disbelief in the force, and had no doubt that Obi-Wan could too.
“General, if it’s something I’ve done, if you would be better without me here…”
Obi-Wan sighed, “Cody, I have trusted you with my life, and I will continue to do so. There are few people that I trust the way I trust you.”
Obi-Wan’s voice rang strangely through the force, there was a level of truth to the words, but there was also something distinctly off about that statement.
The clone, Cody, seemed to relax, at least minutely. “General, we’re all here, if you need us.”
Obi-Wan nodded, “I know, Cody.” He nodded to him, and then gave a small, almost sincere, smile to the clone behind him, “Boil.”
Obi-Wan turned and Quinlan made to follow him. There was a small shift behind him and he paused, turning back to Cody and Boil. “Is he alright, sir?”
Quinlan frowned, “No. Not in the slightest.”
The clones seemed to almost pale at hearing him state it so bluntly, “What do you need us to do, General Vos?”
Quinlan sighed, “I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong. But force help me, I’m going to figure it out.” He paused, “I’ll be arguing with the council until they let me stay with Obi-Wan, but… for now, just do your best to make sure he isn’t on his own. And especially don’t let him go on any sort of mission.” He paused, “Or at least try, force knows that Obi-Wan is a special brand of stubborn.”
Cody nodded. “Yes, sir.”
Quinlan turned around again and caught up to Obi-Wan, he had to make sure his friend ate.
The meal hall was full of clones, some with yellow markings and others with blue. Obi-Wan nodded to several of them, calling each of them by name, allowing Quinlan to lead him to where the food was being distributed. Quinlan watched him carefully, making sure he actually ate everything. He had been Obi-Wan’s friend long enough to know that Obi-Wan didn’t always eat like a normal person, and he had a feeling that given his friends current mental state that had probably only gotten worse. Sure enough after only a few bites Quinlan had to start nudging his friend to keep eating.
Obi-Wan’s head turned slightly and Quinlan followed his line of sight to see the man’s former padawan with one foot in the door, he was talking to someone outside. Together the two of them watched as Anakin stuck his head further into the meal hall, glancing around, Quinlan saw him see the both of them, a frown on his face, but he didn’t make any move towards them, instead moving back into the hall.
Quinlan turned back to Obi-Wan to see him staring moodily at his plate. Quinlan tried to decide whether it was worth getting Obi-Wan to keep eating, or if Obi-Wan would be better off getting sleep.
He nudged the man, “Come on, Obi-Wan. After this we need to talk.”
“I’d really rather not, Quinlan.”
“I really don’t care, Obi-Wan. Eat.”
Obi-Wan sighed, but took another few bites before he finally pushed the rationed meal away, still half un-eaten. “Let’s get this over with, then.”
Quinlan eyed the food but decided to let it go for now.
They made it to Obi-Wan’s rooms in short order and Quinlan looked at the place he had vacated only a few hours ago. He picked up the datapad from earlier, careful to make sure his vambraces were between him and it. “Want to tell me what’s on here?” He asked quietly.
Obi-Wan shrugged, “Not especially.”
Quinlan sighed and put it back down, “I will read it you know.”
A conflicted look appeared in Obi-Wan’s eyes, “It’s probably for the best.”
Quinlan sat himself down on his friend’s desk, pushing aside some of the other data pads, “So let’s talk about the fact that you lied to your men so that you could go kill yourself.”