Infra

Discussion in 'Archives' started by Misty, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Misty gimme kiss

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    So remember that time when Misty wrote stories?
    I am one of those people who squirrel their writing away on their hard drive forever and constantly whine about how scary it is to show it to people. But I am attempting to Man Up and post it.
    This fanfiction is about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I don't think you need to terribly know the plot of it, though this does contain spoilers. Even if you have no idea what goes on in the game I think you can still enjoy the story though, and I'll be happy to paraphrase the plot for you. Or make you play the game kekeke. It is my first multi-chapter fic, and is still a work-in-progress.

    It is, in the grand tradition of Fanfictions Written by Misty, angsty and sappy and all that wonderfuk things I know you guys love reading. <3 If some of the formatting is off it is not my fault, KHV doesn't like to accept my copy+pastes. D; I fixed what I could but if you find something more let me know! Any comments & critiques are welcome. c:

    Chapter #1: Opening
    They had one year.

    The Star Forge had been destroyed, Malak slain, and a relative peace restored to the galaxy. A man was redeemed. The amnesiac former Sith Lord Darth Revan returned to the Jedi Order; a paragon of light, a warrior, a hero. A woman had been redeemed as well, but her story was not nearly as brilliant—an accomplice to evil, a traitor, a villain. The salvation of the two were nonetheless irrevocably linked, as were their destinies.

    The Ebon Hawk's crew was lauded as heroes of the Republic, yet whispers constantly surrounded Bastila Shan—seen as the Jedi Order's sole hope in turning the tide of the Jedi Civil War, she forsook all that to pledge allegiance to Darth Malak, the very cause she fought so valiantly against. It preyed upon her self—her every breath, motion, movement, and moments—following her return to the Jedi.

    The crew at first remained on Coruscant, welcoming a chance to rest without the weight of the world on their shoulders. But each of them possessed their own demons to face, and slowly drifted apart—Mission and Zaalbar returned to Tatooine in search of Mission's brother, Canderous all about the galaxy, analyzing the status of the scattered Mandalorian clans, Carth to reunite with his son—soon, Bastila, Revan, Jolee, and Juhani became all who remained on Coruscant, no doubt due to the Jedi Temple there.

    Jolee, who induced a self-exile several years prior, still refused to return to the Order, to Bastila's displeasure—throughout their time journeying together, she frequently sought guidance in him, and the wisdom he imparted upon her seemed to become more evident with each passing day. She firmly believed that he deserved to be accepted back and possibly even advanced to the status of Jedi Master, despite his… unorthodox beliefs. Juhani, though she too bore a troubled history with the Order, was promoted to the status of Jedi Knight and allowed to take on a Padawan.

    Handling the cases of Revan and Bastila had been a much more difficult process for the Council. Both carried much to answer for: Revan, for his past, though his memories as the Dark Lord of the Sith were seemingly buried in the deepest recesses of his mind; Bastila, for her fall; and both, for the intimate relationship that they wished—nay, planned—to pursue. In the end, however, the old Jedi concept of forgiveness weighed through, and the two were allowed to resume their careers as Jedi Knights. Glad that Revan finally realized what they thought to be his full potential, the Council repeatedly sent him off on missions and the like. He took to his work with a gusto, but much to Bastila's and his own dismay, they saw very little of one another. They were not given a chance to actually talk since their encounter on the Star Forge.

    In a way, even though Revan—and the Ebon Hawk's crew, though she felt that may have been more so due to Revan's influence than genuine forgiveness— welcomed her back, and she was allowed to remain a part of the Jedi Order, she could not shake her feeling of an interminable guilt. She betrayed her oath to the Jedi, but it was so much more than that—she turned on the man she loved, the crew she found friendship and acceptance in, and to a greater degree, she indulged herself and crossed all she worked towards for over half her life. Forgiveness was, after all, one of the Jedi lessons that her pride could never quite allow her to swallow.

    ~&~

    Revan lifted his hood as he exited the governmental building on Aldera, motioning a goodbye to the Senator as he took his leave. The Senator had requested a Jedi escort during his journey from Ord Mantell, and the Council had declared it a fit task for the newly promoted Knight. When first placed upon the mission, he couldn't help but scoff a bit. The reformed Darth Revan, once a Sith Lord, now the savior of the Republic, sent on a mission that would have been suited to a Padawan learner. For the past month he had been sent on equally mind-numbingly simple journeys; escort this politician, mediate this minor conflict, send the Council's goodwill to systems not yet in the Republic, and so on. It was almost insulting. He quickly rebuffed such haughty feelings, of course, knowing them to be petulant; he was a Jedi, after all—happy to help, with no mind towards status or renown. As if he needed either.

    The only bitterness now left inside him was regret; firstly, regret that he had not seen off the majority of the Hawk's crew as they left Coruscant and scattered about the galaxy. After all they'd been through, he would have liked to at least say goodbye. He had run into a handful of them, on his small ventures about, but it was not nearly close to what he desired. These feelings had, however, been overshadowed by his want of a presence in Bastila's life since the events upon the Star Forge, especially in the last few days.

    Due in no small part to their intimate bond, only strengthened by their prior journey, Revan knew that she was in a weakened state. He could fully understand why—such traumatic events would not easily be overcome for anyone, even someone as strong as he knew Bastila could be: an excellent judge of character, he had her pegged within two days of meeting her. She was aware of her talent and skill, but having constantly been reminded of their existence, she'd become arrogant and headstrong. Underneath that brash exterior, however, he could see vulnerability lurked. She was young, but not youthful—the sort of person who had never been allowed to be a "child," at least, not for very long. And as hard as she tried to mask it, as hard as he fought to convince her otherwise, she was weak. Not physically, not at all—she was a fierce fighter, each swing fervently delivered—but inside, there was something eating away at her; slowly, but it was happening. Her training, she discovered, would ask her to keep this all inside of her. To be a Jedi, she had to be perfect. It was a goal she would run with all her might towards, and constantly fall short. He knew that these pre-existing issues would only be compounded by the more recent ones.

    He now felt her mind as broken and scrambled, desperate and needy. She needed him there, and he so desperately wanted to fill that gap.

    ~&~

    She rarely left her room.

    The Council would still send her on rather simple missions, as if testing her allegiance, which rarely brought her outside of the city's limits; meanwhile, they sent Revan across all the reaches of the galaxy. In her more dramatic moments, she had to wonder if the Council was purposefully pulling them apart.

    In the hours not spent in the confines of her quarters, she walked the halls of the Temple—at times she observed the daily events and rituals, and others simply wandered, immersed in her own thoughts. Lingering in her meandering was an unshakable feeling of paranoia; where she walked seemed to be followed by a buzz of her actions, the looks of passing Jedi filled with judgment—and more shockingly—almost contempt. She tried for many days to convince herself that she was being silly, that Jedi were above such emotions, but she could not deny what was so clearly in front of her.

    She saw it in the eyes of the former crew of the Ebon Hawk, as well—their journeys occasionally brought them towards Coruscant, and while she never formed a deep connection with any of them, their conversations were thereafter awkward and stilted. It didn't take much effort for her to ascertain why. She had betrayed them.

    Time became static in the solitude that ensued. The sun rose and fell without much consequence towards her world. Facing her self-imposed guilt was difficult enough; when compounded with the disdain of others, it was simply unbearable. She could not stand to be the one who let everyone down. In such a remarkable tale, that would no doubt go down in holorecords for years to come, she would be the turncoat, and he the hero.

    How ironic it was, she thought! Him, the former Sith Lord, being the one loyal to the Order's doctrines in the end of it all.

    In his absence, she stewed. Feelings she had thought she had abandoned—envy, shame, incompetence—slowly bubbled to the surface. She loved him, to be sure—that much was certain, was always certain, would always be—but next to him, she would never be anything more than inadequate.
    Chapter #2: Frailty, thy name is woman
    “Bastila? Could I speak to you?” spoke a voice from outside of her temporary quarters in the Temple. The question startled her for a moment—she was not used to having visitors in the recent weeks, aside from frightened looking Padawans telling her that the Council desired an audience with her; she never expected that of all the people, it would be Juhani, who in the past made no secret of blaming her for the destruction of her homeworld, Taris.

    Assuming that Juhani was delivering some sort of message from the Council, she replied cordially. “Of course, Juhani, come right in.”

    The slender Cathar slid through the doorway, carefully closing the door behind her. As Bastila gestured an offer for her to sit (which Juhani happily accepted), she attempted to remember a time when she had ever been alone with Juhani. She couldn’t recall one.

    “I haven’t very much time, so I apologize for being so brusque, but Bastila…” began Juhani in her accented speech, fidgeting slightly with discomfort, “I have noticed something in you recently that I believe I may be able to offer some guidance on, if you will allow it.” Bastila sat intrigued, wondering what it could be, and beckoned Juhani to continue.

    “You see, something of your manner and your mind lately remind me of myself, when I first joined you and the others aboard the Hawk. After I had been brought back to the Jedi,” started Juhani.

    Bastila’s defensive tendencies got the best of her. “I don’t really think it’s the same thing Juhani, I joined Darth Malak, you merely—”

    “A fall is a fall, no matter the circumstances surrounding it, Bastila,” corrected Juhani. Her pride getting the better of her, Bastila pouted; who was Juhani to lecture her? “I know well what you are going through… I merely hoped I could be of some help.”

    Bastila softened. Juhani had not come here to make her feel worse about herself, to pour salt on her still very raw wounds, but out of true concern. Though the two had their differences, Juhani had conjured the strength to put that aside and reach out to a person in need. And when she thought about it, really, their situations had not been that different—both turned their backs on the Jedi, and both were turned around by Revan.

    The mere thought of him filled her mind; she felt a familiar tugging towards him, an insatiable desire to have him by her side. Somehow, she was convinced that she would be in better shape if he were only by her side…

    Bastila wished to ask Juhani how she returned, how she found the strength to face all the people she’d betrayed, but she could not allow herself to expose her wounds. “I’m fine, Juhani,” she lied. Juhani was silent, and simply sat looking at Bastila. She knew that Juhani was using the Force to search through her mind, but she cared not. She hadn’t expected her deceit to work, having never been skilled at it, and she knew full well that it was almost impossible to trick a Jedi. After several moments, Juhani started for the door, pausing in its frame.

    “I saw him, you know... on a nearby system. He said he would return soon,” whispered Juhani. Sensing a pang of withdrawal within Bastila, she mumbled a goodbye and glided out the door.

    Bastila regretted her treatment of Juhani the moment she left the room, knowing that she had slapped away the hand of someone reaching out to her, but the thought of opening up to another was unfathomable to Bastila—to admit weakness or a mistake to anyone but him was nigh impossible for her. The thoughts were quashed from her mind the moment Juhani mentioned Revan, and replaced with a hunger to see him, to speak with him, to have him reassure her that she would be all right, and most of all, to be held by him, wholly and utterly, without fear or hesitation.


    “Now you see, Bastila. The dark side can never conquer the light,” he stated firmly, withdrawing his blade as she fell to her knees.

    Her arm outstretched, supporting her weight, she knelt upon the metal floor; she was no match for him. With all the power of the dark side, all her strength, all of the Star Forge, he had struck her down with ease—fended her off, as if she were a mere child. She was a fool for being deluded enough to believe she could best him.


    “You… speak the truth. I am no match for you. Please, for the sake of what we once shared, do not make me suffer…” she pleaded. This was the end for her. She was beyond help, beyond redemption. He had defeated her—it was the only logical outcome. These ways must not be so foreign to him; when you strike down your enemy, you finish the act. Such was the way of the Sith! Surely the Jedi had not converted him so quickly, so flawlessly.


    “End my life quickly.”


    “Bastila…” he began, reaching towards her.


    Sensing his hesitation, she staggered away from his grasp. “What other choice do you have!?” she replied hysterically, eyes watering. “I have fallen to the dark side! The apprentice to the Dark Lord himself! You cannot let me live!”


    “You can be redeemed—”


    “No… I’m not strong enough,” she interrupted. “There’s too much anger inside me now; too much hatred and fear. I can no longer find peace in the Force.”


    “You can take your strength from me.”


    “You… always had more strength than I did. I told you that,” she said softly, turning towards the floor, choking back tears. “I felt so… helpless before your destiny. You were Revan and I couldn’t tell you… it was agonizing! Even worse was when I began to… to feel closer to you. I despised myself for it. And even now, I… I feel your strength,” she said, closing her eyes. “It… does help me. Thank you.” She smiled genuinely for the first time in weeks, and allowed a tear to roll down her cheek, resigned. “I think I can face the end now, if you are the one to do it for me.”


    “I…” he started. She looked into his eyes with all the determination she could muster, all her emotion flowing into the air between them. The atmosphere shifted; what was once tense became tender. Her expression implored him to have empathy, to consider what pain she was in, to bring an end to it. He drew back.


    “I understand, Bastila. You… won’t feel a thing.”


    He drew his blade, the single blue saber sparking with its proximity to the floors of the space station. She shut her eyes tightly, preparing for death. This was the close of her tale, the departure of Bastila Shan. She could hear each of his footsteps clatter against the metal, seemingly centuries apart, as he drew closer. Her mind raced, producing a surge of memories and emotions she never thought possible; recollections of her mother and father flashed into her eyes; next of the Ebon Hawk’s crew, of all those in the Jedi Order who had placed their faith in her, of the Republic citizens suffering under the tyranny of the Sith; finally of Revan, and the kiss they shared, the forbidden passion she held for the man about to end her life. Anguish washed over her body as she heard him inhale fiercely, raise his arms, and—



    She awoke with a start, clutching her pillows, grasping the sheets and mattress surrounding her, as if confirming she was indeed safe in her bed, and not on the Star Forge’s deck, having been so convinced of it not a minute ago. Panting as she left the bed, she settled at the window; the city was shrouded in darkness, the sole illumination at this level the moon’s light, the smog of the city obstructing the stars. A cool breeze swept her face and blew her hair, drying the cold sweat that had formed on her brow.

    Still slightly shaken, she couldn’t help but wonder what had caused that dream. True—on the Star Forge, she asked Revan to take her life, but he had refused. He’d brought her back to the light. The gravity of her request hit her now with full force: she asked Revan to execute her. She wanted to die. She was unsure if she suggested it more because it was the rational outcome of the battle, or because she would rather die than live with this regret.

    Was he so strong, that he could bury his past, or she so weak, that she was unable?
     
  2. Plums Wakanda Forever

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    Okay, well you showed this to me beforehand (and yay you finally posted it <3 ), but you need to stop being so down on yourself you idiotpoopbetchface. >:L (That was incredibly creative and I take all copyrights for that phrase, all of them).

    The writing is really good, and is actually reminiscent of Jane Austen, who you are kind of in lesbians with so that was pretty obvious, haha.

    Anyway, you were able to take a world I knew nothing about and you made it realistic in my eyes. And I also loved how you eased us into the characters and the struggles they had in the story. Although we do not know the full-breadth yet, you gave us a nice way of getting in the loop.

    That being said, poor Bastila D:
    omg plz be okay do not ask for death gurl ;____;

    And Revan, stay badass.

    As for grammar errors and such, I think the only thing I can catch is that you need to press enter at that last line because it is trying to hang onto the last paragraph of chapter two, and some of the ~&~ also need to be spaced.

    I hope you update soon in five months and I look forward to reading more.

    Also that last line was major <3, by the way.
     
  3. Misty gimme kiss

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    That will probably never happen. :C
    You flatter me far too much, dear. I do think my writing has benefited from this whole "I am reading books now" thing but I would never have the audacity to compare myself to Jane Austen.
    Also, if only <3
    Just as planned. B|
    That was not my fault. D: Fixing now.
    I am not sure if I should laugh at myself or cry because that is probably accurate.
    Fun facts: I came up with that line while laying in bed trying to sleep; I rolled out, wrote it on a post it, and went back to bed, lol.

    Thank you Plumsy ;_____;
     
  4. Misty gimme kiss

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    Chapter #3: He feels so close
    He rattled his fingers on the arm of his chair, impatient. Surveying those around him, he saw all the other passengers of the shuttle absorbed in their own conversations and business, some looking frustrated out the windows, attempting to ascertain the cause of the delay. In the pursuit of the “sparse lifestyle,†the Jedi often sent their dispatches (namely, Revan) on… less-than-first-class transport. They were prone to long delays, frequent breakdowns, and slow drivers; in this particular case, a befuddled mechanic struggling with the shuttle’s engine. Normally, Revan was humored by such behavior, and often inclined to aid the technicians in what maintenance he could, but this turn of luck could not have come at a more importune time. On the outskirts of Aldera now, he was only hours away from returning to Coruscant, and a reunion with Bastila.

    His mind wandering, he recalled the vision that had interrupted his previous night’s slumber; it was as vivid as the past images shared between himself and Bastila, which he had grown accustomed to in their hunt for the Star Maps. He could feel her company in them, however vaguely—but in this one, it was stronger than in them all combined. He could sense all the emotion she felt, all the powerlessness, the strife, the desperation…

    The contents of the dream deeply unsettled him. Bastila returning to the state of mind she possessed after her defeat on the Star Forge could only mean that his presence alongside her was needed now more than ever.

    He shut his eyes in a tight frustration, releasing a ripple within the Force; he felt the shuttle’s engine abruptly rattle to a start, and heard a whoop from the mechanic just outside his window. The pilot came over the speaker and announced they would be arriving at Coruscant just a few minutes off schedule. Revan exhaled softly, laughing quietly—the Force oft seemed to have a will of its own; he was only glad that it seemed to be working in his favor.

    ~&~

    She woke from the sun’s light hours later. With the lasting fears of last night’s dream slowly wearing away, she thought more on Juhani’s efforts, which she had so coldly rebuffed. Due to a degree of pride on her part, and perhaps a fragment of foolishness, she focused not on opening up to the Cathar, instead, upon Juhani’s final words: Revan would be returning soon.

    Intending to question the Council regarding Revan’s whereabouts, she showered and dressed, the excitement of seeing him lifting her—however temporarily—from her previous dejection. She could almost feel him nearby; whether it was a true indication of his location, caused by their powerful bond, or a giddy and girlish whirl, she knew not. She was fervid from the mere anticipation of his presence; she could not begin to comprehend how she would react when he was actually in front of her.

    Strapping on her leather boots, her senses recognized someone down the hall. Could it be…? So soon? Elation built inside of her, mind racing with all the possibilities. As the presence drew nearer, its figure grew clearer to her. She distinguished it as a male presence, as it moved closer; he was strong and powerful, yet good-natured and amiable—most of all, as familiar to her as someone that she spent every day of the last year would be.

    Rapt in the moment, her cheeks flushed instantly, her knees grew weak. He was here, actually here. Heart pounding in her chest, she attempted to compose herself, in vain. Emotion poured out of her as rapidly as the waters in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. Her hands trembled and fumbled through remaining straps of her boots, taking many more tries than usual to fasten. Her mind filled with fantasies of their reunion as her cheeks grew red; finally finding success with the bindings, she bolted from her seat, taking a quick glance in the looking glass as she hurried towards the entryway. She could almost hear his footsteps through the Force, slapping the metal-slated floor, drawing closer to her room with every quick step…

    With a knock upon her door, she rushed towards it and burst through, flinging herself into the arms of the visitor. Her face burrowed into his shoulder as he recoiled in alarm, taken aback by the enthusiasm of the greeting. “Whoa, Bastila! Didn’t think you missed me that much!â€

    Opening her eyes in shock at the voice, she examined her caller; small age lines on his face, a scruffy jaw line, an orange flight-suit…

    She awkwardly ambled off the frame of Carth Onasi. He mocked her with a cocky grin, seemingly knowing what was going through her head; though a relatively simple man, Bastila regularly wondered if he knew more than he let on. “Uhm, well, yes… I’ve been so, uh, anxious to know how things went with Dustil…†she stammered, endeavoring to regain her self-possession and poise. Inviting him in, they settled in the seating area of her otherwise unassuming quarters.

    “Better than I hoped,†he began earnestly, oblivious to her awkwardness in his fixed enthusiasm. “I mean, there’s still a lot we’ve got to work though… he’s still pretty upset, as you probably guessed… but he’s here and that’s what matters, you know?â€

    “That’s great, Carth. I’m so glad for the two of you,†she replied, distant but genuine. She had been so sure it was Revan in the hallway…

    “He’ll be on Telos now, that’s where I’ve been stationed, to help in the rebuilding… Oh, right! There’s more good news!†exclaimed the soldier. “When I was coming up to the Temple I ran into Juhani, who I caught up with—seems to have taken on an apprentice now, wonder how that’ll go—she said that Revan was nearby,†Bastila’s heart here skipped a beat, “En route to Coruscant, apparently,†and subsequently swelled inside her chest. It took all her power to not immediately jump from her seat and rush for the nearest docking stations, leaving the soldier alone in her wake.

    Carth spoke more of his recent adventures, and of Dustil, but Bastila could not focus; her dizzy head jumped between every thought, emotion, and fantasy she harbored in the past weeks. For once, she was thankful that Carth, a loquacious man, could carry a conversation without little more than a “mhm†or “really?†from those involved. She was not aware of the passage of time, or the topic of conversation; she fantasized of Revan leaving his transport, sweeping the swooning her into his arms, leaving the Order’s rules behind, and taking her, to have and hold, for all eternity.

    “… Bastila?â€

    The mention of her name awakened her from her daydreams; she became conscious of a deep blush across her cheeks. Carth looked at her with a great deal of amusement and understanding. He chuckled and stood up.

    “I think I’ll go, then. I can tell your mind is… occupied,†he said without any hurt in his voice, to Bastila’s relief. She laughed sheepishly and stood as well; he gave her a short hug and took his leave.


    She turned to the windowed walls of her quarters, watching the hustle-and-bustle of the city. The sun began to cascade down the sky, creating shadows of the towering edifices that marked Coruscant. As the great star fell closer to the horizon, the features of faraway buildings grew indistinguishable; their shadows began instead to outline a mountain range, complete with sweeping peaks and plummeting valleys. A landing shuttle caught her eye, as it glided out from the clouds; a wave overcame her, drowned and dulled her senses. Her heart pounded against her sternum, until she was almost certain it would crack straight through the bone. Voices darted through her head—I saw him, you know... on a nearby system. He said he would return soon… En route to Coruscant, apparently… You can take your strength from me…—an inundation of affection surged through her very veins.

    He was returning to her.

    ~&~

    Bastila’s realization of his presence on Coruscant became known to him the moment he left the exit ramp of his transport; he instantly felt her mind, in its vulnerable state, reach out through the Force, and grasp his own. He saw the great silhouette of the Temple against the smoggy sky of the city, looming apart from the rest of the city, knew it to be both where she resided and his immediate destination.

    With a heave of the polluted air of the city, he set forth, knowing the two were now mere moments apart.

    ~&~

    She felt his warmth, their bond reigniting, no longer plagued by the distance between them. For that instant, she no longer felt fear; its absence was something alien to her. Her past months had been spent engulfed by it; fear of the darkness, of solitude, of the future; fear of falling further than she had ever before. Within him she perceived safety, solace, a barrier to all her fragility—her mistrust of cherishing another, of putting herself in another’s hands, now long forgotten.
    See Plums, it took a month and a half, not five!
    Any comments + critiques + dear misty your writing is terrifics are welcome!
     
  5. Plums Wakanda Forever

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    HA I TOLD YOU I WOULD READ.

    But that was so kyoot (for lack of a better word, haha). Bastila and Revan yearning for each other like that was honestly really adorable, and I laughed at Bastila's glomp attack on Carth in mistake. Anyway, v. beautiful description there Misteh, especially in the last few paragraphs.

    I hope they do get to actually meet and poop won't hit the fan (though it probably will).

    Looking forward to more soon even though Stila got off to herself for a moment there
     
  6. Misty gimme kiss

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    ty plooooems c:
    and this is my story, and you're not a part of it, THINGS ALWAYS GO WRONG. NO ONE CAN BE HAPPY.

    But this chapter is. c': The long-anticipated by no one REUNION CHAPTER.
    It is hopefully adorbs and will make you all giddy inside (author's tip: do not get used to it)
    Also, I recommend you listen to this while reading it.
    It's a bit shorter than the others but I felt that what I had was adequate? haha. whatever. just get to the chapter misty.
    Chapter #4: Attachment
    She darted from her quarters, not bothering to so much as close the door behind her. Wandering Padawans gawked as she sped by; she was certain that at least one person shouted her name, but it troubled her not—her mind had only one track, one path, was focused on one solitary object. The halls of the temple blurred as she raced by, feet pounded the carpeted corridors; she rattled the elevator button but, as it delayed, immediately hurried for the stairs, not daring to lose a second. Once down several flights, she glanced from the window, and saw a party approach the entryway: a figure she discerned to be one of the Councilmen greeted the group, and ushered them through the archway. Deducing that the Council’s chambers were their destination, and being inexplicably positive that Revan was among them, she spun on her heel and reversed her descent. Her legs stretched as she bounded upwards, two steps at a time, fatiguing as she scaled several stories. Step after step, she hurtled upwards; the air grew thin as she climbed higher, sweat dripped from her brow. Physical ailments, however, had no place in her thoughts—she completely blocked the pain out in her urgent resolve, adrenaline pumping wildly through her veins as she reached her exit from the stairwell.

    Panting for breath, she at last reached the assembly room of the Council. To her dismay, she found the doors locked and them in private session. Knowing firsthand that the Jedi could be long-winded when they wished to be, she settled upon a bench several yards from the doorway, intending to wait it out. She attempted to relax, to no avail; her head now pounded almost as strongly as her heart as it viciously pumped blood through her body, still not yet at rest from her sprint; the two were unified in want of the man most prominent in both memory and adoration. They knew him to be close—just outside grasp—and his absence now felt more tantalizing to her than when hundreds of miles separated them. To be so close to something she so desired absolutely beset her, played upon her vitality with a cruel grin. A window towered behind her; attempting to distract herself, she observed the sky growing dark as a heavy fatigue set in. She curled her legs into her body, head resting on her kneecaps, and exhaustion washed over her. She drifted silently to sleep, a temporary refuge from the torment of just being a few feet from the man in the adjacent room.

    ~&~

    Roughly an hour after commencing, the Council concluded their business and dismissed those present. Stretching as he left his seat, he watched as the Masters parted ways towards their quarters, and was the last to exit the room. As the final lingerer stepped onto the elevator, he studied the sun as its last rays hide beneath the horizon, a kaleidoscope of reds and oranges departing the sky in favor of the familiar inkiness of night. One by one, the lights of the nearby buildings and businesses flickered out, closing until the next day’s light. Before long, the only illumination shone from the moon and the few stars that managed to fight through the smog. The halls of the Temple laid still, deserted; turning away, he spotted a figure coiled on a nearby bench in a shadowed corner of the hall. He knew her identity instantly.

    His approach was quiet. When he finally faced her, he reached out; a single hand touched her cheek. All was silent, the only audible noise—though barely so—was the quiet breathing of the pair. She trembled and roused as his hand ran across her chin, down her neck, to her shoulder, where it halted, thumb resting on her clavicle; her eyes remained shut as her neck shifted slowly, brushing his hand. She reached upward and clung to his wrist; he shuddered at the cold of her touch.

    Her lips quivered, mystified. She was uncertain if she wished more to smile or cry. She felt his demeanor overwhelm her; standing now before her was the man she had so long pined after—it was almost incomprehensible! For a moment, she challenged his presence, believing him to be some sort of apparition, but no dream could produce an illusion this strong, this mesmerizing. She knew his figure to be true.

    All the pain—the loneliness, the inertia, the self-reproach—flew from her temperament. All that mattered was that they were together, just inches apart, their interlude culminating. In this world, so singly confined to just those two beings, there was no Jedi or Sith, no light or dark, no past or future. The sole substance was the here and the now.

    The corners of her mouth slowly began to curl, her cheeks budging, creases forming. A slow gain of confidence built inside her; her eyes peeled open for the first time since her awakening, lids separating, lashes unweaving from their interlock. At last, her eyes fixed upward, gazing at him. She smiled with all her face—her cheeks pushed wholly into her eyes, mouth stretching to its fullest. Despite its grasp on his sturdy arm, her hand shook, forcing her to rely upon his steadiness to lift her weight from the bench. She stood now before him, and the floodgates opened. His hand again traveled the expanse of her neck, pausing when it met her jaw; as he cradled it he felt a warm tear splash against his hand, and then another—almost immediately the stream continued, the seconds between each drop becoming more negligible as each fell. He finally determined precisely how deeply the separation affected her, and wished dearly to never allow it to happen again. Their foreheads convened, and she tried at last to speak, but only short mutterings found their way out her lips, without any discernible words forming. He smiled at her consternation, easing her. Her eyes shut again, and she buried her face within his chest. An “I’ve missed you” was all she found the ability to conjure.


    After what felt like several centuries in their embrace, they inched apart; Revan studied her, not having seen her in weeks. “You’ve lost weight,” he remarked lightly, but a grimace overcame his face as he studied deeper, concerned by what he discovered—even after all the turbulence he watched her experience through their journey, never had he seen her looking so weak, so fragile. She was almost sickly looking, her cheeks sallow, dark rings under her eyes. He could still see her beauty—no force in the world could extinguish it entirely—but it was dulled, faded by trauma. “You seem… tired.”

    “I… haven’t been sleeping well lately,” she replied somberly. He nodded in understanding. She returned his analysis, somehow already knowing what she would find; she discovered long ago that no amount of time or distance could alter such a man. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

    He could feel her sinking, her immense sense of inferiority beginning to tighten its grasp. “Are you implying you’d of liked me to? I mean, I know I’m not the best looking fellow, but sheesh,” he teased, laughing in an attempt to divert her. The sound was so familiar, and one that she missed exceedingly; it absolutely filled her, cushioned every inadequacy that crept into her mind. No matter what was going on, how she felt, how tumultuous things were, he could always make her smile. Her gratitude for this service was beyond words; even early on their journey, when their infatuation was trifling, she felt a great deal of comfort in his ability to make light of every situation. It offset her often grave and austere manner, allowing her to do what she most often needed to—laugh; to, for a moment, forget the evils before her and smile, to let all the strict rules of the Order loosen their hold, and to open herself to emotion, with no guilt or shame. This capacity only grew dearer to her as time passed, the voyage became more perilous, and she fell deeper in love.

    “I’ve missed you,” she sighed, bringing him closer. Their minds both lay open, gentle, and free; no longer were there any walls between them, no barriers lodging them apart. Now just a whisper, she repeated “Lord, how I’ve missed you,” under her breath, more to herself than anyone else, as he again edged towards her. Placing a hand on her jaw, he brought her closer, and with a kiss, she felt the evils of her past, of the universe, slip silently away.
     
  7. Plums Wakanda Forever

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    Misty that was adorbs I can't even dgfgdsfdf

    To give a more detailed critique, I really loved your description of the whole thing. It pulled you in and just made you go "omg are they gonna meet ARE THEY GONNA KISKISCNGDF"

    AND THEN THEY DID AND IT WAS ADORBS.

    I couldn't spot any grammar/spelling problems, and overall v. good job as usual.
    BUT NOW THEY ARE GOING BACK INTO ANGST MODE AND SEPARATE AND ;________________;
     
  8. Misty gimme kiss

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    FINALLY
    also MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    ty ty Plums, and I will say that [so far] Chapter #5 is pretty positive as well. We will see where it goes kekeke.
     
  9. Misty gimme kiss

    Joined:
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    Not yet two months, awww yes! Edit: plums you win it has been a lot longer
    Chapter #5: Reconciliation
    “Good morning.”

    She smiled and rolled over, facing the speaker and slowly revealing her eyes. Fears that last night’s reunion was figment of her imagination invaded the night’s slumber; she dreaded awakening self-deceived and entirely alone. Gratefully this was not the case, and as she looked at him, he seemed somehow more radiant than ever before, absolutely beaming in the day’s light.

    She sat up and pushed the covers from her frame. “You’re really here.” The sunlight, rising from the horizon, played upon his hair, accentuating every hue; it danced in his eyes, colors she never knew existed within them shimmering. Even his skin, hardened as it was by the life of a Knight, appeared healed and cleaned, devoid of any imperfection.

    “I am,” he answered, laughing softly. He smiled and pulled her closer; the two embraced, and she felt a light fill her: his light. As its power surrounded her, a surge of strength overcame her. She was safe. She would be all right. Relief flooded forward—though still largely uncertain whether she could ever hope to repent for her past, and subsequently forgive herself, she encountered a sense of security when beside him. It supported her, lending the courage she needed to atone for her actions. The Jedi Code, in the past, performed a similar service; a safety blanket, a fallback, something to cling to when all else seemed dark, her safety net—but it was a cold companion. It offered her no comfort, no gentleness, no warmth. It demanded abandoning her human nature, ignoring all passion, living solely with restraint and discipline: a life of unremitting stoicism. It was an unsustainable defense, consistent only in its shortcomings. By contrast, Revan offered her tenderness, compassion, days spent in serenity and safety. He was her escape from the emotional exiguity the Order required. With him now by her side, she felt that she possessed the might to ascend from her foxhole, however slowly, and to allow her wounds to mend, with time. A lifetime spent reconciling her own insecurities and loving him for the rest of her days stood before her, well within reach. Was this fate possibly for her? It felt undeserved and too perfect to be true, yet here it was, here he was, sitting plainly before her, offering himself for what she believed to be an eternity. How could she not accept, unmerited as it was?

    “Bastila,” he began, with a tinge of discomfort in his voice, “about the other night—the dream you had—I saw it,” he paused. “I know.”

    “I'm not surprised,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders with a flippancy that surprised even her. Speaking of something so personal was alien for her, and though their situation demanded it, she felt a reluctance to be that open with another; still, something in the atmosphere eased her, reassured her that she had nothing to hide. “What of it?”

    “I'm concerned. You're strong, Bastila. More so than you think. You can fight this, the dark side, everything. You just can't—”

    “It's alright,” she interrupted. “I'm okay. Or... not okay right now, but... I will be. I'm getting there,” she paused for a moment, thinking. “Because of you.”

    He smiled.

    Her heart positively melted, muscles and blood gushing through her body. An overwhelming feeling of purity surrounded the morning—despite his past identity, despite her actions, they were pure light, absolute beacons. A common energy source fueled their beams, and he strengthened her light, as she did his. Where hers may wane, his could compensate. Though the shadows would always lurk, with their combined power, they could shine through all else. This synergistic bond, fashioned on that fateful day upon his flagship, was at last allowed to run its full course. Never had she felt so attached to and in tune with another; though strong in the past, their bond seemed positively unbreakable now. She had always been closed to him, charged with holding an impossible secret, afraid of what he was, afraid to love—but now, she no longer had a reason to run. Though still with her own demons to face, their bond had been so tested, she was convinced no force in the universe could shatter it.

    ~&~

    Travelling the halls of the Temple became all the more painful since his return. They walked together, and though recently accustomed to the judgmental looks and whispers of passersby, his presence gave a new fuel for conversation amongst the Order’s busybodies, both in regards to his identity and in praise of his accomplishments. This hushed ostracism from her peers damaged her perfectionist mind, sunk her even further below fitting the “perfect” Jedi mold she had not yet abandoned. Her history would forbid her from ever satisfying it, as would her relationship with Revan, yet she could not help but ache for that image of flawlessness. When she dedicated herself to something, she wholly committed; it was all or nothing, black or white. She knew such extremities were unhealthy and, with Revan’s support, was able to reconcile her self-imposed guilt at not having achieved this perfection; still, the judgment of her peers was an ignominy to her. He appeared unaffected.

    He walked with his usual gait; spoke with an unquestionable animation and sincerity; both commanded and gave all respects due to a man with his résumé. She envied this apparent ease, but, in stark contrast with recent months, it no longer contributed to a sense of inferiority; it motivated her to press on, and achieve her own redemption, both in the eyes of others and in her own. Although she was not without her low points, her relapses of self-loathing and hopelessness, he offered his strength, and despite her reticent nature, she found herself willing to accept. Attempting to claw her way out alone, she learned, was futile; it would take the most powerful of people to do so, if such a person even existed. A life dependent on others for her wellbeing downright terrified her, yet she resigned herself to its inevitability; one could not go this life alone.


    Days passed in this fashion, then a week, then a month. The daytime slipped away in simple fashion, with the city’s few amenities and whatever small missions the Council sent their way; the nights, in each other’s company, and in each other’s light. Bastila could not recall a happier time in her life—though on the mend, she was trying, growing, ascending—all by his hand. A woman so far below him! But now, instead of viewing the gap between them as a source of shame, it became a driving force; bridging that space would not only be for her benefit, but would make her worthy of his love.

    She now felt it necessary to confront a demon she expended a great deal of effort in avoiding; now, that she built herself a foundation, shaky as it was, and had another to lean upon for support.

    “Revan,” she began late one night. “I think… I think I would like to find my mother. To see what came of her,” pausing to reflect, “I think I may need to.”

    “I was surprised you hadn’t already, to tell the truth,” he answered, grinning. Sensing the gravity of the situation, he grew more serious, and increasingly concerned; “But I understand this is hard for you to face. Are you, uh… are you certain you’re ready for this?” he asked, biting his tongue—since his return, he witnessed marked progress within his inamorata. He did not wish to degrade that, but felt it a worry worth mentioning.

    She laughed softly, discerning the hesitation within him—him, of all people!—“Can you ever be sure?” He lightened. “But no, I… think I am? I want to make peace there.”

    “Then I support you,” he replied, warmly; then, jokingly, “… much as I don’t fancy seeing your mom again.” Bastila raised an eyebrow, feigning offense. “Pretty sure I would fight three rancors at once if it meant avoiding your mom’s glare.”
    ~&~

    The journey to the hospital was excruciating; throughout the shuttle ride, she considered which was more nerve-racking—crash landing on Taris in a cramped escape pod, desperately attempting to escape the Sith, or this. The decision occupied her for the transit’s duration.

    Her and her mother never got on well; that, left unresolved by her entrance into the Order, had mutated into a kind of resentment, while she worshipped her father’s memory with a childish idolatry. Their reunion on Tatooine was entirely unexpected, and, for a time, unwelcome. Even with Revan’s mediating, she simply lacked the time and, perhaps, the maturity, to reconcile on that meeting. Now, without such a time-sensitive mission before her, she hoped to mend the bridges she so long ago burned.

    A more significant part of her than she could admit to feared what lay before her. Being in a hospital alone was no positive sign, and her mother relayed that she had little time remaining when they last met. Though she doubted they would ever be close, she still had not entirely abandoned hope of an understanding between them; moreover, she was unsure of her current ability to cope with that kind of loss.

    These reflections could not have prepared her for the image she found. While her mother’s feisty fire remained present, upon entering the hospital room, she discovered a thin, tired looking woman. Slightly skeletal, the years had left their marks on Helena Shan; Bastila frantically attempted to reassure herself that this was a mere side effect of age, when it occurred to her that she did not know how old her mother was. Such a miniscule fact—and one she neglected to learn, as a child. Neglected to care about. Had she been so blinded by hatred and rebelliousness?

    A knot formed in her throat, her mouth dried out, her breath grew heavy. She froze in her spot, unable to move. Seconds later, Revan’s presence tried to calm her, from his station in the public waiting room. Bastila, suppressing fear, took a weighty step towards the hospital bed.
     
  10. Misty gimme kiss

    Joined:
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    Next chapter woop woop. It's been sitting in my notebook for some time, only just got done revising it. c: I'm trying to write a bit more per chapter--it's nothing noticeable, but Attachment was around 1400 words; Reconciliation is about 1680; and while not significantly more, Ghosts is 1720. It's not so much an effort to move the story along (which Ghosts really starts to do!) as to just improve. But if it's coming across as wordy or excessively detailed, please tell me! I'm also trying to do more dialogue, as I've gotten critiques before saying that mine has felt a little unnatural.
    Chapter #6: Ghosts
    “Well I won’t live forever, dear. Come on now.â€

    Bastila felt as though she had been bludgeoned over the head, the dull and weighty appendage reeling from the blow. Her mouth gaped, dumbfounded. Even within the last inches of life, her mother retained her all too familiar staunch and critical attitude. In years serving the Jedi, Bastila’s image of the elderly had warped into a view of wise and tranquil individuals, markedly patient with her; age and illness seemed to have no softening affects for this expiring woman. Though it displayed to Bastila her misrepresented view of seniors, she was unsurprised of time’s negligible changes on her mother—stubborn to the very last. The apple apparently did not fall far from the tree.

    As she slowly regained awareness of the present situation, Bastila approached her mother’s side. They stiffly greeted one another, the mother recounting her experiences since their last encounter; using the credits Bastila had given, she found passage to Coruscant and checked into a local hospital. The doctors grimly discovered little to be hopeful for, but made an offer of an experimental medication that may offset any immediate ends.

    “And is it working? It must be—the last I saw you, were certain you’d be…†Bastila then paused, unable to admit the inevitable fate that hung over their heads. She swallowed heavily and continued, “… soon. And that was months ago,†unsure who she was more endeavoring to convince: her, or her mother.

    “It’s a temporary means, Bastila. I’ll last as long as I continue… or as long as the credits last,†Helena corrected. “They never said it would be any more than that.â€

    “Credits aren’t a problem, mother. I can give—â€

    “I’ve taken enough of your money, my dear, but thank you.†As her mother smiled and clasped her hand, Bastila watched the wrinkles fold, the tired eyes thin. Never had her mother appeared so small, so fragile, so unguarded. “I’m an old woman. Your father and I had you late in our time, and all that moving about had to catch up with me eventually.†Bastila looked away, doubting her ability to cope with mention of her father on top of the impending loss of her mother. “Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not planning to let go anytime soon,†and with this, Bastila regained a small amount of courage: they had time. “Besides, I’ve got to meet this man of yours. Make sure he’s worthy.â€

    Bastila blinked away the small tears forming. “You’ve already met him, mother. On Tatooine?â€

    “Yes, in a dark and crowded cantina. Hardly the proper place for a lady, let alone to meet the man lurking about your only daughter.†Bastila scoffed at the portrait her mother painted, thankful that the heaviest of the conversation seemed to have passed.

    “He’s with me now, if you want me to get him.†Without waiting for a reply, Bastila reached through the Force and found his mind, beckoning him. Helena started to reply, but was interrupted by the slow squeak of the door as Revan edged in.

    “Everything okay?†he whispered towards Bastila. She pushed him back into the hall, motioning to her mother that they would return momentarily.

    “She wants to meet you,†Bastila replied, nudging to the door. “Meet you again, I suppose, I don’t really know why it has to be twice—â€

    “I meant with you. You two are getting along well?†he asked, Bastila growing aware of a concern within him, mixed as it was by an apparent support.

    “As well as can be expected,†Bastila drifted, wondering what laid ahead for her relationship with her mother.

    “I shall perish soon, my dear,†called her mother’s unmistakable voice, in a tone that recalled a host of childhood memories. Bastila exhaled and glanced up at Revan, searching for a confirmation that he was ready. He smiled and pushed open the door.

    ~&~

    The couple left the hospital intending to return to the Temple by foot. For all the meditation and serenity it stood for, the Jedi base had a suffocating atmosphere for Bastila. The extreme quantity of people and machine on the rest of Coruscant coursed through her, invigorating her still soul; the Temple, by contrast, reeked of a rigid repression, a void to the life surrounding, drinking in all the city’s vivacity.

    “That went well, I think,†she exhaled, releasing some long pent tension.

    “It did… despite the whole ‘your daughter is dating that evil guy from those wars’ thing,†he replied, smiling.

    “Well, you have to admit, you’re probably not the first person she would choose for me. I can only image what my father would say,†she teased back.

    He laughed in return and squeezed her hand. “I’m glad you pushed yourself to do this, Bastila.â€

    She pressed him, amused. “Oh?â€

    “Mhm. I think you needed to confront this,†he answered, looking ahead. The mood suddenly grew dense, both parties quite conscious of the change; their pace slowed, the surrounding atmosphere seemed to recede in upon their small circle of earth.

    Her smiled faded. “And what about you?†she asked. She stopped walking entirely and moved in front of him, blocking his path. “Your past, I mean,†she clarified. He did not meet her gaze. Silence fell. “Have you confronted it?†Bastila, to her displeasure, found an immense discomfort in him as she pressed his mind; in an instant, she met with walls and distractions which, though well-disguised, were hastily thrown. As she continued her assailment, her efforts were interrupted.

    Had she blinked, she would have missed it, but for a moment—a single moment—an expression of panic and horror struck his face. One moment, one speck of time, he was vulnerable; the same vulnerability she saw that day on the flagship, or when his identity was revealed. It left him as quickly as it arrived, but left its mark on her. He looked straight into her eyes, conjuring every confident charm, and replied after a significant pause. “Yes,†he said quickly, a thin-lipped smile forcing through. “Yeah, I have.â€

    A woman who knew him less would have been entirely swayed by his deceptions. His manner so attractive, so assured, how could it be a lie?—But she knew. She knew him far too well for this. She knew where he would give; she knew what to look for. His manipulations held no power over her, much as she would like to believe them.

    But why would he lie? Why cloak himself from her? She, who had seen so much of him, who had traveled so far with him! Both Revan the Sith Lord and Revan the redeemed Jedi had touched minds with her in an open and exposed state—she knew what he was. Why hide?

    His former persona, though strong and direct, was also intrinsically cunning. He had his enemies down perfectly, so that any fault may be assaulted—this alone had the makings of a great war hero. But Revan? Revan was more than that. He understood that he must also possess an intimate knowledge of his allies, his companions, just as much as his enemies; their strengths and weaknesses, what type of man they would follow, what buttons they needed pushed. With no significant expenditure of effort, he could transform into any role required. He could sway entire armies with his mere presence; any person would be glad to follow—it felt natural, right, as if you were silly for thinking there another option. The ultimate people person, a master of manipulation. That was what made him the man of legend.


    She simply never thought she would be the target. She, who gave him another chance at life aboard that starship. She, who plummeted to her lowest point in the length of their acquaintance, who had been rescued by him, who had been loved by him.
    She, who had lied to him, hid an essential truth. She, who was so far below him, in strength and in character.


    Following his capture and reprogramming, the Jedi hoped that dangerous side of him long buried. Though she occasionally caught glimpses of his previous self in actions and behavior, she pushed away any worry with the paradigms of the Jedi, clung desperately to their teachings and the reassurance that that piece of him would never resurface; believing it could meant that the Jedi—that she—failed, that they were entirely fallible, a truth she could not handle. Now dispelled of blind devotion, and her own arrogance, kept at arm’s length by her most intimate companion, worry over what Revan was concealing began to build. It transcended mere curiosity, any womanly search for gossip. The idea, firstly, that he did not trust her to confide in was painful enough; when she imagined him coping on his own, contending with something serious, she was overcome. Knowing the pain of attempting to manage alone, taught not only in his recent absence but through years of solitary existence, she was sickened by the thought of him in the same position. Her own small progresses and victories, she knew, were credited in no negligible part to Revan; she wished dearly to offer him that same service, if he so required it. But why hide?

    Was it that he did not trust her? Her past transgressions may have shaken his faith in her, but he forgave her—hadn’t he? He welcomed her back to the light and they shared their love; she assumed that equal to impunity. Were her mistakes and weaknesses to be so held against her? By him, of all people?

    The hiding was not the only wound—it was also the lies fabricated to further disguise his behavior. Did he think so little of her, of their intimacy, that he expected her to be so easily deceived?
    Of one thing, she was certain: there was, from this point on, a marked shift existed within him and within their relationship. She knew the inexorability of confronting the issue at some point in time, but she feared to do so, terrified by the prospect of losing him, a life without him. Questions arose as to just how deep beneath the surface that previous identity was, and what the consequences would be—for her and for the Republic—if and when it reclaimed its host.
     
  11. Misty gimme kiss

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    What is this!?
    I know this update is long overdue (lol no one even cares) but things have been quite hectic for me, and I've felt generally uninspired. However, I had a dream last night that gave me some new ideas, refashioned some old ones, and generally made me want to write again! I've had this chapter sitting around for some time now; while it is short, I thought I would put it up so that I could move onto the new stuff in the next chapter, which will hopefully be a lot longer and move onto some of the juicy stuff. c:

    Also I know some of the text in the previous chapters has gotten a little borked, you can read the whole story over on archive of our own!

    Chapter #7: Identity
    Fears for Revan’s wellbeing and concerns regarding the level of trust between the couple mounted in Bastila’s mind over the coming weeks. Finally she understood the frustration he must have experienced in knowing that she carried a secret that she would not—or could not—share, as she was now on the receiving end of a similar treatment. Deception was not her forte; she had been ill-suited to hiding his identity while searching for the Star Maps; she lacked the callousness required, and had been far from collected, often allowing small hints to the truth slip free.

    He, on the other hand, was all composure. Every move, every sentence, was calculated; any mere suggestion towards his secret removed. He would leave her no additional trails for suspicion. The extreme concentration hiding required, however, limited his foresight. Efforts previously made towards reading her now focused on locking her out. Walls between their minds worked both ways—a heavily protected fortress is difficult not only to penetrate, but also to escape. He could not pass his own barriers to reach her, and failed to notice how prevalent her misgivings were.

    Yet he attempted to maintain normalcy; he could not harm her, pull her into the darkness along with him, if he was truly fated to fall. He did not want her to know this tortured form, this man wavering between past and present. Any failing of his must not reach her. Quite knowingly, he had allowed himself to become her crutch; feebleness in that indispensable support would no doubt impair her. Her progresses in recent weeks must not be forsaken, especially not for his own weakness.

    Revan feared the entity within. This spirit, this identity, seemed to be asserting its dominance—he grew to question every action, every move, in a desperate hunt for truth. At times, words were foreign, movements alien: their source was unclear. He was simply an observer set at a distance. This constant trade between control and out of body experiences persisted; he wondered which way the scale would eventually fall.

    ~&~

    Bastila continued to see her mother. The medication was not as effective as the doctors expected, and the woman continued to deteriorate. The Jedi taught no concept of death, preached that Helena would find life everlasting in the Force; Bastila had never possessed the strength to believe this without fail. She had watched comrades and friends fall, never skilled at separating emotion. This was no exception. She believed in the Force, always—one could not ignore an energy this powerful, one that echoed in every action. Every life form, every being she encountered presented the Force’s great strength and infinite mysteries; it accompanied her every breath. Still, maintenance of faith when tried by death and depression was no easy task. However comforting the concept of life in death was, she could not so swiftly detach from the physicality of loss. Each visit seemed to deliver a new complication, another painful reminder of the work of time.

    All the same, mending the maternal relationship provided a peace. Some revelations proved difficult to swallow—her mother’s stories unveiled more underneath the surface of her childhood than she initially imagined. All her life she was aware that her parent’s marriage was unhappy—the two were so far apart in temperament! Her father was collected and laidback; her mother, stern and uptight. Bastila assumed her mother solely responsible for any fights, and for the family’s lack of success; we are, after all, well-disposed to cast blame on those unfriendly to us, especially if preserving the sanctity of those dear will result. Helena exposed deeper flaws beneath; Bastila’s father had made poor choices that landed the family on their lowered stool. He squandered multiple opportunities for stable pay and good work, in favor of idle dreams of riches and hunting. While pained by damage to her father’s memory, Helena’s accounts offered at least some relief: perhaps Bastila was given away to the Jedi not out of her mother’s spite, but out of love. It was clearly the better life, preferential any day to fruitless scavenger hunts.

    “It hurt me, you know, to see you go,” Helena reassured her. “More than you may have thought.”

    Bastila colored, ashamed of the years of misplaced anger and resentment towards a mother that only wished to give her daughter her greatest possible prospects of success. “Indeed, after you left me I… I assumed it was to injure or discard me. I think a part of me, even then, knew it was the best path, but…” Bastila paused, growing distressed. She attempted to begin again, but found steadiness did not serve; voice hushed, mind racing with memories of not only her first experiences within the Jedi, but all those since. “Oh mother, how foolish I’ve been.”

    “Don’t blame yourself, dear. I wasn’t the easiest to get along with either, remember that,” Helena replied. Bastila laughed, choking back tears. “I don’t mean to harm your image of father. He was a good man. Loved you more than anything else in this galaxy, I think… Let’s not dwell on this,” her mother faltered. “It’s painful. Losing him was… painful.”

    Again, Bastila looked at her mother and the old woman was absolutely miniscule. Small, fragile, human. She had idled the last decade away silently resenting her mother, morphing her into the embodiment of cruelty; recent visits with her mother shattered this image, and, to Bastila’s great and unexpected relief, freed her from many of the shackles of her past.

    Her brief reprieve did not last long, was interrupted by reality. Concerns for Revan once again invaded her mind. A year ago, she never would have expected to be here, reconciling with her mother—she would have been quite content to brush off any and all mention of the woman. Where would she be, a year from now? Would Revan still be with her?

    She stopped, overcome once again by the prospect of another absence, maybe a permanent one. No longer could she ignore the turbulence in his mind, cushion herself with faith in an everlasting relationship, or allow fears to be buried in favor of maintaining the surface stability of their relationship. She had to know the source, in order to help him. The difficulty was in getting him to respond. But even if she was successful, if he confided in her, what would she find? There had to be a reason he would go to such lengths to lie to her; it had to be something serious. Perhaps she was better off not knowing, living in a blissful ignorance? Those certainly seemed to be his wishes. Dare she open Pandora’s box?

    Gathering herself, she resolved to confront him at her earliest opportunity.
     
  12. Misty gimme kiss

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    LONGEST CHAPTER YET. As promised!
    ( also I'm sorry )

    Chapter #8: Aubade
    A week passed without conversation between Revan and Bastila. His aloofness took him away early in the mornings, and returned him late at night, if at all. Rational sense told her the Council must have assigned him tasks or missions, but, with some small investigating, she discovered many of these outgoings were volunteer work, no doubt claimed in attempt to avoid her. Both parties seemed to know the other’s objective—one, the search for any opening, any slip of composure; the other, ensuring no such opportunity arose. For the former, she felt as a hunter, stalking her prey in a desperate search for some weakness, some method of pursuit. The latter was constantly on the defense, predicting her every move, dropping false trails and distracting evidence. However, they maintained the image of normalcy; the world still saw them a loving, though controversial, couple, while the cat and mouse performed their daring dance just below the surface.

    The distance wounded Bastila, but also served as a determination. Each morning he departed without a goodbye plagued her mind, left her with an agonizing sense of solitude, but she used the pain to her advantage; she would not allow him to slip away entirely, not ever. Every passing day only strengthened her resolve and augmented her courage. Yet, there existed a significant reservation that more than once sealed her lips, blocked a crucial opportunity to strike—she was afraid; she knew not what she might find. Revan’s past was troubling him, she deduced that much; the exact parameters she could not express, but that seemed to be the case. If his old identity was resurfacing, attempting to grab hold, it was no wonder he hid from her, concealed the strife. For all his inspiring and courageous qualities, the Revan of yore was also ruthless and unrestrained, a warlord respected even by the Mandalorians. With what violence may that personality return? What a battle he must be facing—grappling with a dormant persona, fighting to retain hold of his current identity!

    But still—still, another question. If he emerged as his old self—the Revan she barely knew, the Revan she did not love—what of her? Would there be a place for her in that man’s life—if not, could she truly return to the isolated life she led before him? No, no, she certainly could not; she was dependent upon him, nauseating as the prospect may be, that much could not be denied. He must remain with her, for her own sake; she could not return to that conceited, solitary creature she had been. The egoism in this hesitancy reflected her most odious trait, her most grievous fault—her abominable pride. The Revan she knew endeavored to convince her she possessed it no excess, that any trace was simply human, no more than any other. She knew better—if she inherited anything from her mother, it was pride. Arrogance unbridled. His welfare was not the sole item at stake. Thus, she fought her own battle, the two options being his wellbeing or her stability. Since the moment they met—before, even—he always chose her; fighting his way through Taris to rescue her, throwing himself into the heart of the Star Forge to turn her back, refusing to believe she could ever be so far from redemption. Was she so selfish that she could not repay this debt, that she would ignore how he toiled, simply for her own crutch to lean on?



    Waiting for his return a chilly night, she fell weary; though her day-to-day consisted only of checking in with the Jedi Council and visiting her mother, her situation with Revan exhausted her. She often found herself in this same position, asleep on an armchair nearby the apartment’s only entrance, where she would surely be woken by his return. This night, however, was unique—for reasons unknown, an overwhelming sense of dread hung over her, as if a storm were approaching. Premonitions were rarely vivid or detailed through the Force, and constantly in motion, so she could have no rational expectations—her tired state did little to help the matter. A static played inside her head, a persistent dissonance in the background with no off-switch. In vain, she struggled to press further into the Force, gain some foresight, but sleep won out, in the end; she slumbered away, knowing her only option to accept what came her way. Such was the nature of the Force.

    It found her sooner than she expected; she was shaken by a familiar hand, heard Revan’s voice telling her to get to the hospital, and suddenly boarded a late-night transport with little idea of what was happening, who was accompanying her, or how she looked. The transport was more deserted than she had ever seen it, no more than a dozen passengers, including herself and Revan. In him, she found another distance—not the closed mind she struggled with for weeks now, but something else, as if he knew what they were approaching, but could not communicate it.

    Transit halting, the pair stepped out into the black night. Quivering with suspicion, the future seemed to clear, but was too awful to accept; she knew what approached. Why else would Revan have woken her in a hurry, brought her to the hospital? Was this the inevitable fate that long hung over her head? It seemed so far off then; it seemed so unreal. Surely, she would find a way to confront it when it came. Surely, she would be strong enough by then.

    Yet, here she was at the precipice, unprepared for where the next step may bring her, hands chilled and numb, head faint, legs feeble. She had not yet found a way. She was not yet strong.

    As they grew closer to the impending moment, she grasped Revan’s hand as a natural reaction, without concern to their current predicament. The day’s worries seemed insignificant to this night; the couple would persevere, as they always did. She could control that, at least to an extent—alter the future, change their ending, but this she could have no hand in, it was outside her jurisdiction; the Force was malleable but not governable. Death was final. Death was inalterable. Death was not hers to touch, for it was the will of the Force; the will of the Force, to wrench loved ones from us, to leave that gaping void in our lives. All persons would join the Force, become a part of an incomprehensible energy that teemed from all beings.

    “I’m sorry.” A cool voice, a doctor who had other patients to tend to, other lives to save. His hands grasped a clipboard she knew belonged to the afflicted in the next room, and he stole glances at it when he thought she was not looking. This man—this hospital—they were substandard, they had not given the care or attention required. Anger bubbled up; she would scream, she would fight!—she would not. She had to retain her composure, as a Jedi. There is no emotion. There is peace. “We did all we could. I hope it is some comfort to know that she passed in her sleep. It was peaceful.” Rehearsed words, tired from overuse. There is no passion. There is serenity. “We are so sorry for your loss.”

    Her eyes gaped; she did not blink. She stood, frozen to the spot. She was certain she would fall over; it was too much to bear, she could not make it. With a feigned heave of courage, she stepped into the room; saw the body, the tiny body, the frail remains. So peaceful. Asleep. Still asleep. Still alive.

    She felt Revan wheel her home after—how long was it? Ten minutes? An hour?—a lifetime, it seemed. Only vaguely in control of her body, her feet carried themselves, her mind elsewhere. He sat her on the edge of the bed, crouched down in front of her, and looked her square in the eye, his expression carrying an honesty she was lately unaccustomed to. How childlike she was! Experiencing this emotion for the first, this loss. Never before had she felt this loss—at least, not since she was wrenched from her father to join the Jedi—and never was it this complete. When she left him, her father was still alive, there was still hope; the void could be dealt with slowly, with small waves, small pangs, spread throughout the day. But this—seeing her mother had become daily routine, offered a healing she had never expected, and it was now over. No slow decline, no chance to compartmentalize. Not even the news of her father passing hit her with this might, for it was already far in the past, and she so long detached; this was here and now, demanded her full attention, had to be confronted straightaway. And so she sat, shell-shocked, Revan still in front of her, searching for the adequate words, as if any could cushion the blow.

    “Bastila…” he whispered; she felt the tears rising, the ducts working their ways. No emotion, no emotion, she cursed herself, blinking the tears away. Peace. Her mother was one with the Force, flowed freely through every sentient being, flowed within this very room. Peace. Serenity. Harmony. There is no death. There is the Force.

    She looked back at him, at the glimmer of his eyes; she saw his current state for what it was: lost, confused, alone. Struggling with the entity she and the Council so deeply buried within. In him, there was no peace, no serenity, no harmony, and yet, he was still the man she knew, the man she loved. Still that beacon of light, that glorious, glorious man. She had demons to face, and that is what she must do—face them. She could not run. She could not discard emotion, for it is what makes us alive. And if she should change in the process—if she discovered a part of herself she never knew, or reclaim a quality previously discarded—it is growth. It is change. No living thing is static; she must evolve. She must live on.

    “I’m sad,” she murmured, her voice cracking under the pressure of an emotion she could not restrain, however tight her throat may close, her heart may swell. “Properly sad. Sadder than I’ve ever…”

    “You’ve lost someone you loved more strongly than you knew,” he choked out, his tone hoarse with tenderness and aggression. “Feel it, Bastila—losing love is worth crying for, because pursuing it, obtaining it—it’s worth living for,” he placed a hand on the back of her neck, leaned his forehead against hers. The tears began to flow, she clung to his shoulders harder than she ever intended to, all for the release, the release of the emotion she could not bear.

    “Don’t fight it, Bastila. The Jedi—they have it wrong. Jolee once told me that love will save us, not condemn us; he was right, we’ve seen it. You and me, on the Star Forge. Don’t you dare fight it.“

    She stammered out attempted words, unable to form a coherent sentence, her mind pulsating—the Jedi, the Code, all she had ever put faith into, wrong. Mistaken. Long had she known that suppressing emotion was not a practical option, and yet always continued to try, in full ignorance of her true self. She must be the Jedi everyone expected her to be, the perfect Jedi. And yet, she had learnt on the Star Forge that it was, indeed, true—love, her love for Revan, possessed the power to save her from any evil. But it was habit to meet emotion with a wall, to block it out. The majority of her almost twenty-three years focused on forming that habit, taught her to internalize any pain, meet that roadblock with apathy as her shield. Her relationship with Revan alone asked her to break it—and now, to feel loss, to experience the pain Jedi teachings wished to protect against, would her efforts be so tried. This was her challenge. She would cry. She would feel. She would love.

    Sensing a breakthrough within his partner, he kissed her forehead. “Embrace it,” he purred, as her tears took on new force, as she clutched him with a ferocity only anguish could inspire. His tunic, his neck, his shoulders—all were drenched in the warm tears. As the minutes, the hour, slipped away, every barrier she established the past few weeks entirely crumbled; her mind was an open book, to be perused at his leisure. He could not resist.

    He saw all she knew of him, all she observed; she was not ignorant to the turmoil he experienced, despite her own healing wounds. She knew, and he was enraged; she saw through him, so strong-willed, so stubborn, she saw through him. Indignation mounted inside of him, furious, bubbling anger—no. No. He snapped back and it was laughter. Laughter in spite of himself—he was foolish to believe he could truly disguise his struggles. After all, she never could—their bond would not allow it; she was, truly, his most intimate companion, no matter how he resisted. She knew him too well for him to hide. It was time he quit fighting it.



    And so they sat, surrendering to their greatest fears—her, to knowing love and emotion, and him, to allowing confrontation of his past to affect the woman he loved—for neither were avoidable. And so they yielded to sleep, in the wake of sunrise, with a shared resolution: to climb their respective mountains together.
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  13. Plums Wakanda Forever

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    I QUITE LITERALLY HATE YOU OH MY GOD.

    hospital scenes wreck my heart ;~;

    That aside, really liked the mental anguish emotional reflections in Chapter 5-8. It let us get into Bastila and Revan further and see the more intimate workings of their character than we had seen when they were luvin-dubbin' it up.

    I feel really bad for Revan though. :C He's trying to keep up a mask so that bastila can lower hers, but his is breaking each passing day and ;___;.

    Update again, biyotch!
     
  14. Misty gimme kiss

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    I will, just gotta recharge my feels destroying batteries. c; And yes, I am trying to do more Revan, because someone suggested he seemed a little bland in comparison to Bastila. Gotta explore more!

    thank you my #1 reader plums
     
  15. Misty gimme kiss

    Joined:
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    Let me preface this by saying I am a piece of ****.

    I started this chapter, I kid you not, in December of 2012. I wrote it, and sat on it for ages, as I always do; and then wrote a Chapter 10 in November of 2013. Neither were up to my standards nor did they advance the plot much -- if you have not noticed I am awful with plot -- and so they were scrapped and I began afresh in February. I've varied between laboring over and casually ignoring this chapter for the last five months.

    The end result -- well I don't want to say I'm happy about it, I'm never happy with my writing -- but it's the longest (SIZE MATTERS), most planned, and most heavily revised of any other chapter I've ever written. The gap in updating I hope has given me time to develop more as a writer. It's told through many flashbacks but still, as you will see, advances the plot in a major way. I like the idea of moving forwards by going backwards, if that makes any sense at all. It does have a utilitarian benefit in that many of these flashbacks are, actually, pulled or otherwise adapted from several one-shot fics I never finished or posted, but I had planned the structure long before I considered that. I'm not just being lazy. ;)

    I think it's heaps easier to read over on AO3, but in case you super want to read my Star Wars angst fics on KHV, here we go. I also put together a brief playlist of some of the music that influenced me heavily while writing this, if you're into that kind of thing. Most of it is instrumental or atmospheric so I don't believe it will distract you from reading (but then, everyone is different).

    Chapter #9: Mono No Aware

    “Once more,” Bastila murmured, holding his still trembling hands. Their meditative position belayed the strain of a now twice-daily routine; stray beads of sweat traversed the topography of his face, trickled down his chin and neck, and soaked into his tunic. Illuminated by the few rays of dawn that managed to break the horizon, his watery eyes reflected all in close proximity – which she, this morning and many more before it, occupied. Frightful weeks marked her visage: loose, darkened skin underlined her eyes, struggled under a weight unexpected for a woman her age. Sallow faced and aching, she longed for the few hours of relief sleep would offer, despite the day having not yet commenced. None of this, however, would she reveal to him; she feigned quietude and repose for his sake, refused to betray any sign of fatigue or frustration. Any slips in this veneer she excused by pointing to stress or insomnia independent of him. Wholly aware of her efforts’ futility – any Jedi would see through them with ease, Revan especially – she persisted, if only for the surface gesture, the hope that it would render him even a modicum of leisure. It was a small offering and, she feared, given their relative lack of progress, the extent of her use to him.

    Still reeling, he ambled through leftover emotions, took a moment to remind himself that he was indeed surrounded by the comforts of their apartment, and not the battlegrounds of Malachor V, as he had just been so convinced. The two scenes slowly separated as mangled Jedi corpses and broken down Basilisks faded from the room. Anchoring himself, he looked to Bastila, observed her peaceful determination to empty her mind; her tranquility offered him a fleeting reprieve. Carefully he dug himself out of foretime, let his tense muscles wilt, and grounded himself in reality.

    Eyesight normalizing, he remained focused upon Bastila and detected a hurt she still attempted to mask; nearly two months had passed since her mother’s death, the grief consuming the child for many weeks after. Their fraught relationship beset Bastila even into adulthood, and losing her final connection to her life before the Jedi understandably strained her; no amount of Jedi philosophy or religion could cushion such a loss, and yet, the scar gradually healed, as all do. He reproached himself with the knowledge that his present state did little to aid a woman still mending after loss.

    Random, violent surges of memory had lately struck him in the night; at first, Bastila’s presence calmed him through the waves. She held him close as he twitched and flailed through the past; she calmed and caressed him back into the present. When the episodes suddenly escalated in brutality, Bastila became their victim – no person should have to shoulder his affliction, he bemoaned. Slicing his lightsaber through the spine of a terentatek seemed, to him, an ideal outlet for this sickness; scheduled, joint rumination – once in the morning, once at night – was Bastila’s prescription, and her unflinching resolve gave him little choice in the matter.

    The idea was to find answers. In this endeavor, they had failed; their introspective sessions seemed to provide some release from erratic attacks, but the web of lies and erasure spun by the Council proved difficult to unweave. Further, when he was not thrashing through memory, a sense of foreboding devoured him – yet he could not decipher its nature. The sensation was familiar, having struggled to balance the ‘Revan’ persona with his invented identity since before the destruction of the Star Forge; lately, however, it had grown more malignant, seemed to relate to a greater evil in his past. The mystery engulfed every breath, moment, and memory.

    Bastila nudged him, the gesture breaking his musings. “Are you ready?” she asked, less of a question than a warning. Her voice, though hollow from fatigue, retained a sense of sincerity – her loyalty and determination through this strife originated from love and affection, rather than duty or obligation, and for that, he was thankful. Though he felt completely otherwise, he returned a hesitant nod and selected a foggy recollection of his past self. The pair began their plunge into the depths of memory.

    Woken in the middle of the night by another episode, he left the bed to feel the window’s cool breeze. A particularly painful remembrance had surfaced in his dreams: his mutilated body floating in kolto as the Jedi deliberated on their next course of action. The presiding Masters were a familiar group, and they continued their traditions of absolutism: a prisoner must not be killed, even a Sith Lord running a civil war against them. Nevertheless they pushed their own precepts, bent their own rules, grasped at a precious opportunity to turn the tides of war. As the group reached consensus, Revan found Bastila’s young face among the assemblage of distinguished Jedi. Scarred and bruised from the explosion on his flagship, she returned to the Council a hero, but there was no bravado in her countenance; her eyes were a sepulchral reflection of her tumultuous thoughts. Through the bleeding, raw bond formed when she preserved his mind, she felt his presence, his power, his pain; this intimacy, unlike anything she had ever experienced, engrossed her, compounded by her survivor’s guilt – her entire strike team had also fallen in Malak’s attack.

    Thus distracted, the Council revealed her intended role in discovering the vital information left in his mind, and her face turned a pale white as she woke from her mind’s wanderings. Barely aware of what she was signing on for, she nodded in agreement.

    The memory had awoken the sleeping pair; she now sat upright in bed, waiting for his response. His breath was labored; his eyes closed tightly, his fists clenched. He attempted to call upon Jedi techniques to ease the violent turbulence of his mind, to discard anger and all emotion. It was no use; he jerked away from the night sky and spat at her, rage reddening his face.

    “You were part of it, Bastila. You supported this, you did this to me.” The vehemence of his reaction shocked her as he bounded in her direction; she cowered, unable to meet his stare; her fear and avoidance only added more fervor to his state. “Look at this! LOOK AT ME!” he shouted, forcing himself to her eye level. “My head is in pieces. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. I don’t know what I am or who I am,” he fumed. “And it’s your fault!”

    “I… I d-didn’t have a choice,” she stammered back, tears forming in their ducts, and she attempted to move away; riveting her body in place with one arm, he grabbed her chin and wrenched it to match his gaze with the other. Fear for her safety overtook her and her mind flew to instinct: his tiredness may let her use the Force to subdue him, but with his anger and physical advantage, she could never take him in hand to hand combat, and her lightsaber was left foolishly in the next room, useless to her – flight, then must be the option, but the door was far, and he could easily beat her there, if she could even escape his hold. Her head continued to swirl, demanded escape, but his chokehold left only one defense: words.

    She rummaged within her heart for a penetrating truth that could pacify him, but her vocal chords compressed under the pressure of phrases that could not leave her tongue. Her mouth hung agape, expecting the proper words to form, to no avail; speechless, she receded into herself. Truthfully, what could she have done? – contrary to her own delusions of grandeur, it was not the place of a Padawan to express discomfort with such a momentous decision, if she had even been able to, psychologically, at the time. And was it really wrong? – if placed in the same situation, she was unsure she would act differently. No right solution seemed to exist, then or now. And had she not suffered for it? – the guilt she bore, not only for the initial act of erasing and programming an identity, but for the ensuing lies she constructed in support of the invention, was no easy burden. But his grip did not relent, and she settled for a shaken effusion, some desperate utterance that may communicate the futility of her position. “What was I supposed to do…?”

    She watched a shadow fall over his eyes, felt his edge begin to chip away. Allowing herself the brief hope that her words had some effect, she selected her next response with the utmost care, with full awareness that she could draw upon his values regarding life and redemption – after all, he had saved her at her lowest point, at a time when she had no reason to be left alive. A measured raise of her chin sent a forceful, piercing stare back to him. “Should I have just left you to die?”

    He froze in place; his hold on her arm slackened and she scrambled to the other side of the room, out of his reach. His anger dissipated, transformed into remorse. He collapsed to the edge of the bed, closed his welling eyes in anguish. His voice shook. “Maybe you should have.”

    They morphed further back into the specters of the past; a young Bastila, freshly a Padawan, stood with faceless Jedi. War was upon the Republic, a war the Council chose to overlook – as the corpses of Republic soldiers lined battlefields, as entire societies fell to the Mandalorian threat, factions of Jedi splintered away to join in combat. The resistance’s demagogues, the then uncorrupted Revan and Alek, selected this crowd to gather bodies for their movement.

    “Do not heed the words of the Jedi Council. The Republic will fall if we do not act now,” cautioned Alek. His voice was smooth, untainted by the wheezing, mechanical intonation of his final days. In stark contrast to his more agile companion, Alek’s hulking, impressive build offered him a naturally commanding presence; his tone however remained level, slippery, absent of the usual passion and sincerity of an orator – he was part machine, even then. “Already the Mandalorians have taken three systems along the Rim. They will only grow more powerful with time.”

    He paused, allowed the fearful realities of war to dissipate through the crowd. “Come stand with me. We will use our might to help the Republic in its time of need. Join Revan and I,” he continued, motioning to the man next to him, “and together, we will battle this menace.”

    Bastila scoffed at his speech, in duty to the Council, but her amusement turned to horror as Jedi older and wiser than her, Jedi she had admired and revered, stepped forward defiantly. Eras Jast, only Knighted the day before, pushed Bastila aside in his fervor to join the Revanchists; others waited for a larger group to form behind Revan and Alek, and before long, at least three-fourths of the original group had traded sides.

    Bastila glared at the traitors with indignation – to disobey the Council was sacrilege! They would surely be thrown from the Order, provided they managed to survive ten minutes against the Mandalorian war machine! The Council needed more time to survey the threat—where was their patience, their faith, their pacifism?

    As she measured the defectors, a creeping sensation bristled the small hairs of her neck; she had the uncanny sensation of a watchful gaze fixed upon her. When her eyes reached the mysterious Revan, she became conscious of his deadlocked stare. She felt him easily infiltrate her mind, staggered as he trampled through her basic memories to locate an exceptional ability, one she had only just begun to realize. As she attempted, in vain, to push him out, she noticed a quick flash in his eyes, even from their distance – had he discovered something more within her? – and his onslaught restarted with new force. Her knees buckled, strained by the immense force of his presence in her mind. The weight of his assault almost grew too much – she felt light-headed, their surroundings began to spin; suddenly he disappeared from her consciousness and her world slowly regained focus.

    She opened her eyes to see him take a shocked step back from her, which he quickly masked from his followers. Silently, he joined the group, led by Alek, as they exited the Temple and boarded a transport, but not before taking a bewildered look back at that curious Padawan, and the united future he sensed within her…

    Dantooine, in the wake of Taris’s destruction. Sweating through the trainee robes offered by the Jedi, a yellow lightsaber lingered dangerously close to his neck. “Be thankful this is just practice,” Bastila said as she deactivated her blade and haughtily analyzed his shortcomings. Posturing, she persisted, “You quickly mastered Shii-Cho but you’ll never last against the chaos of Juyo if you cannot defend as well as you attack. You need to free yourself from distractions. The next blade you go up against won’t be this forgiving.”

    “I understand. I’ll try harder,” he replied formally, spreading the perspiration that lined his upper lip. Having travelled with Bastila for several weeks now, and presently under her tutelage as a prospective Jedi, he had begun to understand her character; therefore aware of her conceit, he knew that such a proper response would stroke her ego. Surely enough, he witnessed the flattery warming her, found humor in her ostentatiousness.

    Taking delight in her superiority, she could not resist correcting him again. “You’ll do better, you mean.”

    “Right,” he replied, watching as she bowed away from him, indicating that they had finished for the evening. His gaze drifted momentarily to her back; she was bent over, gathering scattered props from the day’s lesson. “But you know…” he began, a cocky grin claiming his face as he took a chance to test still waters. “That’s harsh, Princess,” he mocked, and she snapped upright in irritation at the nickname. “I really can’t help it. You’re awfully distracting.”

    She half-turned back to him and, despite vast attempts to the contrary, let slip a flattered, flustered smile; she quickly looked away to hide her blushing delight, resentfully attempted to ignore his advances.

    His disappointment was evident. He resigned himself to the truth that, perhaps, her prim defenses could not be broken, that the Jedi had indeed replaced her sensibility with vainglory – that her exterior was unbreakable. A few dejected shuffles threatened to carry him away from the lesson, the training grounds, from her.

    In that agonizing span of time – which in reality amounted to little more than a few seconds – she battled between letting him simply depart the scene, and thus freezing their relationship in its present, cordial status, or alternatively, gratifying her innermost daydreams, and throwing away all she had toiled for. Before she could fully comprehend her feelings, the moment swept her away, and the exhilaration of his flirtation swallowed her. She indulged her resounding desire to meet his challenge, took a few strides towards him, and tapped his shoulder. He spun around, surprise coloring his face.

    She inhaled deeply for courage and gradually edged forward until she too occupied a perilous proximity to him. His chin hesitated, torn between pushing his luck even further, and he was captivated by the excruciating allure of her slow glance upwards at him, of her parted lips and lowered eyelids. Acting now utterly on instinct and desire, her confidence was tempered by something new – vulnerability, an invitation to further close the gap between their bodies. Neither was certain how long they could resist.

    As they both wavered on the verge of action, her eyes blinked slowly and mouth quipped back. “Perhaps you should focus less on my form and more on your own.” She cocked an eyebrow, enjoyed a quick downward peek at his frame, his muscles still tense from the rigor of their battle; she backed away, retaining eye contact for as long as possible before turning to leave. Taking one or two unhurried, jaunty steps, she permitted her cheeks to fill with blood, grew aware of her heart thumping against her breast. His held gaze on her back pierced the air, gilded as it was by the erogenous, ardent appeal of premiere flirtation; she finally departed around a corner and left his eyeshot, but not without exchanging one last amatory glance…

    The Hawk’s vacant crew quarters, home now to impassioned, maiden intimacy. She had ultimately relented to her battle between love and obligation, leaving her body and being in his tender possession. Bit by bit, symbols of the Jedi – their lightsabers and robes – were discarded to the metal, grated floor; with great appetite, they parted one another’s underclothes, and he plunged his tongue to her bare-stripped heart.

    Low breaths escaped her lips. He explored the place and purpose of her every feature, gently pushing himself into her; her hands trembled and body puckered with fulfilment at his every stimulus, his every nuance of motion. Aimlessly her fingers traveled through his hair, lost as he explored the expanse of her neck. Tension and warmth crashed over her body; she reflexively grabbed his shoulders for support, to hold herself within this blissful relief. For once her timidity – her barriers, her reserve – had absolutely dissolved. She was free.

    The scene flashed again, minutes from that cherished moment, and her quiet mind rested on his chest. His hand traced slow, gentle pirouettes on her body, coaxing her to sleep in the impossibly snug crew bed. If only this moment could outlast the cruel temporality of reality! She did not wish to move an inch, unwilling to even slightly upset their beautiful balance; she could spend an eternity in this nook of the galaxy – in his embrace, unshackled by duty and constraint.

    Slowly, the gravity of their actions began to intrude, formicating through the deepest recesses of her mind. Despite her training, despite her focus, despite swearing against it just this morning, and so many mornings before, she had given herself to him, to the secret, illicit dream that oft carried her to sleep. She craved this happiness, this love, with every inch of her soul, but it was wrong. It was a selfish, foolish iniquity, one that could only detract from their mission – and her oath! Determination to rise through the ranks of the Order had consumed the last decade of her life, something she now so easily tossed away.

    It was wrong and she loved him. She loved him so absolutely, so entirely, so inevitably, that she could not imagine herself before he ebbed into her life, could not comprehend why a feeling so strong could be impermissible. She knew not how to proceed or what to think, only that she was desperately committed to this man, and that she concealed a terrible, terrible secret from him.

    Outside durasteel walls, a Sith flagship gained on their comparatively tiny freighter. Alarms sounded and the Hawk’s crew scrambled to escape, but the two Jedi, locked still in their discreet and forbidden embrace, knew there was no hope for evasion. His hand moved to her cheek and she drifted into its caress, her frustrated, inconsolable tears forming still pools on his chest. Together they crashed down to reality, donning their weapons and robes, and joined their comrades in devising an escape plan. Bastila remained close to him, uncaring that someone may have noticed her disheveled hair, his crooked tunic, their coincidentally identical disappearance. Sensing darkness’s approach, he took her hand…

    Revan watched with quiet horror as Saul Karath exacted cruel pleasures from the torture of his former solider, stood powerless as Carth – the casualty of his companions’ silence – succumbed to the sparking lightning of his prison and blacked out. The Admiral gave Revan one last chance at information about the Republic’s war effort; he knew the price of continued defiance, knew that their secrets must not be divulged, for the sake of the galaxy, but remained conflicted. The words would not come – he could not separate the emotion, could not bring himself to refuse. He looked to Bastila, obviously the next target of Saul’s twisted sadism, and his voice shook through a clumsy lie, “Alderaan. The Jedi Academy is on Alderaan.”

    Karath laughed at the poor attempt at deception, relayed news of Dantooine’s bombing, and a hollow disturbance in the Force rang through the Jedi. Revan gave a feeble, tense glance to Bastila; the burning determination that charred her icy eyes reinforced the obligation he knew he held. “I understand,” she whispered through the Force. “For the Republic.”

    He watched as her Force Cage set ablaze, as the spark in her eyes transformed into desperation and then extinguished, as her body crumpled lifelessly to the floor…

    “I’ll hold Malak off, you two get out of here!” Bastila shouted, charging forward. She darted past Revan before he could process her plan, met the Dark Lord’s blade before Revan could raise an objection. A thrust of Force energy knocked Malak back several feet, and Bastila raised a weak blast door to temporarily hold the Sith Lord back. She took the opportunity to mobilize her companions; locking eyes with Carth, she instructed him to continue their mission towards the Star Forge, then turned to Revan, still reeling from Malak’s revelation. With only seconds remaining before Malak cut through the durasteel and reengaged the fight, she was at a loss for words – an apology, an explanation, a profession of love, a farewell – nothing seemed adequate to make amends for her now exposed deceit. Instead, he stared at her, expression empty, conflicted between scorning her for her dishonesty and martyring himself in her place. As Malak at last broke through, she sent a second, gentler wave through the Force, pushing Carth and Revan away from danger, and began a hopeless defense.

    The sound of a blast door slamming shut between Bastila and himself woke Revan from his stupor, and next he knew his fist was thundering against the many layers of metal. Over his yells he could discern the muffled sound of lightsabers colliding, thought he heard Bastila’s pained screams. His soldier’s resilience in the face of tragedy serving him well, Carth pulled Revan from the door, dragged him down the path to the Hawk.

    Revan roared in protest, demanded his release. Undaunted, Carth continued their escape. “We can’t help her! Not here,” he cried back, sympathetic but determined. “We have to get off this ship and find the Star Forge!” Carth watched as Revan opened his mouth to object and dropped him against the floor. “Bastila sacrificed herself to let us get away. We can’t let that sacrifice be in vain!”

    Bastila felt the floor of the Leviathan pitch, its mass shifting to pursue the fleeing Hawk. A wave of relief swept over her, knowing that Carth and Revan had reached safety, but she paid deeply for the distraction: Malak’s anger empowered him, and he crashed her already weakened body against the wall. Hearing several of her bones crack, agony ripped through her; from her open mouth silent screams escaped, and her neural receptors shut off – she could not call upon the Force, her mind in throes. Accepting defeat, she blacked out, with little expectation of waking up ever again.​

    His eyelids beat wildly as he tried to slow the deluge of images, but the agony was too much – he felt as though his insides would burst straight through his body and rip him to shreds. Every pain of his mnemonic figures struck him with double the force – he must stop; he could take no more, but Bastila refused to relent. She pushed him further, despite their vicinity to the still raw and debilitating demons she herself carried.

    “Did it make you ache so, leaving me?” she would later ask, cradled in his arms.

    “More than anything,” he answered, his voice unsteady in remembrance. Earnestly, the difficulty in abandoning her to Malak on the Leviathan was matched only by seeing her turned to Malak’s servant atop the Rakatan Temple – the black robes draining all life and color from her skin, the red blade an unsettling change from the familiar amber. Yet his suffering was insignificant, he knew, to the burden she carried – the shame and terror surrounding her fall. He had seen it in her mind, the sadistic face of his former apprentice pressed towards Bastila, Malak promising to wear away her allegiance to the light; her resolution slowly caved as the Sith Lord preyed upon her weaknesses, her reservations, her doubts, her fears – her love, even – with a smile, a maniacal laugh…​

    Machine wore away to reveal the grotesque absence of Malak’s jaw, and it became a cavernous hole; the void devoured the couple, his cackles reverberating as the two at last broke through the echoes of their past. Bastila began to shake and falter, no longer able to sustain the visions; lending her last bout of strength, he felt her presence leave him. He watched through fluttering eyelids as her body collapsed forward, dead weight on his chest, and he was alone in the emptiness of memory.

    Shadowy figures trudged along a humid bog, their boots squelching out of mud with each step. Unseen creatures chirped and groaned in the distance, adding to the anxieties of the more reluctant of the pair. Apprehensively did the manifested, phantom Malak look about, questioning his friend’s mission. “Revan, have you been chewing the luna-weed? What the brix are we doing out here?”

    “You know as well as I do that the Mandalorians weren’t acting alone, Alek,” the hooded figure replied, using his companion’s abandoned name. “It’s impossible. No one could have raised an army that quickly.” Revan pushed away some branches and vines to exit the bog for more solid land, feeling a faint pull towards a nearby clearing. “I’ve traced it back to this very planet. There’s something here, some force greater than we have ever known…” Distracted, Revan stopped to examine a decaying pillar, the inscription of apparent fascination.

    “Of course nobody knows about it, we’re so beyond the kriffing Unknown Regions,” Malak grumbled. “There’s no Sith Empire hiding out here, waiting to attack the Republic.” Taking the chance to lighten the mood, he continued his efforts to coax his friend from this paranoia. “You’re a few starships short of a fleet, friend. What did Malachor do to you? We’re war heroes! Think of the fun we could be having, rather than sloshing around this damned planet. We’re wasting our time—”

    Malak’s frustrations cut short as Revan whispered to the pillar and the earth began to shake. Slowly, the ground separated to reveal a crumbling entrance into its depths, lined with grand columns and ancient symbols. Revan looked back to Malak with an accomplished grin, his smug demeanor overtaking the otherwise awe-inspiring sight before them. “What was that you were saying about a hidden empire?”​

    At last he understood the mysterious form that lingered in and plagued his mind for the past two months, his destined path finally revealing itself – a path which must, he knew, be travelled alone. Impulse and fear asked him to run, to escape his fate, but as one trained in the Force, he sensed the futility – his course was set. He emitted another mangled gasp, the pain ceased, and he returned to their apartment. The last image he held was her faint body, until he too abandoned himself to exhaustion, and crumpled next to her; as their short breaths and battered bodies filled the room, the sun completed its ascent above the horizon.