Note: I know canonically the Exile's name is Meetra Surik. I don't like that name and I had my own name for her years before this was revealed.
Alek tripped right before he would have stepped on the boy lying on the grass and somehow managed to not land on him. "Ow."
"You should be more careful," the boy remarked.
"Me?" Alek couldn't believe it. He climbed to his feet. "What about you?"
"What about me? I'm not the one who fell."
"I almost stepped on you!"
"Everyone almost steps on me," the boy said, sounding quite bored. "And they never do. I'd say it was some sort of conspiracy if I wasn't quite sure it was just the Force."
"The Force?" Alek had two choices here and one of them looked like it was going to take a while so he plopped down beside the boy. "Why would the Force personally step in to make sure you don't get stepped on?"
The boy shrugged. "I don't know. But it does seem statistically unlikely for things like that to keep happening just so I don't get injured by not paying attention or not being bothered to move out of the way."
"Who are you?" Alek asked.
"I'm Revan," Revan introduced.
Revan closed his eyes.
"Aren't you going to ask who I am?"
"I wasn't planning on it," Revan said truthfully.
"I didn't really care," Revan said.
Alek had never heard of anything like that. "That is so rude!"
"I can't help whether I care about something or not," Revan protested. "But fine, if you're going to make such a big thing about it why don't you tell me who you are."
"I'm Alek," Alek said. He still didn't really accept that his village was a part of his name and it was apparently a difficult name for people to say so best not to get into it.
"Okay then." Revan lapsed into silence.
After a few moments, Alek said, "Is there something seriously wrong with you?"
"I don't think so, no," Revan said. "But opinions on that do vary. You can ask the masters about it if you want."
"I only met you like two minutes ago so I could be way off base here but you seem just really, really lazy," Alek said. "Like abnormally so."
"I'm not lazy," Revan argued.
Alek raised an eyebrow skeptically at him. "You're not?"
"I prefer the term 'apathetic.' Lazy is just such a negative word and apathetic, while not great, is much more neutral," Revan explained.
Alek had no idea why he was still sitting here. He should really just go. "Why are you so apathetic?"
"If I knew that…" Revan trailed off. "Not that I've put a lot of effort into figuring it out, mind you. That's just a lot of work."
"It really isn't. It's just thinking."
"Agree to disagree," Revan said, yawning. "I just don't see things as that big of a deal. I'm usually fine and I don't want to be bothered. Is that too much to ask?"
"Probably, yeah," Alek said. "At least to the extreme you seem to be talking about. And how can you be a Jedi if you just can't be bothered?"
"I actually didn't want to be one initially," Revan said.
Big surprise there.
"But apparently I was really strong in the Force so Master Vrook took me aside and showed me his lightsaber and explained that technically I'd be supported by other people's rewards and by taxes so I wouldn't have to work to survive and he really made me appreciate the idea of a Jedi Knight, if not so much the work," Revan explained. "What can I say? I was five and that sounded like fun."
"You're really weird," Alek said bluntly.
"Well I'm not moving. If you don't like it you can sit in silence or just go," Revan offered.
Alek had told himself to just leave half a dozen times already. He had places to be and things to do and Revan might be talented enough to just not bother (for now at least. Surely raw talent and some potential Force favoritism couldn't carry him forever) but he wasn't. He had talent, too, but he had to work at it. He didn't need this.
"In a minute," he said and didn't get up for the rest of the afternoon.
"I'm just saying, you keep avoiding the question and it's just a little bit suspicious," Alek said bluntly.
"Suspicious?" Revan asked. "What's suspicious? Maybe you're suspicious!"
"This isn't a case of their only being allowed to be one suspicious thing in the galaxy," Alek said. "Just answer the question."
Revan stubbornly crossed his arms. "I don't remember any question."
"You know that the longer you refuse to answer the more I'm pretty sure I know what the answer is, right?" Alek asked rhetorically.
"If that's the case then why do you have to ask me at all?" Revan asked. "Take your implied answer and be done with it."
"You know me, Revan," Alek drawled. "I do so hate to do things the easy way. What do you think would have happened if things had worked out the way they would have if you hadn't been so against the idea of walking over to your ship and you had been the one to face the Jedi? I would have fired on you entirely on purpose and you probably would have been captured by the Jedi. Would you have returned to the light side, as I did? Would you have been able to save me like I did you?"
"I mean, it's really not a comparable situation," Revan said, clearly stalling.
"It is the most perfect comparison I've ever seen," Alek countered. "It very easily could have been you. It was supposed to have been you. There even would have been the firing on the ship. If you had been captured, what do you think would have happened?"
"I'm not psychic."
"I didn't ask for an accurate and provable future," Alek said. "Come on, Revan. Don't be difficult."
"I haven't already been difficult?"
"No changing the subject," Alek said. "Don't keep being difficult."
Revan sighed. "You're not going to like it."
"I've managed to pick up on that, funnily enough," Alek said.
"I mean, I kind of doubt they'd be able to turn me light sided," Revan said.
"Really? But you weren't as dark as I was and they did it to me."
"Yes but I'm more resistant to these things than you are, probably because it's all just details really and I'm going to do what I do regardless," Revan said.
"Would that stand up to a mind wipe, though?"
"My basic apathy? Probably. My memory? Who can say? If I had my memory it wouldn't work but I might go along on your stupid little scavenger hunt anyway to make things easier. If I didn't have my memory I can't imagine I'd be any more motivated than I normally am so I might not know I was ever a Sith but I doubt I'd be particularly light sided, either."
"That does make sense," Alek admitted. "And me?"
Revan looked pointedly down at his shoes.
"It's just…" Revan sighed. "I've never once tried to hurt you. Not once. And I may have gotten all the credit but we both know you were mostly waging that war with plenty of advice from me. And you would have tried to kill me?"
"I thought you said you didn't care," Alek said, shifting uncomfortably.
"I said that I can afford to be magnanimous," Revan corrected. "And I can. After all, it didn't happen to me and I ended up accidentally doing it to you. If you had died I don't think all 'whoops, I didn't mean to's in the world would have been made a difference. Say you tried to kill me and got me captured by the Jedi who may or may not have succeeded in destroying my identity but certainly would have tried. And I had done nothing to you. Now, I do understand why you would have done it. But just remembering how furious I was when that happened to you…"
Alek shuddered. "I remember."
"So knowing that had happened to me because of you, because you couldn't stand for people to like me better than you and just for the evils, you were then chasing me around the galaxy. Say I got captured the way you did and tortured. Say Bastila was captured although I have no reason to think she would be. I love her, Alek. You know that. And that's with our history. If we had a Force bond and were travelling around together for months I can't imagine feeling any differently. You'd have broken her or killed her trying. And I've never had the best track record when it comes to redemptions. I can look people in the eye and tell them not to be evil but I don't really understand the light and dark side of the Force. Everyone else does but to me it's all meaningless so I can't really understand. That combined with how I'd probably be feeling and I would have killed you."
Alek nodded slowly, unable to meet Revan's eyes. "Well at least you're honest."
"For what it's worth," Revan said gently. "You are my best friend and I chased you halfway across the galaxy trying to bring you back in a way I didn't think would drive you mad. I'm glad it didn't work out that way and I'm not particularly proud of myself for not thinking I would save you."
"If it happened like you said, I wouldn't have deserved it," Alek offered. "I remember I tried to kill you and I remember why but I still can't even believe I would have done that. Not to you. Anyone else but you."
Revan sighed. "Those are the perils of the dark side, I'm afraid. I knew that much, at least, and in this hypothetical scenario I really should have been more understanding and still tried. You tried so hard to reach me even though I was making no effort of my own and might very well have just died there if you hadn't."
"Despite what I say, you're really not so lazy as to just sit there while the station you're on explodes."
Revan shrugged. "I guess we'll never know."
"Enough worrying about hypothetical universes and how this is the best of all possible worlds," Alek said forcefully.
"You're the one who brought it up," Revan protested. "And just kept bringing it up no matter how many times I tried to dodge the issue!"
"And now I'm un-bringing it up," Alek said. "Unless you'd like to continue discussing it?"
Revan quickly shook his head. "I'm good."
"Instead of any of that, we're both fine," Alek reminded him. "We're both not evil and we didn't really get any comeuppance for conquering half the Republic. The Jedi believe us about the True Sith and we're all trying to prepare. And I even have my jaw back! That's much better than I thought it would be after what happened."
"I can't believe you went around telling everybody I cut it off because you challenged me or thought I was soft or something like that," Revan said, rolling his eyes.
"I never said anything of the sort!" Alek protested. "Although it is a perfectly suitable Sith cover story and better than what really happened. But I refused to tell anyone anything because it was none of their business and it's not like I would have told them a story where you kicked my ass so thoroughly!"
"I guess it's a bit more believable than what really did happen," Revan mused. "Hey, now that your jaw is back am I allowed to call you an idiot for what happened? Apparently it was 'insensitive' before."
"You should probably still not mention it," Alek said. "I'd really hate for it to get out."
"So would I in your shoes," Revan said. "Imagine, most people think that I did it and even those who know that that's complete nonsense still think it was something a little less pathetic than you holding your lightsaber the wrong way when you were igniting it."
Alek immediately looked around to see if anyone else was present. They weren't. "Leave me alone, I was really sick. I ended up being laid up for a week."
"Yeah, after the accidental amputation," Revan said. "And I told you that you were sick and really shouldn't be training but did you listen?"
"I needed to get stronger."
"And all you managed that day was a spot of self-mutilation," Revan pointed out.
"Don't rub a guy's face in it when he's down," Alek said, frowning.
"See, that's what you said then but now you have your jaw back so I think this is fair game again."
"I still had to live without it for several years."
"Yeah, and whose fault is that?" Revan asked rhetorically. "I mean, really."
"That's one of the other reasons I wanted to kill you," Alek announced. "I could tell you were secretly laughing at me. AND you told that story to HK and he openly laughed at me."
"HK does like you, you know. I know you don't believe it but he does."
"So he wasn't laughing at me?" Alek asked skeptically.
"No, he was. He just also likes you."
"He calls me a meatbag!" Alek was starting to accept that he would never, ever be over that.
"He calls everyone that," Revan said dismissively.
"Only after you programmed him to," Alek pointed out.
"Only because he didn't use the term before but he still thought of humans – except me – as bags of meat and you just happened to be the first one who asked," Revan said. "But you are right."
"You were laughing at me?"
Revan coughed. "I mean right about how this is a pretty good world. Bastila and I have made it three years together and we're still going strong. We might even make it, who knows?"
"Forget Atton and Anika, you two are still the weirdest couple I've ever seen."
"No, let's not just forget Atton and Anika," Revan disagreed. "And I'm not just saying that because there's nothing weird about Bastila and I. He got obsessed with her after just seeing one picture of her-"
"I think he went looking for more. Strange he could find those but not her name."
"Bet he got most of those from Atris," Revan said. "He used to torture Jedi until they were Sith and, since he was working for us, I feel we really shouldn't judge him for this. He's had this long-standing thing about the Jedi which doesn't really seem fair, despite their many, many failings and now he's over it? He refused every offer to be trained and then outright asked her to train him?"
"Love's just funny like that, I guess," Alek said shrugging.
"He hadn't even met her when he threw that huge fit about getting her back," Revan argued. "And don't tell me he'd have done it because it was the right thing to do because Atton is hardly Carth. And then he wanted her to make him a Jedi within an hour of meeting her. That's not love."
"You don't believe in love at first sight?"
"No," Revan said.
Alek shrugged. "It doesn't matter one way or the other to me. But they're very happy together now, you have to admit."
"I do," Revan conceded. "But it's far strange than me and Bastila."
"You literally held her prisoner and she wanted to kill you and you two were enemies," Alek said.
Revan made a face. "See, when you say it like that it sounds a bit odd."
"Say it like what? The way it actually happened?" Alek asked rhetorically.
"It went as un-awkwardly as it possibly could have under the circumstances," Revan said. "And she escaped still hating me, though thinking me a bit less evil and more ridiculous, as when she captured herself. It took ages before we'd reached what I'd call friendly and she'd call friends."
"And so everything works out," Alek said. "Do you remember how convinced I used to be that we could never go back?"
Revan nodded. "You were quite annoying about it, too."
Alek glared at him. "Excuse me for finding the idea of having turned my back on everything I loved forever in order to protect it a bit upsetting!"
"Yeah, except remember how that turned out not to be the case?" Revan asked pointedly. "Because now we're here and things are excellent? Canderous even went off to go be Mandalore and he seems to be having fun with that. He's giving me a bit too much credit with the whole 'choosing him to be the next Mandalore and to lead his people into this new age' thing. I just gave him that old helmet we had when he wouldn't stop staring at it."
"That old helmet did come from the previous Mandalore," Alek pointed out.
Revan shrugged. "Huh. So it did. Honestly, though, I'm not surprised it worked out this way."
"You're not?" Alek asked skeptically. "It's all a bit unlikely."
"Oh, the details, sure but it's all just details."
Alek rolled his eyes. "Everything is just details to you, Revan!"
Revan thought about it. "Yes."
Alek just sighed. "Go on."
"Maybe I'm surprised about the way that it all worked out as far as where we all ended up and who ended up in our lives but a happy ending?" Revan asked. "Insofar as this is an ending and it's really not because you and me are going to live for another century or so."
"You just decided that?"
"Nah, I decided that ages ago when you kept saying you'd leave and didn't."
Alek swallowed past the lump in his throat.
"Of course we'd get a happy not an ending," Revan said, seemingly oblivious. "The Force loves us, after all. How could it be any different?"
"The Force loves you," Alek corrected him. If there was one truth he had learned over the years it was that the Force loved Revan with everything it had and that Revan was just as annoyed as he was pleased by that.
"And you're my best friend," Revan said. "Of course it would work out this way. Just see if Bastila doesn't end up doing perfectly wonderful as well."
Revan sounded so sure but then he usually did. It was only when Alek didn't know him that Revan had ever shown any sort of uncertainty and, looking back, Alek wasn't sure he'd have managed the situation better. And that was even if he wanted to and Force knew Malak didn't. Who could blame him for retiring the name?
But it didn't matter. Revan was right about that much. Their lives here and now were good and worthwhile and if they had come so close to missing out on all of it…well what did it matter? They hadn't and they wouldn't and that was that.
He and Revan simply wouldn't let it end any other way.