Disclaimer: I own nothing, save for the personality of my PC character. LucasArts and BioWare own everything. I'm only playing with them. I promise to put them all back neatly when I'm done.
A/N:Takes place after the events of the bestselling game Knights of the Old Republic. SPOILERS for the game are present. Angst/Drama/Romance and smart remarks abound. Please read/review, and enjoy!
The journey to Coruscant should have been one of relaxed celebration. The Star Forge was no more, Malak was no more, and I--well, let's just say the gamble the Jedi Council made on me paid off at incredible odds. I destroyed their Star Forge, killed their villain, and saved the princess. Or at least, didn't kill her outright for turning on us. Actually, all I did was bring back her body. Her heart still beat, but the Bastila that started on this quest was as dead as any of those mad fiends buried in the valley on Korriban.
Bastila was a lost soul. Like me. To say I've had an identity crisis would be an understatement of galactic proportions. I keep seeing the look on Carth's face as he told the rest of the crew that Revan--I--was responsible for the destruction of his homeworld. I couldn't deny it, even though I couldn't remember it, either. But at that moment, I started becoming aware of the repercussions of my actions as Revan.
When Bastila revealed the truth of my past, it was as if she'd deactivated a shield around something that had always been there. But the Leviathan was no place to react. I kept it together in order to escape. I had to, or Malak would have killed me.
Then when we returned to the Hawk, Carth's lack of warmth rivaled that of interstellar space. All that had passed between us since Taris--the bond of fragile trust we built, the flirting, the friendship, the attraction beneath it--seemed to mean nothing to him.
My nightmares are filled with his expression as we confronted the rest of the crew. I have Canderous to thank for coming to my defense. Sure, I didn't blow up Carth's homeworld personally, but I built the army that did. I commanded the loyalty of the man that betrayed him. The guilt hit me long before any memories did.
Mission and Zaalbar's loyal declarations threw me. If anything, I expected them to be the most horrified at my revelation. But Juhani--she broke me.
She'd always looked at me with a bit of hero-worship in her eyes, and now that she discovered that the Revan who freed her from slavery as a child and the Noura who turned her back to the light were one and the same--and me--the awe in her eyes broke me. I ran from the room and headed for the cargo hold. I collapsed on the ground there and let the emotions I'd been holding at bay finally overwhelm me. I lay there on the cold deck plates and cried for what felt like years, tears seeping from my cheeks onto the cold metal of the decking.
Mission brought me some water at some point. She said nothing, simply stroked my hair, her head-tails reaching towards me. I hunched into myself, unwilling to take pity or sympathy. I was the Dark Lord of the Sith. I didn't deserve her compassion.
Juhani came next. She sang a Cathari lullabye and left me with a package of soft pink Dantooine cheese. I don't remember eating it, but I remember licking the wrapper. Strange how shell-shock can hit you in the weirdest places.
Just when I thought I might be ready to face another being again, the last person I wanted to see entered the cargo hold.
"Carth," I said, my voice rusty and hoarse. But I drew myself up and scrubbed at my face with one hand. I couldn't deny I'd been crying, but the least I could do was try to keep him from belaboring the obvious. "You wanna tell me how we're going to go on?"
"I suppose we have to trust each other for the time being," he said. "But I'll be watching you."
I ached for the time when I wouldn't have let that comment go unanswered with a saucy retort. Only I didn't feel very saucy at the moment.
"And if you do the slightest thing to hurt the Republic, or if you turn on us--"
The pain and anguish of hearing him say those words snapped something in me. I snatched one of the blasters from his side holster and pressed the barrel to my temple. "Why don't you do it right now and save some time?" I said.
He reached for the blaster to pull it away, but I put my hand over his. Despair gave me strength and I kept him from pulling his hand away or pulling the blaster away from my head. "Come on, Carth," I said recklessly. "Do it."
"Noura, stop this."
"Come on," I said, "You've been saying all along that you'd love to put a blaster to Revan's head. Now's your chance. Take your vengeance. The galaxy'll thank you."
He looked down at me, his eyes bottomless pools of dark and I realized he must be feeling as lost and desperate as I was. I moved the blaster away from my temple and pushed it down to rest against my sternum. "Shoot here if you want it to hurt more," I said, barely in a whisper.
I don't know how long we stood like that, a motionless tableau. It felt like forever. My hand loosened on the blaster, as did his. It clattered to the ground between us.
"I don't know how you go on," he whispered. "What they did to you--"
The last, uncried tears dried behind my eyes. "I don't have any other choice," I said.
"I need time to--to wrap my mind around all of this."
Time was what we didn't have. Especially now that the dark part of me had a name. "Promise me," I said, thinking of Mission and Juhani, and the fact that they'd placed their fragile destinies in my hands. "Promise me, you'll do what's--what's necessary if I--fall."
Bleak pain twisted his features, but he nodded grimly. "I won't let you betray the Republic."
If anything, I felt even closer to Carth after that. Death brings an intimacy of sorts between executioner and condemned. Trusting Carth to be my executioner seemed to open up a new bond between us. A dark one, to be sure, but it hung there in our shared space.
Trusting him to be my executioner allowed me to go on to Manaan, and while Bastila's capture haunted me with guilt and fear, I was able to focus on finding the final star map.
Then came the Rakata homeworld. We stood on the beach and he said, "I've tried to hate you for your past, and I just can't do it." He toed the sand, reminding me of a little boy. "You gave me something to live for after--after Saul. Let me do the same for you. Let me give you something to live for." He looked up at me again. "Let me give you a future. With me. I think...I could love you."
Joy and sorrow clashed within me. Don't say that, I thought desperately. Instead, I gave him the truth that I owed him, after all the layers of lies. "I--I think I could love you, too," I said. In my heart, and at the time, I was certain I wouldn't have the chance.
Now our roles reversed. I was the one with the death-wish, and he was the caretaker of hope.
The fact that I outlived the Star Forge was an unexpected kink in my future. They wanted to give me a medal, to commend me. It's ridiculous. All I essentially did was clean up the mess I had made myself, something to be expected of any three year-old child. Only I'd killed millions with my toys before I cleaned them up.
I even brought back Bastila, but their precious doll was broken. And without the constant battling and the overriding quest to defeat the Sith, I suddenly found plenty of time to think and remember and relive.
And the ghosts of my past rose up to demand vengeance.
The nightmares plagued me. I'm ashamed to say I've been popping stims and adrenal modifiers like they were candy. A hazy wall of fog seemed to separate me from the rest of the crew, even Carth. I was drowning in the desert, frozen in the center of a star about to go nova.