"C'mere, Mori! Come to Aunt Anna!"
"You're too good with him, Anna," said Revan as she sank down onto the couch beside her friend. The auburn-haired Jedi Knight looked up from making faces at the four-year-old boy she held on her lap and smiled sadly.
Kalanna reached up to smooth back the boy's wayward bangs – which popped immediately back into place – and said, "I just hope I can have one of my own someday. Maybe more. At least now the Council won't be too against it."
The former Dark Lord laughed at that and smiled brightly, her teeth flashing white in her tanned face.
"Oh, no, they won't! Not after the talking I gave them when I came back and they tried to separate me from Carth again. Separate me from the man that gave me the will to survive, will they? Ha! I'd like to see them try!"
"As would I," said Kalanna with a wry smile. Revan returned the smile then her left hand shot forward and slapped her son's hand lightly.
"Morgan Onasi! What did I tell you about touching things that aren't yours?"
The four-year-old turned smoky gray towards his mother, a pout on his little lips. He glanced at her face then ducked his head as she eyed him sternly.
"No twoo," he muttered after a moment.
"Exactly," said Revan, plucking her child off her friend's lap. She tucked him tightly against her and kissed the top of his head, trying like Kalanna to smooth down his wayward bangs. When they sprang back up again she sighed and said, "You had to inherit your father's hair, didn't you, little one?"
Revan laughed then looked up at Kalanna, who was watching the pair silently. She saw the longing in her friend's eyes and leaned forward to lay a hand on her arm, drawing her eyes.
"Come," she said, "Carth won't be in until late tonight and Dustil is coming back today from Kashyyyk in an hour."
Kalanna smiled and said, "And let me guess: Carth doesn't know."
"Not at all. Dustil wasn't supposed to be coming back for another month but apparently all he was doing to help Zalbaar and Mission with their mercenary problem got finished sooner than he thought. He contacted me privately and asked me to keep it quiet."
"I take it you two are actually getting along better now?"
"We're perhaps as close as we're going to get," she said. "He still doesn't like me but he accepts that his father loves me and that I'm the mother of his half-brother. But he doesn't blame me for his mother's death anymore, which is an improvement from our relationship ten years ago."
"That's good. So, are we going in your speeder or mine?"
"I'm tempted to take Carth's pride and joy," chirped Revan with a mischievous grin. Then she frowned and added, "But if I did that, we couldn't fit everyone in…"
"We won't need that much room," said Kalanna with a confused frown. She slowly began to count off names on the fingers of her left hand. "There's you, me, Morgan can sit in my lap, and Dustil will be able to fit in the back with his bags…"
"Statement: I will also be going."
Kalanna turned and found herself looking up at the tall form of HK-47. The combat/protocol droid had regained his memories – again – after meeting up with Revan once more. She had been happy to find the psychotic droid no longer calling her 'master' when she returned from the Unknown Reaches but it had been vaguely disturbing when Revan had bounded up and hugged the big droid. The former Dark Lord had, to the dismay of all who knew her, spent several thousand credits to buy parts and had repaired the damage done to the droid herself. HK had quite happily proclaimed afterwards that he was glad to be back with his true master and it felt…nice to know she still cared.
Kalanna was of the opinion the droid was starting to go soft.
"Hopeful Statement: Perhaps there shall be some meatbags that I can blast."
Then he said something like that and confirmed that he was the same old droid.
"Only if they attack us first, HK," said Revan, patting the droid on the arm. "And even if they do, I want you to retreat and take Morgan with you. Understood?"
"Statement: Yes, Master. The young mea – er, child shall be my first priority."
"Good. Ready, Anna?"
Kalanna nodded and the two women walked out of the house and down into the garage. Morgan was now happily sitting on HK's shoulders and banging persistently on the droid's oddly sculpted head.
"Query: Master, can you cease the small meatbag's bashing? While he may not be able to do any true damage, a dent upon my frame would just not do after all the work you went through to fix me."
"Morgan, stop beating on HK. And don't call him a meatbag, HK."
"Statement: Yes, Master."
Kalanna plucked the boy from the droid's shoulders as she climbed into the four-seat speeder Revan had started up then watched as HK clambered into the backseat. The big droid looked about for a moment then cocked his repeating blaster and growled, "Ready!"
Revan rolled her eyes and gave Kalanna a humored look at the droid's behavior. Then she drove her foot down on the speeder's accelerator and they shot out of the garage and into the bustling traffic of Coruscant and headed towards the major starport in the city.
Nearly an hour later, Kalanna was holding Morgan as Revan went to ask if Dustil's shuttle had arrived. HK hovered behind her, earning fearful looks from most passing by them as he held his blaster menacingly.
"His shuttle should be coming in soon down at Gate 12. If we head down there now, we should make it just as he gets off ship," said Revan as she returned, a broad smile on her face.
"Statement: Master, these meatbag's are staring rather strangely at us. Excited Query: Can I blast them for this, Master?"
"HK, what did I say?"
Kalanna heard the droid sigh behind her and he said, "Exact Statement: 'Only if they attack us first, HK.'"
"And I meant that," said Revan. She then squeaked as a Twi'lek said something over the starport's COM system and cried, "His shuttle's early! Oh, Anna, please just wait here. I'll run there and get him and bring him right back. Mori, sweetheart, stay here with Aunt Anna and HK and be good."
"Yef," mumbled Morgan as Revan kissed his cheek before dashing off through the crowds towards Gate 12. Kalanna watched her go and smiled when she saw the petite form of the former Dark Lord dash through the crowd at Force-enhanced speed.
"Statement: I do despite waiting."
The auburn-haired Jedi chuckled at that and said, "You and I both, HK. You and I both."
Abruptly and without warning, she suddenly felt a presence slide across her mind. Her entire body twitched in reaction to it and she immediately expanded her senses, trying to seek out the presence that had startled her.
It had felt so familiar…
…switch the +1 to –1 and you get 20…
"A-Atton?" she gasped, the name nearly choking in her throat. She looked around frantically, trying to find the face she'd seen in almost all of her dreams for the past five years.
The presence suddenly stopped masking itself and she spun around to find Atton standing behind her, his dark eyes boring into hers. She felt his eyes rake over her and she did the same to him, taking in everything that was the same and that had changed.
He looked haggard and worn, like he'd done nothing but travel in the last five years with only random bath's in-between and sparse changes of clothes. The ribbed half-jacket he wore bore several new patches and beyond that all of his clothes were unrecognizable. Her eyes drifted up to his face, which was as haggard at the rest of him with stubble littered across his jaw and upper lip. His dark hair had grown out so that it fell over his eyes but she could still see them behind his bangs.
And his eyes were still that deep soulful brown.
"Hey, babe," he said softly, smiling warmly at her. Then he saw Morgan and his face fell, causing Kalanna to take an instant step forward.
"Atton, no, it's not…"
"Statement: I remember you, Rand."
Atton groaned and cried, "Oh, for the love of Pazaak, not you again!"
HK seemed to smirk as he said, "Insulted Exclamation: The fool of a meatbag did not miss me! Sarcastic Statement: My processor aches from this knowledge."
"Hey, I'm no fool, you infernal bucket of bolts. Oh, and congrats, Fae. Glad you moved on."
"Now see here you!" snapped Kalanna, absently noticing that Revan and Dustil were returning. "Morgan is not my child!"
"Oh, yeah," hissed Atton, betrayal and hurt flickering in his eyes. "Then who's is he?"
Revan sauntered up and plucked Morgan out of a surprised Kalanna's arms then strode up to stare defiantly up into Atton's face.
"He's mine," she growled out, her blue eyes narrowing. Then she lifted her right arm and jabbed the scoundrel solidly in the chest, which made him wince and stumble back. "Now kiss and make up!"
"Who the frak are you?" growled Atton, rubbing his chest. "And how the hell do you pack such a hard jab?"
Revan smirked and pulled off the glove on her right hand with her teeth. The dark gray metal of the droid arm that had replaced her real one glinted slightly as it reflected the lights above them and Atton's eyes widened in recognition.
"Hello, Jaq," she said with a sad smile as she tucked the glove into her belt. "I know this is probably a decade or two too late but…I'm sorry. For all I did and all I dragged you into. Especially what I turned you into."
Atton glared at her for a few minutes then his shoulders slumped and he shifted the pack that was slung over his left shoulder. He then sighed and shook his head, saying, "Hey, it was my fault too. I followed you. Nobody forced me." His gaze lifted then and he looked at Kalanna, a small smile twitching his lips. "But that's behind me now. It's the past. I think I've got a future to look forward to."
Kalanna gaped openly at him, almost unable to believe what she was hearing. She almost couldn't believe that Atton was standing here in front of her. After five years, she had almost started to believe she'd never see him again.
Fingers poked her suddenly in the back and she felt Dustil give her a gentle Force Push. She stumbled slightly and regained her balance only to be hit by another Force Push that shoved her into Atton's chest.
Her heart pounded as her hands gripped his shirt convulsively, all of her weight nearly thrown onto him as she tried to regain her balance. Then she felt his hands on her arms and was pulled tightly against his body, which forced her to lift her chin and look up at him to avoid having her face pressed against his chest. His dark eyes studied her for a long moment then he dipped his head and caught her lips with his own.
Instantly, every fear she'd had about this not being real vanished. Fire spread through her entire being at the feel of his lips against her own and her hands slid up his chest to curl around the back of his neck. Atton pulled her tighter against him, deepening the kiss infinitely as one hand slid up her back to tangle in her auburn hair.
A cough from the side made the two of them jerk apart and Atton glared at Revan, who was smirking, while Kalanna blushed bright red along her neck and cheeks.
"Pleading Beg: Do not make me view that again, Master. My photoreceptors cannot take such abuse."
"Oh, c'mon, HK!" cried Revan, bouncing on the balls of her feet. In her arms, Morgan giggled happily and clapped several times while chirping, "Kiss, kiss!" Revan giggled at her son's antics then said to the droid, "It's love!"
"Statement: Master, my photoreceptors have enough torment with you and the mea – pilot."
Kalanna giggled at the former Dark Lord's shocked expression and felt the rumble of a chuckle run through Atton's chest. She then turned her head and looked up at him, her eyes suddenly sparking with unshed tears. Then she reached up and grasped his face, causing him to look down at her with a confused expression.
"I'm never letting you go again," she whispered. "You know that, right?"
Atton laughed outright at that, something she'd only heard rarely from him during their time together on the Ebon Hawk. He then kissed her on the tip of her nose and said, "Babe, I don't think I could stand to be away from you for so long again."
Kalanna made a delighted sound and kissed him with a fervor that would have scared her before she'd gone through war. But after her exile and regaining the Force, she was no longer afraid of relationships. Her confidence in the Jedi Council's wisdom on the subject of love had been challenged even further by Revan's situation.
Dustil cough politely then and she pulled back, turning to smile sheepishly at him and Revan.
Revan chuckled and waved a hand, saying, "Anna, my dear friend, I have no problem with it. I'm just glad you're happy. But people are starting to stare and we're blocking traffic."
"Oh," said Kalanna, blushing again, "um…well…"
"Let's go then," said Atton, pulling her tightly against his side. He ruffled her bangs then looked at Revan, saying, "Guess this means I'll be seeing a lot of you."
"Guess so," replied the dark-haired woman with a smile. She then tickled Morgan's right side, making him squeal with laughter, and said, "Now, off we go. I'm not certain how we're going to fit four adults, Mori, and a droid in my speeder but we'll find someway."
Atton shrugged and said, "I'll catch a taxi if I have to. No prob."
"Oh, no, you won't," hissed Kalanna. She clutched his hand convulsively and continued, "I'm not letting you out of my sight for a week."
"Remind me not to get near your bedroom for a week then," commented Dustil as he walked past them to catch up with Revan. Kalanna glared at him and gave him a small Force Push in retaliation for both the comment and earlier. The lanky young man who shared look with both his father and half-brother gave her a wry grin over his shoulder then jogged to catch up with his stepmother.
Hot breath was suddenly on Kalanna's ear and Atton whispered huskily, "I kinda like the kid's idea, babe. You, me, and a bed for a week? Sounds like heaven to me."
"And here I thought that was an interrogation by a scantily clad Jedi," hissed Kalanna, her eyes glinting with amusement.
"Only if it's you, babe."
"And who says men are stupid?"
Atton started to reply but was cut off by Revan brashly yelling, "Hey, lovebirds!" across the parking garage. The two of them both blushed then Atton grinned and grabbed her hand as they ran over to the speeder and squeezed into the backseat with HK, Kalanna perched quite happily on the scoundrel's lap.
"Everyone in?" asked Revan, turning to look at everyone in the speeder. Morgan chirped, "Yeth, Mama!' and waved happily at her from Dustil's lap.
"Okay then. Back home we go! Oh, and lovebirds? You think you can hold off on the reunion until after dinner?"
Kalanna laughed and said, "Of course we can, Rev. Atton needs a trip to the fresher before anything can be done."
"Just as easy to do that after having some fun," growled Atton in her ear. He then shifted slightly as Revan powered up the speeder and hissed, "Do you have any idea what having you on my lap is doing to me?"
"Yes, it's rather obvious, thank you."
"It'd be a hell of a lot better if we weren't sitting in a speeder," he grumbled, kissing the side of her neck. She made a noise in her throat at the contact and Atton grinned rakishly before nibbling on her ear.
"Hey, none of that in the backseat!"
"Disgusted Statement: Such revolting meatbag mating rituals. Master, please make them stop."
Atton sighed and rested his forehead on Kalanna's shoulder, shaking his head slightly. Then he looked up at her and softly said, "We're never going to get away from them, are we?"
"After dinner," whispered Kalanna, kissing his lips lightly. "Then I promise we'll get no interruptions."
"I'll hold you to that one."
The hours until dinner passed quickly. Carth hugged Dustil warmly in greeting then had been introduced to Atton, who he vaguely remembered from the defense of Citadel Station against Darth Nihilus. He had warmly shaken the scoundrel's hand then had threatened to seriously injure him, Force powers or not, if he hurt Kalanna in any way. The old Atton would probably have started a fight over the threat but he was no longer the old Atton. Instead he replied that he'd rather take his own life than hurt Kalanna.
"You 'n me both," had said a smiling Carth, his dark eyes going towards Revan across the room.
Dinner was it's usual affair in the Onasi home and after the former Dark Lord had put Morgan to bed, she'd gone to Kalanna and whispered, "Get out of here," in her ear. The auburn-haired Jedi had stared at her for a moment then smiled mischievously and went to go collect Atton from an argument over speeders he was having with Carth.
Minutes later they'd been out in the street and walking towards her apartment across the way. Above them the traffic zoomed on as thickly in the night sky as they did during the morning hours. Kalanna clung tightly to Atton's arm as they walked, her head leaning comfortably against his shoulder.
When they arrived at her apartment and she went to touch the panel that opened the door, she paused and turned to look at him. He gave her a curious look and asked, "What?"
"You're staying this time, right?"
A hurt look crossed the scoundrel's face and he stepped across the space between them, grabbing her face in his hands. His brown eyes bored into her blue as he breathed, "I intend to stay for as long as you want me, Fae. I told you when I figured everything out I'd come back. Maybe I didn't figure everything out but I did figure out that five years away from you is far too long. I don't think I could do it again."
His eyes then hardened and he growled, "How could you think I would hurt you again?"
"Oh Force, Atton, I'm sorry!" exclaimed Kalanna, hurling herself into his arms. "I just…I…I was beginning to fear you weren't coming back…"
"I should never have left."
"No! No, you did what you had to do. I don't blame you for that. I'm…I'm just afraid that this is a dream and I'm about to wake up to find you're not really here."
"Then let me prove I'm really here," hissed Atton, his gaze softening. He then kissed her deeply, backing her up until she hit her door. Slowly, he began to trail kisses down her neck, making her shiver in reaction and scrabble for the door panel. It beeped when her fingertips touched it and slid open, causing the two of them to fall onto the floor of the apartment.
Atton tangled one hand in her hair and kissed her roughly as his other hand slid into her robes. She moaned against his mouth and mumbled, "The door…"
"Screw the door," growled Atton.
Kalanna let out a giggle and said, "And here I thought…"
"Shut up, woman."
She promptly complied and had gotten off Atton's shirt before the door slid closed. Leaving them to get reacquainted with each other in the darkness of the apartment.
Hours later, Kalanna woke in her bed curled up in Atton's arms, though how they'd gotten there from the floor in front of the door was a mystery. Instead of concentrating on it, she looked up into the face of the man she'd fallen in love with seven years before. The haggardness that had been in his face when he'd arrived at the spaceport had vanished, leaving the face she remembered. There was a faint scar on his face that she didn't remember but he was still the same Atton.
And he was here. He was really here. With her.
Smiling, she shifted closer to him, one arm curled around to his back where she traced the Sith tattoo she knew was near the base of his spine. She remembered one night on the way to Malachor when he had gotten drunk and had come up to her wearing only pants and had confessed that he loved her. It was then that she'd noticed the tattoo and he had explained that every important Sith soldier had received one.
Revan also had several, which ran across her shoulders and down her spine. There was also another but she had never revealed where it was to Kalanna. When Carth had been asked about it, he'd just smiled and walked off laughing uproariously while Revan blushed in the background.
She didn't care that he had been a Sith once, just like she'd told him on Nar Shadaa when he'd told her. He wasn't that now and that was all that mattered to her. She didn't know that side of him and he'd let parts of it he was still holding onto go.
But she knew he would always, somewhere deep inside him still be that Republic soldier and that Sith soldier. And she accepted that, just as she accepted him as he was.
"Wstfgl," mumbled Atton, interrupting her thoughts and shifted slightly in his sleep. He then let out a soft snore, which made Kalanna giggle. She curled up against his chest then and tucked her head under his chin, closing her eyes and breathing in his scent deeply.
As she drifted back into sleep, her mind drifted out and touched his. She was surprised to find that for the first time since she'd known him, he wasn't protecting his mind. He was…content.
For the first time since she left her homeworld, she was…