Epilogue: Hope for Redemption
A nameless tiny planet, dark and dull. It lingered on the edge of known space, still undiscovered by the galactic mainstream. Uninhabited except by a small group of people huddled in makeshift homes constructed from rusted out spaceship hulls and cargo crates. Only a few of them were left now. They had waited there for so long… plotting and watching, struggling to survive, until their leader returned. She told them to wait, to maintain the outpost, to service the satellites, until the time was right - until she came back to put their plan into action.
But after two years with no further orders, they had given up on her. They had battled amongst themselves for leadership and power. The result had been their near extinction. At last, after most of them were dead, an uneasy truce was established, and one Dark Jedi became the accepted leader. Zaffia Jergen. Zaffia had her own agenda, and made her own rules. She didn't bother with the satellites.
The disrepair of the satellites was the first thing Revan noticed when she entered the tiny planet's system. As she eased Kreia's Sith starfighter down to the rocky, barren ground outside the small encampment, anger already coursed hot through her blood. She climbed down from the cockpit and strode toward the pathetic huddle of structures, sensing at once the shock and fear emanating from those who were left as they realized their leader had finally returned… and they had failed to carry out her orders.
She saw their faces peering through doorways and around corners. But no one came to meet her, or greet her. The cowards. The fools. Revan walked purposefully to the center of the outpost, fists clenched at her sides. She had left a former Admiral of the Republic in charge when she last stepped foot on this planet, but she no longer felt his presence. She sensed that many were missing... all killed in the power struggle that still tainted the Force as the blood had stained the dirt. Revan knew who had won that struggle. The Force signatures of the people who remained rippled with her presence.
Revan drew in a deep breath. "Zaffia!" she barked, and her voice tore through the deathly silence, ringing against the rocks. People stirred within the buildings at the sound of the name, but still none of them dared step out into the open. None save Zaffia Jergen herself.
The former Jedi came slowly at Revan's summons, appearing from behind the hull of a crashed Republic cruiser. She was tall and lean, wearing dark and dusty robes, her black hair in complete disarray. But her blue eyes glittered brightly as she approached the Dark Lord, and a lazy smile spread across her still-youthful face. "Lord Revan," she purred, giving a hasty bow, "so you've finally returned to us. It has been so long, we considered you dead."
"Four years is nothing, you fool," Revan snapped in reply, but she didn't waste time with small talk. There was only one thing filling her mind at the moment. "The satellites!" she hissed through her teeth. "I gave you one simple order when I left and you incompetent swamp slugs couldn't even stick to it! Now those satellites are nothing more than space junk!"
Zaffia rolled her eyes. "Those satellites were useless, anyway. They always have been. You stranded us here on this dung-heap of a planet to look at a bunch of empty space. There's nothing out there. There never was."
A bolt of Force lightning threw Zaffia off her feet; the woman landed in a crumpled pile several meters away, her black robes smoldering. She groaned, but moved to get to her hands and knees almost immediately, sending Revan a wicked glare. "You bitch," the woman rasped, shoving herself to her feet. "You think you can just walk in here after four years and expect to –"
Revan opened both palms this time; the Force lightning lit up the sides of the surrounding cargo crates and broken hulls as Zaffia's agonized screams echoed off the durasteel. The Dark Jedi writhed in the dirt, and Revan watched with cold satisfaction until Zaffia finally fell silent, and her thrashing stilled… until Zaffia Jergen was no more than a blackened, smoking corpse in the middle of the outpost she had once ruled with an iron fist. Revan ceased the lightning and let the following silence linger, pressing down upon those who cowered out of her sight, suffocating them with its entirety.
Then, finally, she spoke aloud. "Those satellites were your first priority," she said lowly. "I gave you one task… one task. You have all failed me. All of you. Show your faces, you sniveling cowards."
It was a long moment before anyone obeyed. A few shadows reluctantly emerged from their previous hiding places, but Revan still sensed many others who remained motionless. She probed for their locations through the Force and committed them to memory. They would pay for their insolence, worse than these others would pay for their failures.
"M-my Lord," one man stammered, sinking to the ground and groveling at Revan's feet. "Please… please forgive us. It had been so long with no word… we had no way of knowing… and – and Zaffia… she left us little choice. Those who did not follow her were brutally slain –"
"Shut up," Revan snarled, and the man did so, glancing up to her furtively before turning his gaze back to the dirt beneath his nose. The Dark Lord turned her burning gaze to the rest of those who had been brave enough to step into the open. One after the other they knelt before her, as if their subjugations could make up for their two years of disloyalty, as if that would repair the ancient satellites she and Malak had once so painstakingly gathered and placed. Revan felt the cold currents of the Dark Side swarming around her in the wake of her rage, making her limbs tingle with strength, with power… making her invincible… She glanced back down to the man stooped at her feet, unhooking her lightsaber from her belt. "You miserable curs should thank the Force your deaths will be quick," she whispered. "Your friends still in hiding will not be so lucky."
The man at her feet had hardly begun his protest before she ignited her lightsaber and sent his head rolling across the earth.
Carth hit the floor in a tangle of sheets, the sound of his own screams still ringing in his ears. He gasped air through a raw throat, his whole body trembling, his skin prickling in horror. He squeezed his eyes shut, but the images of the dead were burned onto his eyelids and he opened them again quickly, staring down at the carpet beneath him instead. "Oh gods," he choked. "Oh gods…" She killed them. She murdered them. She murdered all of them. He felt suddenly sick and hurriedly threw off the sheets to stagger into the fresher, where he promptly vomited into the toilet.
Carth Onasi had seen plenty of war in his life. He'd seen more innocents die needlessly than he ever cared to remember. His own wife had died in his arms… his own son cut down by a lightsaber… the people he had traveled with, fought with, and protected for nine months had been pointlessly murdered by the woman he thought he'd loved. But none of that – none of it – was as frightening as what he'd just seen. No. No, it wasn't her. It couldn't have been her… Carth wiped his mouth on a towel and then leaned back against the wall, sinking down to the floor. He put his head in his hands, taking deep, even breaths in an attempt to quell the vice-like panic that gripped his heart.
He knew what he had seen. He knew what he had felt. The cold touch of the Force, the surge of power, the burning hatred, the utter ruthlessness… it froze the blood in his veins to think of her like that… to remember how dispassionately she had killed them. Her former followers, all struck down one by one. Some swiftly, some slowly… some horribly tortured while she watched without blinking, without remorse. Their screams pierced his ears, their cries for mercy made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He'd watched all of it through Revan's eyes, seeing what she saw and feeling what she felt over his own numbing shock; a helpless witness to her rampage – connected by their bond and held in place by his horror.
Until it was finally over, and they all lie dead. Then he'd been released; woken up here in his own bed in orbit around Corellia, and Revan - the monster she'd become - was once again left millions of light-years away. Carth shook his head and swallowed hard, fighting the urge to be sick again. He had tried repeatedly over the course of the past five months to reach the part of her that still seemed to linger in his mind, but she was never there when he sought her out. Despite what Jedi Master Faxx once claimed, it seemed apparent to Carth that Revan had full control over the link she had forged with him. Since the night he'd discovered the truth about the detonator and the destruction of the Star Forge, he had experienced nothing else through their bond.
But this… Carth got the distinct impression she wanted him to see it. She had even thought of him amid the bloody slaughter. While torturing her subordinates for their failures, she had remembered her conversation with him aboard the Star Forge, his refusal to join her cause, and her inability to kill him for his rejection later. The raw emotions that accompanied those memories shocked Carth as much as her brutal actions and a new, terrible understanding began to unfold within him. She blames me. She blames me for everything. If I had joined her, if I had stayed with her, she wouldn't have left. She thinks I drove her to this… He thought of the expression on her face when he'd told her he still loved her, when he'd admitted he still wanted a future with her. And the panic that had crossed her features as Bastila impaled him…
"Come back to me, Carth. Please come back to me. Don't leave me. I still need you. Please…"
Carth blinked hard; tears mixed with the sweat on his face. He'd had the chance to save her. He'd seen a glimpse of Moriel Ithilio behind Revan's dark façade, but instead of heeding the emotion in his heart, he'd fallen back to what he knew best, to what he knew was safe: being a soldier. Serving the Republic. And now Revan was falling deeper and deeper into the Dark Side. I'm the only one who can save her, Carth thought dazedly, finally putting into words the nagging sensation that had haunted him ever since the incident on the Star Forge. I'm the only one she'll listen to. I should have just stayed with her. I should have given her what she wanted. I could have saved her, given enough time. I know I could have.
"I loved you, Carth. I needed you! And you betrayed me… you left me… you abandoned me for them!"
Carth pressed his hands into his eyes and took a deep, trembling breath. She was right. She was right about everything. He'd abandoned her at all the times she'd needed him the most, and now he was losing her piece by piece. Losing her forever. Just like Morgana. Just like Dustil…
"… I'll stand by you through whatever lies ahead. I promise." His one-time vow to Moriel echoed mockingly through his thoughts and Carth lurched forward, retching into the toilet again. But even as his insides twisted with shame at how miserably he had failed the woman he loved, he knew what he had to do. He'd been hiding on Corellia for four months now, living simply as a lowly dockworker and trying to pretend the past two years of his life had never happened. Tyvekk's younger brother Tylo had given Carth the job and helped to make sure the proclaimed "hero of the Republic" remained as unnoticed and unremarkable as possible. But it was time to stop hiding. It was time to stop running.
I have to find her. I have to find Revan. It's the only way…
Carth wiped his mouth again and rose unsteadily to his feet. He splashed cold water over his face and attempted to finger-comb his sweaty hair into some sort of order. His efforts did little good; he still looked pale and shaken. But Carth spent no more time in front of the mirror. He moved back into the bedroom and began to dress in proper civilian traveling attire, activating the specially-encrypted com unit by his bedside as he did so. If he was going to leave Corellia, he needed a ship. And Tylo Salinger was not only the manager of a Corellian shipyard, he was also the only person Carth still truly trusted.
The man answered quickly and sounded very much awake despite the fact it was supposed to be the middle of the night. Carth wasn't surprised; Tyvekk had never seemed to sleep, either.
"Hey, Carth! Good to hear from ya… didn't think you'd be awake at this hour."
"Yah, neither did I," Carth muttered gruffly, then cleared his throat. "Look, Tylo… I hate to say this after everything you've done for me, but I need a ship."
"A ship?" the man repeated incredulously. "What, are you leaving already?"
"That's right." Carth pulled on his boots and grabbed the same duffel bag he'd packed on Coruscant, beginning to fill it with clothes once again. "I have something I need to do."
"Er… okay." Carth could tell his long-time friend didn't like the idea. "Can't it wait awhile? You know, till things cool down a little?"
Carth shook his head despite the fact the com unit was non-visual. "No. I have to go now. Tonight."
"Tonight?! Carth, what's going on? Did Intelligence get to you?"
"No," Carth said quickly. "No, nothing like that. It's just something personal. Something I need to take care of, and it can't wait any longer." He fastened his weapons belt around his waist and went to the expansive windows across the room, activating the switch that lifted the night-time shade. Tylo's orbital shipyard stretched before him, and beyond it, the night-side of Corellia hung among the stars.
"I… I'm not sure now is the best time for you to be traveling, Carth." Tylo's voice carried through the bedroom.
"Why not?" Carth asked, but he was only half-listening. He stared off into space, thinking of the tiny, barren planet Revan had shown him and wondering where it could be in all that vast, vast emptiness.
"Haven't you been watching the news lately?" Tylo asked in exasperation. "For stars' sake, Carth, you're all over it!"
The statement brought the soldier abruptly back to the present. "What?"
Tylo snorted in disbelief. "Oh for the love of… Look, turn it on now. You'll see what I mean."
Carth obeyed, walking the few steps into the apartment's tiny living room and flipping on the HoloNet to the station for all main galaxy-wide news. A bright female Zeltron broadcaster cheerfully gave the report: "… and it became official just last week – the conflict now known as the Jedi Civil War has finally come to an end. There are many celebrations taking place on many worlds today, but of course the officially sanctioned "holiday", as some are calling it, is centered on Coruscant. Some of the festivities include dancing, food-tasting from around the galaxy, air stunts by a few of the Republic's most skilled pilots…"
Carth blinked. He had tried so hard over the past few months to ignore the updates on the war that he hadn't even realized it was really over. The Republic had won. After so much fighting, so much death, after Revan had come so close to toppling it forever…
"Several key members of Parliament are expected to make appearances later today, along with many of the most important military leaders of the war," the jovial newscaster continued. "Admirals Ric Ostuda and Gina Kupik will be dedicating the memorial to the war's fallen heroes, and Admiral Nigel Riffman will be appearing on behalf of all those who fought so hard to protect our Republic from the traitorous Sith."
The screen cut away from the woman to show Nigel stepping from a Navy-endorsed air taxi, his uniform crisp and clean, his insignia pins and war medals flashing in the bright afternoon sun. A massive, cheering swarm of people surrounded the platform he stood on; waving arms, streamers, and confetti periodically obscured the cameras. Carth stared stupidly at the screen.
"We have learned recently that Admiral Carth Onasi will not be joining in on today's celebration." The reporter continued her narration, and the image of Nigel was replaced by a larger photo of Carth himself, looking quite happy in his Admiral's uniform. Carth wondered where the hell they had found such a picture. "Though Admiral Onasi has largely been hailed as the champion of the Jedi Civil War – the one who destroyed the Star Forge and finally ended Darth Revan's reign of terror – he has chosen to remain hidden from the public eye. It is speculated his elusiveness is due to the assassination attempt just months ago which caused him to miss out on his own decoration ceremony…"
"Flaming hell," Carth muttered.
"… when asked about Admiral Onasi's absence, Admiral Ostuda simply stated that Onasi has kept a low profile to discourage further assassination attempts by as-yet-unknown Sith supporters, and that he is enjoying his retirement…"
A derisive snort escaped Carth despite himself. Enjoying my retirement? The lies were getting more and more ridiculous. When he left Coruscant, Carth had assumed the Navy brass would make up some kind of story as to why he had not shown up at his own decoration ceremony. To admit that the highly-praised hero of the Republic had gone AWOL would be terribly embarrassing. Carth supposed he should count himself lucky that his assumption had been correct. Dealing with the lies about his role in the downfall of Revan, the death of Revan, the "assassination attempt" the night before his public promotion, and his so-called retirement had certainly been easier than the alternative of dodging law enforcement had the Navy chosen to pursue him for a court-martial instead.
Of course, Carth didn't believe for a minute that they had let him go so easily. They were still looking for him, just very quietly. The continued broadcasts of his face and his deeds made it harder for him to go anywhere unnoticed; made it harder for him to hide. He suspected several of his coworkers on the docks had recognized him by now, and often had the uncomfortable feeling that he was being watched or followed. Likely someone from Republic Special Forces already knew he was on Corellia. Why they had yet to confront him or drag him back to Coruscant though was another matter entirely. It seemed they were waiting for something…
"Carth, you still there?"
The soldier jolted from his musings and turned off the live broadcast, returning to his room and the com unit. "Yah. I'm still here."
"See what I mean?" Tylo persisted. "Everyone and their gort will recognize you now. You're famous."
"Yah." Carth sighed heavily. "But I'm still leaving. And I still need a ship. So if you don't want to give me one -"
"What? No, no, no, it's not like that. Look Carth, you know I'm about the only outsider who knows the truth about your whole situation, and that's only because you told me yourself. It's not safe for you to go anywhere else - not right now, anyway. Let this thing die down a bit -"
"I can't," Carth interrupted, swinging the strap of the duffel bag over his shoulder and holstering his blaster. "I've waited too long already. I have to go now, before it's too late."
"But... right now? You're sure it has to be tonight?"
"Yes. I'm sure." Carth shut his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose between two fingers. He couldn't get the images out of his head - Revan so freely killing and torturing those people, then standing over so many dead bodies and feeling they had all served such terrible fates...
Tylo let out a frustrated grunt. "You'd think you were the one related to Tyvekk," he muttered. "All right. Fine. You wanna leave tonight, I'll arrange a ship for you."
"But given the ridiculously short notice, it's not going to be the most beautiful hunk of junk you've ever seen."
"I don't care what it looks like," Carth assured the other man. "As long as it's reliable."
"Yah, yah. I'll find you something. Meet me at the docks in half an hour?"
Carth headed for the apartment's door, answering Tylo over his shoulder. "I'm already on my way." And with that Carth pulled his blaster and sent a shot into the com; it sparked and sizzled, then went dark. If Intelligence did know he was here, he didn't want to take the chance of them going through his communications once they found out he'd moved on again. The soldier paused at the door, doing a visual sweep of the miniscule living quarters to be sure he hadn't forgotten anything. Then, satisfied he'd retrieved everything of value, he left.
A half an hour later Carth paced in front of the massive security door that, during the night shift, blocked the apartment complex from the main levels of the docks. Since Carth had never worked the night shift, he lacked the proper codes to open it. So he waited impatiently for Tylo. The man appeared shortly, walking briskly through the connecting tunnel from the direction of his large and luxurious orbiting estate. He shook his head as he spotted Carth already waiting for him.
"You sure you're all right, Carth?" Tylo asked as he approached. "You look like you've seen a ghost or something."
Carth shrugged half-heartedly. In a manner of speaking, he thought, but aloud said only, "I'm fine."
"You haven't seen any agents creeping around here, have you?"
The man eyed him suspiciously and Carth felt the need to be truthful. "No… but they might know I'm here."
Tylo swore under his breath and moved past Carth to slide his manager's pass card through the security door's scanner. The heavy door opened slowly; the two of them stepped through into the tunnel that would lead them down to the shipyard's main levels. "I assume that's why you ended our earlier conversation so abruptly? What'd you do, destroy the com unit?"
"I shot it, sorry. It's safer that way, anyway."
"Right. Do you know how expensive that thing was? It's a serious pain in the ass to find a good encryption package these days –"
"I'll pay you back," Carth offered.
Tylo snorted. "Not on a dockworker's salary. You should have taken the Project Lead spot I offered you –"
"Tylo, you know I couldn't. And you know why."
The other man sighed. "Yah, you were trying to stay out of sight. But here you are taking off in the middle of the night in the midst of all these stories about how much of a hero you are… I just hope you know what you're doing."
"Me too," Carth muttered.
"At least let me arrange some false eye witness reports of your whereabouts or something to throw any potential followers off-track."
Carth threw a sideways glance at his friend. "You can do that?"
Tylo returned the soldier's surprised question with a lopsided grin that was painfully similar to his brother's. "Of course. The Corellian Engineering Corporation carries more influence than most people give it credit for."
"That would probably be a good idea then, if it's not too much trouble," Carth admitted.
"Consider it done." They stopped outside of one specific docking bay and Tylo slid his card again, then typed in a rather long string of numbers on a keypad. The double doors opened to reveal a spacious shipping berth, occupied by a single light freighter that was generally triangular in design, with three engines arranged across the back.
Carth drew up short at the sight of it. "Oh."
Tylo smiled knowingly at his friend's reaction. "She's a YG-4210. Not brand new, but she's had a thorough service inspection, a few refurbishments, a few upgrades. Standard shielding, but made for space exploration rather than dog-fighting. All she's got as far as weapons are two little blasters in the front, and those were add-ons. So I wouldn't recommend picking any fights while you're out and about."
Carth shook his head, walking toward the freighter and studying its sleek shape in appreciation. "I'm not planning on doing any fighting. I just need something to get me from Point A to Point B." If I can even find Point B…
Tylo nodded, following Carth across the bay. "Well then she should work for you just fine. She's fully fueled and ready to go; equipped with enough consumables to last a year. Though that's planning for two people, so you could probably make the supplies last longer if you wanted."
Carth reached the side of the ship and ran his hand across one of the panels, noticing the name painted elegantly along the section above him: The Dryad. He turned to Tylo. "You sure you don't need this thing? I could take something else. Something smaller…"
"No," the other man insisted. "You wanted something reliable, you should take this one. It's the best suited for you, anyway. I was holding it for an older couple who wanted to use it as a cruising vehicle." Tylo shrugged. "I can find a replacement for them easily enough."
Carth shook his head again. "Tylo… I don't even know what to say… I don't know how I could ever repay you for this…"
The man grinned. "I do. Be careful with my ship, and bring her back someday. In one piece, mind you."
"I will. You have my word. And thank you… for everything."
Tylo shrugged. "It's the least I could do after what you did for my brother. Anyone else would have left him there…"
Carth began to protest but Tylo waved his words away, knowing the soldier's feelings on the Battle of Malachor V all too well. "No, don't start. You did right by Tyvekk, and right by me. That's all that matters." He extended his hand. "I'm not going to ask why you're leaving, or where you're going, but be careful. And good luck."
The soldier stood for a moment with his mouth open, wanting to continue his argument over what had happened on Malachor, but in the end he let it go, and grasped Tylo's offered hand. "Thank you. Again."
"Any time, friend. Now you start her up; I'll open the bay doors. As soon as you've cleared the shipyard I'll get to work planting those random sightings of you."
Carth grunted. "You know, I might be gone for awhile, but when I get back, I owe you big time."
Tylo started for the small control room at the back of the docking bay. "Just bring my ship back and I'll consider us even."
"She won't have a scratch," Carth promised, and then he lowered the boarding ramp and entered The Dryad. It was a decent ship; he noticed right away that the inside had been slightly rearranged and refurbished for use as a cruising vehicle rather than a cargo freighter. But the modifications wouldn't affect his trip. If anything, they would make it far more comfortable. Carth made his way to the small cockpit and threw his duffel bag into the footlocker resting near the doorway, then settled himself into the pilot's chair. He ran a swift preflight check, pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness of the systems, and powered up the engines. Their rumble made him smile. By the stars, I've missed flying…
To his left Carth could see Tylo in the control room; to his right, the docking bay doors began to open, revealing an ever-widening strip of space. He felt a thrill roll through his gut, a mix of anticipation and dread. He looked back to Tylo and the man tossed him a salute. Carth returned it sharply, then lifted The Dryad off the pad before he could have second thoughts and swung her around to slowly maneuver out of the docking bay.
He carefully piloted the freighter through the shipyard into open space, away from Corellia, and then the whole galaxy stretched before him. Carth let the ship drift for a moment, staring out at the stars, then pulled up a star map on the nav computer. He searched the edge of all the known systems, looking for any unnamed or uninhabited planets. He found many… all tiny and insignificant, all lacking any other information except for the fact that they existed.
Carth tried to quell the impatience that stirred in his chest and took a deep breath. He closed his eyes, concentrating on a mental image of Revan, feeling for her presence in his mind. Revan, where are you? He tried to send the thought across their bond, but felt foolish even as he made the attempt. He didn't have the Force, didn't know how it worked, and knew very little about what the connection between them would allow to be transferred. Was it even possible for him to use it to reach Revan? Or was she, as a Force-user, the only one who could utilize it? Where are you?
There was no answer. No flutter of her in his head, no flicker of foreign images. Nothing. Carth opened his eyes, resigning himself to the fact he would have to do this the hard way. He suppressed a groan as he turned his attention back to the star map and picked one of the small, unnamed planets randomly. It rested between the Tingle Arm of the galaxy and the Unknown Regions, but Carth programmed the nav computer for a jump to Ord Mantell, and then to Muunilinst. He didn't want to take the chance of being followed; it was better to take no direct routes.
Carth buckled his restraint harness and looked out into space, his hand hovering over the lever that would engage the hyperdrive. He recalled the sight of the people Revan had killed and grimaced. What if she doesn't listen to me? What if I fail? I'll end up just like one of them… He gritted his teeth. No, I have to try. She won't kill me. She can't. I can save her. I just need to find her…
Carth took a deep breath and pulled the lever; The Dryad streaked off into hyperspace, leaving the Corellian system far behind.
"Gort" definition: A small creature with fluffy blue fur. They were kept as pets. "Everyone and thier gort" is a play on the phrase "Everyone and their dog."
Author's Note: WHOOHOO! It's official! I've finished my first multi-chaptered fanfic! I am planning a sequel so many things left unanswered from Betrayed will be answered in the sequel. Unfortunately I won't get to work on it until my LOTR fic is finished, so it will be a few months till I get started on that, but it will come along eventually. I hope this ending will tide you over until then. Sorry this chapter took so long to post... it had to be rewritten. But it's certainly better for it.
Acknowledgments: THE MOST THANKS EVER GOES TO MY BETA RIAN SAGE!!! She has helped me sooo incredibly much throughout the life of this fic, it wouldn't even be the same without her input, suggestions, and encouraging comments. Kudos to Rian for being perfectly blunt and making me rewrite this last chapter, she helped me realize it wasn't what I wanted to leave readers with, and as a result I ended up with a much, much better chapter. THANK YOU TO ALICE THE REVAN as well, for without her military advice I wouldn't have been able to make the fic as accurate!!
THANK YOU ALSO TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU WHO READ AND/OR REVIEWED THIS FIC! Your enthusiasm, encouragement, and concrit kept me writing over the past two years. I appreciate all the time you've dedicated to this fic! I hope the story was satisfactory, and that you'll enjoy the sequel. Until next time,