Author's note: Chapter 38 of Res is giving me an apoplexy so I decided to distract myself. It's nothing big, but I hope you enjoy.
The Night She Left
They had been coming on, slowly at first, and then with greater regularity, the memories. Sometimes they weren't even a complete memory, but a sound perhaps, or the scent of blood—there and gone again so fast that I thought I was imagining things. But as the days progressed, the memories grew stronger and were cast in sharper relief so that there was no denying what they were. And I began to grow afraid.
I had always felt the blackness in my heart from my time as Darth Revan. I carried it with me like a lead weight, however insubstantial and vague it was. That blackness, it was as though my soul remembered what I had been—what I had done—even if my broken mind could not. There were times when I wondered at what lay in that blackness. I touched it gingerly with my mind, like one stokes a fire—carefully lest you get burned. But I could not remember and moreover, I wasn't so sure I wanted to. But then the memories began to come back; the darkness was uncoiling itself in me and showing me what I had so foolishly been curious about…and what I wished had simply stayed in the dark.
Carth began to look at me strangely and I would catch myself in the midst of a memory—caught in its throes and helpless to tear my eyes away from it. I would smile at him, for I discovered I was good at pretend, and pat him on the cheek or kiss him and the doubt and worry would lift from his dark eyes…until the next time.
I had to play at pretend for if Carth ever suspected I was remembering, I would lose him. Of this, I felt certain. He would not trust me if he knew the blackness was alive and vibrant in me. He had reconciled what I had once been and forgiven me. But I knew he had only forgiven the poor, broken Jedi who used to be something terrible until the Jedi Council made her something good. He did not forgive Darth Revan for Darth Revan was merely a concept, a theory. Me, this small woman with the plain face and brown hair was no more Darth Revan than Mission Vao was. Carth could forgive Lilah Daer. He could love Lilah Daer. But he could not love the woman who carried within her the memories of a murderer. I was like a woman pregnant, swollen with the spawn of my past and growing more round by the day. One day, he would look at me, bloated and heavy with all that I had done, and he would cast me out. Carth had forgiven and made peace with an abstract concept of Darth Revan only. He would not forgive the Sith Lord made flesh and blood and sharing his bed. Of this, I was certain.
And so I had to leave.
It was the only answer and yet I was loathe to be apart from the man I loved more intensely than I had thought myself capable. I could no more leave him than I could cut off my hand, I thought, for he was as much a part of me as anything. There was such kindness in his eyes and such music in his laughter. The thought of those eyes turning cold and hard and suspicious kept me awake at night. My fertile imagination composed speech after speech in his beautiful voice, each one a horrible exhortation for me to leave. But I still could not bring myself to go.
The memories grew stronger and more real by the day, and with them, grew a sense of foreboding. The Sith were out there—in some nebulous and vague plot of space—but out there nonetheless, and it seemed to me that as my dark memories became more real, so too, did my sense of that enemy. It was as though reconnecting with my past as a Sith lord somehow attuned my senses to the evil lurking in the furthest reaches of the galaxy. I feared it meant I was falling. I feared it meant they were coming for me, drawn to my own burgeoning awareness of the evil I once was. Knowing that I must seek them out before they came to me, severed the last hope I had for staying with Carth. Now I had to go—not only to protect myself from his enmity when he discovered who I was becoming, but to save him too.
On our last night, I lay beside Carth in our bed, tears coursing down my cheeks.
"What is it, gorgeous?" he asked sleepily. It had been a long day for him but he gave me his complete attention.
"Nothing," I replied. "I just…I just love you so much," I said and that was the truth and that is why he did not suspect anything was wrong.
He chuckled and kissed me, no doubt brushing off my tears as yet another display of unfathomable womanly emotions—emotions that he would not understand or keep track of. I surprised him, then, by returning his kiss with great urgency and passion. He responded eagerly, never knowing that in every kiss and every touch, I was trying to take a piece of him with me. I clutched him to me, trying to bind every part of myself with every part of him, as though I could fuse us together in body as we so often were in mind and heart. Perhaps then, he would see what I could see, and the unity of our souls would allow him to truly forgive me—me, the murderer of his wife, the seducer of his mentor, the attempted corrupter of his son. But while I yearned to open my self to him, I was too afraid, and so I walled my emotions up and all that was left was the lust and carnality. When it was over, Carth merely fell asleep, deeply satisfied for the intensity of our lovemaking had made him heavy and content.
I waited until his breathing had become deep and even. I then drew on some simple traveling clothes, typed a short message into a datapad and left.
I told myself it was for the best. I told myself that I was leaving before he discovered my secret and left first. I told myself I did it to protect him from the danger I sensed lurking in the blackest reaches of space. These were all truths…I was certain of it.
I expected to feel hurt and betrayed and lost when she left, and I did feel all that at one time or another…in spades. But at first I was angry. How could the mighty and ingenious Revan be so stupid?
I knew what the datapad said even before I read it. I knew what she feared and why she thought leaving was the answer, and after I read the words, I grew angrier. I smashed the datapad against a mirror but the shattering of the glass wasn't enough and so I broke a chair against a desk and tore the bed coverings off the bed. They smelled of her and that's when I cursed her name for how could she ever think I would abandon her to her ghosts and demons? Did she not know me at all? Was there really so little trust between us that she thought I would hate her for what she had been?
The love I felt for Revan went deeper than anything I had ever felt—even for my wife, the Force forgive me. The depth and complexity of it took even me by surprise, took my breath away, but I reveled in it. My boundless suspicion and mistrust had finally found an end with her. All the broken pieces of my life, all the doubts and pains and guilt came together or were laid to rest in her. I was no fool. I knew what she had been but it made up the whole that was her, the whole that I loved more deeply than any other thing in this universe.
And I realized the anger I felt was better directed at me. I had seen her wrestle with the pain. I had seen her wince at a flash of memory. I had seen the clouds pass over her eyes and I said nothing. She suffered in silence because I did not want to admit the obvious, that her memories were returning. Not because I feared what she did or that she would fall or that I would be reminded of something dark and black that used to be her when I looked into her eyes. No, I said nothing to her because I didn't want anything to spoil what we had. That calm and settled feeling that had come over me was in danger of being disrupted if I had to admit that she was anything but calm and settled.
So I said nothing but watched as the horrors of her other life returned. I tried to make jokes, make her laugh, kiss away her pain and all the while I told myself things were not as bad as they seemed, and when she awoke in the night screaming, I told myself it was a nightmare and nothing more.
So it turned out that I was the stupid one after all.
I should have told her I would never leave her. I should have held her when she was scared and assured her that I would be by her side to fight whatever fight she had coming. I saw our last night of passion for what it was: a mute appeal of acceptance. Oh, my beautiful girl…Did you not know I accepted you long ago…the same moment you accepted me in all my flawed and broken ways?
But I never told her that. Instead, I let her go off to some far and remote stretch of space where she will fight her battles alone. The datapad asked me to keep that galaxy safe while she is away. This gives me hope. It makes me feel as though she will come home. And that is all I want, for her to come home.
Come home, Revan. I will keep asking you.