Chapter One: Escaping Korriban
Canderous's voice rang through the Ebon Hawk has he charged up the ramp. Mission, who had been waiting at the top, let out a squeak and jumped backwards. Canderous rushed up the ramp and kept on going. He had something in his arms… Mission didn't have time to look at what it was; More hurried footsteps were coming up the ramp.
"GET THOSE ENGINES STARTED, CARTH! LET'S GET OFF THIS ROCK!"
Mission turned and saw as Carth reached the top of the ramp. He hit the button and the ramp began to retract. Then he was off for the cockpit.
"Where's Revan?" Mission cried.
Carth didn't answer her.
Mission figured she had a better chance of getting an answer from Canderous than she did Carth. She headed in the direction Canderous ran. "Canderous!" she cried. "Where's Revan? What happened at that Academy?"
Mission was suddenly tossed to the side and banged her shoulder on the hall wall. Carth got those engines started, all right. And he was trying to take off in a hurry, apparently.
The sound of panicked voices was coming from the room Bastila and Revan shared. Mission headed for the small room. Everyone—Canderous, Jolee, Juhani, Zaalbar—was inside, making the room even smaller than it was. Mission pushed her way between Jolee and Zaalbar, then let out a gasp. Revan was lying on the bed, unconscious, her hair frazzled, her black robes covered in blood. "What happened?" Mission softly asked.
"She's alive," Jolee assured. "She's just exhausted."
"Is there something you can do!" Mission cried. "What happened to her? What happened at that Sith Academy!"
"Revan killed the head master," Canderous answered. "The entire place turned on us."
That's when Mission noticed the blood stains on Canderous's armor. She let out a faint gasp.
"Carth and I were in one part of the Academy. We managed to blast our way through. But Revan… she was by herself. She had to fight them all the way from the tombs, through the back entrance of the Academy, to where we were." Canderous looked at Revan with a look of amazement on his face. "Damn, she's one Force of a fighter."
"What happened then?" Juhani asked.
"She took one look at me and Carth, asked if we were okay, then collapsed. I caught her before she hit her head on the stone floor." Canderous shook his head. "She got the last of the Star Forge coordinates, though. We made a run for it before the Sith realized we were the ones who caused the uproar at the Academy."
Mission was still worried. "Is she going to be all right?"
"She'll be fine," Jolee assured. "She just needs some rest. And all of us hangin' out in here isn't exactly what she needs."
Canderous grunted and was the first to head for the exit muttering something about changing out of his armor. Juhani left next, followed by Jolee. "C'mon, kid," Jolee said to Mission.
Mission looked up at Zaalbar, then at Jolee. Her headtails drooped and she looked as if she was going to cry. "I… I wanna stay here, in case she wakes up and needs anything, you know?"
Jolee nodded, then walked away.
Zaalbar asked if Mission wanted him to stay. "Please?" Mission asked. Zaalbar sat down on the bed Bastila had been using, while Mission knelt down next to Revan's bed and took her friend's hand. "Revan?" she softly said. "Revan, I dunno if you can hear me, but… but I'm here. If you need anything just… just lemme know. Okay?"
Revan didn't move or say anything. Mission didn't except her to. She looked at the blood stains on Revan's robe. The least Juhani could have done was change Revan into a fresh set of robes to make Revan more comfortable. Mission got up and opened up the footlocker at the end of Revan's bed, staring at the various robes. Blue? Brown? Another black one? Like it would really matter, Mission thought with a sigh. She grabbed a plain brown robe, and with Zaalbar's help, Mission managed to get the outer, bloodstained black robe and gloves off of Revan and placed a clean, brown robe on her. She tossed the stained robes in the dirty laundry bin, and went back to holding her friend's hand. "You feel better now, Rev?" Mission asked. "Now you're outta those smelly old things."
Revan lay still.A few hours has passed. The entire ship was quiet except for the humming of the engines. Mission drifted in and out of a light sleep, every so often asking Revan if she was okay. Revan never replied though. Still, Mission kept asking. Mission had just fallen asleep when Revan squeezed Mission's hand.
"Revan!" Mission asked. She immediately sat up and looked at her friend. "Revan, are you okay? Can you hear me?"
Revan whispered something, but Mission couldn't hear her. She leaned in closer…
Mission gave Revan's hand a squeeze. "I'll be right back. I promise."
Jolee shook his head in disapproval. "So you're just going to stand around and sulk for the next week and a half?"
Carth finished his drink and went for a second. He had entered the coordinates to the Star Forge into the computer, set the ship to auto pilot, and changed out of his blood-stained armor back into his flight pants and a black sweater he purchased on Dantooine. Carth was exhausted from Korriban, too. He was working on his fifth cup of caffa, wondering if maybe he should have gone to bed instead. Then he wouldn't have to listen to Jolee tell him things he already knew.
"Nothing's changed, son," Jolee tried again.
"Everything's changed!" Carth answered.
Jolee crossed his arms. "Revan just reunited you with your boy, and she convinced him to turn away from the Dark Side. She nearly got herself killed trying to get the remaining piece of the Star Map. And according to Canderous—"
Dammit all to hell, Carth thought. Was it always going to come back to Canderous? "It's different now," Carth said.
"How in the name of the Force is it different?" Jolee asked. "For the past few months, the two of you were inseparable. You even began to trust her. Now you're here drinkin' caffa instead of being by her side while she's recovering." He shook his head again.
"I yelled at her—screamed at her for everything Darth Revan did to my people," Carth forced out. He ran his fingers through his hair. "And after everything she did for Dustil… for me… I… I can't face her."
"You made a promise to that girl!" Jolee snapped. "You promised her you'd always be there for her; I was there when you made it! So just go in there and apologize!"
"I can't apologize for what I said, Jolee!" Carth shook his head. No one could understand. All Carth could think about was the promise he'd made to her… the promise that he'd protect her. But in the Academy… when she fainted… it was Canderous that caught her. Carth didn't act fast enough…
"Did it ever occur to you that she might forgive you?" Jolee asked. "Hell, it took everyone by surprise! Everyone's dealing with the news differently and in their own way. She knows that. She's not Revan anymore, Carth. She is capable of independant thought. The Jedi wiped her mind and gave her a new name; they didn't re-write her morals."
Carth shook his head. He couldn't. He... he just couldn't...
"Life's too short, boy!" Jolee said. "Just go in there and apologize to her. Damn stubborn pilot!"
"Oh, come off it, Old Man!" Carth cried. "The whole reason she's beating herself up is because of what I said to her! She hardly said two words to me the entire time we were on Korriban. In fact, the only time we did talk is when we were looking for Dustil." Carth turned around and slammed his caffa cup down on the counter of the kitchen and closed his eyes. "I know she used to be the Dark Lord, and I know she's not that now. She's... she's changed; I know that now. I didn't see it... before. I was just so angry..." Carth sighed and raked his fingers through his hair. His voice grew quiet. "Even if she does forgive me, she'll never forget. And I'll never forgive myself."
Jolee waited a few seconds before asking, "So now what? You just going to ignore her? It'll take us a week and a half to get to the Star Forge. We're stuck on this ship until then. You plan on locking yourself in the cockpit the entire time?"
Carth shook his head. "I… I dunno. I just…"
"She needs you! This mission isn't over!" Jolee snapped. "Who knows what's waiting for us out there. And you can bet every last credit that this isn't over for Revan. You think Malak's just going to let her stop him? What if he tries to seduce her back to being a the Dark Lord again? What if she tries to seduce herself? I don't think you fully realize just how big—" Jolee stopped and snorted. "Bah, my words are just fallin' on deaf ears."
Carth was ready to explode. "I said I'd be there for her, but I wasn't!" he snapped. "When she passed out, I didn't act fast enough. It was Canderous who caught her. It was Canderous that held her and told her she was going to be okay. It was Canderous who carried her back to the Hawk, and it was Canderous that made her comfortable once we got back. Dammit, it should have been me! I promised her, and when she needed me, I wasn't there for her! It should have been me!" Carth kicked the side of the table.
Silence filled the kitchen.
"Carth?" came a tiny voice.
Jolee and Carth turned around to see Mission standing in the doorway. "What's up, Mission?" Carth asked.
Mission gulped. "Uh… Revan's awake."
"Is she okay?" Carth asked, full of concern.
"She's asking for you," Mission answered. "Big Z's with her now, but… she really wants you."
After everything he had said, everything he had done, Revan still wanted him. Carth felt even worse.
"So go to her, boy!" Jolee cried. "Go!"
"Jolee, what… what am I suppose to say to her?"
"Try 'Hello'," he snapped. "It's worked for centuries."
"You made a promise to her," Jolee said. "You can't back out on it now, boy. Don't make me push you out of here, because you know I can do it."
Carth took a deep breath, then exited the kitchen. Jolee was right about everything, and Carth knew it.
Mission watched Carth leave. What in the name of the Force had she missed? "Looks like someone flushed his last fish," Mission said.
Jolee placed a hand on Mission's shoulder. "How's she doing?"
"Not good," Mission answered. "She's still exhausted. I'm, I'm worried about her."
Jolee smiled. "You're a good friend to her, Mission. She's very lucky."
"I should go back—"
Jolee shook his head. "No, no, I think Carth can handle this on his own."
Mission looked up at Jolee. "I thought they weren't talking?"
Jolee just smiled. "I think they'll be talking after this."
Carth entered Revan's quarters. He took her hand and sat down on the edge of the bed. "I'm here, Revan."
Revan's eyes opened slightly. She winced at the bright lights, then closed her eyes again. "Carth?" she whispered.
He squeezed her hand. "I'm here."
"I'm right here, Revan," he said again. With his free hand he reached over and gently brushed her hair away from her face. "I'm right here." Carth was so focused on making sure Revan knew he was there that he didn't see Zaalbar get up and leave the room, closing the door behind him. When Carth brought his hand to cup her cheek, she turned her head slightly so her cheek rested against his palm and wrist. Her cheeks were as cold as ice.
"Carth," she whispered again, but this time it wasn't in question. She was no longer searching for him; she knew he was there.
"I'm right here, Beautiful," he whispered.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"… am… now," she whispered. "I… am now."
Carth smiled, then his smile fell. Maybe… maybe Jolee was right. Maybe he needed to apologize to her… He'd said awful things to her… Horrible things. She didn't deserve them. Darth Revan deserved them… but not her. They were two different people; he could see that now. Why couldn't've he seen that before? Carth closed his eyes and wished he could take back his earlier words to her.
Revan let out a soft moan. "How are you feeling?" Carth asked.
"Terrible," she whispered. "Everything… hurts."
"You pushed yourself to your limit," Carth said. "And then some. I've never seen you fight like that before. You were amazing."
Revan didn't say anything.
"You want me to get Jolee?" Carth asked. "Or Juhani? Maybe they can help with some Force Heal-thing—"
"No," she said, her voice still quiet and full of pain. "No, I… just… need you… here."
Carth closed his eyes again. He needed to tell her he was sorry. He needed to apologize… A voice in the back of his head told him to just do it, just come out and say it. Revan was reaching out to him… She still needed him… He could still follow through on his promise to her.
"Revan? Revan, I'm sorry for everything I said to you," Carth said. "You... you didn't deserve..."
Revan said nothing.
Carth searched for something to say, some way to put into words what he was feeling. "I can't hate you," he said. "I tried... I wanted to hold you responsible for all the things you've done. For my... for my wife, for Telos... for Dustil. But I can't."
Revan smiled. "I'm glad to hear that."
Carth smiled slightly. "I got the revenge I always wanted when Saul died, but it hasn't brought me the peace that I thought it would. All I can think of now is the promise I made to protect you from what's going to come. It's given me a reason to look past simple revenge."
Revan just lay there, listening.
Carth tried again, thinking about what Jolee had said. "Despite whatever part of Revan is inside you, the... the darkness that must surely be there, it isn't who you are. That's why I can't hate you, why I don't want any more revenge. You don't have to be Revan; you can be so much more. Whatever the Jedi did to you, they gave you that chance."
Revan's eyes opened slightly. She looked up at Carth.
"You have this huge destiny waiting for you," Carth said, "and I just fear that if you're alone it could swallow you whole. I mean, is there room in there for me? Will you let me help you?"
Were those tears in Revan's eyes? "I don't want you hurt protecting me, Carth."
Carth brushed her tears away with his thumb. "I think I would be hurt worse if I didn't try."
He interrupted her, remembering Jolee's earlier words again. "Whatever's happened up until this point, there's going to come a time very soon where you're going to have to make a choice. And there won't be any turning back."
Revan looked at Carth, studying his face. "How… How could you possibly help me?"
It hurt, but she had a point. Carth looked into her eyes. "I want you to make the right choice. I want to give you a reason to."
"And if I make the wrong choice?" Her voice was barely above a whisper.
Carth wiped away another tear from her face. "Well then, I hope I can save you. From yourself."
"You gave me a future," he continued, the realization suddenly dawning on him. "I want to give you a future, too... with me. I think I could love you, if you give me the chance."
Revan's eyes filled with tears. "I… I think I could love you, too."
Carth smiled and kissed the top of her hand. "I'm glad."
"Yes, Beautiful?" He wiped away more tears.
"Can… Can…" She shook her head.
"Tell me," he said, pulling her blanket up and tucking it around her.
Her eyes were filled with tears again. "Can you hold me?"
Carth smiled. He kicked his boots off, then turned so his back was against the headboard of the bed. With his help, Revan sat up and pillowed her head on his shoulder. Carth wrapped the blankets around her, then his arms. He kissed the top of her head. "Get some rest, Beautiful. I'll be right here."
More tears trickled down her face. "Shhh," he whispered. "Get some sleep."
Revan sniffled a few more times before she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. Despite drinking five cups of caffa, Carth kept his promise and stayed with her the entire time she slept, holding her tight, making sure she was okay. Carth eventually drifted off to sleep himself, holding her. They slept undisturbed by the rest of the crew, by the rest of the universe…
Disclaimer: Characters all copyright 2003 LucasArts and BioWare. Parts of Carth's dialogue copyrighted 2003 LucasArts and BioWare. I do not own anything but the plotline. Then again, if you believe Shakespeare when he said, "There are only six plotline, and everything is a varation," then I don't own anything. Please don't copy my work, though. That just wouldn't be nice.