Author's Notes: This was requested some time ago by Bald as Malak. BaM requested a Kreia/Exile romance fic, maybe as some form of a cruel joke or an alcohol induced idea. :P Nonetheless, the request did spark a thought or two about the pair--after all, how far does a Master and Apprentice bond go? While this isn't too much of the romance, nonetheless, this is a Kreia/Exile fic. It takes place in the final part of the game where the Exile confronts Kreia on Malachor V. Dialogue's not exactly from KOTOR II, and I've included an alternate ending, since I wasn't too thrilled with the ending for some strange reason. I'm still not convinced that this was a good idea to release it as is, but hey, the wait was torture itself. If you've got a request for a fic, send it straight to Trillian4210's 'Request a Fic' forums. Here's to you BaM...
Tales of Knights of the Old Republic
Kiss with Open Eyes
He stood there, his eyes roaming beyond the dark green sky, as unnatural lightning and thunder rolled against the night sky, tearing it apart in one cataclysmic roar after another. Once more he had walked the plains of the torn and jagged deathbed that was the world of Malachor V.
But all was not what it once seemed.
Fourteen years ago, he had walked on the green hills, and watched the blue skies, shortly before he ordered the destruction of the dark, hallowed world.
Malachor was the final nail in the coffin of the might of the Mandalorian Clans.
He was there then, as he was here now. A conqueror of sorts, and yet he found himself at odds with what he was to do.
He came to the planet, with the hopes of wiping out the final Sith threat once and for all. He came here with the intention of eliminating an already dead world. The only problem happened to be the last person—the last test he had to face.
She was the final string in this and she was the one who made Malachor V the centrifugal force behind every movement in the last seven months for him.
All that was left for Xak Dinlin to do was to confront her and drive his blade into her, completing his duty as a Jedi Knight in a broken and shattered Galaxy.
The only problem Xak found himself facing was that he just couldn't bring himself to kill her.
He walked past the emaciated corpse of his latest victim, the former pupil and love of Kreia: Darth Sion. Xak had talked the former Jedi down to letting himself become one with the Force…and never return.
It bothered him immensely that Sion had once been a prized pupil to the woman who Xak had become so attached to.
Kreia had been Sion's love, just as she was now Xak's, whether she knew it or not. He could feel the empty traces of the bond that had been severed between them when she had pulled the life drain.
Kreia was not the cold, hollow hag that Atton had once described her to be. In fact, she was the complete opposite when it came to just Xak and her.
The bond between Master and Apprentice had been special from the get-go. It had grown to the point when it become far more than just a teacher-pupil bond, but rather the bond of two who had become one.
He continued to allow his mind to dwell on the thoughts of Kreia, while he felt for the vestiges of the bond that once remained unique between he and the older woman.
She may have been blind, but she saw far more in him than just a mere tool.
Or so he had hoped.
Can she be redeemed? His mind continued to race with thoughts as his eyes focused on the pair of silver, austere doors in front of him. The entire chamber was austere, bland and rather cold.
The lights continued to fill the entire room, leaving not a hint of shadow throughout the room, and it only served to be a reminder that it was the last bastion of life in a deadened world such as this.
He knew he was as dead as the planet itself. He didn't need the Force to let him know that his life, much like the woman he was dreading to face, was intertwined with the fate of the planet. He knew that once he made his decision to confront her, his world, like Malachor itself, would be shattered beyond all recognition.
Can't she be redeemed? He continued to ask himself, as he walked towards the doors and watched them part with a graceless hiss.
She's the one who healed me, after all…
He stepped through the doors, which snapped shut, leaving him to be greeted by the howling and biting chill of the wind on the deadened world.
His dark tunic ruffled slightly, though his black sash-like belt fluttered in the wind, almost as if it were a flag.
Before him stood a massive precipice with only a single, thin bridge that closed the gap to the other side.
The chasm extended to surround the chamber that was on the other side, with only a thick green haze bathing the area with its glow.
She's the one who also manipulated me…
He sighed. He was facing his duality. The Jedi in him eager to stop the atrocities which she had created, and the soul in him eager to pull her away from the dangers she seemed bent on unleashing.
Of course, that little soul in him wanted to keep her safe, sound and nestled in his arms.
He had realized, during their trip from Korriban back to Dantooine, that the feelings he had were not those directed to the Handmaiden or the mysterious Visas, but in fact, they were all directed on Kreia.
Not even the alluring Mira had once enticed him.
When he had first met Visas, Kreia had strongly advised him not to 'mate' with her. If only she had known why he was so eager to comply…
He continued to extend his feelings and perceptions around himself and her. He could feel nothing. The nothingness greeted him as a crushing weight and profound reality that continued to bear down on him. He would have to face Kreia, one way or another. His mind continued to race back the moment she had revealed her true colours.
When they had reunited the Masters, Kreia's betrayal was a strong one, tearing Xak's heart asunder. She had almost killed him, attempting to rip his life from his very being, though she had left a souvenir of what she once was to him.
Perhaps it would have been better that way, he mused. It surely is an alternative to what I must do now.
He walked off the edge of the precipice and onto the bridge that lay before him.
The injured man continued to walk slowly, pausing midway in the bridge, as his thoughts came back at him.
Am I ready to do this? Where will I go once this is done?
He tensed his right fist, feeling a sharp pain run up his hand to his forearm and beyond.
He allowed it to run over him, reminding him of the pain that he had to endure everyday for the last ten years and how it had all but dissipated in the last seven months.
"Kreia," he whispered, his voice lost on the howling wind.
He felt weariness taking him, as the adrenaline in his system began to withdraw. He hadn't slept in the space of four days—the time it took to travel from Telos to Malachor V.
Atton had gone on to say harsh things about Kreia, along with Mira and the droids, but that was as far as it went.
Xak had continued to replay the thoughts in his mind, as he remembered the betrayal, his altercation with Atris and his battle with the two Dark Lords, Nihilus and Sion.
Nothing had made sense, up until this point.
His meeting with Bao-Dur back on Telos should have tipped him off that the Force works in mysterious ways, but Xak had lost most of his perceptions to the Force—the entity that had left him as a hollow and broken man.
The Jedi continued to rummage through the past in his mind, wondering how things could have led up to this one defining moment, where he would have to kill the one person he would care the most about.
His mind took him back to the moment just before he squared off against Sion on Korriban. He and Kreia were alone together in her dormitory, meditating. She had gasped as she felt the presence of Sion once more. He felt the embodiment of all pain and suffering and knew that he would have no choice but to face the former pupil of Kreia.
Don't go yet, she had said to him. She fumbled for another phrase, saying that he was not yet ready to face the Dark Lord.
Then let us hope that I won't have to face him this day, he had replied, smirking.
After he had entered the Academy, he had faced off against Sion—much to his dismay--and was badly injured. There was something more in the way Sion fought—almost as if his touch were something that brought about the pain of thousands more. Almost as if he had lost something far more precious to him than his life.
Xak could only hope he would never know.
When Sion had grazed Xak across his forearm, the pain had ripped through him like fire.
Xak had barely escaped with his life.
For days she had tended to him, until one moment, when he had awoken, breaking free of the fever that had grasped him, burning through his being and giving him a taste of the hatred that he had denied the very day the Force had been siphoned from his body. He had awoken to see a worried and near-broken Kreia.
It was in that moment that he had seen her display more emotion for him than at any time. It was in that moment, she had opened herself up to him and they had spent the day—and night—as one.
The next day, she had kept herself as close to him as possible, warning him not to make a mention of that moment to the others. She had whispered to him that he was far more precious to her than anyone had ever been in the course of her life.
He had whispered the same thing.
They had spent many a night as one.
That is, until her betrayal.
Perhaps I don't have to kill her, he hoped. Perhaps she could come around and we can leave this dreadful planet and nightmare once and for all. She loves me, doesn't she?
There was no reply in his mind for that.
The wind picked up its howl, almost as if reminding Xak of what he would have to do before the planet would finally be put to its rest.
His forearm ached again. He lifted his arm to see how far along the damage had been.
The white kolto bandages had been soiled, leaving not even an ounce of healed flesh on the wound.
This was a gift from Sion.
Xak sighed, pressing his left hand to it. He closed his eyes and begun to use his relatively newly acquired Force abilities to the test, as he willed himself to heal the wound. He could feel the slight tingle as the Force ushered and motivated the cells in his body to work with remarkable speed that soon enough, the pain had subsided.
He exhaled in relief, tensing his arm again to feel the pain that had plagued him since Korriban. It was gone now, completely removed, save for the faint white scar that ran from his wrist to his elbow.
He returned his sight to the chamber before him.
It carried a perimeter of large talons that seemed ripped out of the ground and seemed to move high into the broken sky. Like most of the statues in the Trayus Academy, this seemed made out of some sort of indestructible ebony material. On the clean, ferrocrete floor, there was a circular arena, painted in red runes of some ancient language.
It might have been Sith, for all Xak knew.
He took another step, willing to feel Kreia once more, the way he could back when they had their bond.
He felt nothing.
The wind sent chills up his spine, as the grim realization set in. This day would be the last day of Kreia or Xak.
No, he pleaded internally; don't let it come to this. I know you feel the same way about me—you have to. You would never have given a damn about my life if you didn't love me.
His body continued to move of its own volition, ignoring Zak's helpless pleas.
He continued walking across the bridge and stepped out onto the small chamber that was known only as the Trayus Core.
He stepped towards the lump of a presence that he could now feel as Kreia.
She sat there, meditating in her brown cloak and robes that had once marked her as a Jedi Knight in the Order.
It was the clothing he had come to remember so well.
She rose, turning to face him. "So, you have come, as I knew you would." Her voice held a tremor of something Xak couldn't quite place.
He wasn't sure, but he could swear he felt a hint of the same apprehension he had. He continued to walk towards her until he was close enough to see the minor change that was displayed all across her features. Oh Kreia… "You manipulated me all along," he said instead, surprising both him and her.
She appeared to be taken back for a brief minute, but she quickly suppressed her expression to her neutral façade. "Yes, you were," she replied for a moment. When no reply was forthcoming, she pursed her lips and continued. "Each of the places we visited were moments in your past that needed to be complete. It was a way of ensuring you would surpass your tests for the trials that were—that are to come."
He inhaled sharply, studying her face.
Her eyes still appeared white and milky, without pupils or anything to give away that her eyesight might have been restored.
How can I do this? "Why did you manipulate Atris into betraying me?" His voice had begun to sound bitter, with a hint of anger at the betrayal she had brought into his life.
She appeared even more taken back. "She admired you," she said, attempting to hide the words that stung what Atton would comment on as her hollow interior. "But she merely deluded herself with the thought that she was far more powerful." She shook her head, "no, my Dear, she had to be stopped, one way or the other."
Xak clenched his jaw. This was not going the way he wanted. His voice was much lighter as he looked at her, knowing that he had caused pain to those who mattered most to him. "She admired me?" At one point, he and Atris could have been something more, had he heeded the words she spoke to him before he left for the Wars.
But now, she had utter contempt for him. He had granted her a peace that she could only find in death.
As for Kreia, however, she looked on at him with something that he couldn't feel anymore, no matter how much he wanted to.
"Oh, she loved you. In the ways one would love champions." Her voice was almost bitter after those three words. She loved you.
He took a step forward, causing Kreia to take an involuntary step back. "Kreia, come with me. Let me save you. We can go far away from here—none of this has to happen the way it will."
Her expression lightened a bit, almost warming up to the thought, he mused.
She scoffed and her features became creased with a grim resolve. "To save me? You would dare to redeem me? No, I cannot allow that to happen. I can never be redeemed or saved for the actions I have caused."
A tear ran down her cheek, causing Xak's heart to twist and tear.
The lump began to form in his throat, making it far more unbearable for him to speak and hold back the pain and tears that threatened to overwhelm him. "None of this has to happen the way it will if we continue this. Leave with me, Kreia!" He pleaded to her.
She shook her head. "I can't. Your offer, as tempting as it may be, must be declined."
He took a step back and suppressed shuddering. He wanted to reach out and touch her. He wanted to take her far away.
She looked at him, her grim resolve fading away again as it melted into that fraction of humanity Xak had been privy to seeing more than once. "I love you," she stressed.
He felt his heart beat harder.
"You are most precious to me—I could never let anything happen to you. You are a wound in the Force and you can destroy it."
"What?" He managed, his voice on edge. That had been the last thing he expected to hear. It hardly occurred to him that he could easily have been used just like Sion or Nihilus.
"I came to you, sought you out and protected you against enemies that would have sought to harm you before you were ready. You are the wound that will restore the Galaxy to what it should have been."
"You used me?" The lump grew thicker until he felt he couldn't breathe anymore. Anger and rage slowly began to build up, replacing the delicacy of his opened presence to her. Pain and betrayal slowly turned to fueling his anger.
"Yes," she said, her expression restored to the grim resolve. "Yes I did."
Thunder rolled across the sky and lightning crackled. The brief light highlighted his features, throwing the lovesick puppy into the shadows and revealing an outlet of the unbridled rage that slowly began to bubble to his surface.
"I thought that by continuing to open you up to the Force, you could kill it."
No, he thought, shoving that darkness aside as he felt it building within him, almost as if it were a rising pool. I am a Jedi Knight. I am better than this. His eyes continued to study her. The thought of wrapping his hands around her throat and squeezing the life out of her began to fill his mind, while the thought of pressing his lips to her and washing away all the pain and misery that had been caused over the course of the months gnawed at him.
If she felt the conflict within him, she made no notice of it. Her hand moved into the folds of her cloak and she produced a silver hilt specially designed for her.
It was the first lightsaber Xak had ever built since his renewed touch of the Force and he had built it for her.
"The time for talk has come to its end," she stated flatly. A crimson blade flared to life from the emitter.
"Kreia," Xak whispered almost pleadingly, "you don't have to do this."
"I'm sorry," she replied, her voice barely a whisper. "More than you can ever know." She lunged.
He leapt back, his lightsaber springing to his hand and igniting an angry sapphire shaft of energy. He deflected the threat of being impaled and extended his leg, catching her in her abdomen, sending her back.
She brought her blade up, the hilt running parallel at shoulder height. "You've become far better than I hoped."
He shook his head, his eyes pleading with her pale, milky eyes. "Don't let it end like this, Kreia. Please, don't."
She snarled as she thrust at him again, forcing the Jedi Knight to deflect her thrust as their fight took them to the bridge. She came at him with flawlessly timed flurries, each slash following the other.
Xak continued to be pushed back, his arms struggling to match the pace at which Kreia's single hand was able to achieve.
I can't do it, he thought, as a hot searing pain ran across his recently healed forearm, reopening the wound again and causing him to relinquish his two-handed hold on his blade. He gasped and touched it with his fingers, feeling the heated skin and cauterized wound.
She took a step back, her blade pointing at the ground in between one another. "It would appear that you're not as impressive as I had originally thought." Her voice was still the one of the teacher, but it held something else…
He didn't have time to figure out what was that other feeling—the one he could have sworn he felt.
She was on him again, her blade moving around her in a blur, forcing Xak to continue deflecting and blocking near-hits.
If I keep this up, she'll kill me without so much as a hesitation, he mused darkly, while his blade struggled to keep up with hers. Opening himself completely to the Force, he felt the death that surrounded the planet. He could feel the pain, the overwhelming lure of the Dark Side, tempting him to give in.
She allowed the darkness to fuel her, turning her into an unstoppable juggernaught. Her lightsaber whirled around her, not even scratching the floor or her robes.
He continued to deflect her crimson death, until he felt it. There was an opening in her attack that he could exploit.
She could only attack him so much at a time.
It seemed age was catching up with her.
He found his feet guiding him forward now, instead of backward as his blade locked with hers, preventing a clean decapitation.
"Impressive," she whispered.
He allowed the crackling hisses of the blades to continue as he leveled his lightsaber upright and locked a foot on her leg and pulled up.
She almost tripped for the effort and strafed back.
Xak seized the opportunity and was on her immediately.
He slashed at her, watching as she effortlessly parried his flurries. He quickly adapted his fighting style and used his momentum to boost his critical slash as he slashed at her chest, only to slice air where she had been but a few short moments before.
She had leapt over him and landed behind him. Crouching, she spun about and extended her leg, only to complete her revolution and rise.
Xak had anticipated that manoeuvre and guided himself in a butterfly that took him away from the fight for the moment.
She cocked her eyebrow and her thin lips formed a mirthless smile. "Most impressive."
He eyed her cautiously, searching for that feeling he had felt before she assailed him. "I feel the conflict within you, Kreia. Let go," he whispered. "There is no point to hatred or some twisted desire to eliminate the Force."
"There is no conflict," she replied, her tone bitter. "You don't know the power of the Dark Side, my Dear. It is more than just baseless hatred or half-witted desire. It is part of us—part of you and part of me. To deny that very reality—that very nature makes us less than human."
He cocked his head to one side. "And that makes us Jedi?"
She growled and extended her left hand.
His eyes went wide as the cauterized stump—another gift from Sion—extended an orange and red swirl of energy that was aiming for his chest.
On instinct and Jedi skills, he brought his lightsaber up, which began to absorb it and he couldn't help but watch as the blue shaft flickered once, then twice and faded away. "Oh Sithspawn," he muttered before a wave of blue electricity hit him squarely in the chest and sent him flying back to the circular arena. He groaned through clenched teeth as he hit the ground, rolling around twice before he stopped.
"You were my crown achievement." Her voice was growing louder, as she walked slowly towards him. "You were my greatest pupil. Far greater than Nihilus, Sion and Revan. But you're a fool to think that denying your emotions makes you better than any of them. Revan never denied her emotions and she did what was once thought impossible."
Xak groaned and rose slowly from the support of his buckling arms. His muscles were sore and tight—no doubt from the Force Lightning that had coursed through his body.
"I thought you were much smarter—much more gifted than the others. But it would appear I was wrong."
Xak listened carefully to her voice, as he rose. His eyes shifted to his lightsaber, which lay on the floor, most likely out of power from the life-drain he had deflected. He had a trump card, however. He always did.
"You had passed all of your tests exceptionally—there was no limit to your power!"
Her voice seemed bitter, resigned and most of all….regretful?
His eyes shot open as he felt the touch through the Force before the movement ever happened.
"You will have to perish, just like the ones you extinguished in the Academy." She thrust out at him.
His hand sprung into motion and another metallic object flew to his hand. His thumb tapped the plate and a violet shaft of energy shot forth, deflecting her blade.
Her eyes went wide. "It can't be!"
He nodded, as his hand guided the blade and severed her wrist. "It is."
It was the blade she had left behind after her betrayal. The last souvenir and reminder of her tutelage with Xak, though that wasn't to say she needed something to remind her of him.
She gasped, and stumbled, falling onto the ground as she grasped the concept of being unarmed and vulnerable before someone whom she had taken advantage of. But it wasn't the first time Kreia, once Darth Traya, had done such a thing.
He stood before her, the violet blade poised to imbed itself in her throat.
"Do it," she managed, as she gulped air.
He shook his head. "I won't, Kreia. I feel you, once more as I did when we were on the Ebon Hawk all those times. I won't kill you. I…love you." He lowered his head in shame at what he had done, but he felt the great weight of a burden off his shoulders.
She snarled, "if your love and compassion for me makes you weak, then perish!" Calling the Force into her, she sent the Jedi flying back, allowing her a moment to rise and produce three lightsabers from within her robes.
Xak landed on his feet, shaking his head from the surprise. His eyes darted to Kreia, who had now risen once more, and to the three round cylindrical objects hanging in mid-air. How in the blazes…? He didn't have time to think.
The three blades erupted to life and went straight towards him, poised to find its way into his chest.
Fighting for his life again, Xak backpedaled while blocking each slash and strike from the trio of lightsabers.
Unlike actually being held, these lightsabers were moving faster and without falling to the constraints wielded ones would normally had.
The Force works in mysterious ways, he heard in his mind, while his one good hand worked fervently to block and parry each slash.
The blades surrounded him, attacking at every angle with a relentless pace that would soon determine who the victor was.
He continued to deflect the blades, guiding one into the other, though it hardly aided him. Why? The thought continued to race in his mind, moving as fast as his hand and those blades. Why does it have to end this way, Kreia?
Am I only a tool?
Am I nothing more than a body of instruments to you?
What am I to you?
His mind began to pick up the frantic pace to the beating in his heart, while one of the blades finally bore through his masterful defence and graze his right shoulder. Crying out, he ignored all the pain in his right arm and with his hand, he summoned the Force, blasting it into the ground.
The lightsabers flew away and Kreia couldn't help but admire the determination and will in her one-time Apprentice and consort.
Am I nothing? He could feel the sweltering rage build up within him, eager to rise and permeate through his being. His will was fading and he knew it would only be a matter of time until he would be destroyed unless he actively did what he felt he couldn't do.
He had to kill Kreia.
Nothing more than a tool, he recited in his mind. His eyes shot past the lightsabers and towards the center—the being who controlled their every movement.
She used you.
She lied to you.
She manipulated you all along.
You were nothing more than a tool.
You're a fool to believe she could ever truly love her.
Let go of it—allow your pain to fuel your strength.
She denied you your very existence and turned you to her cause, using you as a means for her ends.
You're nothing Xak.
It was gone. The love, the thoughts of another life—all of it. There was nothing more than just the thought of stopping her and unleashing his rage to truly show her what it meant to feel like an instrument. He screamed.
The three blades came at him again, each aimed for his heart.
Tapping into his rage, he let himself go—the Jedi Knight, the fool in love, the former General of the Republic Navy. He became nothing more than the thing he had turned away from. Xak became nothing more than the tool of rage and darkness absolute. He was the Dark Side. His screaming continued to fill the air, almost as if it were an outlet of his emotions.
The blades all assailed him, only to be easily parried off.
Knocking one blade towards its counterpart, Xak cleaved the hilt in two, stopping one.
If Kreia seemed taken back, she did not show it. She only continued to unleash her unrelenting assaults with her lightsabers.
Xak continued to knock the blades around, while the haze of everything around him slowly changed to red. His rage began to take hold of him, and before he knew it, he had leapt into the air towards Kreia, severing the pair of blades with casual ease before his sight returned to its normal hue. His screaming died abruptly, as he saw what now lay before him.
Xak's lightsaber had been imbedded into Kreia's chest.
"No!" He screamed.
She gasped, glancing down at the violet shaft of energy before it disappeared. The world felt weightless and before she knew it, the world began to fall, leaving her on her own. Sudden warmth filled her, beckoning her towards it. No, she thought, not on my own.
Xak cast his blade aside and raced to catch Kreia, landing on the floor with her. "No," he whimpered. "It can't be. I can—no—don't."
She sighed, exhaling in something that appeared as relief. She glanced up at him, her milky eyes slowly changing to something else. "It's too late," she muttered, her voice far lighter than she had thought. It had been weightless, almost as if she were free of the weight that had once controlled her.
"No, Kreia, it's not too late," he whispered. "I can save you."
She shook her head. Oh, if only you knew.
"I can save you," he repeated, his voice breaking. He pulled her close to him, supporting her while his hand moved to her wound. He ignored the sharp pain in his right arm.
"You're a fool, Xak," she said, her voice barely a whisper. She allowed herself a smile and embraced the warmth.
"No, Kreia, you can't go. I didn't mean to. I can't lose you. I have to save you. We can leave all of this behind."
"If only I could, my Dear. If only…I would." Her voice was genuine, filled with sadness and the grim reality that she would have taken it, if only to be with him. "I am the true fool," she continued. "I would have stayed with you until the end of my days." She touched his cheek, wiping the tears that fell across his cheek.
"Kreia," he whispered, his hand pushing every trace of the Force within him to aid her and heal the wound.
She ignored it, rebuking the power and casting more of her energy into him. "You're a wound. Before I pass on, I need to give you one last thing." She gasped. Pain was coming for her and the warm embrace of death was growing harder to resist.
"No, Kreia," he whispered, holding her tighter. "Don't go. Save your strength. We'll go far away from this."
She closed her eyes for a brief moment, and opened them again.
He gasped, watching her see him with her very own eyes for the very first time.
They were a soft, serene brown. They carried no malice, no pain, and no great burden. They carried…sadness. There was sadness to what she had denied for so very long and only in the end, when it is presented to her, could she deny it and be blinded to what it truly was.
His love was selfless.
She was corrupting him and twisting his love.
He loved her, wholly, truly and he embraced it far more than she had ever hoped to embrace hers. "I'm sorry," she whispered one final time. "I love you—far more than you could ever know." She mustered whatever strength she had and rose to touch her lips to his.
They embraced for that one brief moment, and for the first time in their lives, they had been completed.
Xak closed his eyes, feeling the pulse of life race within him, and before he could realize what her last gift to him was, he felt her fade to nothingness. Opening his eyes, he saw she slept peacefully in his arms for all eternity. He held her tightly, the pained reality sinking into him, as the world began to crumble around him.
Earthquakes began to rip through the surface of the planet, collapsing the bridge and causing Xak to hold on to his grasp of Kreia's lifeless body.
Behind him, the Academy began to crumble, falling apart, while the Dark Side creatures were crushed beneath the absolute devastation of the world that was beginning to crumble again.
The night sounded of fear, panic and death as the land tore apart once more and the green toxins rose high into the air, poisoning the very creatures that thrived on it.
Malachor was falling into its final death throes.
The planet, like Xak himself, had begun fracturing.
The Mass Shadow Generator had begun to pull the graveyard in space back into the surface as the planet ruptured with the increase in its gravity.
Creatures were dying, the planet was collapsing into itself and once more, Xak sat there, dumbfounded.
Unlike before, however, he could feel the warmth of the Force again.
He could feel. The Force that gathered around him had sealed the wound within him, seeking to contain him as if he were nothing but the host of an entity.
But when he touched Kreia, he could only feel the coldness that was death's touch.
Kreia was gone; her memories and final wishes now imbedded in the Force that was healing Xak completely.
His wound—the very thing Kreia sought to exploit—had now begun to fold into itself.
With Kreia's death, Xak's body had begun its healing process.
This was Kreia's final gift of love to the man who now held her lifeless body.
"No," he whispered.
The sky rolled with thunder as the planet continued to break.
"No, Kreia," he whispered again, clutching her lifeless form close to his.
"No!" He screamed high into the air.
He no longer cared about death.
He no longer cared about the will of the Force.
He had lost everything that had mattered to him in the space of a few minutes. The one being that healed him with her final touch had now died.
He continued to hold her close to him, letting his tears fall freely from his face, while everything else was slowly being pulled into the planet's core.
Damn the Sith.
Damn the Jedi.
Damn the Force.
"Damn you, Revan," he cried out into the sky, as a high pitched whine filled the sound around him. His voice carried out into the wind, while the whine began to drown that out too.
"General!" A voice called out to him.
Xak already knew who it was.
"General! We have to go!"
Rocks began to fly everywhere, pelting the bodies of Kreia and Xak.
He longer cared about the pain. Nothing could be worse than the sorrow and misery of losing Kreia.
"General, come on!" Bao-Dur continued to call out to him.
It is time to go, Xak, a voice whispered in him.
"Kreia?" He whispered, only to hear the howling of both the wind and the Ebon Hawk.
"General!" Bao-Dur cried out.
Go, Xak. Go now. Seek out Revan—bring balance to the Force. I shall always be with you, my Love.
The former Jedi General rose, carrying her broken form in his arms.
The wound she had reopened in his forearm was gone now. Only a white line ran across it. It was far more obvious than Sion's gift. The pain was gone and he walked towards the Ebon Hawk.
Bao-Dur's eyes went wide as he saw the limp form in Xak's arms. Kreia.
Xak entered the freighter, without so much as looking at Bao-Dur, who merely closed the hatch and yelled into the main hold, "punch it, Atton!"
Before he knew it, Xak was carted light-years away from Malachor, leaving the deadened planet to finally be put to rest.
Days later, on a clear Dantooine field, near the grove where he had spent most of his youth meditating, Xak stood there, looking up into the evening sky.
The first Sith threat had been defeated, costing the life of his mentor and his love.
A new one lay on the horizon.
Infused with the final thoughts of her, Xak could only watch at the stars for a few more moments before he knew that he had to do what was requested of him.
He would leave for the Outer Rim.
He would leave all known space, leaving behind everything and everyone, so he could find Revan and put an end to the new war that was beyond that very horizon.
Sighing, he brought his hand up, watching the flickering light cast over his hands.
Clad in his Jedi robes and cloak, he walked towards the body that lay on planks of wood.
She rested peacefully, her eyes closed and a small smile tugged at the corner of her lips.
Xak was glad she had found her peace in the end and that she would be waiting for him beyond life.
He cast the torch to the wood and let the fire grow until it consumed Kreia's form, returning her body to the Force.
He watched all of it with the sad knowledge that it would be many years before he would ever return to her.
He could only hope that the Force would be kinder and grant him their reunion in as short a time span as possible.
He stood there until the sun had risen once more, letting his tears flow, while he witnessed Kreia become nothing more than dust.
In time, he would join her.
Such is the way of the Force.
Xak heard Bao-Dur cry out for him again.
The high pitch of the Ebon Hawk had continued to fill the cacophony of destruction all around him. The howling wind continued to bite away at him.
"General! We have to go!"
Xak rose, carrying Kreia's broken form. He turned to face Bao-Dur, who had his real hand holding onto a handle that prevented him from being sucked out into the destruction that had filled the planet once more.
He's suffered far more than I could ever wish in any person, Xak couldn't help but think, as he watched Bao-Dur gesture with his mechanical hand to enter the ship.
He stood there for a moment longer, watching Bao-Dur with something akin to sadness.
Bao-Dur continued to look at him. "General, the planet's falling apart! Quickly, we're running out of time."
"No Bao-Dur," he whispered.
If Bao-Dur heard him, he had certainly ignored it. "Come on, General. This is no game!"
It was then that Bao-Dur really focused on who his prized General was carrying. Kreia.
His eyes shot open. Kreia!
Then his eyes moved to Xak, whose dark hair was flailing in the wind.
"No, Bao-Dur," he repeated, his voice soft on the wind.
Somehow, the tech specialist heard him this time. "No, General, don't!"
It was too late.
The entire pillar came down and the arena that carried Kreia and Xak fell into the green abyss.
Bao-Dur screamed as the Ebon Hawk rose, sealing the hatch and taking off from the decaying planet.
Xak continued his fall and found the touch of warmth greet him.
He felt no pain.
He was content.
"Hello, Xak," she said to him.
He turned around and saw her, clad in her white gown, her dark flowing hair and her soft brown eyes.
"Kreia," he whispered. "It's been far too long."
She smiled, revealing perfect white teeth and true contentment. "Indeed it has."