Echoes

Summary: Carth cannot adjust to happiness. It is always too good to be true.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or places mentioned.

Notes: This story contains slash. Don't like it? Don't read it. If you do read it, please be sure to review and let me know what you think.


Happiness was not a state Carth Onasi was overly familiar with. He had some happy memories, but those moments were exceptions to the general rule. Any positive memory had its antithesis. He could see himself even now watching a brave, strong man demonstrate a technique in a far off training room, and he could feel the glow of pride on his cheeks as that man picked him out above three dozen other trainee officers for individual praise. Not long after came the day he swore to destroy the man whatever the cost. Memories of his childhood on Telos, of his parents, his sister, his boyhood friends, all fell apart whenever he thought of the shattered planet that was his home now. When he remembered back to his first kiss, and the certainty that burned in him, the knowledge that he would grow up and marry that girl, it was never long before he saw in his mind's eye the charred shell of their home and the lifeless body of his wife. To remember that ecstatic day his son was born was coupled with the memory of a ruined city of flames, hysterical civilians and desperate soldiers, in which he knew he had no hope of finding one adolescent boy.

It should have been one of those happy moments. He was in his own bed in the luxurious apartment he owned on Coruscant, on the last morning of his leave. After the battle of the star forge the Republic had decorated him obscenely – in his opinion – and when he returned to duty it would be as a full ranking Admiral. Not only had he been elevated way beyond any rank he had aspired to in training, the reward had included a hefty salary and bonus – which had bought him the apartment – and permission for the Ebon Hawk's crew, his friends, to remain in the city as long as they liked. This had eliminated the worry of what to do with Mission and Zaalbar, whose home had been annihilated, and gave Jolee and Juhani somewhere to settle until they decided what to do with themselves. Jolee kept talking about setting up a farm somewhere and retiring (from what, no one knew), but Carth could see in his eyes there was no chance of him staying still in one place until he was dead. As for Juhani, Revan had taken her on for further Jedi training and she would remain with them until it was completed.

…And of course, there was Revan himself, currently lying on his side, spine comfortably curved, face pressed into the pillow as if he hoped to become one with it in the way other Jedi spoke of a oneness with the Force. He was facing Carth. Revan didn't like them turning their backs on each other in bed, and always awoke if Carth shifted position, just to check. It was just one of a plethora of little idiosyncrasies Revan suddenly revealed when they decided to take their relationship up one more step, and while Carth was grateful for that trust, he couldn't help noticing that Revan was a decidedly odd person. He was a genius, it was true, and by all means wise and gentle, but as his memories began to ebb back, a number of nervous ticks had emerged, followed by some outright strange habits. Carth had decided early on to be open about their relationship, and so asked Revan to live with him. Since then the apartment, which had started off tastefully yet unremarkably decorated, had become home to every map Revan could lay his hands on, from the star maps they uncovered on their journey to a tourist's alphabetical guide to Coruscant. The walls became adorned with sketches of cities and planetary systems, and when you walked into the refresher you were greeted by a huge hologramatical representation of the galaxy. It was lucky, Carth reflected, that he was enough of a politician now to warrant a refresher room large enough to contain the galaxy, but the whole thing was extremely suspicious. He had noticed a few star systems on the edges of the map which he could not name, and when he asked about them, Revan had simply stuck his head around the shower curtain, grinned in a disconcerting manner, and vanished again. Further inquiries were met by off-key singing and a flurry of soap bubbles.

Deciding to enter into a physical and emotional relationship with the one-time Lord of the Sith was not something Carth came to without a great deal of forethought. He felt he knew Revan well enough to trust him, and that trust entailed relying on Revan to tell Carth everything he needed to know. Apparently he did not need to know about any recently discovered star systems on the edge of the galaxy. Dismantling the map and examining it showed that Revan had made those additions himself to a readily available all-purpose star map, which assumedly meant Revan had been to those systems and the planet's finest mapmakers had not.

After a short time, during which Revan did not leave the planet, another system appeared on the map. Carth could tell it was new because it drifted straight through his nose every time he tried to shave. That wasn't a thing you managed to ignore for several weeks. This, he assumed, would represent Revan's memories of the outlying regions gradually returning to him, and he was unsure how he felt about that. The more Revan remembered, the odder he seemed to become, and it almost seemed to Carth like he was desperately trying to suppress certain impulses, desires or emotions which those memories brought with them – not always successfully. One particularly troubling night had seen Revan, usually submissive to Carth's romantic advances, pushing him against the wall until Carth was sure they would both end up in the next apartment amidst a pile of rubble, with their trousers round their ankles. Carth had set foot on the Star Forge, and knew what the dark side felt like without ever touching the Force himself, and Revan's passion in that moment had felt exactly like the churning background evil of that massive factory. Revan probably wouldn't stop apologising about it for some time, which brought Carth a degree of comfort.

Revan was a Jedi, a tactical genius, and something of an eccentric. He was also a sensitive human being, warm and with a wicked sense of humour. Carth loved him completely, loved the man and the Jedi hero he hid behind, and would probably continue loving him if the dark side consumed him utterly, but …

And that was just it. The 'but' and the ellipsis hung in the air over Carth's head day-in and day-out, never quite manifesting itself, never putting itself into words. One day there would be something to add. I loved my wife but then she died. I was proud of my son but he joined the Sith. Carth should have been happy, and he was. But his life was a series of brief happiness followed by immense suffering. His parents, his wife, his mentor, his son … all people he had bought emotional stakes in, and all now gone from his life, their rightful places in his heart replaced with pain. Revan had earned his trust and his love so totally that any betrayal, any accident, any disaster would ruin Carth utterly. He didn't know what it would be, could hardly guess, but he could almost sense the loss of Revan looming on the horizon. His dreams had been troubled since the battle of the Star Forge, full of fleeting images of disaster narrowly averted – if averted at all. He caught glimpses of the Republic fleet burning in space, of Bastila dressed in dark robes, of Revan, silent, eyes narrowed, shaking his head. Whether his dreams were manifestations of his worries or glimpses of the future he did not know. He was no Jedi, but Dustil's acceptance into the Sith academy proved one thing – there was force ability in the Onasi blood, and Carth was terrified that made his suspicions more than explainable paranoia.

He got out of bed as silently as he could. At times, Revan slept like the dead, remaining out of it with raucous parties going on in the flat below or Juhani beating the sith out of a training droid in the next room. But at other times he stirred at the slightest breath from Carth, or was awakened by the sensation of a visitor approaching their door. Perhaps it was the nature of the disturbance rather than the intensity of it which caused Revan to surface from his sleep, or perhaps it was merely a fluke. This time he remained silent as Carth padded into the refresher and splashed his face with ice cold water.

Carth stared at his own face in the mirror. The Kamino system drifted a few inches in front of him, its own duplicated reflection shining harshly, causing him to wince. He stepped back to allow the newest unnamed world flit past after it.

"Are you sulking again?"

Carth jumped. He would never get used to Revan's mastery of stealth, the way he could appear unannounced where you least expected him. He was leaning against the doorframe with his arms folded, a playful expression pasted across his face, barely hiding one of genuine concern. He was wearing a loose fitting robe which disguised his slim build and made him look more human than any Jedi outfit could. Carth shrugged.

"I wouldn't say sulking. I was just thinking, that's all."

"You think too much." Revan stopped slouching and walked towards him through the ghostly galaxy. "It's a Jedi trait, an unbecoming one."

"I don't like it when you speak against the Jedi. It unsettles me. You serve the light now, remember that."

Revan smiled reassuringly. "The light side of the Force and the Jedi council have a habit of becoming disassociated with each other. And since there is no council, I can hardly oppose them. I have never once said I regret a single decision I made before the battle of Malachor, and I'll repeat – sometimes it is possible to think to much. To over-analyse things. You do it all the time, and you should learn to live for the moment. Allow your heart and not your head tell you what's right."

"That doesn't sound like a Jedi teaching to me."

Revan shook his head. He walked through the galactic deep core and when he emerged on Carth's side of the galaxy, the dense central stars formed a glow behind his head. It occurred to Carth that a halo behind you did nothing to illuminate your face, but instead cast it in deep shadow.

Revan took hold of Carth's right wrist and pressed his hand against his own chest. Carth could feel the slow beat of Revan's heart, let his fingers grip the fabric of the robe.

"Your dreams are fictions," said Revan softly.

"How did you know-?"

"Because they originated here."

Carth found his hand guided to Revan's forehead. "I shared your dreams?" he asked, breaking free of Revan's hold and stroking his hand down the other's cheek.

"Nightmares. Visions of a present which doesn't exist. Your fears for my continued loyalty are also misplaced." Revan pulled Carth into an embrace, holding him just a little further away than Carth realised he wanted. "That you can be sure of, because I love you. You know that. You feel that in your soul, and I would do nothing to endanger what we have."

Carth pressed closer, put his arms tightly around Revan and rested his head on his shoulder. "I know. But I still feel … something. Something bad. Like we don't have much time left. I think that – I'm terrified that – you're going to … to die."

Revan was silent for a long time. He toyed with Carth's hair as he stared at their reflection in the mirror. The galaxy spun round them as they clung together.

"That's it, isn't it?" said Carth quietly. "You know."

"I don't know when I'm going to die, my love. No Jedi possesses that power."

"But you feel it."

"A thousand times stronger than you do."

Revan broke away and walked back into the bedroom. Carth watched as he shed his robe, seemed to consider folding it up and then dropped it inelegantly on the floor. Carth could hear, as clear as day, his mother scolding him for the same crime as a boy, and his wife chiding him as an adult, and his own voice advising Dustil that a messy bedroom would result in a cut allowance.

"Come back to bed," Revan advised. "You can worry again in the morning."

Carth removed his own robe and dropped it on top of Revan's. He was vaguely aware that neither his mother, his wife nor his son would approve of his current living arrangements, and when the time came to explain things to Dustil, the hypocrisy of throwing his own clothing on the floor would be on the last page of the issues list.

"Sometimes," Revan murmured as Carth slowly straddled him, "you've got to live for the moment, Jedi or not."

Carth agreed, but not with words, because in a galaxy of a trillion species of sentient people all wanting to have their say, it was a rare thing to find a moment's silence. Rarer still was this moment of happiness, which he indulged in with all his senses. He knew even as he told himself he was wrong, that when woke up, maybe tomorrow and maybe a year from now, he would be left in the bed – in the apartment, the planet, the galaxy – all alone.