Title: The Cat Came Back
Author: Kian
Fandom: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Warnings: MAJOR SPOILERS for KotOR and KotOR II, continuation, hanging one-shot
Pairings/Characters: CarthxLSFR, both LSF player characters
Disclaimer: The video games, Knights of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords, and their characters are copyright to the appropriate creators and companies. Any businesses, logos or characters not belonging to the author are the intellectual property of the appropriate creators and owners. Any of the content (prose, plot, original characters, etc.) that does not fall in the above categories in the intellectual property of the author "Kian" and said intellectual property is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The individual under the pen name of "Kian" is receiving no profit from the distribution of this story, nor does said author have any intention to receive compensation beyond hopefully some verbal praise.

Notes: I wrote it. It exists. It's not related to the other KotOR story/stories I have in mind. So I'm heaving this puppy up onto the interweb for the sheer hell of it.

Honestly, I really like this piece, it just isn't going anywhere else so far as I'm concerned. If you have not played both KotOR and KotOR II, you REALLY should not be reading this. Seriously. You'll ruin it for yourself. I'm not usually one to freak out over spoilers, but where Bioware is anywhere even remotely involved...

Also, I seem to be hung up on other people's sleep patterns in my writing recently. Excuse me while I psychoanalyze myself.

The Cat Came Back

He woke abruptly, snuffling low and soft as he pushed himself up off the bunk, eyes immediately flying to the figure leaning in the doorway. He opened his mouth to ask her what she was doing there, but she raised a forefinger to her lips instead and feigned that classic motherly shushing expression and he came up short. It was then that Carth noticed she wasn't looking at him at all, but down and to his right, eyes filled with soft affection and warmth. He followed her gaze down and laid eyes on the woman he had been waiting on for six long years.

Revan was seated next to the bed, her weaponry arranged next to her on the floor along with her gloves and various outer garments. She had been leaning back against the wall, but in falling asleep, she had moved over to rest her head on the edge of the bunk. Her arms had most likely been crossed, but in sleep they had drooped to lie in her lap, hands opened and limp in sleep. The tight bun she kept her hair pulled back in was falling out, dangling in the loosening twists and brushing along the back of her neck.

She looked absolutely haggard; like the whole galaxy was resting on her slim, bowed shoulders. Soft lines he didn't recognize crossed her face; some were fading scars, some merely proof of the time that had passed and the burden she had been carrying. There was an innocent purity in her slumber that so captured Carth that he could hardly move, hardly breathe.

"I haven't seen her sleep like that once since I found her," came the soft murmur from the doorway. "And, if I understand T3 correctly, she wasn't sleeping at all before then."

He said nothing, just continued drinking in every aspect of the small woman who had materialized by his bed.

"I'll leave you alone, then. I just wanted to see where she'd stashed herself." The Exile began to turn away, and then wavered. "Go easy on her, okay?"

Carth nodded distantly, brushing away the weak spark of anger at what had been implied. The woman hovered a moment more, then the door slid home behind her with the muted hiss of the gas compressor discharging in the effort.

The room was dark, though the shade filters on the panels of sheet glass windows were cracked to let in enough of the glow from the city beneath his apartment that everything in the room was easily distinguishable in the blue light. He sat a moment more, fighting the irrational fear that if he moved so much as a single muscle, the floor would once again be vacant and the dream would shatter; though of all the ways he had pictured Revan's homecoming in his mind, this was neither one of his fantasies nor one of his nightmares. But it was very much like his Revan to sneak in at the dead of night and avoid all the hoopla of an official welcoming party. And that slow-dawning realization was what finally made him rise from the bunk, pad softly around it and across the floor to crouch down before her.

He brushed back a strand of her hair and tucked it behind her ear the way she would have done herself had she been awake. She scrunched her nose slightly at the touch, but roused no further. He studied her face once more, before letting a smile tug at the corner of his mouth.

"Come on, you. Time to go to bed," he murmured softly as he gently slipped one arm under the tuck of her bent legs and the other behind her back. He braced for a moment and then began to stand slowly, cargo firmly in his grip. She stirred and he caught his breath, unconsciously drawing her closer as he completed his stand.

She opened her eyes to slits and stared up at him blearily, an artlessly puzzled look on her face as wheels slowly turned in the foggy haze of sleep.

"Hey," she croaked softly.

"Hey," he returned, voice a sigh of utter contentment. "You're gonna regret it in the morning if you stay there all night."

"Didn't know if…" she murmured even as she shifted ever so slightly closer to the man holding her.

"Don't be ridiculous. Now come on. Let's get some sleep."

"Mmmkay."

And she slipped promptly back into her deep slumber. He shook his head slightly and set her down on the double bunk he had only recently vacated. "Being an Admiral has its perks, after all," he mused. He cringed at the thought of packing them both into a single bunk, though he also knew that had it come down to it, he would have found a way to make even that uncomfortable arrangement work.

He made quick work of her boots, settling them on the floor by the bed as she was accustomed to doing herself, ready to be slipped on again in a moment's notice. A voice in the back of his mind chided him, told him to hide the damn boots somewhere at the other end of the room, but there wasn't a place left in him for the seed of spite to take root and the notion drifted away quickly enough. "Besides," he noted absently, "she'd run around barefoot without a second thought if she had to."

He didn't waste the time walking around the bed again, but simply crawled over the woman he had set down and dropped down beside her on what had become "his" side of the bed. Only, for the first time in six years, he faced the inside of the bed. He didn't have to turn his back on empty sheets tonight. Drawing the blankets up over them both, he smiled in the dark as he felt his stray cat lover roll into the curve of his body. Draping an arm loosely around her waist, he allowed his eyes to slide closed once again. The smile on his face did not fade even hours after he had retreated into contented slumber.

END