STOP! I did a double update – read Chapter 35 first if you haven't already!!
Epilogue – DestinyOne year later…
Revan frowned, her eyes flickering from her armored robes, to her standard robes, and back again as she worried her lower lip between her teeth. Finally she reached for the armor and tucked it carefully, almost lovingly into the small pack at her feet before donning the other simple brown robes over her undergarments. She scanned the cramped bedroom in the equally tiny apartment on Coruscant that she shared with Canderous, trying to determine if she had forgotten anything, and completely ignoring the scowling man standing in the doorway behind her.
Finally she hoisted the pack to her shoulder and turned to face him, her expression carefully neutral. "I thought you were running errands."
"I was," he answered, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned against the doorway, effectively blocking her inside the room. "Then I realized you were trying to get rid of me for some reason, so I came back. What were you going to do, Revan, just pack up and leave without saying a word?"
Revan sighed heavily as the confrontation she had hoped to avoid was suddenly upon her. "No, Canderous. I was going to pack up and leave with a lot of words…just not spoken," she said with a weary wave of her hand toward the bed. A large box rested on it, a datapad sitting on its top. She gazed pleadingly at the scowling Mandalorian as she said, "You know I have to go. Please…do not make this harder than it already is."
Canderous' expression softened ever so slightly, but his voice was harsh as he said, "You have people here who need you, Revan. What about Dustil? Don't you owe it to him to be here since you're his Master?"
A strange mixture of emotions crossed her face before settling into a sad smile. "He is leaving the Order."
The Mandalorian's eyebrows shot up in surprise, but he thought, Well, it's about damn time…though I could kill the kid for doing it now. "The meeting you had with the Council yesterday…?" he asked.
Revan nodded and explained, "The Council demanded that he allow them to sever the bond he formed with Mission. He refused, and said that just for asking him to do such a thing, he no longer wished to serve the Council."
"Sounds like another Jolee in the making," Canderous muttered. "Where's he off to now?"
"He is heading to Telos to join his father and Bastila in the restoration effort there. Mission and Zaalbar are there are well so…"
"So he has all the reasons in the galaxy to go there," Canderous finished for her with a wry smirk, though in the back of his mind, he knew he could not continue to stall Revan for much longer.
"Exactly," she agreed. "And I have one less reason to stay." She swallowed hard, steeling herself before meeting his gaze determinedly. "I have to go, Canderous. I can feel her again, even though she cannot feel me, and she is in pain. The Council was mostly correct in their assumption of her antics on the Outer Rim, and it is my fault that she suffers. I betrayed her, and I owe her an apology…many apologies, I suppose. And perhaps she will not forgive me, but I have to find her."
"Damn it, Revan!" Canderous hissed as he lurched forward to grab her roughly by the shoulders. "You know I wouldn't have a problem with this if you were just taking a stroll to the Rim to find your sister! Hell, I'd fly you there myself if that were the case! But that's not your plan. You're not coming back."
Revan gazed helplessly up as his accusing stare, wishing there was something, anything she could say or do to make him accept her decision. "I cannot stop the memories," she whispered, fear edging into her voice. "They come upon me constantly, Canderous, even when I am awake, and I cannot fight their purpose. You want me to stay here with you, but I am needed elsewhere."
Canderous held his furious look for another moment before sighing and pulling her against his chest in a tight embrace. He said nothing, simply held her close, but his mind kept repeating, Then where am I needed? What do I do without you?
Reluctant to leave the safety of his arms, Revan eventually pulled away, her eyes rimmed with tears. "I do not want this," she whispered, reaching up to cradle his cheek with one hand. "Everything in me wants to stay, tells me to listen to my own desires. But I cannot be that woman anymore. I am sorry…and I do love you." She lifted quickly on her toes, pressing his lips with the faintest ghost of a kiss before rushing past him and out of the apartment.
The Mandalorian stood still for a long time, relishing the fading warmth of her in his arms, burning the memory of her lips on his into his mind. Eventually he came back to himself, and focused on the box on their bed.
He lifted the datapad first, his gaze drifting from it to the box and back as he debated, The gift first or the card? Finally, with a shrug, he dropped the datapad onto the bed, and tore open the box, only to freeze, breathless, as his eyes fell upon its contents. It took him another few minutes to recover enough to lift the datapad, sinking down to sit on the bed beside the box as he read.
Since I am certain you will have confronted me as I try to leave, I will not go on about the things I am sure we have already covered. I will reassure you once more that I love you, like I have never loved another, and never will love again. The Force brought us together for a purpose, and no matter what the future holds, I am grateful for the time I spent with you.
I am also fairly sure you will have already opened the box before you read this. Do not ask me how I came into possession of it, but know that the mantle now falls to you. May you bear it with greater wisdom and strength than its forebearer. Do not hesitate – you know where your destiny lies, just as I know mine. The time to act is now.
I do not know what will happen to us, but know that I hold you in my heart. You have given me the strength to carry forth with my purpose, and a reason to return when I am finished. I will never forget you.
With all my love,Revan
Canderous read and reread the letter several times, memorizing the words before he shut the datapad off and slipped it into his pocket. He shifted to slide the box off the bed and onto the floor, bending down to retrieve the battered helmet and resting it in his lap with almost tender care. The Helm of Mandalore, he thought, still awestruck.
He sat for a while that way, in the resonating silence of their apartment, lost in his own vague and rambling thoughts. You know where your destiny lies. He heard the words as clearly as if she'd been standing beside him.
Canderous returned the helmet to the box and stood up, reaching for his pack and shoving his belongings inside unceremoniously. This will not be an easy task, he thought as he worked. My people have been too long scattered and leaderless…and where could we possibly go to rebuild? He paused mid-motion as he pondered the question, and a slow smile tugged at his lips as he nodded to himself and continued to pack, I think I know the perfect place.
I can't believe I'm done! What on earth will I do with myself now?? I can't thank you all enough for reading my story, and I really hope you enjoyed it. I do still intend to write the sequel, but probably not for six months or so. Thanks so much to all my loyal reviewers – without your feedback, I'd be lost! And thanks to all the readers who didn't review as well (hey, I used to be one of those too, and there's nothing wrong with it!), and I hope you liked the story.
A special thanks to The Angst Junkie who sent me a link to a beautiful picture she did of Revan and Aeryn (link on my profile page, because I don't trust it to come through here).
All future reviews/critiques are more than welcome, and I'll still be around even though I'll be on temporary hiatus for a while. Thanks again!