Carth leant against the stone wall, his eyes firmly fixed on the entrance of the academy. The door was open and he could see the rolling expanse of sand that was the Valley of the Sith Lords. He desperately wished he could have gone with Revan to find the final Star Map, even if he couldn't bear being in her presence these days. Fighting at her side was better than inactivity. When he wasn't keeping himself busy he thought too much and ever since the Leviathan all of his thoughts had been too painful.
The problem wasn't that he loved her. No one who knew her could fail to. She had a way of making people relax; Carth wasn't the only member of the crew who had found himself blurting out things that he thought were safely locked away in the back of his mind. Not only that, but she was so damn kind. He'd seen her give up hundreds of credits to help a stranger, and trek through the deadly Shadowlands with a droid's head under her arm to free an indentured servant. She cared so much about the people they encountered and had been reduced to tears more than once when a mission of mercy had failed.
Then there were her little quirks: her lack of any kind of grace of movement outside of battle. Her insistence on adopting one of the infestation of gizka as a pet. It didn't do any harm that she was almost enchantingly beautiful either. Before her true identity was revealed, when she and Carth still shared a room, he had spent hours at a time memorising her delicate features and the curves of her body.
The problem was that no matter how much he loved her, he couldn't bring himself to forgive her. He had tried; whole sleepless nights had gone by with him staring up at the bunk above his, trying to find a way to let go of his anger. But whenever he came close Morgana's face, bruised and bloodied, flashed into his mind. He would see Dustil in his Sith uniform, so close to becoming everything he despised. He would hear the screams that surrounded him when he stood on the obliterated surface of Telos. When he remembered all of these things his blood ran cold and all thoughts of forgiveness left him.
By the time Revan left with Master Uthar to face the final task he had stopped trying to forgive and had accepted what he believed to be the truth. Despite the pretty face, despite her gentle touch and compassion, a monster lay dormant in Revan. A monster which could reawaken at any time. A monster which he had to make sure would never get a chance to hurt anyone else again.
Canderous's commlink crackled into life, jerking Carth out of his morbid thoughts.
"I've got the final piece of the map." Revan's voice was tiny and drained. "I'm transmitting the coordinates to Jolee now. When that's done I'll start walking back and we can get out of here.
Carth's mind was whirring. Revan was clearly exhausted – too tired to fight and perhaps too drained to call on the Force to protect herself. If he attacked now he might stand a chance of overpowering her. He knew that this could be his only chance; at full strength she could kill him without even breaking a sweat.
He felt Canderous's eyes boring into him and realised that he'd missed something. "What?" He snapped.
"I said," Canderous growled. "It sounds like she's been in one Force of a fight."
"Yeah. Yeah you're right." Carth mumbled. He cast a glance at the door before flicking his eyes back to Canderous. "I should go and meet her half way. She could be hurt." Before Canderous could protest he hurried towards the exit. As soon as he left the building he broke into a run.
Revan sat on a small pile of rocks, pressing a kolto pack against a deep gash in her arm. She heard Carth coming but she didn't bother looking up. "I wondered when you were going to show up." She murmured, eyes still fixed on her arm.
Carth came to a halt a short distance in front of her. "I've come to see if you need any help."
The time Revan did look up. She locked eyes with Carth and smiled sadly. "No you haven't."
A wave of panic rose in Carth but he quickly pushed it back down. "What do you mean?"
"Oh come on, Carth." She peeked under the kolto pack to check how her wound was healing as she spoke. "The emotions rolling off you are suffocating. I'll bet that every student in the academy knows what you came here to do. Even the Force sensitive in Dreshdae are probably picking it up."
Carth hesitated for a moment, debating whether to deny what she had said. Deciding that it would be useless to try and lie to her, he yanked his blaster out of its holster and leveled it at her head.
The same small sad smile was still on place on her face. "Why?" She whispered.
"You deserve to die." He fought to keep the tremor out of his voice but couldn't quite manage it.
"Perhaps Revan did. I don't."
"She's inside of you." He spat. "Maybe she's not surfacing right now, but that doesn't mean she won't tomorrow or the day after that."
"You have the blood of thousands of innocent people on your hands." By now he was almost shouting. "Including my wife's. I won't let you add any more to that."
Revan peeled off the kolto pack and let it drop to the ground. Carth followed her every move with his weapon, ready to shoot should she attack. "What about our mission? What about Malak and the Star Forge?" She asked quietly.
"We only needed you to find the Star Maps. We're more than capable of taking Malak out on our own."
Staring hard into his eyes, Revan searched Carth's emotions. She found the love he still felt for her, but she also felt the overwhelming guilt he had because of it. She felt the wound that had been caused by Morgana's death, only recently starting to heal, ripped open and raw. She felt his almost paralysing fear that Darth Revan would return and take more innocent life when he had had the chance to stop her. After a long silence Revan croaked, "You've made up your mind?"
Carth nodded. "Yes. This is the way it has to be."
Revan lowered her head. "Alright."
As he saw the tears begin to slide down her cheeks he felt a powerful urge to take her into his arms and hold her against him. He wanted to comfort her, to make her smile instead of cry. But he knew he couldn't do that; he would never be able to live with himself afterwards. I'm sorry, He thought, desperately hoping that she could hear him. He squeezed the trigger.
The shot rang through the air, echoing off the stone walls of the temples.
Carth fell to his knees, clutching his chest. He stared in disbelief at the blood pouring out from under his jacket. He held out his bloodied hand to Revan, as if asking how it had happened. Then he slumped onto his side and his eyes flickered shut.
Canderous lowered his rifle and stepped over Carth's body. He moved quickly over to Revan and offered her his hand. She took it gratefully and he pulled her to her feet, yanking her into a bone crushing embrace. As his arms closed around her she began to sob and he stroked her gently as she let out her grief. When she had cried all she could, she stepped back and wiped her eyes.
"Thank you." She murmured. "I couldn't have done that myself."
Canderous glowered down at Carth's lifeless form. "I knew what he was going to do the moment he left." His voice was quiet and angry. "Boy's face was like an open book. He never did learn to conceal what he was thinking."
Revan knelt at Carth's side and stared into his face for a few moments. "Could you help me carry him back?" She eventually asked.
"You're not leaving him here to rot?" Canderous growled.
Revan turned to scold him, but stopped short as she caught his eye. Behind the anger there was great anxiety. Revan sighed: she knew he had been worried about this ever since he first kissed her a few hours after they escaped the Leviathan. She pushed herself to her feet and placed a kiss on his brow. "I didn't love him, Canderous. I did once but I couldn't after he turned his back on me. But he was a decent, honorable man. He deserves more than to decay in a place where he was only ever miserable."
Canderous hesitated for a moment, seemingly trying to assess the truthfulness of what she had said. After a long time he nodded and sighed. "I'll help you. I've told you once already, I'll be your man through everything."