Tough Love

By: Glass Mermaid

AN: This was written using the ending dialogue cut from the game. Any dialogue except the very last line is not mine.

Wow, I wrote this back in 2005, but totally forgot to post it here. I found it on my computer, edited it, and voila!

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"Hey, kid."

A voice, emotionless and cold as death, drifts softly across the room.

Mical pivots quickly, blue eyes searching the older man's face for a long moment. Atton has appeared silently, a sleek grace to his movements that betrays no sound. The Disciple had not heard anything at all, even with the Force. This is perhaps the most telling threat of all.

"Atton! The exile, where is she?"

The worry in Mical's voice is clear, and his hands flutter over the hilt of his lightsaber, dance along the collar of his robe.

Atton smiles disarmingly, eyes frozen.

"She's safe. You don't need to worry about her. You never did, really," he says, nonchalant and careless, moving as silent as a ghost across the floor.

He begins to idly circle the blonde, watching him from the corner of his eye with an amused smirk flickering on his lips.

Atton stops abruptly, the amusement falling from his face. He turns to face Disciple fully, and the evil that stares back at the blonde causes him to take a wary step back from the man he had once considered an ally.

The faith he held for the redeemed pilot shatters brutally at his feet and he stares, wide eyed and betrayed, at the dark specter looming before him.

Atton is beautiful in the strange, sinister way of broken glass and old blood, his dark eyes missing nothing, his hair drifting boyishly over his face. He no longer looks the part of the fool or the pilot; instead he is a predator, stalking the uncertain Mical with a relentless, teasing pace.

Never has he been more frightened then when Atton begins to speak.

"You know how long it's been since I killed a Jedi?"

He is moving again, his dark robes sweeping his feet with incongruous grace as he eyes Mical. His long, thin hands are resting on his matching lightsabers, and Mical wonders if when he draws them, they will be as red as rubies.

"You get a taste for it, you know," Atton says with a trace of fond wistfulness.

His voice drops, trembles with death and desire.

"I killed a bunch here on Malachor, while the planet was dying."

He recalls the feel of the planet crumbling around him with a surge of stinging bliss. He had felt it fading. Atton had known that thousands of souls were being lost beneath and above and beside him, and he had been enraptured.

His path had always been so obvious. He had been a fool to deny himself for so long.

"Killing a half Jedi like you should hold me over until the next one comes along," he says calmly.

There is a short pause, where Mical looks at him in disbelief and Atton shrugs.

"They always do, you know," his eyes narrow, looking back at Disciple with disgust and abhorrence palpable in his tone.

He hated them all. Disciple, Mira, Bao-Dur, the Exile.

Perhaps her most of all. She had given him something to hope for, to long for. She had driven him mad with lust and want and gossamer promises he knows he hadn't imagined. It was in the curves of her body and the pout of her lips. It was in the teasing lilt of her voice and the knowledge in her eyes.

She was a vicious tease.

She had taken it all away the moment the appallingly clean and disappointingly meek Disciple had entered the picture.

Atton is never good enough. He is never true enough. He is never enough. He is dirty and black and withered, and she saw and she knew and she had turned from him.

Bitch.

"Atton, Kreia is using you," Mical says pleadingly.

He wants to reach Atton so badly it aches in his every bone. He can feel the Force darting about him nervous and fretful, as if it too senses that this man holds within his arms a battle Disciple cannot possibly win.

"Really? I had no idea," Atton says, sarcasm dripping heavily from each word.

Then, as if explaining to a child, "Everyone uses each other, kid, and if she's using me to kill you, as I see it, I really don't lose anything."

As he speaks the old Atton shines through, and Disciple looks at him with dawning horror and alarm. This hate filled creature, twisted by lust and murder and defeat, has been in their midst the entire time.

He listens disbelievingly as Atton continues to speak, voice taut with rage and betrayal.

"I already lost what mattered to me. I wanted to protect her, to help her," the melancholy and longing become naked in his voice, his face, his soul, "and then you show up," his jaw tightens, his words become edged with venom, "playing hero. Fine."

Disciple begins to feel desperation clawing up his spine, and instead of turning to meditation and peace to save himself, he speaks foolishly.

"Atton, the feelings between the Exile and I..."

"Doesn't matter," Atton says through clenched teeth, soul sick with rage and envy.

'Not anymore.'

There are shadows in the pilot's dark eyes, and within it the Disciple reads a hundred different threats for the Exile.

Rape. Murder. Torture.

Are they threats? Are they fantasies? Are they memories?

Is she lying in a pool of blood and cauterized flesh somewhere? Does she need him? Is it already too late? What has Atton done?

He can sense the pain and love and hatred for the small blonde both men have come to care for within the pilots heart. It is written in his power clouded eyes.

Beautiful/Slut. Sweet/Tease. Adored/Bitch. Beloved/Betrayer.

Never has Mical seen a more bitterly filled miasma of conflicting emotion.

"I had forgotten how much I hate Jedi, and the less of you that are in the galaxy, the better," he says louder, lighter.

Atton lazily draws his lightsabers with an ease and grace that staggers Mical. A smirk plays almost gently against the brunette's lips.

"Ready to die, kid?"

In that moment Mical knows the outcome of the battle before it has even begun. Whether it is ordained by the Force or manipulated by the Sith, he is going to die. Atton has known it from the moment he crept into the room, and Mical feels like a fool for waiting so long to draw his weapon. He does so now, shaking.

"I won't fight you Atton!'"

Despite his fear, bravery and light shine through, a blatant beauty in his face and posture that brightens the dim room.

A bitter disgust fills Atton as he looks at him. Fingers of a deeper resentment then he had ever thought possible choke him silently.

"I don't care, I just want you to die."

Face blank, emotionless, Atton switches on his lightsabres, their wicked hum the only noise in the room as scarlet burns away the blue, and he bears down on the smaller man.

The battle is smooth and merciless, silent save for the murmur-thrum-spark of clashing weapons and their carefully labored breathing. When all is said and done, the blonde man lies in a heap at Atton's feet, and the reek of burnt flesh fills the room. Mical's face is maliciously burned beyond recognition, a parting shot from a pilot gone rogue.

"Tough love, kid," Atton says cruelly, switching off his weapons.

He sheaths them, smiles down softly at the body of the Disciple, and leaves the room in a swirl of black robes and leisurely menace.

He has an Exile to see about a ride.