A/N: Another one-shot, from Atton's perspective. I think I like this one better than the last one.
Disclaimer:Do I look like George Lucas? Good God, I certainly hope not.
I'll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on you.
You were hardly attractive. I'm rather ashamed to admit that was my first thought. But, you know, who could blame me? You were a mess. Your hair looked as though a two year old had taken scissors to it. Or maybe a dull knife. The ends were frayed, uneven, hacked off. You looked as though you had just woken up, you smelled like Kolto and the skimpy jumpsuit you were wearing did absolutely nothing for your figure.
Nevertheless, I smirked and made lewd comments, as is the norm for… what was it you called me again? Ah yes. The norm for a scoundrel.
Unlike the naïve virgins most Jedi are, you didn't blush or grow indignant. You didn't seem to care. You looked at me with steady, calm, almost bored eyes. They were blue, I couldn't help but think to myself.
"Keep your eyes up here, bud."
You had such a quiet voice. It was quiet, not humble or filled with humility. You just spoke softly. It was hard to hear you over the buzz of the force cage. As time went on, I grew used to the quiet alto tone you used. Unless you got angry. Then your voice seemed blaringly loud, something I wasn't used to. And I cringed inside whenever you got angry. I didn't let you see it, but I cared about what you thought. I cared a lot, more than I should have. Instinct told me to find a way to ditch you and the old lady as soon as possible. And then the witch began her manipulations and I couldn't leave. But a part of me, some other instinct, told me that I had to stay. That it was important that I stay. That maybe I could pull you out of some tight jam or deadly situation in the future.
"Atton, I just met two people in the refugee sector…"
Your voice was quieter than normal, like you were scared or something. I couldn't figure what you'd be scared of, I mean, it wasn't like you knew who I was.
"They said they knew you."
I tried to cover up my nervousness with a little humor. I don't think it worked. And then after a second you spilled about hearing that I was under some kind of alias. I was… infuriated, I'll admit. Who told you? Why did you believe them? How could you doubt me?
Then again, how could you not? I'm a scoundrel.
I'll always smile when I think of that. After I confessed everything, you looked at me and smiled, a frayed lock of hair falling over one of your eyes.
"And here I thought you were just another scoundrel."
And for a rare moment, your eyes weren't dead or filled with apathy. For a moment, you cared.
Not that I didn't think you never cared on the inside. I'm sure you did. It's just something you weren't good at showing, I guess. But there were times when I could see it in your eyes, or in the way you looked at the people we travelled with. You didn't seem to care, but your actions told me and the others a different story. You helped people, healed them, donated generously, gave advice. You were kind, even if your outward appearance suggested otherwise.
"I saw visions. The Mandalorian Wars, Revan, Malak, the Academy on Dantooine. … you and the others."
I don't remember much about our visit to Korriban. I can remember the Sith Lord we encountered and the Shyrack cave with the chamber that you insisted going into by yourself.
One thing I'll never forget was the gut-wrenching pain and panic I felt when I saw you stumble out of the chamber, looking absolutely wild, pained. Your face was pale, you were trembling and your eyes held none of the apathy that was such a part of your character. You looked at me once and collapsed. You weren't unconscious, but you didn't have the strength to walk. I remember how easy it was to carry you.
I remember how easy it was to cradle your head against my shoulder, to hold you tightly. If I knew anything, I knew I wasn't letting go until I knew you were safe. I shot glares at threatening shadows, at sounds I thought might be a hidden danger to you. To us.
It was easy to forget that self-preservation instinct and replace it with that strange selflessness that was so alien to me. You were the only thing that mattered, you and your safety. And when finally, you were safe, the old Atton clicked into place, in a way. He wasn't the same. He wasn't the same, if only because he realized that what he felt wasn't something to be trifled with. It wasn't just lust, or infatuation or admiration. It was something more. It was what fueled me as a Jedi Sentinel, as a protector. As your protector. It was love.
I remember when you told me about your past. Well, what the history books wouldn't say about your past, anyway. I knew the basics. Destruction of Malachor, disobedience toward the Council, exile…
But one night, after the episode on Korriban, we were talking. I'm pretty sure everyone else was asleep, but I can't remember. I never really cared much about the others.
We were playing pazaak rather absently. Neither of us were really concentrating on the game or saying much to each other. We'd done that before. There were times when we didn't need to talk or play in order to get the satisfaction of each other's company. Sometimes sitting in silence was as good as a lively chat or sharp game of pazaak.
I remember looking up from my cards and asking you about your hair. From the moment I first saw you, it had baffled me that someone would wear their hair like that. I couldn't fathom the reason, as there could have been so many. I figured it might have been some kind of fashion on a planet. Maybe you had an accident with your lightsaber, as many of the strands had a distinctly burnt look to them.
I'd never have guessed the real reason. And I'd never have guessed that you'd get so angry about it. You stiffened up and marched out of the cockpit, leaving me dumbfounded. I figured maybe it was a touchy subject for reasons that, as I found out later, weren't accurate.
I mean, you were hardly feminine. You had a very slim build, flat chest and what HK-47 called a 'Man-Jaw'. I figured your hair was the last source of your femininity, and, having lost even that, you were incredibly touchy on the subject. I was, as usual, way off base.
"Of course you know about the bounty on Jedi. Shortly after it became public, before I met you on Peragus, I was a prime target. Everyone knew my past, it seemed, no matter where I tried to hide. I had lost my connection to the Force, my physical training had atrophied into a sad excuse for a Jedi, and as such, I was hardly anything more than your average woman."
You spoke monotonously, I'll always remember that. Such lack of emotion.
"I was captured easily and taken aboard a starship bound for Nar Shaddaa. During the trip, I was beaten, humiliated, violated. This is just something a little more permanent."
I kicked myself for being so stupid. I apologized. I didn't know what the hell else to say. You gave me one of your flat smiles and shrugged. You apologized yourself, for being so stiff and angry about it when I first asked. Then you bowed out of the room and walked off. I didn't follow you this time. I wondered how many other people knew about this. You didn't seem especially close to anyone else, save maybe Visas and Mical. They both shared your quiet personality. At times I wondered why you hung around me so much if you thought I was such a loud oaf.
All these questions I've been asking, all these things I've been wondering…
I'll never get a chance to ask them to you, will I?
I can feel the protector instinct and the self-preservation instinct battling against each other.
Go after her!
She'll bring you pain, forget about her. Look at what she's done to you already!
And I'm finding it hard to forgive you for leaving without a word, without a reason why. You couldn't even tell me?You couldn't take me along with you?
Then again, you'd say I was being selfish. But then again, how selfish are you being, leaving us by ourselves, when we want to be with you? When we want to protect you. When we love you.
I never pretended to be good enough for you. But you forgave me when no one else did, when no one else could. We forgave each other and opened ourselves up to each other. You taught me about the Force, I taught you… about Pazaak.
And now I'm alone. There are five other people on the ship, but I'm alone. But that's my life. Hundreds of people, all around me and it doesn't make a difference. Not a single one ever came as close as you did. And now you're gone, and I'm alone.
But hey, that's the norm for a scoundrel.