A/N: I wanted to explore what might happen if Atton let his jealousy for the Exile go to his head. This is what happened. Also, I wanted to see what it would be like if he went to the Dark Side on his own, without any pressure or influencing from the Exile. Getting back into his Jaq-ness, I guess.

Also, Saphra is an Exile that I made up just for this story. Pretty name though, isn't it? I may have to play through K2 with her someday if I can think up a last name and find a close enough face for her. Ahem. No, she doesn't want to be romantically involved with Mical; Mical was right in that department of their relationship being more sibling-like than lover-like.

Speaking of Mical, I think I let my "Mical's a dork! All hail Atton!" nature shine through. I think I might've made him a little... wimpy. Either that or Atton's strength is extra-fueled by his rage. Yeah. That's it.

Okay, I think that's enough explaining for now. I'll be back if I think of anything else. Enjoy. I rate this PG-13 at least for language and some suggestive stuff.

Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Sacrifice

Shadows. The hallways and long, expansive corridors contained little else. Trayus was just one large mass of shadows, each individual one interlocking with and combining with thousands of others, getting darker, darker, darker . . .

Darkness. It was figurative. The academy was dark despite the eerie glow of red crystals used as makeshift lamps. It was dark from not only the lack of light but also the twisted souls of the inhabitants. Hundreds of assassins and trainees, already dead. Hundreds more to slay. Then there would be another kind of darkness: the cold stone floor turning redder, redder, redder . . .

Lightning. Outside. White light flashed through the gray-green sky. Bright light seared the sickly sweet, acidic atmosphere. Acid rain hissed at the electricity. The charge raced through the foundation of the academy, sending an almost pleasant tingle up through the floor to the ankles of whoever was left standing and could feel it. Before the next flash, the charge grew stronger, stronger, stronger . . .

Thunder. It represented the turmoil, the raging hurricane of anger, pain, betrayal, fear, hatred . . . All the "deadly" emotions. The ones the Jedi refused to acknowledge. The ones they feared. Didn't matter. Those felt good. Felt like power. And the rumble grew louder, louder, louder . . .

Perhaps the old woman had been right after all. Perhaps the Exile was too weak for the galaxy to depend on her for its salvation. That would explain her fondness for that historian. Two weak, boring people just had to be perfect for each other.

It didn't stop Atton, though. He loved her. He'd die for her. No . . . he'd kill for her. Kill to have her. Kill to shove her into his bunk and tell her everything he'd ever wanted to say, show her every last bottled up emotion and every last ounce of hot, raging lust. Kill to take her somewhere dark and just . . . mm.

But no. She had to be fond of the historian. "He has a name, Atton," she'd said. "Please use it in reference to him." That had never happened. It'd always been "Hey, Blondie." Atton had liked it that way. It had shown the kid that not everybody liked an innocent, naïve little schoolboy. But every time he'd turned around, they had been together. Meditating. He ended up expecting the pair to wind up in bed together. But no, that "Mical" would never have done that. He never would've even kissed her. He was too good for her. She had a few rough edges, grit under her nails, things like that. As far as Atton was concerned, she deserved a man who'd know what she wanted, somebody who'd frack her hard—not gently, not carefully, not cautiously, but hard—and make her feel good. Somebody like him.

The change had started when they'd left Dantooine, damned scholar in tow. It had started as an annoying kink in his stomach. Then it became a little stronger, more like a clenching in his chest. It worsened every time he saw the little historian. It drove him almost mad when he saw the kid playing medic for one of her injuries, with his hands on her flesh, a privilege Atton would've killed for. He would've put his hands on her waist, then he would've run them up, up, up . . . then down, down, down. In the back of his mind, he always could hear her moaning for him, gasping out his name and begging him to do it all again. If it hadn't been for that damned Disciple, he would've gotten his chance with her. Hell, he would've fracked her in the pilot's chair up in the cockpit if he'd gotten the chance.

But no.

He had to play nice, stick to the shadows, wait and hope that she'd someday give him more attention than glancing over her shoulder to say "You're part of my shore party today." Force, he loved her. Trying to garner her attention only made it worse. He wanted her so, so badly, wanted to keep her to himself, and seeing her teaching that little pest to be the most perfect little Jedi that ever walked the 'verse only drove him crazier.

In a way, Atton was glad she'd opened him to the Force; it meant he had a means of dealing with that stupid Mical that was better than just shooting him at point-blank rage with a Mandalorian heavy blaster. She hadn't showed him the Dark Side; she was probably scared of it, most like. It didn't stop him from figuring it out for himself, though, and he ended up returning almost completely to what he'd been in Revan's service. To Jaq. He'd forgotten how much he'd liked the thought of hunting a Jedi. He'd missed it, really. The idea of it sent waves of dark pleasure through him, just like it always had. But what felt better was the idea of attaining revenge. He'd show that little Jedi who was worthy of the Exile. He'd show him.

Atton skulked down another long, dark corridor, lightsaber in hand. He vaguely regretted not having enough time to build one of his own, but this spare one they'd picked up somewhere along the way would have to suffice. Besides, its blade was red. What better way to strike fear into that naïve little jerk's heart than by waving a red 'saber in his face? Atton tugged at his battered old jacket—now dyed a rich, dark black—and pulled it tighter around himself to better hide the body armor he wore beneath his shirt. He looked one way down the hall, then the other, before slinking through a narrow doorway into the corridor beyond. He could feel the Disciple nearby, pacing, worrying, wringing his hands. Atton smiled a wry, cold smile. Worried, was he? Probably. Too cowardly to fight alongside the Exile, so he'd just wait until she returned. Idiot. And he'd thought he could woo the most damn gorgeous woman in the entire Force-damn galaxy with his shy nature and long, intelligent-sounding words.

Atton adjusted his grip on the dull silver 'saber hilt in his hand, slipping into a mass of shadows. He liked shadows; they hid him well; they were a natural stealth field. By habit, he pushed forward a mental shield of anger, hatred, lust, insecurity . . . anything to confuse the little Jedi and make him pause long enough to be struck down by one killing blow. A familiar shiver raced down Atton's back; ooh, he'd forgotten how good this felt, how utterly amazing the hunt always felt to him. The thrill of stalking prey, the rush of adrenaline as he took his target down . . . And if it were a woman, sometimes there'd be a little extra thrill for him. He knew the Exile wouldn't appreciate his slaughtering her little librarian, but he didn't care. He'd get her to see his side of things. He'd make her see the galaxy the way he did now. She'd turn, just like he had. Then he'd have her. She'd be his. The silence of the night would be broken by the noises of hard, passionate lovemaking, just like he wanted it. A sardonic smirk tugged one corner of his mouth upward as he slipped out of the shadows again, slinking forward, drawing nearer to where he knew that infernal Mical was pacing. He was going to enjoy this. Oh, Force, was he going to enjoy this.

He found the Disciple pacing in an open, semi-shadowy chamber, the cold stone floor broken every few feet by red tile circles that seemed to glow from an internal power source of their own. He wasn't nervous; this was second nature to him now. He'd done it so many times before that he never felt his stomach clench in anxiety. He just stepped forward, out of the darkness, out of the shadows.

"Hey, kid."

Mical wheeled around, blue eyes wide with worry. Atton scowled in disgust. What a coward.

"Atton, the Exile—"

"Is that worry I hear?" Atton mocked. "Figures. You're always worryin' after her."

He took a few steps closer. Maybe Mical wasn't as stupid as he'd always assumed, because the young man seemed to instantly figure out what was happening. Those big blue puppy-dog eyes got even wider.

"Atton, you—"

"She was mine," Atton said, glaring angrily at the Disciple with red-ringed eyes. "She was always mine. Then you came along, stole her from me. You don't even deserve her. You're not even half the man she needs."

"Atton, you cannot be serious!" Mical exclaimed. "The feelings between us . . . Why, we're more like brother and sister than—"

"Oh, save it," Atton hissed. "That may be how it is from your perspective, but from her side of it, she's wishing you'd bed her. You don't even have the guts to do that. You probably never even saw a naked woman."

A flush of bright pink came to Mical's cheeks, and Atton growled under his breath. Stupid kid. Being so perfect and innocent all the time . . . It made him sick. He slunk closer, eyes narrowed as rage and pain bubbled up inside him. All those weeks, he'd had his heart set on one woman and one woman only. Then this kid had to come along, come dancing up the Hawk's boarding ramp, only to steal Atton's woman from him. She'd never officially been "his woman," but he'd wanted her so badly that he would've done anything to have her. Including kill. Including kill Jedi.

"Do you know what I'm gonna do?" Atton went on. "I'm gonna kill you. I used to kill Jedi, you know. It was my job. I got paid for it. I liked it. And you know . . . I'd forgotten how good it felt to kill. You never killed, did you? Bet you don't have the balls to do it unless they shoot at you first." He scoffed under his breath. "Coward."

"Atton," Mical said slowly. Atton felt him try to strengthen his resolve. "Killing isn't—"

"I know," Atton retorted sharply. "It 'isn't the Jedi way.' You wanna know what else isn't in your damned little Code? The way I love Saphra. That's her name, y'know. Saphra. Not 'the Exile.' Hell, if you Jedi put that little clause in your Code, you wouldn't have to hunt down more potential thralls. You could just make more."

Atton skulked closer still, hand tight around his lightsaber. Hatred rolled off of him in waves, and as he drew nearer, Mical slowly began to back away. Atton saw that he was going for his own lightsaber. About damn time. Damned coward, thinking he could just wheedle his way out of this. Well, he wouldn't. Atton demanded blood today.

"Atton, I don't want to fight you . . ."

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

He'd always been a fan of doing things the long way, sneaking up behind a target and blowing their brains out with a sniper rifle. He wasn't in the mood for that today. He didn't want that today. He wanted this idiot to die, to die painfully, to die now. So he lunged.

He almost got to drive his 'saber through his enemy's heart, but there was a zzum and a snap-hiss as the red blade was met and blocked by a gleaming blue one. Blue. Like Saphra's. The very thought of her, with her blazing green eyes and long, wavy chestnut hair that sometimes fell in loose, sexy wisps around her face, fueled Atton's anger. He pressed harder. Apparently it hadn't been too stupid an idea to get Mandalore to spar with him. But Mical—damned little prick—had spent more time meditating than preparing for battle. He wasn't ready for this, and Atton knew it. He was already picking out weaknesses to exploit. Sloppy stance, slow recovery, poor attack blocks . . . There were a hundred things that this kid was doing wrong. Atton just glared at him, eyes scintillating with hatred. Then he swung his blade out, cutting a gash across Mical's arm. That blow knocked him off-balance, and Atton pressed the advantage. He slashed again, anger boiling inside him. This time, there was a gash of red across the little Jedi's chest. Atton felt a surge of satisfaction as he watched the kid try to gather the concentration to use a gentle little Force push. Didn't work. Atton summoned his newly-learned strength in the Dark Side and clenched his fist, watching in amusement and approval as Mical gasped for breath and clawed at his throat.

"Y'know, kid," Atton drawled, "this is the nice treatment. You oughtta consider yourself lucky because it could be much, much worse."

He went on to describe some of the things he'd done at Revan's heel, the ways he'd killed Jedi and taken pleasure from it, the distinct methods he'd used . . . He told in grand, grotesque detail of what he'd done and how he'd done it, how it had just felt good sometimes. Most times. Almost all the time.

"I'd forgotten how much I hate Jedi," he growled, powerfully flinging Mical back against a wall. "The regular kind is bad enough, but then there's you. Whining, groveling, boot-licking, pathetic little sonofabitch. You ain't good enough for Saphra. Dunno why you ever thought you were."

He stormed toward Mical, chest heaving with fury and the exertion of battle. He saw the Jedi try to scramble for his lightsaber, but he just lifted it with the Force and pitched it across the vast chamber. He paused not too feet from Mical, crouching down like an animal on the hunt and surveying him with a predatory smile. He watched as Mical tried to struggle to his feet, to fight back, but he just grabbed him by the collar and slammed him back, effectively knocking the Jedi's wind out of his lungs.

"I love Saphra," he snarled. "I ain't gonna sit back and let you steal her."

Mical's eyes were wide, but Atton held him so firmly that he could not fight his way loose. What was more, the gashes in his chest and arm were bleeding; there was a steadily widening red splotch on the front of his crisp, pressed tunic. Atton pulled his arm back, 'saber in hand, ready to drive it home.

"Ready to die, kid?"

He didn't wait for an answer. He just plunged the lightsaber in, soaking in the satisfying sound of a cry of pain. However, his mind registered that scream as being too feminine, and he checked his prey. Mical was lying there, eyes wide, breathing hard—and most definitely not dead. Horror chased down Atton's spine like ice water as he looked down to see Saphra lying there on the floor between him and the Jedi, his lightsaber stabbing through her chest and protruding from her back. She was gazing up at him, eyes pained, gasping out ragged breaths. In that instant, Atton realized what had happened. She'd come back. She'd seen what he was going to do. She'd stopped him from doing it. Shaking, Atton switched off the 'saber and snatched her into his arms, holding her tight as his heart and head pounded. No, no . . . not Saphra . . . never Saphra!

"Atton," she wheezed, clutching his jacket. "Atton, why . . ."

"Shh, shh," he managed, throat clenching. Force, no . . . "You're gonna be . . . fine . . ."

"No," she coughed, gazing up at him with those eyes, those beautiful green eyes. Blood trickled from her nose. "No. Atton, I . . . couldn't let you do it . . ."

Atton pressed her head to his chest as she tried to inhale deeply, instead managing several short, ragged breaths. His mind reeled as he held her. In trying to exact revenge because of her, he had inadvertently slaughtered her instead. Hot tears stung his eyes as he brushed back her soft, wavy hair, peering down at her. She peered back.

"It's not . . . not him I love," she whispered. "'s not him."

Atton's blood ran cold. Oh, Force . . . His throat tightened so much more, forcing him to gulp at the air. He'd tried to keep her for himself, but now she was dying, dying right there in his arms because of his jealousy.

"Then what the hell's the matter with you?" he forced out. "Goin' and doin' a fool thing like this . . . Could've had some good times, Saphra . . ."

"'s 'cause I love you," she answered faintly, voice hoarse and fading. "Didn't wanna . . . see you fall."

Tears began streaming down Atton's face as he pressed her close to his chest, bending down and kissing her as hard as he would've had she ever joined him in his bunk. He felt her feebly return that kiss and murmur "Couldn't let you do it" again, but then . . . she fell limp in his arms. The tears came harder then as he held her tight, burying his face in her hair, begging her to come back, pleading with her, saying he'd do everything right if she'd . . . just . . . come . . . back . . . !

The stones of Trayus' floor were red, but not with the blood that had been desired. Beside the miserable revenge-seeker's pain-ridden farewell to the woman he'd wanted more than anyone, a puddle of red formed as blood dripped down from the Jedi Exile's back. And the puddle grew darker, darker, darker . . .

Fin.