A Loose End- during/post- KotOR 2 LSF Exile and Atton. oneshot.

Disclaimer: All characters, etc. from the game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords belong to Obsidian Ent. and LucasArts.

A/N: like all my stories, please don't go into this expecting it to be canon.

She looked down upon the face of the old woman who'd come to mean so much. In death her features had become smooth, the lines and wrinkles disappearing. Despite her unfamiliar Sith appearance, all blacks, whites, and greys, she looked serene. Her lips held a slight curve, like the faintest glimpse of a smile.

The Exile folded Kreia's arms across her chest, feeling so many emotions. She'd felt betrayed, yes. But she knew, with every breath of her being, that Kreia had truly, deeply loved her. She's been her mentor, and her master in every way.

And now she was gone.

The air stirred around them, causing her robes to flap in the breeze. The Ebon Hawk lifted up from the green abyss below the Trayus Core. They were in the very heart of Malachor V. A bleak, miserable place. And a good place for it all to end.

The ship engines roared as the Hawk set down next to her on the circular platform.

She took in the sight of the ship that she'd come to think of as hers. It was going to have to last her, for looking upon it now, she knew that this was going to be the last she'd see of it.

She needed to go.

It was not a desire, it was her purpose. She must do this, just as Revan had needed to do it before her.

She would go to the dark places where something dark and terrible lived and grew. Laying in wait. No one would miss her now. Her companions might, but in time, they would forget her. Kreia had said it was so.

She'd done all she could for the Galaxy. It would now be free to rebuild, and grow. She'd defeated the Sith triumvirate, motivated her allies, and set them upon their perspective paths. All that was left was for her to go.

She sighed, feeling sadness, but also that there was no other choice. She turned her back on the Hawk, wondering briefly how long they'd wait before they realized she wasn't coming.

Not long, for through Remote, Bao-Dur would know the score. He would know that time was ticking down, and the Mass Shadow Generator would activate, and end it all.

She began her walk toward the dark passage, leading to who knows what.

Then she heard the clank of boots descending the Hawk's loading ramp behind her.

Atton stared at the ship's controls, fidgeting in his seat. Where the hell was that woman?

Mical paced the corridor behind him. "She's not coming." He sounded sad, but resolved. As much as his voice rankled Atton's nerves, it was what he'd said this time that mattered, not how he'd said it. He'd just put a voice to Atton's own fears.

"Like hell she's not." He jumped out of the pilot's chair and headed for the exit.

The entire crew stood in the ship's main hold looking dazed and anxious. He looked from one to another, then gave Mira a quick nod. She could pilot the ship if she had to.

"You don't have long," Bao cautioned as Atton hit the door control.

"Leave when you have to," he tossed back over his shoulder.

He rushed down the ramp, and saw her. She was walking away from the ship, headed for a door, with nothing but blackness on the other side.

"Where ya goin', Sweets?" he asked.

She paused, turning to look up at him as he approached. "Hi, Atton." Her face looked sad, her dark eyes had shadows under them, making her look young and tired. "You should go. There's not much time..."

"Not without you," he said, making his voice firm, so she'd know he meant it.

"I can't go back, Atton, I can't." She tucked a few stray pieces of her dark hair back behind her ear with her right hand, a nervous habit he'd picked up on shortly after they'd first met. "I have to try to finish this."

He let his eyes stray to the door behind her. "And go where? What's down there?"

She smiled a little. "Honestly? I'm not sure. But this is something I have to do. And I need... I need you to understand."

He reached out and grabbed her upper arms, pulling her body against him. "Oh, I understand. And I'm coming with you." It was the only answer. The only way for this to all make any kind of sense.

"But..., Atton, no. I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that this is a one way trip. Don't be foolish."

"Damnit, I've had enough of being called a fool! I know what you're doing! And I know I can't let you go without me."

She looked bewildered. "But what about your life? Surely you want more than I can give you." She sighed in frustration. "I want more for you than this!"

He shook his head: she still didn't get it. "Look, Canderous has the Mandalorians. Visas and Mira have people to help, and their need to make the Universe a better place. Bao-Dur has Telos and the restoration. The Kid's gotta rebuild the Jedi Council and report back to the Republic. And I, all I have is you."

She probably didn't know it, but she was clinging to him now. "I think Kreia knew this was going to happen. She warned me... she said that if I brought you with me it would only bring more danger to us both. I can't bring you with me. Just like Revan couldn't bring Carth..."

He cut her off. "The Republic needs Carth. Revan knew this when she decided to leave him. And nothing against the Admiral, but I think I've gone up against things that he never had to. I've done things... Do you really think I can't handle myself? That I would hurt your chances?"

He knew he was right. If all that awaited them was death, then they would die together. It was the only way.

"But why? Why do this?"

He'd won. He could see it in her eyes. "I just want to be with you."

The Ebon Hawk began to lift off from the platform and ascend to the green sky above them. Time was running out.

"Let's do this together." He pulled her in for a mind shattering kiss.

And they did.