Floating - during KotOR 2 LSF Exile and Atton.

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

The sounds of activity were all around them. Citizens busteling here and there. Mercs, spacers, refugees, bounty hunters, and common folk, all going about the business of their daily lives.

The Citadel Station over Telos was a hive of activity, but without the oppressive feeling of despair you'd get on Nar Shaddaa. Alex preferred doing business here to the smuggler's moon, and having taken care of Loppak and Czerka, it seemed much safer here, too.

They were back to talk with Grenn about the fuel situation. With things squared away with G0-T0, Vogga had promised to pick up the Republic's contracts. It was a huge weight off of Alex's shoulders. She didn't need the lingering guilt for the part she'd played in the destruction of Peragus any more. And it was one less thing on the seemingly endless list of tasks they had before them.

She needed a break. The Hawk was nearly overflowing with crew now, and to say that not everyone on the ship got along would be putting it lightly.

Which was a big reason why Alex had decided to grab her favorite scoundrel and head for the nearest cantina as soon as they'd arrived here.

Atton had looked at her with raised brows when she'd told everyone to stay put, that the two of them would be back when they'd "taken care of some business". But he hadn't complained, and now he walked beside her with an ear-to-ear grin and a swing in his step. He was looking forward to some Juma and cards. And so was she. She'd picked Atton because bringing him along was as close to going by herself as she could get. She could count on him to do his own thing.

She had a wonderful time, drinking enough to feel loose. It was nice to let herself go, to stop being proper and Jedi-like, stop setting a good example for all her friends, with their varying personalities and quirks. It felt good to just be herself for a while.

She leaned back on her stool and looked over at Atton. He was sitting at the table closest to her, pulling a large pile of credits from the table's center toward himself, a cigarra clamped in his teeth. It looked like he'd been steadily winning all night.

"Let's go," she shouted at him over the noise.

"Well," Atton said, standing up on unsteady legs, "I hate to leave you all while I'm ahead, but duty calls." Using the cigar, he gave a mocking salute, then tossed it on the table, leaving two Rodians and a Duros in his wake.

They left the smoke-filled interior, stepping out into the manufactured streets of the station. The lighting never changed here, and Alex wondered how the locals could live with the constant illusion of daylight. Even during space travel it was good to have darkness now and again. She liked to shut down all the overhead lighting in the Hawk around bed time.

Atton stumbled next to her, and she reached out and steadied him until it seemed he had proper control of his feet. The smile on his face faded and he looked down at where her hands touched him, on his arm and at his waist. Noticing his attention, she quickly pulled her hands back.

"Thanks." His voice was husky and held a hint of a slur.

As they continued to walk, Alex looked out through the observation windows at the stars, the docking ships, and Telos, off in the distance. Space was a beautiful place. But it was easy to feel cold here. And alone.

The main reason why Alex usually didn't drink was because it always left her feeling melancholy.

"Hey... do we really have to go back to the ship for the night? I mean, I'm sure Grenn's still got that dingy apartment he kept us in last time we were here..."

Alex rolled her eyes at him. "Right. Like I'm going to fall unconscious in a room alone with you."

Atton stopped walking. "What? Come on. If I were to lay a hand on you, you'd probably break it."

She chuckled. His exaggerated outrage, along with how slow he was talking made him even more ridiculous than normal.

"OK, I'll bite. If you aren't looking to try anything, why not go back to the Hawk to sleep?"

He sighed, his face pulling into the put-out expression he wore ninety percent of the time.

"I was just enjoying being away, is all. I can't stand most those guys."

It was strange, hearing so many words coming from Atton at once. Usually, if he wasn't complaining, all she could get from him were nods. "You're talking about Mical, right?"

Hearing his name made Atton scowl down at her.

All those two ever did was bicker. And it seemed completely unwarranted. Mira and Alex had a running joke that the two might actually have the hots for each other. Now, whenever she saw one or the other of them say something nasty to, at, or about the other, it sent her into a secret fit of laughter.

"I just... I can tell about people, you know? And he's no good. He's up to something, outside of the mission. He's got some agenda..."

Alex turned away, and slowly started to walk again."Atton... I know. He's a Republic spy."

"What?" He jogged to catch up, then stopped her with a hand on her arm. "How the hell do you know that?"

"Because he told me. Look, Mical is harmless, OK? You don't have to worry about him."

His hand was still on the bare skin of her arm where the fabric of her gloves ended. She pulled back slightly and he let his hand drop to his side.

"Why spend so much time with him, then?"

She looked into his eyes, really looked, and thought she finally understood. This scoundrel, always so bored and unaffected, so selfish and shallow, was threatened by Mical. And maybe he should be.

"He's intelligent, that's why. And he's nice to me. I like that in a man."

Suddenly, he was leaning much too close. He looked frustrated and angry. "Nice, huh? And you think that's what you want?"

Then he pulled her against him, one big hand wrapping around her lower back and coming to rest on her hip, the other sliding through her blond hair and grasping the base of her skull.

Before Alex had time to react in any way, he was kissing her.

He tasted of Juma and his cigar. His lips hugged hers, his tongue sliding inside her mouth to explore and stroke.

Alex felt like she'd hit zero-grav. She was floating, drifting from her body. The sensations were amazing. He was strong and warm and exciting.

Alex liked to think that she was conflicted. Mical really was a nice man. A safer, saner choice. But she didn't want safe. She wanted to be blown away. And in Atton's arms, she was.