Fifth and final chapter of The Secret Tomb - 'Dark Matters'. A familiar face and an old question. When doubt touches her, will Shélla allow herself to be convinced by a long forgotten ally? How could she accept forgiveness from the man that she killed?

KotOR © Lucas Arts

Chapter 5 - Dark Matters


Atton relaxed. He paused, lowering his shaking hands from his head. Silence. Blessed silence. No screams. No yells. No cries. No blood.

He drew in a slow, deep breath, and staggered to his feet, leaning heavily on the rocky wall. Someone grabbed his shoulder, propping up. He glanced at the hand, and, noticing it to be the Disciple's, reflexively pulled away. Mical looked at him, hesitantly, and then nodded, and moved back. Atton looked at him for a second and then shook his head. He hadn't meant to do that. It was a reflex. If Shélla had been here she'd have killed him.


His brain clicked into action, and his eyes moved over everyone, "Where is she."

Bao-Dur shook his head, slowly, "Not out yet."

"She on to the next test?"

He nodded, slowly, but didn't speak. His eyes were on the floor.

Atton looked at him for a moment, warily, "What's wrong."

The Zabrak looked up, catching his eyes, "You can't feel it?"

He shook his head, frowning, "Feel what?"

"Something new. But... familiar... like..." he shook his head, firmly, as if trying to rid himself of the thought. But a shadow still remained in his eyes.

"What's wrong." Atton asked, firmly, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"I... I recognise them, but..." he paused for a moment, and then his eyes widened slightly, filling with realisation and fear, "No." He whispered, shaking his head, slowly, "No, it can't be..."


Shélla couldn't speak. The woman in front of her was standing perfectly still, leaning casually against the doorframe, giving her a soft smile. Her ebony black hair was pulled back behind her head, with a few strands of fringe left tumbling down, contrasting amazingly with her bright blue eyes. She had delicate cheekbones, and her skin was a warmed pink. She let her eyes move over her, slowly. Shélla remembered being somewhat jealous of her colour. She was exquisitely beautiful, but casually so. She was dressed all in black, a dark, armoured chest piece covered by a long black cloak.

The woman stood there, looking at her, her smile tinged with a gentle tease. Then she shook her head, and took a few steps forwards, towards her, "Shélla Roke. Well. It's been... a long time."

Shélla looked at her. Her heart was pumping in her chest. Finally, she opened her mouth and managed to force out one word: "Revan."

Revan smiled again, "That's me. How are you? How have you been? I haven't seen you since..."

"Since Malachor." She completed, softly.

She nodded, slowly, her smile not fading but turning almost sad, "That's the one."

"Why... why are you here?" the Exile whispered, shaking her head, feeling unexplainable tears prick up in her eyes.

She gave a slow, casual shrug and smiled again. She was exactly how she remembered her. Forever calm, casual, her blue eyes sparkling with a content serenity she managed to keep even after what she had done. During battle that spark faded. But it always came back, despite everything. Shélla had often wondered whether she forced it. Looking at her now, she wouldn't be surprised if that was true.

Revan cocked her head slightly to one side, watching her, curiously, "You didn't join me after the Mandalorian Wars. You disappeared. What happened?"

"I... I went back to the Jedi Council."

The woman nodded, slowly, as if this was just what she had thought, "And they exiled you."


"For coming back to them. For not fighting. For returning to them."

"Please. Please don't do this, Revan."

She raised an eyebrow, "Do what?"

"You know what." She shook her head, desperation sparking up inside of her, "You know, Revan. You know I was your soldier. You know I would've done... anything. I did do anything."

"So what changed?"

"I couldn't do it. Not after what happened. I think... I still think... a part of me died back on Malachor. I thought I'd never pick up a lightsaber again."

She nodded to her holster, "But, apparently, you did."

"Yeah. 'Cause of Bao-Dur."

Her face lit at his name, "Bao-Dur? The Zabrak technician. Small galaxy."

"Big galaxy. It was the Force that led us to each other."

She nodded, "Of course." She paused for a moment, watching her, and then shook her head, slowly, "Why didn't you join me after Malachor. I wanted you there, you know. I wanted you by my side."

"Really?" she asked, catching her eyes, "Did you really? It's no secret what you were doing at Malachor, Revan. You were thinning the ranks, killing off the people who weren't loyal to you. I believe the phrase is called 'cleaning house'."

Revan paused watching her, and then nodded, slowly, "So I had my doubts. And they were doubts, Shélla, but very slight. You have no idea how long I deliberated over sending you to Malachor. But you pulled through. You met my expectations. You went further than my expectations. You survived."

"You're not... you're not even gunna deny it?" she shook her head, and Shélla felt anger spark inside her, "You sent me there to die. That was the reason. You sent me there to die. But, worse than that, you... you tricked me into killing the only people that could have stopped you."

"It had to be done." The slightest amount of strain had entered her voice. The spark in her eyes was fading.

"Did it? I left for the Outer Rim after the Wars but when I came back... What had you become? You destroyed planets! Iridonia, Telos, Rodia, Taris, Dantooine! You destroyed Dantooine! How could you, after all that planet had done for us, after all it was to us! It was all I had!"

"Alek destroyed Dantooine, not me." She replied, her voice now noticeably cold, "I would never have done that, that wasn't by intention."

"Really? Then what was your intention. You betrayed us, Revan! You betrayed the Jedi, the Republic, you betrayed me!"

"You betrayed the Jedi the second you followed me to war."

"Yes! And then I went back to them! To face punishment!"

"There are darker forces at play here than you realised, Shélla. You have to trust me that I know what I'm doing. That I knew what I was doing."

"What darker forces? There's nothing!"

"Did you ever wonder why I too left for the Outer Rim, Shélla? Did you never ask?" she paused, looking at her, and then shook her head, "I did a lot as Darth Revan, Shélla. I killed a lot. I conquered, destroyed, forced the Republic to surrender. And I let people keep their belief that I had turned to the Dark Side. In fact I did quite a lot to strengthen that belief."

"You... you hadn't?" her voice shook.

She looked at her, letting her form her own decision. Then she held out a hand. "Come with me. Come see what I found. Leave this place and come help me fight against the worst the galaxy has to offer."

Shélla looked at her hand. Then back to her eyes, "Did you think of those you'd killed? Of the cost? The cost to keep whatever these things are at bay?"

"Yes." She replied, immediately, gently, "Every day."

"Was it worth it?"

Revan looked at her, giving a small, sad smile, "Yes. I wouldn't make one different move. This threat is worth the cost."

Shélla nodded, slowly. There was a long pause. Then she shook her head, slowly, "No."

She raised an eyebrow, "You deny me again. Alright. This time, however... would you give me your reasons?"

She looked into those bright blue eyes.

We'll be here. I'll wait for you.

The voice echoed through both of their heads. Revan raised an eyebrow again, "Atton? That's his name?"

She nodded, slowly, her eyes on her as if asking for some sort of approval. She said nothing, and Shélla tried again, melding their minds together, pushing out more memories.

So, uh, how long have you been a Jedi? Must be tough, you know... no family, no husband...

You're crazy! Even for a Jedi!

Just... be careful down there.

She let her mind move over them, allowing Revan's to follow, flickering through the whole of their time together, what they had done, all they had accomplished.

You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this.

You'll stay with me, won't you, sugar? You'll come with me, won't you?

I love you. You know that, don't you? I love you, sugar.

Then it changed. Revan was leading them now, moving into deeper parts of her head, letting out memories she had long locked away.

You've got plenty of lives to answer for - all you Jedi do! How did you even live with yourself after Malachor?

So you got off easy - you were exiled, brushed under the cargo ramp, another dirty little Jedi secret.

I'll tell you, all those Jedi at Malachor? They deserved it. Every last one of them.

Shélla tensed, trying to push the memories back. But Revan was too strong. She forced them back on track, delving deeper, raising an eyebrow as she found more and more, "This is your man, Shélla?"

When fighting a Jedi, you wound the Padawan first, then let the rest take care of itself. Not only will the master move to protect the student, but the Force Bond between the two will mess up the master's head better than any stab wound.

"Stop it." Shélla managed, pushing back against her, trying to force her out.

"I'm sorry, Shélla. It's for your own good."

I didn't fight Jedi - I killed them. A lot of them.

I don't know why I'm wasting my time with you anyway.

She lashed out, but Revan caught her hand, twisting it, forcing it down so she couldn't do it again, pushing her back against the wall.

"Still so sure about his loyalties?"

People say that killing Jedi is hard. It's not - you just have to be smart about it. There's ways of gassing them, drugging them, making them lose control, torturing them... I was really good at it.

"Still trust him with your life?"

"Revan. Please."

Killing them wasn't the best thing. Making them fall… making them see our side of it... that was the best.


I love you. You know that, don't you? I love you, sugar.

She held onto the words, firmly, allowing them to fill her mind.

You know that, don't you? I love you, sugar.

We'll be here. I'll wait for you.

I'll wait for you.

When fighting a Jedi, you wound the Padawan first, then let -

I love you. You know that, don't you?

Not only will the master move to protect the student, but the Force Bond -

I'll wait for you.

- better than any stab wound.

I love you, sugar.

Shélla opened her eyes and threw out a hand, causing Revan to stumble backwards, a lessened effect than what she had expected, but still the desired one. She shook her head, banishing the remnants of Atton's cold, calculating voice, allowing his gentle words to sustain her.

I love you. You know that, don't you?

I'll wait for you.

I love you, sugar.

She held out a hand, channelling the Force, feeling it grow inside of her. She pushed out, ferociously, and Revan was thrown away, smashed back against the Sith walls, away from her. Shélla paused, and then let go, her breathing hectic but calming, her heart slowing. She kept her eyes on her Master, her old idol, her inspiration.

Revan paused. Then, slowly, she turned her head to face her. She gave a small, soft smile. And then disappeared.


I love you. You know that, don't you?

I'll wait for you.

I love you, sugar.

Atton felt his insides go cold. That... that was his voice. His thoughts. Not his words, he hadn't said them, but all the same... What new test was this? A test for him? A test of him? What was going on?

You'll stay with me, won't you, sugar? You'll come with me, won't you?

You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this.

I love you. You know that, don't you? I love you, sugar.

The others were looking around them, frowning, just as he was. They had no idea what was going on, what these words meant, where they were coming from.

Bao-Dur, however, was looking directly at him. He had recognised the voice, recognised the words. Atton's heart skipped, expecting some sort of put-down, or maybe worse, maybe a stab of jealousy or contempt, or just a mocking, knowing smile. What he got, however, was completely different. The Zabrak paused, and then walked over to him, putting a hand on his shoulder, giving him a small, genuine smile, "Thankyou."


Shélla stood still, watching the spot where Revan had been. She didn't understand. Everything was whirling in her head.

-You've succeeded in this trial. I am impressed-

She spun round, quickly. No. This was no vision. She could feel it. This was real.

She hesitated, and then shook her head, "This... this was another test?"

-Yes. The dangers you faced in this tomb were real, but these images of the past served to prepare you for your future-

"Prepare me for the future..." She paused, then shook her head, "This was one... pretty shitty test, Kreia. How the fuck was this supposed to 'prepare' me."

She could sense her mentor's faint disapproval at her lack of delicacy, but she didn't comment -It was meant to be difficult. It was supposed to push you. For what is coming-

"What do you know of the future."

-Surely you have felt what awaits... Events are shaping themselves about you, seeking to draw you into their centre-

"Well they can stay the fuck away." Then she closed her eyes, forcefully calming herself, "I know. I know. And... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... It's just... this place."

-You overestimate the power of the tomb. Any change you feel is coming from within yourself. Instinctually, you know your true path-

"True path?" she repeated, sceptically, "Did you... did you see what I did?"

-No. And I don't think you should tell me. Because, whatever you did... can you still feel it? Inside? Guilt? Pain at what you've done?-


-There you are, then. Trust in your feelings. They will lead you in conquering the many challenges that the future holds for you-

Shélla paused, and then nodded, slowly, "I'm ready to leave."

-Go forward, then. To the next room. You should be able to unlock a passage that leads outside-

She started walking, forwards, putting her hand on the door and feeling it shoot open. A sarcophagus stood in front of her. Ancient Sith lettering lined its surface, and, after brushing off the dust, the lettering took shape.

Jen'ari Lud Kressh, jiaasjen. Zhol kash dinora - forca tar'ak.

Dark Lord Ludo Kressh, now integrating with shadow. It is done - through the force he is free.


Atton paced the floor. She still hadn't come out. Agitation flew off him in waves, and, despite all he tried, he couldn't keep it down.

Hit. Totals fifteen-eight. Hit - plus two. Opponent plus three. Totals seventeen-eleven.

Switch the face of the plus two/minus two card, the totals are nineteen-five. Stand.

Opponent hits - plus four. Plus one. Plus three. Totals are nineteen-eighteen.

Opponent uses Plus-2 card. Totals are nineteen-twenty. Opponent wins.

Dammit. Didn't see that coming. Seemed even his subconscious was out to get him.

Screw it. Best two out of three.

Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Totals are six-thirteen. Hit - plus seven. Opponent plus two. Hit - plus ten. Totals are twenty three - fifteen. Bust. Dammit.

Play the 2&4 flip card. Totals are twenty one - fifteen.

Dammit! No choice but to stand. End of round. End of game.

Atton turned and cursed violently under his breath. He could sense the surprised, confused gazes of the others on his back, but he paid no notice to them. He was fighting a losing battle against his mind, and his mind wasn't a gracious winner. He bit down hard on his lip, tearing, reopening the barely healed wound, relishing the coppery taste of blood. The slight pain echoed through him, enough to keep him out of his head for a little while.

I love you. You know that, don't you? I love you, sugar.

So direct. So to the point. That wasn't him. Wasn't him at all. He hid behind lust, need - a vague, casual desire. He didn't ask himself how he really felt. He was a coward. He wanted her, yes, he'd wanted her from the second he first saw her. He felt a deep, gnawing desire deep in his stomach almost every time he saw her, and his thoughts quite often lingered on the way she was on Peragus, when she approached him in his cell, the way she spoke, vulnerable but refusing to let him know it, uneasy but crushing the feeling down, keeping it hidden away from him in the back of her mind.

God, so beautiful.

A strong pulse of lust throbbed inside of him, heavy and deep in his chest. He immediately pushed it away. If Mandalore felt it he would have dismissed it with an amused, knowing look. He probably felt the same. But if the others felt it... he was sure they wouldn't be so accepting.


He stopped his pacing, immediately, his heart missing a beat, "What."

The Zabrak nodded ahead of him, silently. Atton frowned, and then followed the gesture. He froze.


Shélla threw her hands around Atton's neck, dragging him down to her, nearly pulling him to the ground. She pulled him close, ignoring his weak, muffled protests, hauling his head down to hers, letting her hands slide almost roughly through his gorgeous hair.

"Whoa whoa!" he managed, putting a hand on her shoulder, breaking away a little, "Give me some space to breathe! What the hell's got into you, sugar?"

She shook her head, the sweet little pet name making her pull him back down again, not caring about her too tight grip on his shoulders, not caring about the others staring at her in shock. She broke away after a moment, turning, taking Mical by both shoulders, looking deep into his eyes, searchingly. Then just as quickly she held out a hand to Bao-Dur, pressing it into his cheek, just wanting the touch, from all of them, just wanting to know they were there, they were real. She reached out a hand to Mandalore, stopping before touching him, even in her somewhat hysterical state knowing what his reaction would be if she hugged him.

Atton put a hand on her shoulder and she immediately put a hand over it, tightening his grip slightly so she could feel it through her armour.

He glanced down at it, raising an eyebrow, and then looked back up at her again, "Shélla... is everything okay?"

She could see he was confused, concerned, and a little bit wary. She shook her head, slowly, looking at him.

"I am not going back in that hell hole ever again." She managed, finally, her first words, "Hear me? Ever again."

His unease melted away and he shook his head, pulling her back towards him. She welcomed the touch, allowing him to hold her despite how weak it must have made her appear, how vulnerable.

"What happened." Mical pressed, putting a hand on her arm.

She pulled back from Atton a little, twisting so she could see him, "I... Oh... a test, apparently. A series of tests. With these, like... visions."

"Memories?" he asked, quickly.

She frowned, "Yeah. How did you..."

"We felt it." Atton said, quietly, "We felt Malachor. Dxun. And then... well, Force knows what you were doing after that, 'cause we had one hell of a earful."

"Of what?"

"You goddamned screaming. Calling us. Just our names, again and again and again."

She felt something click in her chest. She looked round at them, quickly. True, they looked quite white, pallid, dark rings circling their eyes. Mandalore's face she couldn't see, but the way he was leaning back on that wall looked anything but casual, no matter what he was trying to show. Of course. He hadn't felt the Force before, not truly. It would've been ten times as worse for him. The fact that he was even standing now was amazing.

"Atton had it the longest." Mical said, shaking his head, "Said he felt like his heart was breaking."

Shélla moved her eyes up to his, concerned. The spacer was looking vaguely embarrassed, shaking his head as if to say it had been nothing. It hadn't. If he had been feeling what she had felt... it hadn't.

She pushed her forehead into his chest, shaking her head, "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

She felt him tense, somewhat awkwardly, hand on her back, "Hey hey, apology accepted. Come on sugar, up you get."

She didn't want to. He had unzipped his armoured top slightly to just above his chest; a habit she herself had warned him many times would get him killed. She let her forehead lean on his bare skin, relishing the slight heat after the interminable chill of the tomb, feeling the zip catch slightly on her lip.

A shiver went through him, and she immediately flinched back, her eyes flicking up to his, frowning slightly. She checked his expression, quickly. There was something there she couldn't quite read. Disgust? No. Thank God no. So what was it? She paused for a moment, and then shook her head, dismissing it, and turned back to the others, untangling herself from his hands, "Come on. Let's get out of here. That place can sit and rot in silence for the rest of eternity for all I care."

"Was it worth it?" Bao said, slowly, "Did you find what you were looking for?"

"Well, that depends on what I was supposed to find." She replied, scathingly, her voice mocking her earlier 'wisdom' on Telos, fully aware that Kreia might be listening but not able to bring herself to care. She sighed and shook her head, "I wanna get out of here. I want... I want..."

"What." He asked, gently.

She paused for a moment, thinking, "I wanna... get back to the ship. Take a scalding shower. And then... have a huge hit of juma."

Atton laughed, turning around with her to walk back through the caves, "Y'know what, I might just join you with that."

"What, the drink or the shower?"

He leant down to her ear, his breath tickling her neck, "Which would you prefer?"

She felt an uncharacteristic flush of blood go to her face, making her cheeks turn pink.

He laughed, shaking his head, sliding an arm around her back, "Oh, sugar, that's a definite 'both'. Might need the drink first, though, hey?"

She brushed his hand off her, quickly, now blushing quite violently. He smiled, mischievously, and she could tell the thought that he'd managed to fluster her pleased him. She shook her head, quickly, "Come on. Let's get the hell out of here."

Back at the ship, Shélla stood of the gangway, glancing over the sand. She couldn't help but feel a stab of vicious satisfaction at the lack of movement. It was right that this place should be abandoned. It was too dangerous to be habited. Best these Sith legacies stayed forgotten.

Zhol kash dinora - forca tar'ak.

It is done - through the force he is free.

She shook her head, slowly, and then looked at the people around her. She gave a small smile, "I never said. Thankyou all for being there. For waiting for me."

The men nodded, slowly. She moved over, pulling Bao into a hug and then planting a kiss on Mical's cheek. She turned to Mandalore and gave a small, wry smile as he took a reflexive half-step back, "Don't you worry, Mandalorian. I'm not suicidal yet." She gestured to the ship with a jerk of her head, "Go on, all of you, get on. I just need a minute, then we'll be on our way."

Doing as she said, they walked into the ship.

Shélla paused for a moment. She just needed a few seconds to centre herself. She took the step off the gangway, allowing her feet to go back on the baked hard sand. She shifted her weight, feeling the soft crunches as the sand moved onto her shoes. She looked down. Then back up again. The sun was behind her now, so she could look across Korriban's plains without difficulty. Her eyes flickered over the ruins, the tombs, the remains of the archaeological work they had started.

She pulled at the zip on her armour, subconsciously. The Mandalorian stuff was heavy, and just because the sun was behind her didn't mean this planet was any less hot. Making her mind up, she pulled the top off, dumping it on the gangway. She paused, and then settled herself down on the floor, crossing her legs and closing her eyes. The thought of Darth Sion - or sleeps-with-vibroblades as Atton had called him - was still fresh in her mind. She'd have to do whatever she was here to do quick.

She stayed still, slowing her breathing. Shyrack Cave had been a milestone for her. As much as she hated the... experience... she couldn't deny that, at least. She needed to meditate. But not on the ship. Not with them. She let her mind flitter out, brush across others, move past them, onto the next, then back, drawing herself back, to the sand, Korriban. She felt the fear, the emotions in this planet that clutched at her throat, but this time she looked at them critically, trying to see them for what they were.


Shélla started, snapping her head round, her heart pounding. Atton stood on the gangway, half in and half out, back in his patent jacket, raising an eyebrow at her. She let go of a long breath and shook her head, "I was... I was just..."

"Meditating. Yeah, I noticed." He walked over and sat down in front of her, his eyes moving over her, silently.

She gave a small frown, "What."

He paused for a moment, oddly serious, and then shook his head, smiling, slightly frustrated, "We've both got something we need to say to the other, but we're both too gutless. Right? So I think what would should do is just... get it out into the open. Yeah?" He shot her a knowing smile, "D'you want me to start?"

She looked at him for a second, and then nodded. Force, was this it? Was he going to say...?

"Right. Okay. So. When you were... when you were in the tomb... I heard you... scream my name. And don't get me wrong, usually that would be quite the accomplishment, but... this time... it, uh... it cut straight through me."

"I'm sorry."

"No, don't be. It's just... you just kept... calling me, and I felt everything you felt, and it was... it was... horrifying. It was terrible. And I just thought... how can she feel that and stay sane."

She gave a small, nervous laugh, "Well. Who says I did?"

He smiled back, "Well, there's always that, I suppose. But... whenever I look at you..." he shook his head, impatiently, "I heard those words, Shélla. In my voice, but not my words." He gave a small, strange smile, "Only I call you sugar. Got it? My word." He drew in another breath, "But I just... You see... When you were in that tomb... I can't just... I..."

Shélla shook her head, feeling his awkwardness, "You don't have to." She said, gently, reaching out a hand to his shoulder, "I mean, I know what you felt. When I was in the tomb. You don't have to."

He seemed distinctly relieved: "Yeah, well... let's just say... I'm gunna be there for you. Okay? I'm gunna be here. You're not getting shot of me." He drew in a long, stabilising breath, "Because I -"

"Don't say it." She said, quickly, cutting over him.

"I want to." He assured, probably thinking she thought he wouldn't mean it, thinking she meant he should wait until he was sure.

"Well I don't." she replied, shakily.

He frowned, "Don't what?"

"I don't want you to say it."


"I don't want you to say it."

He shook his head, confused, "Why?"

"Because..." she trailed off, and then shook her head, firmly, "Because I killed you."

There was a long pause. Atton raised an eyebrow, "Uh... I'm pretty sure you didn't."

Shélla sighed, frustrated, "Not you you. I killed other you."

"What d'ya mean?"

She hesitated, and then shook her head, "The visions. In the tomb. They showed me you and the others. They tried... tried to get me to choose. Between... stupid little groups. I said I wouldn't and you all... you all kind of... tried to kill me." She gave a small smile, nothing emotional in it, "You have no idea how weird it was to see Mical's eyes full of hate. Or Bao-Dur's. Mira I... guess I'm somewhat used to."

He looked at her for a moment, "And me?" he asked, slowly.

She gave the strange smile again, "No. But you..."

Prepare yourself, sugar.

"You... struck out at me. I told you I couldn't kill you."

We'll just see about that.

"That I wouldn't do it."

Then you will fall.

"And then..." her voice broke a little and she closed her eyes for a second, forcing herself to calm, "And then... I didn't mean to, I just... pushed out."

He was looking at her, silently, his face completely expressionless.

She shook her head, "I didn't mean to. But... I did. And then..." her voice turned a little darker: "And then Kreia put her hand on my shoulder, and I just... I couldn't stop myself." She looked at him, her eyes almost cold, empty, "I killed her. In anger. I killed her because I thought she'd made me kill you. But that was just one more victory for her, 'cause when she was dead... I realised what I'd done." She turned slightly, her tongue tracing one of her top teeth, her eyes on the horizon, "I stuck out in anger. I killed in anger. I've never done that before. Even during the Wars. It was defence, not... not base passion." She paused for a moment, and then moved her eyes back to his, "And that's why you can't say it. Because... because I'm not worth it, and all you're doing here... is shortening your life span."

Atton paused for a moment, looking at her. Then he nodded, thoughtfully, "Yeah. That sounds right. 'Cause I couldn't possibly be here because I want to, right?"

"Atton -"

"No. Listen to me." He paused, then gave a small, wry smile, "Kill me as much as you like, you're not getting rid of me that easy."

She gave a low, weary sigh, "Atton..."

"No." He moved closer to her, pulling her down so her head rested on his shoulder. He moved his lips down to her ear, "I'm gunna stay with you 'til the end, Shélla. I'm not gunna leave you."

"I'm sorry." She managed, closing her eyes.

He sounded amused: "For killing me? Nah, don't worry, sugar, plenty have tried it before, I don't blame you." Then he pulled back slightly and got to his feet, brushing sand off his jacket and then holding out a hand, "Come on. Let's get outta here."

She took his hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet. He put his hand on her waist as if to stabilize her and then shook his head, clicking his fingers, "Oh. Wait. I forgot something."


Before she had time to react, Atton had pushed her back against the cold ship hull and was kissing her. She was so startled that for a moment she just stood there, eyes wide, one hand still placed on his elbow. She tried to move a little, tried to get forwards, but he pushed her back again, cornering her, hands moving to the back of her head, pulling her closer. She managed to break away for a breath and then he pulled him straight back again, so close, his lips hard on her astounded mouth.

The surprise faded and her eyes fluttered shut of their own accord. She let her hand move up from his elbow to the back of his neck, pushing her hand into his hair, ruffling it. He bent down a little and picked her up, forcing her backwards a bit onto the ship's wing, getting her level with him, pressing her backwards just as much as he was pulling her back towards him.

It was the first time he had ever kissed her, had ever shown anything more than casual flirting, passing lust. But by the way his mouth hungrily claimed hers, the way his hands pawed at her top, trying to get under it, it didn't seem like passing lust to her, more like very constant lust. He was the first man she had kissed in months, maybe even a year, and the first man she'd ever kissed like this. It had been against the Code. There is no passion, there is serenity. Plus there wasn't exactly ample choice of men in the Jedi Academy.

Atton bit down hard on her lip and she flinched back, letting out a low, slightly stifled murmur, which only caused him to press harder against her lips.

It seemed like forever by the time his passions started to slow, his kisses coming deeper but softer, long kisses lingering on her bottom lip and with the tiniest touch of tongue. When he pulled away her lip went with his.

He drew back further, looking at her face to see her reaction. Shélla just looked at him, a frown only just touching her features, her mouth slightly open as she tried to catch her breath.

Atton paused for a moment, watching her, then his smooth grin slid back into place. He reached up a hand, helping her down from the ship wing, catching her by the waist. His smile broadened, and he drew her closer, his eyes flickering down to see their proximity. Then his eyes moved back up to hers, and he smiled, playfully, giving her a gentle chuck on the chin, "Now, sugar. I believe you owe me a shower."