Chapter Twenty-Nine

Disclaimer: I do not own KotOR.

Note: So I wrote a sequel to this called 'The Jedi Kind of Had it Coming.'

While Bastila's lack of faith might be annoying, she did have a point about needing to use her Battle Meditation to help the Republic instead of the Sith this time and since by the time Bastila got around to opening the door where their group had been trapped no one was there, Revan was on his own once again. Oh joy. He really cursed being so talented some days because while it did ensure that he never really had to do much to get things done, if he wasn't as skilled as he was then chances were that someone as unmotivated as him wouldn't be called upon to do any of this in the first place.

There was, of course, a chance that he could find another way around and get his companions back but that sounded like more effort than it was worth considering that he'd have to be the one who ended up facing down Malak. Maybe his companions could help in a fight and maybe they couldn't but everybody would insist on the two of them having a one-on-one duel for some reason. Things would be over far quicker if they all just killed him but apparently that wasn't visually appealing enough or fair or sentimental enough or epic enough whatever. Maybe he wasn't the only one not feeling interested in any of this.

And he could try to wait for his companions to find their way to him but he didn't even know if they were coming or if there was another way through there (and Force forbid that Bastila open the damn door now that she was no longer evil) and he didn't want to waste anymore time here than he had to. Besides, it would be really annoying if the Star Forge blew up and killed everyone on it while he was fighting Malak or even before he got there. That would serve to make this upcoming fight seem even more pointless than it already did and who knew if Bastila's battle mediation could prevent it? And if it could, well…having her actively preventing the Republic from winning for awhile was certainly an odd use for her skills.

The sounds of someone being choked to death jolted him from his thoughts and he looked up to see Malak Force-choking a random Republic soldier.

"Oh, that is so unnecessary," Revan complained. "It's like I never left, I swear."

"Not everyone is as lazy as you are, Revan," Malak returned. "And I am doing my best to be a good host."

"I prefer the term 'unmotivated'," Revan informed him. "You're kind of failing."

"I know," Malak responded. "But not enough to actually press the matter. And compared to you, I'm an excellent host."

"True," Revan freely admitted. "Though I've got to disagree with you on me being such a terrible host."

"But you never do anything," Malak pointed out.

"Including," Revan replied, "killing the guests."

"What?" Malak looked surprised. "Oh, he's not a guest."

Revan rolled his eyes. "Well if you're going to redefine 'guest' as anyone you're treating well then of course you're going to always treat guests well!"

Malak just narrowed his eyes petulantly at him.

Revan stood there in awkward silence for a little while before clearing his throat. "So…now what? Do you want to fight or something?"

"I'm actually a little surprised that you do, Revan," Malak confessed. Given his apparently still-growing inferiority complex where Revan was concerned, that was probably not an easy admission to make. "That doesn't really fit my mental image of you very well."

"It seems like nobody will leave me alone until we do so…we might as well just get it over with," Revan explained. After all, sometimes you had to balance the annoyance of actually doing whatever it was that people wanted you to do and that you didn't want to with the annoyance of other people constantly hounding you about it. If you were eventually going to do it anyway then that amount of effort stayed consistent but you could save yourself a lot of grief by avoiding their nagging if you went into hiding, got noise-cancelling headphones, or just did it. And right now he's had enough of the nagging.

Malak's eyes narrowed. "I am not just going to 'get it over with' when it comes to my epic showdown with you, Revan! That's just not how these things are done!"

Revan groaned. Now he was getting a headache and he bet that Malak didn't even care. No, more than that. If he told Malak then Malak would probably not only complain about Revan not taking this seriously or something but also celebrate the fact that he was causing Revan pain, however slight (well, relatively. It still hurt) that pain was. "Much you be so dramatic?"

Malak nodded firmly. "Absolutely. One of us has to, after all, and since you clearly can't be bothered, it looks like that will have to be me." He started to dramatically storm out of the room.

"Um, where are you going?" Revan called after him. "Are you going to go sulk about how I'm not taking this seriously enough again?"

"I am NOT sulking!" Malak growled. "I'm going to leave you here with these killer robots in the hope that that will get you in the mood to take this and me more seriously!"

"I kind of doubt it!" Revan shouted just as the door sealed shut behind Malak. "He is always doing this. Honestly, there is appropriately dramatic and then there's hamming it up to the point that nobody can take you seriously no matter how many people you've killed and Malak crossed that line some time ago and hasn't looked back."

Fifteen minutes later, the door was unsealed and Revan casually made his way into Malak's chosen destination for their fight.

Malak looked rather surprised. "I must say, Revan, I hadn't expected you to finish the fight that quickly. I suppose once again I've underestimated you."

"Fight?" Revan repeated. "What fight?"

Malak waved his hand impatiently. "You know, the one with all the droids."

"Oh, was I supposed to fight them? My bad," Revan said apologetically.

"Y-you mean that you didn't fight them?" Malak couldn't believe it. "Then what did you do? They were programmed to kill you!"

Revan shrugged. "They gave that up after I started gushing about them. I really do have a way with droids…but it's not a droid fetish, okay!"

"I never said that you had one," Malak assured him. "Why, has someone else said something?"

"No," Revan answered a little too quickly. "So…you, me, a huge room with a lot of Kolto tanks for whatever reason…we should probably get to the fighting."

"Yes, I am looking forward to the chance to not only once and for all silence all the critics as I prove myself to be the true Dark Lord of the Sith but also to show the Jedi that giving you brain damage and then sending you after me won't be enough to stop me!"

"I don't actually have any brain damage," Revan corrected him.

Malak snorted. "Please, Revan. No one as…special as you can possibly be fully functional."

"Well…the Jedi didn't give me any new brain damage then," Revan amended. "Not that I agree that I do have brain damage, I just-"

"Can't be bothered to argue, I know," Malak cut him off. "Now…let us finish this!"

That was agreeable to Revan and the pair began to fight. Revan made sure to keep almost his complete attention on the battle to make sure that Malak didn't cheat again (for all that he was complaining about Revan's supposed brain damage, that crate might very well have given him some for all Malak seemed to care). Of course, the minute that it looked like Malak was wearing down, he stopped and simply ran to another part of the room.

Taken aback, Revan let him. "Um…what are you doing?"

"Do you see all of the Kolto tanks that are lining this room?" Malak asked, clearly in the mood for some grandstanding.

"You mean am I blind? No, no I am not," Revan answered.

"Not everyone died in the attack on Dantooine you know," Malak said ominously.

"Oh, I know," Revan responded. "Master Vandar is helping to coordinate this attack and he said that Master Vrook survived as well! Isn't that great?"

"I get why you think so but given that I'm a Sith can you see why I might not share that viewpoint?" Malak countered.

Revan shook his head. "Not really. Vrook's awesomeness transcends alignment."

Malak gave a long-suffering sigh. "Right. Anyway, as I was saying: not everyone died and not everyone escaped, either. I've captured some and if you'll look closely you can see that the people in the Kolto tank are all the friends you had at the Academy there!"

Revan peered closely at the Kolto tank closest to him. "Hm…now that you mention it, you're right. Of course, I never actually liked any of the students. They were too annoying and kept lecturing me about my un-Jedi-like attitude, wardrobe, lightsaber, diet…pretty much everything, really."

Malak supposed that he really should have known. "Well, aren't you at least a little curious about why I've put them all in Kolto tanks and why I'm bringing this up now?"

"Not really, no," Revan declined politely. "But I'm sure you're about to tell me anyway."

"These people are trapped here and I'm going to suck out their life-force to heal myself in battle! Aren't I despicable?" Malak asked, laughing maniacally.

Revan was reasonably sure that that was a rhetorical question but he decided to answer it anyway. "I don't really care. You don't appear to be torturing these people and I'm not even sure that they're conscious."

"But if I use them to heal myself then they will never be able to become one with the Force!" Malak insisted.

"You don't know that," Revan pointed out. "You're just assuming that. Until you yourself have become one with the Force and then come back then you have no way of knowing if what you are doing is stopping someone else from doing that. In fact, I don't think that anyone has ever become one with the Force and then come back so it's not like we could even ask somebody. And if we could, we wouldn't even know if they were being trustworthy or not. Not to mention that-"

"For the love of the Force, Revan!" Malak yelled. "Why must you always make things so bloody complicated?"

"Sorry," Revan said half-heartedly. "Do go on."

"I was actually pretty much done," Malak admitted. "Well, except for a demonstration." He threw out an arm and the nearest Kolto tank exploded as Malak was rejuvenated by the now-dead Jedi's life force.

Revan looked annoyed. "Are you really going to do that whenever I'm right about to beat you?"

"Until all of those tanks are gone, absolutely," Malak confirmed.

"Then I'm sorry but you leave me no choice," Revan said solemnly. Before Malak could say anything else, he had thrown both hands out and used Force Lightning to destroy each and every Kolto tank in the room.

"…I kind of hate you," Malak said once he found his voice.

"After all the effort you've put into trying to kill me, I had suspected as much," Revan said with a small smirk playing at his lips.

Enraged, Malak swung his lightsaber at Revan's head. This fight was easier than the previous one in some respects and harder than others. On the one hand, Malak was too angry to think properly and so was making some stupid mistakes. On the other, all that adrenaline and rage meant that Malak was coming at Revan at least twice as hard as he was before.

Eventually, however, Revan was able to take advantage of one of Malak's mistakes and drove his lightsaber through his chest.

"I…didn't see that one…coming," Malak managed to say as he sunk to the floor.

Revan looked at the damaged body of his former best friend and winced. "Not to be insensitive or anything, Malak, because I'm pretty sure that you're dying but…would it be asking too much if I could get that lightsaber back? It's probably my finest work by this point."

Malak waved his hand tiredly. "By all means."

"Thanks," Revan said gratefully. He didn't actually want to get any closer to Malak, however, so he waved his hand and the lightsaber unstuck itself and went flying back into Revan's hand. "That's what I like about lightsaber; I don't have to wipe the bloodstains off of them since there never are any."

"Yes, lightsabers are…pretty great," Malak agreed. "Hey Revan?"

"Yeah?" Revan asked, figuring that he might as well humor Malak since he was about to die even if the Star Forge was beginning to shake. The Force would take care of him.

"Do you think that if…I had been captured by the Jedi that…I would have been able to…return to the Light…like you did?" Malak gasped out.

Revan was torn between being honest and being diplomatic. "Honestly, Malak? I kind of doubt it. You were the one who actually wanted all of this, I really couldn't care less. Maybe if they succeeded in mind-raping you like they tried to do to me but had you remembered you wouldn't have even given them a chance. It's not so much that I 'returned to the Light' or even fell properly in the first place. I just…didn't really care and went along with it."

Malak managed a weak chuckle. "Don't ever change, Revan."

"Oh, I have no intention of doing so," Revan promised. "That really sounds like a lot of work after all."

"There you are!" Carth said, annoyed, as Revan finally made his way to the cockpit. "What took you so long? We were about to leave without you!"

"Can you save the lecture for another time?" Revan requested. "We really do need to get out of here."

"Fine," Carth grumbled. "But I've had a long time to think of what I wanted to say to you. When Bastila came back, you know, we almost attacked her! Thanks for warning us about that, by the way."

"What was I supposed to do, Carth?" Revan demanded. "I was a little busy killing my former best friend. Speaking of, as strange as this is, I think you might actually be my new best friend. You certainly nag me as much as Malak does but you've yet to try to kill me so…"

Carth's eyes widened. "Really? Best friends with the ex-Dark Lord of the Sith…that is really not how I expected my year to go."

Revan shrugged. "Me either, but what can you do?"

"Hold on, I'm getting hailed by Admiral Dodonna," Carth said, patching them in.

"Look, I was just trying to be dramatic," Vandar insisted.

"That's all very well and good but even if all of them did die, that's no reason to act like the cost of destroying the Star Forge and ending this war was too high and implying that it might not have even been worth it," Dodonna argued.

"You know, your concern is touching but we're not actually dead…" Revan felt the need to point out.

Naturally, the Republic insisted on having an awards ceremony broadcasted all over the Holonet. They couldn't even wait until they got back to Republic space and so they were making them do it on the Rakata home world (to the mild annoyance of the Elders but since the Star Forge had been destroyed they were in a forgiving mood). Revan didn't even want to be there, of course, but he supposed just standing around wouldn't really be all that bad. He didn't even have to pay any attention as long as he half-listened for his name.

"…the redemption of Revan, the prodigal knight!" Vandar finally concluded, gesturing to Revan.

"I'm really not sure that you can count me as 'redeemed'," Revan whispered to Bastila.

"Well, the secret is out and they have to tell people something," Bastila replied quietly. "Otherwise, you know they'll just panic and think of how annoying that would be."

"I guess you're right," Revan conceded, suppressing a yawn.

Once they were free to get off the state, Vandar pulled Revan aside. "I must say, Revan, that I hadn't expected you to remember who you are but I'm glad that, even so, you still stuck with us and helped us defeat Malak."

"It had to be done," Revan said absently. "You guys are done with me, right? And I can just leave and go take a nap or something?"

"For the rest of the day, yes," Vandar confirmed. "But long term…not a chance. We still need to use you to boost the reputation of the Jedi given that already people are beginning to call this a Jedi Civil War and our numbers are way down. Here's what I was thinking…"

Revan immediately began plotting his escape.

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