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"There is not much else to tell, Masters," I said. "I managed to drag his body through his broken ship back to the hangar. The crew had already evacuated. Our ship miraculously had not been used to escape. I did what I could to keep him alive on the journey home. And, obviously, I managed to wash up after having been through the waste disposal system of Revan's ship. I only regret I was not able to heal his mind better."
My tale concluded, I fell silent at last, waiting anxiously. It had taken several sessions over several days for me to recount everything. Well, almost everything. Enough, or so I hoped.
It was Master Zhar who spoke first. "Bastila, thank you for telling us everything. We know it was hard for you to relive such a traumatic experience. We will, of course, require more time to deliberate Revan's fate based on this new information."
I nodded. "Of course, Master."
"We will send word," Master Vandar said, "when we have come to a decision."
With that, I bowed, and left the Council chambers. For about a week, I spent every day with the healers, helping them heal Revan's mind with our bond. At least the Masters allowed that much. But what they'll ultimately do with him, I'm not sure. They are taking a very long time to debate among themselves. As of a few days ago, the healers said I could be of no further help.
And so here I am, waiting. By day, I browse the gardens, or practice lightsaber forms in the training room. By night, I get little sleep, my many worries cycling through my mind. Right now, I'm in the gardens again, reading a datapad, though my eyes refuse to focus on the words. I find myself reminiscing, wondering where I went wrong in telling my story to the Council. Wondering if there was something more I could have said to change their minds. And now I'm wondering what more there is that I could do right now. It just doesn't seem right. I should be doing something. I feel restless in every way. And useless.
I hear a twig snap, and I look up to see Master Zhar approaching. I lay down my pad.
"Master, have they decided?" I ask.
He sits beside me on the grass. I wait patiently as he takes a deep breath. By that gesture alone I know the news is grim. "We have decided not to leave him comatose."
I sigh in relief, only for him to raise his hand.
"However," he says, "he is to have his identity reprogrammed. He is not to remember his former life. The consensus is that even were he to offer his help willingly, that he is far too treacherous to trust."
A sick feeling washes over me. "But, Master! Surely that is no different from killing him?"
He shakes his head. "I am sorry, but there is no other way. The galaxy is burning. We cannot risk any deception from Revan. With your bond, you should still able to access his repressed memories. Given enough time, it is our hope that you will glean enough information from him to find the source of his infinite fleet."
I hang my head. "I understand, Master."
"But I have some good news as well."
My head snaps up. "Yes?"
A knowing smile stretches across his face. Though I'm not sure just how knowing it is, which makes me wonder how much he guesses.
"He's awake," he says.
I gape dumbly at him. "A-awake? Already?"
He nods. "Yes. As of several hours ago. He is recovering remarkably well under our care. Though much thanks goes to you. You did half of the work on the way here."
"What is his condition? I mean, he did take much damage to his head."
"He seems coherent enough, but he doesn't remember how he got here."
"No, some amnesia is to be expected. I wouldn't be surprised if there are other gaps in his memory here and there, though he has yet to mention anything. However, the majority seems to be intact."
"That's...that's good news..." I trail off. It doesn't feel much like good news.
"But not the kind of good news you wished to hear?"
I shake my head. "Well, of course I want to hear it. I just..."
He gives me that knowing smile again. "He's asking for you."
"Do you wish to see him?"
"I-I..." I have no answer to that question. At least, none that I can honestly tell him.
Master Zhar lays his hand on my shoulder. "The procedure begins tomorrow morning. We haven't yet broken the news to him. We think it best that you tell him, if you're up to it. If not, I promise you he will be sedated before we begin tomorrow. You do not have to speak with him if you do not wish to do so."
I close my eyes for a moment. Do I really wish to see him? Then again, he won't remember after tomorrow anyway, so what harm could there be?
I open my eyes again. "Yes, you're right. It should come from me. I brought him here, after all."
He nods, smiling reassuringly. "Come, then. I have to warn you, though. He's a bit cranky, even as far as Sith Lords go."
I stifle a laugh. Revan's always a bit cranky.
I follow Master Zhar through the Enclave to the medical ward, and at last we come to a door guarded by two young Padawans. I wait for him to open the door, but he stops, turning to me. I look back at him uncertainly.
"If you like," he says, "you may speak with him alone."
"You will be more than safe. He is restrained and heavily drugged. Besides, I think he would feel less threatened with only one of us in the room. It is best for his recovery if he remains calm. I don't want him to feel outnumbered."
"I-I don't think..."
He puts his hand on my shoulder again. "Bastila, say your goodbyes," he says softly, just loudly enough for me and me alone to hear.
I nod slowly, and take a deep breath. Master Zhar presses the door controls for me, and I step inside, the door swooshing shut behind me.
And there he is. Not looking much better than I had left him several days ago. But, still, at least his head isn't as swollen. His face is looking far more hale. My eyes can't help but drift to the cuffs on both his wrists, as well as to the neural collar around his neck. The setup for this room is not unlike that of Revan's interrogation table—only with a padded mattress, pillow, and sheets.
He appears to be asleep, but I know better. Now that we are in close proximity, I can feel through our bond that he's half awake. His eyelids slide open in confirmation.
"I didn't think you'd come," he says, his voice sounding slightly raspy.
I pull up a chair and sit down next to him. I honestly don't know what to say. I stare down at my hands, fidgeting.
But apparently he can't stand the silence. "If you wanted me this badly, you didn't have to tie me down and drug me."
He gives me a strained, but still infuriating, grin. I roll my eyes, shaking my head. No wonder the Masters had decided to wipe his identity. "I see your sense of humor is still intact, even if your manners are missing."
His grin is replaced with a more serious expression. "They told me you saved my life," he says.
I nod quietly.
I look up at his face. Why did I do it? I told the Council it was out of compassion. That's all it was, wasn't it? But for some reason, I can't tell him that same answer.
"Have you eaten anything?" I ask.
"A little," he says. "It was a while ago."
"I'll have something brought up," I say, rising from my chair and heading for the door. "Are you up for something solid?"
I open the door, instantly grabbing the attention of the Padawans outside. "Would one of you please bring me an order of nerf steak and eggs from the kitchen, please? Eggs over medium, steak medium rare."
I close the door and sit back down. But Revan isn't about to let me off the hook.
"You didn't answer my question," he says.
"Isn't the answer obvious? I'm a Jedi, after all."
An uneasy silence passes between us. I find myself fidgeting with my hands again, unable to look him in the eye.
"I take it you have bad news," he says at last.
I nod quietly.
"What? Did your pet kath hound die? I'm not sure how any bad news related to me would give you such a sad face."
My head shoots up. "I-I'm not sad. I just..."
He looks back at me quizzically, though I can see a flicker of worry in his eyes.
I decide its best to get it over with. "The Council has asked me to tell you this: You're to have your identity reprogrammed. First thing in the morning."
I expected a look of shock, but instead he merely nods his head solemnly. "I see," he says. "You would murder me."
"It's not the same thing!"
He shakes his head. "I won't be me anymore."
A slight chuckle escapes his lips. "Now who's the monster?"
I avert my eyes, my cheeks burning with shame. I do feel like a monster for being a part of this.
"Tell me, Bastila. How exactly does it benefit anyone to have my identity erased?"
"They...don't believe you would help them willingly, even if you say you will."
"And wiping my identity fixes that how?"
"We plan to access your memories after the procedure. It will take time, but..."
He snorts. "Good luck with that. You'd need quite a Force bond to..." He trails off, his eyes widening in realization. "Clever girl," he says, a lopsided grin spreading across his face. "I knew you'd be good at creating Force bonds. Did you figure it out on your own?"
I nod. "It was how I was able to keep you alive."
"I see. That's quite a strong desire to see me live."
"Well, Jedi are supposed to be compassionate."
"And the galaxy is burning. What other choice did I have?"
"Oh, of course."
"What? Are you trying to imply that I have other motives?"
"Well, Master Zhar did tell me that you put up quite a fight in the Council chambers for me."
I shoot up from my chair, my hands on my hips. "Yes, I was trying to save your life! You should thank me."
"For what? They're going to wipe my identity."
"For trying so hard? For practically begging them on your behalf? I may never be able to take my trials because of what I said in there."
"What did you say in there?" He cocks an eyebrow, an infuriating smirk on his face.
"I gave them the full details. I told them you let me go."
"Something tells me you didn't divulge absolutely everything. Otherwise they might mind-wipe you along with me."
I lean over the rail of his bed, a smirk twitching on my face. "Careful, Revan. We wouldn't want you to be 'accidentally' mind-wiped into a vegetable, now would we? I mean, I will be there to help with the procedure."
He smiles back knowingly, his eyes clearly reminiscing. "Your secret's safe with me."
A knock on the door interrupts us. I open it and take the tray from the Padawan, thanking him as the door shuts. I set the tray down on the nightstand next to the bed.
"Think you can sit up?" I ask. He nods, and I press the bed controls, elevating him into a sitting position.
"Well, as far as last meals go, I hope you like it," I say, cutting up his steak with the wobbly plastic fork and knife provided, and trying not to snap the feeble fork tangs.
"Couldn't ask for better," he says with a sad smile. I lift the fork to his mouth, and he cringes. "Sure you're not going to stab me with that?"
"Only if you continue to be impossible. Besides, it's plastic. Now eat."
I proceed to feed him one bite at a time, pausing now and then only to wipe a bit of runny egg off his chin with a napkin. He eats his last meal in silence this way. At last, I set the fork down, and wipe his chin one last time.
I fold my hands, fidgeting again, not knowing what to say. Actually, I do know what to say. It's more of a question, really. But I'm afraid to ask it. I know I may not like the answer. But I have to know. I have to know if...
"Revan," I start, looking down at my hands. "There's something I'd like to ask you."
"If you were...if you were given the option, would you..."
"Would I help you?"
I nod. "Yes."
He heaves a sigh. The silence stretches between us seemingly forever. Perhaps some questions are best left unanswered. Especially when you already know the answer. I guess the Masters are right. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on my part.
"Never mind," I say, getting up to leave.
"I don't know."
I freeze in my tracks. Turning back to him, I search his face questioningly. "What do you mean?"
"What your Masters say about the dark side...They're right. Once you start down the dark path, it will forever dominate your destiny. I'm not strong enough to turn back on my own."
"So the answer is no."
"That's not what I said. I do want to help you."
"And why is that?"
"For the same reason I shoved you into an escape pod."
I feel like a nerf in a speeder's headlights. I don't know how to reply to that.
"Bastila, I've burned every bridge in my life but one. You. I don't want to burn that last bridge. You saved my life, and I'm not even sure what you found worth saving. But I owe you all the same."
"Revan," I whisper, "a spark of the light lives in you still. I know it."
He shakes his head. "Even if I were to start out by helping you, I don't know how long I could resist temptation. I don't blame your Masters for not trusting me. I certainly don't trust myself."
I heave a sigh. He seems to have so much regret. At the same time, he seems to be accepting his fate with all the calm of a true Jedi. Even I am not that calm right now. Although I suppose being heavily medicated would make all the difference.
Then it occurs to me. I owe him something. In a strange, twisted sort of way. Yes, I saved his life; but I am about to take it again in the morning. That makes us even. Except for one thing.
I make a snap decision. "Well, I...I should be going," I say, and I take a step toward the nightstand to pick up the tray containing the plate and plastic silverware. Only, the IV stand is conveniently between the nightstand and the bed. I grab the IV tubing, pinching it. Looking back at Revan, I see he has arched an eyebrow in confusion.
Before picking up the tray, I move the plastic fork to the nightstand, and flash Revan a smirk that would rival one of his own. At last his eyes widen as the realization of what I am doing sets in. He returns my smirk tenfold with a wide grin.
I turn away, carrying the tray toward the door. Before I can step through, however, Revan stops me.
"Bastila," he says.
I don't turn around to look back, and instead stare at the door in front of me, waiting for him to continue.
"For what?" I ask, my voice directed at the door.
"For giving me a second chance."
I shake my head with a grin that I can't quite stop from spreading even wider. "I'll see you in the morning," I say, punching the door controls with one hand, while balancing the tray with the other. I step through, and politely give the two Padawans outside a nod. They seem a bit taken aback at my wide grin, but I ignore them and continue walking.
My grin wanes a little at the thought of what I just set the poor dears up for. But, no, Revan isn't likely to make it too far in his condition. And with a plastic fork? I doubt a few stitches and a kolto pack would do those Padawans any harm. No, I'm more concerned that someone will put two and two together and figure out where the fork came from and how the IV tubing got pinched. I have a feeling, however, that Master Zhar will cover for me. He seems to guess at much. Just how much, I'm not so sure. I don't think he guesses everything. He'd never let me in that room alone, otherwise. The entire thing seems to have gone over Master Vandar's head. He is simply too alien to understand humans. It's Master Vrook I have to worry about. He had already guessed as I was telling my story. I'm not sure if he entirely believes me, and once he hears of this...
No, I think Master Zhar allowed me in that room alone for a reason. He will cover for me, I think. Though I'm not so sure why. Perhaps it is because Revan was his own Padawan for a time. Or maybe he feels that any supposed attachment between us (which there really isn't) is harmless, since Revan is being mind-wiped anyway.
As I make my way toward the kitchen to dispose of the tray, I can't help but draw the conclusion that reprogramming Revan's identity is ultimately for the best. It just may be the thing that finally frees him from the dark side, returning to him his choices between right and wrong.
But mostly, I really can't afford for him to remember certain things. He'd never let me live it down, for one.
And I'll never take my trials if the Masters find out that I kissed him back.
A/N: That's it! The end! Fin! I hope it was everything you ever wanted. I certainly enjoyed writing it. Thank you all for the kind reviews. They certainly kept me going!
Now, many people have been asking if there will be a sequel. I'm afraid the answer is no, there will not be a sequel. I originally planned for this story to come full circle to the beginning of KOTOR. When so many of you began asking for a sequel, I did take time to reevaluate where I wanted to leave off with this story. While I can think of a few AU KOTOR scenarios, all of them involve at least a partial walk-through of the game. Let's face it. Walk-throughs are boring (usually). Very few authors can pull them off, and even if I end up being one of them, I find developing my own original plots to be far more interesting. It's also the reason I'm here-to practice writing my own plots.
Furthermore, sequels are rarely as good as or better than the originals. It may be Star Wars blasphemy to say this, but you know Return of the Jedi over-milked the original idea when it resorted to rehashing the Death Star (and let's not even get into the teddy bears with spears). I feel there's a high likelihood that if I were to write a sequel, I would inadvertently milk the original idea to death and resurrect this story's Death Star.
Nevertheless, I'm flattered that so many people want more. It means I wrote a decent story! Thank you for all of your support!
A few things before I sign off. First, you will note that I have posted revisions of every single chapter. Now you can read a more polished version of the story. Nothing major changed, just spelling/grammar/better phrasing.
In addition, I have already begun work some time ago on a Mandalorian War AU. It's still in the plot development stage, so stay tuned! I plan for it to be more full-length novel size than Second Chances is-around 100,000 words or so. Yes, it will feature Revan and Bastila, with Bastila as the primary protagonist. (Wait! Primary? Isn't that redundant? No, it isn't. In my philosophy, every character should think they're the protagonist. All they know is that some jerk is in the way of their goals and is getting more screen time.) Unlike Second Chances, I plan for my next AU to have a wildly different ending from what you'd expect. It will not come full circle to KOTOR 1. Because if I have to write the scene were Revan is captured on his own bridge one more time...
Finally, even though this story is over, if you are reading it for the first time, please post a review. No matter how much time may have passed since this last chapter was posted, I'm still set to receive review alerts in my e-mail. I'd love to hear from you. Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Thanks, again, everyone, for all the reviews! It's been fun!