She lifted her hand one last time, the Force flowing throught her fingers. The droid was violently flung toward the wall and crashed into it with a sound of twisted metal, broken pieces flying everywhere. Silence fell around her like a great mantle. It had taken her less than five minutes to dispatch the Star Forge's greatest weapon. Not that she cared. It didn't matter. It didn't matter, because he was still alive.
Nothing matters, she thought grimly, while that bastard still breathes.
Her Light side berated her for the use of that particular word.
There is no emotion, there is peace.
She bit back an angry reply, mostly because she didn't feel like starting an argument with herself, and strode off, her robes billowing behind her. The knowledge of what she had to do weighed heavily on her mind. She was so tired of it all. Hadn't she saved the world enough times already? Couldn't the Jedi have found themselves another puppet to do their bidding? And yet, it was oddly fitting. After all, Malak had been her apprentice.
A lifetime ago.
She walked faster. No point in delaying the inevitable. The Star Forge's observation deck was eerily silent, the sound of her footsteps echoing under the vast ceiling. The battle was raging outside, fighters pursuing each other relentlessly, red and green lights flashing against the dark void of space. And there he was, at the center of it all, the man who was responsible for everything wrong in her life. His back turned, he was looking upon the destruction he had wrought, and she reckoned that he would have been smiling, had he had a mouth.
He knew she was here, and she knew that he knew, but still he didn't move. She made a clicking noise with her tongue, wondering if she should say something. Perhaps : "Hi, would you mind staying still while I sever your head from your body?" Ultimately she decided against it.
Moments stretched in silence.
Yes, yes, I get it. You're the one who calls the shots.
Finally he turned to face her. A shiver ran down her back - what was it? fear? anticipation? - and she felt something akin to a slight electrical shock when their eyes met. His Force presence was impressive, she had to admit.
"Revan," he said, greeting her. "I had a feeling you would survive."
"Don't call me that."
Her voice was calm; her tone level.
"Would you prefer 'puppet of the Jedi Council'?"
She almost smiled.
"I didn't know you were capable of making jokes, Malak."
"I was perfectly serious. Have you tried thinking by yourself during your little crusade? Or are you catering blindly to their every whim, as I suspect? Think about it. The Revan I knew was too smart to let herself be used in this manner. She was a leader, not a follower. The Jedi reprogrammed you, turned you into a faithful little droid. They think you're tamed. Do you want them to be right?"
Nice, she thought. This was a speech carefully delivered, and you could actually feel the sincerity in it behind the slick words and the timed pauses. Worthy of a politician. But still.
"Are you tring to win me over to your side?" she shot back.
"No. I know as well as you do that one of us will be dead soon. But surely, you must realize that the Jedi are using you."
"You're wasting your time. I know what I have to do."
She arched an eyebrow, and added as an afterthought :
"I don't suppose you're going to surrender?"
He just laughed.
"Typical Jedi tactic. That's surprising coming from you, Revan."
She shook her head.
"Yeah, didn't think so."
A sigh escaped her lips. So much for redemption.
"Let's finish this."
"Eager for blood?" he taunted.
"I just want this to be over."
Her lightsaber ignited with a buzz. A blue blade, of course.
"Very well," Malak answered. "I see now that it is the only way it can end. We will fight to the death, master against apprentice once more, and the winner will decide the fate of the entire galaxy."
She could have said it out loud, but there was no point in antagonizing him further. She expected him to draw his own lightsaber and start slashing away, but it seemed he had something else on his mind.
"Before we begin, I have one question to ask of you."
"Do you remember being Revan?" he asked, and there was genuine curiosity in his metallic voice.
Again with that question. Well. It was the only question people seemed to ask her lately, along with "What are you going to do when you face Malak?" She had lied to them, of course. Lied to Mission, lied to Carth, lied to Canderous. She had even lied to HK-47, which was about as pointless as you could get. Unlike the others, the droid didn't care about who she was now, only about who she had been. Unlike the others, his loyalty to her was, and would always remain, absolute.
So she lied to everyone, even to herself, pretending Revan was just a name, a meaningless string of letters, the last remnant of somebody who was long dead.
Except it wasn't.
And now, with Malak, she could tell the truth. Because either he was going to die, or she was going to die, and it didn't matter in the end.
"I remember," she said, her voice low and flat. "Not much. Images. Feelings. Sentences stuck in my head, their meaning long forgotten. Some memories do stand out, though."
She locked eyes with him.
"I remember when we first met."
Something dark shifted in his gaze, but he didn't blink. Didn't took the bait. Instead, he asked another question.
"Do you miss it?"
And this one hurt.
Clever, clever man.
It hurt, because she wasn't sure. Not really. She wanted to believe she was a better person now. She wanted to believe Revan had been wrong when she turned against the Jedi. When she fell. But did she fall? Did she, truly?
"There is a difference, you see, between a fall and a sacrifice," was saying the blind old woman.
Sometimes she felt as if the answer was just out of reach, dancing away when she reached to grasp it, tauting her endlessly. There was something else, something about Revan, something about her...
"I know what I must do. If I should fail... we would all be doomed, Jedi and Sith alike."
... and she had forgotten it.
"You don't have a choice. You never had a choice."
Did she miss it?
"Because I am the master, and you're the apprentice."
Did she miss being Revan?
"Do you miss being a Jedi ?"
She gritted her teeth.
"I am what I am."
The words spoken out loud with more force than necessary echoed around the chamber, giving weight to her statement. They were soon joined by the buzz of a lightsaber, and the blue glow, matched by a red one, as Malak activated his own weapon. He was getting impatient, then. Well, so was she.
"I think we've talked enough," she growled.
He lunged toward her, his weapon a blur. She had been expecting it, and managed to block just in time. Their lightsabers met in a crackling of sparks. Shifting his weight, Malak used his superior strenght to try and get her to back down. She sidestepped instead, refusing the power struggle, and twirled her lightsaber in her hands while smirking at him. With a growl, he came at her again. Without missing a beat, she blocked, parried, or evaded every blow, her weapon a shield against Malak's attacks. The force of his blows rattled the bones in her arms everytime their weapon touched.
It went on like that for some time. How much, she couldn't have said exactly. The silence was filled with the buzz of both lightsabers as they danced around each other. The blades cut through the air, humming when they sometimes came within an inch of touching flesh or clothes. They were evenly matched, something which came as a surprise to her. She had thought he would crush her within the first five minutes, and yet there she was, standing her ground.
You know why. Stop lying to yourself.
Time passed as they fought, mentally locked in their own private challenge. She was starting to tire. The muscles in her arms screamed in protest every time she lifted her weapon, and the back of her tunic was drenched in sweat. Malak, on the other hand, wasn't showing any signs of fatigue.
"Aren't you the least bit curious, Revan?" he asked as she dodged his lightsaber once again, feeling the heat of the blade on her face. "Don't you wonder why I've chosen to fight this battle up here? Don't you want to know what the bodies of those dead Jedi are for?"
And he was talking. Again. She remembered that about him. Always talking. "Someday", she had once joked back when they were padawans, "someone is going to cut off your tongue." That someone had turned out to be her, and the joke, not so much a joke as an ironic prophecy.
"You should recognize them, they were on Dantooine when I attacked it."
Yes, they were. How come she hadn't noticed that? Was she blind?
Or perhaps you just didn't care, whispered a voice at the back of her mind.
"What's your point?" she asked Malak.
"You never really understood the power of the Star Forge, Revan," he bragged. "Not like I did. When you saw a massive weapon factory, I saw so much more. It's not unlike a living creature in some ways, and it feeds on the dark side. And now, the Star Forge corrupts what remains of the Force inside those Jedi, and transfer all that power to me."
She felt like someone had suddenly stabbed her in the gut. All those Jedi... Trapped between life and death, forever cut from the Force... It was a fate worse than death, worse than anything in the world. Even worse than having your identity erased and replaced by a fake one.
Her moment of weakness didn't escape Malak's notice. He laughed.
"What? Did you think I intended to win this fight with rainbows and unicorns? I am a Dark Lord of the Sith. Or have you forgotten that too?"
"It's just so... wrong."
She had to force the words to get them out of her mouth.
"Where did you even get this idea? How could you..."
She stopped, her stomach churning. Malak's answer was like a vicious twist of the knife in her guts :
"You led me to the dark side. Go ahead and blame yourself, Jedi."
He spat out the last word with obvious disgut. At the same time, blue-white lightning shot from his fingertips, striking her before she had a chance to react. She gasped, feeling pain, atrocious pain, in every single cell of her body. Clenching her teeth, she finally managed to block it with her lightsaber. Relief flooded her, swiftly replaced by dread when she saw that Malak had used those few handfuls of seconds when she had been paralyzed to drain the Force from the corpse of a Jedi. A Jedi she once knew - what was his name again ? She couldn't remember.
When Malak attacked her once more, he was stronger than ever before. Or at least it felt like it. Maybe she was weaker.
No, don't think like that.
But it was harder to fight back, harder to keep dodging those lethal blows, harder even to keep breathing, just to keep breathing... It seemed like she was underwater now, with so much pressure above her head, on her shoulders, and she was so slow... Too slow.
She slipped once, then again, and before she knew it she was on the ground, her weapon out of reach, screaming in pain as the smell of burnt flesh rose in the air. Her thigh hurt like a bitch. Her breath was coming in short gasps and she could feel the bitter taste of blood in her mouth - somehow, she had managed to bit down on her own tongue during the fall. She couldn't move, couldn't focus...
That's it, you're going to die...
"So, that's what the mighty Revan has become... A pity, truly. You could have been so much more."
She could see the shadow of Malak towering above her.
"I'm not..." she started to say, automatically.
"Fine," she gritted through her teeth. "You want Revan? I'll give you Revan."
Because it's time I stopped lying to myself.
And it was so easy, like flipping a switch she never knew was there. She jumped back on her feet, dodging an attack that Malak had intended to be his last, leaving only the ground for the lightsaber to strike. There was a shower of sparks, a surprised grunt from her adversary, and she faced him once again.
She knew him. She had fought against him a thousand times, back when they were both training to become Jedi, and fought with him at her sides a thousand times more, during the Mandalorian Wars. His style, his tactic, his favorite moves. His weaknesses. She knew them all.
And there was absolutely no reason why she couldn't use the same weapon as him.
She turned toward one the Jedi - Meleas Darren, that was (had been) his name -, and took what she needed. It was deceptively easy. The surge of Force power nearly brought her to her knees. Her wound healed on its own, while the Dark Side whispered against her skin.
Good. Feel the power? You're invincible now.
Yes, answered the savage part of her, and she proceeded to rip Malak apart.
He didn't stand a chance. It was short, brutal, and very, very satisfying. She used her lightsaber like it was a part of herself - another limb, instead of merely a weapon -, and drove him back, slashing left and right, annihilating his defenses. She laughed when he tried the lightning trick again, and deflected it easily.
Finally, it ended like she always knew it would. With her lightsaber buried in Malak's chest.
She watched him fall to the ground, relishing the look of surprise in his eyes.
"Revan?" he gasped.
Just die, already.
"Yes..." he went on. "I understand now. Being the Dark Lord of the Sith was never my destiny. It was yours... all along."
A final breath, and his heart stopped beating. His Force dissolved into nothingness.
"No," she said to his corpse. "I'm not a Sith."
And added with a sad smile :
"But I'm not a Jedi either."
Her former apprentice was no more. She felt strangely empty. The adrenaline was still pumping in her veins, but there was no rush, no joy, no nothing. Just her own heart beating steadily, reminding her that she was still alive, even though she didn't feel like she was.
She went back to Carth and Bastila. Her friends. Weren't they?
That's why you can't let them know.
"Malak?" asked the young woman - not much younger than herself, and yet, so much younger.
"Dead," she answered.
"Then it's over," breathed Carth in relief, smiling at her.
"Finally," added Bastila.
She didn't correct them, but she knew, deep down, that they were wrong. So wrong. It wasn't over, not by a long shot. There was so much left to be done. She knew then, with absolute certainty, that she would never be done with saving the world.
Victory tasted like ashes in her mouth.
The writing may sound a little off, since I was trying to achieve a particular style, and English is not my first language. Please do let me know if you spot any mistake (or a sentence that you think is weird).