A/N: I had this almost completed months ago. It was something that I wrote on a whim. I finally got around to finishing it and editing it, so here it is: a one-shot of Bastila's duel with Darth Malak aboard the Leviathan.
May the Force be with you.
Resistance and Revelation
The pillar of blood-red fire growled angrily as it crested up and cleaved sharply down towards my neck. My arm was not quick enough to rise and deflect the slash, but my mind was faster than my reflexes.
Even as the crimson light flashed across the edge of my peripheral vision, even as I felt the searing, sizzling heat skirt the fringe of my Padawan robe and swing close enough to my face to singe the ends of my hair, I felt a power outside of my physical self flick the fingers of my left hand in a telekinetic thrust.
Malak's blade met an invisible barrier and jerked out of line. His failed attempt at a decapitation swung wide, far above my head, and I promptly sent a solid fist of Force energy into his gut. He stepped back, clearly thrown off guard.
The atmosphere smelled of charred cloth and hair, and the air was thick and wet sweat, heat, and ozone. Evening out my stance, I leaned back and raised my saberstaff, angling it towards my opponent.
Malak sounded even more hoarse than usual. "Do you truly believe you can save him, Bastila?" he taunted. "Your cause has been lost from the beginning."
"The only thing that appears to be lost is your voice, Malak," I calmly replied. "Even taking your electronic vocabulator into account."
"You are in no position to mock me," Malak said contemptuously. If he had a real jaw, he probably would have been smiling. "You would be wise to guard your tongue…"
Half a meter of red-hot plasma sprung forward as Malak attempted to stab me through the heart. I weaved in flawless time, the Force flowing through me. My subsequent lunge beneath the Dark Lord's attack was parried, as was the next; the third time, my sword collided with Malak's, the hisses of our blades rising to an exchange of furious roars.
My gaze met the Sith's. For a lengthy moment, we stared down into each other's souls – no lies, no presumption, no defenses. My eyes bored into his, and his burned into mine. I stared right into the heart of a man who's entire existence had centered on killing me since the start of the war.
Then in an instant he spun, too quickly for me to react – a whirl of synthetic light and a weathered, gray cape were all I could see of him – until a metal boot crashed into my jaw with a hard crack that felt every bit as painful as it sounded. As I staggered, a thick energy rolled out at me like black smoke, and I tumbled with an embarrassingly loud bang into the wall, bashing my skull on the durasteel in the process.
No cry escaped me. I had learned long ago not to cry.
I sagged against the wall, hoping that the cool surface would help to awaken my numb limbs. Pain still shot through my jaw in jagged pangs. I couldn't feel my arms and legs.
A burst of blood-shine warned me that Malak was stabbing down from above. Half-blind, I allowed the Force to do my work for me. A billowing shockwave of it pushed my enemy back for only a split second, but a split second long enough for me to roll painfully to my feet, my vision still spinning uncertainly, my head still throbbing.
Just in time, I lifted my saberstaff to deflect a well-executed pair of strikes that would have left me without any arms.
My heart raced, pounding in my blood. My breathing was erratic and strained. Still, I met Malak's eyes and said, firmly, "You are a coward! You betrayed your own Master at a distance, because you knew he was greater than you could ever be."
"You have become as blind as Revan," Malak snarled. "My strength is greater than yours and his combined. You are weak… and afraid. Had you possessed my opportunity to so easily kill the Dark Lord and end the war, your 'Jedi restraint' would have bound you."
I swallowed hard. "You forget the strength of the Jedi," I said. "Justice. Mercy. But you wouldn't know what that means."
I leapt forward, and the dance began again – swords of energy flashing back and forth in the endless duel between light and dark. Golden and crimson traded blows, and I braced myself for what I knew was coming.
I would fall here. I knew that.
I'm sorry, Revan, I thought, absently wondering if he could here me through our bond. I have to do this.
For both of us.