Not Much of a Love Story
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KOTOR snippets. "I'm not Avery Dax; those memories aren't real. I'm not Deralian, I was never a soldier. But I'm not Revan, not yet. I don't--Gods, you're all probably terrified that I'll turn back into the scourge of the galaxy, and here I am recalling how I gave Malak a fat lip."
Any room occupied by Revan became a dangerous one in which to trespass. Her mood was mercurial; on occasion, she was the quirky soldier-cum-Padawan with the determination of a charging bantha Carth had met on the Endar Spire. On others, she was a moody, splintered woman who could not be shook from an almost dazed, disconnected state. Mission often sat with her during those spells, but even the young Twi'lek couldn't fully revitalize her. Now, she monopolized the main room alone, sitting on the couch and staring at the table.
Carth had not really gotten over his shock at her identity; despite the burning glares of Jolee and Mission, he couldn't quite bring himself to start a conversation with her outside of clipped words about the next Star Map. His stomach disagreed with his policy of avoidance, however, and brought him closer and closer to the small refrigerator throughout the day. Irrationally annoyed at his fear of her, he deliberately made the room ring with his bootsteps and threw open the fridge. He withdrew the necessary ingredients and tossed his meal together, gathering to take a bite.
"I had a braid."
He froze with his sandwich halfway to his mouth. Revan was hunched over the table, arms crossed over her knees. She glanced at him with dull blue eyes, making sure he was at attention.
"A braid. I used to have one." She cast a hand about her short brown hair, as if the errant bit only need be touched to become real again. Revan had been...erratic since the Leviathan. Carth had never held her to be completely together, but as Avery Dax it had simply been a problem of jokes at the wrong time, a fearlessness that passed into foolhardiness, an inclination for the violent solutions. Now, as Revan, she refused to let anyone walk behind her; in the main room, she had to sit so she could see every door. Judging by the circles beneath her eyes, sleep was an estranged companion. Even Jolee couldn't coax her away from the workbench, where she often tinkered with her lightsaber for hours on end.
"It was so long; I never cut it. He pulled on it once and I punched him in the mouth." There was no doubt in Carth's mind who 'he' was. Her eyes traveled to the ceiling. "I wonder if they cut it." He had a reasonable guess as to who 'they' were, too.
Now she sat up and looked at him with feverishly bright eyes. "I wonder about this. I'm not Avery Dax; those memories aren't real. I'm not Deralian, I was never a soldier. But I'm not Revan, not yet. I don't--Gods, you're all probably terrified that I'll turn back into the scourge of the galaxy, and here I am recalling how I gave Malak a fat lip."
Parts of Carth warred. A fierce instinct to hold her in his arms and call her Beautiful and tell her that nobody was frightened of her battled with a deep-seated rage. How dare she be Revan, when she promised not to betray him? It was like Saul all over again, but Saul had only been a mentor, not--
He firmly clamped that thought down and compromised by sitting on the edge of the couch, but remaining silent. The last thing he needed was to put his foot in his mouth. Avery would only crook an eyebrow until he realized his stupidity, but this not-Revan was a new woman.
Her left hand gripped the right wrist until her knuckles whitened, then she slowly let off the pressure, switched hands, and repeated it. "But I remember keeping it cut short because it was too messy to handle. Was my first date with a red Twi'lek or a blond human?"
Carth finally found his voice. "Why does that matter? Whoever it was, it was years ago and you're probably not going to run into them. Your hair's short now. Why does it matter if it was long before?" There was an air of desperation in his tone that he didn't like, but she only shook her head.
"When I speak, when I think, whose memories, whose personality am I working off of? I can't be Dax, but I remember being her. I can't be Revan, but I know I was her. Who can I be? They both--they're both there and they want me to be them but I can't, don't you see? Do I like hearing Canderous's stories because Revan is a bloodthirsty psychotic or because Avery liked playing war games when she was young? Do I talk to Mission because she's like a little sister, or because she's got anger and frustration that could be useful? I don't know!" Her voice had grown louder, and her final cry echoed off the durasteel walls, leaving a string of silence trailing after it. Her hands stopped worrying each other and she clenched them in her hair, rocking back and forth.
Carth's internal war ended and he leaned to touch her shoulder, pulling her towards him. She went without complaint, breaking into shuddering sobs against his jacket as her hands dug into his arms. "Shh, Beautiful, it doesn't matter, all that matters is that you're you, shh..."
But the last vestiges of his rage simmered, and wondered.
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