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They had one year.

The Star Forge had been destroyed, Malak slain, and a relative peace restored to the galaxy. A man was redeemed. The amnesiac former Sith Lord Darth Revan returned to the Jedi Order; a paragon of light, a warrior, a hero. A woman had been redeemed as well, but her story was not nearly as brilliant—an accomplice to evil, a traitor, a villain. The salvations of the two were nonetheless irrevocably linked, as were their destinies.

The Ebon Hawk's crew was lauded as heroes of the Republic, yet whispers constantly surrounded Bastila Shan—seen as the Jedi Order's sole hope in turning the tide of the Jedi Civil War, she forsook all that to pledge allegiance to Darth Malak, the very cause she fought so valiantly against. It preyed upon her self—her every breath, motion, movement, and moments—following her return to the Jedi.

The crew at first remained on Coruscant, welcoming a chance to rest without the weight of the world on their shoulders. But each of them possessed their own demons to face, and slowly drifted apart—Mission and Zaalbar returned to Tatooine in search of Mission's brother, Canderous all about the galaxy, analyzing the status of the scattered Mandalorian clans, Carth to reunite with his son—soon, Bastila, Revan, Jolee, and Juhani became all who remained on Coruscant, no doubt due to the Jedi Temple there.

Jolee, who induced a self-exile several years prior, still refused to return to the Order, to Bastila's displeasure—throughout their time journeying together, she frequently sought guidance in him, and the wisdom he imparted upon her seemed to become more evident with each passing day. She firmly believed that he deserved to be accepted back and possibly even advanced to the status of Jedi Master, despite his… unorthodox beliefs. Juhani, though she too bore a troubled history with the Order, was promoted to the status of Jedi Knight and allowed to take on a Padawan.

Handling the cases of Revan and Bastila had been a much more difficult process for the Council. Both carried much to answer for: Revan, for his past, though his memories as the Dark Lord of the Sith were seemingly buried in the deepest recesses of his mind; Bastila, for her fall; and both, for the intimate relationship that they wished—nay, planned—to pursue. In the end, however, the old Jedi concept of forgiveness weighed through, and the two were allowed to resume their careers as Jedi Knights. Glad that Revan finally realized what they thought to be his full potential, the Council repeatedly sent him off on missions and the like. He took to his work with a gusto, but much to Bastila's and his own dismay, they saw very little of one another. They were not given a chance to actually talksince their encounter on the Star Forge.

In a way, even though Revan—and the Ebon Hawk's crew, though she felt that may have been more so due to Revan's influence than genuine forgiveness— welcomed her back, and she was allowed to remain a part of the Jedi Order, she could not shake her feeling of an interminable guilt. She betrayed her oath to the Jedi, but it was so much more than that—she turned on the man she loved, the crew she found friendship and acceptance in, and to a greater degree, she indulged herself and crossed all she worked towards for over half her life. Forgiveness was, after all, one of the Jedi lessons that her pride could never quite allow her to swallow.


~&~

Revan lifted his hood as he exited the governmental building on Aldera, motioning a goodbye to the Senator as he took his leave. The Senator had requested a Jedi escort during his journey from Ord Mantell, and the Council had declared it a fit task for the newly promoted Knight. When first placed upon the mission, he couldn't help but scoff a bit. The reformed Darth Revan, once a Sith Lord, now the savior of the Republic, sent on a mission that would have been suited to a Padawan learner. For the past month he had been sent on equally mind-numbingly simple journeys; escort this politician, mediate this minor conflict, send the Council's goodwill to systems not yet in the Republic, and so on. It was almost insulting. He quickly rebuffed such haughty feelings, of course, knowing them to be petulant; he was a Jedi, after all—happy to help, with no mind towards status or renown. As if he needed either.

The only bitterness now left inside him was regret; firstly, regret that he had not seen off the majority of the Hawk's crew as they left Coruscant and scattered about the galaxy. After all they'd been through, he would have liked to at least say goodbye. He had run into a handful of them, on his small ventures about, but it was not nearly close to what he desired. These feelings had, however, been overshadowed by his want of a presence in Bastila's life since the events upon the Star Forge, especially in the last few days.

Due in no small part to their intimate bond, only strengthened by their prior journey, Revan knew that she was in a weakened state. He could fully understand why—such traumatic events would not easily be overcome for anyone, even someone as strong as he knew Bastila could be: an excellent judge of character, he had her pegged within two days of meeting her. She was aware of her talent and skill, but having constantly been reminded of their existence, she'd become arrogant and headstrong. Underneath that brash exterior, however, he could see vulnerability lurked. She was young, but not youthful—the sort of person who had never been allowed to be a "child," at least, not for very long. And as hard as she tried to mask it, as hard as he fought to convince her otherwise, she was weak. Not physically, not at all—she was a fierce fighter, each swing fervently delivered—but inside, there was something eating away at her; slowly, but it was happening. Her training, she discovered, would ask her to keep this all inside of her. To be a Jedi, she had to be perfect. It was a goal she would run with all her might towards, and constantly fall short. He knew that these pre-existing issues would only be compounded by the more recent ones.

He now felt her mind as broken and scrambled, desperate and needy. She needed him there, and he so desperately wanted to fill that gap.


~&~

She rarely left her room.

The Council would still send her on rather simple missions, as if testing her allegiance, which rarely brought her outside of the city's limits; meanwhile, they sent Revan across all the reaches of the galaxy. In her more dramatic moments, she had to wonder if the Council was purposefully pulling them apart.

In the hours not spent in the confines of her quarters, she walked the halls of the Temple—at times she observed the daily events and rituals, and others simply wandered, immersed in her own thoughts. Lingering in her meandering was an unshakable feeling of paranoia; where she walked seemed to be followed by a buzz of her actions, the looks of passing Jedi filled with judgment—and more shockingly—almost contempt. She tried for many days to convince herself that she was being silly, that Jedi were above such emotions, but she could not deny what was so clearly in front of her.

She saw it in the eyes of the former crew of the EbonHawk, as well—their journeys occasionally brought them towards Coruscant, and while she never formed a deep connection with any of them, their conversations were thereafter awkward and stilted. It didn't take much effort for her to ascertain why. She had betrayed them.

Time became static in the solitude that ensued. The sun rose and fell without much consequence towards her world. Facing her self-imposed guilt was difficult enough; when compounded with the disdain of others, it was simply unbearable. She could not stand to be the one who let everyone down. In such a remarkable tale, that would no doubt go down in holorecords for years to come, she would be the turncoat, and he the hero.

How ironic it was, she thought! Him, the former Sith Lord, being the one loyal to the Order's doctrines in the end of it all.

In his absence, she stewed. Feelings she had thought she had abandoned—envy, shame, incompetence—slowly bubbled to the surface. She loved him, to be sure—that much was certain, was always certain, would always be—but next to him, she would never be anything more than inadequate.