Victor has been held captive at this fortress for weeks, so he’s had plenty of time to memorize the surroundings and the personnel.
He’d gotten stranded on this planet weeks ago on a reconnaissance mission, and he knows that his team is nearby looking for him. More than just relying on his instincts, the troopers who stand outside of his cell have murmured to each other about a rebel infiltration, and his release from the cell is only a matter of time. In his opinion, the only thing keeping him trapped here - other than the obvious desire to stay and make sure that his team is safe and that he can help them when they arrive - is that his primary warden is incredibly powerful.
The man makes Victor feel constantly on edge, because the man is often quiet, masking the nature of his reputation for quick conquests and sharp cruelty. Victor could break out without his team if it weren’t for that man.
Captain Yuuri has calm, brown eyes, and he opens the door to Victor’s cell on a weekly basis, ready to see if the man is ready to talk. Each time, Victor can feel the energy of the Force pulsing under Yuuri’s skin much like it runs through his own veins. If their situations had been different, the two of them could have wound up as companions instead of enemies.
The Force is a bit strange in how it brings people together.
Right on time, Yuuri’s boots come to a stop outside of the cell door, and he steps into the room, pushing the door closed behind him. He keeps his stance open and inviting. Victor knows it’s a trap, but the man is handsome, and he finds himself captivated regardless.
“Hello again,” the Captain lilts his voice softly, painting himself as a submissive conversationalist instead of someone out to torture a rebel for information. “I’m sure you’re concerned about your friends, Victor.”
Victor tenses up at the thought of them in captivity, but he keeps his bravado running high and disguises his panic with sarcasm. “My friends are stronger than you think, Captain.”
Captain Yuuri raises one eyebrow and adjusts his stance, immediately making Victor feel the pressure bearing down on him. He grits his teeth and pushes back just as fiercely, their opposing uses of the Force nearly draining air from the cell. The Captain stops after a moment and Victor gasps, always struck by how contrary his warden is. Victor is still a training Jedi, and Yuuri could very well kill him if he wanted to, but the man hasn’t.
Right now, Victor doesn’t have time to think about why he’s been spared - not when Yura, Chris, and Makka are out there on this hostile planet searching for him and possibly being made to suffer. Victor believes that focus and the cold drive of being a Jedi is where true strength lies, and he has to tell himself that his inherent power and good intent will triumph over the emotionally powerful Sith, but right now, his thoughts are too messy to work on reaching that zen center of himself.
Just as he’s about to open his mouth and spit on Yuuri’s shoes, the man bends down on one knee and Victor’s blue eyes grow wide. “You do not act like a Jedi ought to.” Victor almost thinks that the Captain sounds sad. Immediately after this thought strikes him, Yuuri reaches out and puts his hand on Victor’s throat. “I’m cutting my losses because your friends have done too much damage to my militia.” Victor’s breath hitches as the Captain’s voice thrums just next to his neck. “Don’t make me regret having mercy on you, Victor.”
A hole is drilled into the cell wall. When Victor flies away, he sees the Sith Captain watching his departure and the agony written in the other man’s eyes plagues him.
When they next cross paths, things have changed in the most drastic of ways. The Death Star has fallen, and with it, Vader and his legacy have fallen to the wayside. There are still Imperialists who yell and holler, but the Resistance is strong and large in number, and they work to refute any outspoken soldiers that try to stand against the new democratic laws.
Victor spearheads the movements as the man who killed Vader himself, going on many journeys as a diplomat of Jedi renown. He is allowed no one to himself as part of the creed, and that suits him just fine, but there is just one thing weighing on his mind, even after all the years of training and glory.
He keeps thinking back to that dirty cell on a forsaken planet. Now that the Resistance has swept through the galaxy to clean it up, chances are that Captain Yuuri and his fleet have fled into the shadows, if any of them have any sense. Victor remembers his old warden vividly, so he can say with confidence that the man would have done just that.
After years of wandering, helping all those he can with his overwhelmingly powerful use of the Force, he finds himself on a devastated planet. People are starving, and, in a strange way, watching all the various life forms crossing paths and interacting naturally with each other warms his heart.
Victor’s eyes catch on a man - a human, notably - staring at him from under a dusty hood. Those caramel eyes and the dark fringe hidden by glasses draws his attention.
Furthermore, the man, who had once been a key member of the Imperial Army, is handing out bowls of slop somewhat resembling oatmeal to needy folk, and Victor stops dead in his tracks. He walks over, suddenly terrified that this is a mirage, or perhaps that he’s forgotten what the Sith Captain had looked like entirely, but then he stands next to the man without a word, and Captain Yuuri looks up at Victor with a soft, sad smile.
Yuuri hands his ladle over to a large Arcona next to him and dusts his hands off. “Follow me,” he says to Victor, his poncho sweeping in the arid breeze. Victor trails after him with a blank look, studying the Sith’s long, dark hair as his hood rolls back.
The two of them eventually reach a small cabin that Yuuri opens the door to, letting Victor stand for a moment while he patters around for a cast iron bowl to boil water in.
After the old Captain sits down, and offers his old enemy a seat, the olive-skinned man says, “You can kill me, you know. I know that’s what you’ve come to do.”
Victor shakes his head absently, his teal eyes wide as he watches Yuuri look up in surprise. “Why didn’t you kill me back then?”
Yuuri stirs his pot in silence. Eventually, he opens his mouth and softly replies, “I don’t know.”
Childishly, the tall pale man lashes out and says, “You do know, and you’re lying.” The Force is a quiet energy inside of the Sith Captain, and Victor can feel Yuuri’s hurt emotions making his power come closer to the surface. “You saved me back then. It wasn’t an accident.”
Yuuri sighs and smiles sadly. “You’re not a very good Jedi, are you?” Victor takes offense to that and scowls. “I’m not a very good Sith lord either.”
“I have always been emotional,” Yuuri sidesteps the Jedi’s original question with a lilting tone and Victor’s heart feels heavy in his chest. “So I was doomed to be successful on the dark side. I rose through the ranks almost disgustingly quickly, and I didn’t understand the consequences of our actions until it was too late. I supported the rebels in the shadows, much to the contempt of my old master, and I made all members of the Resistance promise to lie about the horrors I’d committed when I found their camps.” Yuuri looks up at Victor, whose face is flushed and whose eyes are trained on the old captain like he’d go blind if he looked away. “It wasn’t easy to get away with the lie.”
“But you still captured people and hurt them,” Victor replies, his voice ringing hollow.
“Yes,” Yuuri admits. “I did. I had a reputation to maintain.”
“You could have been an ally to the light,” Victor murmurs, emotion bubbling up in his face and he feels near to tears. “We could’ve been together on the battlefield, but instead, you think I’m here for revenge.”
“Well,” Yuuri stands and opens the cover to his pot, dipping a spoon into it so that he can pour water into a makeshift teapot. “What else would you be here for?”
Victor has no response, so he remains silent.
For the next few days, Victor just silently follows his old captor around the village. Yuuri is well-integrated here. The inhabitants trust him. The cruel Sith practitioner is nothing more than a man here, with tired eyes and a heavy heart, and he wears his shame like a mourning veil over his head.
After about a week, Victor isn’t sure what he’s doing any more. He’d had business to attend to on this planet - or maybe he hadn’t. He’s not sure. Diplomacy is his craft, working on keeping another fascist regime from rising in the ashes of Vader’s dust, but right now he just feels like wandering time and space.
He sleeps in Yuuri’s space, warily at first, but more thoroughly as days keep passing. They eat meals in silence, Yuuri’s brown eyes gazing in the distance. Victor keeps his steely blue eyes trained on the smaller man.
Victor loses track of time entirely when they spend evenings like this. Yuuri’s expression starts to soften, and the Jedi knows that he could kill the Sith, but he doesn’t know if he should. He doesn’t feel like that would be justice.
Yuuri is soft in sleep, careless - or perhaps he just doesn’t value his life. Victor debates whether he should get it over with and kill Yuuri, but then he thinks of Yuuri’s soft smile and his hands freeze.
He struggles as he tries to stifle his emotions. Yuuri eventually takes pity on him underneath the lights of this planet’s four moons and he grasps Victor’s trembling hand, which is reaching for the Captain’s neck. “If you’re going to do it,” Yuuri murmurs, closing his eyes and letting Victor’s fingers fall tenderly on his tan throat. “Get it over with. The light has to kill the dark to shine.”
“Not true,” Victor chokes out the words, eyes wide and panicked. He feels like his emotions are going to swallow him whole, and his energy is hot and angry. Victor thinks that if he were to use the force now, his power would certainly be more aligned with Sith motivations. “There’s a balance.”
“That sounds like an excuse,” Yuuri whispers, laughing pitifully. “You’ve waited long enough. Get this over with.”
Everything within Victor screams that he should kill Yuuri, but by all rights, Yuuri is a hero. He’s a hero that played at being a villain, and although he did unforgivable things, he’s nothing more than a man now.
Victor tears his hand away from Yuuri’s throat and presses his lips to the Captain’s before he can talk himself out of it. Yuuri’s eyes flicker open quickly and the shorter man gasps, taken completely by surprise.
“I can’t do that,” Victor says, falling against Yuuri’s chest and choking back a sob.
Yuuri just holds the Jedi close, even though he’s shocked.
The following day, Yuuri takes them to the edge of a tall cliff. It’s far removed from the center of the village, and the sky is remarkably clear. Yuuri stands in his sweeping robes, dust kicking around his ankles. “You’re a very stupid man,” he says to his silent companion, who has been pouting the whole journey.
Victor stops pouting so that he can sigh. “I don’t have to be a Jedi anymore. That’s not my destiny.”
“Destiny is what one makes of it,” Yuuri amends softly, pushing his glasses up his nose, dark hair curling around his spine as a breeze rolls past. “Legacy is what the world makes of you, and your legacy is much too large to ignore.”
“I’ll train someone to succeed me, eventually,” Victor muses, silently hoping that the world never has need for a powerful Jedi again. He’s not interested in teaching someone to suffer the way he had. “I want to know why you saved me.”
Yuuri faces Victor fully for the first time that morning, looking exasperated and annoyed. “That’s it? That’s why you’ve stayed all this time?”
“Perhaps,” Victor answers airily, hands arched in the sand where he’s sitting, looking up at the Sith Captain.
“If I answer you, will you finally end this charade?”
Victor looks up at the other man and closes his eyes, softly replying, “Perhaps.”
Yuuri draws in a deep breath as he looks back out at the horizon. His hands are tight fists at his sides. “It was a lapse in judgement. A softer thought. I was tired, you were broken, and you were beautiful.” After a moment, when he hears Victor’s breath hitch behind him, he finishes, “You are beautiful. Maybe too beautiful. I knew that it was not my destiny to keep you trapped.”
“You should have told me those things.” Victor thinks back to the silent-but-deadly approach Yuuri had used on him - the bruises on his throat inflicted by the troopers, the Captain watching, demanding more, hoping that Victor would talk and end both of their miseries.
“I shouldn’t be telling you now,” Yuuri retorts, pushing his flying bangs back with the rest of his long, messy hair. “I’m supposed to be your enemy.”
“I don’t want you to be,” Victor suddenly replies, shocking himself with how true he finds the statement. “I want to be with you.” He’s had more fun on this backwater planet, watching Yuuri move amongst other living creatures in silence than he had during the five years he’d been a part of the Resistance and the following ten he’d spent wandering the galaxy on diplomacy missions. “I want to know why the Force chose us, and why you’re here, and who you are. Who you really are, not your stupid Sith Captain with a Suicide Wish guise that you seem so fond of wearing.”
Yuuri snorts at that, smiling just a bit. “I wouldn’t mind if you were the one to kill me.”
“See! Stop that. I don’t want to kill you,” Victor whines, standing up and taking Yuuri’s hand. “Let me in, please. I don’t care about my legacy or my destiny or whatever.”
Yuuri draws in a deep breath and nervously settles his fingers between Victor’s. The taller man beams, throwing all of his training out of the window as his heart soars and emotions thrum hot in his veins. “You’re a bad Jedi,” Yuuri reminds him again, voice slightly cracked as he speaks.
“I’m willing to admit that,” Victor responds quietly. “You’re an equally terrible Imperial Captain.” At these sardonic words, Yuuri laughs bitterly, and Victor smiles at the sound.
Victor knows they have much more to say to each other before everything is done, but for the moment they walk back to town as the sun rises in the distance, and the taller man thinks that he can deal with the consequences of his actions in the future, when he must.