Not On Your Life pt 3

Courtney Kraft and Armand Banooni

After several more minutes of placing distance between herself and the dead beast, Psylocke sighed heavily and leaned against a tree. She was never going to find anything. Surely the ship meant a spaceport, but where? She sank down gingerly into a sitting position to rest. She glanced down at her makeshift bandage. "Can this week get any worse?"

Lon put down the tool he was using at the time and moved as quietly as he could from his position. A noise in this place from an unknown presence could mean trouble. He had stopped on this seemingly deserted planet to make some last minute adjustments. Before he stopped here, he had been on his way to a rendezvous with the Sith Master Aingidh that held Zuren and Danna. If everything worked out well, he hoped one of them should be speeding on their way back to Yavin with his ship on autopilot. And he would be...pushed that thought out of his mind. Right now he needed to find where the voice came from and whom. The last thing he needed was a run in now. Zuren and Danna were depending on him. Even if they might not know he was coming.

"I mean...first the Jedi," Psylocke muttered to herself. "Then that son of a bitch ditches me on this good for nothing planet."

"You out there. Come out slowly."

"Oh great, now I'm hearing voices." She threw her arms out in defeat. "At least I'll have someone to talk to before I die," she added sarcastically.

Lon trained his blaster on the voice and waited for her to emerge. Something tickled the back of his brain about the voice though. "Couldn’t be,” he thought to himself.

"And here I was thinking, I'd go out in some big battle." She shook her head. "This is so stupid."

"You coming out, or do I shoot first and ask questions later?"

Psylocke chuckled. "Hey, it kinda sounds like Lon," she said to herself. "Hey, Lon! That you?" she called out.

Quietly to himself, he asked, "Why me? Force I ask you, why me?" Out loud, "Psylocke? That you?"

"Whoo hoo!" She raised her arms in triumph, and then grimaced in pain. "Ow! Of course it's me. This is my brain. I was kinda expecting my mom or something, but whatever."

He walked over to her, staying well away from her, with a blaster trained on her.

Psylocke smiled when she saw him emerge. " I'm hallucinating too." She looked like she had been to hell and back, again, bloody and bruised, hair a mess.

"What happened to you? You look like hell. Assuming this isn't some trick."

Psylocke sighed and leaned her head back against the tree. "Well...this all came from some beast thing I ran into back there." She pointed to the makeshift bandage. "It sure got a piece of me. Don't worry, I killed it." She closed her eyes. "Let's see if I can turn you into...Nik-vie!" She opened one eye, then the other. "Oh. Still you. Want to sit with me?"

"You're going into shock. Wonder if still remember what Danna taught me about that."

"Yeah, probably. It's just part of death I guess. Well at least my brain gave me someone to talk to before I go."

"Snap out of it. You're not dead yet."

"I'm glad it was you," she said over him. "I need to ask you something. I understand if you can't answer, being a figment of my imagination and all."

"Yeah. Right. Ask your damn question."

Psylocke chuckled. "That's so like you." She adjusted her position slightly and winced again. "It about something Nik-vie said a couple of months ago." She paused to think for a moment. "Lon...why did you decide to become a Jedi?"

"Better question is why did you become a Sith?"

"That's not asking me questions. But I guess it's a good one." She paused for a long moment to think. "I guess it was a chance to move my life forward. I enjoyed my time with Metieh, but the Emperor selected me to join him. I was special. I just wanted to find a place in this messed up galaxy. Among the Sith...I felt like I had finally found where I belonged." She ran her hand gingerly over the hole in her hip and sighed. "Then last spring...when you and Nik-vie tried to..." She shook her head. "I was angry for so long. I wish I could tell you...the real you...that I'm not angry anymore...that I forgive you. And that I hope maybe someday you can forgive me."

"That's great. You forgive me. Until the next time you royally screw me over."

Psylocke shivered. "You're right. All I've done it hurt you...all I'll ever do is hurt you. I wonder now if it would please you to watch me die." She chuckled softly. "'re not like that. And frankly, I'm not planning to die anytime soon. Though I might not have a choice."

"But I'm a figment right? What if I told you I'm here cause you're going to die"?

"Oh...well I guess that's possible. I figure this is my brain trying to get me to calm down so I can focus on healing myself before I bleed out."

"What if I'm real, the damage you've done me has changed me, and I really will kill you?"

Psylocke noticed her heart starting to pound harder. Nah...he couldn't be. "Have I really hurt you so badly?" she wondered aloud, leaning her head back against the tree. "Now I wonder how you would do it if you could?"

"What do you think? You betrayed me multiple times leaving me to the Emperor's 'tender mercies'. You didn't even look back. What the hell do you think I am some sort of unfeeling puppet? Look in my hand Psylocke. I've got a blaster pointed at you, I'm too far for you to attack, and you're too weak to do anything about it. Do the math."

"You..." Her breath became more shallow as it struck her that she would never say such a thing to herself. Her face paled as she looked at the blaster. "It's is you," she uttered, her stomach starting to churn. Her eyes traced back up to him. "You are real."

"So how does it feel to be the one that's vulnerable? The one who isn't in charge and so damn cocky about how great a fighter she is? Wondering if the one in power is going to just end it. Or maybe draw it out. How do you like that?"

Psylocke's hands grew cold. Vulnerable...that feeling she had felt months ago crawled under her skin again. "That's not like you. You're not like me, Lon. You're not a killer."

"Tell me how you know that?"

Psylocke tried to push herself up, but the muscles in her torn leg locked, and she hardly had the strength left to move. "Because I--" *Know you?* she wondered. *I haven't had a real conversation with him in a long time. I've changed...what if he has?* "Because you're good. You kept me away from my darkside. It's why I left you the first time." She stopped, glancing down at the gun again, then back up at him. "It's my fault that you're acting like this, isn't it?"

"Answer your own question. What do you think? Good or no, am I just supposed to keep forgetting that you hurt me, sold me out, treated me like I was some sort of doormat?"

"I never expected you to forget. I'll never forget how you and Nik-vie tried to turn me from my path," she said bitterly. "I'll never forget the punishment I went though for that." Her chin started to quiver in anger. "But at least I could forgive you," she added, softer.

"Your path? Your path you say. We showed you another path and you agreed to try it. Of your own free will damn you. Then you went right back to that bastard. And that's our fault?"

"Don't you--!" She leaned forward to stand, grimaced in pain, and immediately dropped back against the tree. "He had no right to bring you there. That was *my* sanctuary. And didn't you think that you might be crossing a line? That you might be violating me?"

"You didn't think he'd kill me? Wise and compassionate man that he is, he’d just waltz out of there whistling a happy tune? Why do you think I didn't die there, Psylocke?"

"Because I begged for your life, and got you out of there. But in the end, I had to go back. He would have hunted us both down otherwise."

"So you stay with him cause you have to beg him and because he'll hunt you down. Great reasons to stay. Great path to follow." He turned and headed toward his ship.

Psylocke stared it him, mouth agape as she watched him leave.

He went inside the ship and returned with a med kit. He made an interesting paradox. Medkit in one hand, blaster pointed at her in the other.

Psylocke's breathing started to slow as she watched him return. It felt like everything was moving in slow motion. "What..." The forest started tilting around her.

"You're right about one thing Psylocke. You've screwed me at every turn and probably will again in the future, but I can't just leave you like this. Now I ask you, what are your intentions? Do I have to tie you up to heal you so you don't try anything? The fact of the matter is I don't trust you."

Lon's words sounded like they were being spoken underwater. Her head felt light. "You're...too late...anyway." Her eyes rolled back as her vision grew dark.

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