The story takes place during the beginning of KOTET Chapter 2 in Kaas City.
Major Malavai Quinn walked the corridor quickly, a datapad in his hand, looking like someone with a purpose. Indeed, he had one but not what could be expected from those who worked with him for the last few months.
She was coming. After all the years he’d tried to find her, after all the years he’d spent it prison for refusing to abandon his search for her, after all the months he’d watched holonews, hungrily waiting for anything about the great Outlander who was taking effective steps in crushing the true Empire’s enemy, he was now hiding shyly in shadows, hoping to see her. She came here.
Shame flooded his heart; not for the first time. He should have tried harder, he should have gone rogue, he should not have let that incompetent worm lock him up, but again he’d proved too inflexible, too attached to rules and regulations, and – again – it hadn’t served him.
He felt like he’d failed her.
But she was her old self: powerful, strong, invisible.
She didn’t need him. The realisation struck him hard and painfully. In the past she had seemed to rely on his advice, on his military experience and expertise, but now she was fighting an enemy no one could defeat, and he clearly was not necessary for her success.
She didn’t need him.
The thought still ringing painfully in his mind, when the lift doors opened and she left it. As beautiful as he remembered, as tiny, with her unruly white hair escaping her buns and flowing down her pale cheeks.
She stopped, waiting for the rest of her entourage. Mili was by her side, which brought a smile to Malavai’s face. It was good he was with her. He knew what a great price – exile – he had paid for his attempts of freeing Malavai. Mili deserved to be useful, and Malavai could not think of a better place for him to serve; of a better Sith to be in service of.
There was also that SIS spy, Shan, and – to Malavai’s surprise – the traitor Beniko. He was surprised Mili was able to trust her enough to work with her again. Her list of crimes of incompetence against the Empire was so long she should be executed. She probably would be, if she hadn’t fled the Empire. He now started to worry this woman would bring trouble to Attira’s organisation. How many spies she’d unwittingly installed in the Alliance, how many unreliable people she’d recruited?
The last person to leave the lift was Nayel. The door closed behind him, so Malavai knew there were no more in this delegation. After seeing Mili, he wasn’t surprised his cousin was there too. They shared the fate his imprisonment cast upon them, so it was logical they continued their work together.
Attira looked at Nayel, and they appeared like communicating, exchanging information with one glance. The special connection between them was unmistakable, and Malavai could see it even from his shadow.
His broken heart bleeding with pain, his mind telling him they were better off this way. Nayel was her equal in every way; something Malavai would or could never be. Two powerful Sith, faithfully serving the Empire until they were rejected by it for the most stupid reasons. Two equal people, destined to great things, found each other, and could now support each other without question, without doubts, with full understanding.
She didn’t need him any more. She had all she needed. She found a worthy replacement of him: a mere meaningless Imperial, mid-ranking officer with history of court-martial and prison replaced by a powerful Dark Lord of the Dark Council. This was a man worthy of a woman such as she! He loved her enough to let her go to be happy with another man.
He hid deeper in the shadow, making sure no one would notice him, and watched them pass by. No one looked in his direction, and when they were far enough, he returned to his duties.
He’d never forget her. He’d never stop loving her, but he’d never try to take her happiness away from her. She had someone who was a lot more appropriate life partner than he could be, and Nayel would make a far better father for Nil’awr than a simple Imp, such as himself, could.
It would take months and a coincidence for him to discover how terribly wrong he was.