"Ahsoka, I need to talk to you!"
She stopped, unable to keep going, waiting for what seemed like her one and only friend to catch up.
"Why?" Anakin breathed, slightly winded as he sprinted after her, looking at her with all the hurt and betrayal she herself was feeling. "Why are you doing this?"
"The council didn't trust me!" she exclaimed, flinging her arms out wide to show her disgust before bringing them folded close to protect her. "So how can I trust myself?"
"What about me?" Anakin asked, still reeling from her decision to walk away. "I believed in you, I stood by you!"
"I know you believe in me Anakin, and I'm grateful for that." Ahsoka replied, without a hint of anger in her voice. "But this isn't about you. I can't stay here any longer."
"Not now." she finished quietly, turning away, unable to bear her master's look.
"The Jedi Order is your life." Anakin pleaded. "You can't just throw it away like this. Ahsoka, you are making a mistake!"
"Maybe, but I have to sort this out on my own." she replied curtly. "Without the Council, and without you."
"I understand." Anakin said. "More than you realize. I understand wanting to walk away from the Order."
"I know." came her reply, making Anakin wonder, if only for a moment, how much his Padawan truly saw in him.
As she turned to walk away, Anakin Skywalker felt that the moment was heavy with the Force. He did not know why, but what he and Ahsoka did next would affect the galaxy and all its many people. He could let her walk away, was more than tempted to in fact, but something in the back of his mind nagged at him. For a brief moment, the shadow that had hung over the Force since the start of the Clone Wars lifted from his mind, and he knew what he had to do.
"So stay. For me." he pleaded. "I can't do this without you. You know that. Sure, you're my Padawan, but you're also my friend, my companion, my partner in crime."
She stopped walking, and although he couldn't see it, a slight smirk was on Ahsoka's face as she was lost in happier times.
"Stay, Snips." he said softly. "You are more than just a student to me Ahsoka. I… I care about you."
And he meant it. Not romantically, but an affection born of companionship, shared adversity, and common understanding. During his early days in the Temple, Master Yoda had told him that friends were simply the same soul dwelling in different bodies. There was a bond in the Force between them, they both felt it. And that bond produced a simple, enduring love. Their lives were better for having each other in it, and he wouldn't let it go without a fight.
Neither, it seemed, did she.
"Alright." Ahsoka said, with a deep sigh. "I'll stay."
Skywalker's eyes shone brightly, a disbelieving smile etched across his face.
"You mean it?"
A smack on the shoulder was all he received.
"I do." she replied with a smile of her own, snatching her braid from his hand and attaching it back on her montrals. "But I'm never going to let you live this down."
The moment passed and all Anakin Skywalker could feel was a sense of relief. The bond between himself and Ahsoka hadn't been broken. And faintly, he thought he could feel the screams of a denied destiny.
The Force was truly with them today.