Fourteen year old Anakin Skywalker trudged up the temple stairs loaded down with paint cans. It was his punishment to repaint the temple's cafeteria walls. He was being punished for something that wasn't his fault. Okay maybe not so much. Still things did get out of hand. How did he know that the younglings would finger paint the cafeteria walls? All he wanted to do was give the younglings a bit of fun by painting pictures on parchment. Still those five younglings who managed to get away from him had him searching the empty classrooms for them. And when he finally found them and brought them back to the cafeteria to rejoin the others, he found Master Windu there with his arms crossed over his chest glaring daggers at him. It was after Master Windu asked him to explain himself that Anakin noticed the finger painted pictures on the walls. Apparently the rest of the younglings had decided to stop using parchment. It wasn't his idea t paint the walls. He honestly had good intentions this time!
Anakin put the paint back up in the storage closet and used the code to lock it. It was late. But despite that, Anakin knew that Obi-Wan would be waiting up for him. He knew that Obi-Wan would have the 'I'm disappointed in you' look on his face and hoped to avoid it. His mother wouldn't ever wear that look. She never did. Even when Anakin would pull something over on Watto. Or if he would swindle somebody out of credits so that his mother could have something extra to buy something nice with. Obi-Wan never acknowledged Anakin's good intentions like his mother did. Why couldn't the order help him free her or at least let him visit her? One thing Anakin knew was that the first thing he would do when he was knighted would to go to Tatooine to free his mother and bring her to Coruscant where they could see each other regularly. He'll even take what credits he earned being a jedi and get her a small apartment in Coco town. Yes, his mother would know life away from slavery and Tatooine.
Anakin squared his shoulders and walked to his and Obi-Wan's quarters. Sighing he keyed in the code to open the door and walked through. True to Anakin's knowledge, Obi-Wan was sitting up on the couch waiting for him.
"Well? Did you finish?" Obi-Wan asked.
"Yes," Anakin said grudgingly and without another word he stalked to his own room to go to sleep. Tomorrow would be another day. The last thing Anakin thought before he went to sleep was that paint and younglings equals bad idea.
Anakin stood in line the next day as he waited to be served his breakfast in the cafeteria. The paint was now dry. There was no sign that younglings had finger painted the walls. Although Master Windu watched him from the high councils table. Anakin didn't understand why, but he could never do anything right in Master Windu's eyes. Anakin admired Master Windu's skill and even thought about asking him to give him a few pointers in lightsaber combat since Master Windu was the best of the best. Fortunately Master Yoda looked at Anakin with a twinkle in his eyes. Anakin liked Master Yoda very much and often asked for his guidance. Thant and the fact that Master Yoda would give him candy when he thought Anakin did something funny.
Anakin turned back to the breakfast line. Today was Baxter Ling's turn to serve the line. Baxter was a fellow jedi padawan and seemed to get into trouble at times too. Although not as much as Anakin did. Finally Anakin made it to the service spot and eyed the brown glop that was being served along with meat and fruit. What in sith's name were they serving? For some reason Anakin thought that he would die from poison if he ate that brown glop. Anakin frowned in disgust as Baxter dropped the brown glop in a bowl and set it down on Anakin's plate.
Baxter shrugged. "Sorry Anakin, It wasn't my idea to serve this ah, whatever it is," he said.
Anakin crossed his eyes at the glop. "I don't even want to know what this is," he said and took extra helpings of meat and fruit. He then leaned in closer to Baxter. "Dude, Master Windu has it in for me, make some sort of distraction," he whispered.
Baxter nodded. "I'll think of something good," he said.
"Thanks, I owe you one," Anakin said and walked away to the table that Obi-Wan was sitting at. Anakin made a face in disgust as Obi-Wan ate a spoonful of the brown glop. "That is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen," he said.
Obi-Wan turned to look at him. "What are you talking about?" he asked.
"Since you seem to like it, want my brown glop?" Anakin said giving Obi-Wan a bright look.
"No, you eat it, it's good for you," Obi-Wan said and turned back to his datapad.
"What is it?" Anakin asked disgusted and rotating the bowl and wanting to gag as the glop shifted to curds and way. "It looks like a bantha relieved itself in my bowl," he said.
"That's a rather crud assessment of your breakfast, Anakin," Obi-Wan said frowning.
"Even if it were true?" Anakin asked raising his eyebrows. If it were possible Obi-Wan's frown deepened. "Come on Obi-Wan! You know it's true!"
Obi-Wan quickly glanced at Anakin. "Imagine it's a nice steaming bowl of soup and you'll be fine," he said quietly and quickly.
"What kind of soup?" Anakin asked raising an eyebrow.
"Anakin," Obi-Wan said sternly.
Anakin grinned. "I'm serious. What kind of soup?"
Obi-Wan rubbed his temples and sighed. "Any kind of soup, just pick one and imagine the brown glop as soup," he said.
"So you admit to it being brown glop," Anakin said triumphantly.
At that moment a youngling ran up to them and pulled at Anakin's robes. "Anakin, Anakin, can you come play with us?" the youngling asked.
Anakin looked at the youngling and recognized her as one from the clan of younglings that he had 'kidnapped' from their clan rooms to finger paint. She had short curly brown hair and clear crystal blue eyes. She must have been no more than seven years old. No doubt that she would be picked as a padawan soon by a master. For a moment he couldn't place her name.
She tilted her head to the side and looked at him. "It's Leeal," she said and then giggled at Anakin's dumbstruck expression. "My name silly," she said in between giggles.
Anakin mentally slapped himself. Of course! Leeal Skiison was one of the younglings who was mostly overlooked despite her large craving for attention. He smiled at her and leaned in closer to her. "As soon as I can get away, I'll steal you guys away again for some fun time," he whispered.
Leeal beamed and then kissed his cheek. "I love you!" she said before scurrying off.
Obi-Wan chuckled at Anakin's dumbstruck expression and took the opportunity to stick a spoonful of glop in his gaping mouth.
Anakin sputtered and spit out the glop in a napkin. "Are you trying to poison me?!"
Anakin pressed his finger to his lips as he gathered the youngling clan around him. Their master, Lain Lingg had ordered them to meditate while she meditated. Anakin took this opportunity to steal the younglings away for some much needed play time. He lead the younglings to the gardens where they would play a game. He lead them to a temple tree where oddly shaped cardboard boxes hung from the tree branches by string. Anakin had stuffed this boxes with the candy he had stored away in his room. Grinning, he showed the younglings sticks.
"Okay, in the boxes hanging up here are surprises. To get the surprise you have to hit your box with you stick and burst it open. And you can't use the force," Anakin told them.
"But what fun is that if we can't use the force?" One youngling asked. This time a boy with sandy hair.
"Shut up Lex!" Leeal Said
"I have a better idea!" Lex said and instead of hitting his box with his stick, he started hitting Anakin in the legs.
"Hey! Hey! No attacking other jedi!" Anakin yelled jumping every time that Lex hit him. Soon after the others followed Lex's example and Anakin was suddenly on the ground as fifteen jedi younglings attacked him with sticks. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. "Hey! Stop that!" he called throwing his arms up in defense. "Come on! I didn't bring you out here for you to attack me!"
"I see that you've let mere children get the upper hand young Skywalker," Yoda said chuckling.
"Master Yoda help!" Anakin called. "Hey! Come on! This isn't fair!"
Master Yoda clapped his hands and instantly the younglings halted their attack and hid their sticks behind their backs. Anakin chanced peeking through his arms that he put up to protect his face. "Is it over?" he asked.
Master Yoda shook his head at Anakin. "Much to learn, young Skywalker. Come younglings it's time for your sleep," he said.
Anakin instantly stood up and dusted himself up. "I had things under control," he said.
Yoda chuckled and the younglings raised their sticks at Anakin who instantly backed up throwing his hands up. "I should have never given you sticks!" he said.
"Younglings, come. Time to leave young Skywalker alone, it is," Yoda said. Yoda chuckled as he led the younglings away from Anakin. Next time he was going to think of something safe. For him anyway.