A/N: This story offers yet another aspect of the Kate-Asha-Ciaran AU: Padme as a Jedi. She was put in as a response to a story challenge over at DeviantArt. So,yes, there goes TPM. Woohoo? Happy holidays everyone. ^_^


"Obi-Wan."

The Padawan turned over under the warm sheets and grumpily opened his eyes the tiniest bit.

It was his Master's voice. "Obi-Wan, a message has arrived for you from Master Yoda."

"Oh…" Obi-Wan grumbled and sat up, rubbing his eyes. Qui-Gon, standing at the door to Obi-Wan's room, waved a sheet of flimsiplast at him and disappeared into the common area of their dorm in the Jedi Temple.

Obi-Wan felt more alive after he got dressed and drank a cup of caf. He reached for the letter and pulled it across the table toward him. Why had Master Yoda sent him a letter instead of sending a messenger? And couldn't it have waited? An emergency would have been relayed to the Masters, not to Obi-Wan. He looked at the letter curiously as he unfolded it.

Padawan Kenobi,

Tasked with finding an important holocron removed from the Temple archives, select Padawans have been. Your help the Council needs. Directions you will find, to help you on your way.

Swims with the allayfish, the first clue does.

Obi-Wan sighed. "A scavenger hunt?"

"He dropped it off this morning," Qui-Gon said. "He looked very grave."

Obi-Wan sighed.

"It's a test, of a sort," Qui-Gon said, picking up on his apprentice's feelings of anticlimax. "Maybe he intends to teach you something."

He certainly wouldn't intend just to make me feel like a crèchling playing games. Obi-Wan nodded.

--)----------

"Swims with the allayfish" must mean that the clue was somewhere in the verdant, life-filled Room of One Thousand Fountains, so after his first class of the day, Obi-Wan headed there. He walked beneath wide-leaved plants, enjoying with them the sunlight that streamed down through the wide windows, and turning the letter over and over in his hands. Had a holocron really been taken, or had Yoda just set it all up so that Padawans would rush around the Temple looking for things? The Grand Master might like such a half-hazard approach…and what other Padawans had been assigned to do this? Maybe he had chosen Obi-Wan especially! Now, what part of the Room had allayfish? Obi-Wan hadn't exactly paid attention to the meditation centre's piscine denizens every time he had come here.

But the datapad sitting on a slender, glassy stalk of a podium that he could see in front of him just as he turned a corner concreted his feeling of this being his lucky day. This was a learning tool for any Jedi who happened to be flora- or fauna-ly inclined; it listed the various species in the Room and where to find them, as well as what they liked to eat and what not to feed them. He hurried over and activated it, frowning at the screen as it took its time to boot up and perform the search function.

But then he had it; a picture of a fat-bellied blue eel and a map to the pond where it swam. He jogged off toward it, stowing Master Yoda's letter in one of his belt pouches.

The allayfish preferred one of the deeper ponds. A waterfall splashed down among boulders beaten smooth and circular, then flowed down a rocky slide to a second, smaller cascade and a dark blue pool. Grass ringed it along with the path of flagstones. A thick stand of young foliage cast stripes of shadow across the oasis. Obi-Wan knelt and peered down into the water, noticing the allayfish cruising slowing down where they almost blended with the color of the water. What would a "clue" look like? Obi-Wan's eyes narrowed.

He could see gold glinting on the cap at the end of a scroll, far down wedged between some rocks.

A scroll? Really? But Obi-Wan reached out a hand and pulled at it with the Force. It wiggled, sending up small ripples, but was held too tightly between the boulders, as if it had been tossed over the waterfall and driven in. He grimaced with the effort, and finally dropped his hand as the scroll refused to budge.

Obi-Wan frowned, shrugged off his tunic, steeled his resolve, and dove into the pool.

It was breathtakingly cold. Under the water, currents invisible from the surface tried to push him away from the waterfall. He pinwheeled his arms, scooping at the water and kicking, but couldn't make headway against the flow. After a few chaotic seconds he came up for air and swam to the edge of the pool to lean against it, gasping.

He spat his sopping Padawan braid out of his mouth and turned to dive back in when he felt a Force presence flick at his senses. But a second later it was gone, leaving a trace of amusement in his mind. Surely someone had just walked past the glade.

He sighed, took a gulp of air, and submerged.

Pushing off against the side of the pool, he did better this time. The current lashed against him, but he could feel progress. He squinted, seeing only dark fish-shapes gliding past. Where—he reached out, fingers just brushing the slimy rocks. But he couldn't search further—his lungs told him that. He kicked for the surface and leaned on the edge again to breathe, waterfall-spray hitting his face and making him blink. This is crazy! Master Yoda wants us to practice for real-world situations I know, but…discipline kept him from cursing the Master's name further.

One more try.

Again, a blind scrabble until his air ran out. This time he pulled himself out of the water fully and sat shivering, gathering the Force around him to keep his core temperature up. Absolutely crazy! I'm not getting that thing, not with human lungs. Maybe I can ask Master Fisto—

What's Ciaràn doing here?!

Obi-Wan jumped to his feet as the Zabrak pushed aside leaves and bandy tree-trunks, emerged onto the greensward, and promptly collapsed, shaking. A moment later, as he headed toward his friend, Obi-Wan realized he was laughing.

Ciaràn tried to hide his mirth behind an arm flung across his face, but as Obi-Wan fumed, the stifled laughter turned into a roar of it.

Obi-Wan stared. "How long have you been watching?"

His breath still controlled by laughter, Ciaràn stood up, smiling, and pulled from a pocket a folded sheet of flimsi exactly like the one Yoda had sent Obi-Wan. He glowed with pride in the Force as he held up a hand for Obi-Wan to be silent and moved over to the edge of the pool. He raised his left hand.

"That's not gonna work," Obi-Wan said as he moved to look at the submerged scroll himself. "It's stuck."

But again the Zabrak just waved the letter at him. The red skin between his eyes tightened into wrinkles as Ciaràn concentrated, staring down into the water.

Then he gestured, and pushed one of the boulders that trapped the scroll. The rock fell to the side against its fellows, and the scroll began to float downward toward the dusky depths. Another curl of his fingers and Ciaràn grabbed onto it with the Force and drew it, dripping, to the surface and out of the pool into his hand. He turned to Obi-Wan and smiled.

"…Right." Obi-Wan said, feeling thoroughly crestfallen. "This isn't a competition. Open it."

Ciaràn undid the metal clasps of the scrollcase to reveal a rolled piece of flimsi. Stretched out, it read:

Padawans,

Your next clue will you find where our greatest guests the Temple enter.

Obi-Wan passed a hand over his sopping hair. "Right. Hold on to that. I've got Galactic Politics in half an hour. I'm going to change."

---)----------

Half an hour and one new set of robes later, Obi-Wan sat with his head leaning against his hand, staring somewhere in the direction of Master K'Tan's left shoulder as the old man droned on about trade treaties. In the desk next to his, Ciaràn played the attentive student, albeit one attentive on shooting looks at his classmate and grinning at him. The others hunched over their desks, varying degrees of asleep. Even studious Padmé Naberrie nodded.

Something flashed by in Obi-Wan's peripheral vision. He and Ciaràn both looked up in time to see a cloaked figure dash past the open door of the classroom, closely followed by another, much taller one. The Force, like wind in their passing, told him who they were a second later even if his eyes couldn't register it; Kate Misinjian and Asha Scarsi.

Oh no.

He had had enough today. He put his hand up. Miracle of miracles, K'tan noticed.

"Wot wot? Padawan Kenobi?"

"Master Yoda gave me some special instructions today. I've got to go."

"I'm sorry…Master Yoda would have communicated with me did he want you to have special privilege…" K'tan droned.

"Master," Ciaràn said. "Your Padawan just ran by, chasing a youngling."

Giggling started in isolated sections of the class. "Ah," K'tan said. "Perhaps you should do something about that."

Ciaràn stood to go, and Obi-Wan hurriedly followed him out, turning the corner just in time to hear K'tan drone, "Quiet in the back."

The corner of Kate's cloak disappeared around a corner. Obi-Wan and Ciaràn broke into a run, the human unable to resist a smile. But what was going on with the girls? They chased them into a vaulted hallway.

"Give that back!" Kate's voice echoed.

Asha, fourteen years old and looking younger with her short stature and round face, skidded to a halt in an alcove containing a couch. "I found it."

"And I found you. Give it to me." She advanced on the younger Padawan, hand outstretched. Today, her long blonde hair was drawn into a ponytail and her eyes were surrounded by orange diamonds of decorative paint.

Obi-Wan skidded to a halt. "What's going on here?"

Asha hugged a scroll to herself. "Don't be so minor, please! I found this. I followed Master Yoda's clue." Tentatively, as if Kate were going to snatch the scroll out of her hand while she did it, she reached into a pocket and took out one of the flimsies that Obi-Wan had already had more than enough of today.

"Sit." Ciaràn glared between the two of them. "You disrupted class. Tell us what's going on."

Kate flopped down onto the couch, and Obi-Wan watched in astonishment. If he'd told her that, she'd have taken his head off—without a lightsaber. Maybe she really did fancy Ciaràn.

Obi-Wan told himself that he would never understand girls. Asha promptly sat on his foot.

"Erm, Asha…"

"I was following a clue," Kate began. "Okay, I was wandering around because I had no idea what it meant. Then I saw her walking along with a scroll and asked what it said. She hadn't opened it yet. I asked her where she got it. She said it was wedged into the door to a maintenance hallway. I asked her what clue she'd followed and she said the "most important guests" one, which is what I had."

"Wait," Obi-Wan said. "You found that in the allayfish pool?"

Kate's eyebrow rose. "No. It was under a table in the refectory."

Ciaràn looked thoughtful. "What was the first clue Master Yoda gave you, Asha?"

Asha sang, "Under the place where the outyoos grow, la la la la--"

"Most of us must have been given a different clue at first," Ciaràn continued.

Asha whispered "Looouuuu….."

"Then gradually they converge. We all got the "most important guests" one, right?" Everyone nodded. "And Obi-Wan and I got allayfish. Eventually, there's only going to be one clue to answer, to lead us to the holocron." Obi-Wan had almost forgotten that that was the point of the exercise. Of course no one had actually taken a holocron…Yoda just said that to make him think the task was important.

"So it's a contest," Kate said.

Was it? Obi-Wan looked at Ciaràn, who gave no indication of noticing him or Kate.

Asha, meanwhile, had opened the scroll. She read it out loud with an increasingly disbelieving expression. " Harms stealing does, but this you must steal; harms, killing does, but this you must kill. Whaaaat?"

"Really?" Kate went to snatch the letter, thought better of it, and held out her hand. Asha passed it over as Obi-Wan looked over Kate's shoulder as she perused.

"It must be a riddle," He said. "Not literal."

"Of course," she said with some disdain. "He wouldn't make it that easy."

"But what do we need to kill…" Just saying it sounded unpleasant. Killing something in the Temple? Unthinkable.

"Just like the other one. Why do the most important guests come through the maintenance hallway?"

But as soon as she said it, Obi-Wan understood. That was classic Yoda, turning your worldview upside down as soon as it became too ingrained for you to even notice it was there. "He meant the Temple Caretakers; mechanics and cleaners who aren't Force-sensitive. The ones who provide for us."

There were nods of assent, but further conversation yielded no brilliant ideas about the location of the next scroll. The four of them met again after the evening meal to discuss the new clue, surreptitiously glancing about for whether any other Padawans they knew—or didn't—had letters from Yoda. They sat on the couches on the first floor of the residential tower and talked about the next clue and about whatever the conversation wandered onto until Kate fell asleep draped across the couch, and Obi-Wan only caught Asha drawing music notes on Kate's face with the makeup pen in the older girl's pocket after a ballad had crawled its way up her cheek.

--)----------

The next morning after breakfast, the four of them had free time together again and wandered toward the Room of a Thousand Fountains. From the main hallway, a flight of stairs that widened at the bottom lead down into the Room, curving so that one could not see the riot of greenery until the corner was turned, but the birdsong and rushing water could be heard, beginning dim and growing stronger. Obi-Wan turned the lines of the latest letter over and over in his mind, always tainted with the memory of his embarrassment at the pool. He needed to get one of these right. Just one. But they were all wandering around because they didn't know yet. Asha was humming something fast, running up and down scales.

Obi-Wan experienced a flash of precognition that was unusually strong and clear, probably because of his proximity to the center of the Temple--

A Togruta was about to fall on his head.

Obi-Wan leapt out of the way as a lanky Initiate plummeted down apparently from the skies, grinning widely, headtails and cloak-tails flapping. Kate jumped into a fighting stance, while Ciaràn moved as calmly as if he had been going to step sideways all along. The Togruta landed in front of Asha, knees bent. His whoop of triumph eclipsed Obi-Wan's yowl of "What?!"

"Hi!" The alien Jedi was a few years younger than Asha and no taller; it was her that he landed right in front of. She seemed perfectly fine, humming along a new melody as if she, like Ciaràn, had known this was going to happen a long time ago.

"Sorry about that!" he said. "Hey Padmé! I found it."

Padmé Amidala jogged around a corner, a brunette girl in slightly salmon-colored Jedi robes who stopped when she saw the crowd that had gathered. Her "Hello," managed to encompass everyone. Obi-Wan knew her from a few classes and from reputation. The lightsaber was not the weapon she was most comfortable with; her words were. Some Padawans already called her "the Negotiator", a semi-serious jab based on one of Master K'tan's compliments. Obi-Wan wasn't sure what to think when he saw the piece of flimsy neatly folded in her hand.

"We're looking for the next clue too," Kate said without preamble.

"Hey," the Togruta extended a reddish hand wrapped in what looked like fighting gauze, and Kate shook it hesitantly. Obi-Wan felt confused too; he'd only seen that alien gesture once or twice. He gave a bow; the Togruta dipped his half-grown, pyramidal montrals. "I'm Jasper Wo."

"He's training to be a Jedi sniper," Padmé said proudly. "And it was he who found proof of where our next clue is."

How seamlessly she says 'us', Obi-Wan thought. When we're on separate 'teams'. Kate seemed to have been thinking the same thing.

"Where is it then?" She looked up, mouth set in a severe line. Today, her eyes were surrounded by black triangles.

"Up there." Padmé pointed. They all followed her gaze to a golden-faced chrono mounted on the wall high above them, old-fashioned enough to have ornately decorated hands poised on its face among silver filigreed numbers. He had barely noticed before, but now remembered Qui-Gon once telling him that it had been one of the many gifts a planet's people have given Yoda for his service long ago. A narrow shelf of rock was the only way to get to it, and that was reached by a jumble of rock which looked like it had avalanched hundreds of years ago and settled into a nearly sheer rock face. In reality, the cliff was of course one of various constructs designed to train young Jedi. It was passable, but usually done in harness and under the watchful eye of a Master or two.

"To kill time," Ciaràn muttered, then laughed low until mirth burst out of him enthusiastically enough that Asha joined in. Obi-Wan groaned. Classic Yoda indeed.

"I almost made it," said Jasper the Padawan sniper. Obi-Wan knew that Jedi snipers were trained to perch atop the temple for long watches in case of attack. Their main purpose was of course ceremonial in this time, but they were trained to wickedly effective long-range combat with their reverse-grip lightsabers, and to be comfortable climbing all around the outer face of the building. "But it gets real steep at the top. We'll need harnesses, or someone bolstering the climbers."

Ciaràn nodded. "Let's go."

--)----------

They made their way up the initial slope in a line; Ciaràn, Jasper, Padmé, Kate, Asha, Obi-Wan. At first the rocks were not steep, just a jumble between tall plants near the ground of the Room. Jasper sure-footedly moved through the paths he had taken before, sometimes leaping from boulder to boulder, while Ciaràn followed with few deviations and Padmé found a more sedate route between the larger stones. Obi-Wan watched for Asha to need help, but she soldiered on, occasionally emitting a hummed note or two.

In a few minutes they were flat-out climbing, needing to stretched to reach up for the next stone in the path, then clamber onto it as best they could. Obi-Wan's knees were spattered with dirt. He tried to keep the clock in sight, but it was sometimes blocked out by the larger rocks or the nearly sheer face that stretched up the Room's wall.

The clatter of stones falling sounded loud enough that he realized he'd nearly been in a trance. He whipped around to see Kate slide down the artificial mountain, dirt and dust showing down on the Room as she fought for purchase. She stopped her wild descent her own body-length away from them, long fingers dug into the dirt and pale to the knuckles. She gasped for breath. The line froze.

Padmé and Asha both moved; Padmé crouched with one palm in the dirt taking her weight. "Grab my hand!"

Obi-Wan grabbed a fistful of the back of Asha's tunic as the younger Padawan headed resolutely for the edge.

Kate's eyes went from as wide as the moons in the night sky to dangerously narrowed. "I can do it." She raised her elbows and pushed forward, moving a fraction of the distance.

Padmé said, "I'll help you!"

"I can do it."

It was ungainly and took time, and Obi-Wan wasn't surprised to see the wide sleeves of Kate's tunic ripped and black with dirt, but she made it back to the path herself. She sat breathing heavily on the ledge for a moment, refusing to acknowledge Padmé's dour glare.

Finally, the other girl said, "I just wanted to help you."

"It's fine." Kate stood up and brushed herself off.

--)----------

When they were high enough that they could see a fraction of the Room below them, treetops letting some glints of blue show through and the sound of rushing water nearly as soft as it was in the corridor outside the Room, the rock face grew too steep for them to continue. The clock was mounted on the wall not two meters from them, but that was two meters straight up, and then onto a narrow ledge that could have held the six of them only if they pressed their backs against the wall and stood in file.

"This is where I stopped," Jasper said. The others looked up at the clock and nervously around. "We could get up there if some of us boosted the others up, either with the Force or just, you know, lifting."

"But who goes up?" Obi-Wan asked. Those were the ones who would have the chance of finding the clue, and the silence that met his question solidified his theory that everyone thought it would be an advantage to be the one to find it—and to be king of the hill, as it were.

"Asha and Jasper should," Padmé said. "They're the lightest."

"Then you," Obi-Wan reasoned.

"But we don't know where on the clock the clue is hidden. It could even be inside. It should be someone with good mechanical skill; and that's you."

He couldn't deny that. But before he could speak, Kate said, "I want to go. I haven't been useful for this whole task. I can do it."

She was going to fight for this, Obi-Wan knew it. And it wasn't worth it. "She's lighter," he said. "They can call down if they need any help finding it."

Padmé pressed her lips into a thin line, but did not argue. The energy it took Kate to keep from smirking bled into the Force.

In the end, Padmé lifted Asha carefully with the Force, while Obi-Wan held out his cupped hands for Jasper to step up on and Ciaràn did the same for Kate. Jasper launched himself the remaining distance and landed on the highest ledge with his knees bent, graceful like the predator his species was descended from. Asha floated up, seemingly light as a feather, to land next to him. Kate found a toehold and began to climb, smoothly pulling her shoulders up over the last ledge.

Jasper started to examine the clock, but Asha suddenly raced across the narrow ledge, stretching a hand out. "Kate, the rock—"

The edge crumbled beneath Kate's fingers. She plummeted and screamed, scraping at the rock for a moment before momentum carried her two far away. Obi-Wan heard Padmé shout—

And a moment later a tableau presented itself before him; Kate hanging in the air, Ciaràn with his arms stretched out to harness the Force to catch her, his back foot scraping at the ledge of where he had been standing directly beneath her. A breath shuddered through both of them identically.

Slowly Ciaràn lowered Kate to the ground. She walked to the edge and sat with her feet dangling and head low. "Obi-Wan, go."

He hesitated for a moment, wanting to say something to comfort her. But she had never responded well to being patted on the shoulder before. He turned away as Ciaràn held out his hands to boost him up.

He pulled himself onto the ledge. Jasper was peeking around the edges of the clock, but it seemed solidly set into the wall. The clock was twice as tall as he was. Time, the clue had said. Had it meant something to do with the position of the hands? But Yoda could not have known what time his students would arrive here. Or at least, so Obi-Wan thought. He examined the central hub the hands emerged from it. It was an oval of some white material that shone in the bright light. Upon further inspection he saw that there were two parts to the hub, an inner circle and outer ring. Carefully he reached up and tried to detach the ring or find some movable part somewhere. His fingernails discovered a lip between the two sections, and when he pulled, the inner circle came away in his hands.

The other two joined him to get a glimpse into the clock's gearbox. The parts were toothed and moving, but behind them in a tiny space he could see a faint blue glow, a square shape among all the circles...the holocron.

"It's here!" he called out. "I found the holocron."

"Great," Padmé called. "Can you get it?"

"I think so." But even as he said it he realized that he couldn't just reach in. The gaps between the gears were too small; his hand could get caught, and likely he wouldn't be able to pull the holocron out through that gap anyway. How had Master Yoda gotten it in there in the first place?
"It's a rhythm," Asha said. "Hear it? Very regular."

But the rhythm of turning sprockets did not making the gears move enough for him to reach in at any point. His brow furrowed in concentration. He was good at mechanics. If he could move the gears aside just slightly while keeping them wedded to their neighbors, he could make the opening wider without disrupting the movement of the clock.

Or he could break it, and probably suffer Master Yoda's wrath in the form of kitchen duty for the next seven or so years. Or worse—being made a research assistant to Master K'tan.

--)----------

Kate did not want to talk to anyone, but Padmé insisted. "You're doing fine," she said. "It's not your fault the rock was loose."

She needed to get that holocron. Yoda's letter had said she was tasked with finding it, and that hadn't changed because others had been given the same assignment. Maybe she could get Obi-Wan to let her take it to him herself. For the group, of course.

Who was Padmé to say she was 'doing fine'? Just because Obi-Wan was a boy, because he was stronger, he wasn't the measuring stick for progress--

She cast out into the Force, her aid in times of trouble. The light side nexus so close felt like the warm glow of a fire, comforting and primal.

Was that a flicker of presence in the woods? Another Padawan? Well, they were too late.

She sighed, conflicted. She shouldn't be like this. Realistically, why would Master Yoda set them a task in which they had to compete? With a final leg that could only be surmounted in pairs? Of course he was stressing teamwork.

And she had let the team down in more ways than one.

She barely looked as Ciaràn knelt next to her. "Don't tell me I did fine," she said. "Don't tell me I shouldn't have been so selfish."

Her eyes widened when he brushed her cheek with his thumb, as quick as if the touch had never been there. "I think you missed a spot cleaning off Asha's handiwork. Looks like a blurry B flat."

She closed her eyes and laughed. But a moment later embarrassment and the small flow of recovered happiness were both forgotten—well, almost. There was a presence in the forest below. A strong one, coming this way.

--)----------

Obi-Wan was concentrating, his eyes almost shut. There was space for him to move the gears aside, but moving one meant moving a network of ten or more elsewhere in the clock, making sure they were all balanced and running smoothly. It was both simpler and more complex than fixing a droid; there were no datachips here, just moving parts which were all connected by gravity and momentum. Every time he felt he was ready to begin he remembered the feeling of drowning.

But he steeled his resolve and reached into the Force's awareness of every cog and wheel. Jasper stood beside him, poised to reach in and grab the scroll if Obi-Wan was too preoccupied with his mental challenge to retrieve it at the right moment.

Asha began to sing softly, something wordless and haunting, and Obi-Wan realized why her talent for music had been compared to Battle Meditation. His clarity increased tenfold. For a time he simply rode the gears.

Then he knew exactly which ones to move, which sections to shift the tiniest bit so that other parts would settle into new grooves and the clock would continue in its circles. He made the change.

He remembered that his eyes were open when he saw Jasper dart in to grab the holocron and draw it out. Obi-Wan blinked as he let the clock settle into its old rhythm. Looking at its face, he saw that either he had broken it or it had been a few minutes since he began the trance. Asha applauded; it seemed it had been the latter.

"Yes!" Jasper called down to the others. "We've got it."
Carefully, the three climbers were helped back down onto the penultimate ledge. They gathered around. "Open it!" Padmé said.

Obi-Wan looked at Kate a moment before he did. Would she want the honor? But she said nothing, looking at him without a trace of anger or ulterior motive. He touched the blue-glowing square with the Force.

A hologram of Yoda appeared, in miniature and blue-tinted so that it seemed like Obi-Wan was holding the ghost of the Master in his hands. "Well done!" the recording said. "Retrieved the holocron you have. Return it to the archives, and the Temple will be safe for another day." The semitransparent Yoda gave off his characteristic giggle.

The recording ended and flicked off. The next screen simply showed that the holocron contained texts entitled The Socio-Political History of the Outer Rim. Obi-Wan laughed in lieu of complaining that they had gone through all this for one of Master K'tan's books. Ciaràn's expression and Kate's Force presence said the same thing—until she turned and looked out across the tumble of rocks they had come through to get here.

"Look!"

Obi-Wan did, and there was Master Yoda. The little Master in his baggy robes hopped from rock to rock as if it were the easiest thing in the galaxy to take strides thrice as long as any of the jumps Ciaràn or Jasper had made. The Padawans spread out, ready to bow respectfully. Instead of looking down at them from a high perch, Yoda hopped to the ground in front of them, his clawed feet gripping the dirt. Ciaràn was the first one to sit to see him at eye level; the rest followed.

Yoda paced back and forth in front of them, hobbling with his walking stick as if they hadn't just see him come bounding in a few minutes through the terrain that had taken the six of them three-quarters of an hour to traverse. He smiled, his deep green eyes catching its light. "Well have you done! Retrieved the important holocron…and fixed an irregularity in my clock, hmm?" He peered at Obi-Wan, who did not know what to say. He had?

"Erm, Asha helped."

"Good Padawans are you." Obi-Wan offered the holocron, and Yoda took it. "What have you learned?"

"Many tasks require teamwork," Padmé fired off.

"Yes…" Yoda tipped his head to look at Kate.

She immediately replied, rubbing at a black smudge on her cheek. "Don't fall asleep in front of Asha."

Master Yoda cackled, smiled. "Follow me," he said. "Some changes we will make to your schedules. Time off you deserve after spent your time on this mission I did."

Obi-Wan and Ciaràn grinned, congratulating one another.

"Master Yoda," Padmé said, "I was wondering if I might schedule some more time helping out in the Senate…"

They all began to work their way back down the hill. The way back would take as long as it had to get here, but Obi-Wan knew he could do it. They were all looking out for each other, after all.