Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. I am not making any profit from this work of fanfiction.

Author's note: Right now this is a one-shot, sort of inspired by the way Ahsoka's character has been developed in the CW novels. I have delusions of later doing an "Ahsoka's Diary" sort of thing. But right now it's just this, taking place at an unspecified time after Teth and before Maridun. Astute (and dedicated) readers will notice an oblique reference to my OC, Ryn, but she's not mentioned by name.


I finally find him in one of the Temple hangars, working on that decrepit ship we hijacked on Teth. I've teased him about his crash-landing on Tatooine, because it's easier and less uncomfortable than trying to figure out how he managed to keep it flying from Teth to the Arkanis Sector, or how he got the piece of junk on the ground without killing everyone aboard.

He saved us all, but I can't tell him that. I'm sure he thinks I don't mention it because I don't want to make his head bigger than it already is, and that's fair. My new Master has never been shy about touting his own abilities, and he's always had plenty to be proud of. Arrogant. But the other side of it is that he feels responsible. He's the Chosen One, and it isn't lost on him, what that means. He's supposed to fix everything, but the galaxy is at war, and the dark side is everywhere, and he never says a word but I see it growing in his eyes: he thinks it's his fault.

There's nothing I can do about that; I don't dare even tell him that it's not his fault, because that would be acknowledging the crushing weight that's hanging over him, and I'm just a kid but I'm getting to know him pretty well, and although he feels it all the time, I worry that if he actually thinks about it, if he pulls it out in the open and talks about it, that will make it too real, and he won't be able to live with it any more. Some things are so big that as soon as you start trying to deal with them, you can't. So it's better not to think about the big picture and just put one foot in front of the other: do the best you can, every day. I learned some of that from his beautiful, not-a-Jedi best friend, the one who's always hovering around and trying not to hover, watching him and trying to be supportive while also giving him space: speaking things makes them real. She says it has something to do with the power of words, and when she says it, it's like it's something mystical, and then she goes back to watching Anakin, and I think that she should know, because of all the things she's putting her energy into not saying, things she can't say because he's a Jedi and her best friend, things he knows she's not saying but that he won't talk about, either. I get exhausted watching both of them.

I hang back for a moment, just watching him, even though I know that's incredibly rude. Even though I should really get to the point, except I'm not really sure what that is, except to be company for him, for a little while. Comfort, if I can. Maybe I'll be snippy and get under his skin. At least that would distract him, while it lasts, from all the men we've lost this time around.

But then he looks up and meets my eyes, and I know I'm caught staring, and I see the faint edges of a smile flirting with his mouth, and I know that what he's not saying is that it's really bad form to gawk at your shirtless master. It's totally inappropriate behavior for a Padawan, but he looks really good with his shirt off, and nothing's going to happen, and there's no harm in appreciation. Maybe. But he doesn't say anything about it at all, leaving me the luxury of privacy in words if not in thoughts, which he was probably picking up. Instead that smile teases his lips open and he says, "Need something, Snips?"

I need to help you, I think, but that's another one of the things I can't say, so instead I turn his words back on him, playing it safe. "That's what I came to ask you." I gesture at the Twilight so my meaning will be clear, and Anakin Skywalker's smile widens. This is why his heretic friend can't look away: not the Chosen One, not the most powerful Jedi alive, but Anakin.

He tosses me a hydrospanner, and I catch it out of the air without effort and answer his grin. "What are you waiting for?" he asks me, and I clamber into the engine housing, almost as glad as he is for something we can actually fix.