I'd just like to say that I've been lucky enough to have some very encouraging and patient readers, and it's because of this that I decided to post this story in its entirety (excluding the last chapter which is not quite finished just yet) instead of chapter by chapter. I've been working on a very long and involved epic, so I wanted to take a little break and write something short and simple.

This is what came out…


Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars, etc.

3 Days After the Rise of the Empire…


A silent tear rolled down Ahsoka Tano's cheek. She didn't move to wipe it away as it settled on her chin for a moment before falling to the durasteel floor and landing at her feet. Ever since she had been a small child, she had been taught that the Jedi didn't allow their emotions to rule them. She had been told that it was forbidden for Jedi to form attachments. She had been led to believe that Jedi didn't cry. But now, at the very end, she was crying… and she wasn't ashamed. For three long years, she had known nothing but war. For three long years, she had been fighting to protect the Republic and everything it stood for. Now, it was all gone.

Just two weeks earlier she had been so happy. She had held her head high; overjoyed to have her old mentor standing at her side as she was at last granted her Knighthood. He had looked so proud during the ceremony, and she had gratefully basked in his feelings of warmth and encouragement. Sadly, that happiness was not to last. Soon after, her world had crumbled around her. With the execution of Order 66, the Jedi had been all but eradicated. All of her friends, her family… they had been deliberately and viciously slaughtered. Her very way of life had been lost. Rather, it had been stolen from her.

They had been betrayed by the Supreme Chancellor, and her loyal clone troopers had turned on her without giving it a second thought. But there was one betrayal that still hurt more than any other: that of her fallen Master. At first, she had refused to believe the truth. She had defended him… had said that his descent to the dark side was impossible. She knew him. She knew that he could never lead a march on the Temple that he had called his home, or do something as evil as murder younglings. She had denied it vehemently, until Master Kenobi had told her of Mustafar. Shortly thereafter, she had learned of his relationship with Senator Amidala, and the birth of his twin son and daughter. Tragically, the queen turned politician had died following childbirth. And as much as Ahsoka had come to hate her former Master for everything that he had done, she couldn't quite bring herself to condemn the poor woman from Naboo for keeping her secret.

Taking a deep, shaky breath, she silently gazed out at the shimmering stars just beyond the isolated asteroid of Polis Massa. How she envied them. How she wished she could be one of those stars; swallowed up by the vastness of space, without pain or remorse.

Struggling to pull her mind from her roving thoughts, she slightly faltered when she heard the sound of approaching footsteps. She could sense Master Obi–Wan's hesitance as he drew nearer, but he never broke his stride until he was almost beside her. Still, she didn't wipe the tears from her face. She didn't bother with attempting to hide her true feelings, for she knew that it was not in her power to do so…

Once he reached her place in the room, Obi–Wan joined her at the viewport overlooking the asteroids' central docking bay and peered out at the same stars that had so captivated her. If he noticed her tears, he made no indication.

"I am preparing to depart for Tatooine," he eventually said, his voice slightly cracking. Surprised by the uncharacteristic display of emotion, Ahsoka couldn't help but steal a glance in his direction. He uncomfortably cleared his throat before speaking again. "Tell me, have you come to a decision yet?"

"Yes, I…" Ahsoka trailed off. "I will be leaving soon, as well."

Obi–Wan curiously furrowed a brow. "You will be taking Master Yoda's advice, then?"

"I would be foolish not to, Master," Ahsoka replied while she continued to stare straight ahead. "The galaxy just became a very dangerous place for a Jedi. I don't like it, but I have no choice… I must go into exile."

"As we all must," Obi–Wan said with a frown. "I don't like it any more than you do, but there is no other way. The new Empire must not learn of our survival."

"What will you do now, Master?" Ahsoka asked, hoping to find some answers to her own questions.

"I will watch over young Luke," Obi–Wan solemnly replied. "I will keep him safe. As he grows older, his sensitivity to the Force could make him an easier target for Sidious. He must be protected, so that he does not share the same fate as his father."

"His father…" Ahsoka muttered in disdain. "He lied to us for so long. Do you believe we ever really knew him at all?"

"Oh yes, we knew him very well," Obi–Wan stated, a fond smile finding its way onto his lips. However, it vanished just as quickly as it appeared. "You mustn't confuse what he was with what he became. The dark side twists those it consumes until nothing of what they once were remains. He was a good man… and a good friend."

Hanging her head in resignation, Ahsoka released a labored sigh as she swiftly changed the subject. "This is all happening so fast. Will I ever see you or Master Yoda again?"

"Until the Empire is confident that the Jedi no longer pose a threat, I'm afraid that keeping in touch would prove far too dangerous," Obi–Wan replied, his frown deepening. "However, I will know where to find you. When and if it is possible, I will make contact… but I fear that for now, this is goodbye."

Respectfully bowing in farewell, Ahsoka offered the best smile she could muster while fresh tears stung her eyes. Obi–Wan returned the gesture with a bow of his own before looking out at the stars one last time.

"May the Force be with you…"

And with that, he was gone.