Summary: She's not sure if she can survive here anymore.
: None
Author's Note
: In Padawan Lost/Wookiee Hunt I could see what I think is possibly the start of the fall to the Dark Side for Ahsoka. It's actually far more plausible and understandable than Anakin's fall, to be honest. Also: since I couldn't find it on Wookieepedia, I'm guessing on what the color of a Trandoshan's blood is.
: I don't own Star Wars.

The words were of a girl much stronger than her, and Ahsoka didn't—couldn't—feel them in her heart. Anakin looked so worried, so abstracted, so pale, and she, she had resented him for that, for not doing more than looking pale and worried. Ahsoka had felt resentment like she'd never felt in her life, even if she was so glad to be home again. She would have said anything to make him leave her alone. Eventually, it was her telling her Master that she needed a bath—Force, did she need a bath—that made Anakin leave her to the privacy of her own room.

Even after the hot water poured over her skin and the mud and dust was down the drain, Ahsoka could still feel the Trandoshan moon on her. She wasn't sure that she ever wouldn't feel it on her.

Garnac looked so small, surrounded by the Wookiees, his body twisted. He'd been nearly twice Ahsoka's size, but now he looked so tiny, his green blood pooling beneath him.

It hadn't just been self-defense. It hadn't just been to get the knife away from her flesh.

Kalifa's blood was dry on her hands, and Ahsoka had just been so angry when she heard the Trandoshan dare to scream "You killed my son! I'll kill you!" as if she was the transgressor.

Ahsoka could still feel Kalifa's blood, too.

A thousand thoughts screamed through her mind as she laid down on her bed and all the Force could not calm them.

"Don't you understand?" They were back at camp, and O-Mer and Jinx were both asleep. Kalifa's eyes burned. "The Trandoshan you made me spare will report back to his compatriots. Your vaunted mercy is all fine and well in civilized places where there is safety, but out here it's only going to get us all killed."

Kalifa never approved of her, not even when she said that Ahsoka had given back to them what they had lost. Ahsoka could see why, when she watched the blood spill away from her, when she watched Kalifa's amber eyes dull.

"Kalifa…" There was no hope "…please…" there was no other choice "…don't die."

But she did anyway, and even though she gave no voice to those thoughts the last thing Kalifa said to herself was a prayer that Ahsoka would drop mercy and civilization and be someone strong enough to keep O-Mer and Jinx alive. Kalifa had been the leader; now, Ahsoka would have to take her place.

"You killed my son! I'll kill you!"

Ahsoka heard the shouts and her blood started to make her throat tight and start to burn.

She wanted to kill so badly. But Ahsoka would wait.

Without Chewbacca there would have been no hope, no victory. Ahsoka would remember the Wookiee for the rest of her life, just like she would remember Kalifa. But just because her body was away from the moon, didn't mean that Ahsoka's mind and soul would ever leave.

She could still hear blaster fire and rabid screams.

She could still hear her heart beating out of her chest.

She could still hear the sickening crunch of Garnac hitting the metal some fifty feet below.

Now, Jinx and O-Mer were back on Coruscant for the first time in four years, and Ahsoka knew that they didn't have a chance. They'd been on that moon too long. They would never be "proper" Jedi again. They'd likely end up with the AgriCorps, if they weren't sent back to their families. No one would take on two Initiates who had all but abandoned the Force except to propel each other at their enemies, and the bond of friendship between them was too strong; it would never be approved of.

Kalifa, so strong in jungles, so fierce and proud, a survivor, wouldn't have lasted a week. She would have been despised here; Ahsoka was sure of that. Full Jedi would have shaken their heads at the sight of her, declared her tainted by the Dark Side and ostracized her—Ahsoka knew how it went. She would never have been anything but the Padawan no one wanted, possible sabotaging herself, if the Council let her stay on at all.

Later, Ahsoka would find out that Kalifa hadn't been entirely honest about herself.

She was trying to find any evidence of a human girl named 'Kalifa' in the Jedi Archives. It would have been so much easier had Ahsoka had a surname; Kalifa was such a common name that she ended up with over six hundred possible identities, lowered to seventy-eight after she filtered for species.

Eventually, Ahsoka found a solid match.

'KALIFA AKSANOS, human female.'

She had been missing for six years; she would have been roughly eighteen years old and had black hair and amber eyes. Ahsoka saw the image and she saw a ghost; Kalifa with a smaller, rounder face. Smiling, actually smiling. Kalifa, looking better-fed and happier than Ahsoka had ever seen her. Not a survivor, not a slim wraith of a girl who jumped at loud noises. Not a girl whose dusty, dirt-ingrained cheeks were gaunt and hollow. Not a girl whose eyes were pitted with hunger. A happy, normal girl.

What she read underneath Kalifa's name shocked her.


Padawan, not Initiate.

It would explain why Kalifa's mastery of the Force was greater than that of her two comrades. It would explain the thin little braid at her left temple.

But why hadn't she said so?

Ahsoka would never know, and she held her suddenly too-heavy head in her hands, wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep.—

And Ahsoka wasn't sure she could survive here anymore, either. Not when she felt as though the walls had eyes, not when she was waiting for a blaster bolt to careen past her shoulder. Not when she was waiting for "You killed my son! I'll kill you!"

He'd gone to join his son, and even though Ahsoka refused to say she regretted it, she still dreamt.

What Ahsoka noticed, and couldn't be bothered to care about, was that when she pushed Garnac in her dreams, a rush of pleasure always choked her heart and blackened her eyes.

"I had nothing but your training."

A lie told to make Anakin stop looking at her. In her heart, in the little black places she didn't want anyone else to see, Ahsoka didn't know if she would ever be able to look at Anakin again. Not without resenting him for not doing more. No one looked for Kalifa or Jinx or O-Mer and no one looked for me either. You're no better than the Jedi who should have been looking for them but just found it easier to give up.

He hadn't looked for her. (And Ahsoka would never know how much Anakin had wanted to, because he was simply content to behave as though her abduction had never taken place.)

Ahsoka had forgotten Anakin existed when the Force swept through her hands and the Trandoshan twisted and wailed as he fell to the ground below.

"If you listen, maybe you'll live."

All Ahsoka could think of was the knife, and Kalifa's blood encrusted beneath her fingernails.

"Your mercy's going to get us all killed."

No more mercy. Not for you.

And how she just wanted to make the shouting stop.

(If it wasn't the Jedi way, then so be it. Ahsoka couldn't bring herself to regret any of it, even when she was absently mourning for something lost that she couldn't even name.)