Chapter One: A Shoulder to Cry On
A Jedi in trouble!, after a rough encounter with Trandoshan hunters during a mission on Felucia Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano suffers severe mental discomfort. Realizing his words would never get through her master, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker talks with fellow Jedi Luminara Unduli about his plan to ease his padawans discomfort.
"What exactly are you getting at Skywalker?" Master Luminara Unduli led the way through the Jedi temple as they talked.
Anakin ran a nervous hand through his hair, asking for favors wasn't exactly his area of expertise but he wasn't doing this for himself "Master Unduli I've noticed a change in my padawan ever since her experiences on Wasskah, I've tried on several occasions to talk to her but she won't budge"
"yes I read her report, no doubt something like that will stick with the poor girl for some time"
Anakin felt his heart drop for what had to be the hundredth time 'it was my fault, I should have been able to protect her' he shook the thought from his head before turning back to Unduli "as you know our padawans developed a friendship during the retaking of Geonosis, I think some time with Barriss is exactly what Ahsoka needs right now"
"you want Barriss to have a talk with your padawan?"
Anakin shook his head "I don't think one talk, even with Barriss, would be enough to help Ahsoka"
"so we're back were we started, Skywalker I can't help if you don't tell me want you want"
Anakin put a hand out and both Jedi came to a stop "I'd like to...borrow your padawan"
"I'm afraid I don't follow"
"I think if Barriss was too stay with me and Ahsoka for a few weeks, go with us on missions and stay with us in between, she might be able to get through to Ahsoka and find out what's bothering her"
Unduli placed a hand over her mouth as she considered the proposal, after a few minutes she looked back at Anakin "you really believe Barriss can help your padawan?"
"when those two are together I can sense a deep respect between them, if Ahsoka's going to open up to anyone, it's Barriss"
"very well then, I'll inform Barriss and send her to your quarters, just promise me one thing"
"don't let her get as head strong as you"
Anakin let a small smirk envelope his face "I can't thank you enough master, and rest assured your padawan is in good hands"
"I don't understand master, have I done something to upset you?" Barriss reluctantly followed her master towards Anakin's quarters
Luminara let out a dry laugh before turning to her padawan "Barriss I couldn't be more proud of your progress, you should consider this an honor, Skywalker asked for you help personally"
"but you still haven't told me why"
"Skywalker would like some extra help with their next assignments"
"that can't be the only reason, if that was it then why not have master Obi-Wan go with him"
Luminara rubbed her eyes and knelt down to match her padawans gaze "sometimes I think I taught you too much my padawan, alright Skywalker thought it would better if you didn't know but I can see you're not going to cooperate until I tell you"
Barriss shook her head "master I would go along with your orders no matter how much I don't know, I just think I might be of more help if I knew why all this was happening"
"...alright I suppose you do deserve to know, for the past few days Anakin has sensed a change in his padawan Ahsoka Tano, he believes having a friend close by for a while will help her deal with whatever is troubling her"
Barriss couldn't believe her ears, she had just talked with Ahsoka last week and she seemed fine 'if something is troubling her it has to be big, Ahsoka isn't one to let her feelings show so easily'.
Luminara got back to her feet and continued down the hall with Barriss having to switch her thoughts back to the present before running to catch up. Once they reached the door leading into Anakin and Ahsoka's quarters Luminara once again turned to her padawan "for the next few weeks you are to treat Skywalker with the same respect you do me understood?"
"you will address him as your master and follow his every order without hesitation"
"of course master"
with a slight nod Luminara turned to the door and knocked lightly before a voice inside could be heard "come in". As they stepped inside Barriss took a quick glance around, a rather large living room consisted of a black sofa that spanned the entire wall and a large open area facing the large window gave plenty of room for one to meditate.
The living room split into a small kitchen were Anakin sat at a round table typing on a terminal, to the very left Barriss could see a short hallway the had a door on either end. Anakin got up from his seat and bowed to Luminara before looking down at Barriss "Barriss Offee, I assume by now your master has ignored my suggestion and told you why you're here".
Barriss wasn't sure what to say, after a short silence Luminara spoke up "I think given the circumstances letting Barriss understand the situation will help things move more smoothly"
Barriss interjected "if it helps Ahsoka I'm willing to do whatever you ask of me...master"
Anakin raised an eyebrow "that's gonna take some getting used to, alright Barriss we'll get you settled in and I'll tell what I know about the situation before Ahsoka gets back"
After showing Barriss her cot in Ahsoka's room Anakin sat down apposite her at the kitchens table "okay Ahsoka should be back any minute so I'll make this quick, a few days ago Ahsoka was on a mission when she was captured by a pack of Trandoshans".
As he talked Anakin handed a data pad across the table, Barriss skimmed through the information in front of her "oh my, I can see why she's been upset"
"I've tried a few times to get her to talk about what she experienced in detail but she'll either make up an excuse to leave or pretend to not hear me, all I'm asking is while you're here you try and talk to her"
Barriss saw a look of worry that seemed foreign on Anakin's usually overly confidant manner, after reading a bit of the data in front of her she looked up "I'll try my best master".
The next half hour went by in silence, Barriss read every inch of the data pad while Anakin sat crossed legged in the middle of the living room. Every few minutes Barriss would sneak a glance at her master for the time being, this close it was easy to feel what the other masters saw in him. Even in a meditative state Barriss could feel his power emanate throughout the room, she fought the urge to stare as his lightsaber floated in front of him, after mentally stripping and reassembling the weapon a couple times his eyes finally opened "here she comes, let me do the talking" before Barriss had time to question Ahsoka slipped in through the door.
The young Togruta's eyes glanced to her master before noticing Barriss sitting at the table, Barriss slipped the data pad under her robe as she stood up "hello Ahsoka"
"Barriss, what are you..."
Anakin stood up and walked closer to his padawan " Master Unduli is going to be on a rather difficult mission for the next few weeks so Barriss will be staying with us"
Ahsoka looked confused for a moment but quickly replaced it with an emotionless glance aimed at her friend "so she'll be living here?"
"that's what I said Snips" with a sarcastic roll of his eyes Anakin made his way to the door "I'll be back in a few hours, stay here till I get back"
Barriss took the moment to take the data pad out of her robe and shove it into the nearest drawer she could find "where are you going master?"
"just taking a walk" and just like that the door closed leaving Barriss alone with her friend
Ahsoka spoke up before she could "think I'll take a shower"
Barriss placed a hand on her friends shoulder as she passed "Ahsoka I..."
Ahsoka nearly jumped to the ceiling when the hand made contact "not now Barriss".
The sound of running water filled Barriss' ears as she laid down on the couch 'this is gonna be harder than I thought'. Going over the event in her head did nothing to put her mind at ease, she was expecting some resistance but to have Ahsoka completely shove her away was just...wrong.
Thinking back she couldn't remember ever seeing her friend act like that before, and the look she got for putting a hand on her shoulder wouldn't be leaving her mind anytime soon. 'This approach obviously isn't going to work, maybe if I just make her see I'm always here to help she'll come to me' sitting up on the coach she had just enough time to pull her hood down to her shoulders before Ahsoka walked into the living room.
Barriss ran a hand through her short black hair to make sure it was straight as Ahsoka sat down beside her "Barriss I want to apologize, I don't want you to think I'm not excited about you staying with us".
Something in Ahsoka's voice caught her off guard, it sounded almost broken "Ahsoka are you okay?".
Ahsoka pulled her legs up on the coach "I don't know"
"Ahsoka if you need to talk I'm here" Barriss reached her hand out and rested it on Ahsoka's, to her surprise Ahsoka not only left her keep it there but tightened the grip so she couldn't let go. They sat in silence for the next few minutes as Barris slowly felt Ahsoka's body inch closer to her own, Barriss felt her heart rate increase as Ahsoka leaned her head down and rested it on her shoulder.
'Say something you idiot, anything' the heat off her friends body only added tension to the already strange situation she now found herself in. Just when Barriss found the right words a soft snore from Ahsoka's now sleeping form seemed to drain the energy from the room, Barriss had to hold back a small laugh 'she was just tired'.
Looking at Ahsoka's closed eyes and realizing there know way to move without waking her Barriss leaned back as much as she could and closed her own eyes, it no time at all her world faded to black.