Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. This story is purely a work of fan fiction, and I am not making any profit from it.

[this is a small town]

"Ahsoka," Ryn says, right about the time Ahsoka works herself up to a really enthusiastic breakdown of Obi-Wan Kenobi's relationship, past and present, with the duchess of Mandalore. Her tone is just commanding enough that Ahsoka stops skipping down the hallway - thoroughly beneath Jedi dignity, but there's nobody else to see - and turns to look at her. "Has it occurred to you," she asks repressively, "that perhaps Master Kenobi's hypothetical love life is none of your business?"

Ahsoka grins at her, in too good a mood to be put off. "Not really," she says cheekily, and the older girl - Ahsoka refuses to think of her as a woman - sighs.

"Ahsoka," she says, her voice tired now. "Sometimes people don't like to talk about things for a reason. Sometimes the past hurts us. Them." Her gaze slides right. "Whichever."

"The past can only hurt us if we let it," responds Ahsoka. This is standard Jedi doctrine. "And anyway, I can't believe Master Kenobi would have done anything so bad."

"I never said he'd done anything wrong," Ryn answers, not quite enough energy to be tart. "And that's like saying a blaster bolt to the chest only hurts if you say so."

"Our focus determines our reality."

"And a blaster will kill you anyway!" Ryn stops, eyes closing, and drags in a breath. "Sorry," she says, belying the sullen edge of exhaustion in her voice. "I didn't mean to ... snap at you. Just ..." Another breath, long and slow, and she opens her eyes to focus on Ahsoka again. "There are things you don't know," she says carefully. "Things you can't and maybe shouldn't know. But part of learning to live with other beings is understanding that you don't know everything about them. If Obi-Wan doesn't want to spend more time than necessary with Satine right now ... that's up to him. And unless you have overwhelming evidence to the contrary, let's go on the theory that he knows what he's doing."

Ahsoka raises what would have been her eyebrows. "Because they always know what they're doing," she says skeptically.

Ryn doesn't have to ask who Ahsoka means by they. "Look," she says, "Anakin and Obi-Wan have worked a long time together. They have a system." She frowns. "Well, sort of. They look after each other." Her sharp gaze turns ... meaningful, staring at Ahsoka like she means to pin her to the wall with her eyes. "We stay out of the way. Especially of Obi-Wan's personal life, assuming he has one."

"But -"

"You can't help him, Ahsoka," Ryn says, not wavering even a little. "No one can, as long as the Code remains the same. So it's best to leave him alone, and not reopen old wounds." She folds her arms and points her chin down the hallway. "Besides: Anakin is keeping an eye on him."

"Yeah, and he never gets in trouble."

That earns her a grin. "I'll be sure to tell him you said that," Ryn says, but not like it's a warning. "In the meantime ... weren't we going to eat supper?"

"Dinner," Ahsoka corrects her pertly.

Ryn grimaces. "Have it your way."

But she doesn't scold any more, and she starts walking again, heading off the down the corridor with her stride shortened so Ahsoka can keep up - even though Ahsoka is a Jedi Padawan and she could totally keep up anyway. It's kind of the thought that counts. Ryn is trying to be nice, and Anakin has asked her to give his heretic friend a chance - she's a really good person, Ahsoka, you could learn a lot from her was what he'd said, but Ahsoka was getting better at reading him; he'd meant it's important to me - so Ahsoka keeps her mouth shut about how they could go faster and says instead, "So. Do you have any secret past loves hanging around?"

She hadn't meant it for a poser, but the look on Ryn's face is priceless.