AN: If I owned Star Wars, I wouldn't be here, right? Okay . . . man, the season finale was something. Anyway, I was a big Ahsoka/Barriss shipper before this episode and I kinda felt betrayed by Barriss. However, it gave me a fanfic idea. This story takes place immediately after the "The Wrong Jedi" episode.
"One Last Time"
"Prisoner Offee, you have a visitor."
Ahsoka gulped as she entered the dimly lit cell and the guard closed the door behind her. Barriss - previously her best friend, almost her girlfriend - was seated straight up on the bench, hoodless, her hands in her lap, her eyes staring straight ahead.
"What do you want?" the prisoner asked in a stiff voice, still not looking at Ahsoka.
Ahsoka sighed, trying without success to keep the memories from the younglings together, going out to eat whenever they both had a free evening, holding hands as they were buried alive together.
Their first kiss . . .
"Why did you do it?" She could only manage a whisper. "How could you possibly betray the Jedi like that?"
"The Jedi betrayed us," Barriss said in a hard voice. "When I was a youngling I was taught that we were keepers of peace, not war."
She was so different from the soft-spoken, kindly padawan Ahsoka thought she knew. "The Jedi didn't start this war," Ahsoka said.
"Well they sure as hell aren't finishing it. Their concern now is attacking planets to get them back from the Seperatists or even just to keep them in the Republic."
"They're protecting innocent people!" Ahoska protested. "You, on the other hand, killed innocent people."
"Do you really believe the Jedi have no innocent blood on their hands?"
"You tried to kill me!"
Finally Barriss sighed and looked up at Ahsoka with those blue eyes she loved. "I'm sorry you got mixed up in this, I truly am."
"Why should I believe that?" Ahsoka spat, pounding a fist on the wall. "You almost got me executed!"
"Yes, well now I'm going to be executed instead," said Barriss, folding her arms. "Congratulations, you proved your innocence and got me sentenced to death in your place."
Something cold dropped into Ahsoka's chest. Well of course . . . of course, if they would execute Ahsoka for the same crime that would mean . . . so why did she feel faint at the thought of Barriss being . . . why couldn't she even finish the thought?
She suddenly realized she was swaying and her breath was growing short. No, she had to control herself, Jedi were supposed to suppress their emotions . . .
But she was no longer a Jedi.
"Have you ever thought about the clones?" Barriss said harshly.
"What do you mean?' said Ahsoka. "Of course I thought about them. I worked with them all the time."
"And did you ever think about what a vile practice it was?" said Barriss. "Breeding people for the sole purpose of battle so we don't have to send actual citizens into the war. Did you ever wonder what would happen to the clones when the war was over and the Republic had no more use for them?"
Ahsoka twisted her mouth before speaking. "Well . . . I guess they'll find new lives, jobs, families . . ."
"Do you really believe that?" interrupted Barriss. "They have no skills other than fighting, they have no purpose other than fighting. Not only that, but the Jedi would probably want to keep them around in case of another war and with their growth acceleration they would become useless real fast. What would stop the Jedi from freezing them in carbonite until there was another war?"
Ahsoka felt dizzy. It was a ridiculous notion, wasn't it? The Jedi would never allow something like that to happen, would they?
She imagined Rex, her friend Rex, encased in a carbonite slab, kept there for years or possibly decades until the Jedi needed him again.
Then she remembered how quick Rex and the other clones had been to distrust her.
"And what about us?" Barriss asked in a softer voice. "Having to pretend because the Jedi forbade relationships. Never able to be open about our feelings for each other."
With those words, Ahsoka's rage returned. "Feelings?" she exclaimed. "How am I supposed to believe you ever had feelings for me after what you did?"
"It wasn't personal," Barriss whispered.
"Yeah, well neither is this," shouted Ahsoka. She leaned forward until she was inches away from the Murialan's face. "I could probably try to break you out of here, but I won't. Your execution will be a fitting punishment for the people you've killed and tried to kill." She breathed through her teeth as she stood back up. "And to think I actually thought I loved you."
"I did love you," Barriss said, her voice softer, more like the Barriss Ahsoka once knew. "Whether or not you believe me is your choice, but I really, truly, did." She slowly looked up at the Togruta. "But I could never tell anyone, not even my master. You should know what that was like."
Ahsoka snarled. "You're right, I don't believe you. And I'm leaving." She sharply turned around and headed for the door.
"Wait!" Barriss called.
Ahsoka groaned. "What is it?"
"Your padawan braid . . . where is it?" Barriss stood up and walked toward Ahsoka until she was inches behind her. "Didn't they let you back in the Order after they found out you were innocent?"
Ahsoka gave a long inhale, her nerves tightening. "They did . . . but I resigned."
It was a simple question without a trace of spite. Ahsoka sighed as she slowly turned around to face her former friend. "Because . . . I saw how quick they are to judge people," she said awkwardly. "Aside from my master, no one believed I was innocent. They had already decided to expel me even before they put me on trial. If that's the way they treat their own, then I don't want to be a part of it anymore." She looked hard into Barriss's eyes. "But unlike you, I'm not going to set a bomb off. I'm not going to murder innocent people to make a statement."
"But you at least see that the Jedi are corrupted," Barriss said hopefully.
Ahsoka sighed, gazing at Barriss's black hair and resisting the familiar urge to touch it. "We could have resigned together," she said softly. "We could have had a life together. We could have been happy. But you threw away all chance for that."
"You wouldn't have resigned with me if this hadn't happened," said Barriss. "You and your master would have just kept doing whatever the Council told you."
Ahsoka was silent, knowing that Barriss was right.
"Just like how my master and I invaded neutral planets because the Council told us to," Barriss continued. "Just like how we killed people because the Council told us they were guilty. Just like how we drove clones to their deaths because that was their only purpose."
Ahsoka felt her eyes welling up, but she blinked rapidly to keep anything from falling.
"What will you do now?" asked Barriss.
Ahsoka took a deep breath. "I don't know. Try to find a job, I guess. Maybe travel to some neutral planet, away from this war. Maybe I'll even try to find my parents. I don't know who or where they are, but I could try."
Barriss gave a small grin. "If you find them, they'll be proud of their daughter."
How Ahsoka wanted to grin back. Right now this didn't look like Barriss the murderer, but Barriss her friend, her secret lover. She wanted to just forget about everything in the last few days and return things to the way they were.
But she couldn't do that. Barriss was a murderer, and she was going to die soon.
Barriss was going to die . . .
With that little thought, something broke within her. All her training to suppress her emotions, all the people who died, all the attempts on her own life, none of it could keep the tears from falling.
"Ahsoka?" Barriss asked.
Ahsoka couldn't answer. She sank down to the bench, her face in her hands, the tears flowing, flowing, flowing. Barriss, who was Barriss? She would never know for certain, yet when the image of her dead body shot down by clones entered her head, she couldn't think of anything else.
And suddenly there she was, gently placing her hand on Ahsoka's head.
The murderer was trying to comfort her.
"Please, Ahsoka . . ." Barriss sounded like she was about to cry herself. "Please . . ."
Ahsoka couldn't speak as the Murialan stroked her headstalks like she used to ages ago. The sobs clogged her throat, her nose, her entire head felt clogged, unable to think straight, only aware of Barriss, whose arms were slowly wrapping around her.
And then suddenly, there was a kiss.
Barriss's lips pressed against Ahsoka's, fully, passionately, like only a few of their kisses before. Before Ahsoka even fully processed what was happening, her instincts took over, kissing Barriss back, throwing her arms around her neck. For a moment there was no war, no murders, no death sentence, only Ahsoka and Barriss.
But the moment couldn't last.
Ahsoka pulled herself out of the kiss, tears still streaming down her cheeks. "I'm sorry, Barriss," she said through a sob. "I . . . I have to leave." She flew to her feet, rushing for the door and signalling for the guard to let her out, but not before Barriss said one more thing.
"I'm sorry too, Ahsoka."
After the guard let her out, Ahsoka took one last look at Barriss through the forcefield. The Murialan stared at her, blinking rhythmically, a tear rolling down her cheek. There were a thousand things Ahsoka wanted to say, a thousand thoughts she wanted to convey, but only a single word surfaced.