Disclaimer: The rights for Star Wars belong to Disney (feels weird saying that) and George Lucas.
"When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings." – Unknown
The sun was just beginning to disappear beneath the horizon, and the rest of the council members besides himself and Plo Koon had left hours ago. But the nagging regret brought about by hindsight prevented him from leaving.
Obi-Wan knew that, had they just handled things differently and more efficiently, things would have turned out better – far better.
He didn't want to agree with Barriss, but part of her argument had caught his attention and had forced him to relate it with what had happened. The council was so intent on fighting this war that their attention wasn't properly focussed, and thus made assumptions like the one they had made about Ahsoka...
Obi-Wan shook his head.
Now Ahsoka was gone; a child alone in a world she wasn't used to, and Anakin had vanished in his despair. Obi-Wan knew his former Padawan didn't take kindly to losing his loved ones – the loss of his mother and thinking he had lost his master proved that – and losing his apprentice in such a way...
He knew how Anakin was feeling, for he was no stranger to losing a loved one. Qui-Gon, Siri, Satine... He could just manage his emotions better than his former apprentice.
Plo Koon was stood next to him, gazing out at the Coruscant landscape. "Another Jedi lost, but not how others have been lost before her."
"It was because of us," said Obi-Wan. "Because of our actions, which is...which is worse." He was about to say he now knew how Siri felt when Ferus had left the Order, but decided against it. That would be dwelling on those who were long gone, which was un-Jedi-like.
"After what happened, I do not blame her for leaving." Plo Koon sighed, and if he felt any emotion towards the loss of the girl he had found all those years ago, Obi-Wan noted that he was hiding it well. "Her trust in us has been shaken, and the words of Padawan Offee seem to have taken their toll."
Having her close friend set her up didn't help matters, either, Obi-Wan thought. He couldn't imagine what it would be like having such a close friend turn on him; his thoughts reminded him of the brief time Anakin had turned while on Mortis, and he hoped nothing like that would ever happen again.
"I tried, Ani. I really did."
"It's not your fault, Padmé," Anakin assured his wife as they lay in bed together. "You were defending her, and according to Senator Organa, you did it very well. It was Ahsoka's choice to leave. If anything it's my fault."
Padmé sat herself up and placed a hand upon her husband's cheek. "Ani, don't say that-"
"But I was the one training her," Anakin insisted. "I was responsible for her. If I had taught her better, then she would still be here."
"You taught her to think for herself, and to survive on her own without you to guide her," said Padmé. "And that's what she's doing right now. If you've trained her as well as I've seen, then she'll be alive for a very long time. And it's because of you. Ani, you should be proud." She noticed a tear in the corner of his eye, and wiped it away. "When raising a child, the most difficult thing in the world is letting that child go. But it also means your job is done, and that you've trained your child well enough for them to be certain they're ready to leave."
Anakin wanted to believe what Padmé said; he wanted to believe what Ahsoka had told him before she left. But his powerful connection with the Force made him feel too much, and the feelings which were consuming him were too powerful for him to cope with. It was like losing his mother all over again.
Then and there, he vowed to never let anything happen to anyone he cared about again – especially Padmé.
He couldn't lose anyone else.
Barriss couldn't speak. The dark one before her had her in a Force-choke which not even she could resist, and she was beginning to regret going along with what this Sith had told her to do.
She'd just been so desperate to prove her point; to prove what the Jedi had become. Ahsoka seemed to have listened, at least; she'd left the Order, from what Barriss had heard. But the former Padawan realized that – as said to her by her disappointed and devastated Master – in her quest to prove how far the Jedi had fallen, she herself had taken the fall.
And the Sith Lord before her had taken advantage of her in such a state.
"I did...as you...asked..." she was able to gasp.
The Sith Lord showed no emotion. "You were caught. I wanted Ahsoka Tano to be punished; I wanted Skywalker to take the fall."
"But...she's gone," Barriss pleaded, trying to rid herself of the Force-choke which was slowly killing her. "She...left..."
"That's not good enough," said Darth Sidious. "But it will have to do for now. She's out of the way, at least." He clutched his hand, and Barriss fell lifelessly to the floor of her cell.
When Lux heard the knock on his apartment door, he didn't have to be a Jedi to know who it was. He'd heard the news of what had happened to his friend – how she'd been framed for a crime she hadn't even committed – and the only reason he hadn't gone to the trial was out of fear of her being found guilty...and being sentenced to death.
The boy walked over to the door and opened it. Like he suspected, Ahsoka was stood outside with her arms crossed over her front and tear stains down her cheeks.
It didn't dawn upon him what had happened until he saw that her Padawan braid was still missing. "Ahsoka?" He didn't dare ask; he knew how much being a Jedi meant to her, and if the council hadn't accepted her back...
"I left," she told him. "After what happened I...I couldn't stay there any longer. They turned their backs on me, Lux. When I needed them the most, they turned me out. Seeing how easily the Jedi can turn on each other...how the council disregard trust so quickly..."
Lux pulled her close to him, knowing she needed it. "It's OK. Everything will be OK."
His friend sniffed away her further tears which had threatened to spill, burring her face into his shoulder. "Can I stay here? I don't have anywhere else to go."
"Of course you can, Ahsoka," said the boy. "You're always welcome to stay with me. I promise, I'll help you through this. I'm here for you."