Chapter 9.

Ahsoka Tano—

Ahsoka stayed with Anakin for what seemed like hours. She couldn't shake off the feeling that if she left him, he would get into more trouble. That always seemed to happen. Ahsoka smirked to herself—how ironic, seeing how she was supposed to be the one to end his life.

Her throat closed and she peered down at the ground, suddenly feeling guilt rage through her once more. When Anakin had temporarily stopped breathing, she had actually felt a small amount of relief trickle through from her heart and needless to say, she felt so ashamed.

How could she feel relief in seeing Anakin's life coming to an end?

Her hands curled up into fists and she sighed. No, her relief didn't come from vengeance or anger; it came from the relief where she wouldn't be the one responsible for his passing. She frowned to herself. Would that be selfish? She wasn't quite sure anymore.

Ahsoka bit her lip. It wasn't right of her to be glad that Anakin was gone—but it wouldn't be right for her to actually look forward to killing him either. Frustrated, Ahsoka rested her forehead on the palm of her hand. Her eyes wandered over to Anakin's resting form and she couldn't help but smile. It had always been this way even when she was still his apprentice—no matter the situation, a small smile just had to make its way into her lips over how gorgeous he was. Ahsoka blinked and self-absently felt her lekku stripes darken.

It was dangerous to have these kind of thoughts, this she knew all too well, but for a while, she spent those blissful moments alone to marvel over her former master—over his dark hair, over his eyes, his lips—everything. Even the small scar that ran down his eye seemed to make him look just as handsome as ever.

She would never tell that to Anakin though. No, she wouldn't even tell him about what she thought about his appearance, let alone his scar. Ahsoka knew that he loathed that small 'imperfection' on his face—the reminder that being a hero came at a cost.

Not to mention his hand—the cybernetic hand that clung onto Anakin's arm. Ahsoka had grown so accustomed to seeing it, she didn't even mind when Anakin would take the dark glove off and begin working on it in the ungodly hours of the morning. Of course, Ahsoka didn't think she ever gave away the fact that she had sometimes watched her master when he wasn't even aware.

Despite the small 'imperfections' though, Ahsoka admired Anakin so much and cared for him so much more that it hurt. Time always seemed to slow down and yet, every single smile that flits across his face, every single laugh that he utters was another knife to the heart.

Ahsoka almost snorted out loud to herself. Her thoughts sounded pathetic to her. This may have just been another sappy, cliché holovid for her. Ahsoka let out an exaggerated puff of breath and crossed her arms. Honest to the bone, it was awfully annoying how the living Force just loved to test her. For once, she could use some peace in her life.

Not that she didn't like excitement, of course. Years of being Anakin Skywalker's Padawan had allowed her to enjoy the scramble and rush for getting ready for some sort of battle or skirmish. It wasn't as though she enjoyed seeing men die each and every day…more like having comfort in being able to fight for freedom.

This time, Ahsoka actually did snort in exasperation. Closure was getting the best of her not-so-sane mind. Rubbing her temples, Ahsoka stood up and stretched out her arms. Suddenly, the ever existent sound of her holopad began beeping from her belt and she felt her entire body tense. Looking carefully around the room, she crept out into the hallway and snuck into Anakin's quarters on the ship.

It wasn't exactly an air vent to hide away in, but it would do for now. Besides, she had the feeling that no one would be coming here. With a quick swipe of her hand, Ahsoka answered the call, an icy stare already etched into her eyes.

"You are making me impatient, Tano," the man growls angrily. "Is he dead or not?"

Ahsoka pretended to inspect her nails and says, "He almost died today—who knows, he might do the job for you." She made her voice light and reckless, but each word felt like a searing ember embedding itself into her tongue.

The man made a small chuckling sound and shook his head. "Skywalker…known for playing hero boy, after all," He says coldly and he tapped his fingers across the surface of his desk. "But that doesn't mean you're off the hook just yet." He adds and Ahsoka simply nods.

"I've realized that," she says coolly. "However, I don't like being rushed into a job either. This isn't easy; I hope you realize that."

The man slammed a hand on his desk. "Don't give me any of that shit," he says cruelly. "You're a frakkin' Jedi for kriff's sake!"

"Former Jedi," Ahsoka corrected through gritted teeth. "And that doesn't affect my ability to kill."

The man laughed quietly under his breath. "You're wrong about that, Tano. You fight better than anyone else in the business and you know that as well as I do, so don't give me any of this bantha crap and we'll all get along nicely." Ahsoka felt her anger flare and she nods. "And don't try avoiding my calls from now on—I'll still be watching," the man hisses and with that, the call ended. As soon as his blue image died, Ahsoka stuffed the holopad in her belt and kicked at the ground.

Standing up, Ahsoka made a silent vow to herself—

The second this job is finished, I swear I'll get out of the bounty hunter business.

•◊•

Ahsoka walked back into the medical ward, feeling tired out by her brief discussion with the son of a bantha who had the nerve to call himself humane. She sat herself down next to Anakin, her arms crossed and stiff with anger. She took a deep breath and slowly loosened her muscles.

Out of all people, why did it have to be her with this job? She didn't need the blood on her hands! Her eyes hardened and she rubbed her temples once more. Back when Ahsoka was younger and unfortunately, naïve, she had figured that bounty hunting was easier for most people, despite the fact that the entire concept was hurting people for a couple of credits.

Ahsoka shook her head, smiling bitterly to herself. Oh, how innocent she had been…how clueless. Ahsoka closed her eyes and sighed.

If she could go back now…

Her thoughts were interrupted when she felt Anakin stiffen beside her. "Anakin?" Ahsoka whispers, glancing down at him. She waited for a response and when none came, she asks, "Are you awake? Can you hear me?" Instead, she watched as Anakin's eyelids squeezed shut and his hands clenched into fists. He jerked his head from side to side and, with eyes widened, Ahsoka rested a hand on his shoulder. "Anakin—" she starts and then cries out despite herself as he jerks away. Anakin violently kicked at the blankets, sweat droplets sliding down his skin. "Anakin!" Ahsoka shouts and grabs him by the arm. "Stop it!"

For tense moments, Anakin continued to writhe around and Ahsoka's hand squeezed tighter around his arm. At last, his eyes opened and Ahsoka sighs. He swallowed and his breath came out in ragged huffs. Ahsoka felt tears sting at her eyes and she wrapped her arms around his neck. She rested a hand on Anakin's sweat-matted hair and for the first time in a long time, she tried calming him through the Force.

She could feel him stiffen from underneath her arms, but it didn't matter to her. She wanted to be there for him—she wanted to be able to stay with him just a little longer and live in this small fairy-tale that wouldn't exist in a couple of days.

Ahsoka closed her eyes and she rested her head on Anakin's shoulder. It was an awkward and slightly uncomfortable position, being that Anakin was still resting in bed and Ahsoka was sitting up. She had to bend down slightly and, yes, it made her entire body ache, but feeling Anakin's heartbeat underneath her was worth it.

Ahsoka was grateful that Anakin didn't appear to be able to speak—she wasn't quite sure what she would want to hear from him at this very minute.

It didn't matter to her anymore.

Gradually, Ahsoka's grip loosened and was surprised to feel tears drop from her eyes. Anakin was staring solemnly up at her and, furious, she rubbed at her eyes. Why of all times did she have to cry now? Force, she was being such a kriffin' wimp.

Taking a shaky breath, Ahsoka turned on her heel and ran out of the room as fast as she could.

•◊•

Ahsoka hadn't ever felt more relieved when she slipped into the cot that was brought into Anakin's quarters. She wanted to bury herself in some space and just wallow in her own self-pity for the night, no matter how pathetic and silly it sounded.

At one point, Ahsoka had actually laughed out loud at how stupid she must have looked if her past self was to appear in front of her right now. Why, if that really did happen, her younger self would probably march right up to Ahsoka and give her a smart smack across the face for being such a basket case.

She sighed and turned to lay on her back, her hands resting behind her head. It felt quiet and lonely in Anakin's quarters all alone, but she needed it—she needed time to think to herself. An uneasy pit developed in Ahsoka's stomach. All the same, it would have been comforting to listen to him sleeping—yes, the very thought of listening to him sleep was comforting enough to her. Ahsoka shook her head to herself in annoyance and rolled onto her side.

Her feelings had strengthened for Anakin ever since she came aboard this kriffin' ship. Absence of an existence made a heart grow fonder—that was what Ahsoka had heard once on a particular day while taking a quick stroll around the Temple. Now that she gave the memory some thought, she wasn't quite sure why a Jedi would ever say something like that but then again, she wasn't quite surprised by anything these days.

Ahsoka stared up at the ceiling. Her thoughts began to wander back to Padme's pregnancy and she winced almost out of instinct. She sighed wistfully in the empty air. She had done a lot of sighing lately—much more than she would consider good enough to be considered as healthy.

So many fantasies and useless dreams running through her head—it was distracting her from reality and life. Ahsoka smiled though. Senator Admidala's children would undoubtedly be beautiful, very much like his or her mother and father, but all the same, Ahsoka couldn't help but feel somewhat envious.

With a frown of disgust and distaste, Ahsoka turned over onto her stomach and let out a scream in the cot's surface. Emotion had become her number one enemy so far—sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, hatred—and she didn't need any of these feelings!

"Oh, Ahsoka," she says out loud to herself, her voice slightly muffled from the fabric on the cot. "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering…" Turning around onto her back once more, she whispers, "And you've just had so much suffering."

With a heavy heart, Ahsoka closed her eyes and slowly drifted into sleep, where it would hopefully offer her some peace and sanctuary before the next day which would undoubtedly be ready to pounce on her with a chain of events that would lead to more fear, anger, and, sadly, suffering.

A/N: This chapter was written by me-reviews would be appreciated! :)