Sadness and Sorrow
The remaining Republic ships were in full retreat almost seventy percent of their forces lost and the Goliath was still active on the ground as the droid army swept across the Republic base making sure any stragglers were eliminated, Ruusan was lost. Leon stood at the port side corridor staring at the planet shrinking as the Resolute pulled further away from it, in addition to the thousands of clones that had died one of his friends Coins was among them. Why did it have to be now he wondered and why did it have to be Coins, his first defeat and in the process he lost one of his friends his first failure and first personal loss in the Clone Wars.
Yanking his arms free from Luminara and Ahsoka both of Leon's lightsabers flared to life, charging forward into the advancing droid army an anger filled roar escaped his lip as he began cutting down the droids in pairs and threes. Calling his name Luminara's and Ahsoka's words fell on deaf ears as Leon continued his rampage through the droid lines in spite of the number of droids he cut down there were too many enemies for them to defeat as the enraged padawan was shot in the back. Raising his lightsaber Leon prepared to strike down a super battle droid before the shot to his back stunned him; the super battle droid grabbed his arm and lifted him off the ground aiming its wrist guns at his chest.
"Go to hell" Leon growled bringing up his free arm.
A flash of red light sliced upward through the battle droid freeing himself and cutting down another droid walking toward him. Sprinting toward the next line of droids Leon shifted his feet sliding on his heels into the enemy as he crouched down and spun in a circle with his lightsabers extended outward silver and red lights flashed in a circle and more droids fell as the lights cleaved them in half. Ahsoka and Luminara continued to call out to him trying to get him to stop fighting and fall back, but once again their calls fell on deaf ears it wasn't until Edge ran over to him and grabbed his arm pulling him away from the droids and into cover.
"What the hell are you doing?" Leon yelled.
"Stopping you from doing something stupid" Edge yelled back, "We're outnumbered and outgunned we need to retreat".
"No" Leon yelled, "We're not leaving, not until every one of them are dead".
Edge grabbed the collar of Leon's jacket and pulled him forward his face meeting his helmet, "I feel the same as you Leon" the clone captain yelled, "Coins was my brother and I'm pissed off to, but if we keep fighting we'll be joining him" he pushed Leon away and released his jacket, "Now let's go we are leaving".
Readying his rifle Edge stepped out of cover firing at the droids advancing on their position following after him his shoto saber providing perfect flexibility for deflecting the incoming blaster shots. Retreating along with Edge, Leon regrouped with the remaining members of Titan squad and Luminara and Ahsoka filing into a transport shuttle they left the lost planet behind as they returned to the two remaining star destroyers evading the 20mm cannon fire from the Goliath's armaments. After returning to the Resolute, Leon quickly separated from the others walking to the portside of the ship and watching Ruusan and the separatist ships fade into the distance, his first failed mission and his first personal loss. Hanging his head Leon wanted to punch himself for what happened to Coins it was his fault he could have saved him he could have prevented all of it.
Luminara's gentle voice carried down the hall, "Leon".
Leon's shoulders tensed and his fist clenched as his former master approached him, "I already know what you're going to say Luminara…let's just save both of us the time".
Walking over to her former padawan the Mirialan Jedi stood next to him and looked out the viewport thankfully the separatist ships were not pursuing them.
"I do not wish to intrude on your grief Leon" she began, "I know Coins was your friend, but now you understand why we Jedi must remained detached from others the pain of losing someone close to you".
Leon sighed, "Can cause you to go on a rampage with the intention of destroying everything around you…I know".
Luminara turned to him, "Leon before we landed on Ruusan you asked me to trust that you would always remember where the line between right and wrong was. I still trust you, but I worry that the line may be farther for you than it is for others".
Leon clenched his fist and quickly slammed it against the viewport, "I'm sorry Master I…"
Luminara cut him off, "You did not fail me Leon".
Leon's fist slid down the wall and to his side a small cut on the edge of his hand, "I may have not failed you, but I still failed. It wasn't supposed to happen like this I…I could have prevented this. I failed to destroy the Goliath's cannon and because of that the evac ship was shot down".
Luminara returned her eyes to the viewport, "Skywalker mentioned you used some kind of force power when dealing with the Goliath's cannon. From the way he described it, it sounded like the same power you used on the battle droids when we landed" she turned to him again, "What kind of power are you using?"
Leon raised his head and stared out the viewport again, "Not one the Council would fully approve of. I'd like to take credit for inventing a new force technique, but all I did was modify the basic force push".
"What do you mean?"
Leon held up his closed fist and extended his index finger, "I focus the Force to the tip of my finger and in the same manner and strength of a force push I unleash a more precise and pinpoint push. At a reasonable distance such as a few yards I can hit a target with a decent amount of blunt force causing them to stumble or even trip if I hit the right area" he gently tapped his finger against her elbow, "At a closer range such as actual contact like this a simple tap could shatter your bones or rupture your organs".
"Leon" Luminara gasped, "Such brutal methods are not the Jedi way".
Leon explained, "I was merely listing what I could do. Another useful purpose is with the same pinpoint precision I could use this tap of force power to quietly destroy the lock of a door or in a less brutal method temporarily numb or even paralyze a target's joint or limb".
Opening his hand Leon placed it against the viewport, "And as you and Anakin saw on the ground I can do the same, but by focusing the force into my entire palm I can unleash a single short, but powerful burst that can tear apart what it hits like when I grabbed that one droid's arm and ripped it off from its shoulder joint or as I did with the Goliath's cannon disrupt and destroy a circuit board".
Luminara sighed, "I guess such a thing does have useful purposes, but its destructive capabilities".
Leon cut her off, "I know it's not the Jedi way Luminara, but seeing what the Goliath is capable of I think destructive is what we need. That…thing is too powerful and Anakin, Plo Koon and myself together failed to stop it and because of that Coins was…"
Luminara placed her hand on his shoulder, "Leon do not blame yourself. I know you feel responsible, but I'm afraid there wasn't much we could do. We were unprepared to face such a weapon and even less prepared for its defenses. While attempting to disable its main cannon you would have died had Skywalker not saved you. I'm afraid our mission here was doomed to failure from the start, but the need to try and destroy the Goliath forced us into action".
Allowing his hand to slide down the viewport window Leon leaned forward his forehead hitting the wall with a dull thud, "Even with all of that…it doesn't change how I feel. I could have protected him better we're supposed to be unstoppable…"
Leon fell silent and his mind flashed back to the day on Kamino when he, Coins and the rest of their team went through the clone training arena the day Leon dubbed them Titan squadron. It was in the heat of that moment the excitement the thrill of completing that training exercise that he felt they were unstoppable, the best there was. Obviously that wasn't entirely true as some clones were bred differently to make up the special forces divisions, but for the average clone he felt like they were the best able to take on anything and win always ignoring that just like everything else they can die to.
Sighing he finally realized how dumb he was, "I started calling us the Titan squad because we all worked so well together. That's why I started getting along with them so well we all just clicked and it was our teamwork that made us invincible and somewhere down the road I started to believe we really were" he sighed again and blinked away a tear in his eye, "And now my wake up call comes only after one of my friends is dead".
Taking her hand away from his shoulder Luminara once again returned her eyes to the viewport, "Do you remember what you told me before we began our mission here? You told me that you are not capable of staying detached from others that you need those attachments to those important figures in your life. Tell me why do you say that? Why do you need them?"
Leon's answer came instantly, but quietly, "I need those attachments because I believe life isn't worth living if you're not living it with people you care about. People you love people you want to spend time with. I need those I've formed bonds with including you, Edge, Coins, Thalia…and especially Ahsoka" again Leon fell silent reflecting on his words before continuing, "Jedi are supposed to be the guardians of peace and that's why we're fighting this war, but that's not why I'm fighting it. I'm fighting it to protect my personal interests and I know that sounds selfish, but that's my reasoning. I don't care about the Republic; the Republic is just a group of corporations and politicians that's it. I still care about the people who make up the Republic, the citizens who elect the members of the senate and spend their money to help keep corporations running. The people I've never met and never will I care about them, but not nearly as much as I care about you or Edge or Ahsoka. I fight in the hopes that you won't have to I fight and take a blaster shot so you don't have to. I know you can handle yourselves I mean we're all trained for that sort of thing, but there's just this thing in me that screams at me when I see any of you in the line of fire and I have to do something".
Luminara turned and smiled at him silencing the young padawan, "I think I finally understand Leon. It's just who you are at first I thought it was because I brought you to the Order past the age of acceptance, but now I believe that you would be the same person no matter how old you were when I brought you here. Its not that you're fighting to protect us or fighting so we don't have to no that's only part of it".
Leon slowly nodded, "I'm fighting to protect you because I need all of you in my life without any of you the friends I've made the family I've gained my life would mean nothing. I need people I can go home to and talk to or just spend time with I need that interaction in my life the quiet detached and meditative thing that the Order teaches us doesn't work for me. Losing any of you is taking away a part that makes me who I am" he stopped and took in a breath, "Maybe I'm not meant to be a Jedi not the traditional kind. I will always fight for what is right and strive to be a symbol to others and all of that good stuff, but at the end of the day that's not something that can make me happy. I want to go home to someone at the end of the day someone I can talk to and laugh with even cry with if need be. I may even want to start a family of my own in ten years from now…I'm not cut out to be a Jedi like the rest of you I'm just a guy with a lightsabers and force powers, but I'm not a Jedi not in the way you would like me to be".
Casting her eyes to the floor Luminara turned her back to him, "Leon almost everything you said to me goes against the teachings of the Jedi and while I can not officially condone such a way of thinking personally…I applaud you" she kept her back to him to hide her smile, "Even though you claim to be in it for your own personal reasons you still uphold the spirit and foundation of the Jedi Order which is to always protect others no matter the cost. You Leon regardless of what the teachings say are a true Jedi" her smile ran away and she turned back to him, "Just remember to control yourself if you feel your emotions are becoming too strong step back and I will take over for you".
Leon looked away again, "I'm no Jedi" he said again, "I allow how I feel about a situation to lead my actions".
Again Luminara's hand slid onto his shoulder, "Leon the Council will have to hear of your actions on Ruusan, but as for our conversation they will not".
Leon turned to her and she continued, "You allowed your grief and anger to take over that is true, but you also were able to regain control of yourself and you admit to it. You may occasionally go against the teachings, but I know I can trust you so for now I will keep this between us".
Leon blushed slightly and turned his eyes away, "Thank you Lumin…Master".
Luminara's head tilted, "I've noticed you've taken to calling me by name, why is that?"
"Because of how I feel about you" he answered shyly.
"I see" Luminara said, "Yes, you said I reminded you of your mother".
"You're the reason I was able to make it through my training" Leon told her, "Because you and my mother are so alike. You were always there for me if I needed advice or help on something. I'm not thinking of you as a second mother or anything like that I guess there was just a fondness I developed for you".
"I will always be willing to help you Leon. Just remember what I've told you today".
Leon nodded as she walked away, "I will and thank you for everything".
Luminara smiled and bowed her head to him and walked down the corridor leaving Leon alone, "You've been watching us for a while" she said after turning a corner, "Is something on your mind?"
Thalia was standing there leaning against the wall a sad expression covering her, "A lot of things Master Unduli. I wanted to talk to Leon, but…he has enough on his mind".
"He just needs time is all" Luminara told her, "You can always talk to me and theirs is Master Plo you are his padawan after all".
Thalia shook her head, "Thank you, but no. I don't mean any offense, but I really only feel comfortable talking to Leon about this".
"Very well" Luminara bowed and continued on her way.
Taking a breath Thalia steeled herself and stepped out from the corner and approached Leon, "Hey" she tried to mask her concern, but her voice still cracked as she spoke.
Hearing her voice Leon turned to her and managed to give her a small smile, "Hey, how are you holding up?"
"Better" she answered, "I…I wanted to say I'm sorry about Coins".
"You don't have to apologize Thalia" Leon told her, "It was going to happen anyway. He was in no shape to continue fighting if it wasn't me someone else would have sent him on evac and the same would have happened".
Thalia tightly hugged her arms, "I don't like this" she shuddered, "I was able to block out most of it when I was focused on the fighting, but now…I can still hear them all echoing like we're still there".
"How do you do that?" Leon asked her, "You were able to sense them dying so clearly".
"Master Plo said my connection to the living aspect of the Force is stronger than most, I would guess that's why".
"That makes sense I guess" Leon whispered.
"I don't like it" Thalia gasped, "So many screams all at once…it's too much".
Leon nodded, "But you're still here. You managed to block it out and even now you can still stand up to it. You're becoming stronger".
Thalia lowered her head, "No I'm not. I'm always coming to you with my problems and you've saved me twice now. Not once have I done anything for you".
Leon cut her off, "That's not true. Back on Ord Mantell you saved me and Luminara from Count Dooku and Grievous. It may have not seemed like much to you, but that moment of distraction you caused gave me time to come back. You are not useless, you were overwhelmed because you're first battle was much larger that you could have prepared for and even in spite of that you still managed to do really good out there".
Placing his hand under her chin he tilted her head up, "Thalia you've got a lot of potential even I can see that you just need to stop thinking of the negative things. When it comes to wielding the Force you're far stronger than I am, I've been at this for almost eight years and I can still only manage basic and semi advanced techniques".
"I just want to be more like you" she finally admitted, "You're strong, courageous and more compassionate than anyone else I know. You have this aura about you that makes me feel like everything will be ok no matter how bad it seems" she looked away from him again, "When you first saved me on Hoth…I was enchanted by you. Such devotion to save people you didn't know the ferocity you fought with to defend me and my people at first I thought all Jedi were that way and then when you came for me on Ord Mantell and what you said to Dooku made me realize that wasn't true. While all Jedi defend and protect others you're the only one who will truly fight for another the way you fought against both of them I don't think anyone else could have survived such a fight and yet you did".
Leon grabbed her hand, "Because I had so much to lose" he said, "Luminara, Edge and the others and you…I don't know you're people that well, but I know they're important to you which makes them important to me and that mean I will fight against anything that threatens them".
"Leon, Thalia" Ahsoka's voice called to them.
Leon turned around as Ahsoka and Liliana walked over to them, "Leon how are you doing?" Ahsoka asked him.
Leon nodded, "I'll be ok".
Ahsoka nodded back, "Good I'm…sorry Coins was a good man".
Leon nodded again and looked to Liliana, "I want to thank you for helping us today I fear how much worse it would have been without you and the information about the Goliath".
"Actually" Liliana began showing him a datapad, "A contact of mine just sent me this. As far as my sources have been able to tell the Separatists have only made a maximum of three of those things and right now they lack the resources needed for a fourth".
"That's good" Leon sighed, "One is bad enough, three is just…scary I'm glad to hear we won't have to worry about a fourth anytime soon. Did you learn anything else?"
"It's not much" Liliana answered tapping at the datapad and showing the Goliath they fought above two others, "Each of them has a designated name and firepower unique to each one. The one we encountered on Ruusan is this first one, it's called Der Richter it's from an old language it means The Judge".
Leon's hand shook and moved down to his lightsaber, "Next time I see The Judge I'll introduce him to the jury and executioner".
"Ahsoka and I were on our way to the bridge to tell the others".
Leon took a deep breath and removed his hand from his weapon, "Alright I'll go with you".
Returning to the bridge with the smuggler and his fellow padawans Leon stood away from the rest of the group standing against the corner wall while listening to Liliana's new information. The goliath they encountered the one called The Judge was the first from what her unnamed contact reported it was to be considered an anti-infantry weapon. Each of its armaments designed to either keep enemy forces at bay or deter them from the fight entirely; its 105mm cannon on its shoulder designed for taking down heavy targets or star ships as they had seen and each of its 25mm guns were to shoot down smaller and quicker vehicles like transports.
"Hold on" Anakin said, "This is exactly the same thing you told us before we went down to Ruusan, but now you're telling us each goliath has weapons that are unique to it. So all of this is just from that one we faced".
Liliana nodded, "Unfortunately and here's the part you're not going to like, the one we faced is apparently the weakest of the three".
A sudden air of silence fell across the bridge. The monster they had just faced the massive weapon that forced six Jedi to flee and singlehandedly destroyed two star destroyers was the weakest of the three.
"That can't be" Ahsoka said, "That thing destroyed the entire base by itself and took down two star cruisers without any trouble. What could the other two have that are stronger than that?"
Liliana sighed regretfully as she continued displaying the report on her datapad, "I'm afraid the next one is a much bigger threat".
Her datapad showed the second goliath, unlike the first one The Judge, this one was completely humanoid in appearance a tall, bulky two legged machine that according to the report measured at 28 metes tall shorter than The Judge, but its armaments made it far more dangerous. This one's armor was pitch black with gleaming red eyes that gave it a demonic appearance sending brief chills through even the Jedi Masters as they all laid eyes on it. Like The Judge there was a cannon mounted on this one's shoulder as well although much smaller and on each of its forearms were another mounted cannon and its head was in a strange shape. A long pointed nose almost like a snout and what appeared to be horns at the back with rounded points.
"This is the second Goliath dubbed Black Dragon. This one's purpose is decimation".
"Care to elaborate on that?" Captain Rex asked her from Anakin's side.
She indicated the three cannons as well as a fourth located inside its chest and upper torso, "Each of these weapons releases a highly flammable material that will stick to anything it touches and burn at a recorded temperature range of 1,200 to 3,000 degrees Celsius".
"Well that thing must have some kind of ray shielding inside it then" Edge interrupted, "Otherwise it would melt from the inside".
Liliana nodded, "Exactly right Captain Edge, the whole inside layers of the goliath are covered by a layer of ray shielding to protect it from the heat of the material it uses. However that's also its biggest weakness, extended use of its weapons drains its power and thirty percent of its maximum power is used to maintain the ray shielding inside it".
Anakin turned his eyes to Liliana, "So when you said this one's purpose is decimation you mean to say it's designed to burn everything to the ground and leave nothing at all".
Liliana nodded and once again indicated the hidden weapon inside its chest, "This is the worst part about this one inside its chest is a massive cluster bomb. This bomb is fired into the air over a target area and then separates into two dozen smaller bombs each filled with the same flammable material used in its other weapons".
"That's insane" Captain Rex yelled slamming his fist onto the console, "What the hell is wrong with the Separatists making a weapon like that? Do they plan on completely razing an entire planet and then capturing it?"
"Easy Rex" Anakin said although it was obvious he was just as frustrated before he nodded for Liliana to continue.
"Depending on the height of its separation as well as each bomb's effective radius along with wind velocity and gravitational direction and force the cluster bomb's effective range is anywhere between…" Liliana paused and licked her lips before gulping down the horror of what she just read.
"That's impossible" Ahsoka muttered reading the same thing Liliana did.
"Anywhere between four hundred meters to three kilometer radius" Liliana managed to say clearly frightened by the destructive capabilities of the bomb".
"How do we fight something like that?" Anakin whispered the three Jedi Masters around him while concealing it well were clearly disturbed by this news.
"We need to inform the Council of this at once" Luminara said.
"The Chancellor needs to know as well" Anakin added, "Weapons like this, how the hell did the Separatists even manage to build these things?"
"We'll be back to Coruscant within a few hours Generals" Admiral Yularen told them trying to appear unfazed himself by the revelation of what the second goliath was capable of.
Taking a step back from the hologram projector Ahsoka noticed Leon had left turning her attention back to the hologram she assumed he was still trying to clear his mind over what happened, but then she felt something. A strange urge of panic overcame her and she stepped further away from the hologram and walked toward the door to the bridge.
"Where are you going Ahsoka?" Anakin asked her.
"I…just want to clear my head a bit" Ahsoka muttered in a distracted tone as she left the bridge.
Leaving the bridge she closed her eyes and whatever feeling was nudging at her became stronger and made her panic. Something was wrong somewhere she could feel it, but what.
Hearing someone coughing loudly in her mind she gasped, "Leon".
Running down the hall she tried to calm herself and focus on Leon's presence trying to locate him. Entering the Officer's Quarters corridor she continued running until she found him leaning against the wall outside his room coughing harshly into his hand.
"Leon" she cried rushing to his side and grabbing his shoulder.
"I'm ok" he coughed, "It's not too bad" he panted.
Looking at his hands and mouth Ahsoka was glad to see no trace of blood, but Leon was clearly out of breath and need to rest.
"Let me help you" she said opening his door for him and walking him over to his bed.
"Sorry" Leon gasped, "Hearing what that other…thing was capable of made me…I just needed to get away from it".
"I know what you mean" Ahsoka said, "Something like that I don't even know what to think about it".
"Are you afraid?" he asked her.
Ahsoka hid her face, "Jedi don't get scared".
"We're not supposed to" Leon corrected, "But against something like this…I can't help it. Just thinking of what it can do terrifies me" he hunched over and began coughing again falling from Ahsoka's arms.
"Leon" quickly grabbing one of his arms she turned him toward his bed and tried to guide him to it only to have him stumble forward.
Stumbling to his bed Leon managed to catch himself, but when he turned over onto his side his leg caught Ahsoka's and tripped her. Surprised Leon turned fully onto his back catching her as she fell on top of him. Holding her by her arms Leon stared into her blue eyes and she stared into his. Her entire body froze as she looked down at him he was holding her arms as she laid on top of him and even though their faces were mere inches from each other for some reason she couldn't move.
"I can't breathe when I look into his eyes like this my chest tightens and my heart beats faster".
Ahsoka remained frozen as Leon's hand moved away from her arm and up to her head cupping against the side of her face.
"Somehow" he muttered quietly as he continued looking into her eyes, "Somehow I never noticed how beautiful you are until now".
Feeling like her heart came to a stop something snapped in her and Ahsoka regained control of her body pulling away from Leon's hand and standing up quickly turning her back on him.
"This can't be happening" she thought to herself as her entire body was visibly shaking, "I'm a Jedi I can't…we're not allowed to".
Frantically the young Togruta turned to the door and left this time Leon didn't say anything he didn't even call after her in fact he was just as shaken as she was. Slowly laying back on his bed Leon turned onto his side sliding one of his hands under his head and holding the other over his chest. His heart was trying to beat its way out of his chest and the image of looking into Ahsoka's eyes as she lay on top of him was all he could see as he closed his eyes as a strange pain slowly washed over him.
In her own room further down the hall Ahsoka was standing in the center of the dark room her arms still wrapped around themselves as her entire body continued to shake uncontrollably. The image as well as what Leon said to her replaying on a loop in her head and each time she heard his words echo in her mind she felt her chest become tighter and her heart beat even faster. Her body continued shaking until she began feeling tired and finally she sat at the edge of her bed and tried to calm down, but Leon's words continued to replay in her head and finally her chest tightened to the point it became harder for her to breathe.
"Why do I feel like this…This shouldn't be happening this isn't how it's supposed to be. I can't…we can't…we're supposed to be Jedi"
It wasn't until she felt like she was suffocating that she realized why she was trembling so badly and why it was that every time he got that different look in his eyes that she had to force herself to look away from him. All those times she felt like he had become a different person someone who was no longer flirting or making jokes scared her and now she finally realized why it frightened her. The code she built her entire life around the order she dedicated her life to and everything she believed it started to change when he did. The code of the Jedi, the rule that forbade Jedi from forming attachments was something she always struggled to understand clearly, but since knowing Leon it had become difficult and now she began to wonder just how she really felt about him.
Closing her eyes the image of her lying on top of Leon played in her mind again only this time when he rested his hand against her cheek she leaned closer to him and right as their lips were about to meet someone called out to her.
Her eyes flew open and she leapt up from her bed and looked around there was no one there. Inhaling a deep breath she prepared to lay down again until someone knocked at her door.
"Ahsoka are you there?"
"Anakin?" she muttered walking over to the door.
Anakin looked down at her as she opened the door, "Morning Snips".
Ahsoka rubbed her eyes, "Morning?"
Anakin chuckled lightly, "I didn't think you were that you were tired enough to fall asleep. We're back at Coruscant".
"What?" Ahsoka gasped, "But I only closed my eyes for a second".
"Its ok" Anakin laughed, "We're all tired after what happened. Anyway I'm sorry I bothered you I didn't know you were resting".
"Its ok" Ahsoka answered shyly, "I'm just…" she stopped and shook her head, "I'm sorry Master I just want some time alone right now".
"Is something wrong?"
Ahsoka shook her head, "No nothing important I'm just…I'm just still processing everything Liliana told us" she lied.
Anakin placed his hand on her shoulder, "I'm worried to Snips, but we'll find a way to destroy those things".
Ahsoka quickly nodded, "I know it was just a lot to take in".
Anakin agreed, "Yeah…We'll I'm going to speak with the Chancellor and then head back to the temple take your time ok".
Ahsoka nodded again and waited for her master to leave before she closed the door and walked back to her bed. Sitting down she clenched her fists over her knees she hated that she just lied to Anakin, her master and one of her closest friends, but she couldn't bring herself to admit the truth of what was really bothering her. Even after everything she heard about the two goliaths only a few hours ago and their devastating defeat on Ruusan what happened between her and Leon overshadowed all of that and managed to occupy her mind. No matter how many times she replayed it in her head it didn't become any easier to think of each time she recalled what Leon said to her her heart beat to the point it felt like it stopped entirely. Realizing she wasn't going to be able to stop thinking about it she stood up and decided to return to the planet's surface hoping that something, anything will help her to take her mind off of Leon.
Catching up to Anakin in the hangar she returned with him to the surface and followed him to the senate building to speak with the chancellor. During the short travel to the senate building Ahsoka continued to ask herself if she should tell Anakin what happened between her and Leon or the kind of thoughts and emotions that ran through her now. She hoped that he would understand and want to help her, but she was afraid to tell him. Landing at the senate building the two Jedi stepped out of their shuttle and headed to the chancellor's office surprised to hear him chuckling from inside. Knocking on the office door Anakin waited until the chancellor's voice invited them inside.
"Sorry to bother you Chancellor" Anakin said entering the room.
"Ah Anakin I was hoping you would come to see me" the chancellor said rising from his desk and welcoming his friend into the room.
"I'm definitely glad to be back after what we've been through" Anakin smiled.
The chancellor's expression darkened, "Yes, I heard about what happened on Ruusan and the new weapon the Separatists used. Its bad enough to lose control of a system, but to be able to do nothing about it makes the defeat much harder I'm afraid".
"We were unprepared" Leon's voice said from behind the chancellor.
Looking behind the chancellor Anakin and Ahsoka saw Leon sitting on the small curved couch in the center of the office with a small cup in his hand.
"Next time we'll be ready" the young padawan continued, "Next time we'll destroy them".
"What are you doing here?" Anakin asked him.
Palpatine smiled at Leon and turned back to Anakin, "I was enjoying a brief walk when I ran into young Leon. I noticed that something was bothering him and offered him some tea".
"Thank you for this by the way" Leon said quietly.
Palpatine smiled at him again, "Of course my boy, it's been a long time since I had company other than other senators. It's nice to have a normal conversation for once if anything I should be thanking you".
Leon managed a small smile himself and set the cup on the table in front of him, "Well you're welcome then. Now that Anakin is here we can fill you in on…" he fell silent when he noticed Ahsoka was with Anakin.
"I actually just remembered I had something I needed to take care of, please excuse me" he bowed to the chancellor and swiftly left hiding his face from Ahsoka.
The chancellor chuckled lightly, "Ah the life of a Jedi, sometimes I wonder which of us is busier".
Anakin smirked at him, "Well I'm not sure about which is busier, but I know your job is the more boring of the two".
The chancellor laughed, "Well I cannot argue that one. Come sit and tell me your report I'm sure there's still some tea left".
Anakin bowed his head, "Thank you Majesty".
"Nonsense" Palpatine said, "No sense in letting it go to waste now" he looked to Ahsoka, "Would you care for some as well?"
Ahsoka forced a smile and nodded, "Yes, thank you".
"You're quite welcome dear" Palpatine said pouring each of them a cup, "You also seem to have something on your mind" he noted seeing the distant look in Ahsoka's eyes, "Is something bothering you?"
"Nothing I would want to bother you with Chancellor, but thank you for asking".
Sitting back at his desk Palpatine asked Leon to give him a full report over what happened at Ruusan as well as what Liliana told him on the trip back. As devastating as the defeat was Ahsoka focused all of her attention on Anakin's recollection of the battle knowing her thoughts would otherwise still be on Leon. When her master finished explaining everything to the Chancellor the aged leader of the Republic leaned back and sighed tiredly.
"Such dangerous weapons and there's still a third we haven't heard about yet…I'm beginning to fear for the future of our Republic".
"We'll still win Chancellor" Anakin said, "With as powerful as these things are it does prove to us that the Separatists are becoming desperate to create weapons of this caliber. So if we can destroy them then that would be a big blow to their morale and cause maybe even a big step toward ending this war for good".
"I hope you're right Anakin. I will have our military analyze the data Ms. Ashford was able to gather meanwhile I would like for you to request more direct aid from the Jedi for the immediate future. With knowledge of these goliaths I believe we may need the entire Order just to have a chance now".
"Of course" Anakin said setting his cup down and standing up, "As Jedi it's our duty to serve the Republic and defend the peace of the galaxy. I'm sure the Council will not refuse a more active role once they learn of what happened".
Palpatine smiled once more, "I can always rely on you. I truly treasure your friendship Anakin".
Anakin bowed to him again, "As do I Majesty now if you'll excuse me I will return to the temple at once and speak with the Council".
The chancellor sighed, "And I must return to my duties as well. No rest for the wicked I'm afraid".
"Well time to head back home" Anakin said to Ahsoka after they left the chancellor's office.
Ahsoka merely nodded and followed him back outside and to their shuttle remaining quiet the whole trip. Arriving at the temple they made their way to the council chambers, but Ahsoka stopped at the door.
"What's wrong?" Anakin asked her.
Ahsoka gently ran her fingers over her eyes, "I'm still a bit tired that's all. If it's alright with you I'm going to get some more rest".
Anakin nodded, "Yeah we've all had a long day. Go ahead and rest if you want Snips I'll handle the report".
"Thank you Master" Ahsoka said turning around and leaving Anakin to report to the Council.
Returning to her room Ahsoka stopped when she saw Leon waiting for her outside her room.
"Hey" he said quietly when he saw her.
"What are you doing here?" she asked him.
To her surprise Leon avoided looking at her turning his head to the side or casting his eyes to the floor as he spoke.
"What I said on the Resolute" Ahsoka quickly cut him off.
"It was nothing" Ahsoka blurted, "I mean…look we've both got a lot on our minds today let's talk about it another time".
Leon kept his eyes on the floor, "Alright".
As he began leaving Ahsoka stopped him, "Leon wait…what you said…the whole situation just freaked me out that's why".
Leon still avoided looking at her, "I'll talk to you later Ahsoka, get some rest".
Watching him leave Ahsoka once again felt like her heart was about to burst as her throat felt like it was closing. Quickly entering her room she closed the door behind her and made her way to her bed and lying down on her side.
"I can't stop thinking about him now…since what happened. I can't do this…I'm supposed to be a Jedi I just can't do it. I can't allow myself to..." she moved her hand over her chest, "I don't want to feel this pain it hurts. I'm sorry Leon I really am, but I can't allow this to happen".