Are They Real
Ahsoka looked over to Leon as a medic tended to each of them, even though his injuries were just as bad as hers he seemed to be completely ignoring them and kept a very deep in thought look on his face. In fact he hadn't said a single word since they left Dantooine Ahsoka knew why and didn't blame him both of them went through a rough time facing down whatever that new droid was almost being killed by it and then he was reunited with his parents. Once taken to be trained as a Jedi it was forbidden for any student to have contact with their family to avoid forming attachment to them and Leon was clearly struggling with that idea in his mind to see his mother and father for the first time in eight years that would shake anyone.
"Leon?" Helena muttered in disbelief.
Leon looked up to her and it finally donned on him, he was so focused on saving Ahsoka he didn't realize the direction they were traveling and the area they had arrived in.
"Mom" he nodded before giving Master Windu a questioning look.
Sensing the struggle within his padawan's mind Master Windu walked over to the two farmers along with Obi-Wan and thanked them for helping Ahsoka and Zephyr.
While the two Jedi Masters spoke with Leon's parents Ahsoka and Anakin noticed that Leon was forcing himself to not look at them his eyes wandering over to them and immediately snapping back downward.
"I can understand if this is hard for you Leon, but it is for the best" Anakin told him.
"How could it possibly be for the greater good?" he asked him, "This will not end well for me or them. This will be the second time they've had to watch me leave knowing that I won't come back and this will be the second time I've walked away from them".
Anakin sensed something familiar in Leon close to the anger and suffering he felt when he returned to Tatooine for the first time and found that his mother was taken by Tusken raiders.
It wasn't long before a shuttle from the Resolute landed to pick them up and collect the remains of the new droid they had faced. Leon had not said a word to either of his parents during the short visit, but as he was about to step onto the shuttle he turned around and looked at them feeling a suffocating pain welling inside him. Sensing his padawan's pain Master Windu sternly called his name to get his attention and when Leon looked back at him he saw it the look of defiance.
Leon turned around and ran over to his parents embracing both of them for a short time, but enough to permanently trap the feeling within his heart before he pulled away from them. Walking backwards away from them he smiled sadly at both of them and without a single word turned around and ran back to the shuttle not looking back as the doors closed.
Ahsoka could also sense the pain in her friend's heart she wanted to say something anything to help him feel better, but what could she say? She had never been through anything like that unlike Leon she was brought to the order as a small child at the age of three where he came to the order when he was seven. Ahsoka only had vague memories of her home while Leon's were clear in his mind before he returned to Dantooine and to have to leave it a second time after it was attacked made it hard for him.
The medics finished tending to them and told them they were cleared to leave, but needed to be checked by a real doctor when they returned to Coruscant. Getting up Ahsoka walked over to Leon and sat next to him and said the first thing that came to her mind, "They seemed really nice".
Leon lowered his eyes, "I…I was so caught up on saving you that I didn't pay attention to the direction I was traveling…I wasn't prepared to see them".
"Oh Leon what happened to you?" his mother asked him seeing the blood soaked bandage around his head.
"I'm fine" he told her, "I'm just glad you're both safe".
"Are you going to be ok?" she asked him.
Leon nodded, "Yeah, eventually for now I just need some time".
Ahsoka stood up to leave stopping when Leon whispered her name.
"Ahsoka…I'm glad you're ok" he said to her with an apologetic expression, "And…thank you".
Ahsoka smiled at him as she left the med bay leaving him alone to gather his thoughts. When the med bay door closed behind her Ahsoka's smile ran away as her injured arm began throbbing whatever that droid was it almost killed her and according to her master another one almost killed Leon. Grabbing her injured arm she felt herself cowering, the thought of a droid that can take on a Jedi so easily worried her and with the remains of those droids on the ship worried her even more.
Deciding to rest she returned to the officer's quarters climbing into the nearest bunk she tried to sleep, but couldn't eventually getting back up she decided to walk around the ship hoping that would make her tired enough to fall asleep. She past through the hangar, the engine room, the crew quarters and even the mess hall no matter where she went her mind was too focused on the events of the day for her to sleep.
"Hey there you are Snips" her master's voice said from down the hall.
Ahsoka looked up to her master as he walked over to her, "Hey Master" she muttered rather sluggishly.
"Is something wrong?" he asked her.
Ahsoka inhaled a quick breath and then expelled it before she confided in her master, "I feel like I failed. I allowed myself to get shot down and lost two of my clones and almost died myself…That droid…how can a droid stand up to a Jedi?"
Anakin placed a hand on her shoulder, "Listen Ahsoka that droid is unlike anything we have ever seen so it's only natural for you to be afraid of it a little".
"I wasn't afraid" she quickly snapped.
"Well I was" he told her, "And so was Leon. We were both worried about you. When we were at that base Leon was almost killed by one of them to, but after he defeated it he refused to take a medical transport back here instead he insisted on helping to find you. If you don't want to admit you were afraid that's ok, but I know Leon and I were".
"I just want to forget that this ever happened" his padawan admitted the sound of regret carried within her words.
"No don't do that" he said, "Instead learn from this and better yourself so if you ever face one of those again you'll be ready".
"Honestly, I hope those were the only two I never want to have to fight them again".
Anakin admitted that he also found the new droid type threatening as he leaned his back against the wall, "I'm with you there. We'd be a lot better off if those were the only ones, but knowing the Separatists that won't be the case" he then smiled at her, "But let's not focus on that we'll be back on Coruscant within an hour and then you can relax for a while. After this whole ordeal I'd say you've earned it".
Ahsoka shook her head, "Thank you Master, but I'll be fine".
Anakin flashed back to when he first met Ahsoka and their first mission together, after they rescued Jabba the Hutt's son from a monastery on Teth. While they were enroute to return the Huttling to Tatooine Anakin suggested that Ahsoka get some rest, but she refused. Since then she had retained her somewhat stubborn and rash nature which only reminded Anakin of himself bringing a sense of pride to him.
"Well you don't get a choice this time" he said to her, "When we get back I'm requesting some time off for you and Leon you've both been through a lot and need some time to unwind".
"Really I'll be fine" Ahsoka protested.
"Even I need some time away every now and then Snips" Anakin told her, "Now just listen to me and take some time off. Go see a holovid or something take a short leave of absence and go with Senator Amidala to Naboo".
"Why is she going to Naboo?"
"Well like everyone else she also needs the occasional time off and she wants to go back home for some kind of festival or parade, something that's going on".
Ahsoka remembered a vision she had a week ago of a bomb in Senator Amidala's office and in her vision she was standing there along with the Senator, Master Unduli and Leon. She never saw the bomb go off, but she heard it just seconds after Leon used the Force to push them all out of the room and close the door trapping himself inside. So many things have happened since then that she had completely forgotten about it, but now it was back on her mind.
Anakin pushed away from the wall, "Trust me you'll feel better after some time away from everything".
Ahsoka watched her master walk away and began thinking about what he said, as the senator of the world; Senator Amidala would obviously have an office there to handle any business she may have while she was there. It would be much easier for someone to sneak into the office there than it would be to sneak into the Senate building, could it be possible that he vision wasn't of the immediate future, but of the near future? If so then that meant the Senator's life would be in danger.
It wouldn't be long before the Resolute returned to Coruscant so Ahsoka decided to try and meditate on her thoughts hoping to see more of the same vision and hopefully a way to avert it. Returning to her room in the Officer's quarters she sat on the floor of the dark room and closed her eyes taking in a deep breath to center her.
She was in Senator Amidala's office and along with the Senator and Master Unduli she watched as Leon stood behind Padme's personal droid C-3PO slowly mimicking the protocol droid's movements as it spoke to its owner causing the Senator and even Master Luminara to chuckle at his antics. The droid turned its head to see what they were laughing at and Leon immediately sat back down pretending to have been sitting there the entire time and when the golden droid turned back to Senator Amidala, Leon stood up again and held his hands over the droid's head moving his fingers as if he was a puppet master. Despite her efforts not to, Ahsoka began laughing as well as Leon continued to mess around behind the droid.
The vision shifted showing Leon pushing them out of the room Ahsoka tried to run back in, but he closed the door on her and an explosion roared from inside the room. Opening the door Ahsoka saw Leon lying on the floor numerous cuts and scratches on his body from the debris. Running over to him Ahsoka cleared the debris off him and lifted him into her arms calling his name.
Ahsoka's eyes flew open the vision faded from her mind leaving her with only fragments of what she saw.
"You ok?" Leon's voice asked her from the side.
Looking to the bunk on the left she saw Leon sitting there watching her, "How long have you been there?"
Leon shrugged his head to the side, "About 20 minutes. We returned to Coruscant, but I didn't want to disturb you".
Ahsoka stood up, "How about you? Are you feeling any better?"
Leon shrugged to the side again, "A little" he paused for a moment a look on great thought riddling his face before he looked at her again, "Hey Ahsoka can I ask you something?"
"What is it?"
"If we weren't…" he shook his head, "Never mind it's not important".
"What is it?" she asked him again following him out of the room.
Leon stopped, he looked like he really wanted to say what was on his mind, but he bit his lip, "It's nothing important it can wait. Come on they want us in the Council Chambers".
Neither of them said a word during the shuttle ride to the Jedi Temple and it wasn't until they stood outside the Council Chambers that Ahsoka broke the silence between them.
"Leon…I can't claim to understand what you're going through, but if you need anything I'm happy to help".
Leon nodded with a forced smile and pushed open the doors to the Council Chambers to join the three Jedi Masters who shared their mission. Last time he was there to report on a mission's success Leon tried to hide his thoughts from them this time he let them remain unguarded appearing as an open book to the Council.
While Obi-Wan, Anakin and Master Windu gave their report to the Council as well as informing them about the new droid that Leon and Ahsoka had encountered. When asked about their experience with this dangerous new droid neither of them wanted to recount the events, but Leon parted his lips and took a quick breath.
"It's fast, incredibly agile unlike anything I have ever seen. It showed great intelligence after it disarmed me of my lightsaber it kept me from retrieving it and even stopped me from calling upon the Force to help me. It also displayed a great cunning remaining hidden and silently moving around before striking…it was merciless I…I would have died if Master Windu did not arrive when he did".
Ahsoka gave the same report about the one that hunted her, "It was able to remain cloaked even while it was attacking us. Tails…he sacrificed himself in an attempt to destroy the droid, but it survived. It was able to survive a point blank exposure to a grenade and continue hunting us in addition to that it was even able to constantly evade blaster fire".
"Troubling this new droid is" Master Yoda groaned, "Analyze it we must, learn of its programming".
"The droids were taken to research department and are being analyzed as we speak" Master Kenobi told him, "Hopefully within a few hours we'll know all we need to about them".
Yoda moved his eyes to Leon and Ahsoka, "Padawans something troubling you there is, hmm?"
Ahsoka grabbed her injured arm again, "I just feel like I failed today. I feel like I shouldn't have been shot down…like I should be better than I was out there".
"Mistakes are made" the wise master told her, "Trust in the Force and yourself".
Ahsoka nodded and Master Yoda looked to Leon, "Padawan Solstice, even more doubt in you I sense, much turmoil in your mind".
Master Yoda was right, Leon's mind was in chaos at the moment from a new droid that almost killed him without him having a chance to fight back, Ahsoka almost dying and seeing his parents again he didn't know where to begin on sorting through these thoughts.
"The mission" he began slowly, "Everything that happened has left me quite shaken" he continued to stop between every few words there was a small mixture of fear, doubt and anger within him and he was trying his best to calm those feelings.
The aged master cautioned him against his emotions to which Leon nodded saying that he merely needed time to make peace with what happened. Thankfully the Council understood his conflict and allowed him the time he would need being sure to remind him of the dangers of attachment before excusing him from the Council Chambers.
A few hours later Ahsoka found Leon sitting alone in the temple courtyard even now he still wasn't himself. She could see he was still trying to sort out everything that had happened, walking over to the bench she sat beside him. He greeted her as she sat next to him and while there wasn't any real hint of sadness in his voice she knew that it was there.
"I guess you're not feeling any better huh?"
Leon nodded to one side, "I wouldn't say that just…I've finally got all my thoughts organized and I'm just trying to sort through them…Mostly I'm wondering if I'm cut out to be a Jedi".
Hearing those last words Ahsoka quickly looked at him, "What do you mean?"
Leon managed a weak smile, "Well for one thing I've only been on three missions and in the past two I've returned wondering if it's the right future for me with Thalia and my parents I'm wondering if I should go back or not" he turned his head to her, "And then there's you".
"What about me?" Ahsoka asked withdrawing a bit from him.
He looked away and sighed silently, "Remember I wanted to ask you something earlier?" Ahsoka nodded and he sighed again, "I was going to ask you if we weren't Jedi would you go out with me if I asked you?"
Ahsoka's eyes widened and she looked away from him the stripes of her head tails gaining a vivid color. She waited for him to start laughing at her embarrassment, but when she heard nothing she looked back to see that he was looking at her again, his eyes sad, but sincere.
She straightened herself, "Why are you asking me that?"
Leon kept his eyes on hers and slowly placed his hand over hers, "Because…" he hesitated for a moment withdrawing his hand from hers and standing up, "Because I really enjoy spending time with you and…" he looked away from her, "I was just wondering is all just dumb curiosity".
Ahsoka could still feel herself blushing slightly as she answered, "I don't know…maybe I mean if we still knew each other".
"Good enough" he muttered under his breath with a content smile slowly sitting next to her.
"Leon" Ahsoka whispered before she scanned around the courtyard checking to make sure they were alone, "Jedi aren't allowed to form such attachments. I care about you, but as a friend…Let's just leave it at that ok?"
Leon forced himself to keep his smile, "Yeah I know. I was just curious is all".
Ahsoka was worried the echo in his voice the complete lack of his signature teasing or mocking tone, this wasn't the Leon she came to know. Only once had she seen him like this before when they returned from Hoth was he really questioning if he was fit to be a Jedi?
Leon stood up again, "I'm going to try and get some sleep. Thank you Ahsoka, I'll see you tomorrow".
Ahsoka jumped to her feet as he walked away, "Leon" she waited for him to turn back to her, "I'm sorry…Even if we both wanted it to, it can't happen".
Leon's smile grew faint as he turned away again, "That's enough for tonight I think, we can continue another time when we've had time to properly gather our thoughts…or at least when I have".
Ahsoka watched him walk away slowly disappearing back into the temple leaving her alone until she decided to sleep as well. Returning to her room she sat at the edge of her bed thinking about what Leon had said wondering if he actually felt that way about her. Jedi aren't allowed to form attachment they aren't allowed to love they aren't allowed to hate such things lead to the dark side or at least that's what the teachings say and as a Jedi he knew this as well as she did so why does he act as if the teachings don't exist?
Since she first met him Leon displayed a multitude of characteristics from cunning to eccentric, calm to determined, serious to playful and teasing. Maybe almost dying at the hands of that droid made him realize how serious everything is, but what bothered her the most was what he asked her in the courtyard. If they weren't Jedi would she accept if he asked her out the way he said it; he said he was curious, but it didn't sound like curiosity it sounded like hopefully even wishful thinking as if he wanted it to happen then she remembered what he said to her before they were given the mission of going to Dantooine.
They were in the kitchen, Ahsoka was helping him prepare lunch handing him a few spices and cutting a few things for him, but then he said something to her, "Maybe I do it because I actually like you".
Was that just him teasing her again or did he mean it? Was it just with her or did he act like that with every girl het me? Regardless of his reasons for doing it he had to be stopped even if he's just teasing her, the Council surely wouldn't see it that way.
Falling back she placed her hand behind her head and her other arm over her stomach as she stared at the ceiling of the room. Thinking about it as a whole she felt sad because she wanted to help Leon although she called him annoying many times her favorite part about him was the way he just appeared to be a free spirit unchained by the distress and tension of the galaxy around him. Whether it was a façade or not even if he annoyed her a little she enjoyed watching him have fun and make jokes all the time. Closing her eyes she drifted to sleep allowing her thoughts to settle until morning.
Ahsoka opened her eyes and sat up as always the mornings were quiet around the temple. Sliding out of her bed she took a quick shower and changed into a clean set of her usual clothes before leaving her room to roam the halls.
As she passed by the archives she heard Leon's voice "What makes you think I want to know anything about it?"
"Well for one thing it almost killed you" Anakin's voice replied.
"Good point" Leon answered, "What do you got?"
Ahsoka walked in, "What are you two talking about?"
"Morning there Sunshine" Leon quickly smiled at her.
Anakin looked to his padawan and waved a datapad in his hand, "We've received the report on those droids we encountered on Dantooine".
Ahsoka practically jumped when she heard that, the memory of that droid still fresh in her mind what it did to her and her men she wanted to know about it more than anyone.
Anakin read the datapad, "According to the engineers the droid is dubbed The Spectre and is programmed with the knowledge to effectively use almost every known weapon in the galaxy and that's just for starters. Its incredibly agile as both of you saw first hand, extremely flexible and can cloak itself. Another thing they found was a built in jamming device so that would explain why Ahsoka's comlink stayed jammed even after we destroyed the jammer in the militia base. Its maximum height is eight feet and the length of its arms is five, but they can be extended to twice that. The armor alloy it's made of is heavily resistant to blaster fire, but its most notable feature is its optic sensors. It has a program within its optics that allow it to perceive everything in slow motion which would explain how it's able to evade so many blaster shots and even subdue the two of you so easily".
"Hey!" Leon snapped, "I was caught off guard" he firmly stated, "If that thing had faced me without going all Predator on me I would have kicked its metal ass".
Ahsoka chuckled, "You seem to be feeling better".
Leon gave her an insane smile, "Oh much, it's amazing what a good night sleep can do for someone".
"Well that's pretty much it for the report" Anakin told them, "They're going to keep analyzing it to find out more, but hopefully that's all there is these things sound pretty nasty".
"Yeah they are" Leon said in an 'of course' kind of tone, "Next one I see I'm going to carve it into little pieces and turn it into a go-kart".
"Well just be careful" Anakin told him, "Before I forget the Council has granted both of you a temporary leave".
"Why?" Leon quickly asked in a comical gasping tone.
"I told them it would be a good idea for the two of you to take some time off after what happened. Not only did you both almost die, but you Leon were pretty stirred up on Dantooine. Master Windu said it would be best to allow you some time to meditate and collect your thoughts on what happened".
"So how long is this vacation of mine?" Leon asked him.
"One week" Anakin replied, "That will give you both plenty of time to relax and maybe even have a little fun".
"Well I'm going to Naboo then" Leon told him, "There's some kind of party out there and I'm going to check it out. I love festivals good food, good music, dancing with beautiful women".
He shot Ahsoka a quick glance from the corner of his eye, "Besides I've heard Naboo is home to one of the galaxy's most renowned chefs and I would love to learn a few things from him if I could".
He snapped his head to the side, "Ahsoka you should come with me" he said, "It'll be a lot of fun".
Ahsoka suddenly remembered her vision about them in Senator Amidala's office a vision that ended with Leon dead on the ground after a bomb went off. Before she could answer Anakin agreed with Leon telling Ahsoka that she should go with him at the very least to gain knowledge on the festivities of other cultures.
"This is good right?" the Togruta padawan asked herself, "If I'm there then I can stop the bomb from going off, that's if its there of course it's not the first time my visions have been wrong".
Leon snapped his fingers in front of her, "Hey" he lightly slapped her on the shoulder, "Ignore the voices in your head its time to have fun, let's go".
"You seem awfully cheerful about this" Anakin laughed.
Leon pointed at him, "This is the closest thing I've had to a vacation since I came to the order, I am happy right now".
Anakin lowered and shook his head with a light chuckle, "I see you're full of energy again. Before you go though there is something I want to talk to you about alone".
Leon shrugged, "Alright" he looked to Ahsoka, "I'll meet you in the hangar in a couple of hours" he told her before leaving with Anakin not waiting for Ahsoka to respond.
Anakin led Leon out to the temple courtyard sending Leon into a flash back of the previous night when he was talking to Ahsoka.
Anakin stopped at the railing in the center courtyard and looked out at the city, "Leon I want to ask you something".
Leon spun in a swift half circle and leaned his back against the railing, "Shoot".
Always being the straightforward type Anakin bluntly asked him, "How do you feel about Ahsoka?"
Leon could hear an alarm in his mind as he answered, "What do you mean?"
"Back on Dantooine you were gravely injured you couldn't even stand on your own yet you refused medical evac".
"I don't believe in leaving people behind no matter what" Leon told him.
Anakin shook his head, "That's not it. It was what you said. Ahsoka is my padawan and I wanted to find her as much as you did, but the way you recklessly charged across the fields without us the way you spoke when you demanded that we keep going".
Anakin turned his head to him, "Leon do you care about Ahsoka?"
"Of course I do" Leon quickly answered.
"I don't mean as a friend" Anakin explained, "Maybe I'm wrong, but back there it sounded like you were worried about her more than as a friend".
Leon's mind began racing, "I care about her a great deal and while I'm not sure just how strong my feelings are for her I am a Jedi first. I trust the Force will be my guide to the right path should I become lost".
"Good" Anakin said standing straight, "I don't mean to lecture you or anything I just wanted to make sure you were aware of what it means".
Leon nodded to him, "I do Master Skywalker".
Anakin began walking away, but Leon stopped him, "Master Skywalker out of curiosity. If my feelings did turn out that way what would you do about it?"
Anakin looked up at the sky, "I'm not really sure, but keep this between you and me. While I respect the Jedi Code and the teachings there are some parts I don't fully understand and even a few I don't agree with, but its best not to talk about those things".
With that Anakin walked away leaving Leon to think about his feelings and the words Master Skywalker left him with, "He said he was just making sure I understood my feelings, but it sounded like he was encouraging me".
Leon smiled to himself and whispered, "Master Skywalker, are you trying to tell me to see if my feelings for her are real or not?"