Master and Padawan
Just One Moment:
By: Hugo Reed
Chapter 2: Master and Padawan
Under Three Years into the Clone Wars
The snow blew softly over the destroyed bridges and buildings of Megetto. The sun was, as usual, hidden behind several large clouds. Anakin Skywalker stood his new padawan learner. Ahsoka looked up at him with pride, and admiration. She originally hadn't respected him any more than an ordinary human. However, through they're work in the war together they had began to go to understand just how good the other was, and respect had grown between them. Now, Anakin trusted Ahsoka to think clearly and watch his back when needed, and he trusted her.
Their bond had grown so strong that he would kill for her, and die to keep her safe. Ahsoka smiled lightly and looked around at the battlefield.
"I still say orbital bombardment would've been useful," she said.
"The bug alive. I know Skyguy."
"Come on Snips. Let's go see how the troops are moving forward."
Ahsoka nodded and as Anakin began to walk away she made sure to stick to his side. She felt that it was as much her duty to protect him as to learn what he was teaching her. Most masters of the jedi code would've argued that to bring your learner into the heart of war was about as irresponsible as you could get. Anakin however was not a normal master and argued that the only way his apprentice would ever learn anything was through experience. Ahsoka just so happened to agree. When Anakin was in battle, it was as though he was whole new person.
He was like a machine of war, far more than any droid or even Gervious. Yet, in the times between attacking or defending, particularly when they were moving from planet to planet, she would hear a change in his voice. It was as though he were longing to have someone to love, but hated the idea of it all at once. She was worried about him, yet she couldn't voice that to him. He'd never accept her pity. It was just the way he was, and she had begun to accept that as fact. However, just because she knew he didn't want help didn't mean he didn't need it.
"Snips," called Anakin. "You coming?"
"Right behind you Skyguy!"
Anakin walked slightly hunched over, as though some great weight down upon him. Ahsoka knew she intended to find out why. However, she would have to be careful with this, slow and tactful that was the way to do it. Too bad that just wasn't at all her style of approach.
"Hey Skyguy?" she asked. "Can I talk to you a sec?"
"Sure," he said, sounding very tired. "Talk."
"I was just wondering back on Tatooine…"
At the name of the planet, he turned to her. In his eyes there was the pain and the hurt of a man driven insane. Ahsoka's nerve failed her for a moment. Instead she asked a throwaway question, just to open up.
"I heard you actually were worried about me, and wanted to make sure I was ok after you fought Dooku."
Now, the deadened eyes livened up a little, and a humorous laugh echoed from him.
"Where'd you hear that from Snips?"
"Well," he said, the smile leaving his face almost as quickly as it had come. "Maybe I was worried about you. You are my padawan after all."
She smiled at him. Her whole reason behind even becoming a padawan was to prove that she wasn't too young for jedi training. She wasn't the youngest learner, but at fourteen she was supposed to have another couple years before being assigned a personal master. Something else struck her.
"When did you start your jedi training?"
"I was trained personally by Obi-wan when I was nine."
She was flabbergast. What a hypocrite!
"So how come you said I was too young to be your learner?"
Anakin looked at her a put a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"There are several reasons Snips. I advanced very quickly through my training, but I was very foolish through most of it. I didn't listen to my master, ever. In the end, it cost me more than I could ever pay."
Ahsoka stared at him, almost scared.
"What do you mean?"
He smiled grimly and it transformed his face into a hollow of pain again.
"You never asked me what happened the day I lost my arm."
She stared down at his right limb. That thick black glove had long been the wonder of her imagination with her master. She looked up at him, slightly scared.
"Ahsoka," he said slowly. "I… haven't ever wanted to tell this story, but it will help you to know, so bare with me."
Ahsoka froze. Her master had never once called her by name. She looked at him and tears were starting to come from his eyes. She looked into his pain, into his heart. Skywalker was human, and she was allowed to see. That was something she doubted many, if even a few others could say.
"You know I was raised primarily on Tatooine. I grew up knowing and loving my mother. I cared about her more than almost anyone else. Only Obi-wan matched her and…"
She saw a name near his lips, but they didn't exit them.
"Anyway," he said. "When I was on a defense mission, I felt my mother dying through the force. In desperation I took a ship to Tatooine. When I landed, I learned she had been taken by the Tuskins. They are what you might know as sand people and more animals than any true life-form."
Here, his voice broke, and she saw three of his crystal tears fall and hit the top of his boots.
"I found her there. She died only a moment afterwards."
She reached up slowly, and placed her hand gently upon his own left one. That was enough to snap him out of his trance enough to continue.
"What happened next?"
"I… I killed them all. I turned on a blade of hate and gave my body to rage. I slaughtered them helplessly. Not just their men—only their men fight—but their women and their children as well. I can remember one in particular. I kicked down his hut and he was a child. I'm not sure, but I think he was crying. In fact if there was a way to check, scientists would've agreed. After all, I took his parents from him too. Then I beheaded him angrily. I was just so hurt, and so in pain. I can't explain what happened."
Ahsoka looked at him, and he was crying freely. Ahsoka didn't know why she did it, but she knew he needed help. She offered what little bit she could by wrapping her arms around his shoulders lightly. He looked up at her and whipped his face off. Then he looked at her.
"You probably think I'm weak now. I gave into hatred, and now you've seen me cry from a memory I'd never want to have again."
She shook her head.
"It's ok," she said softly. "You were deeply attached to someone who left. It happens to other jedi too. Just like when some padawans lose their masters and fall into the darkness. You're a very strong person Anakin."
"That's not all," he whispered. "There was a woman. Padme. I met her at nine and always thought she would be the one I would marry. I loved her more than anyone. But Dooku's pawns killed her. That's why I even choose to get involved in this war. I thought I could get my revenge on everyone who'd killed her. I whipped out almost their entire Geonosin catacombs in one night. I fell into hate and rage again and now, after three years… I don't know if I'm just stuck being more war tool than man. I'm scared, Ahsoka, scared of myself."
She hugged him closer to her, on impulse. He was her master after all; she had to prove to him that she was there for him.
"I have constantly had to think about what I did to things that couldn't block themselves from my attack, and wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed."
Rex suddenly came running up to Anakin.
"Sir," he said gruffly. "We've got an attack up by the front line."
Anakin whipped his face for quickly and turned to Rex, in a face of iron determination. Then his blade seemed to leap into his hand as he ignited it.
"Come on, Snips!" he called back.
Ahsoka sighed as she unclipped her own deep green blade. She was happy to be moving again but was slightly upset at their interpreted conversation.
"He was just beginning to open up too," she muttered to herself. "Oh well, duty first, he would say."
Then, Ahsoka saw the size of the attack and froze. Four long line of tanks lead the droids and behind them was seemingly infinite line of battle droids. Anakin swore softly then leapt up high into the fray. Blaster blots flew at him quickly, but he redirected them back at the droid and made the tank shots his own weapon. Then, Ahsoka turned her attention to keeping herself alive. She ran inbetween two lines of tanks, slashing quickly left and right, then ran into the battle droids as several of the tanks exploded. She smiled lightly.
Despite his past and master Yoda's warnings, Anakin was a fine teacher, and a better friend. Then several bolts flew at her and she angled her blade to the left to deflect them, then two more came at her back and—knowing her blade wouldn't make it—she held up her hand to make sure the lasers wouldn't hurt her. However, she did something wrong, and the force barrier slipped, causing the blot to burn her hand badly. Then several droids pointed their blasters at her. She held up her saber with her left hand, prepared to even die fighting.
Instead, a cry of rage flowed across the battlefield, and Anakin barrel-rolled through four droids and made great sweeping slices behind her, severing droids in half. Then one droid fired and two blots caught her unaware. Her hip and left leg burned just as her hand did. Crying out in pain, she dropped her saber by accident and Anakin turned, moving quicker then the wind to defend her. The droids turned their blazing weapons upon her master, but it was as though the lasers flew back at their master's of their own accord.
After dismantling many, he picked her up quickly and leapt back behind troopers. He instantly yelled for some bacta and took a look at her leg, hip and hand.
"Are you ok?" he asked, worry in his tone. "Stay still! Don't move at all."
He placed his right arm upon her injuries and began to pump some of the force into her body, making the muscles speed up and knit themselves together faster. She gasped lightly, as it was far from pleasant. She noticed two things in particular. One was that her master's hand was not human. The second, and something that grieved her, was that Anakin had small tears in his eyes again.
"Come on," he whispered. "Stay with me here Snips."
Then the trooper arrived with the bacta and spread it over her injuries. The burning stopped and she could relax a little as the world flew into clearer focus. She saw Anakin hovering over her, still worried.
"Hey," she said. "Don't look so worried Skyguy. If you keep doing things like this, I'll begin to think you actually like me."
He smiled lightly.
"Don't get full of yourself, you'll just be too annoying to have to cremate properly here. What with the snow and all."
She leaned back, then tried to stand. A metallic hand halted her.
"Stay here," he said. "You got careless, and as far as today at least, you can't do anymore. Rex!"
At his command, the trooper came over to her and looked at Anakin.
"Make sure she is safe, and if she's hurt I'll have your head for it."
Rex nodded and Ahsoka looked at him.
"Stay safe, Snips."
Just like that, he was gone, leaping right back into the battle. Rex turned to her.
"You should consider yourself lucky, he doesn't like most people."
"Funny enough," she said. "I think he's trying not to grow attached to anyone."
"Isn't that what you jedi do though? Make sure you love and care for nothing, I mean?"
Ahsoka smiled a little wider and said, "Some of us do that, in fact most of us do. However, the others fight for people, and it makes us stronger. After all just check out Skyguy over there."
She pointed to where Anakin was tearing droids apart, not in hate, but in desire to keep them from reaching her, and he didn't fail.