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After days struggling to leave Malachor after her battle with Vader, Ahsoka finally makes it to Atollon, only to find a desperate Hera and a broken Kanan.
Maul had been afraid of Vader. “I cannot defeat him alone” he had said.
It meant Anakin was incredibly more powerful than Maul, and he was. The images were still fresh on her mind. The way his now twisted and dark force signature bent itself towards her, threatening to eat her alive with pure hatred that intensified itself after each strike, so painfully different from the warm beacon of light she remembered from her teenage years.
And so different from the luring darkness that would and would not irradiate from Maul as he tried to repress it to gain Ezra’s and their trust.
There was no way for her to be fine as she was now. She was sure of it. Not after taking on all that raw dark side power face to face. No, she should be blind too, as Kanan was. Or worse.
But she was not. And the force told her luck had nothing to do with it; Vader was holding back.
Though whether it was intentional or not, Ahsoka could not tell. She drifted once more, memories flying back to the battle. Once she had been able to cut through his mask and meet his now bright yellow eye underneath, she could see the clear struggle.
I won’t leave you. Not this time.
For a brief second, he had been there. Vader was gone and Anakin was looking back at her. Scared, and regretful, and hurt, but above all, tired. It was short lived, though. Soon enough hatred pierced through, and Vader was back.
Then you will die.
It had only been a second, but it meant he was still in there somewhere. The Anakin she knew and loved, and that loved her too. He wasn’t gone, not yet. But he was faltering. Clearly losing a battle he wasn’t strong fight for much longer.
But he wouldn’t have to, she thought. She would save him. She had to.