Ahsoka was mid way through her morning meditation when the X-Wing streaked across the misty horizon.
She tamped down the irritation and willed her heart rate to remain steady.
The last thing she needed was New Republic meddling in her affairs.
It wasn’t that she didn’t trust them, she had just lived through enough wars by now to understand that neither side is wholly good or bad in war. No black and white in war. Maybe a hold over from the teachings of her old master.
War time was fraught with gray, especially this one.
Empire gray flashed through her mind before she clamped down on her emotions and steadied her thoughts.
She rose to her feet as the X-Wing landed, pushing her consciousness out through the force, searching.
A bright, passionate force signature glowed back at her. She palmed her saber, prepared for a fight.
It fluttered with something...anxiety. No ...anticipation.
The ramps descended and a figure cloaked in dark robes disembarked the craft.
A Jedi? On an… X-wing.
The gears in her mind began to work as she allowed her hand to fall from her saber to a more neutral position at her side. Ahsoka had been on her own for awhile, but she was not so isolated that she was unaware of the existence of a young Jedi. Especially when that young Jedi was a rebel hero.
A bell clear, practiced voice emanated from the hooded figure, and Ahsoka could tell he was suppressing uncertainty. It radiated from his force signature. A new Jedi. Young, but practiced. Experienced. Tired.
She paused for a beat, shifting her weight to her other hip.
“Who wants to know?”
The figure moved forward, setting a small beige bundle down on the ground, that promptly waddled towards her, gurgling excitedly.
“I’m Luke Skywalker.” The young man replied steadily and removed his hood, revealing a puff of sandy blonde hair and a pair of blue eyes that were achingly familiar to Ahsoka.
“Ah, the young rebel hero pilot I’ve heard so much about?”
She nodded her head towards the X-Wing,
“Surely you must be that Luke Skywalker?”
Luke smiled crookedly, a wry thing that creased the skin at the corners of his eyes. A light flush reddened his cheeks, betraying his deliberate stocism.
He was beaming, but not outwardly. A non force user would find him stone like, even intimidating. Ahsoka found him… endearing.
Ahsoka knelt to receive Grogu as he tumbled into her arms. He cooed, and she ruffled his large green ears.
“You’ve decided to train him,” she observed, without looking up.
Luke stepped to join them,
“Yes. He’s very strong with the force.”
“He’s too old,” she said, still not looking up from the obsidian pools of Grogu’s eyes, that had begun to wilt with sadness at her observation.
“Master Yoda said the same thing about me!” Luke said almost hurriedly, a hint of that whine she remembered Anakin’s voice holding slipping through the practiced Jedi cadence.
She smiled wistfully, meeting his eyes finally.
“And he said the same about your father. You are much like him.”
Luke’s eyes widened, force signature humming with excited intrigue.
“You knew my father! During the Clone Wars?”
Ahsoka set Grogu down and returned her focus to Luke.
She pursed her lips, eyes falling to the ground between them, contemplating her next words.
“He was my master.”
Luke’s eyebrows rose, his head canting to the side curiously.
“Ben- … Master Obi-Wan never told me that my father had an apprentice.“
Ahsoka grinned in earnest, showing her teeth.
“Master Obi-Wan is rather adroit at keeping secrets. Secrets like you,” she poked his forehead playfully, shaking her head, eyes warm with compassion for the young Jedi,
“Come with me, we shouldn’t speak out in the open.”
Ahsoka carefully made her way through the burned out forest to her makeshift cabin, Luke and Grogu in tow. A dilapidated speeder and campfire, along with various droid parts and refuse rested outside.
“Come, come,” she gestured, holding open the door flap.
Luke carried Grogu inside and rested on the cushion on floor, and Ahsoka seated herself across from them, serving each of them a cup of fragrant purple tea before serving herself.
There was a long silence. Ahsoka spoke first.
“I’m sure you know by now that being a Jedi is one of the most dangerous things in the galaxy to be,”
she said sipping from her chipped mug.
Luke laughed, a short huff.
“Yeah, I’ve gathered that.”
“Why then, do you want to train him?”
Luke chewed on this question awhile.
“We shouldn’t let the teachings die.”
Ahsoka nodded contemplatively.
“Perhaps not. There are not many teachers left.”
“Well theres you! And...I-“ Luke followed as an afterthought.
Ahsoka smiled knowingly, setting down her tea.
“I was afraid you’d come to enlist my help. I cannot teach him. He’s too old.”
“But master Yoda-“
“Yoda is dead. And so is Obi-Wan,” Ahsoka said evenly, grief swelling inside her,
“And I’m no Jedi,” she said firmly, letting the statement hang in the air. She cleared her throat after a time. “There is too much fear in him. Fear is a path to the dark side. I’ve seen it.”
A knot rose in her throat at the last words.
“Not always,” Luke said, azure eyes pleading.
“You wear your thoughts. You look so much like your father,” she smiled sadly.
Ahsoka was trying to move the conversation away from the task at hand. Luke decided to let her.
“What was he like? My father?”
Ahsoka sighed, stretched out her legs, and took another long sip from her fragrant mug.
“Stubborn. He was so stubborn,” she laughed, beaming at the smile that curled across Luke’s face,
“And smart. Brilliant. His plans… were always ambitious and risky. But they nearly always worked. Sort of.”
She chuckled to herself, a chorus of ‘Anakin!’s ringing through her mind in Obi-Wans warm yet concerned timbre.
“He was an excellent pilot,” she smiled wistfully, eyes falling on Luke’s X-Wing in the distance,
“One of the best. Obi-Wan would tell you differently though.”
They laughed together.
Ahsoka’s face fell, mind cast to the past, remembering.
Time had worked on the former Jedi, and her eyes crinkled at the corners now when she smiled, however solemn.
There was a long somber silence between the two of them, broken only by Grogu snatching a small creature off the ground and cramming it into his mouth.
Ahsoka shook her head, ruffling his large ears.
“Why did my father turn to the dark side?”
Luke’s voice was gossamer and thin like shimmersilk, but the question settled heavy like duracrete in her gut, echoing through the cramped hut as if it were a vast empty senate hall, echoing through her mind the way it had when she had asked herself the question, over and over and over -
“He loved people fiercely. He let his feelings swallow him. He let his fear rule him-“ she said, shields down, grief burning through her, the force humming with the emotion in the room. Her throat tightened, but she bit back the urge to cry.
She could feel Luke reaching out in the force, searching her feelings, nudging at the wall she’d worked years to built. Normally such an invasion of privacy would anger her, but she knew he was only trying to understand. That and, there weren’t enough force users to teach him force etiquette anyhow. Although even if there had been, Ahsoka suspected Luke had inherited his fathers distaste for following rules and minding his manners. This made her smile, in spite of the heavy waves of emotions roiling in her head like a boiling sea.
“You loved him.” Luke’s voice was whisper thin.
“Of course,” she nearly whimpered, a solitary tear spilling down her cheek before she wiped it away with the heel of her palm,
“It was impossible not to. He was my brother.”
Luke blinked back tears of his own as the grief washed over him, thick and viscous like tsunami of sap.
“He loved you,” he said after a time, once they had both composed themselves.
“Yes,” she said chewing her cheek,
“And your mother, and Obi-Wan. And he was terrified of losing us. And that’s what drove him to the dark side.”
Ahsoka shook her head vehemently, tears again blurring her vision.
Ahsoka tucked her chin to her chest and let the tears flow openly down her face. Shame and embarrassment about crying in front of the young Jedi pooled in her belly but she pushed the negative feeling away instinctively.
Her statement hung thickly in the air for awhile before Luke’s voice gently dipped into the tension.
“He came back. Before he died, my father. I saw him.”
Ahsokas head snapped back up, eyes still wet, rimmed with tears.
“My father he came back to the light. I saw- just before he-“
Ahsoka nearly tackled Luke, lunging across the floor to pull him into a tight embrace.
“He came back,” she smiled through the tears, as Luke embraced her, the shock of being pulled into a tight and sudden hug beginning to wear off.
“Yes, but you always knew he would,” Luke said intuitively, still testing his interpretation of her emotions, his sensitivity to the force.
“I did,” she said pulling back to admire Luke at arms length. He did look so like his father.
Grogu cooed happily, rifling through the assorted sentimental trinkets Ahsoka had stashed on the makeshift shelves. Ahsoka absentmindedly removed a dangerous one from his hands and set it on a shelf he could not reach. Grogu reached out, levitating the object from the tall shelf. It hovered a moment before snapping into his hand. She sighed and shook her head with a chuckle. Luke laughed too, looking exasperated and yet mildly proud of the child.
The two of them admired Grogu for a long time before Ahsoka spoke.
“I will help you train him.”