Listen, I would never let anyone hurt you, Ahsoka. Never.
Ahsoka rolled onto her side, her legs curled close to her chest. She closed her eyes tightly before opening them, staring at the blank wall of the Ghost. "You lied." She said to the emptiness. For years she had carried the lives of the Jedi Order, laying low, trying to help when able. She had heard of Darth Vadar and she had cursed him. But she never encountered him in person, never felt the coldness of his Force presence.
She was lucky. He...he would have killed her without any recognition on his part. She would have ended up like the rest of the Jedi who attempted to take down the Dark Lord's enforcer. The thought was sobering. She was never on the same planet as him so she never had a chance to cross blades. Or was he avoiding her? What was left of her old master? Could she beat him? He taught her everything she knew, but that was then, this is now. She had some new tricks up her sleeve.
The Ghost shuddered so suddenly Ahsoka fell out of her bunk onto the cold floor. "Hera?" She commed.
"Nothing to worry about. Just a bit of turbulence."
"Yeah. I'm wondering about that too. Better hold on, it's going to be a bumpy road."
Anakin Skywalker sat in his damaged starfighter and groaned. That could have gone better. What should have been an easy mission turned into a clusterfuck. The moment they exited hyperspace, they were barraged with weapon's fire. A good fourth of the 501st got wiped out before they could even scramble fighters. Once he entered the battlefield, they were able to push back. But then reinforcements came and they all had to leave. It was by the Will of the Force that he picked up a hyperdrive docking ring and managed to retreat from the battlefield. Except for the fact that he had no idea where he was and was lucky to not have reemerged in the middle of a planet. One does not jump randomly. It gets people and ships killed.
Now he was drifting in empty space with a half dead ship and no one else to talk to.
If he had his padawan, she could have helped. If he had his padawan, they probably could have turned the tide. Where would she be now? What would she be doing? She hadn't even commed him yet! It's been a week since she left. It might make the aching pain in his chest subside. He was going to worry himself to death over Ahsoka. She may have left the Order, it didn't mean she left him. Even if all signs seem to point that way. Maybe she just didn't have enough credits to send him a message? That could be true. It could happen.
Did she sever all ties? Even to him? That would hurt, Snips. It really would Anakin thought gloomily.
"Is this why attachment isn't allowed?" Anakin asked the emptiness of space as his hands worked on repairing the damage done to his starfighter. The navigation was a wreck and R4 was damaged in the battle. He was all alone, just him and his thoughts.
He ran a quick diagnostic. Everything was functioning except the hyperdrive and the communication array. The hyperdrive docking ring refused to work. Most likely it was damaged during the battle when he made an ill timed jump to hyperspace. From what he could see from the cockpit, the ring itself was smoking slightly, not to mention it was missing a piece from the actual ring. He needed to find a space port or land on the nearest hospitable planet. Either option would take time and fuel that he won't have. What he needed was a working navigation system!
He could attempt to use fuel cells to enhance his comlink and send a distress signal and hope someone would pick up. Or drift in space for 2 days and then die of asphyxiation.
While mulling over his choices, the console lit up, spitting out a message of a ship exiting hyperspace. Right on top of him.
"Sith spit." He pulled his damaged starfighter to the side, using the thrusters to clear the area just in time as a starship exited out of hyperspace. It was of Corellian design a VCX-100 light freighter if he wasn't mistaken. But most importantly, not a Separatist ship. Anakin did power up the weapons just in case. There were enemies everywhere and mercenaries who would see him as an easy target.
With the communication array knocked out, he couldn't exactly communicate with the starfighter. Well, he could modify his comlink and hopefully the starship would be able to pick up the signal. "Unknown starfighter, this is Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. My navigation was fried and my ship need repairs. Is there a nearby planet or space port?"
There was a long pause and he almost transmitted his message again when the comlink crackled. "This is Captain Hera Syndulla of the Ghost. We know of a space port nearby. We can show you the way."
"Roger. Thank you."
Anakin began to guide his ship towards the Ghost. As he got closer, he realized, there were Jedi on the ship. He could feel them in the Force but their presence was muted. They were all cloaked, suppressed to a point where if he weren't as sensitive as he was, he wouldn't have noticed. One that was strangely familiar but he couldn't put a finger as to why. It was like some itch on the back of his head and it refused to quiet down. If there were Jedi on the ship they must be on some sort of mission. He may have just busted their mission wide open. Or not. Hopefully not. He'd hate to explain to the Council how his blunder messed up someone else's mission.
As promised there was a space port a few lightyears away but it looked to be heavily guarded. Anakin slowly piloted his ship past following in the shadow of the starship. This pointed towards the idea that they very could be a group of mercenaries or pirates and he may have stumbled on some Jedi's deep undercover mission.
Well then. He'd just have to be careful.
Anakin landed his Eta-2 Actis-class interceptor, noting the guards in white at the corner of his eye through the cockpit. The Ghost parked itself next to him, the crew disembarking.
Well, he'd been tougher situations than this. No. Actually, he hadn't. Not alone. He'd always had Obi-Wan or Ahsoka.
As much as this situation screamed danger to him, the Force did not. In fact, it was quite placid and peaceful here. The only one inciting panic was him. Anakin took a deep breath and exhaled releasing his anxiety into the Force.
Time to face the music.
By the time Ahsoka got to the cockpit, everyone else was there and shouting over each other as to what Hera should do.
Then they were knocked out of hyperspace and almost crash landed onto another ship. Ahsoka held onto the seat for dear life as the ship shuddered. Chopper made a screaming sound as he rolled into a wall. Everyone else had grabbed onto something and held on.
"Well that was fun, let's do it again." Sabine muttered shaking her head.
"Everyone alright? Nothing on fire? No one dying?"
A chorus of affirmation was Hera's response. "Good news we're not that far off from our destination. Bad new, we have company."
"What is that?" Erza asked, peering over the co-pilot's seat almost on top of Kanan. "Isn't that--"
"A Jedi starfighter." Kanan said softly his eyes hard. "From the Clone War era."
Ahsoka shuddered imperceptibly. There was something unusually familiar about that ship. There was something eye catching about the yellow markings. She saw something like this before. She saw it somewhere. Why else was she getting such a strange reeling?
"It looks like an Eta-2 Actis-interceptor, a rather beat up one but still functional." Hera ran a quick scan of the starfighter before them. "And it powered up its weapons..."
While they were quite mobile, they had also taken damage being forced out of hyperspace. That and Ahsoka knew the firepower of a Jedi starfighter. It would be able to run loops around them she flew one herself after all on multiple combat missions. Yet, she knew for certain it would not. She could sense.....she could feel...
The Force was strong in the pilot.
"Can you hail them, Hera? See what they want?" Kanan asked, focused on the ship, no doubt sensing what she was sensing.
"I have. Looks like the communication ray got knocked off. Must of been in some battle, see the fresh burn marks?"
"Unknown star-"The console beeped as static filled the hold. "is Sk-" Hera attempted to salvage the rest of the message. "My ship needs repairs. Is there a nearby planet or spaceport?"
Ahsoka didn't hear anything else as the very familiar voice resounded in her head.
She sat down, hand against her chest. Carefully, very carefully, she reached out with the Force. Could it be? Was it possible?
The Togruta looked up at Kanan's worried face. "I felt something. He--" She couldn't say it. She couldn't bring herself to say it. If she spoke, it would make it real. It would make it tangible and true. It couldn't be true. It shouldn't even be possible.
"He's a Force user." Kanan explained. "Probably explains the fighter. He could have been a padawan during the war and managed to survive the Purges. Not sure how he stayed under the notice of the Empire with his starfighter. It would help the Rebels if we could figure out how."
How did they copy his voice? Ahsoka sat stricken, her fingers trembling in her lap. For a man over a decade dead, his voice brought back a surge of feelings inside her that she had thought long buried. Then there was that encounter with Vader. The coldness that she had felt, the mind numbing sensation that had threatened to spread to her and freeze her from the inside. Her training bond to her master had long since deteriorated, he wouldn't be able to find her through that. He hadn't tried for that matter.
"If he's a spy, he won't be able to escape. The facility is closely guarded and without the hyperdrive docking ring he won't be able to get far." Hera reasoned.
"Is he a Jedi like you Kanan?" Erza asked innocently.
"Maybe." Kanan had the thousand yard stare look on his face.
Ahsoka remained silent. She didn't trust her voice. Her fears clouded her thoughts, it could be a manifestation of that, of the dark side making her think a certain way. It was impossible. She met her old master and he- he would have killed her if they fought. There was nothing left of her master in that shell, nothing but the dark side. Someone had put a lot of effort in making her think Anakin Skywalker came back.
She would have their heads.
It made sense that Vader would send people out to find her. She was a thorn in the Empire's side. But this was low.
Ahsoka was the first person down the landing bay, her hands on her hips, ready to draw her weapons. Kanan followed closely shooting her looks. He was confused, she could sense it. Kanan may have been skilled in the Force but the years had atrophied his skills, even her teachings would not compensate for time. But that did not mean she didn't trust him in a fight. But he was half trained and she had been trained by one of the best. In another world, another time; she would have been the youngest knight in the Order. But that was neither here or now.
The Jedi starfighter settled onto the floor with an easy grace that belied its damaged appearance. The canopy was frosted, she wouldn't know who it was until they exited the starfighter. Ahsoka steeled herself as tension tightened her muscles. She would be able to strike in a heartbeat if she needed to.
Then the pilot climbed out, his booted feet touching the hanger bay floors without a sound. The heavy swish of his cloak followed as did the profile of his face. Eyes the color of a cloudless sky looked at her companions in turn, seizing them up. They were almost the same height now, he had looked so big when she was younger and now they were at even footing. A shapeshifter would have at least aged him. No, he was the same age. The same worry lines at the edges of his eyes. Even a shapeshifter wouldn't have been able to copy the fluidity of his movements, the way he turned his body defensively and faced them, hand drifting close to his belt to where his lightsaber was hooked.
Or his Force presence. He wasn't even hiding it. Here, she could feel it, the blaze of the sun against her skin. The brightness of it, dimmed only by whatever burdens Anakin had shouldered during the war. Shakily, she touched her dead training bond. It had been fifteen years, there should be nothing there-certainly Vader didn't try to speak to her through it.
Anakin's eyes snapped to hers. A flood of emotion surged through the bond, a sliver of a string connecting the two of them, a gentle tether between two souls.
"Ahsoka?" His voice was thick, concern and confusion painting his word.
Ahsoka felt herself lose balance, her legs refused to hold her body up and she folded, catching herself before she hit the floor. "Ahsoka?" Dimly she was aware of Kanan's worried question. More importantly, she felt her old master approach like thunder, his presence before her. He was there in mere seconds, his warm hands around her body, pulling her up to her feet.
They were almost the same height. Now she could look him in the eyes. She could see the worry in his face and in his Force presence.
"You grew up," Anakin's words were quiet, for her only, not caring about everyone else. She was the only thing reflected in his eyes.
"Didn't I tell you that one day I'll be as tall as you?" Her voice didn't crack at all, not once.
"Not this soon." He said softly.
She threw herself into his arms, nearly making the younger (hah) Jedi stumble back. She buried her face into the crook of his neck. It was him. It smelled like him a mix of engine oil and grease. Their training bond-she could feel it, fragile as it was. She tentatively accepted and strengthened it on her end. She sensed his relief. He was worried about her. He had been worrying about her for days.
She could feel his comforting strength steadying her. She missed this. She missed being in his presence. She missed him .
Ahsoka pulled herself away suddenly aware of her surroundings. The rest of the crew of the Ghost stared at them both. Sabine and Hera had their blasters out but at their sides.
"Um..." Erza raised his hand. "What's going on?"
"That is something I would like to know as well." Kanan said flatly. "Who are you?"
Anakin lifted his chin, all six feet of him straightened and the effect was quite noticeable. He was a General after all. "Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. Who are you?"