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I. First Impression

Anakin opened the door of their suite and looked up past the brown folds of Jedi cloak to a masked alien face.  He did not recognize this Jedi, nor the orange-faced youngling standing next to him, one of her pudgy hands gripping his trouser leg. She could not have been older than five, not if her species aged like Anakin’s.

Without looking around, he called out, “Master Obi-Wan?”

The tall alien said, “Good day.”

Anakin heard the footsteps and rustlings of Obi-Wan’s approach from within the young Master’s room before Obi-Wan passed in front of him to soberly shake the visitor’s hand. “Master Plo. It’s good to see you.”

Plo said, “And you. The entire Temple waited to hear of how things fared at Naboo.”

“I’m glad to be alive.”

“If you need to talk…”

“Come in. Have some tea.”

The Force grew cold and hollow, and Anakin realized with some surprise that he knew that both Plo and Obi-Wan were thinking about Qui-Gon. They would bond over their shared friendship with the older Master. Anakin would give them their quiet time, their tea—and then he would mourn again, when he asked Obi-Wan how Master Plo had known Qui-Gon.

But for now, as Plo sat down on the couch in the middle of the anteroom and Obi-Wan turned his back to them all to attend to the hot water dispenser, Anakin saw that the youngling Master Plo had brought was standing in the middle of the room, looking around with wide blue eyes.  

“Hi,” he said. She waved at him, focused on examining the room, or at feeling its dimensions with the narrow, hollow cones above her forehead. He recognized her species as the vivid Togruta; one of the Jedi Masters looked similar, but with long, flowing head-tails instead of these stubby ones. Anakin had seen a few Togruta on Tatooine before, but had never had the opportunity then to read about each species like he could here. He knew that the Togruta youngling was partially echo-blind now; that only in her late teenage years would her senses be refined, until she could locate movement around her without her eyes, and without the Force.

“Anakin,” Plo said, “Good to finally meet you. Welcome. This is Ahsoka Tano. She was brought to the Temple recently as well.”

Was Master Plo saying that Anakin was as childlike as she was? Anakin felt that he needed to show his independence—but part of the way he could do that was by being polite, by making the person he was speaking to think that their two priorities were the same. He had sold worthless scrap this way. “Is she your Padawan?”

“No—she is too young. She will be paired with a Master one day. Now she should be in the crèche—but when I pass by she looks at me and I can’t resist letting her have some time out.” Plo could not smile like a human, but a tilt of his head and a fondness in the Force gave the same impression. Anakin smiled with him. Obi-Wan approached and put a tray set with two steaming cups of tea down on the table.

Anakin could have sat down next to him, but there was melancholy and remembrance gathering between them like the steam, and so he sat down on the carpet and patted it for Ahsoka to come sit next to him.

She did, and her robe pooled around her.

“Hi,” he said again. “I’m Anakin. I helped stop the droid army on Naboo.”

“Anakin?”

“Yes.”

They did not speak after that, because she seemed more interested in crawling about the room, exploring beneath the couches and in the corners, than in hearing about Anakin’s exploits. Eventually he went to his room and thought about Qui-Gon, and listened to the low voices from the Masters who were, in their adult way, grieving. Ahsoka followed Plo back to the crèche, and Anakin’s training began in earnest, and they did not see one another again for a long time.

II. Conflict.

For weeks they were stationed on a world which reminded Anakin of another planet, from earlier in the war,  where he had eaten grubs and other insects because they had been tastier than the Republic rations. But here, war was no longer new. There was no thrill in going out and catching things; he kept what energy he had for when he would need to expend it. He washed ration bars down with water.

But one day he saw Ahsoka sitting behind a wooden barrier, eating something that stained her hands red. He saw that it had a tail before he ducked back out of her view and composed himself.

“Padawan?” He stepped out in front of her; she looked up from a hunk of purplish meat. “What are you eating?”

“I saw one of the native predators eat one; it’s fine.”

“It’s raw.”

She wiped her mouth on her gauntlet. “Master. I’m a Togruta. We don’t get sick like you do just because we eat something as soon as we’ve got it.”

He sat down next to her, looking out at the camp where under the setting sun the clones’ tents squatted like caterpillars. “Right.”

He had never really thought about her as alien before. An alien, certainly, but a Jedi child.

“Do you talk to other Togruta at the Temple often?”

She replied, “Shaak Ti and a few others get together sometimes. Tell stories, tell us about Shilli and our culture. That’s where I ate like this first.”

“Hmm. I wonder if anyone would bother to make a group like that for Tatooine.”

“There’re plenty of humans.”

“But they’ve all got different cultures.”

“Sure, but…most food at the Temple is based on yours. Humans aren’t very
distinct.”

“I just wouldn’t mind being with desert people for a while.” People, he meant, who understood a culture of slaves. So that he wouldn’t forget what the evil he was trying to fight really looked like, no matter how much he sometimes wanted to trade every sandy day on Tatooine for new memories of shining Coruscant and brighter-shining Padme.

Ahsoka looked out at the sun.

III. Their Finest Hour

Through the Force and on the clones’ HUDs, the cluster of droids could clearly be seen from five blocks away, and so the Republic troops progressed confidently through the empty city streets. The clear, white walls around them bore the long black streaks of laser fire. The disk-shaped cleaning droids that constantly patrolled the city would occasionally delve into one of these fissures, extend its painting arm, and be engulfed in a waterfall of sparks.  

The CIS never saw their foe coming. The clones swept in below and the Jedi above. Anakin saw Ahsoka leap, kick herself off a wall fifteen feet up. His breath caught as his first foe turned, ran into the sweep of his blade, and Ahsoka’s readied their blasters.

But over his own whirling hands, he saw her Force-push the row of droids in front of her, scattering them into the sky. The laser shots went high and then Ahsoka was among them like a predator dropping down from a tree, green blade whirling.
He fell into the rhythm of battle after that. Few times had Anakin felt as immortal as this; the Force danced him around all oncoming attacks, and the droids fell like so much scrap metal from Watto’s shop—

Until it was him and Ahsoka and three clones, their armor scuffed to gray, against a handful of droids backed up against a wall, and one of the clones fell dead into Ahsoka’s arms.

She had sensed the coming of the fall, if not the death; she doused her lightsaber and caught the man under the arms. His armored body, so much taller and heavier than hers, shielded her from oncoming fire. She struggled under his weight but held him up, her eyes wide, her legs shaking.

The clones finished the droids while she held him up.

Anakin flitted to her side the moment he could, not sure whether to tell her that the battle is over.

She lay the clone down and folded her legs beneath her to sit on the sidewalk beside him.

She said, “I thought we had won. But I felt the laser meant for him and couldn’t move in front fast enough.”

Other clones gathered around, and silently they mourned their brother.

When Ahsoka finally rose, Anakin clasped her shoulder, feeling how sharp were her bones. Had she been eating enough? Such skinny shoulders. He said, “Feeling for your men is a sign of a great spirit. Keep that.”

She glared at an invisible point in front of her. “I’d rather not.”

It had been said so many times, proven so many times, but he could think of little else to say then, “Battles don’t often turn out as gloriously as they appear. It’s war—the losing side could turn around and win at any moment.  There’s just so many minutes in a melee like this. There’s no such thing as a finest hour.”

IV. Each Other’s Creation

Luke refuses, but Vader stalks away into the clue-black corridors of Bespin, finding his way back through the smashed banks of machinery and the gates which only the Ugnaughts know, and he is not discouraged. Because Luke does not know that Vader has had an apprentice before, that before he was Vader he had known how to train someone who did not believe they needed to be trained.
Duality III. Another case of my trying to make the Anakin and Ahsoka relationship have more depth than it does in the show. I like the idea of a human-alien pair a lot -- they just wouldn't understand some things about each other. I can't help thinking that Ahsoka would be fascinating if she weren't such a Mary Sue.

Star Wars (c) George

(Next for Duality I plan on writing about Luke and Obi-Wan, but the next chapter of Fearful Symmetry will come before that. ^_^)
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:iconstarwarsrocksmysocks:
StarWarsRocksMySocks Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
Cool i luv this
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2011
Thanks
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:iconrylevao:
RyleVao Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009
O_O
Woooooww........

I'm so impressed I have no idea what the heck to say...
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2009
lol thank you! I'm glad you commented even with that.
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:iconhelo9x76:
Helo9x76 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
this was really good!! =D
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
Thank you. ^_^
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:iconpadme-naberrie:
padme-naberrie Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009
I really like this depth in their relationship-much better and more satisfying than in the show. I think you should write for the show-I like your portrayal of Ahsoka better xD
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009
Thank you very much! LOL I think I should write for the show too, but Lucasfilm hasn't figured that out (or else are aware of how I'd do my best to work my favourite character into the show somehow despite how little sense it'd make for him to be there. :) )
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:iconpadme-naberrie:
padme-naberrie Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2009
:XD: You're welcome! (of course-isn't it always like that?!)
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:iconraikoh-illust:
Raikoh-illust Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, reading this definitely made my love for Ahsoka grow even more, I definitely see all the potential for her if only they wrote her character better. I know that they are aiming to make 100 episodes so they have plenty of time to make her better and more believable. And in the second episode of the new season it's the first time I truly felt a bond between between Anakin and Ahsoka when she was in danger of dying.
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009
Thank you. ^_^ Hopefully she'll be more interesting in this season.
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:iconcolliequest:
Colliequest Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love expansions on Ahsoka and Anakin, and yours seems to be very accurate. My favorite parts here are conflict and finest hour.

Ahsoka's one of my favorite characters, but LucasFilm is on the border-line of making her too unbelieveable.:P
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
Thank you! I totally agree about the Clone Wars writing for her. It's just bad. But there's so much potential...*beats fists against wall* So I try and write what I want to see, and I'm glad it worked. ^_^ Thanks for the favourite!
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:iconsurfersquid:
surfersquid Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
So much that is truly great.
Where ought I to start?
Maybe not with a haiku.

This was awesome. I totally agree, Ani and Soka's relationship deserves a lot more depth and introspection than it's currently receiving in canon stuff, and Soka's personality...well, it leaves a lot to be desired in the writing department, that's for sure. But this fic completely makes up for that.

I'm loving this series; I guess because it focuses more on personality and interpersonal relationships than your standard Star Wars fic which is usually 85% explosions, lightsabers, and epic space battles. It's nice to focus on the characterization for a bit. Especially because the characterization tends to be one of my favorite things, hehe.

I love part 1, love it love it love it. I tend to like kid Anakin better than his whiny intermediate incarnations, simply because there is really a lot to explore with him psychologically. I mean, one can only imagine how much he had to get used to, going from living as a slave in poverty on a desert world to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple. Not to mention the fact that he'd just been through an intense battle and had to deal with the loss of Qui-Gon and being separated from his mom and everything like that. That's some pretty big stuff for a little kid to go through.

They never met before in canon, right? I like this little purported "prologue"; little(er) Ahsoka is just too adorable; the way you write Soka in general makes her a far more well-rounded character and actually makes her likable and interesting to me. Also, mad props for including Plo; love that guy. The way you described his expressions was just sheer elegance. If you ever have any doubts about your writing skill, think back to this fic and the fact that you were able to breathe expressiveness into a character wearing an atmospheric mask.

That is all.
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
Thank you so much! ^_^ Your haiku made me lol. You give such fantastic comments! I'm especially glad that Plo Koon made such an impact. I've always liked him, design-wise, but never wrote much about him.

Ahsoka irks me because she's got so much unfulfilled potential that's caged in by bad writing and a focus that, despite the heavy emotions around Anakin, isn't on characters.

"your standard Star Wars fic which is usually 85% explosions, lightsabers, and epic space battles." :rofl: The fandom does have some Michael Bay syndrome.

Nope, in canon they never met before they did in the Clone Wars movie. At first I had the idea that Anakin and Ahsoka would meet for the first time when both Obi-Wan and Plo Koon went to investigate Darth Maul's ship -- I was really excited about getting to write about both the Scimitar and the kids' meeting, until I Wookieepedia'd it and found out that it was in fact Saesee Tiin who checked out the Scimitar. :( Remembering canon fail. But, it is canon that Plo and Qui-Gon were friends, so this less sinister setting worked out as well.
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:iconsurfersquid:
surfersquid Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
Hehe, thanks! I figure, what's the fun of comments if you don't enjoy reading them? And also I was pretty hyperactive yesterday. :P

Yeah...it seems like the Clone Wars series is basically just the writers going crazy with flashy action scenes and then trying to redeem the one-dimensional character writing by making Anakin the nexus of any and all emotional impact, because in the end it's all about him anyway. :P Maybe this second season will start to remedy that, though.

Lol, don't worry about it, I've had many a fic idea dashed by canon research. Which is why I'm eternally grateful for Wookieepedia.
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:iconriptor25:
Riptor25 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
i completely agree. the relationship could go much further than Sky-guy and Snips...although season two has already seemed to make a stab at remedying it.

love your portrayals of them, it really makes them deeper, but keeps their style well. (also love the reference to the old Clone Wars..."But master, you always taught me to feed off of the Living Force"...^^)
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
Thank you very much! Sorry, where's the living Force reference? I seemed to have missed it myself. XD I'm glad the sense of style is retained, but...better--that's what I was trying to do.

Season two...so far, I've got a little grudge against it, mostly because I wanted Jocasta Nu to reveal that she's a librarian-ninja-Jedi with poison hairpins and take out the Clawdite herself, instead of having to be protected by Ahsoka. :giggle:
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:iconriptor25:
Riptor25 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
^^ no prob. umm...in the clone wars cartoon (from way back in the day) when Anakin and Obi Wan were seiging a city and anakin finds grubs to start eating, and Obi is totally grossed out. then Ani uses the living Force quote. lol yes, its better.

ok, true Jocasta was taken out fairly quickly (and is it just me or are they just ignoring the "sense people in the Force" with this (i mean honestly, you think they would sense that it wasnt a jedi they were talking to...although the clawdite may have been very very good at impersonating jedi). i did find it really interesting how they added the part with a shard of the Kaibuur crystal!
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
Oh, he does then? Okay! I absolutely love that whole sequence with Anakin eating the bugs, and earlier with Obi-Wan having a raindrop disturb his sleep. That's seriously one of my favourite Obi-Wan moments. He looks so perturbed.

Gah, they are ignoring it! Silly writers...well, after trying to listen to them talk about space battle strategies I've given up on it making sense...even compared to other Star Wars things.

Theoretically, depending on how much a Clawdite becomes like the species it impersonates, could it make midi-chlorians in its blood? o.O

They put the Kaibuur crystal in? Where? lol I seem to have missed something else.
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:iconriptor25:
Riptor25 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
lol yes it is so funny!!

its true...ill grit my teeth and bear with it. the rest of the show still works (you have to remember it is based for a slightly younger audience too...)

oooh! now theres a thought! (oh and did you realize the clawdite was using a holoshroud too? talk about complete impersonation!)

yea! listen to the end of the first episode (at least i think it is) or the beginning of the second episode. its totally awesome that theyre attempting to work with canon on this.
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009
The young audience is something to remember. And that's awesome that they're acknowledging the EU...finally.
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:iconriptor25:
Riptor25 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
yup. just take it with a grain of sand. and taking from the EU is a big step in the right direction! (im just hoping for maybe a cameo of young boba...or some more diverse races)
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009
There is a Zabrak bounty hunter appearing later on in season 2.
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