Surely if something had happened Master Unduli would of informed her, it wasn't like Ahsoka to interrupt another Jedi's meditation for no reason, something had to be wrong. A few times after meeting on Geonosis Ahsoka had come to her for advice, but even that seemed an unlikely reason for her friend to be searching for her now, seeing as coming back from a mission she would have had at least a few hours alone with her Master to answer any questions bothering her. With each thought Barriss' confusion only increased, so much so that she found herself slowly floating to the floor as the elevator doors opened behind her. Without turning around Barriss felt Ahsoka take a few steps into the room, remaining silent as both girls listened to the elevator make its way back down the temple.
A few minutes went by in that fashion until Barriss found it almost impossible to concentrate, her curiosity peaked as she turned around to face Ahsoka. Barriss pulled the hood from her head and pushed a few loose bangs from her eyes as the feeling in the room shifted dramatically, a harmless confusion replaced by something she found herself unable to name as she set eyes on the Togruta in front of her. Gone was the usual Jedi garb Ahsoka usually wore, replaced instead by a light blue shirt and skirt that hugged the girls body in a way that forced Barriss to look at her in a completely new light. Add on a chain of sparkling jewels connected to the girls lekku and a look in her eyes that almost sent a chill through the air and Barriss felt a knot quickly form in the side of her stomach, trying not to stare she rose to her feet and respectfully bowed to her friend.
As Ahsoka stepped closer Barriss felt her legs begin to fail her, a mix of emotions she was usually strong enough to hold back rushing through her like an adult rancor. Why?, once again she had no idea, her and Ahsoka had been close together on several other occasions and she'd never felt uneasy, but her outfit, something about it changed this situation into something Barriss wasn't sure she was ready to face. Quickly realizing the awkward silence between her and the young Togruta Barriss tried her best to snap back into reality "so...your mission went well?".
"Well enough" Ahsoka said flatly "not exactly how it was planned but things although come to an end one way or another, I miss anything interesting here?".
Barriss raised an eyebrow at the calmness in her friends voice "I'm not sure, I've been up here all day, Ahsoka is there something you wanted?".
Another short silence followed before Ahsoka walked passed Barriss and focused her gaze out the window. "Sorry, I didn't mean to intrude, it's just been an intense couple of days. I just felt like...I don't know...I had to see you, your presence is always so...ya know what never mind".
"No, no go ahead" using every bit of self control she had Barriss moved beside the young Togruta and placed a comforting hand on the girls shoulder.
Several minutes passed as they stood side by side in complete silence, their eyes following the swift lines of speeders as they flew by outside the temple. "Soothing" with a shaking hand Ahsoka turned Barriss to face her, a chill snaking through the young Togruta's body as she realized her lips were only inches away from her friends. Barriss' breath grazing her face with each passing second Ahsoka forced herself to speak "I can't explain it really, do you feel it too?".
For the first time in her life Barriss found her mind a blank 'this isn't exactly the way I thought this day would end'. "Ahsoka" her heart pounding against her chest Barriss placed a hand on Ahsoka's stomach and gently pushed the girl back. "We're Jedi, you know we shouldn't be talking about this, it'll only lead to hurting us both".
"You didn't answer my question, please Barriss just let me know I'm not alone in this".
Barriss met her friends crystal clear blue eyes for a split second before pointing towards the elevator "I'd inform your Master to keep our teaching schedules separate for a few months, it's obvious we've been spending entirely too much time together".
Ahsoka shook her head defiantly, swinging the jewels hanging from the lekku from side to side in the process. "I'm not going anywhere, Barriss being around you makes all this easier, makes risking my life day after day easier, how can that be a bad thing?".
"Because it's exactly these feelings that can lead to fear, or anger, Jedi must insure they are free of any such weaknesses for the good of the galaxy". At the last of her words Barriss turned her back to her friend, her heart all but sinking when she watched a few loose tears fall down Ahsoka's cheek through her reflection in the glass. With a long sigh she turned back to face Ahsoka, stepping forward and wiping the tears from the girls face with a soft smile. "Look...it's not that I don't feel anything between us, it's that I know you Ahsoka, being a Jedi is the most important thing in your life, and I will not allow myself to get in the way of that. I know you have it in you to push passed these feelings, we just need some time apart, deep down you have to know I'm right".
Sharing her friends smile Ahsoka took Barriss' hand in her own "no I know, and thank you Barriss, I've never had a truer friend". Quickly debating whether or not to hug the two girls stepped back from one another and bowed in perfect unison before Ahsoka made her way to the elevator and called it back up with the press of a button.
After the doors opened in front of her Ahsoka stepped inside and turned to face Barriss one last time, giving her friend a wide smile as one final thought forced Barriss to speak. "By the way, the outfit's stunning".
Flaring out the ends of her skirt Ahsoka playfully curtsied "if you ever change your mind I'll be holding onto it for a while".
"Yeah I...wait what?" before Barriss could get an answer the elevator closed in front of her friend, leaving Barriss alone once more as she felt Ahsoka's force presence slowly fade away from her own. Having to physically shake her confusion away she sat back down on the padded floor and closed her eyes as it took all her strength to not burst into tears. 'I know Ahsoka has it in her to push passed these feelings, she always was stronger than me'.
Fully in love or not at all is easy to write. The tension that you have put into this is spellbinding. You remind me of those moments where I was trying to come up with the right words in front of a girl I wanted to ask out. Every minute felt like an eternity and every word spoken seemed to have extreme consequences on the world as I knew it. That's tough to capture but you did this incredibly well.
The Slaves of the Republic story arc is my absolute favorite in the series. I love seeing anything that references it, but I had never thought about Ahsoka keeping that dress after the mission was over. My mind is beginning to buzz with ideas
I haven't seen the episodes yet, but I hear they're based off a graphic novel released a while back I read, so I have a fair idea what the outfit looks like.
Anyway, nice fic. Good job Colbert.