Brighter than the Sun
An Anisoka Trilogy
PART 1: Liver or Fish
"Anakin? Anakin!" Ahsoka tried to snap him out of his continued depression.
Anakin stared off into space. Three years of war had finally wore him down. Three years since....she died.
"Another glorious day in the Republic...." Anakin sighed
"Stop it. You need to break out of this blue funk" Ahsoka tried to engage him in conversation, though Anakin did not sense much.
For all his skills as a Jedi, as the Chosen One, he remained rather bland and unconnected to the war, to the Jedi. Today, in particular, was rough. It was the anniversary of the war beginning on Geonosis, the day Padme had been killed in the arena.
Anakin never forgave himself. Her death drove him to fight harder, win greater and destroy Dooku's plots at every turn. Not for his own ego like Obi-wan had thought, but to punish himself for not being good enough three years ago.
It made him a greater hero to the Republic, but it also made him a greater puppet to darker forces unseen by the Jedi.
Ahsoka became his Padawan on Christophsis that first year. She did her best to be a good student, and grew to admire Anakin's strength and courage. She also grew concerned for his well being. Anakin was on a path to self destruction, and she was always there to be a counter balance. She was always there to help prove he had worth.
Anakin was resistant at first, not really appreciating being a teacher, fearing his recklessness would get Ahsoka killed.
Over time, he had found a kindred spirit in her, a young Jedi willing to be just as bold and adventurous as he had been before Geonosis. He grew to appreciate her wisdom and caution, and he wanted to believe very much in himself the same way she believed in him. But today he could not find the strength. Today, he felt adrift. Lost. A broken heart that could not be mended.
They were currently assigned to the battle of Cato Nemoidia in the 3rd year of the never ending conflict. Though they were winning, victory still felt so far away. It was a war that never seemed to end. It was as if Dooku held on to fight long enough to break young Skywalker. Anakin almost wanted to let Dooku win.
Ahsoka would not let go of him, though.
"Master.....please get up. Let me help you."
Ahsoka tried to keep him going. Not just for the Jedi and the Republic, but for Anakin himself.
Anakin smiled weakly as she forced him up to go eat. "You're full of energy today!" he quipped.
"I'm Hungry, and so are you!" She insisted.
"You know what they are serving...."
"No! Today will be different! The mess hall is getting a surprise feast from Chancellor Palpatine and we will eat like kings...and a Queen!" She grabbed his arms and made him walk to the large mess tent.
They opened the doors and saw a depressing sight. Almost 200 Clone troops with sad, bored faces poking at their food. And the selection filled Ahsoka with dread.
"Well....I'm starting to feel better already!" Anakin let fly the sarcasm.
They grabbed their food trays and got in line. Captain Rex was in front of them. Rex was looking down at the food and the servers who scooped up the food and plopped it unceremoniously on their trays.
"Cream of yellow stuff...great" Rex blandly made a face as the squishy food landed on his tray.
"Burnt toast..." Anakin let his smirk turn upside down.
"Perhaps this was a mistake." Ahsoka's face turned sour and stuck her tongue out at the green slop placed in front of her.
The cook smiled with a sense of Irony. "And for the entree today..."
"Oh boy..." Rex sighed
"Here it comes." Anakin grimaced
"Steady..." Ahsoka's face was filled with suspense, hoping beyond all hope that the mealtime would not be a total loss.
"We have Liver or fish!" The cook tried to be pleasant, but could see that Rex, Ahsoka and Anakin now had the same bored, disappointed faces as every clone trooper in the mess hall.
Ahsoka in particular went deadpan and stared at the cook for several long, uncomfortable seconds.
"I didn't hear you say that" She muttered, staring at the cook in disbelief, but never raising her voice "Because it isn't possible..."
Anakin noticed that Ahsoka kept staring in disbelief. He had suddenly found appreciation for her efforts to cheer him up, and her efforts were dashed by the monotony of a menu stranded in limbo.
Rex looked at her calmly and smirked, feeling assured that she was now snapping like everyone else in the unit.
"It's inhuman to serve the same food, day after day..." Ahsoka remained calm but her tone was unsettling as she stared at the cook. "Republic law prevents the killing of our taste buds."
"Easy..." Rex tried to calm her, but she became more agitated. Rex thought she looked cute being angry
"I simply cannot eat the same food every day! Fish! Liver! Day after day!"
The cook leaned back as she continued her tirade.
Anakin suddenly found himself trying not to smile as she ranted in her cute, angry voice.
"I've eaten a river of liver and an ocean of fish!" She barked ever louder. Some of the troops were starting to hear here, and nodded in agreement as she started to crescendo. "I've eaten so much fish, I'm ready to grow gills!"
Her stare became intense. "I've eaten so much liver I can only go into combat if I'm smothered in bacon and onions!!!"
Ahsoka turned and shouted at the troops. The whole room now took noticed as her complaint became a rant.
"Are we going to stand for this!? Are we going to let them do this to us!!!??? NO, I say! NO!! We're not going to eat this drek anymore!"
Ahsoka threw her tray against a wall. A few of the troops chuckled, but all of them were mesmerized by her defiance.
"We want something else! We want something else! We want something else!" She chanted, almost going feverishly crazy.
Ahsoka was now banging on the tables and looking at the troops. They started to join in and chanted with her, defying the horrific blandess of the food forced upon them.
Rex looked on and shook his head in amusement. Anakin grinned even more.
Ahsoka was not really going crazy, not in the sad way War makes people crazy. Ahsoka, in her own energetic way, was boosting morale by breaking up the monotony that was haunting the troops, the boredom, and the disappointing malaise of war. By stirring up the crowd, even in a useless chant, she invigorated them all the be alive, to not give in to the lifeless choice of "Liver or Fish."
"Clone Troopers arise! You have nothing to lose but your cookies!!" Ahsoka screamed as the troops continued to shout the chant.
"WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE!! WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE!! WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE!!" The troops chanted, banging their cups and utensils against the tables and trays.
Poor Fives, however, was still trying to eat his liver and drink his stim-caf with the cacophony around him.
Guards entered the mess hall, thinking there was a riot, but soon realized Ahsoka was leading everyone in a harmless rebellion against the food.
Ahsoka danced and threw food around. She looked at Anakin briefly, and noticed he and Rex were smiling at her antics.
Anakin, in particular, had forgotten all his troubles. Normally, he might chastise her for these shinanigans, but today he was genuinely glad for her rebellious spirit.
She smiled back at him and chanted for a few more minutes with the troops before joining back with him and Rex.
"I think we should unleash her on the clankers right now. Can you imagine what she would do to a droid cafeteria?" Rex joked in Anakin's ear.
Anakin chuckled. A great weight had been lifted from his heart, a great guilt washed away by a young Jedi woman who bent the rigid world around him, and made it more sane with her insanity.
Ahsoka could sense a brightness in Anakin's heart. His dark guilt had left him. She also sensed that his heart became brighter when their eyes met.
More importantly, she could feel her own heart shine as he looked at her, and his smile made her feel brighter than the sun.