The war is over; the Republic is saved.
But apparently, this all had to come at the expense of Anakin’s marriage. Not immediately. But without the war, with both of them together all the time, it just...sort of falls apart.
It’s Padme who finishes it finally, which isn’t a surprise. She’s kind and perfect as ever as she tells Anakin that she does love him, she does, but they shouldn’t be together.
Anakin returns to his quarters in the Jedi Temple. They’ve always been open to him, but he never wanted to be there if he had a chance to be with Padme.
His quarters are relatively sparse due to his absence and distinctly lacking the warmth of Padme’s touch and the chaos of Luke and Leia running roughshod over everything. Padme has assured him that she certainly wants to share custody of the children, that she has no intention of keeping them from him, but for now... for now they’re with her, as the parent less likely to be sent off to obscure ends of the galaxy at a moment’s notice.
He’s just sitting down on the low couch (and mourning the loss of the much more cushiony one he’d gotten used to) when someone hammers on his door.
“Hey, Skyguy! Open up!”
Anakin considers not answering, but if he doesn’t answer, he won’t have a door and he knows it. He waves a hand to open the door instead. A little misuse of the Force can be forgiven in this moment.
Ahsoka does indeed burst through the door, followed by Rex. Their arms are full of shopping bags that they set down on the coffee table.
“Hey, figured you might want some company.” Ahsoka practically throws herself down onto the couch beside Anakin, tossing an arm over his shoulders. “Rex, get out the spoons.”
Rex rummages through one of the bags and produces what seems like an exorbitant number of spoons. The end of the war has softened Rex, filling in what had been an almost gaunt face. He smiles more than he used to, and Anakin is fairly sure that he basically lives in Ahsoka’s quarters. Or maybe she lives in his? They’re never apart, that’s for sure. Rex doesn’t seem done with just taking out the spoons, though. As he empties the bags, Anakin realizes that what they’ve brought is a frankly obscene amount of ice cream.
“Hey, guys, it’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but I don’t think all this is really...necessary,” Anakin ventures. The look he gets from both Rex and Ahsoka is hardly sympathetic.
“Break ups of any kind require ice cream,” Ahsoka says solemnly, “no matter how much anyone saw them coming.”
Anakin winces. It’s true, but he’s not sure it needed to be said aloud.
“Chocolate to start?” Rex asks Ahsoka, who considers.
“Surprise me.” She accepts the carton that Rex hands her and immediately sticks the spoon in her mouth as she wrestles with the lid. She starts saying something that’s completely incomprehensible with the spoon in her mouth. Anakin grabs the handle to hold it so she can actually speak. “Skyguy, did you know they’ve made Jedi-flavored ice cream? Does the Temple have a marketing department or what? Anyway, we got a carton of each Jedi flavor. Plus you know, all the classics.”
“How many cartons did you get?” Anakin asks.
“Not sure. Lost track.” She succeeds in getting the lid off and grins down at the carton. “Hell yeah. Plo flavored ice cream.”
“Plo flavored?” Anakin asks delicately. She takes the spoon from him and digs in.
“I think it’s cinnamon? Or ginger? Something spicy.” Ahsoka sticks the spoon back into her mouth and holds the carton up to try and read the flavor description. She only puts it down when Rex holds another spoon up in a request to share.
“’S not bad,” Rex concedes. He cracks open another carton, blinking down the contents and wincing. “Found the General Yoda flavor. It’s...really green.” He takes a bite. “...Pistachio?”
“Guys, it’s great that you’re here, but I’m not sure it’s really helping,” Anakin says.
“Here, have a spoon and pick a flavor.” Ahsoka gestures to Rex, who offers Anakin a spoon.
“I really don’t think...”
“Hey, it’s time to talk about your feelings. Padme left you and you’re sad about it and also half of the problems we had during the war were because you didn’t say anything about your feelings. So talk.” Ahsoka points at him with her spoon. “Take the spoon from Rex.”
Anakin turns to look at Rex, hoping he’ll be willing to talk some sense into Ahsoka, but his former Captain is just holding the spoon out expectantly.
“You know she’s very persistent, sir. And I am too. Take the spoon.”
Anakin dubiously accepts the spoon. “Thank you?”
“Pick an ice cream flavor,” Ahsoka instructs him.
“I don’t want--”
“Pick. A. Flavor.” Rex’s eyes narrow threateningly.
“Here.” Rex shoves a carton into Anakin’s hands. He looks down at it.
“...Master Windu flavored.”
“Oh, I think I saw that one was chili-chocolate,” Ahsoka says, still eating from her carton of Plo ice cream. “Should be good.”
“Thought Togruta couldn’t eat chili,” Rex muses.
“Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t eat chili. That’s not going to stop me.” Ahsoka reaches over with her spoon as soon as Anakin has tentatively removed the lid. Anakin tries to object, but she’s already put a heaping spoonful into her mouth. “Ah, Force, it burns. That’s good stuff.”
“Yeah, I’m good.” Anakin sticks the unused spoon into the ice cream and sets the whole carton aside, despite Ahsoka and Rex’s joint disappointed looks.
“Fine. If you’re not going to eat ice cream, you have to at least talk. That’s the rule.” Ahsoka jabs her spoon at him before sticking it back into the ice cream. “Rex, pass me another flavor and a clean spoon.”
Rex obeys. Ahsoka makes a face at whatever flavor she’s handed, but opens it and starts eating it anyway.
“So, sir. You do have to talk,” Rex says. He’s still poking at the very green Yoda ice cream, and...are those little chocolate bits shaped like frogs?
“What is there to talk about? Padme left. She’s perfect, and she left,” Anakin sighs.
“She is pretty great,” Ahsoka agrees. “But there’s no way you didn’t see this coming.”
“Well, I thought maybe we could talk it out.” Anakin regrets the words as soon as they leave his mouth. The look he’s getting from Rex is some terrible mix of pitying and amused.
“Sir, you’ve never talked anything out in your life, and that’s what Senator Amidala does for a living.” Rex hands his ice cream off to Ahsoka and goes rummaging through the bags. He produces something chocolate-looking that is thankfully not themed after anyone Anakin knows and digs in. “Torrent’s been taking bets for years now.”
“Bets on what?” Anakin asks, very sure he doesn’t want to know.
“On when she’d come to her senses,” Ahsoka informs him. “Skyguy, you’re pretty great, but you’re not the right guy for Padme. Or she isn’t the right woman for you. I don’t know, but it’s all wrong.”
“We weren’t that bad,” Anakin protests feebly.
“Sir, we were taking bets on whether you or she or both of you were terminal and it was a pity marriage,” Rex says, with all the gentle gravitas of a parent informing a child that there is no tooth fairy.
Anakin slides off of the couch and onto the floor. The couch is too comfortable for his current level of emotional distress.
Ahsoka leans over and takes the Windu-flavored tub of ice cream.
Rex takes his spot on the couch.
“I’m never going to meet anyone as amazing as Padme,” Anakin says, face half-squished into the carpet.
“Probably not,” Ahsoka agrees. “She’s great.”
“I thought you came here to try and cheer me up.” Anakin gives her a look.
“Came to make you talk about your feelings,” Ahsoka corrects him. “Besides, you wouldn’t like it if we just sat here and said nice things to you.”
“I would like that,” Anakin protests, lifting his head.
“It wouldn’t be genuine, sir,” Rex says. He leans over to steal a spoonful of ice cream from Ahsoka. “We know how much you value honesty.”
Anakin sighs and lets his head fall back to the carpet.
He’s single and his friends (they are his friends, right?) are choosing to spend the evening dragging him.
“Rex is right. Honesty is very important. It’s a Jedi virtue,” Ahsoka says. She sounds distracted, though, and when Anakin blearily looks up, he sees that she’s practically dueling with Rex, spoon vs spoon, for the contents of whatever carton is sitting between them.
Whatever they’re dueling over distracts them both for a moment, but not much longer than that. Eventually Anakin hears a sound of frustration from Rex and a triumphant cackle from Ahsoka.
“Anyway, Skyguy. The sooner you can move past this, the better.”
“I literally just left the house today,” Anakin says miserably.
“Well, I’m sure there’s someone we could find to hook you up with.”
“I don’t know about that, Commander. Who are you willing to sacrifice to that?” Rex asks.
“Hey!” Anakin does have to try to protest at that.
Ahsoka considers, ignoring him. “I don’t know. Aren’t some of your brothers really into him?”
“I’m not interested in a new relationship,” Anakin says. Ahsoka and Rex forge on like they haven’t heard him.
“Yeah, but I like my brothers. Most of them anyway. There might be some that are up for a hookup, no strings attached.”
“Maybe that could work as a rebound. You thinking of anyone in particular?”
“I don’t know. I’d have to ask around, but I’m sure I could find someone,” Rex says. “You think we could mix General Koon and General Windu ice cream together?”
“Maybe? Might be too many flavors. Let’s try it.” Ahsoka hops off of the couch and steps over Anakin’s prone body to go rummage through Anakin’s cabinets. “Skyguy, you need more bowls.”
“I haven’t lived here full-time in forever!” Anakin sits up to glare at Ahsoka, who ignores him.
“You need more spoons too.” Ahsoka empties the cabinet of bowls and the drawer of spoons and returns to the couch.
“Yeah, like I said,” Anakin sighs.
“Here, try mixing those,” Ahsoka pushes the bowls into Rex’s hands and turns back to face Anakin. “Look, Skyguy. This could be way worse. And we’ll find you someone else! Someone more in your league!”
Anakin wants to object to the implication that Padme was out of his league, but he finds it a little beyond him.
“We could make a list,” Rex muses, “of people we think might work.”
“See, we could, but first, I think we need a list of what Skyguy is looking for in a partner. Plus what a partner might be looking for in him,” Ahsoka says. She frowns into her ice cream. “This is the mix?”
“Yeah, that’s it. We need something to write on for this,” Rex says, tasting the mix cautiously. “Yeah I don’t think this blend is any good.”
“I like it,” Ahsoka says after a taste. “I’ll keep it. Grab a datapad. We’ve got work to do.”
“Sir, where’s an empty datapad?” Rex asks Anakin.
“Are you serious?”
“Roger, roger.” Rex is grinning. It’s unnerving.
“...I think there’s one in the box by my desk.” Anakin resigns himself to his fate as Rex hauls himself up to go rummage through the indicated box.
Rex seems much more comfortable than he was when the war ended. He’s wearing civilian clothes, actually wearing something similar to a Jedi tunic, like many clones have started doing.
“Oh, Rex, get a paper towel. I think I got chocolate on the couch,” Ahsoka says. She licks her thumb and scrubs at a spot beside her leg.
Rex obediently returns with both datapad and paper towel, reclaiming his spot on the couch. Ahsoka scrubs at the couch for a couple moments before tossing the paper towel onto the coffee table.
“Alright, you get that datapad fired up, Rex, and I’ll break out the Master Obi-Wan flavored ice cream.” Ahsoka grabs a clean spoon and rummages until she pulls out the appropriate carton.
“There’s Obi-Wan flavored ice cream?” Anakin asks disbelievingly.
“Yup. Carton says it features “smooth caramel”,” Ahsoka says, popping it open. “No Skyguy ice cream. Not yet, anyway.”
“Think they just made the Council,” Rex says. “Alright, where are we starting?” He looks expectantly at Anakin.
“Are you serious?” Anakin looks from Rex to Ahsoka. “Are we really doing this?”
“Yeah, definitely. So, Skyguy, what are you looking for in a relationship? Or a partner, whatever?” Ahsoka leans forward expectantly.
“You know what I want in a partner. I was happy with Padme.” Anakin lets himself fall back down to the carpet. It’s not that comfortable, but it’s better than having to hold himself up.
“Okay, well. That didn’t work out. Let’s be more realistic this time.” Ahsoka taps the datapad that’s still in Rex’s hands. “C’mon, Skyguy. Play along.”
“I’m not doing this, Ahsoka.”
“We can do it for you then,” Ahsoka decides. “Won’t we, Rex?”
“Yessir.” Rex is grinning from ear to ear. Anakin can hear it in his voice.
“Okay, so let’s think. Brunette,” Ahsoka says. Anakin can hear her spoon scraping the bottom of a carton. “Oh, older.”
“That rules out the vode,” Rex says, sounding like he’s perhaps disappointed. “But also we should put smaller than him on the list, and that rules out the vode too.”
“That is going to make things harder,” Ahsoka agrees. “Hey, Skyguy, how firm are these rules? Like do they have to be way smaller than you? Or older?”
“I didn’t come up with any of this!” Anakin protests.
“Hmm...maybe we don’t have to rule out the vode,” Ahsoka says. “Let’s keep going.”
“Well maybe we should think about who might be interested in him,” Rex says, “since we know what he wants.”
“That’s fair.” Ahsoka hums. “So what do you get with Skyguy?”
“Drama?” Rex says immediately.
“No, not that. Well, yes, that, but that doesn’t sound good.”
“Does it have to sound good?”
“Are you just here to insult me?” Anakin mutters into the carpet.
“We’re here to help you, Skyguy,” Ahsoka says. “Promise. Okay, Rex, write down drama. What else?”
“I don’t know. Good hair?” Rex says tentatively.
“C’mon, Rex, you’re going for the obvious stuff! Um...let’s say...adventure. He’s always getting into scrapes.”
Anakin hears Rex typing, can practically see that brow furrow that he gets when he’s focusing.
“Alright, I’ve got that, Commander. What else?”
“Um...loyalty? Yeah, that’s a good one.”
“You’re welcome to contribute anytime now.” Ahsoka nudges Anakin with her foot. “C’mon, help us out here.”
“I don’t want to help you try to hook me up with a random person.” Anakin refuses to let Ahsoka’s increasingly persistent nudging budge him.
“Do you want some of this Obi-Wan ice cream, at least? It’s melting.”
“You’re no fun. Here you go, Rex.”
“Thank you, Commander.”
“So, we’ve got drama, good hair, adventure, and loyalty...that’s pretty good. Now who do we know who’s into that?” Ahsoka’s tapping her fingers on the datapad.
“I don’t know. Maybe another Senator?” Rex suggests.
Anakin groans in objection.
Ahsoka nudges him with her foot again.
“Most of the Senators are gross, though. Skyguy deserves better than that.”
There’s a long pause.
“Well, maybe we can look at some of the Senators. Want to pull up a list, Rex?”
“If you pass me the General Fisto ice cream. We haven’t opened that one yet.”
“Ooo, good point. I did want to try this one. It’s green? But also has salted caramel in it...”
“Ugh. You can hold onto that one. Pass General Windu over here instead.”
“Sure, but leave some of that for me. Okay, we’ve got the Senate roster up. Let’s see.”
“This would be easier if we had Fox here. He knows all the Senators pretty well. I can give him a call if we find anyone promising. We need up to date intel.” Rex taps at something on the datapad. If Anakin sat up, he could see what, but that would require sitting up. The carpet is so comfortable and all-encompassing.
“Alright, so let’s put in some parameters,” Ahsoka’s back to talking with a spoon in her mouth. It’s a miracle Anakin can understand her at all. “Humanoid, for a start. Uh...only ladies, right Skyguy?”
“Ahsoka,” Anakin says in warning.
“Right. Only ladies, for now.” Despite himself, Anakin can hear when she leans over to Rex and whispers. “Don’t put that in. Leave his options open; he can’t be choosy right now.”
“What about an age?” Rex asks.
“Uhh...between twenty and forty? Let’s start there.”
“That narrowed it down...Senator Chuchi?”
“She’s really good friends with Padme. That would be weird. Next.”
“Also friends with Padme.”
“Aren’t most of the good Senators going to be friends with Senator Amidala?”
“...You make a good point, Rex. Let’s look just in case.”
There’s a long moment of hushed, whispering debate.
“That seems to be a dead end, Commander.”
“Yeah...hey, I’ve got an idea. Give me the datapad.”
There’s a long moment of no talking, just the sound of spoons in ice cream and Ahsoka typing.
“Okay, so...let’s see. Location: Coruscant. Age:...20-something. Age is just a number. Skyguy, what’s your height?”
“Why do you need to know my height?”
“...Rex, how tall do you think he is?”
“Well, he’s taller than me. Maybe 6’2”? 6’3”?”
“Okay, that’s close enough probably. Uh...weight?”
“Ahsoka, what are you doing?” Anakin lifts his face off of the carpet to demand.
“Nothing, nothing. We’re almost done. Just what do you weigh?” Ahsoka’s typing is getting faster.
“I’m not telling you that.”
“Guess something under two hundred. One-eighty.” The look Rex is giving Anakin is worrying. It looks like he’s about to start laughing.
“Perfect. Now we need likes.”
“His lightsaber,” Rex says with a straight face that only lasts for a minute once Ahsoka devolves into laughter.
“Yeah, yeah, we’re putting that. Uh...aggressive negotiations. Yeah, that’s good. Okay. Dislikes.”
Anakin is starting to figure out what Ahsoka might be doing on that datapad and looks up at her with dawning horror.
“Bureaucracy,” Rex says, eyes flicking between Anakin and Ahsoka. “Thinking things through.”
“Now we just need a picture, and the holo-net has plenty of those. Perfect! Ta-da!” Ahsoka turns the datapad around to show Anakin what they’ve done.
“You made me a profile on a dating site?” Anakin demands incredulously.
“Sure did! And look, you’ve already got some messages!” Ahsoka and Rex huddle over the datapad conspiratorially.
“Not that one, Commander.”
“Yeah, I agree. Maybe this one?”
“She looks good. Send a message.”
“Give me that!” Anakin reaches for the datapad, but Ahsoka scoots down the couch basically into Rex’s lap.
“What should we say?”
“Uh...are we looking for something long-term or just a hookup?”
“I’m not looking for anything!”
“Let’s go for a hookup. Not sure we’re ready for anything serious yet,” Ahsoka says, as if she’s considered this for quite some time and come to an important decision.
“Give me that datapad!”
Anakin forces himself to his feet and dives for Ahsoka, but he’s underestimated both her and Rex’s reflexes, and almost before he can react Ahsoka is heading out the door with Rex on her heels, leaving a mess of ice cream and spoons behind as the only trace they were ever here.
Well, that and the cackling he can hear from down the hall, still echoing in his ears.