Title: Busy Day at the Count's Kafe Author: Blue_Daddys_Girl Timeframe: Mid war, around 19/20 BBY Characters: Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yan Dooku, CT-7567 | Rex, CC-1010 Fox, CC-2224 | Cody, Shaak Ti, Luminara Unduli, Plo Koon, Clone troopers and OCs. Many referenced. Genre: Coffee shop AU slice of life Rating: General audiences Type: One shot Keywords: Disaster lineage, coffee shop AU, Caf is spelled Kaf, Ahsoka, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Dooku are not force sensitive and never were Jedi, Shmi lives, Set on Coruscant, CG troopers, mild codywan, implied obitine, implied baneobi, Rex & Ahsoka friendship, Ahsoka centric, fluff, humour, Team as family. Summary : Ahsoka hates opening on her own, the owner is away, Anakin is very late, and Obi-Wan flirts with the customers. Regulars come and go, many Jedi and troopers among them. It's just another busy day at the Count's Kafe. An AU where the disaster lineage runs a renowned cafe on Coruscant instead of being in the Jedi order. Notes : I wrote this by inspiring myself heavily on my own experiences working in cafes as a barista, and quite heavily mapped this out after one cafe in particular. I hope this can bring in some realism! It's 5.2k words Busy Day at the Count's Kafe Ahsoka runs down the street like a zombie on stilts. It's her special morning run, and you can't transfuse her with enough kaf to save her from it. It's like this every time she gets an opening shift, which is basically every day at the moment, and it can't be good for her life expectancy. She fumbles her keys, swears in Huttese—the only thing that comes naturally to her at 6am—and finally enters the dark shop, locking the door behind her. She has to. People will try to get in the moment she turns on the lights; kaf is one hell of a drug. Ahsoka quietly celebrates another lucky morning: she doesn't lose any fingers as she cuts the bread up for the sandwiches and doesn't blend them to pulp either. She doesn't burn herself with her first jug of milk, and it only takes three shots to calibrate the grinder. Unmitigated success! There's a thud, and she turns a baleful eye to the Chagrian rattling the door. Like moths to a flame, they come. She knew it! Yet it still surprises her every time... And it's a regular too! He ought to know better, so she ignores the man for an extra two minutes. There are always little things to straighten behind the counter. Cups to take from the dishwasher tray and place over the warming kaf machine, the take away cups to top up, the chocolate and cinatin powder jars to refill... Ahsoka doesn't go to open the door until the chrono hits seven sharp and the Chagrian is foaming at the mouth. It's the small pleasures. They're very rare, this early. 'Hello Mr. Pandwunik, what did I tell you about rattling the door last time?' 'Stars above and below Ahsoka I don't have time! I'm on a shuttle at bay Semak-7 in ten minutes and I will die if I don't have kaf in me before that.' 'Right,' Ahsoka says with a grin. Pan is not a bad soul. He just regularly commits the sin of being the first customer. 'Your usual?' 'Oh no, child, I'm travelling to Naboo! Double shots, please!' Ahsoka grimaces and makes the man his usual Corvalan blue latte, double shots, and two sweeteners. She pops the lid on and hands it to him with heartfelt well wishes for the trip ahead. It's her last cogent thought for the next two and a half hours. Once she's lit up the sign— Count's Kafe —and opened the doors, there's no more time for her to rub two neurons together. The first wave is always full of kindred spirits, workers who haven't mentally crawled out of bed yet, or workers at the tail end of a graveyard shift and looking haunted. They're great because they look into Ahsoka's dead eyes, nod their thanks and scuttle away. They don't expect chit chat. No, that comes later, with the wave of hyper energetic people who were out jogging at the Saleu park, or believe in the worm-eating sayings about getting up early or whatever. Ahsoka doesn't need worms in her life. She needs Anakin. There's a queue now. She's using all three heads on the machine and steaming blue milk by the litter to chain orders, but she can't cash up people or prep their sandwiches at the same time. She's not a kriffing Besalisk, and Anakin, the intended second pair of arms, is late. Luckily, 9am is about when her brain usually deigns to bring itself back online. She picks up the pace, makes small talk to keep her waiting customers engaged, and painstakingly crafts a proper insult in the back of her mind for when Anakin finally shows his face. People are standing all the way to the open door, waiting for their turn to torture her with their stupid early-morning-person orders — "dekaf with green milk, a shot of pipiya and three artificial sweeteners, thank you!" (Just go buy a smoothie at Dex's already, and forget our shop exists!!) So when Commander Fox steps in with five of his boys at his heels, Ahsoka is torn. She loves them, but she can't do the drinks for a whole squad on her own and keep the peace in such an overcrowded cafe. But Fox takes one look at her and turns to his lads. 'You, you, and you,' he says, pointing fingers, 'somewhere else. Meet at the speeder.' There are groans and half hearted protests, but the three men shuffle out and the queue is that much shorter. There's a reason she loves them, and Fox is simply the best. He's always aware of his surroundings, spreads the word about their place unprompted (Ahsoka even served the Pantoran senator last month! She'd come in saying that "Commander Fox claims there's your kaf and then toilet water," and she had laughed and turned all purple in the face and she was so pretty! Ahsoka still isn't over the whole thing, still waiting for her to come back), and last but not least, Fox tips. 'Should you be alone?' He asks when their turn comes. 'Oh, and here's Tepid, our newest shiny at the Investigations Office. Don't ask about the name. What're you gonna have, Tepid?' 'Well, err—' 'He's gonna have a classic Corvalan blue, thank you Soka.' Ahsoka beams at the man and sets herself to work. 'Three classics, one with double shots, and green milk for Thorn?' 'Ye—' 'Nah, Thorn's gonna be a good lad and have it blue like a normal person, so you don't fuss with your milk,' Fox cuts in again. Thorn shrugs and slaps the shiny behind the ears to make him close his mouth. 'Come on Tep, let's wait outside.' Ahsoka tweaks the grinder, counts the seconds as the machine hums and oily drops of kaf gather themselves up and— four, five, six... Perfection. She fills up a milk jug and starts steaming, turning her attention back to Fox. 'Must I thank you for the tidal wave of customers this morning?' The man cocks his head, glances at the queue still snaking behind him and shakes his head. 'I haven't been that social. But there's a lights show being held at Lina Soh Hall in two weeks. It's held by the Chancellor, and all that shine and sparkle will be in attendance. Our offices have been in a state of perpetual crisis all week, so I'd not be surprised if that's what you're feeling here. The whole district is busier.' 'Riiiight...' She rolls her eyes and exchanges a smirk with the soldier, a silent agreement passing between them. A lot of people enjoy unloading on their baristas, telling them about their woes. It's part of the game to roll with it, but on this one they're of the same mind and Ahsoka doesn't need to fake it. It's never good when Soh Hall gets a big show going. Fox goes greyer at the temples and Ahsoka gets wrinkles on her lekku. 'Thanks for the heads up,' she says, 'I might book some annual leave.' She hands him his cups in a little cardboard tray. 'I hear Shili is lovely this time of year,' he replies with a wink. Ahsoka scoffs and waves him away. It's always a lovely time of year if you aim for the right hemisphere. 'Oh dear! Are you leaving?' Mrs. Jeners asks, sidling up to the counter with her empty cup. 'No ma'am, you're safe, I'm not going anywhere. I can do your refill but you'll have to wait a little.' 'That's fine,' the old zabrak says, nodding her grey head and returning to her table and her crosswords. Ahsoka sighs and thinks nothing of it. Thinking at all is a waste of her time now, until the cavalry arrives. 'Can I have the Kashyyyki bun and a black kaf to take away?' The next customer asks, credits already in hand. 'Of course!' And so she bounces from kaf machine to food cabinet to the till, whirling and barely having the time to breathe, until a familiar voice rings out in a stream of apologies— sorry, passing through, careful there, ah, sorry —and materialises behind the counter in the person of Obi-Wan. 'Hello th—' his good cheer vanishes and is replaced by a frown as he takes in Ahsoka's situation. 'Where the kark is Anakin?!' 'You kriffing tell me!' 'What? You do! You guys live together!' 'Well, Obi-Wan, I can tell you his door was closed this morning, like every morning, and he may or may not have been in his room, but that was at 5.30am so... And you know—' 'No, I can't change your shift pattern just yet, don't think about it, don't talk about it, it'll just make us both miserable.' 'As opposed to just me?' She mumbles. But they have no time to argue, the orders keep flowing in. 'What is happening to this place?' Obi-Wan asks her discreetly as he grills a couple of sandwiches behind her. 'Did we get a special review on the holonet I missed out on?' 'Fox says there's a lights show at Soh Hall soon.' 'Good gods!' Obi-Wan exclaims, calling for the help of the many stewjoni divinities. 'Maybe we should hire some help.' 'Isn't Yan coming back soon anyway?' 'I don't know, I've not heard from him since the debacle with our wholesaler. He might still be in hyperspace.' When midday hits and the rush shows no signs of abatement, Obi-Wan is saying that instead of looking for help he should just look for a replacement for Anakin. Ahsoka laughs, makes her milk gurgle and froth too much. 'What are you going to do? Ask Qui-Gon again? You know it won't work with Yan.' 'Oh, is Qui-Gon coming back?' 'No he isn't,' Ahsoka and Obi-Wan exclaim in unison, turning to old Mrs. Jeners. 'Oh, too bad. I liked him! He made such beautiful kaf art!' She says, placing her empty cup on the counter to ask for yet another refill. Obi-Wan only smiles and takes her money. There's no point explaining to this old regular that Qui-Gon Jinn had been a credit sink, spending all his time chatting to customers, standing around, preaching that meditation beats kaf. What sort of chat is that, from a barista? He'd gotten in so many arguments about proper brewing techniques with their Master—and owner of the cafe—it had put everyone on edge. In the end Obi-Wan had made it clear to him he'd be happier somewhere else, maybe selling Rhodian healing crystals or something, and Qui-Gon had taken the hint and left. To Ahsoka's undying amusement he now works in a shop on Belu parade in sector 5B, selling incense and teas from Onderon and Lothal. He'd come in with samples and still stops by when in the area. He and Anakin always hit it off, somehow. Speaking of Anakin, the man stumbles into the cafe at long last, pushing people out of his way with less tact than Obi-Wan. 'Oh, you're here,' are his first words, directed at Obi-Wan. Ahsoka bristles. If he'd been wise, his first words ought to have been "Stars I'm so kriffing sorry!" But Anakin is many things, and wise is not one of them. 'Skywalker, you are woefully late,' says Obi-Wan. 'I didn't even get a break thanks to you,' Ahsoka growls. It's not the blistering insult she'd prepared, but she can't exactly call him a son of a krisdee barda nerf in earshot of customers. 'Take over,' she says instead, slamming her milk jug on the counter. 'No, no, wait,' Obi-Wan steps in. 'He's not off the hook yet. Here Master Swan, your soup of the day. Sorry for the wait. Who's next?' And turning flaming eyes to Anakin, 'what's your excuse then? It better be a good one.' Anakin goes red in the face, fumbles the ties of his apron. 'Guys, I know I ****ed up, I'm sorry. I really am. But I was invited to this party—' 'Are you for real?' Ahsoka asks, deadpan, keeping her attention riveted on the ferns she's sculpting in foam with lethal precision. One more stupid word from him, she swears, and she'll be making ferns in extra hot milk on his face instead. 'It was a political gig, come on guys, I swear. Organised by the Tatooine Liberation Front, you know I'm close to the women who run it.' More like his mom is. Shmi is the real activist. Anakin enjoys the airs of rebellion, but he has no stomach for actual politics. Not that Ahsoka can blame him. It's hard to feel like your voice makes a difference, outside of the district elections. 'Well, they had a guest for the conference part, and you'll never guess who.' Ahsoka makes a rude noise. 'Was it a girl? Was she pretty? Did you talk to her all night instead of letting her mingle? Did you drink too much fiz in the process? Did you not hear your alarm?' 'I—ah—' Anakin's look of dismay at being read so thoroughly is so satisfying, it almost makes up for the hellish morning. Almost. Obi-Wan glances at Ahsoka with a smirk and cock of his eyebrow in silent appreciation, but he takes pity on his young kaf'or apprentice. 'Who's this woman who turned your head so hard?' He asks. 'Padmé Amidala,' Anakin answers in a squawk. 'The senator!' 'Eh?!' 'What?' 'Yeah, the Naboo senator! She's like... Like the stars of— Oh, hello Mr. Baal. Your usual?' He comes to take over the grinder, filling a portafilter absentmindedly as Ahsoka finishes the last of her orders. 'Snips, I tell you. She's like a jewel, she was... She was sparkling. Like an angel or something. And so smart! Her speech! You have to meet her. You'll understand.' 'Spare me, Skyguy.' Ahsoka snaps. 'If she's the sort of woman who makes you let me down on a Saturday morning, I'm not sure I want to meet her.' She pushes the two mokafs she's just made across the counter and goes around to deliver them, making her way in the small and packed room, leaving Anakin hanging. Maybe that was a bit harsh, but he's so flippant that he'll be back to his happy self by the end of the day no matter what they say to him. So he ought to feel his guilt, if only for a little while. She goes to the table window, where a Mirialan and a Togruta sit facing each other and gazing at the busy concourse outside. They're both regulars, and Ahsoka looks forward to what she knows is to come. 'Mokafs?' She asks brightly. 'And a Corellian sugar puff?' 'Ah yes, here,' the Mirialan woman says, turning to her. 'The cinatin mokaf is for Shaak, so is the pastry.' 'What?' The Togruta exclaims. 'Luminara, again? You have to stop!' 'Why should I?' The Togruta accepts the pastry from Ahsoka with a sheepish smile. 'Ahsoka, can't you make her stop?' She asks her. 'I don't think I've ever spent my own money in this cafe.' 'You should strive to arrive first,' says Unduli. 'You're always twenty minutes early, what am I to do!' 'Maybe try to frown and look put off when you eat?' Ahsoka offers with a mischievous look at the Mirialan Jedi. 'Maybe Master Unduli would tire of feeding you sweets then.' Unduli shakes her head. 'You would have made a great negotiator if you'd joined our Order Ahsoka, but I can't have you put such ideas in Shaak's head now.' Shaak Ti is in no danger however, sighing as she is around a mouthful of pastry, icing sugar already smeared over her cheeks. 'It's a good idea,' she says, hiding her mouth behind delicate fingers, 'but I don't think I could manage. This is just so nice.' 'Master Unduli's win then.' 'As it should be,' Unduli agrees, taking a sip from her mokaf, a picture of serenity. Ahsoka leaves the women to their own company and starts to clean up the room, making piles of cups and plates and wiping down tables. She greets the regulars she hasn't had the time to pay attention to, smiling, commenting on the weather (because really, one is never prepared for rain, even if it's forecast on the holonet for days), enquiring after their affairs, sharing some of hers... It's interactions like these that make her day. Adorable regulars give the cafe a sort of family-like quality. She'd never expected that, when Obi-Wan Kenobi had found her and offered her to come try out for a position with his Master. Even after passing the test with flying colours, being toured around the tiny shop and handed an apron and a roster, she'd expected, well... a job, and nothing like the sense of... of belonging she got, being part of the Cerulian lineage. She'd been on her own most of her life, drifting from one menial job to another, living hand to mouth and fearful of the future. She'd had no career to call her own, no credits to pay for proper qualifications. If she'd not been taken in here, apprenticed along with Anakin, she doesn't know where she'd be right now. Probably sleeping under a tarp in the quiet corner of another mechanic's workshop on a level that never sees sunlight. Anakin has become like a brother over the years (sometimes older, sometimes younger), and Obi-Wan is almost a father to her (or them). And then there's the Master—he's something else entirely. Like a dotting grandpa, strict when it counts but always having her back. And his knowledge of kaf is downright encyclopedic. Ahsoka hadn't known much about the world of kaf before accepting the apprenticeship. Hadn't realised how prized Shili trained kaf'ors are, or the importance of the lineages they develop. Some kaf'ors can trace themselves for centuries, to great masters of the past, and their own goes back three centuries, though the lineage was renamed from Ishka'la to Cerulian after Thame Cerulian was deemed to have surpassed his old masters. Ahsoka has half a mind to have their lineage renamed Tano, but she'll have to work hard if Yan isn't qualified enough to have it turned to Dooku. At least there's no danger of it ever becoming the Skywalker lineage, not with his attitude... She slams the dirty dishes in front of Anakin, glaring at him. 'Sniiips,' he says, tone supplicating. 'Come on...' She sniffs and ignores him, walking around the food cabinet to get back behind the counter and start washing the dishes. 'Talk to me Snips, what can I do to make it up to you?' 'Take my shift tomorrow then.' Anakin looks crestfallen. 'But it's my only day off this week!' 'You asked me a question and I answered.' 'Can that wait until Master's come back?' 'Hey!' A customer interrupts them, walking up to the kaf machine and barking at Anakin over it. 'I ordered this extra hot, but it's got to be the most tepid kaf I've had in my life!' Ahsoka snorts remembering trooper Tepid, and keeps uploading the dishwasher, leaving Anakin to deal with the ornery Pantoran trying to teach him how to steam his milk. Of course life in a cafe is not all fluff and tooka smiles. Even though Ahsoka would be hard pressed to imagine herself in a better situation, there are still rude customers aplenty, stressful days (like today!), the stink you exude at the end of a long shift, how punishing it is on the body, the poor tips, and then... the sound of an alarm in the middle of the night, going Beep Beep Beep, rise up, con kung, and tearing little bits of your soul... 'Snips!' Anakin calls out to her in a harsh whisper. She slams the dishwasher down and ignores him. 'Snips!' Anakin calls again, but this time with a kick to her ankles. 'Ow— What the—' She whirls, irritated, but siddles up to Anakin as soon as she realises why he's called her. 'Shove off, I'll do the milk.' She grabs a jug, looks at the dockets to see what drinks they're up to, and steals a glance at Obi-Wan. It's Cody's turn next and their senior is already beaming. Cody is another regular. He wears the same face as Fox, and any of the other clone troopers of the GAR. What makes him stand out is the scar on his left temple, and the depth of his blush whenever Obi-Wan so much as breathes in his vicinity. He comes as soon as he lands on Coruscant, orders whatever Obi recommends, and often brings little souvenirs and memorabilia from the many planets he has visited. Obi-Wan has put some of them on the walls too (the Count's decor is very eclectic). Ahsoka wasn't in, the first time Cody came and saw one of his souvenirs on the wall, but Anakin tells the story often and with great detail, so she can close her eyes and picture it like a holoflick scene. 'Do you think Satine knows?' Anakin asks in a whisper, jerking his chin at them. There's only two people behind Cody, so Obi-Wan is taking his time teasing him. 'What makes you think Satine is any different?' Obi-Wan is just... Stewjoni charm, he calls it. Yan says it's "Cheek on a galactic level" and Ahsoka thinks it's just poetic ways to say Obi-Wan's the biggest flirt in the Core. 'But they've gone on dates. Satine and him I mean.' 'Yeah well, maybe he's gone on dates with Cody too, or Bane.' Anakin gapes at her. 'No...' 'Yeah? I mean, look at him.' Cody is simpering, there's no denying that. You can see his blush deepening as Obi-Wan leans over the counter to hand him his sandwich and point out a table for him to sit at. 'I don't believe it.' Anakin says, turning his attention back to his shots. 'Cody wouldn't blush this hard if they were dating on the regular.' 'Okay. But have you ever seen Cad Bane blush?' 'But he's a bounty hunter!' Anakin whines. 'So?' 'It's dangerous? And he's on and off the wanted lists? Isn't he in jail right now??' Ahsoka barks a little laugh. 'That's just a bonus. Who doesn't like a dangerous man? Cody's dangerous too, I bet. Can't make Marshal Commander being harmless.' 'Fine. But Bane flirts with you too.' 'He does it for banter. He knows I'm not interested.' 'Oh? I thought danger was sexy?' Anakin says, accentuating the "sexy" and the stupid. Ahsoka rolls her eyes. 'Don't ever ask me dating advice for your Senator.' Obi-Wan turns a wry look on his apprentices then and waves at the almost non existent queue while the next customer dithers on their choice. 'Ahsoka, instead of being idle, how about you go take your break? I'll go after you. Looks like it'll quie—' 'Wah! Don't say it Obi-Wan!' Anakin almost yells. 'It's a Saturday, you really shouldn't.' Obi-Wan rolls his eyes and shrugs at Ahsoka, but he doesn't say the "quiet" word, if only for superstitious Anakin's peace of mind. She takes off her apron, and with a meat wrap in one hand, water bottle in the other and datapad tucked under her arm, she makes her way into the room in search of a free seat. 'Little Soka!' Someone calls her. 'There's room here!' Ahsoka smiles and makes her way to the windows, where the two lady Jedi have been replaced by another Jedi regular, a Kel Dor named Plo Koon who is another favourite of hers. 'Do you not mind?' She asks, sliding into the seat. 'Isn't Master Fisto joining you?' 'He usually does, but I think he got called out to testify for a senate advisory group today.' Ahsoka gasps around a mouthful of lunch. 'Oh no, poor Master Fisto. He hates the Senate so much.' They have a lot of Jedi among their regulars, and once she'd mentioned that fact while chatting to Fisto and Koon, who always came in together, the same way Ti and Unduli did. Kit Fisto had shaken his head, tendrils swaying, and explained it was because the Count's was the best cafe located along "Doom Lane." Meaning it is located between the Jedi temple and the Senate building. Ahsoka had laughed at that. There's the expansive Saleu park just next door with its six biome bubbles, Soh Hall and its shows, and the Ordinata markets, sprawling over four levels with lots of great street food. There's plenty in the area to stop people. But somehow the Jedi flocked to their cafe. 'We do not hate. At least we try not to. But—' Plo Koon hums, amused '—I'm sure Kit is feeling something close to it and working very hard to release it into the Force.' They chat for a while after Ahsoka is done eating, and she goes to fetch a kaf for herself and one for the kindly Jedi, that Anakin has prepared unprompted, his awkward smile as obvious as a banner screaming "FORGIVE ME ALREADY PLEASE SNIPS?" Then it's Obi-Wan's turn to take a break and so things go on through the afternoon, customers in, customers out, to the music of the grinder, the steamer, the clinking of ceramic cups, and the general chatter. People want refills, a cold press, and an extra cookie after all, and have they heard the news? Will they be catering at the Soh Hall's big show? Is the Count alright? They want news and gossip and company, or just an extra dose of kaffeine in their system and away with them, running back into the scrap-rat race that is Coruscanti life. The rush finally slows down by 3pm, near the end of Ahsoka’s shift. A friend is coming to pick her up soon, to go to the Mygeeto Rock Gym, a local rock climbing gym that has walls spanning an entire level. She's got her shoes and harness in her bag and she's itching to get away. All is quiet—she can think it—Anakin is having his break and Obi-Wan is flirting with a totally new customer Ahsoka has never seen before. Is he doing it to drum up traffic or for his personal fun? Is this his way to acquire more regulars, besides the delicious kaf they make? And dare she ever ask? The next person to step through the door is tall, forbidding, wide shoulders draped by a dark cape fastened with a simple silver brooch, one she bought in a market on Shili on her last trip to visit their supplier. Count Yan Dooku of Serenno, seventh of his lineage, Master kaf'or and owner of the Count's Kafe, is back at last. 'Oh, stars, Yan!' Ahsoka exclaims. She runs up to the old man and throws herself into his travel weary arms. 'Master! You made it! I'm so glad!' 'There there, young one,' he says, cooing at her and patting her between her montrals, 'has it been so terrible without me?' She sighs. 'You have no idea.' 'Tell me.' She looks up at him with big wet eyes, ignoring Anakin's choked sounds from where he sits and Obi-Wan who she just knows has his eyes rolled so far up they're staring into his brain. 'Obi-Wan put me on opens for ten shifts in a row!' She whines. 'That's because you're the most dependable.' Yan answers placidly. 'Anakin didn't show up to work this morning and I spent almost two hours of rush on my own.' 'Ah...' Yan glances at Anakin, red in the face and still coughing like he seriously breathed his food. 'I'm sure it'll never happen again.' 'Also Deny forgot to deliver green milk, twice, and I think we're better off with a different supplier.' 'I agree to that,' Obi-Wan chips in. 'How was the deal then? We were expecting you back sooner.' Yan sighs, gives one last pat to Ahsoka, complete with a pinch of her cheek, and walks behind the counter, long fingers running along its top, a single beautiful slab of wroshyr wood, patinated with age. 'The talks fell through.' He says, taking off his cape and hanging it on the pegs by where the cleaner droid sleeps and charges. 'We won't be working with Tanemi anymore. But I have a friend who keeps a shop on Padar, around Ord Mantell, Atawai Kaiden? He visited a year ago. Well, he's been trying to sway me to join him in his cooperative. They buy from a producer North of the Grass Sea.' Ahsoka frowns. 'Isn't that too far North for kaf?' 'Atawai claims they're the best, and we'll get to find out soon.' Yan shrugs and brushes his beard thoughtfully. 'If we're not pleased with them, someone will have to go back to Shili. Maybe you can go Ahsoka, with Obi-Wan. I could spend some quality time with Anakin, remind him of the virtues of punctuality.' 'Yes Master,' Anakin peeps from his table, trying to make his own hulking form a little smaller. 'Isn't it the end of your shift Ahsoka?' Obi-Wan asks, glancing at the chrono. And so it is. For all that Ahsoka loves her Master and the boys, it's been a hell of a long day, and another perk of being a kaf'or apprentice is that work ends the instant you step outside the door. An alarm peals from outside and she hurries, kissing Yan goodbye, hugging Obi-Wan, waving to Mrs. Jeners (who is still here), and pointing a stiff finger at Anakin— 'Thanks for taking my shift tomorrow, since Master’s back.' He opens his mouth to protest and closes it, frowns, repeats that process a couple more times, before sighing and shrugging. 'I'm making pipiya gratin tonight, mom's coming over, be there at eight if you want some,' is all he says to mark his defeat. Ahsoka leaves the Count's Kafe without a second glance: her ride is here, waving at her from atop his speeder bike and she jogs up to him. 'Rex! How are you?' She asks, embracing the clone. Unlike Fox, whose sides are greying, and Cody with his scar, Rex stands out for being naturally blond and having the biggest heart in all the GAR. He hands her a helmet designed for montrals and smiles at her, eyes gleaming with excitement. 'I'm great! Look, I was talking to some lads earlier today, and I got a rec you're not gonna believe, for after the gym.' 'A rec? What for?' 'Apparently there's a place called Bushman in sector 2B where they do axe throwing. Special drinks when you bullseye and everything proper.' Ahsoka stares at him, fingers frozen over the helmet's clasp under her chin. 'Axe throwing?' 'Yep.' 'Axe, like the tool to cut wood?' 'The very same.' 'Oh, kriff. We have to.' 'Yeah, I reckon we really do.' 'What prize do we get for splitting the board in half with an axe?' Rex answers her question with a husky laugh. 'You think you'll still have enough strength by then? What did you put in your kaf?' 'Nothing,' Ahsoka says, grinning. 'Just going all out today since I get to sleep in tomorrow.' 'Living in the moment, huh?' 'Why not, if it's a good one?' Rex revs the speeder, and Ahsoka jumps behind him, excitement coursing through her veins. Her tiredness is all forgotten. It’s like a new day ahead, waiting to be enjoyed. There are advantages to being on the opening shift. She holds on to Rex's waist and laughs into the wind as they speed away.