2. Dantooine: Reflections
Bultar smiled. “Let me tell you something about me. A little story.” She leaned back slightly against the wall, moving her back a bit to avoid the edges sticking from the rock. “It was about ten years ago, shortly after Master Plo Koon became my new Master, that he introduced a young boy to me, slightly younger than you are now. Vhiran was his name, Vhiran Ashukahwa, Master Koon’s new Padawan. Vhiran and I would be training together from now on, Master Koon told me. There was something about him, something that made me like him the first time I laid eyes on him. He looked so different than the other Padawans of his age, so intriguing he was. And there was that shy but warm little smile he always carried, still does.” Bultar chuckled softly and nodded as she thought of it. “He was a quiet little guy, Vhiran, hardly spoke a word, at least when I was around. I first thought it was because he was so focussed on his training, but it didn’t take long until I noticed that look in his eyes every time he looked at me. It felt really strange, so confusing, yet, at the same time, it was, oddly comforting. One evening, after I finished meditating in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, I saw him sitting not far away from me, looking at me. The moment I looked back he turned his head away. He did that more often, I had noticed in the time that had passed since we met. I sat down next to him, and asked him if anything was the matter. He shook his head, told me he was fine. That was so like him, as I would see in the years ahead, always saying he was alright, trying not to get others worried about him. But I knew better. “What’s wrong, Vhiran?” I asked him. Again, he shook his head. “It’s nothing…,” he murmured, his eyes pointed at the ground. And then, when I was about to protest, he continued by himself. “I, I just…” His voice trembled. He was nervous, had trouble saying what he wanted to say. “I just, wanted to see you’re safe.”
For a moment I was shocked. That, was something I had not expected. I thought they sounded a bit, odd at first, but those words, he meant them with all his heart, every single one of them. He was honest, completely genuine. And it touched me, deeply. I closed my eyes and I smiled. “Vhiran,” I said as I took his hand and patted it gently. “Thank you.” It was then that he first looked up, looked at me, so utterly surprised, and didn’t turn away as I looked back.”
Shamila had sat upright now, her arms wrapped around her pulled up legs, her dark brown eyes shining with . Intently she listened to every word of Bultar’s story. She chuckled softly. “So, even Master Vhiran was once a shy little boy, hm?”
“Yes, he was.” Bultar laughed heartily “Very much. Just look at him closely sometimes, you’ll see he still is a bit.” She grinned.
“So, then you…” The girl moved her hand around a bit. “You know…”
Bultar shook her head. “I think, we loved each other the moment we met. We just, weren’t aware of it, at all. How could we? We were Jedi. And those feelings, they were unknown to us. But, it was then, I think, that he first started opening up to me. We started meeting outside, training more often and we’d walk or talk, or just sit together. It felt good being around each other. For the first time since Master Giiett’s death, I felt I really had someone I could trust fully, I could feel truly safe and at ease with. Those were wonderful times. If duty allowed, we were inseparable, my dear friend Vhiran and I. But then…” She lowered her head and smiled sadly as she recalled the thought. “The Clone Wars came. Soon after Geonosis, Vhiran was sent along on a mission to Ryloth. It failed, and when the survivors of the strike force returned, Vhiran wasn’t among them. I was scared. For the first time I was really scared. If it wasn’t for Nillanthir who kept comforting me and assuring our friend was still out there, I don’t know how I would have ended up. For the first time I was truly scared, and for the first time, I realized my feelings for Vhiran might be beyond just friendship more than I had thought, than I had hoped.”