Ahsoka knew that taking this stupid speeder had been a bad idea. She had only just started repairing it herself, and that had mostly been under Anakin’s tutoring. And most of the time, Ahsoka hadn’t minded Anakin giving her pointers and showing her tricks—he could speak with machines, that was the best way Ahsoka could describe it.
But Ahsoka considered herself a mostly decent mechanic. She knew more about the inner workings of speeders and starfighters than the average Padawan, that was for sure. She had once tried explaining the engine systems of a venator versus a Naboo cruiser to Barriss, who had only blinked. Which Ahsoka had found funny, because she thought Barriss knew almost everything in the Archives, so having a quick leg up on at least one topic had been something Ahsoka had lorded over for some time.
But Ahsoka didn’t particularly feel like bragging about her own mechanic skills now, not with the fact that the engine had sputtered and died while Ahsoka was in mid-air. That, combined with the fact that she was currently trying to stop her vision from doubling, tripling.
With a groan, Ahsoka peeled her forehead away from the speeder’s consoles. She smelled the gas of the engine, something coppery. Ahsoka gingerly pushed a hand up to her forehead and felt something wet. Oh. She was bleeding.
Ahsoka heard people whispering around her, worried whines. And then the blare of sirens.
Ahsoka lifted her head in time to see the blue and red lights of the police droids’ speeders, and with a sigh, she dropped her head back down against the speeder’s console.
“Please step out of the vehicle,” the police droid said, its deep voice not helping with the ache in Ahsoka’s head.
Would love to, Ahsoka thought, but she figured that any retort wouldn’t do her any good. So she pushed herself up to a semi-upright position, ignoring the white-hot flare of pain that burned her arms, her legs. With fumbling fingers, she undid the seatbelt and ungracefully slid out of the speeder. Her knees buckled, and Ahsoka caught herself by throwing her arm back against the speeder’s consoles. She heard worried murmurs, which Ahsoka might have appreciated if her head didn’t hurt so much.
The police droid, however, wasn’t as nearly as sympathetic.
“Please breathe into the device,” the police droid said, holding up a small object that took Ahsoka a second too long to realize was a breathalyzer.
Ahsoka would have rolled her eyes if that didn’t hurt so much, either. But again, she figured that any attitude wasn’t going to help her much.
So she breathed into the breathalyzer, and after the police droid confirmed that Ahsoka had not, in fact, been driving under any influence, it said, “We will be escorting you to the station now. You will be charged for damages by your speeder. You will additionally be permitted a call to a guardian.”
At that, Ahsoka startled. “That’s okay,” she said quickly. “I can give you the credits for the fine, but I don’t need to call any—”
“You will be permitted a call to a guardian,” the droid repeated, taking Ahsoka’s arm. She winced as the police droid’s metal hand clamped over her aching bicep. “We will escort you to the station now.”
Ahsoka groaned, letting her head drop. She was going to be in so much trouble.
Ahsoka felt Obi-Wan’s presence before she heard him.
“I apologize for the damages caused,” he said to the police droids, setting down the credits. “Is she…”
The police droid only gestured to where Ahsoka was seated (well, now trying to shrink herself as much as possible) in the corner of the large room. “Thank you,” the police droid only said. “The damaged speeder will be brought to your location shortly.”
“Thank you,” Obi-Wan replied, tilting his head to the droid before fixing his eyes on Ahsoka.
Ahsoka smiled sheepishly, but that smile quickly faded at the needle of pain in her head. That, and the clearly displeased look that Obi-Wan gave her as he walked towards her.
For a moment, Ahsoka could only bow her head as Obi-Wan stopped in front of her. She could feel his steely gaze boring into her, the disappointment that made Ahsoka bow her head lower.
Finally, Obi-Wan said, “I thought Anakin told me that the speeder was not yet ready to be driven.”
“It wasn’t,” Ahsoka replied.
“Do you care to explain to me why—” Obi-Wan started, and Ahsoka drew her shoulders inward at the iciness edging his voice.
And then Obi-Wan sighed: a long, tired sigh that made Ahsoka feel infinitely worse, because she only ever heard him sigh like that whenever Anakin had done something. Ahsoka wondered what would have happened if she had called Anakin instead—if he would have been just as furious or disappointed, or if he would have just shrugged and told her to at least wait for him next time.
But right now, Anakin was away on a mission. He was supposed to be back in a few days—at least, that was what he told her.
Another sigh from Obi-Wan. “Here,” he said at last, and Ahsoka lifted her head to find a cloak in his hands. “It’s chilly outside.”
Ahsoka’s chest tightened. She didn’t dare lift her eyes any higher than Obi-Wan’s hand as she took the cloak and slung it over her shoulders. She again ignored the protest in her limbs as she secured the cloak over herself.
“Come along,” Obi-Wan said, gesturing out the doors. The movement was clear: you first.
Ahsoka nodded and walked across the room, out the building.
Obi-Wan was right. The air was colder now.
Obi-Wan led her to a speeder and didn’t start the engine until Ahsoka had belted herself in. Then they were taking up into the air, leaving the police station far behind them. All the while, Ahsoka kept her hands clasped in her lap, her eyes downcast as Obi-Wan silently drove beside her. She looked at him only once, just enough to see the slight clench in his jaw to know that he was not at all happy.
She almost wished that he would yell at her—she knew that Obi-Wan was capable of yelling. She had heard him shout at Anakin once, right after he had nearly gotten killed after going through with some ridiculous plan. Ahsoka didn’t think Obi-Wan or Anakin knew that she had been just a little ways from the medbay, but she had been there, listening to Obi-Wan and Anakin shout back and forth. She wasn’t exactly sure how it resolved—she hadn’t been able to see it play out herself, but she just remembered the shouting coming to an abrupt end, and then she remembered hearing Anakin saying something too quietly for even Ahsoka’s montrals to catch. She had left quickly after that, thinking that the moment was probably too private for her to eavesdrop on, but she remembered that strange mixture of shock and also awe that oh, so Master Kenobi can get angry.
But the cold silence sitting between Obi-Wan and herself was something that Ahsoka hadn’t actually witnessed or felt before.
They came to a stop in front of the Temple steps, and Obi-Wan got out first. Ahsoka had just unbuckled herself when the door on her side opened.
“Careful,” was all Obi-Wan said as Ahsoka started to get up. But he offered a hand, and Ahsoka let herself be guided out of the speeder. She couldn’t contain the little hiss she let out as her feet touched the ground, though. Pain lanced up her legs, and for a moment, she could only stand, trying to get her bearings.
“Where?” Obi-Wan only asked as he kept Ahsoka steady.
Ahsoka gritted her teeth. “Not sure,” she replied. “Legs and arms.” She blinked, bringing her hand up to her forehead again. The blood had clotted, and the ringing had faded, but her head still throbbed as she brushed her fingers over where the wound must have been.
“And your head,” Obi-Wan added.
They stood together in some silence before Obi-Wan sighed again. “Well, then,” he said, and faster than Ahsoka could react, Obi-Wan had scooped up his arms under Ahsoka’s legs, and then she was above the ground, the side of her head automatically resting against Obi-Wan’s shoulder.
“Healers first, Padawan,” Obi-Wan said. “Protesting later.”
There—there was that slight edge to Obi-Wan’s voice again. Ahsoka swallowed down her protests as requested and kept her eyes lowered, glad that it was late enough that there weren’t any younglings or Padawans awake at this hour. But she supposed that even if they saw her, she would have deserved at least that slight humiliation.
Yes, kids, don’t drive faulty speeders.
Thankfully, there weren’t too many people in the Halls of Healing either.
“And what have we here?”
“An accident,” Obi-Wan replied somewhere above Ahsoka’s head. “Master Che, if you could—”
“Of course.” Vokara Che’s face appeared above Ahsoka, eyes already narrowed. “And what kind of accident, may I ask?”
Ahsoka felt heat creep up her face. “Speeder,” she managed to say.
Vokara clucked her tongue. “Following your master’s footsteps, I see,” she only said. Then, lifting her head, she said, “Well, then, let’s start.”
Ahsoka wasn’t sure when she had fallen asleep, but she woke up to daylight streaming in through the windows. For a moment, she could only blink up at the ceiling, processing the distant rustle of robes, the quiet giggling of younglings who were hurrying for their classes.
“How did you sleep?”
Ahsoka turned her head to find Obi-Wan sitting at her side. He must have just woken up, too—and he must have fallen asleep here, Ahsoka realized with some guilt at the pallor in Obi-Wan’s face, the slightly rumpled clothes, the dark half-moons under his eyes.
“Better than you,” Ahsoka said, trying to lighten her voice, but when Obi-Wan didn’t smile, she looked down at her hands.
They sat in silence before Obi-Wan said, “What you did was extremely reckless. And dangerous.”
Ahsoka cringed. “I know,” she replied. Hurriedly, she added, “I know—I just didn’t think that the speeder would actually…” The excuse died on her lips as she considered her next words. At the futileness of it all.
“You have to be careful,” Obi-Wan said. “If you had crashed into a more dangerous place, there would have been much worse consequences. Do you understand, Ahsoka?”
Ahsoka nodded down at her hands. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “I’ll be more careful next time.”
“Make sure you do,” Obi-Wan said. Ahsoka heard him shift in his seat, and when she looked up, Obi-Wan’s hands were pushed up to his face in a halfhearted effort to rub the sleep out of his eyes. When he dropped his hands from his face, Ahsoka was just struck again by how tired Obi-Wan looked.
“Were you here the whole time?” Ahsoka asked at last, even though she knew the answer before Obi-Wan gave it to her.
“There was a chance you would have a difficult night,” Obi-Wan replied, not quite looking at Ahsoka. “I volunteered to stay.”
Ahsoka blinked. “Oh,” she could only say.
They were quiet.
And then Ahsoka said in a small voice, “Thank you.”
When Obi-Wan looked at her, Ahsoka added, “Not just for…this. But before. Coming. You didn’t have to.”
Obi-Wan’s face softened then—just the slightest bit, just enough for Ahsoka to recognize him again.
“Of course I did,” he said at last.
Anakin came back from his mission early. He had surprised Padmé first, who had been more than delighted—but after a little while, he decided to give his Padawan and former master their share of surprise visits.
But he didn’t find Ahsoka in her quarters, and he didn’t find Obi-Wan in his either. He checked the training rooms and the Archives, and it wasn’t until he heard a passing healer mutter something about stupid speeder accidents did Anakin think to check the Halls of Healing.
His mind was racing as he got to the halls. He knew about the speeder Ahsoka and he had been working on. He had told Ahsoka that it probably wasn’t safe to ride for at least another few extra tune-ups, but maybe Ahsoka had tried tampering with it on her own—
He practically threw himself through the doors, ready to fight through any healers to see exactly where his Padawan and his master were, when—
He found Obi-Wan and Ahsoka sitting on a bed—well, Obi-Wan slightly sitting up, propped up by a pillow, and Ahsoka curled by his side, her bandaged head resting on his shoulder. Obi-Wan’s arm was wrapped protectively around Ahsoka’s shoulders, his other arm resting across his lap.
It seemed that they were just fine.