Generally, sparring was one of Ahsoka’s favorite activities. Today though, she couldn’t seem to catch a break.
Her weakness in hand-to-hand combat wasn’t her technique or speed, but her size. Today her master seemed hellbent on pressing her on that, using every bit of height and weight he had on her at every opportunity. Ahsoka never expected him to go easy on her, but today he seemed to want to prove some kind of point about never getting caught or pinned, which she already knew.
He had her now, catching her with his mechno-arm from behind, pulling her backward. His arm tightened around her ribs and arms. She growled in frustration, gauging how to best shift her weight to gain leverage without anything other than the ground and him to brace against.
“Come on, Snips. You have to free yourself. You don’t have time to hesitate.”
She maneuvered to overbalance him, using his higher center of gravity against him. For a moment, it seemed to work, but then Anakin adjusted and stepped with her, absorbing the momentum and redirecting it. He used the opportunity to get his other arm around her, across her shoulders, pulling her flush against him.
Ahsoka was suddenly and abruptly aware of how warm she was, of the heat bleeding through from him, pressed to his broad chest as she was. She suppressed an involuntary shudder. His breath was hot on her montrals, and her stomach twisted in a way she recognized and ignored. His voice ghosted over her, and her spine tingled in response. “Ahsoka, act.”
Something ancient and primal flared. Her head ducked.
She bit him.
Whatever he was expecting her to do, it was clearly not that. Anakin grunted and let her go, holding his left arm.
Ahsoka spun to apologize, immediately regretting it even as that primal feeling surged. She found him looking at her with pain and...something else beneath, a strange light in his eyes. A heady haze spread between them in the bond, and Ahsoka couldn’t tell what was from him and what was from her own hunting instincts, suddenly and unexpectedly awakened.
Maybe it didn’t matter.
She realized she could taste blood — his. They looked at each other, neither really sure what they were sensing.
Anakin’s face rearranged itself and Ahsoka blinked, her own blood settling and remorse pooling in her stomach. “I’m sorry — oh Force, I’m sorry—”
He chuckled, and it felt absurd to her. “I told you to act, and you did. You freed yourself, and —” He grimaced. “Managed to surprise me.”
He flexed his fingers, and to Ahsoka’s immense relief, they all worked. “I forgot how sharp your teeth are.”
“Let me see — ” She moved towards him and after a moment of hesitation that stung, he pushed his torn sleeve back and Ahsoka gently tilted his forearm, inspecting it. Though it had been a quick bite by Togruta standards, it had done damage. There were punctures from her eyeteeth, and angry red indents from the rest. The surrounding skin was already bruising.
Shame and guilt flooded her. She bit her lip and found it still streaked with his blood. Reflexively, she licked it and then immediately froze. His eyes flickered to her mouth and then back to his arm, which she still held.
Nothing was said for a moment, and the air was heavy again. “Master—”
Suddenly Anakin’s eyes fixed on something over her shoulder and he crossed his arms, tucking the injured one neatly beneath the other. Ahsoka turned to see Obi-Wan walking towards them at a brisk clip.
If he sensed the strangeness of the moment, he did not comment on it.
“Glad I found you both — the Separatists are en route to Christophsis. Get ready, we depart in an hour.”
Two days later, the Separatists were defeated. One of the locals, a brewer whose goods had been protected by their arrival, had gifted them several barrels of his ale in thanks.
It was becoming rarer and rarer that the Jedi and clones were welcomed as peacekeepers and protectors, and they wouldn’t waste this opportunity. The 501st and 212th were celebrating. A large bonfire had been built, the beer was flowing, and there was terrible singing. All in all, a good night, and a good party.
She found her master where she had expected to — off at the edge of things, leaning against a stack of munitions crates, watching the festivities. He felt more relaxed in the bond than he’d been in a while, and Ahsoka suspected the strong ale had something to do with that. She joined him, handing him a fresh cup. They drank in companionable silence, watching an arm-wrestling match between troopers. After a while, she jolted. In the blur of the last two days she’d forgotten all about the events at the training ground. She turned to Anakin.
“How’s your arm?” He drained his cup and rolled his sleeve back. The bruises were purple and yellow now, the indents mostly gone, except for the scabbed punctures from her eyeteeth.
She looked up at him, confused. “Bacta should have taken care of that.”
Anakin shrugged. “I didn’t have a chance to bandage it, with everything else.” He looked at the marks appraisingly in the dim light. “You got me pretty good, they’ll likely scar.”
Ahsoka winced, guilt welling up. “Master, I’m so sorry—”
“Don’t worry about it.” He smiled. “Of all the people to give me scars, you’re probably my favorite.”
His tone was teasing, his smile easy, and the guilt faded a little. She smiled back, continuing the game, looking pointedly and nodding at the scar on his face. “Just probably?”
A brief pause. Then he raised an eyebrow and his voice dropped. “You haven’t seen all my scars, Snips.”
Something deep and low in the Force surged, an undercurrent in the bond. Or maybe a riptide. Anakin turned back to face the celebration and it was suddenly gone.
He’d probably meant nothing by it.
But then what had that feeling been? Ahsoka had felt something similar back on the training ground. She hadn’t recognized it then, but she thought she might now.
She tilted her head. She could play it off. She should. They’d both had likely more ale than they ought to have, and something inside her whispered that she was playing with fire. She was still his apprentice. But hadn’t he started this?
And Ahsoka was never one to back down from a challenge. Especially one that — in her relaxed state, she could admit this to herself — she had thought about more than once.
Her lips curled into a smile, widening just enough for him to see the sharp points of the teeth he was now well acquainted with. “Maybe someday.”
He huffed a laugh as usual, as if the air between them wasn’t suddenly a tinderbox ready to ignite. His eyes slid over to hers for a moment, and held. A single sharp pulse in the bond.
“Maybe,” he said, and looked back towards the bonfire and the revelry.
Between them, the Force crackled.