“I could kiss you.”
Ahsoka stopped short, glancing at Kaeden in confusion. Before either of them could say anything else, another explosion went off.
Her comm beeped. “Ahsoka!”
“I’m here, Master,” She responded immediately. Her chest felt like it was on fire, her heart pounding so loudly she was sure Anakin could hear it over the comm channel.
“Where are you? We’re all done here, we need to get back to the ship.” Kaeden’s head snapped up from where she was staring at her shoes.
“I may need some help here, there are still a few more bombs.”
“I thought you said you deactivated them all!”
She sighed. “I thought so too, but I apparently missed some. I’m on level G-87.”
“I’m on my way.” The line went dead. Ahsoka turned to Kaeden. She desperately wanted to go back to their conversation, but she knew the area was still dangerous.
She grabbed Kaeden’s arm. “Stay down. Let’s go.” They started to run. The debris was strewn across the ground, and shifting them the smaller amount made a plume of dust fly up in their faces.
“Ahsoka, there!” Kaeden shouted, trying not to choke on the clouds of dirt. Ahsoka looked to where she was pointing. On the dust covered roof was a black piece of metal that was so small she would have missed it if Kaeden hadn’t pointed it out. She internally swore. She had been focusing so much on not tripping that she almost ran past an active bomb.
“Stay here.” She hadn’t realized she was still holding Kaeden’s arm until she let go. If there weren’t more pressing matters at hand, Ahsoka would have been embarrassed. She backed up, and jumped back and forth between the alleyway’s two walls to launch herself up to the roof. She made quick work of destroying the bomb. By the time she jumped back down into the alleyway, Anakin and Rex were there, the bomb squad behind them.
“Scans show that there are a few more in the area.” Anakin said. “Ahsoka, get as many civilians to safety as you can. We don’t know when these things are going to go off.”
“Yes, Master,” She said. Panic rose in her chest when she realized Kaeden wasn’t where she was a few moments ago. She frantically looked around as she walked along the alley way.
Oh Force, Kaeden. Please don’t do something stupid.
“Boo!” Kaeden jumped out from the bend in the alley. Ahsoka didn’t startle. Instead, she started laughing.
“Did you just try to sneak up on a Jedi?”
Kaeden smiled, falling into step with Ahsoka. “Yeah, probably not my brightest idea.”
Ahsoka laughed again, trying to ignore the bubbly feeling in her chest and the heat in her lekku that she had only felt once before. “No, no it was not.” Kaeden’s laughter must have distracted her, because she tripped over a chunk of what used to be the building to their left.
Kaeden started walking again, after brushing herself off, and Ahsoka realized she was limping.
“Are you okay?” She asked, gesturing to Kaeden’s leg.
Ahsoka had to give Kaeden credit, she did a very good job of looking unbothered. If Ahsoka weren’t a Jedi, she might have been fooled. “Hmm? Oh, my leg? Yeah I’m fine.”
“You’re lying.” She shook her head. “You, your sister, and anyone else you know need to leave the area immediately. Take anyone you cross paths with along with you.”
They had come to the end of the alley way.
“What? I’m not leaving you.”
Ahsoka just shook her head again. “I’ll be fine. Please, Kaeden, it isn’t safe here.”
She scowled. “Fine.” She started to run, her movements awkward due to the injury in her leg, but she stopped.
“What are you doing?”
“Just- promise me you’ll find me again, when this is all over.”
“I know where you live, remember?”
Ahsoka smiled. “Go.”
Hours later, Ahsoka was lying in bed, unable to sleep.
I could kiss you. Kaeden had said. It probably didn’t mean anything. Ahsoka scoffed. It definitely didn’t mean anything. She had just pushed Kaeden out of the way from being crushed by a collapsing roof, and had gotten her sister out as well. It was just the heat of the moment thing, just a thank you, just a wish,
Just a nothing.
Ahsoka didn’t want to care, she wanted to be as unbothered as Kaeden acted when she had hurt her leg. She shot up in bed.
“Oh my Force,” She whispered out loud. Is her leg okay? She felt dark, frantic worry bubble up in her chest like bile.
After fifteen minutes of trying to calm down, Ahsoka lowered herself back into bed. The mattress felt hard and lumpy under her, and her body felt awkward all of a sudden. She couldn’t get comfortable. She shifted in every which way, but her bones still felt like they were trying to break free of her skin, and the mattress felt like a rock underneath her.
She couldn’t get Anakin. How could she explain this?
Denying her feelings was pointless. She felt this way about Lux, all those years ago, but it was never this strong.
The sound of pounding blood in her ears faded as she stopped trying to lie to herself. She shifted once more on the mattress, and suddenly it didn’t feel so unyielding. Slowly, she drifted off to sleep.
“Morning, Snips,” Anakin greeted. Ahsoka blinked, the world slowly coming into focus. The pressure of interpreted sleep pressed against her eyes, but she ignored it and sat up, stretching. She yawned, a small, strangled sound forcing its way out of her throat.
“G’morning.” She slurred.
Anakin laughed, his human hand coming up to flick her Padawan beads over her head. “Tired?”
Ahsoka gave him a look that she was sure looked ridiculous. She was trying to roll her eyes, but they just fluttered closed, heavy with the need to sleep.
She heard him laugh softly. A warm mug was pushed into her hands.
“Tea. Drink,” He replied to her curious look. “It’ll wake you up.”
She took a sip of the tea, and purred as its warmth spread from her chest throughout her body. Anakin layed back on the foot of her bed, his hands behind his head. “You worried me when you didn’t wake up, I thought you were sick or something.”
She smiled and stifled another yawn. “I just had trouble falling asleep last night, that’s all. I guess I was just tired.”
“Something wrong?” He sat up. His face had quickly gone from relaxed to concerned. Ahsoka felt bad for breaking the peace.
“No, nothing’s wrong.” Anakin gave her a disbelieving look before lying back down. She felt the warmth from the tea get slammed aside as cold fear spread through her as she remembered exactly why she couldn’t sleep last night. She wanted to make sure Kaeden was okay.
It wasn’t until Anakin bolted up so fast he almost fell off the bed that Ahsoka realized her mental shields weren’t up.
“‘Nothing’s wrong’ my ass, Ahsoka.” His eyes bored into hers. “What’s happened?”
“I- I was just worried for the people living in the area that got attacked. Are they alright?”
“Yeah, they’re all safe, accounted for, and relocated for the moment. We can visit them if you want.” His gaze was still on her. “But what else happened?”
Ahsoka almost wanted to laugh. She knew better than to hide her feelings from her Master. The amusement dropped away with that revelation. That was exactly the problem.
“You know you can tell me anything, right?” Ahsoka looked up at him. She hadn’t even realized she was picking at the threads on the blanket until she let go. She almost smiled again, the same thing had happened with Kaeden. She wondered if she could let go of her feelings, too.
A tear hit the back of her palm. When had she started crying? She felt Anakin’s alarm, and he quickly sat next to her and put his arm around her shoulders.
Ahsoka tried to take a sip of the tea to calm down.“Is it about your friend? The girl you were with in the alley way?” Anakin asked.
Ahsoka nearly choked on the tea.
With some difficulty, she swallowed it. “Yeah,” She breathed, quietly. “I’m worried about Kaeden. Her leg was injured and I want to make sure that she’s alright.”
Anakin raised his eyebrow. “I’m not going to leave until you tell me what’s eating you. If you really can’t tell me, just say that. But lying about it only hurts you.”
I can’t tell you.
Then, a voice inside of Ahsoka whispered,
Why not? What are you afraid of?
Ahsoka wanted to hold onto this part of herself, she wanted it just to be for herself.
But that just caused her pain in situations like this.
What would happen if you let go?
“Master, I- I, um, I think I-” Anakin drew her closer when she started shaking. “I like her.”
“Like I said, we can go and check in on her if you’re worried.”
Her chest was unbearably tight. “No Master, I meant I like her more than as a friend.”
His face scrunched up in confusion. “I understand the concept of crushes, Ahsoka. I know what you meant.” She turned to him bewildered. He was smiling his signature crooked smile. “What did you think I was going to s- hey, what’s wrong?” Ahsoka was shaking harder now, but this time from relief and laughter. “Snips?”
Ahsoka just hugged him. “ I was scared to tell you,” she said finally.
“Everyone has crushes, Ahsoka.”
“You know what I mean.”
He sighed. “I know. I just didn’t want to believe you were scared to tell me you’re gay.”
Ahsoka stilled. It was jarring to hear the word, so simple but it meant everything. “It wasn’t that I thought you would- it’s not that I don’t trust you, I just didn’t even understand it myself.”
Ahsoka took his silence as an invitation to continue.
“I know I like Kaeden, and I know my feelings for Lux weren’t any less real, but it’s still weird when you realize you don’t know yourself as well as you thought you did. And as a Jedi, I’m not supposed to have these feelings, so I tried to ignore it because there was no point in figuring it out, but that made it worse. There wasn’t really anyone I could talk to about it, and- I don’t know. It was hard. It still is.”
“Oh, Ahsoka. There are plenty of Jedi of all different sexualties.”
“Yeah, like, half of the Jedi Masters you know are gay, and that’s not even counting the Knights and Padawans and Younglings. Did you think you were the only one?”
“No, but the no attachment thing made it hard to talk about, and I just felt isolated.”
“Ahsoka, there’s no shame within the Order of figuring out who you like. If you don’t know that you have feelings for someone, how can you ever let those feelings go?” He smiled. “Besides, you know I don’t really listen to the ‘no attachments’ rule. Even though I may not understand your feelings, you could have still come to me. Talking, even if it’s just rambling, is very helpful for figuring out emotions. It’s like thinking out loud, except when you think by yourself sometimes the thoughts can go places you never want to visit.” He cringed. “If you’re with another person, they’ll help keep you away from the bad thoughts.” Ahsoka put her head on his shoulder, and she felt him kiss the top of her lekku. “Do you want to go see her?”
“Yes,” Ahsoka replied too quickly. Anakin laughed.
“Woah, settle down, Ahsoka. She isn’t going anywhere.”
Ahsoka felt her lekku heat up as she laughed. “Hypocrite. You get antsy when you’re five minutes late to see Padmé.”
Anakin pushed her shoulder. “Shut up. I’m taking you to see your girlfriend out of the goodness of my own heart and this is how you repay me?” He tried but ultimately failed to keep the smile off his face and out of his voice. “Get ready, Snips. We’ll leave in ten.”
Later, when they were in the speeder, Anakin kept up his relentless teasing.
“You’re mean,” Ahsoka said. “Am I this mean to you about Padmé?”
“Yes!” He replied. “Yes, you are. I didn’t tease you about Lux because there were other people around. Trust me, if we had our own quarters on Onderon, you’d have never heard the end of it.” He chuckled.
“Shut up,” Ahsoka mumbled. “Mean.”
He shook his head before continuing. “Did you ever kiss Lux?”
If Ahsoka had been drinking something, she would have spit it out. “Master!”
“What? It’s not an unreasonable question.”
She mumbled her answer. Anakin could probably hear it, but he grinned and asked her to speak up.
“I said, yeah, but it was a strange set of circumstances.”
“Ooooh,” He teased. “Did that circumstance include a lack of clothing or-”
He was laughing so hard now, Ahsoka was worried he would crash the speeder. “Sorry, sorry. I’ll stop. What actually happened?”
When Ahsoka finished telling him, she braced for more teasing. Instead, Anakin was deadly silent. “You didn’t ask for the kiss?” His voice was too low to be considered calm.
She shook her head. “No, I didn’t. But I understand why he did it, I just wish he would have thought of something else.” Ahsoka recoiled at the white hot anger simmering off of Anakin.
His eyes were dark with anger. “If anyone ever pulls that on you again-”
“I’ll let you know.” He nodded instead of replying. After a few minutes, his anger subsided, and Ahsoka made a joke about how Anakin’s clothes were suspiciously ruffled after his last visit with Padmé. His face turned bright red, the blush traveling down his neck, but he laughed anyway.
Finally, finally, they reached Keaden’s house. The holes the bomb blew in the wall were crudely boarded up, but it was effective enough to hold.
“I won’t be far. I’ll probably go looking for a decent place to eat. Comm me when you need a pickup.”
“No kissing on the first date.”
“Anakin,” she sighed, exasperated. He grinned.
“Have fun, but not too much!” Anakin sang as he drove off.
Now Ahsoka was standing alone, facing Kaeden’s door.
She took a deep breath, and knocked.
The door flew open, and Ahsoka was met with Kaeden’s face adorned with a splitting grin, and an ecstatic look in her beautiful eyes that Ahsoka adored.
“Hi,” She said, bashfully. Any confidence she had from Anakin’s hyping was gone now, turned to liquid and drained out of her body, along with any sense of words, because Ahsoka was at a loss of them.
Kaeden wasn’t. “Come in.”
Ahsoka followed her, and stepped over the threshold.
They talked for hours, but it was mere minutes to Ahsoka. She would stay in this moment forever if she could, but when was she ever that lucky?
Speaking of luck, it seemed to Ahsoka that hers was running out. She was beginning to think she misread the signals. Kaeden hadn’t dropped any hints to show that she was interested in anything other than this. But this friendship was so amazing, so right, that Ahsoka was having a hard time complaining.
When she finally accepted her fate in the friend zone, Kaeden broke the ice.
“Listen, Ahsoka, about what I said after you saved my life, I’m sorry if it made you uncomfortable in any way.”
“What?” Her heart was hammering so hard in her chest she felt her ribs were at risk of cracking.
“I’d be lying if I said I don’t have feelings for you, but I know that Jedi have that whole issue with attachment so..” She trailed off. “So.”
“Well, actually, um, I didn’t mind what you said.”
Kaeden blinked. Then she blinked again.
A smile slowly spread across Ahsoka’s face as she let go of her fear and let it flow into the Force. “The Jedi traditionally don’t form attachments, but I think I already broke that rule when I got so close to you these past few weeks. Also, my Master doesn’t like that rule so I won’t be in trouble if I break it. As long as you can keep a secret-”
She broke off her sentence as Kaeden took a step closer.
“Um, can I follow through with what I said earlier?”
I could kiss you.
Ahsoka grinned. “You may.”
Ahsoka’s already rapid heartbeat picked up as Kaeden took her hands. Stars spun and exploded behind her eyes when Kaeden kissed her. Ahsoka leaned into the kiss, as a muddled thought floated it’s way to the top of the haze that was Ahsoka’s brain.
What if I’m bad at this?
And then Ahsoka decided she didn’t care.
Ah, Kriff it. Sorry Master, there will be kissing on the first “date”.
Ahsoka let go of Kaeden’s hands and moved them to her face. Her skin was soft beneath her hands, her fingers tingling with pleasant fire whenever they touched her.
Kaeden pulled back, her eyes wide, her smile wider. Ahsoka was breathing hard. She could be in battle for hours on end and keep her stamina up, but one little kiss makes her body turn to liquid and her thoughts go numb.
“Was that your first kiss?” Said a muffled voice. Ahsoka snapped out of her punch-drunk state and fixed her eyes on Kaeden’s.
“Really?” Kaeden said, teasing. Ahsoka’s breath caught as Kaeden pulled her closer. “Are you sure?”
“What, was I that bad?” Kaeden threw her head back and laughed in reply.
“I’m teasing you.”
Ahsoka laughed, too. “Oh, I know. But no, it was not my first kiss. However, it was the first kiss to take my breath away.”
Kaeden’s grin widened as she moved to kiss Ahsoka again.
“I quite like taking your breath away.”