Rain. Shaak Ti hated being outside in it.
The constant drum of the raindrops against her tall, curving montrals drove her insane. She hated this mission to Centares and all the rain that came with it. This entire planet should be damned to the darkest depths of hell and-
Shaak Ti sighed and shook her head. "It's nothing, Ahsoka," she muttered. "But the rain on my horns is driving me out of my mind…"
Ahsoka, a Togruta as well, smiled and tapped her own horns. "Don't remind me," she said ruefully. "Well, at least it's even…if it was an uneven spit, I don't know what I would do."
Ahsoka Tano was Shaak Ti's Padawan at the time. She was a young Togruta, so her horns were shorter than Shaak Ti's, but they were horns all the same. Ahsoka was in her teens, and still getting used to herself and Jedi life, but she showed immense promise as a Jedi. Shaak Ti had agreed to take her on as a Padawan because they were of the same race, and because Shaak Ti was looking for a Padawan who she could train and also form a bond with. Adolescence was always hard for Togrutas, and Shaak Ti knew she needed to help Ahsoka along the way. It always helped to have someone who understood what one was going through to be around and rein in the hormones.
"So…bored yet?" Ahsoka asked, glancing over at Shaak Ti. The two were on a mission to Centares to investigate a new disturbance in the Force, and so far, they had been sitting in the rain outside a house for…hours, at best.
"I was bored four and a half minutes after we sat down. And I was miserable the second it started raining. I was wet all over six seconds after it started, and soaked through fourteen seconds after the rain started. Any more questions?"
Ahsoka managed a small laugh. "No, thank you. But I would like to share that, since I have on many less layers than you, I was soaked through four seconds after it started pouring, and miserable about that time."
"You know, you really shouldn't dress like such a skank."
Ahsoka feigned hurt. "Hey, only the top is kinda…revealing…" she muttered. She glanced down at her soaked clothes, which included a tube top that Ahsoka had cut to show off her stomach and a dark skirt over light pants. Her pants were leather, and so were her gloves. A utility belt held her lightsaber and some basic survival supplies, and held up a decorative, patterned piece of violet cloth that hung down in front of Ahsoka. Her green lightsaber was quick to find its mark, and rarely missed, even in tight spaces and crowds. Like Shaak Ti and most Togruta, she was graceful and moved through crowds easily, and was often eager to take on covert missions. Not that her coloring was anything like covert: her orange skin and blue-and-white striped horns and lekku bravely stood out from the rest of the creatures around her.
Shaak Ti shrugged at her Padawan's answer. "You really shouldn't."
"I'm not a slut, and my lightsaber says so!"
"I would offer to try that, but it's not really a fair fight. I can hardly move, my clothes are sticking to me so!"
"Don't wear so many."
Shaak Ti growled and sent Ahsoka a warning glare before firmly smacking her upside the head. "Now, if you ding-dong-ditch the nearest house with people in it, I might take that back. Because they will smack you instead of me."
"You're hilarious," Ahsoka drawled. She rolled her eyes, sighed, and leaned back against the wall she and Shaak Ti were sitting-and had been for the past few hours. Ahsoka's and Shaak Ti's nerves were frayed, and each was ready to kill the next thing that looked at them oddly.
Shaak Ti glanced up at the sound of a soft, pale voice echoing through her montrals. The ultrasonic-receiving horns almost perked at the sound, and Shaak Ti sat up a little straighter. One hand strayed to her lightsaber; the other pressed into the muddy ground, pushing herself into a crouch to move a bit faster if she was attacked. "Who's there?" she called, extending her senses within the Force to try to find a being besides hers and Ahsoka's.
"You hear her, too."
Shaak Ti nodded at her Padawan's question, and Ahsoka moved into a lowered position as well. One shin came parallel to the ground, and the other folded up beneath Ahsoka and running along her chest. Like Shaak Ti, one hand came to rest on the hilt of her lightsaber, and the other stayed on the ground. "I thought I was going crazy at first…it was so faint, and-"
"It's fine. I can sense someone. Come with me; we'll check it out."
Shaak Ti slowly pushed herself to her feet, moving as fluidly and gracefully as a Togruta always did. She moved slowly to avoid being seen, and to better take in everything around her. Ahsoka waited until Shaak Ti was fully standing to rise herself, and she found her hand unclipping her lightsaber from her belt.
Shaak Ti's hand was suddenly on top of hers.
"Don't," she whispered. "Wait until attacked to attack yourself. That way, no accidents happen."
Ahsoka nodded. Her master's words made sense; if Ahsoka attacked the wrong person, it could kill an innocent or cause unnecessary complications along those lines. Her green lightsaber would also serve as a beacon of sorts, as it glowed brilliantly through even the densest fogs. Still, Ahsoka couldn't make herself return her lightsaber to her belt. Her skin was crawling…the back of her neck was prickling and her nerves were signing, as if she was already in battle. "Master," she whispered, "I have a really bad feeling about this…"
Shaak Ti said nothing for a moment. Ahsoka glanced up at her in question, unsure of her master's lack of reaction. Then, she realized that Shaak Ti was centering herself within the Force. The Togruta was standing perfectly still, drawn up to her full height with her eyes closed. Her arms hung next to her sides, fingers lax but coiled and ready to spring to her lightsaber at any second. Ahsoka stepped back a bit from the situation; Shaak Ti could sense the slightest disturbances in the Force, and was even able to slice along the fissure where two miasmas met with her lightsaber to cause both sides of the collision to erupt in sheer power. Ahsoka knew Shaak Ti was probing for that gap, searching it out in order to exploit it at a later time in the battle.
"I do too. That's why I'm trying to find everyone in the Force to see who's where and why."
Ahsoka nodded, but said nothing. Shaak Ti hadn't even opened her eyes, let alone moved, to answer her. She was obviously still deeply immersed in the Force-
A slice of blue made Ahsoka jump ten feet in the air.
Shaak Ti had drawn her lightsaber and slashed at something in front of her in less than a second, and Ahsoka soon found herself staring at the twisted remains of a saberdart, clearly fired by the person Shaak Ti was searching for and Ahsoka had sensed. Shaak Ti lowered her lightsaber and swept her hand in front of her, suddenly alert and ready to fight. She had lowered her body to a battle-ready crouch, and her lightsaber was angled perpendicular to her body, a blue bar of light across her stomach and tucked out of the way as she used the Force to clear the rain from her vision. The darkened skies still poured, but, for a moment, Shaak Ti was able to get a glimpse of her attacker.
She was tall, with blue-grey skin and pale white lips. Her eyes were lined with black, and their irises were gold. She had no hair, but her limbs were long and graceful. She wore a bounty hunter's jumpsuit, also with countless straps holding her blasters, ammunition, and other tools of the trade. She had long, fingerless gloves that covered most of her arms, both of which ended in long-fingered hands, each holding blaster. Shaak Ti's eyes narrowed in a barely-contained snarl as she recognized the Rattatak in front of them-and the stolen lightsaber at her hip.
"Lyshaa," she growled. Ahsoka glanced over at Shaak Ti, suddenly much more worried than she even had been before. If Shaak Ti was aggravated enough to growl in such a manner, than something bad was going to happen.
"Ahsoka, I'm going to ask something kind of stupid of you," Shaak Ti said briskly. "I need you to stay back until I tell you to, and then jump in with both feet. Okay?"
Ahsoka was only confused for a moment. Jump in with both feet? What did that mean? And why did Shaak Ti want her to wait? Well, figure it out while she waited. Ahsoka nodded, and Shaak Ti angled her lightsaber towards the woman she had referred to as "Lyshaa." Ahsoka watched with bated breath as the two combatants only exchanged glares for a moment, each sizing the other up. Who would move first? Ahsoka knew it was very unlikely to be Shaak Ti; her master never charged recklessly into battle, and always told her to only attack in defense. Sure enough, Lyshaa made a grab for her lightsaber and ignited it, green blade pouring out. Shaak Ti raised her blade a split second later, blocking a large overhand chop from Lyshaa. But Ahsoka knew this was just the beginning: Shaak Ti was a master swordswoman, but Lyshaa seemed very good herself. But where had she gotten that lightsaber? Surely, she was not a former Jedi…or was she? It was possible. Lightsabers flashed and spun, clashing at almost random intervals to the naked eye. But Ahsoka knew better: the two women were actually locked in a fine art, but it was so sped up that one couldn't follow the entire battle stroke-for-stroke. Ahsoka, meanwhile, began to wrack her brain for anything she and Shaak Ti had gone over in training about "jumping in with both feet." Had she ever done a move that required jumping and kicking with both feet at the same time? Was that what Shaak Ti meant, and she hadn't wanted to give away the move? Ahsoka decided to try it. She had nothing to lose, anyway. But for now, watch and wait. Shaak Ti knew what she was doing, and Ahsoka knew she shouldn't interfere. If she did, she could alter the entire course of the battle for the worse.
Shaak Ti seemed to be the aggressor in the battle: Lyshaa was stepping back, and her lightsaber was moving only in a circular, pivotal motion. Shaak Ti's lightsaber was moving out, and then back again to lash out once more. The Togruta's movements were fluid, graceful, and backed by a confidence that Lyshaa was starting to lose. Even double-bladed, Lyshaa was having trouble keeping pace with Shaak Ti.
Ahsoka recognized her cue and leapt forward, propelling herself into the air in a tucked roll that brought her up and over Shaak Ti and placed her directly over Lyshaa's head. As Ahsoka succumbed to gravity's pull, she uncoiled her body, bringing both of her heels smashing into Lyshaa's skull. Shaak Ti jumped back, out of the way, and then reached out with her free hand to guide Ahsoka safely back to earth and out of the way. She then jumped around Ahsoka, swept over Lyshaa, and grabbed both of the woman's lightsabers. Lyshaa made one last grab at the weapons, long nails drawing several angry scratches across Shaak Ti's hands and wrists. The Togruta flinched with the pain, but tried to ignore it, despite the blood dripping down her arms. As Ahsoka righted herself again, she noticed that Shaak Ti's chest was heaving, while Lyshaa was slightly less winded. Shaak Ti was holding her lightsaber on Lyshaa's back, right over her heart. Lyshaa was lying on her stomach, arms bent in front of her and legs stretched out behind her. Her head was up and glaring at Shaak Ti with hatred to rival Darth Sidious's, and her eyes flashed with uncontrollable fury.
"Who are you?" she finally growled. "What are you? To defeat me so easily-?"
Shaak Ti stepped back, deactivated both of Lyshaa's lightsabers and handing them to Ahsoka. "Hang on to those," she said, slowly backing away from Lyshaa. "She need not die today. I have no reason to kill her. Learn this now, Ahsoka: one who cannot kill you, should not be killed. Only take a life in self defense. No matter the grudge-let it go."
Ahsoka nodded. She never ceased to be amazed at Shaak Ti's strength in the Force that she could walk away from Lyshaa after such a brutal battle saying that Lyshaa should not die. "But hadn't she tried to kill you before?" Ahsoka questioned. "Doesn't that warrant the death? And besides, she'll only do it again."
"We have no way of knowing that," Shaak Ti pointed out. "And once I had the upper hand and she was down, the threat ceased, and thus, my right to her blood. Unless I knocked her down, she still had a weapon, and I killed her immediately, the death would be unnecessary. She would have to attack me again before I could kill her."
Ahsoka nodded slowly. It was complicated, but she thought she got it. She couldn't say that she would execute the same amount of control, however. If someone attacked her, she would just say, "All's fair in love and war," and use the classic excuse, "She started it!"
"Come on," Shaak Ti prompted, turning and deactivating her lightsaber. "We need to move on." She turned fully away from Lyshaa, trusting in Ahsoka to follow her or alert her to any danger she may have missed.
"Master! Get down!"
Ahsoka felt like the next few moments passed in slow motion. Lyshaa had drawn a blaster from the holster at her left hip and raised it to fire just as Shaak Ti had turned her back. Shaak Ti whipped around, but Lyshaa had already pulled the trigger. A laser bullet began speeding towards Shaak Ti, and made it to the Togruta's flesh almost immediately. Ahsoka felt a horrible jolt in the Force-and then, Shaak Ti crumpled to the ground, blue-purple blood gushing from a wound in her open side.
A/N: No flames, all opinions voiced politely welcomed with open arms. And yes, I do like Star Wars. A lot. And Naruto. I am one of the biggest geeks you will ever find. And I leave it to you to review, because I need to go kill a spider…