A/N: Here's another "skywalker tries to give Ahsoka character depth" story, this time inspired by the following quote from Wookieepedia:
"Ahsoka wears an akul-tooth headdress, which could only be worn by Togrutas who had single-handedly killed one of the fierce akul creatures: an impressive feat for one so young."
She jumped off the flagship into the cold yellow clouds, her ears filling with the sound of her clothing flapping as she plummeted. The clones' jet packs hissed to life behind her as they followed, and despite the emptiness of the sky ringing in her montrals, she felt filled up, embraced by a gravity well as comfortingly choking as a fur coat, and she whooped to fill the sky with the same completeness.
It may have been the next mission, or a few afterward. They tended to blur together when most of them did not involve things as exciting as jumping out of spacecraft and battling lightsaber-wielding CIS leaders. Most of them involved something like this; sitting under a mud-brown-and-grey tarpaulin lashed with rain, waiting while the clones pushed en masse ever so slowly into Seperatist lines. Most of them, too, involved this, Master Skywalker coming and looking down at her darkly, saying "Look Snips, I just wanted to talk to you about–"
" My headstrong actions."
She stammered for a bit, picked her hand off of her knee and set it down. Did not know what to say. Thought, You're headstrong too, you know.
She said, "Do we have a while? I've got a story to tell you."
Anakin looked out of the makeshift bunker at the gray ground in the distance, at the inhospitable fumes rising from the cracks. Dangerous land for an oxygen breather with bare skin; that's why the clones had gone out alone at first with their plas shells and rebreathers, to thin the ranks. "Sure, Ahsoka." He sat down beside her, all shifting brown cloak and creaking leather.
As she told, she remembered, pictures and Force signatures and echo-maps reprinting lightly in her mind.
Even civilized Togrutas like the Jedi gathering now in the pillow-strewn meditation chamber wanted the reassurance of a pack sometimes. Others of their species felt a certain way, set off a particular little light in their sight and sense of space, and so ten-or-so-year-old Ahsoka felt comfortable there, even more so than she might with her yearmates or Master Plo by her side. Shaak Ti sat beside her with her knees folded underneath her and her long, graceful headtails curving along beside her arms. Beside her, two younglings playfully swatted at each other. The fifth Togruta had initiated the meeting.
He had what Ahsoka did not then know were the hands of a teacher of the art of fighting using pressure points; scarred hands with thick sinews under the rough crimson skin. His headtails were scarred as well, one cratered around the edges as if by blasterfire, but he had a disarming smile, and white patches around his eyes that gave an impression of perpetual bemusement.
He clapped with the rest of them for the Jedi parable Shaak Ti had told, then began his own story.
He told of the death of an akul, and told it so well that Ahsoka could almost see the beast's tufts of orange fur, its undulating legless body, its scaly sides rushing by like a hovertrain. It had been taking livestock from a nearby farm, and instead of shooting it down from the air, the Jedi passing through had offered to challenge it on his own, to undertake the traditional rite of the Togruta. In it, he had said, he had won the headdress that adorned his forehead, similar to but simpler than the one Master Ti wore.
He approached the giant creature reverently, letting it know that he too was a predator. He snuck up on it, through the red-and-blue Shilli grass and the purple and white leafy trees, lightsaber in hand.
When the akul reared up in front of him, he jumped from the trunk of a tree to the beast's head and scoured a rut in its carapace with a swing of his foreign-forest-green lightsaber. He flipped to the ground and watched the thing hiss down at him, its mouth agape to reveal triangular teeth and the reek of meat, while its tail snaked around, rustling the grass in swaths a meter wide, to trap him.
He let it fight him for a time, let it live out its purpose as a writhing, hunting creature, let it teach him where his weaknesses were. Then he killed it as quickly as he could, with a cut across the back of its neck, through the soft fur and the chitin.
He sounded sad when he finished the story, and closed his brown eyes."A good action story, isn't it. But all the tales of the Jedi should teach us isn't that it is good to kill. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. Prowess in combat is necessary sometimes...some opponents, like animals, don't know what to do besides keep fighting. If we have to kill, we do so only with a respect for life."
After a moment of reverent silence and nodding, the master smiled and stood, his story finished. Master Ti gathered the younglings together, but instead of going out into the hall to wait for Master Plo, the young Ahsoka followed the master with the akul-tooth headdress.
"Excuse me, Master."
He looked down at her. "Yes?"
"I just wanted to say I liked your story. You were cool. I...I wish I'd have an akul trophy one day."
A short laugh brightened his face. "Our lives aren't measured by whether what we do is cool, or by our achievements–certainly not by what we've killed." As he spoke he reached behind his head. Ahsoka didn't understand why until the akul teeth went limp around their strand at the base of his headtails. Suddenly the trinket was lose and shining in his hand and he was passing it to her, setting it in the red palm that she had outstretched because of course one did what a master told one to do–
"Jedi don't measure themselves by achievements."
"But he never told me what they do measure themselves by." Ahsoka looked imploringly up at Anakin. "Then Master Plo came back. And..." She rasied a hand as if to touch the teeth, but set it down again. "I wore it. No one barely noticed, except me. But I...don't deserve it. I want to show that I didn't get it out of pity. Maybe he saw something in me.
"I just want to live up to it.
"So, that's my excuse." She smiled, tried to make it cute, but was sure that she simply ended up looking like she was just staring into the distance (because she was). "What's yours?"