mattlauercansuckit: (master and padawan)
[personal profile] mattlauercansuckit
title So We Fight Through the Hurt
author [livejournal.com profile] patientalien
word count 2084
rating PG-13
summary Ahsoka is tested when her master is severely injured
notes written for the "blood loss" prompt on my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card. Title from "Down to Earth" by Justin Bieber (yes, really), suggested by my beautiful [livejournal.com profile] citizenjess.
warnings some gore

-------


"You can't be serious." Ahsoka knew he was, of course. It wasn't as though he'd never done anything like this before, but it didn't mean she had to like it.

Anakin sighed. "It's easier for just the two of us to recon the base - if we bring the whole squad, it's just that many more targets." He grinned at her. "Not feeling up to it?"

She scowled. "Of course I am!" she exclaimed, grabbing her supply pack. "I'll race you to the ridge!" Just because she didn't like the idea didn't mean she couldn't play along. He had a point, after all.

To her great pleasure, she beat him to the ridge. She knew he'd probably let her win - the man could move fast when he wanted to - but it still made her glad when he put a hand on her shoulder and congratulated her. Anakin did not hand out praise lightly, and when he did it always made her warm inside. Even two years into her apprenticeship, all she really wanted to do was please him. She knew she did, most of the time, even though sometimes she felt like he was overprotective - he just worried about her, Obi-Wan had said gently when she'd brought it up once, it didn't mean he doubted her abilities.

They walked together in silence for a time, dry sticks cracking under their boots. Suddenly, Anakin stopped and held up a hand. "Hold on," he said, hushed. He took a tentative step forward, holding out his arm to keep her from following.

The resulting explosion threw Ahsoka backwards into a grove of trees. She hit the ground hard, rolling to her feet, her lightsabers finding their ways to her hands. She waited, listening - there were no sounds of 'droids, no strafing runs from bombers. Just the aftermath ringing in her ears and the silence of the forest.

After she determined the explosion had been a landmine, she scanned the area - she didn't sense any others, maybe it hadn't been a planned attack after all. She straightened, coughed. "Master?" she called out, worried he hadn't run back over to her yet. "Master?"

She saw a flash of silver in the woods across from her, Anakin's glove clasps glinting in the filtered sunlight. Careful to use the Force to sense the safety of the ground around her, she rushed over as fast as she dared. "Master?" she asked again, and recoiled, throwing her hands over her mouth when she finally saw him.

He was covered in blood, his right leg bent at an unnatural angle, and Ahsoka was fairly certain she could see the bone poking through his tattered skin. She resisted the urge to gag; she'd seen worse, after all, but this was her Master.

She knelt beside him, careful not to jostle him, and carefully inspected the rest of him. Gashes in his legs and torso were bleeding at a troubling rate, and a bruise was forming on the side of his face, also cut and burned. His neck didn't seem to be broken, but she couldn't tell if there had been any spinal trauma. "Anakin," she said, softly. "Wake up."

His eyes flitted open; one had hemorrhaged, the cornea completely red. "Padme?" he asked, and there was a strange whistling sound from his chest when he spoke. Ahsoka didn't respond, but reached into her pack, managing to find some first aid supplies. Nothing like what Anakin actually needed, but at least enough gauze and tape to cover the chest wound, to put pressure on the worst of the bleeding. "Hey," Anakin said as she tried to gently wrap his arm in gauze. "Hey, am I dead?"

She shook her head vehemently. She didn't even want to think about that, couldn't accept the outcome that might be inevitable, despite her action. "Not a chance," she replied, trying to keep her voice steady. "You're not getting away from me that easily."

Anakin blinked at her hazily. "We should get back to the ship," he suggested, and Ahsoka wondered if he had any idea how badly he was injured. "Help me up." Apparently not.

"You're not going anywhere, Master," she replied firmly, swallowing. "I'll comm Rex, have him come get us." She looked around, realizing there wasn't anywhere for a larty to land. Well, they'd have to improvise.

A shiver wracked Anakin's body and he coughed, pink froth flecking his lips. "I don't think we have time, we should go now," he insisted, struggling to sit up. He managed only to prop himself against a tree trunk, gasping. "Just give me a minute. We'll... I'll... it'll be okay." He trailed off as his gaze met his leg for the first time. "Maybe you should comm Rex," he said, dazed, suddenly pale.

Ahsoka nodded, activated her comm. After what seemed like an eternity, Rex's wavering image appeared. "What's the situation, Commander?" he asked, all business, but she knew that he knew something was wrong.

"We need an evac," she said, glancing back at Anakin, whose shivering had begun anew, violently. "There's nowhere to land a larty, but Master Skywalker's injured and we need to get out of here now." She tried to keep her voice calm, tried to act in a manner befitting a military commander. But her Master was vomiting now, and the vomit had chunks of blood in it.

"We've got your coordinates, Commander," Rex said after a moment. "We'll bring in a walker."

Ahsoka swallowed. "Make sure you're scanning for landmines," she warned. "There was just the one in this area, but be careful anyway." She wouldn't have the death of her troops on her, and she knew Anakin wouldn't want that either.

"Will do," Rex replied, and softened. "We'll be there soon, Little One, just hang on." She managed a smile; the 501st would follow their General to the ends of the galaxy and back. They were all tough men, bred on the battlefields of the war, but they adored Anakin. She felt a little better, knowing help was on the way.

She turned her attention back to Anakin. He'd stopped vomiting, but now there was something wrong with his breathing, coming out in whistling rasps as his chest heaved. "Are you in pain?" she asked, kneeling beside him and brushing his hair, matted with blood and dirt, away from his face. She didn't know if she had any painkillers in her pack, and doubted she should even administer them if she did, but if there was something else she could do to make him comfortable she didn't want to ignore it.

Anakin shook his head. "No," he managed. "It doesn't hurt." He considered for a moment. "I have a headache, I think. Everything else is just... fine. Is Rex coming?"

Ahsoka nodded, gnawing on her lip. Anakin didn't sound like himself; normally, he was full of bravado, even when injured. Now he sounded distant, almost child-like. It worried her, though she wasn't about to admit it. She dug around in her pack for her canteen. "Here," she said, raising it to Anakin's lips. "You should have some water."

Shaking his head again, Anakin closed his eyes for a moment. "Bad idea," he said. "I'll just puke it up again anyway." He opened his eyes, and she tried not to look at the one weeping blood. "Are you okay?" he asked. "Did you get hurt?"

She thought it was fairly obvious that she hadn't, since she'd been the one to come to him, and was doing her best to keep him alive. But he looked a little lost, and she realized, belatedly that he'd gone into shock. "I'm fine," she said gently, and pulled her cloak from her pack, draping it over him. "Don't worry about me."

"You're a good apprentice, Snips," he informed her, grabbing her wrist with his mechanical hand, holding it tight as if she would otherwise disappear.

Ahsoka felt something churning inside her and she turned her head away. "You're a good Master," she replied, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat. "So you'd better just get through this."

"It'll be okay." She turned back to him, and he was blinking sleepily, his lips and eyelids tinged blue. "Use a tourniquet."

Ahsoka shook her head. "First of all, you're bleeding from everywhere. Second of all, unless you want your leg to match your arm, that's a bad idea." It worried her that Anakin's usually uncanny survival instinct was suddenly so lacking. "You'll be fine, Master, don't worry." She felt bad lying to him, but it seemed to make him feel better.

"Is Rex coming?" he asked, leaning his head against the tree. Ahsoka swallowed, nodded. "Good. Don't, uh, don't tell Obi-Wan about this, okay?"

"I think he's going to find out eventually," Ahsoka pointed out, sliding her fingers over his cheek. "Just relax, Master, Rex'll be here soon." She didn't want him to fall asleep, but his confusion was troubling, scary.

Anakin let out a gasp, breath coming harsher, now. "I need to talk to Padme," he said, urgently.

She felt tears well in her eyes, not because of the realization that Anakin and Senator Amidala had an... attachment... but because Anakin didn't think he was going to see the other woman again. "You can talk to her when we're back home," she said firmly. "But if you..." Her throat closed, she tried again. "I can give her a message if you want."

Anakin bowed his head. "No," he said. "Just... I'm sorry." He sighed as much as he could. "And I'm sorry, Snips. That I didn't tell you or teach you right or... I'm really proud of you." He smiled slightly, teeth and lips stained with blood, and Ahsoka tried not to turn away.

A low mechanical whine, a crunch-crunch through underbrush, and a sudden familiar presence in the Force made her head snap up. "It's Rex!" she exclaimed, realizing she'd never felt more grateful for anything in her life. "Just hang on, Master!" She sprang to her feet and ran to the edge of the clearing just as the walker burst through the trees.

Rex appeared from the upper hatch as the loading ramp lowered, revealing Coric and a squad of others. "Heard you needed a lift," Rex called, and Ahsoka grinned.

Coric and the others brought down a hover sled, and set to making sure Anakin could be moved without additional support. Meanwhile, Rex climbed down to stand beside Ahsoka. "You did good, Little One," the Captain said, dropping a hand onto her shoulder.

She blinked up at him, gratitude welling along with the relieved tears. "Thanks, Rex," she said, and glanced over her shoulder as her Master was settled onto the sled. "Really. Thanks."

"It's what we do," Rex replied with a shrug. "Now let's get back space-side."

Ahsoka nodded. It was the best thing she'd heard all day.


-----



Three weeks of bacta treatment, blood transfusions, and several surgeries to repair his leg and internal organs later, and Anakin seemed back to normal, at least mentally. "Do I really still need to be here?" he groused to Coric as Ahsoka entered Resolute's medbay. "I'm fine." He grimaced, shifting in bed. "At least could you let me piss on my own?"

"I thought you'd like not having to waste the effort of going to the 'fresher," Ahsoka commented lightly, approaching the bed. "How're you doing, Master?" She gently touched his flesh hand, stroking her fingers down his.

"Coric is torturing me," Anakin announced, glaring at the Clone medic.

"It's called physical therapy," Coric replied with a long-suffering sigh. "To make sure your leg heals correctly. It's not torture, Sir." With that, he pressed on Anakin's heel, pushing his leg to his chest.

"Coulda fooled me," Anakin snapped, gasping. "You take lessons from the Separatists or something?"

"No, Sir." Coric let Anakin's leg straighten. "If I were a Separatist, I wouldn't be letting you piss at all."

Ahsoka covered her amusement with her hand, biting back a giggle at Anakin's disgruntled expression. She didn't like to see him in pain, but at least now it was clear he would fully recover. She suddenly remembered her actual reason for coming in here. "Master Kenobi wanted me to tell you he'll rendezvous with us on Ansion and provide escort back to Coruscant."

Anakin looked infinitely relieved. "Thanks, Snips," he said, and his expression softened slightly. "For everything."

"Anytime, Master," she replied with a slight bow. "Anytime."
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