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Sabine's blasters are in many ways her oldest friends: unerringly loyal, up for any adventure, and more often than not, the reasons she's still alive. She moves differently when their familiar weight isn't at her hips, unbalanced like she never likes to be. She mods them as often as she can, and has no plans of giving them up without dying first, not that she's planning on that anyway.

All of which is to say that she's completely unprepared for the spikes of jealousy that shoot through her wrists sometimes when she sees Ahsoka training with her lightsabers in their shuttle's small cargo bay.

She puts it aside, at first. They have other things to worry about, following Ezra's trail, watching the Rebellion rise across the galaxy. Other boundaries to establish, like where Ahsoka's allowed to meditate (not the kitchen counters, at least until after Sabine's had her caf) and where Sabine's allowed to paint (not the cockpit). It's enough, Sabine thinks. It's ... nice, even, no matter how different it is from the Ghost, or even from Mandalore.

But sometimes, nights, she dreams about the darksaber, about Ahsoka whirling across the floor lit up white and yellow, and there's something ... something she misses.

Ahsoka doesn't talk when she's training, not like she sometimes does when they're on the run, when troopers send Sabine tumbling across rooftops as Ahsoka yells orders over the comms. Those are the best days, the ones where it's just the two of them and her explosives and her blasters and she's alive, nothing missing from her hands or her heart.

But sometimes, on the quieter nights when all there is to do is read, or paint, or re-check the engine or run target practise drills as hyperspace slips past outside the windows, Sabine's eyes drift to Ahsoka, and her lightsabers, and she wonders.

Ahsoka lets her, for days, long enough that Sabine almost starts to wonder why. And then there's the night Ahsoka finds her after dinner, pokes her head around the door to Sabine's quarters that she never bothers to close anymore, and says, "Spar with me?"

If you let me try one of your lightsabers. It's on the tip of her tongue, the sort of deal she might have made in jest with Hera or in seriousness when that's what it took to complete a job. But she hadn't spent so long with Kanan and Ezra and not picked up how important lightsabers were to their wielders. Sabine's pretty sure that in her hands, Ahsoka's sabers would be nothing compared to the darksaber, even though she doesn't regret for a moment handing it over to Bo-Katan.

So instead she just says, "Sure". Bounces to her feet and follows Ahsoka out the door.

 

**

 

"Hand to hand?" Ahsoka asks. She hasn't brought the bay's night-cycle lights up to full illumination, and Sabine can't quite make out her expression.

Still, Sabine has a sneaking suspicion that Ahsoka's question isn't actually that much of a choice. "Is this because of what happened with the troopers on Chandrila?"

"Yes," Ahsoka says simply. "There's just two of us now. Sometimes you'll have to fight differently."

Sabine sighs, but there's no getting around the fact that Ahsoka's right. "All right, then," she says, dropping down into a ready stance. "Come and get me."

Despite the words she's almost entirely unprepared when Ahsoka does, launches herself across the mat with a speed that feels just shy of Force-assisted. Cheating, she almost says as she ducks between Ahsoka's legs and handsprings her way to the opposite corner, but it's not like she didn't know what she was getting herself into.

Not like she didn't know Ahsoka had survived Vader.

This, Sabine realises all too suddenly, is the difference between training with a former padawan like Kanan and someone who has been, however briefly, a Jedi knight. Ahsoka doesn't move like she's one with the Force, she moves like she is the Force. Wherever Sabine moves she's there, smiling with a kindness that doesn't manage to be at odds with how efficiently she's kicking Sabine's ass.

It's really not a surprise when she finds herself flat on her back before she manages to land more than one good hit in, Ahsoka crouched beside her with one hand on her throat. Sabine cranes her neck, to see under Ahsoka's arm, looking for anything within grabbing distance she can use as a weapon. Instead, her eyes fall on Ahsoka's lightsabers, left on top of a crate across the room, vibrating as if in expectation of their master's command.

"Ahsoka ..." she says slowly. It's not that she doesn't trust her, but there's something uncanny about the way the sabers seem to have a mind of their own, even unignited.

Ahsoka stands up fluidly, extends her hands and Sabine watches as the saber hilts fly across the room.

Sabine reaches out.

She's not sure what she intends, thinks, for a moment, that maybe she's just reaching for the wall, to pull herself to her feet.

But then her fingers close around cold metal, and she's only managed to sit up, and there's an entirely new sort of silence suffocating the room now because neither of them can deny that Ahsoka had reached out for her blades, and one of them had gone to Sabine instead.

"I'm sorry." Sabine drops the saber, thanking every star she knew that she at least hadn't managed to accidentally turn the kriffing thing on. "I didn't mean - I didn't know I could - I only ever had the darksaber for a little while."

She bites her lip, steels herself for the judgement in Ahsoka's eyes, but instead she finds only a bright curiosity.

"The darksaber?" Ahsoka picks up the wayward hilt, holsters both of them as she settles to the floor at Sabine's side. "Pre Vizsla tried to kill me with the darksaber, once."

She says it with a studied casualness that pierces Sabine's heart. "You never should have been put in that position," she says fiercely, and Ahsoka smiles. "It's a blade for Mandalore, not -"

But she had only been able to use it because of Ezra and Kanan, and she drops her head back against the wall. "I won it," she says instead, electing to skip over the details for the moment. "It was mine to carry, but I gave it to Bo-Katan, because she needed it, and it needed to stay - you know." There's no windows in the cargo bay but she gestures anyway, out to where she knows Mandalore spins somewhere in the black. "I fought with it and I gave it up and I — kriff, Ahsoka, I miss it."

Her voice cracks embarrassingly on the last word, hand curving of its own accord around the well-remembered shape of the darksaber's hilt.

"Hey," Ahsoka's hand is warm on her knee and Sabine swallows hard, forcing herself to meet Ahsoka's gaze. "You know you don't have to be a Jedi to wield a lightsaber. Any lightsaber."

Sabine smiles despite herself. "You would know, huh?"

"Yeah," Ahsoka squeezes her knee comfortingly. "No one but us out here. And," she un-holsters the saber that Sabine had summoned, presses it into her hand, "Maybe I should take my own advice. Remember what just one of these feels like."

Sabine looks from the hilt to Ahsoka, knowing but not hardly believing what she means. "What are you saying?"

Ahsoka jumps to her feet, ignites her saber in invitation before flicking it back off. "I'm saying ... are you ready?"

Sabine thinks about asking if they should bring the lights up, but the sight of the blades in the dimness is too interesting of a challenge to pass up. She scrambles upright with much less grace, but the saber in her own hand ignites with the same ease. "Kriff, yeah." She holds herself steady under Ahsoka's appraising gaze with an effort.

"Tuck your elbow in. Blade forward," Ahsoka says, and Sabine complies. "Much better. Your guard covers more area than you think, and you'll need the increased movement if you want to deflect blaster bolts."

Sabine grins. "When do we get to that part?"

Ahsoka laughs, not unkindly. "Let me guess. You were exactly this impatient with whoever drilled you with the darksaber."

Sabine's grin turns rueful and she gives the lightsaber an experimental swing. Its hum is deeper than the darksaber's, less like home. "Weeks in the desert with Kanan and Ezra. Weeks! We were all miserable, at the start."

"You got more than a start, though, if you fought and won." Ahsoka's gaze is on her like a physical thing — and maybe it is, somehow, in the Force — and the brief flicker of annoyance Sabine feels at Ahsoka's if vanishes under it.

"I did win," she clarifies anyway. In that moment, it's suddenly unbearably important that Ahsoka know she was worthy, to carry first the darksaber and now Ahsoka's own blade, even though she'll never know the Force in the same way.

Ahsoka smiles then, for the first time. "Good. Then we can start in the middle. Eyes shut. Block me."

Sabine hardly has time to process the first part of that — Eyes shut? Come on, Ahsoka! — before Ahsoka's nearly on top of her, lightsaber igniting in midair to form a neat diagonal strike that knocks her weapon clear from her hand. Her other hand comes up by instinct, grabbing Ahsoka's wrist before she can start another swing, but Ahsoka lets her momentum carry them both forward to land them both back on the mat, Sabine's wrist bent under her body.

Silence falls as Ahsoka's blade disengages above her head, and Sabine makes a face as Ahsoka springs back to her feet with absolutely no effort. "Point taken," she groans, cheeks flaming with embarrassment. "Patience. Again."

"Prediction and patience," Ahsoka corrects, offering her hand. Sabine sits up, stretches out the wrist she landed on before letting Ahsoka help her to her feet. "Trust your instincts. See where my blade is going to be before I manage to get there,"

The way she says it nudges at something in Sabine's memory, something from even before the Academy. "Know distances so well you can visualise any blast radius before you set a charge."

Ahsoka nods as the saber Sabine had been using flies back to her hand. "Everything you do in lightsaber combat — with the Force — ripples outward in the same way. Even if you can't see it." She tosses the hilt back to Sabine, who catches it unthinkingly. "Those reflexes are the ones you should rely on," she says. "Again?"

Sabine steels herself, ignites the blade. "Always."