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here in the heat of a stolen kiss

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Ahsoka grabbed his hand and together they ran, boots slapping against wet duracrete. Filthy water soaked through her leggings, chilling her to the bone.

She thought of a brittlely cold, starless night spent huddled around a dying campfire, surrounded by her ghosts and her guilt.

His gloved fingers tightening around hers brought her jolting back to the present, and to the situation they'd both been thrust into.

"They're breathing down our backs," he hissed, his harsh baritone muffled by the mask he wore to conceal his identity.

She reached up with her free hand to tug at her own mask, though it didn't do much to hide her distinctive features.

She paused for a moment, looking around, taking stock of their surroundings. She could hear their enemies not too far behind them, marching in lockstep.

"What now?" he asked.

She looked around, clutching at his fingers as if searching for some clarity. When she grasped through the force for an answer, none came flowing through her like water over stones. The river bed was empty.

"I—I don't know," she finally admitted, throat tightening.

"They're here, they're almost..." He cut himself short with a rough, rasping breath.

Without warning, he yanked his mask down from his face and tugged hers aside. Then his hands were on her waist, pulling her close, fitting her against his chest. He spun them into a corner, pressing her against a grimy stone wall, and caught her mouth with his own.

A memory flashed in Ahsoka's mind—a different boy, a hasty kiss meant to divert—but she didn't push him away this time. She reached up, caught him by the nape of his neck and held him close.

Tucked into a shadowy corner of the alleyway, the enemy barely paid them any mind as the marched past them, perhaps taking them for nothing more than a handsy couple.

When the troopers had passed, Ahsoka stepped back and gave him a shove in the chest.

"You could have warned me," she snapped, pulling her mask back up and patting at the hood of her cloak.

"They didn't even see us," he mused, doing the same. "I saved our lives."

"You give yourself far too much credit," she said.

They headed in the direction from which the troopers had come.

If he noticed Ahsoka's cheeks had flushed and her pupils had darkened, that her lips were now damp and swollen—and that she yearned for another kiss—he said nothing about it. And for that, she was grateful.