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Not How Your Story Ends

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Kanan leaned back in the med center chair, feeling the creak and strain of the cheap plastic beneath him as he did. The sensation was comfortable - predictable.

Five full cycles had passed with little change in Ezra’s condition. His fever had finally dropped to more manageable levels, and he had been told that the terrible rash that had taken over Ezra’s body was receding steadily. But despite any progress his immune system might have made against the infection, Ezra still showed no sign of awareness.

Things outside the room weren’t much better. Once it had become clear that things were not going to improve for Ezra any time soon, Hera had to make contact with the Rebel forces on Mandalore. It was a desperate move - one that could have easily revealed their location had the transmission fallen into the wrong hands - but ultimately necessary. They were practically sitting ducks as it was, and with every day that passed, the chance of their location being revealed only increased. And with allies sparse and enemies growing more abundant by the day, establishing some form of backup in the case of discovery was of critical importance. Luckily (and thanks in part to their connection to Sabine) forming an alliance and an escape plan went as smoothly as it possibly could have given the circumstances.

From across the room, Hera stood, her joints popping as she stretched and shuffled around the small living space, idly tidying up as she went. She’d barely spoken the last few days, and Kanan was sorely missing the sweet cadence of her voice. That voice that had first drawn him to cross her path all those years ago. The voice that held him steady.

There was only so much silence he could take.

“So…” his own voice groaned to life like a tap that had been lying dormant for too long, “Any news from Sabine and Zeb? I think I was asleep last time they stopped by.”

“You were,” her tone was dismissive, almost annoyed.

She hesitated before continuing.

“The Ghost is still safe in storage. Sabine and Zeb have been personally ensuring thorough maintenance checks and security. They’ve got some of Mandalore’s best on the job.”

“All that for our little old ship?” Kanan’s quirk was half-hearted and didn’t land.

“Apparently it’s an ‘important symbol’. Something recognizable. Something positively associated with the Rebellion. They want to make sure they ‘preserve such a valuable icon.’”

She made no apparent effort to conceal the bitterness in her voice. He could not blame her. That was their home. Her life. Referred to so mechanically. Like it was just a pawn in some sick political game.

But then again, wasn’t it?

Silence hung between them once again.

“Are his eyes still open?”

Kanan had asked it on a passing whim. He’d been told that Ezra, despite being unresponsive, had been keeping his eyes open for the better part of the day. Apparently the ability to do so was one of the distinctions between a coma and a vegetative state.

The air became as stagnant as it was before, and for a moment Kanan was concerned that she would not answer him. Maybe she’d never answer him. Perhaps this was their destiny - doomed to angry, mournful silence forever.

But then, her voice cracked, different than before. Not quite sad, but quiet, and far tamer than he had ever known it.

“Every time he blinks I think: ‘Is this it? Is he finally back?’”

It wasn’t an answer, per se. More of a confession. Something that she had been carrying for far too long on her own. Something she needed his help to bear to the finish. He knew that feeling.

“Every moment that passes is a moment too long.”

He realized that his answer was equally cryptic, but the short huff of a hum he heard back affirmed that she understood. She always understood.

“I know, it’s… stupid, but the night we found out what happened to his parents, I made a promise. To them. To myself. I promised that I would take care of him with everything I have. I promised that he wouldn’t have to face this universe alone anymore. And logically, I know that there wasn’t anything I could have done. I understand that now, I truly do. But…”

“But it’s hard to convince your heart of matters of the mind.”

She hummed.

“I understand, Hera. I really do. I’m not going to tell you what you already know. I’m not going to tell you how to feel or how to get past it. But, for all it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job.”

This time, he could hear the smile in her voice.

“You too, love.”

The silence didn’t feel so painful after that.