"This wouldn't be hard if you were just concentrating."
Ezra cringed at the impatience and frustration in Kanan's tone. He was trying, really, but they'd been training every day for long hours.
Their most recent misadventure, nearly a month ago, had ended disastrously and the Empire had nearly pinned them down. The atmosphere control had become so bad that the crew had decided to lay low on Lothal in the middle of one of the many plains. With so much free time, and the fact that the Ghost had been damaged, Hera had put everyone to work scouring her ship over and Kanan had decided that training was going to be amped up.
Everyone was feeling antsy and were trying to find ways to deal with it. Kanan did so with training.
Ezra didn't mind, he loved training, usually. But the constant and often long training hours were beginning to exact a toll. He found himself experiencing headaches, small pulsing pains which grew to horrible migraines by the end of the day. He wanted to push himself, to live up to Kanan's expectations and make his teacher proud, but he was doing a poor job of it.
Another ration carton smacked him in the face and he could feel Kanan's frustration through the force. Gritting his teeth against the throbbing pain in his head he tried to feel the force and grab hold of it. It wasn't working though and with each mental struggle to latch onto some sort of connection his head spiked in pain, a carton hit him again, and his desperation grew as did Kanan's frustration.
"Ezra, stop," Kanan called out.
Ezra reluctantly dropped from his defensive position and tapped his helmet's visor so it slid open. Kanan walked over, he didn't look happy.
"You're not hitting anything," Kanan said, looking with disappointment at Ezra.
Ezra wanted to scream back that he was trying, he really was, but he felt like his head was imploding and his stomach was turning and his legs and arms felt like jelly. Why couldn't Kanan see that he was doing his best and that in this case, his best just wasn't enough?
"How am I supposed to train you when you won't even try?" Kanan said, exasperated.
"But I am trying," Ezra argued, looking impudently at Kanan.
"Not enough," Kanan said with a scoff.
Ezra felt bitter misery sweep through him.
"Let's pick this up tomorrow," Kanan said, eyes cutting away from Ezra and then stalking back towards the ship.
Ezra tried to ignore the hot, angry tears which welled up in his eyes. He turned his lightsaber off and watched as Kanan disappeared into the ship. Clipping his weapon to his belt, he put his visor back down and followed Kanan back into the ship.
"Not exactly Jedi material, eh?" Zeb said, smacking Ezra on the back.
Ezra shrugged the hand off in anger and stormed towards his room without saying a word back.
Ezra's sleep that night was fitful, nightmares plagued him and he woke up multiple times gasping for breath with a nauseating, fearful sensation in his stomach with no recollection of what he'd dreamt. When morning came he felt worse than he had the day before, mind fuzzy from pain, his stomach more nauseous than before and his body exhausted.
When he headed to the common area for breakfast, only Sabine was there and she was making a fast breakfast of a cup of caf.
"Morning," Sabine said, barely glancing at Ezra.
Ezra said a quiet reply and stepped into the kitchen.
"Oh, we're cutting down on rations, we don't have as much in supply right now, so until we can get back to the market, everyone's making due with skipping breakfast," Sabine said.
Ezra shrugged, he felt too awful to eat anyways. Sabine was now watching him, sharp eyes considering.
"You don't look too hot, kid," she said, a hint of worry in her eyes.
Ezra, still sensitive after Kanan's lambasting of him yesterday, turned defensive.
"Just didn't sleep good," he snapped, not wanting to be around Sabine's probing eyes.
"Sure," Sabine replied disbelievingly.
Ezra left the room quickly, Sabine watching him go with a worried calculative look.
Ezra ran into Kanan as the man was coming out of his room.
"Hey, I was just about to look for you," Kanan said.
Ezra stopped and, from his position of having his arms wrapped around his middle and his head ducked down, cast Kanan a surly glare. Kanan grew a sour look of his own and Ezra saw the man tense up in anger.
"I thought we should get an early start on training today, maybe after having rested you'll have a more focused mind," Kanan was trying to be nice, but Ezra was miserable and the effort was lost on the boy.
"Okay," Ezra replied, not sounding terribly happy about it.
Kanan looked like he wanted to say something, but managed to keep his mouth shut.
They headed outside, where Kanan and Ezra started in on deflection training with the ration cartons. Ezra put his best efforts into it, but his exhaustion, the gnawing pain in his stomach which by turns was nausea, and the overall shakiness he felt did not allow him to perform well. Unfortunately, with each screw up, Kanan pushed harder, and both of their frustrations grew.
Two hours had passed and Ezra had been going the whole time. Sweat was pouring down him and he felt his vision blurring. The anger was gone from before, now a pall of confusion cast over him. His heart was thumping oddly and he felt sluggish. He could hear Kanan saying something, but his brain couldn't process it, he felt a carton smack him in the head but the sensation was distant. Suddenly, Ezra felt his control over his body leave him and he blinked once before his vision blacked out.
The past two weeks had been hard on the crew, Kanan knew that. The mission had gone badly and it had done so because everyone had made some kind of mistake. Sabine had placed the charges wrong, Zeb had missed his jump, Kanan had made a mistake on choosing an escape route, and Ezra had stumbled giving away their position. Even Hera had struggled in piloting and one of her mistakes had cost the Ghost a lot of damage.
It wasn't an exaggeration to say that everyone had been on edge following it, and it had not been made any better by the following grounding on Lothal. Two weeks stuck in the middle of the Lothal plains with just the Ghost around and its crew had not lead to the happiest of living conditions. Mix in slowly depleting rations and the fear of Imperial scouts possibly finding them and everyone was at each other's throats.
Kanan had been trying to train with Ezra, and he knew that his own frustration, fears, and worries were not making it any easier, distracting him from being present. But it felt like Ezra was intentionally trying to be difficult. Kanan knew the boy was talented, that he had so much potential. So he intended on pushing Ezra as much as he could. Right now though it appeared like Ezra had no ability whatsoever. The boy's movements were sluggish, he had yet to hit more than a few cartons, and the stances Kanan had taught him were not being used at all.
"Ezra, concentrate," he commanded.
Ezra didn't seem to hear him at all.
Kanan let out a sigh, watching a carton hit Ezra square in the face. The boy however didn't react and Kanan's eyes narrowed in worry as the lightsaber fell to the ground and Ezra swayed a few moments before toppling over.
Kanan's first thoughts were that this might be like the vision Ezra had experienced, however at that time Ezra's abilities had gotten better not worse. Jogging over he saw that Ezra was moving, but it didn't look natural. A second later he realized the boy was convulsing.
He was on his knees in seconds, pulling the helmet off of Ezra and trying to let the boy's body finish. Nearly twenty agonizing seconds later, Ezra fell limp. Kanan reached out for Ezra, seeing if he would wake, but Ezra stayed unconscious. Kanan was worried to feel the clammy, sweaty skin. Picking Ezra up, Kanan headed back towards the ship.
Hera hated when her ship got banged up, maybe it was an occupational hazard, but it still bothered her. It was worse when she knew it was her fault. If only she'd steered differently, if only she'd thought of doing that. What damage was done, was done, and she had been spending the last few weeks trying to get it back into working order. She knew everyone was struggling with being grounded, but she couldn't do much about it except try to get them back into the air as soon as possible.
They were technically good to fly now, but there were still a few things left that needed to be fixed.
Standing up from where she was working on the gravitational calibration system, she moved towards the common area, intending on getting some kind of lunch. Frowning, she thought about the fact that food was kind of getting low as well.
Kanan came into view, rushing forward with an unconscious Ezra in his arms. Hera froze, terror washing over her.
"Hera," Kanan sounded relieved.
Hera stepped forward, looking down at Ezra and noticing that he looked unwell but that there was no external injury.
"Med bay?" She said, already moving in that direction.
Kanan didn't reply, following after her.
"Chopper!" Hera shouted out, hoping to get the bot's attention.
He had the ability to operate medical equipment, mainly diagnostic software. There was a distant beep in response and Hera knew that the bot would be coming. They stepped into the med bay and Kanan set Ezra on the one table they had. The boy looked awful; pale and much too still.
"What happened?" Hera asked.
Kanan hesitated and Hera felt disappointment as she saw the guilt on his face.
"We were training, he collapsed, he went into convulsions," Kanan was staring down at his padawan, eyes glazed with guilt.
Hera gave a nod.
"Kanan-" she started to speak but Chopper rolled in, letting out a few indignant beeps.
"I know," Hera said, "but we need you to run a diagnostic on Ezra."
Chopper let out a quizzical sound, but he started prepping the software.
"We don't know, Chopper," Hera answered his question.
Kanan cast his eyes to the side. After a few minutes, Chopper let out a beep to signal that he'd finished and then cast them an image of the diagnostic.
"Low blood sugar, malnutrition, and physical exhaustion."
Kanan's guilt was near palpable.
"I-I pushed him too hard," he said softly.
Hera shook her head, a frown on her face.
"It wasn't just you love, Ezra must not have been eating."
The two stared at the boy for a few moments, contemplating him and his actions.
"We just need to get some food and fluids into him, let him rest and make sure his glucose levels go up," Hera said, trying to be cheerful.
Chopper gave a beep in agreement, lowering the table so he could work. The bot efficiently inserted an I.V. and began the intravenous treatment. Hera grabbed a blanket and draped it over Ezra, knowing that his body would need the extra warmth and also because it made her feel like she was useful.
Kanan for his part stood watching, arms folded and looking sorrowful. When he moved to leave, Hera reached out, a hand going to his shoulder.
"Someone should be here when he wakes up," she said.
Kanan shook his head.
"Not me, he shouldn't have to see me."
"It isn't just your fault Kanan," Hera replied softly.
Kanan gave a nod, taking a seat and staring at the prone form of his padawan.
Hera cast them a worried glance before heading back to the rest of the ship, intent on informing the others and thinking over what had happened.
Ezra woke up feeling tired and groggy, but the pain in his head had subsided and he didn't feel so shaky. Looking around he saw he was in the med bay. Kanan was seated next to him, hunched over and peering at Ezra over steepled fingers. He didn't look happy.
"You're awake, how are you feeling?"
Ezra blinked a few times.
"Tired," he said honestly, "what happened?"
Kanan was quiet, gaze going to the side.
"You collapsed, during training," he finally replied.
"I did?" Ezra didn't really remember that happening.
"I'm sorry," Kanan spoke, voice quiet and repentant.
Ezra didn't speak, unsure how he should take his teacher's apology.
"I pushed you too hard, too fast, and didn't watch and see how you were doing. I failed as a teacher and as someone who's supposed to look out for you."
Ezra looked to the side as well, emotions from yesterday coming to mind. Kanan had been hard on him lately and it had been a difficult thing to deal with, he hadn't responded in a good way either, unwilling to tell Kanan about what was wrong with him and being angry instead of talking.
"I'm sorry too," Ezra said, "I should've told you I wasn't feeling well. And I got mad instead of trusting you."
"How long were you feeling bad?" Kanan asked.
"This last week," Ezra admitted.
Kanan gave a nod, swallowing hard as he thought about that. He'd been ignoring the condition and health of his padawan for a week.
"I'm good at lying though," Ezra added, not wanting Kanan to feel guilty.
The door opened and Hera stepped in, she smiled when saw Ezra.
"Hey, someone's awake."
She moved in closer and ruffled Ezra's hair. He ducked his head with a smile.
"You two work things out?" Hera asked.
Ezra gave an emphatic nod and Kanan gave his own more reluctant nod. They may have discussed it, but he still felt guilty.
"Good, I need to discuss something Ezra," Hera said.
Kanan took the dismissal for what it was and stood up, leaving the room. Hera for her part sat on the edge of the bed and pinned Ezra with a maternal look.
"You haven't been eating," she said.
It was Ezra's turn to look guilty and he ducked his head again, fingers nervously playing with the edge of the blanket.
"Why?" Hera asked.
Ezra twiddled with the blanket a little more, glanced up at Hera and then looked down again.
"I know we didn't have a lot of supplies, and I forgot sometimes, I mean, I'm used to it," he mumbled.
Hera's brow dipped.
"Ezra, look at me," she said.
Ezra looked up meekly, peering at her through his fringe of hair.
"Everyone eats, everyone, and I will not have you starving on my ship. Even if we're low on supplies, we can always go get some-," she held up a hand as Ezra opened his mouth to interrupt, "I mean it."
Ezra smiled shyly and nodded his head.
"Good," she said with a smile, "I'm glad you get it."
She leaned forward and gave him a one armed hug. Ezra allowed himself to melt into the embrace and closed his eyes, savoring the contact. Hera lingered, indulging him, before ruffling his hair once again and moving to go.
"Sabine and Zeb'll be by to give you some company," She said with a smile.
Ezra watched her go, feeling content.