Kanan’s day was going just great. He didn’t expect to run into bounty hunters on the milk run. When had bounty hunters ever needed to come to Lothal? He didn’t expect Ezra to get separated from him either. And he certainly didn’t expect Ezra to get caught in a standoff with said bounty hunters.
Turning his com to the correct frequency, Kanan said, “Specter six, status report.”
“I’m fine, Kanan. Got outta there real quick. Street kids like me can get out of any situation.”
“Kanan, I said I was fine.” Ezra said, a bit more annoyed this time.
“Okay, specter six. Just making sure. Rendezvous at the predetermined location.”
“Got it, specter one. Specter six out.”
Ugh, that kid is gonna be the death of me. Kanan thought as he made his way to the rendezvous point. This supposed ‘milk run’ couldn’t end soon enough.
“Where’s Ezra?” Zeb asked once Kanan had made it to their meeting spot.
“He’s coming.” Kanan said. “He got caught up in some bounty hunter’s standoff, but he’s fine and on his way.”
Zeb grumbled something under his breath that Kanan couldn’t quite make out, but he assumed it was some sort of complaint about Ezra.
“Come on, Zeb. We need to load these supplies onto the Phantom before the Empire finds out we’re here.” Kanan said.
Zeb replied with a mock-salute. “Got it boss.”
After loading a few of the supply containers onto the Phantom, Kanan went back outside to see Ezra sitting forlornly in Lothal’s tall grasses.
“What’s wrong?” Kanan asked.
“Oh…uh… nothing.” Ezra said, looking up at Kanan from his position on the ground. “I’m fine.”
“Could’ve fooled me.” Kanan said, crossing his arms across his chest and staring down at Ezra with a bit of an accusatory look.
“Everything’s loaded up.” Zeb said, approaching their position.
Extending a hand to pull Ezra to his feet, Kanan said, “alright. Let’s go.”
Once Kanan, Zeb and Ezra were settled in the Phantom, Kanan commed Hera to tell her they were on their way. “Specter one to Ghost. We’ve picked up the supplies, specter two. We are on our way home.”
“Acknowledged specter one. See you soon.” Hera answered.
Kanan sighed in relief. Everything seemed to be going fine, after the initial scare with the bounty hunters, that is. This milk run didn’t turn out so bad after all. They got the supplies they needed, and everyone was accounted for. Yet, as Kanan was thinking about what he and Ezra were going to do for training today, Zeb suddenly cried, “Ezra!”
Turing himself around as much as he could while still piloting the Phantom, Kanan saw Zeb holding a limp and unconscious Ezra upright in his seat. Ezra looked pale and clammy. Sweat sticking to his forehead. Alarm bells went off in Kanan’s head as he tried to quickly lower the Phantom back to the ground of Lothal’s plains. He had to get to his padawan.
“What happened?” Kanan said, alarmed.
“I told him he didn’t look very good.” Zeb said, “and then he just passed out on me!”
After setting the Phantom on solid ground, Kanan dashed out of the pilot’s seat to assess his padawan’s condition.
“Ezra.” Kanan said, not even caring that he was pushing Zeb out of the way. “Ezra, wake up!”
Pulling Ezra out of his seat and laying him in his lap on the ground, Kanan tapped his cheek again to try and wake him up. It alarmed Kanan how cold he felt. Ezra’s skin was like ice. “Come on, Ezra. Wake up!”
Kanan could feel Zeb’s worry in the back of his mind as he frantically tapped the kid’s face even harder.
“Come on, kid.” Zeb said.
Finally, after what seemed like eons, Ezra opened his eyes.
“Ezra,” Kanan said gently, “I need you to tell me where you are hurt.”
Slowly, as if in a fog, Ezra’s glassy blue eyes focused on Kanan’s turquoise ones. Ezra opened his mouth and moved his lips a little as if to answer Kanan, but only a small groan came out.
Kanan began to check Ezra’s body for injuries in leu of a response, his blood seeming to freeze in alarm as he pulled his hand away from Ezra’s bicep to see his own hand covered in blood. Calming himself down enough to take a good look at Ezra’s arm, Kanan saw that despite the thick material of Ezra’s jumpsuit, a large cut almost running the length of Ezra’s upper arm was bleeding profusely.
Kanan wondered how he missed this earlier. Looking around the Phantom, he didn’t see blood on anything else. How did the kid hide that big of a cut?
Belatedly realizing that there weren’t any medical supplies on the Phantom, Kanan turned to Zeb. “Zeb, I need you to pilot the ship back to the Ghost as fast as possible. Com Hera and tell her about the situation. I’ll try to slow the bleeding until we can get home.”
Zeb just nodded as he made his way towards the pilot’s seat.
Taking off his trusty green sweater, Kanan wrapped it around Ezra’s arm and applied pressure with both hands. He would be lying to himself if he didn’t admit he was terrified.
“It’s gonna be okay, Ezra.” Kanan told him, unsure if he was even conscious enough to understand what Kanan was saying. “We are taking you back to the Ghost and we’ll get you fixed up in no time.”
After what felt like the tensest ten minutes of Kanan’s life, the Phantom finally docked in the pocket of the Ghost.
An extremely worried Hera was waiting at the hatch with the med kit in hand.
“I’ll carry him to my bunk.” Kanan said, not wanting to let the kid out of his sight, even for just a moment. When he reached his bunk, Kanan realized Ezra, although only semi-conscious before, had completely passed out again.
Ezra’s head felt fuzzy, muffled almost, as if wrapped in layers of blankets. He felt weighed down and exhausted. All he wanted to do was fall back asleep. As he lay there in the quiet for a few minutes, only the familiar sounds of the Ghost around him, his curiosity got the better of him and he opened his eyes.
The first thing he noticed upon opening his eyes was that he was not in his own bunk, he was in Kanan’s. Turning his head out towards the room, he saw Kanan sitting on the floor next to the bunk, head lolled against the wall and eyes closed, clearly in deep sleep. He wasn’t wearing his usual green sweater, but rather a crunkled white shirt that looked as if it had been sitting at the bottom of a drawer for ages.
Looking down at himself, Ezra noticed that he too was not wearing his normal orange jumpsuit. From the way he seemed to be drowning in the sweatpants and t-shirt he was wearing, they seemed to be some of Kanan’s old clothes.
The next thing Ezra noticed was that his right arm was heavily bandaged and in a sling. For a moment, he wondered what happened, but soon he remembered. The bounty hunters. The vibroblade. The getaway only a street kid like him could pull. And then Ezra remembered not telling Kanan. He groaned internally at that. Kanan was going to be so mad!
As if sensing his padawan’s frustration, Kanan awoke and opened his eyes.
“Oh good, you’re awake.” Kanan said, standing and stretching.
Ezra opened his mouth to answer, but no sound came out. He suddenly realized how dry his mouth felt.
Realizing what Ezra needed, Kanan poured him a glass of water. “Here.” Kanan said, helping Ezra to sit up enough to drink it.
“Thanks.” Ezra said after taking a long drink of the cool, refreshing beverage.
“How are you feeling?” Kanan asked him.
Not answering right away, Ezra took a moment to assess his condition.
“Tired.” He said. “My arm hurts.”
“No kidding.” Kanan said. “That cut was deep, you lost a lot of blood. We had to give you three doses of blood replenishers. It took Hera quite a while to stitch your arm up.”
After taking a moment to process that information, Ezra realized something. “How long was I out?”
“Just a couple of hours.” Kanan said.
Ezra nodded. He was beginning to feel sleepy again, but Kanan had that look on his face that told Ezra he needed to say something important. “What?” Ezra asked.
“Ezra.” Kanan said, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Do you realize how dangerous that was of you? You should have told me you were hurt! I asked you if you were injured and you said no.”
“Look, Kanan.” Ezra said, feeling the need to defend himself. “You know how I grew up. I’m used to taking care of these things myself!”
“But Ezra, you have us now. We look out for each other.”
“I know that!” Ezra said defensively. As he tried to sit up to make his case, pain shot through his arm and he let out a small whimper.
Kanan didn’t respond as he helped Ezra lie back in a comfortable position.
“I’m sorry, Kanan.” Ezra said, this time just weariness in his voice. “I just—sometimes I forget about it.” Looking up into Kanan’s eyes he continued, “sometimes I just forget that you guys are here for me for stuff like that and I think that I have to do it all alone.”
“It’s okay.” Kanan said, covering one of Ezra’s hands with his own. “That just really scared me, Ezra.”
“I know. I promise I won’t do it again.” Ezra said, looking into Kanan’s eyes. “It took me a long time to trust you guys and sometimes I forget that I still can.”
“I understand, Ezra.” Kanan said patting Ezra’s good arm. “Now get some rest. Losing large amounts of blood takes a while to recover from. You are not to leave this bed until it’s clear you’ve recovered significantly.”
Realizing there was no room for argument in Kanan’s tone, Ezra said “got it.”
“Also, you are to wear that sling and keep your arm bandaged for at least a week. I’m sure Hera doesn’t want you doing something reckless to be the cause of redoing those stiches.”
“Yes, master.” Ezra said.
“Alright.” Kanan said. “I will be back in a couple of hours to check on you.”
Ezra nodded and Kanan made his way towards the door to leave the room.
“Kanan?” Ezra called from his position on the bed.
“Yes?” Kanan said, turning back around.
“Thank you. For everything.” Ezra said, looking down into his lap.
“Your welcome, Ezra. I am always glad to help you. Don’t forget that.” Kanan answered with a warm smile on his face.