Chapter 1: In A New Light
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Star Wars.
There's an explanation of how the calendar works in the original 'Flame of Hope' if you're curious.
Flame of... Kriff That, Get your Ass Home NOW, Ezra Bridger!
In A New Light:
D 2/1 BBY, Mandalore
The day Ezra saved her father was the day Sabine realized that Ezra meant more to her than just a friend. More than her best friend even.
And you know what did it? It was the absolute fear that overtook her as the transport went over the cliff. Sabine wasn't used to being terrified, as there was very little that scared her. But the thought of losing Ezra stopped her heart. Fear for her father was in there too, but Ezra had become her world, and she didn't know when.
Time slowed to a crawl. Her heartbeat became slow and distinct and pounded like a drum in her ears. Her breath stopped. The yell of, "Ezra!" from Kanan was almost inaudible through the white noise that overtook her. She barely registered the distressed beep from Chopper either.
And then... Then a figure flew up and over the cliff just as the last of the three transports was going over the edge.
It was her father. She hadn't seen him in years, but she'd know him anywhere. Sabine remembered to breathe again for half a moment as a temporary joy ripped through her for all of one second.
It was short lived, as her primary focus, one Ezra Bridger, was still, to the best of her knowledge, falling down hundreds of meters to a terrible death.
Time was still moving one millisecond at a time when Sabine jumped off the ground and flew towards the cliff, thanking the Force that she was wearing her own jet pack. She passed Kanan, who'd already taken off at a sprint for the edge of the cliff. She passed Chopper, who was also flying towards the edge of the cliff.
As a hand in a familiar green glove appeared over the edge and then promptly disappeared again, Sabine literally dove for it, throwing her body almost entirely over the edge and just managing to catch onto his hand at the last second before he wasn't within reach anymore. She didn't breathe until she had a good grip on his hand and helped to pull him up as his feet scrambled for purchase.
"I was wondering where you were," Ezra quipped, totally pretending he hadn't had a total panic moment of his own. Somehow, his plan of running and jumping up the falling transports seemed a lot stupider in hindsight. But desperate times and all that.
Once they were both standing on the safety of solid ground, Sabine and Ezra stared at each other, both coming to the realization that he'd almost died. Panting for breath now, Sabine tossed her helmet off, pulled off Ezra's so she could see his face, and grabbed Ezra's shirt in her fists, pulling him right into her personal space. She narrowed her eyes at him fiercely. "Don't DO that to me, Ezra!" Sabine growl yelled as she stared into his absolutely stunning electric blue eyes that she'd been pretending for years weren't the most gorgeous eyes in the galaxy ever.
Ezra tried to shrug off the tension with a dorky half grin. "I couldn't let your father die, now could I? You'd murder me in my sleep."
Sabine's eyes narrowed further and a dangerous sounding growl escaped her, making Ezra's eyes widen in trepidation. She pulled him even closer by her grip on his shirt. Much to both of their surprise, Sabine pressed her mouth to his in a quick, hard kiss. As Ezra blinked at her in absolute shock, Sabine let go of his shirt like it was on fire. "That's for saving my father." Then she punched him as hard as she could in the shoulder, almost knocking him right back off the edge of the cliff. "And that's for scaring me to death!"
As Ezra regained his balance, barely even noticing the throbbing pain in his shoulder from her not so gentle punch, he watched her in speechless wonder as she bent down and grabbed her helmet, jamming it on her head and then flying off to the next cliff ledge above them. He had the ridiculous urge to pinch himself to see if he was actually awake, because he was pretty sure that Sabine had just kissed him. Not long, and not really in a loving fashion, but it was a kiss and it was his first one. Ezra was going to treasure the memory of that forever.
He was still standing in the same spot, staring up at where Sabine had disappeared when Kanan, Alrich, and Chopper joined him.
"So... Just friends, hmmm?" Alrich Wren said teasingly.
Ezra's head turned to look at Sabine's father and he felt himself turning somewhat red. "That's what I thought, I swear."
Alrich and Kanan laughed at him. Even Chopper beeped out his version of laughter.
Ezra flushed darker.
Kanan put a comforting arm across Ezra's shoulders. "Try not to overthink it too much or you'll give yourself a headache. Just let her figure herself out, and I'm pretty sure you'll like the results."
Ezra looked up at his Master / father figure with a raised brow. "So you're cool with it if this actually turns into something?" Ezra asked tentatively.
Kanan shrugged. "Honestly, yes. I'd be a horrible hypocrite if I said otherwise. You might want to ask her father the same question though. He might have a different opinion."
Ezra turned questioning, hopeful eyes back to Alrich. "ARE you okay with Sabine and I... umm. I don't even know what to call it. Dating? I guess? If that wasn't a fluke, that is."
Alrich pretended to look thoughtful, drawing out the suspense for as long as he could without cracking up. He'd only known this boy for maybe two minutes total and he'd already decided he liked him, Jedi or not. When the young man started to fiddle with the hem of his shirt and his expression of hope fell to something decidedly resigned, Alrich figured he better put him out of his misery.
Ezra looked up when he felt a hand that wasn't Kanan's grasp his shoulder and met the amber brown eyes that looked a lot like Sabine's.
"I'm fine with it, if that's what my daughter wants," Alrich reassured, squeezing the boy's shoulder gently. He grinned when the young Jedi's face lit up. "But... I can't speak for my Countess. She's a little more traditional, and I can't see her jumping for joy at the thought of a Jedi in the family."
Ezra went through a variety of emotions in only a couple of sentences. There was excitement at the prospect of maybe dating Sabine in more than his dreams. Then there was trepidation and maybe a little bit of fear at the prospect of dealing with Sabine's mother. (That was one seriously scary woman.) Then there was shock at Alrich suggesting he'd be a family member. As in... Marriage. Holy nerfherders, he'd never even begun to think about that possibility with Sabine yet. Ezra was still in the wishful thinking stage for a real kiss. The whole shebang with living together, and marriage, and KIDS was just beyond him right now. Then again, this was probably all wishful thinking and planning for naught. There was no way Sabine would ever change her mind about him and see him as something more than an annoying kid who might be her friend when she's in the right mood. The whole brief kiss thing was just her letting her emotions take over again and she'd regret it as soon as she thought about it. Her running away right after was proof of that.
Ezra smiled tightly at Alrich. "Yah, well. I doubt the Countess will have to worry about that too much. Sabine will probably just brush it off as a heat of the moment thing and nothing will come of it."
Kanan clapped him on the back with a smile and a strong burst of confidence booster through their bond. "Don't be so quick to dismiss what I just saw as nothing. Sabine surprised me with that one. And I doubt you noticed, since you were kind of preoccupied with not falling to your death at the time, but she was terrified for you. It was very clear to feel in the Force. I think she might have feelings for you too." Ezra looked at Kanan with clear surprise and Kanan chuckled. "Don't give me that look. I've always known you liked her, as it's kind of hard not to notice your emotions through the bond."
Ezra scoffed lightly and called his helmet from the ground with an absent gesture of his hand, tucking it under his arm. 'Like is an understatement,' he thought to himself as he did so. He squared his shoulders and faced Sabine's father and held out his free hand to shake. "Sorry, we've done this all backwards, sir," he said, "But I'm Ezra Bridger and this is my Master, Kanan Jarrus, and we're here to rescue you." Ezra managed to keep a straight face as the older men snorted in amusement at his deadpan humour.
Alrich shook the hand of the young man, liking him even more. "It's nice to meet you, Ezra Bridger."
Ezra and Alrich glanced up at the sky when Kanan (without even moving his masked head) said, "She's coming back. Pretend we weren't just talking about her if you value your life." He was only half joking.
The guys shared a commiserating look before Ezra put his helmet back on to hide his still confused emotions. Alrich shrugged out of Ezra's jet pack and handed it back to him with a, "Thank you, young Jedi."
Sabine was almost shaking as she flew away from Ezra. "What the kriffing hell was that?" she said to herself as she landed far out of sight from the others and kicked a rock in frustration, watching it bounce and skitter across the ground.
Somehow, Sabine had lost her mind and KISSED Ezra. It wasn't even a good kiss. It was a mashing of mouths for a second and a half that didn't really qualify as anything. But it was terribly stupid nonetheless. She must have lost three quarters of her IQ to do something so incredibly stupid. And in front of her father no less.
Sabine stomped across the ground and kicked another rock, finding immense satisfaction in how far it flew. "Di'kut, di'kut, di'kut," she muttered. She'd worked so hard to groom Ezra into a friends only category where everything was pretty much perfect between them. No awkward flirting. No expectations. It had been so easy to talk to him. Now she'd ruined everything. Ezra would get his hopes up again, and start looking at her with those big royal blue eyes like she was shabla perfect again.
Sabine didn't want him to think of her as perfect. She liked it the way it was. She liked that Ezra just saw her for who she was and didn't really judge her. She liked that they could count on each other for anything, as FRIENDS. She liked him as he was too. She liked how they could spend hours talking about everything and nothing. She liked how he had dedicated himself to being a Jedi and taking care of his family and the galaxy as best as he could. She liked him more every day, it seemed.
Sabine came to a dead halt and her eyes widened behind her helmet. Bloody hell. She LIKE liked him. When had that happened? She hadn't seen him in months, but had missed him like crazy. Of course, Sabine had just written that off as not feeling like Krownest was her home anymore, so she was longing for people who did. Then he appears in the Wren stronghold asking for help and her heart had skipped a beat or two to see him again, looking a fraction taller and more filled out, but she hadn't actually noticed that, not in the forefront of her mind. Now though, it was all she could think about as she replayed the scene on the edge of the cliff. She'd had to stand on her toes to kiss him, since he had no idea it was coming and hadn't bent down at all.
Ezra was growing up in more ways than one. And somewhere in the last few days, she'd noticed, at least subconsciously. He still cracked jokes, and couldn't seem to figure out a sense of decorum to save his life, but beneath that, he was definitely more mature in his attitude towards everything. There was a calmness to him now that reminded her more and more of how Kanan carried himself, which was not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
Sabine sighed as a new internal battle raged within her. What did she do about Ezra now? Because she needed to make a choice sooner than later. Mother had been hinting at finding her a husband, which had only filled Sabine with dread. But now, as she realized that perhaps Ezra might be the one for her, the thought of marrying him didn't make her want to run to the furthest possible planet away from him. That alone should have been enough of a deciding factor.
But it wasn't. Not just yet.
Sabine started pacing back and forth as her mind whirled. If she was going to choose Ezra, she needed to make sure it was one hundred percent what her heart wanted and not just a passing thing. Because once she picked a husband, there was no undoing it. Not for the rest of her life. And she couldn't play with him and then toss him away if it didn't feel right anymore. She couldn't do that to him. Sabine could never hurt him like that. Ever.
Okay, that was a good first step. She couldn't hurt Ezra emotionally. That definitely meant something. (Physically, she could still kick his ass if he deserved it or if they were sparring. That was a given.)
Could she picture herself living with Ezra for the rest of her life? She snorted to herself and smiled just a little as the quick answer of 'YES!' flew through her mind. He might be goofy, messy, and occasionally annoying, but he was also incredibly sweet, kind, determined, humble (most of the time), strong (both physically and mentally), smart (when he tried), easy to talk to, great at listening, and (this was the hardest to admit) incredibly handsome. So yes, she could picture living with him for the rest of her life.
Next, (and she blushed to think it), could she actually picture herself kissing Ezra for real? Yes. Could she picture herself touching him? Yes. Could she picture herself in a bed with him, sleeping together and... other things? Sabine bit her lip as a little thrill of desire shot through her as pictures formed in her mind.
Okay. Time for a new line of thought. This was all just too new for her to be entirely comfortable thinking of Ezra as a desirable person. Too bad her mind wasn't cooperating as a new image of Ezra and her popped into her mind. He was poised over her and lavishing attention to her breasts. Eep. And then her traitorous mind started imagining what he'd look like without any clothes on. And then she started wondering what it would feel like to actually kiss him, with tongues and everything.
"Argghh," she muttered and marched back to edge of the upper cliff. The only way to get these images to stop was to give herself something else real to think about. And thinking of her father was the biggest mood killer she could think of. So she flew back to where he was, standing with Ezra, Kanan, Chopper, and Bo-Katan and Fen Rau, who were just joining the little group.
Sabine landed in front of them and took off her helmet and addressed the man she hadn't seen for almost five years.
Ezra watched the reunion between father and daughter with a smile in his heart and gracing his lips. It was so good to see her reunited with him in a way that was almost the exact opposite of her reunion with her mother. (She really was a scary woman.) Instead of threats and disapproval, there were hugs and compliments. Sabine just felt so happy in the Force in that moment.
Ezra exchanged pleased blind glances with Kanan, communicating through their bond how nice this was to see. Ezra closed his eyes and pictured the scene the way Kanan saw it, using his Force senses only.
Sabine and her father glowed warmly in the Force, contentment and joy radiating from both of them and reaching towards each other within their Force signatures in a way that told Ezra they used to have a very close bond once upon a time. Being separated from her father must have devastated Sabine greatly. At least everything was right again now.
Ezra took off his helmet and smiled at Sabine, letting her see how happy he was for her. She flicked a glance at him, and a tiny smile quirked her mouth in return in the midst of her banter with her father about her art skills.
Ezra made some inane comment about now understanding where Sabine had gotten her artistic side from, not expecting her father to be an artist too. He definitely liked the father better than the mother. Somehow, Sabine's warrior side just excited him, whereas her mother's warrior side (which was all of her, she had no other sides as far as he could tell), just flat out intimidated him. Which was pathetic, if you thought about it, considering he was a Jedi and could theoretically take care of himself against the Countess if she ever decided to kill him. But then again, he could never hurt Sabine's mother, because, well, she was Sabine's mother. Annnnnddd that left him back where he started; petrified of Ursa Wren.
Sabine, on the other hand, had so many sides to her that he adored. Besides her warrior personality (which she depended on more often than not), there was her artistic side, her playful side, her genius side, her (very) occasional girly side, and best of all, her caring side. She cared more than she lot on. She cared what people thought. She cared about her family (both of them). She cared about people in need. She cared that the galaxy wasn't as perfect as it should be. He'd thought it a million times before, and he would continue to think it until the end of time; Sabine was perfect.
And there was nothing she could do to make him think otherwise.
Chapter 2: Thine Eyes Doth See
Thine Eyes Doth See:
D2/1 BBY, Mandalore
And then the Duchess happened, and Ezra realized that Sabine wasn't perfect.
She was human. She made mistakes. She hurt. Actually, she was damn near broken after losing more than half of her Clan. But she fought on, because that's who she was. Sabine wasn't a quitter.
It only made him love her more.
Sabine was genuinely happy as she talked with father. It had been so LONG. And after the initial awkward moment, it was like they'd never been parted; teasing about art like old times.
Ezra, of course, had to get his own word in, but she didn't mind, not with how her father responded. And he was right. Mother really did love to destroy her enemies in the most creative ways. Too bad she'd been one of them.
But they'd moved past that. After a few months of proving herself a worthy clan member again, Mother was actually starting to trust her once more. It was a good feeling, even if the Wren Stronghold didn't exactly feel as much like home as it should.
More than anything, Sabine had enjoyed spending time with her little brother again. Little. Ha. That certainly didn't apply anymore. Tristan had grown a LOT while she was gone. She didn't remember her grandfather very well, but she did remember he'd been a massive man. Tristan was definitely taking after him, and at only seventeen, Tristan was nowhere near done growing and filling out. She could tell how proud Mother was of him. He was a dutiful son. He hadn't betrayed their people. He was a strong warrior. He was pretty much perfect.
But Sabine couldn't resent him. She never would. He should have been the eldest. He would have made a much better Count than she ever would. Sabine didn't know what she was going to do when her mother was ready to step down. For the time being, she was simply pretending that her mother would remain the Countess forever and not thinking about the day when she was supposed to take over the job.
Fate, or the Force, or whatever, must have been laughing at her the last time she'd told Mother that dealing with Clan business matters was not her problem and she wasn't ready yet to learn about them.
Her mother had insisted anyway.
She ever was the pragmatic one. And efficient.
As she proved once again as Sabine listened to her voice via Fenn's comm link, after he'd told her that they'd rescued Father.
"Then we have two victories today. Saxon's forces are in retreat." Sabine couldn't help but smile slightly at the sound of her mother's Westars in full voice as she pictured her chasing stormtroopers across the desolate landscape.
Tristan's voice came over the comm next a moment later. "Hold on. They're not all running. Looks like we got an incoming Imperial transport."
"Reinforcements to cover their retreat?" Sabine asked, getting closer to Fenn so Tristan could hear her. That was highly unusual.
"They deployed a single scout walker. With no other support. It's moving into attack position," Tristan said, the confusion in his voice just as apparent as what Sabine was feeling.
Her mother scoffed. "Laughable. Destroy it."
And that was when Sabine heard it over the comm; the sound that haunted her nightmares and kept her up for hours afterwards with tears leaving frozen trails on her face.
The high pitched whine was the sound of her greatest mistake.
"That sound. It can't be," Sabine said through a suddenly constricted throat. Heart hammering in panic, Sabine called, "Tristan, get out of there NOW!"
When no one answered, she called again. "Mother? Tristan?"
As a glow filled the sky in the distance where her clan were fighting off Saxon forces, Ezra turned to look at it. "What is that?"
Sabine was literally shaking as she saw what Ezra saw. She'd seen that glow firsthand. She knew exactly what it meant. Crying, "No!" she jammed her helmet on and took off for the distant battlefield which she already knew was probably now a graveyard.
Sabine landed a couple minutes later, seeing nothing but a couple flaming transports and ashes on the ground with blackened pieces of beskar armour in heaps here and there. She tossed off her helmet and knelt by the nearest pile, her emotions in a state of devastated shock. "No, no," she cried as self loathing filled her.
Ezra landed near Sabine, looking around the battlefield as a sense of extreme sorrow filled the Force around him. He sent a little nudge towards Kanan, just wanting some reassurance that SOMETHING was still alright. Kanan sent a sad little nudge back, both of them realizing that something truly awful had happened. "What happened here?" Ezra said aloud to anyone who cared to answer. He didn't think it would be Sabine, though.
He'd never seen her like this before. Not even when they were training with the Darksabre and he'd thought that was the most depressed he'd ever see her get. The pain she'd radiated then had nothing on the pain she was broadcasting now. Nothing.
Bo-Katan stepped up beside him. She too was feeling a lot of shock and pain that he couldn't miss unless he slammed his shields closed entirely. "Where are the survivors of this battle? The wounded? The victors?"
"I see only the defeated," came the resigned sounding voice of Alrich from behind him.
Ezra stepped forward to comfort Sabine and his boot sent up a cloud of ash, drawing his eyes downward. He frowned at the crispy metal before he understood what he was looking at. "Mandalorian armour? What could do this?"
"A weapon did this," Alrich said in that same resigned and defeated tone. "A weapon created by my daughter."
Ezra's first thought was that Sabine would never. And then everything she said on Atallon a few months ago finally made sense, and he realized that she HAD. No wonder she was in such pain. It would be like him killing his own family with his lightsabre in his sleep or something.
"There were rumours the Empire was working on a weapon to neutralize Mandalorian armour. That it had even been tested on our people. I didn't believe it," Bo-Katan's voice now said that she did. And the undercurrent of anger she was starting to feel was not a good thing. Not if it was going to be directed at Sabine.
Sabine finally spoke, her voice broken and torn. "Not the empire. Me. This is all my fault."
Ezra tried to make her feel better as he moved to kneel beside her, putting his helmet on the ground and touching her trembling back tentatively . "Sabine, you can't blame yourself for this. Nothing involving the Empire could ever be your fault."
She turned to look at him with broken, tear filled eyes. "Everything my father said was true, Ezra. This is my work. I created the weapon that did this. And because of me, the Empire is going to turn my world into a graveyard. Because of me, Mandalorians are going to die. My mother and brother are dead, Ezra." She paused for a moment as she gulped in a sob and then croaked out, "Because of me."
Ezra didn't know what to do other than what Kanan had done for him when he found out for sure that his parents were gone. He opened his arms and pulled her against his chest and held her while she cried her heart out. He brushed his hand over her cream and flower coloured hair over and over and said nonsense soothing words as sobs wracked her small frame.
Ezra looked up as the others came to stand around them.
Kanan was sending as much comfort as he could to both of them through the Force, but he doubted Sabine was feeling it. Ezra was grateful for his efforts though.
Sabine's father had his own tears streaming down his face as he realized that he'd just lost his wife and son, who he hadn't seen in months as he was held captive by the Saxon traitors.
Fenn had his helmet on, so Ezra couldn't see his face, but he could feel sympathy in his emotions.
And Bo-Katan? She was building up into something that didn't bode well for Sabine. The Mandalorian woman was taking this loss personally as she realized the deadly implications for her people. Ezra was going to have to watch her. Kanan understood too, as his masked head turned towards her and a frown crossed his face.
Chopper suddenly started beeping rapidly about picking up approaching comm signals.
"Choppers' picked up something," Kanan explained for the benefit of anyone who didn't understand his unique form of binary.
"Survivors?" Bo-Katan asked hopefully, overriding her current anger for the moment.
"No. The Empire's coming back to finish the job," Fenn said as he looked to the sky.
Sabine fell into Ezra's arms gratefully, needing to be held right now more than she ever had in her entire life. The pain of her past and its consequences was almost more than she could bear. But with Ezra holding her close, and his hands rubbing her soothingly, and his voice whispering that it was going to be okay, maybe not right now, but eventually, Sabine felt like she might just have enough fight left in her to keep going.
Her tears were finally starting to dry up when Chopper started beeping. She was wiping her face on a dry spot on Ezra's shirt when Fenn said the Empire was coming back.
"Sabine," Ezra said gently. "I know this sucks but..."
She cut him off as she looked up at him and determination filled her, replacing the empty space in her chest. "I know. And they're going to pay." She touched his cheek for one brief second, suddenly so thankful that he was back in her life, and stood, drawing the Darksabre and glaring at the approaching figures flying in on Mandalorian jet packs but wearing Imperial marked armour.
Sabine growled in rage and flew up towards the nearest one, taking the man out with a body check in the sky and forcing him to the ground. She sliced the blaster he pointed at her in half and then cut off his head, all her sympathy for the life of another being completely gone at the moment.
With that one taken care of, Sabine looked for another target. Spotting one creeping up on Ezra as he protected her father, Sabine drew a blaster with her free hand and shot him in the small space between his shoulder armour and his helmet, not taking the chance that his armour would stop the shot.
And then she moved on, her sole focus the annihilation of every single traitor to her people, wishing it would also make her feel better about betraying her people herself. In a little corner of her mind that still whimpered in pain, she knew it wouldn't.
Ezra was trying to get Alrich out of the kill zone, the man having nothing in the way of armour or weapons to defend himself. He was determined that Sabine was not going to lose her last parent.
They'd almost made it to the speeder bike when three TIEs joined the fray and one of them shot the bike, exploding it right in his face. Ezra picked himself up off the ground and looked for Alrich. He was just sitting up only a meter away and looking a little dazed, but otherwise unhurt. Ezra was really really happy he'd taken the time to put his helmet back on before going on the defensive, because he'd be in bad shape right now without it. As is, he felt a few places on his body that throbbed from being struck by shrapnel. He had the passing thought that this would have been a good time to be covered in armour.
Pushing aside the pain to the back of his mind, he helped Alrich to his feet. "Are you okay?"
The older man nodded slowly. "You?"
"Better than the bike," he replied, forcing his tone into something resembling joking. With that came a little warning in the Force and Ezra stuck his lightsabre out, blocking the shot that would have taken Alrich out and deflecting it right back to the shooter, and watching the Imperial Mando fall with a burnt hole in his chest armour. "Right. We gotta get you outta here."
Alrich nodded, wide eyed. He was more impressed with Sabine's young Jedi the longer he knew him.
Ezra scanned the battlefield, searching for Kanan, relieved to see him having what looked like a blast with a couple of flyers as he jumped up on them and took out their jetpacks and then landed lightly on the ground again as they fell like rocks and didn't get up again.
Sabine was still on the warpath, the purple in her hair easy to spot. He wished she'd put her helmet on first, but there was no time now to get it for her.
Fenn and Bo-Katan were fighting on the ground in hand to hand combats with their own opponents, and Chopper had picked up a fallen blaster and was taking pot shots at anything that moved in white armour. Gotta love that droid.
They were winning the ground battle easily, but the TIEs were a concern as they passed overhead and blasted at them from above. Ezra just deflected their shots and continued to protect Alrich.
Then a Mando ship came screaming through the sky, guns blazing and took out a TIE before landing close to Bo-Katan and lowering a ramp.
"Come on!" Fenn yelled at everyone on their side.
Except Sabine. Of course.
Ezra was about to go get her, but Kanan beat him to it, Force running to her in an instant and grabbing her arm and talking some sense into her. Ezra watched in relief from the top of the ramp as Sabine gave up fighting and ran towards them instead, scooping up her helmet on the way by.
As Kanan and Sabine ran up the ramp, it closed and the ship took off again.
Alrich immediately gathered Sabine into his arms as soon as she was within the ship. Ezra's chest hurt for them as they remembered their shared grief again. "I'm so sorry, Father," he heard her say softly.
Alrich kissed the top of her head and hugged her tighter. "This wasn't your fault," he replied.
"It wasn't," Alrich insisted, and Sabine kind of sagged a little as she understood that her father didn't blame her.
Kanan stood beside Ezra, his hand on his shoulder. They didn't need words between them. They could feel the other's emotions more than well enough. Just being together was plenty.
Ezra wished that had been the end of it, but it wasn't. They were still being pursued by the last two TIEs. Everyone could feel it as shots rocked the shields.
And then shields gave up and a shot hit something important. Everyone could hear it as the sound of the engines changed to something not so healthy. Sabine ran off to fix the ship as Bo-Katan's clan mate who was flying the ship called over the comm that they were losing power and the weapons were down.
Bo-Katan hit a button and the cargo bay door opened in the floor. "Come on, kid," she said to him with a jerk of her helmeted head.
"Where are you going?" Ezra asked.
"A Mandalorian with a jet pack IS a weapon," she stated, and then dove out the opening and into the sky.
"I'm not a Mandalorian!" he called after her, even though there was no way she could hear him anymore, her figure already just a speck in the sky. "I don't want to be a Mandalorian," he said to himself. Mandos are nuts. Even his precious Sabine, but don't tell her he thought that. Good thing he liked her form of crazy. Shaking his head at his own insanity, Ezra jumped out of the ship as well.
At least he was finally getting the hang of flying in a jet pack. Sort of.
Ezra flew towards the second TIE, since Bo-Katan was in pursuit of the first. As the first TIE swept past him, the turbulence knocked him off balance and he ended up swimming through the sky.
Ezra hit his intended target right on the window, and felt rather like a bug. It brought back to mind the time he'd fallen off the top of the Ghost something like four years ago and slid down the window while waving at Sabine like an absolute idiot. Ah. Those were the days. Not.
The pilot of the TIE was certainly surprised at his unexpected passenger. Ezra had the absurd urge to wave at him as well, but he got over it and scrambled up and over the top of the TIE, intending to pull the hatch open and pull the pilot out with the Force.
Of course, that plan went out the window when the wind pulled him right off the TIE and he was left behind, once again floundering in the sky. Thank the Force Sabine wasn't watching this, because he still felt like an absolute moron in this jet pack.
Ezra got himself facing the right away again and took off after the TIE at the same time that he saw the one Bo-Katan had targeted blow up. Going for plan B, Ezra activated the rocket launcher thing built into his jet pack and sent it at his target, using the Force just a little to make sure it actually hit the target. (It would be terrible if he hit Bo-Katan's ship instead.)
Smiling inside his helmet as the TIE blew, Ezra joined Bo-Katan and they chased after her ship and flew back in. It's failing power was actually a good thing, or they'd never have been able to catch up.
Bo-Katan closed the cargo door and Ezra pulled his helmet off. "Well, that was interesting."
She took her helmet off too and kind of smiled at him. "Not bad, for a rookie."
Ezra took that as high praise and grinned.
Sabine appeared in the cargo area, smiling at Ezra, and grabbed his hand as she led him into the main part of the ship. "Look at you, taking out a TIE with a jet pack. I told you you'd get used to flying that," she teased.
Ezra felt his heart pound a little as her fingers joined with his, and covered up his joy with a casual shrug. "Well, I'm not completely hopeless."
Sabine squeezed his fingers and bumped his shoulder with hers gently. "No, Ez'ika. You're not."
Ezra's breath caught at the endearment, and he gulped. Her beautiful eyes were serious now as she looked up at him, an emotion shining through that Ezra was afraid to name. He went to raise his free hand to touch her cheek reverently but the helmet tucked under his elbow made itself known, so he settled on just smiling softly, letting his eyes say what his heart was feeling. "Thank you, cyar'ika." (He'd learned the Mando'a endearments on the holonet long ago, within a week of meeting her, and he'd never forgotten them. How could he? When Sabine was there every day, reminding him how much he wished they were more than friends?)
Somewhere in the last hour, everything had changed. Sabine had come to some sort of decision in her mind and she'd made it very clear with her actions and words that she was ready to move beyond friendship. Ezra couldn't have been much happier. (Sabine's family still being alive would have made it perfect.)
"Sooooo," Alrich drawled from his lean against a wall, arms crossed over his chest, and amber eyes twinkling at them as they turned to look at him in surprise, both forgetting in the moment that they weren't alone. "I take it the two of you are going to make this official sooner or later?"
Chapter 3: My Heart is Yours
My Heart is Yours:
D2/1 BBY, Mandalore
Sabine beamed at Ezra for knowing the proper Mando'a endearment to call her. She should have been surprised, but somehow she really wasn't. Ezra always had this habit of being more prepared than his laid back, sometimes goofy, personality let on. In his own way, he was actually VERY smart. He was so good at making friends, it couldn't really be a coincidence. When it came to dealing with people, he was certainly in a league of his own.
The sensation of having her fingers laced with his was doing funny things to her heartbeat and sending little flutters of awareness through her, and they were both wearing gloves. She couldn't imagine how much better it would be without them. And his eyes; they were melting her stuttering heart with how they looked at her. The love in them was so clear to see and it helped her forget, just for a moment, how WRONG the rest of her life was right now. Ezra, on the other hand, was RIGHT. Being with him felt right. She was actually thinking about moving closer to him and trying the whole kiss thing again when her father spoke and tore her out of her trance.
Sabine dropped Ezra's hand as she turned and faced her father with heat rapidly rising to her face. "Father!" Oh shabla, he'd seen her practically throw herself at Ezra twice now. What must he think of her?
She didn't get a chance to find out at that moment, because something else took everyone's attention.
The hairs on the back of her neck rose in warning just as she felt herself attacked from behind, her helmet flying out from under her arm. She had no time to react as Bo-Katan shoved her up against a wall face first and held the blade in her gauntlet to her throat, breaking the skin. Bo-Katan growled at her as she shoved her harder. "You're a Mandalorian! Why would you create such an abomination? That THING is the weapon of a coward."
There was a second clatter on the floor, like another helmet being dropped, followed by the sudden easing of the pressure. Sabine turned around to find Bo-Katan had been pulled back by Ezra. With the Force. His face was a study of concentration and anger as he held her in an invisible hold and she struggled in his grip. Bo-Katan stopped moving after a moment as she realized fighting was futile.
"No blades," Ezra growled. He didn't mind the girls having it out, as he sensed this was something that needed to be cleared up, but he wasn't going to watch Sabine bleed. Kanan had almost stopped him, as he sensed what Ezra was going to do, but then thought better of it, and didn't interfere. He realized Sabine was Ezra's to take care of, now more than ever.
Ezra walked around Bo-Katan, holding her still with one hand held up and came to stand beside Sabine, but keeping his eyes pined to the Mandalorian leader's. "If you promise to play nice, I'll let you go."
Bo-Katan's green eyes blazed murder, but she nodded stiffly.
Ezra let her go.
Bo-Katan took a deep breath and visibly calmed herself down. She turned her attention back to Sabine. "Why?" Just one word, but the hurt and pain in her voice was readily apparent.
Sabine sighed and slumped back against the wall, grateful for Ezra's strong presence beside her, but she was careful to keep her eyes locked with Bo-Katan's. She needed her to see her remorse. "I was young. It was a challenge. And I was arrogant. But when I realized the Empire tested it, and actually planned to use it, I sabotaged the prototype and destroyed the plans. I thought that was the end of it, I swear to you."
"Then how is it back?" Bo-Katan accused. "How come half your Clan and a few of mine are blowing in the wind? My nephew was there. Who's going to tell his wife and children that their father isn't coming home?"
Sabine went deathly pale and she shook her head. "I don't know! I don't know. I don't know," she finished in a whisper. She felt Ezra lace his fingers with hers again and Sabine found the courage to stand straighter and face her mistakes. "But I swear I won't rest until I make it right again. This is my mess and I'm going to fix it."
"Not by yourself," Ezra said. "I'm with you to the end."
Sabine looked up at him and almost got lost in the sincerity and commitment she found in the blue depths of his eyes. She squeezed his fingers appreciatively. "Thank you, Ezra."
"I'm with you too," Kanan said firmly, quickly followed by Chopper's beep of support.
"As am I," added Fenn Rau. "I promised I would follow you, back on Atallon, and I meant it."
"I will always support you, Daughter," Alrich added.
Sabine smiled a shaky smile at everyone in turn as they lent their support, and then she turned questioning eyes back to Bo-Katan, seeing the conflicted look on her face.
Bo-Katan sighed. "I suppose I am as well. You do deserve the right to make things as right as you can, but this doesn't mean I won't forget what you've done." She turned and swiftly stalked off to the door that led to the cockpit, shoulders stiff.
The room as a whole kind of exhaled in relief that things were settled for the moment.
Ezra focused his gaze on the still bleeding cut on Sabine's neck just above the collar of her bodysuit. "She hurt you," he said softly, regretting that he hadn't acted sooner and stopped Bo-Katan before she'd even touched Sabine. But he'd been so lost in the feelings swirling through him as Sabine finally acknowledged his devotion. And then they'd been caught making googoo eyes at each other by her father and Ezra's embarrassment had soared through the roof, and Kanan was laughing at him through their bond. Distraction wasn't a great excuse, but it was all he had.
Sabine reached up with her free hand reflexively, gloved fingers coming away red. She'd actually forgotten about the cut already, it not registering amongst all the emotional pain that kept her focus right now. "It's nothing, Ezra. I'll slap some bacta and a bandaid on it later."
Ezra touched her neck gently. "I wish I could fix it for you now, but Force Healing isn't in my bag of tricks."
Sabine laughed sadly at his equally sad attempt at lightening the mood. "It's okay, Ezra. We have much bigger things to worry about than a tiny cut."
"Like not getting fried to a crisp in our armour," Fenn said, only half joking.
Ezra raised a brow at that. "Okay, so this weapon only targets Mandalorian armour, right? So why not make your armour out of something different?"
Sabine snorted and dropped his hand, smacking his arm for saying something so stupid. "Ezra, the armour I wear is five hundred years old. I reforged it to my liking, but, the battles, the history, the blood, all lives within it. And the same goes for every Mandalorian."
"This armour is part of our identity," Alrich added, even though he rarely wore it, he did have his own set. "It makes us Mandalorians who we are."
"And now it's going to make us dead," Fenn scoffed.
"Not if I have anything to say about it," Sabine said determinedly. "I AM going to fix this."
"I'm holding you to that," Bo-Katan said as she re-emerged from the cockpit and everyone felt the ship come in for a landing. She stopped in front of Ezra and Sabine. "We're landing at my camp, and they've been informed of what has transpired. There are several clans here, since we were actually planning an attack on the Imperial Saxons before I was informed by the late Countess Wren of your plan to free your father. This is your chance to prove yourself, Sabine Wren. DON'T disappointment me."
Sabine nodded, her eyes not leaving Bo-Katan's until the older female nodded towards the cargo bay, indicating Sabine should go first.
Sabine squared her shoulders, picked up her helmet, which she'd dropped when Bo-Katan body slammed her, and walked proudly to the cargo bay.
As the ramp lowered, she found herself flanked by Ezra, Kanan, Fenn, and Chopper. Ezra and Kanan both touched an arm on either side of her at the same time in the same show of support, and Sabine couldn't help but smile slightly at how alike they were now. She doubted they even realized it.
Taking a deep breath, she walked down the ramp with her heart family at her side, Bo-Katan and her father following behind.
As she was spotted by the crowd of about thirty that had come to greet the ship, blasters were drawn and immediately pointed at her.
"I know you built that weapon."
"You betrayed us all."
"You're a traitor to Mandalore."
She didn't know any of these people but their accusations cut her to the core. Ezra and Kanan drawing their lightsabres on either side of her and getting into a protective stance made the hurt just a little less. She glanced over and saw Fenn had his blasters drawn as well, ready to fight for her.
And then her father's voice came from above them from his position halfway up the ramp, and her breath caught on the rush of love she felt for him.
"Lower your weapons," Alrich called firmly. "Sabine did everything she could to stop this from happening. You must believe us. Any attack on my daughter is an attack on Clan Wren and an attack on the new Countess."
That seemed to shock the crowd slightly as their blasters lowered ever so slightly and they looked at each other in confusion. Attacking a Countess was NOT a good idea. And this one was protected by two Jedi. Which made it even more confusing, since Jedi were supposed to be the enemy.
The opposing sides stared at each other for a whole minute, no one making a move to DO anything, but no one actually backing down either.
Sabine couldn't take the tension anymore. She threw her helmet on the ground and almost screamed, "No!"
Ezra looked at her in shock, his fingers tightening restlessly on the hilt of his lightsabre. "Sabine! What are you doing?"
"I'm prepared to take responsibility for my actions." Ezra blinked and then nodded slightly in acceptance, but he didn't turn off his lightsabre. She didn't blame him.
She addressed the crowd, raising her voice so all could hear her, especially as it seemed that even more had joined the back of the gathering. (Hard to tell for sure, though, since she was so short.) "It's true. I designed the weapon as a loyal student at the Imperial Academy. The Empire is using my prototype. But, it's only functioning at a fraction of its capacity. At full power, it will destroy armies. So, you've got a choice to make. We can fight each other, or we can destroy this weapon once and for all!"
Bo-Katan had been watching the whole thing, not taking sides. She came to a decision as she'd seen what she'd needed to from the girl. She stepped forward and addressed the crowd as well, after exchanging a quick glance with Sabine. "I understand your anger. In many ways, I feel the same. But Sabine is right. Now is not the time for us to be divisive. She knows the most about this weapon and how to destroy it. We need her."
Bo-Katan stared down her own clan members, telling them silently to put their blasters away. As they did so, the members from the other clans followed their lead, the Jedi put their weapons away, and the tension left the air. With a murmur as people talked amongst themselves, the crowd dispersed, going back to their tasks for the evening or to their tents. She turned to Sabine and gave her a look that said everything was up to her now. "It's time for you to prove your loyalty. Not just to your family, but to all of Mandalore. Come with me and we will make plans." Her eyes swept over Sabine's little family and she raised an imperious brow until they all nodded meekly.
Bo-Katan turned on her heel and stalked to the large command tent in the center of the camp, followed by Fenn, who thought she just might be the fiercest, hottest female he'd ever encountered. Fenn was thinking he might be in love and how come it had taken so long for him to meet her?
Ezra and Sabine looked at each other and he shrugged with a bashful look as she raised a brow at him for questioning her in front of so many. He bent down and picked Sabine's helmet up for her. She shook her head at him as she accepted the offering of her own helmet and smiled at the blush that had taken over his entire face at the quick kiss she'd pressed to his cheek for being so dorkily sweet.
Ezra was left behind, staring at her confidently striding figure with his heart in his eyes as he held his hand to his cheek in awe. He startled when Kanan clapped him on the back. "I think It's safe to say that you two are dating now," he said, laughter in his voice.
Ezra gaped at Kanan and then was clapped on the back again by Alrich. "Congratulations, son. Don't make me wait too long for grandkids."
Ezra's jaw practically dropped to the ground as he stared after the two men who were laughing like lothloons as they followed in Sabine's footsteps.
Chopper bumped into the back of his legs, beeped something like, "Get a move on, meatbag," and rolled after the others.
Ezra startled out of his frozen position and ran after the older men. He caught up to Alrich. "You're kidding, right? Please tell me you're kidding?"
Alrich just grinned and swept into the guarded tent like he belonged there.
Ezra turned to Kanan. "He was kidding, right?"
Kanan shrugged, a smile playing on the corners of his mouth. "Probably not. Their clan is a little depleted right now. They have to grow their numbers somehow. And I believe it is quite common for their people to marry young and produce children early."
"Kanan!" Ezra said in shock that his Master was playing along as well.
Kanan just squeezed his shoulder, laughter practically taking over the entire bond, and ducked into the tent.
Ezra looked from one guard to the other, armoured in Bo-Katan's clan colours. "Was he kidding?"
They shrugged in tandem and one held the door open for him. Ezra shook his head at himself, eyes wide, and entered the massive tent. He walked over to where everyone else was gathered around Chopper, who was projecting the schematics of a Star Destroyer. He was basically in a daze over the concept of having kids sooner than later, so he didn't contribute to the conversations, but he did manage to more or less listen.
Alrich was speaking as he stopped beside Kanan. "Saxon has worked hard to keep the weapon secret, so he likely has it aboard his Imperial Star Destroyer outside of Sundari. Needless to say, it will be very well guarded."
Sabine was next. "Once we get inside that ship, we'll need two teams. One to find the weapon and one to wipe out every shred of data on the Imperial computer systems." Ezra suppressed the urge to smile like a dork from listening to her voice. It was sweet and commanding at the same time. How she did that, he didn't know, but he sure was a sucker for it.
"This weapon. Is there any way it could be turned against the Empire?" Fenn asked Sabine.
"I've studied stormtrooper armour, and, while the thought has crossed my mind, that isn't our mission," she replied. "No. No, we have to destroy it."
Ezra and Kanan caught the hint of something in her voice that said a new idea was brewing at the back of her mind. Ezra wouldn't be surprised if Sabine did something completely unexpected during the mission. She was good at that; coming up with new ways to destroy things on the fly.
"If I can get to the weapon, I can make sure it's destroyed," Sabine finished with, radiating determination into the Force.
"I'll get you there," Bo-Katan said, just as determinedly.
"Ezra and I will take Chopper to the data core," Kanan volunteered for them. Ezra would rather be with Sabine's team, but he didn't oppose his Master.
"All right. Let's go over our infiltration plan." Sabine became more animated and hopeful as she talked about her plan and the schematics of the Star Destroyer and the most likely place the weapon would be located.
Ezra's attention divided as Fenn and Bo-Katan stepped away from the group and started talking quietly to each other. Ezra found it quite amusing that Fenn seemed to have fallen so hard for the woman. He'd caught him looking at Bo-Katan the same way Ezra looked at Sabine and Kanan looked at Hera. They were all just a bunch of lovesick fools, weren't they?
Ezra's attention returned wholly to Sabine and he couldn't help the small smile as he watched her animated face as she talked about attacking the enemy. She was so good at this, and really was a born leader. Ezra was more than happy to stand at her side and let her make the big decisions, protecting her back as necessary. He could lead when he had to, but he enjoyed watching Sabine take control of things more. When it came to her, Ezra was just happy to spend whatever time he could with her.
The meeting came to an end some fifteen minutes later and Bo-Katan invited them to dine with her clan for the evening meal. The attack on Saxon's Star Destroyer was scheduled to take place a few hours before dawn, so more forces could arrive, giving them about six hours to eat and rest.
Since the Wren camp and their ships were about an hour away, Sabine and company were invited to stay with Bo-Katan's camp. A spare tent was erected in minutes for them and five cots placed around the edges.
Sabine stripped off her armour plates, gloves, and boots, but left everything else on, and fell into the cot, exhausted from the long day, but too agitated to sleep. She stared up at the ceiling of the tent while she listened to the breathing of the men turn regular and deep. The lump in the darkness that was Fenn was the first to start snoring softly. Within minutes, her father joined in and they were snoring in harmony. Normally, it would have been either comical or annoying, depending on her mood, but tonight, Sabine was just numb.
She knew she was grateful to have her father back, but at the cost of losing her mother and brother just made it agonizingly bittersweet. If she had known this was how it was going to play out, would she have done it again? How do you choose between the father that you adore and the mother you respect but can't ever love again because of what she did to you? Not to mention her beloved baby brother. Tristan didn't deserve this. None of her clan did.
Her eyes started leaking tears, the tracks running down into her ears uncomfortably.
Hating herself right now, Sabine rose silently from her cot, grabbed her boots and ducked out of the tent. She shoved her feet into her boots and walked with crossed arms holding her together through the nearly silent camp. The guard at the perimeter wall peered at her but didn't say anything as she walked past him out into the desert and just kept walking. When the camp was just a speck in the distance, she sank to her knees in the sand and let the sorrow take over but held back the screams, not wanting to wake the camp that would hear her, even as far out as she was.
With her head bowed and her shoulders shaking with the force of her grief, her eyes closed and the sound and sight of the Duchess doing its evil work assaulted her mind, memories taking over from today and years ago.
Ezra had been asleep for maybe half an hour when jolts of pain and sorrow woke him up, feeling like they came from within him, furrowing his brows in surprise. He glanced over at Kanan and saw that his Master was sleeping soundly and quietly, the bond between them quiet. Kanan had had his share of bad nights, but this wasn't his grief. So who...? What?
Ezra looked to Sabine's cot next and found it empty. Understanding dawned as he realized he was feeling Sabine. Jolting off his cot, he stuffed his feet into his boots and pulled on his shirt, having gone to bed in just his undershirt and trousers. He hurried through the camp, sensing that Sabine needed him. NOW.
Ezra went to pass the guard but paused when he called out, "She went that way."
The guard wasn't surprised by Ezra appearing shortly after the new Countess had left. He'd seen how protective the Jedi was of her and had observed them together during the evening meal. The two were clearly close and rumours had been flying around the camp that the new Countess had picked a Jedi as her consort. No one knew quite what to make of that, but no one dared insult her choice now. Fenn Rau had told the tale of how she had defeated Gar Saxon with the Darksabre, which made her one of the most powerful people on Mandalore right now. If she chose to be the next Mand'alor, some would oppose her, but not many.
Ezra gave a quick nod of acknowledgement, not actually needing the help, but was glad the warrior was being friendly. He took off at a run, beelining for where he felt Sabine's presence off in the distance, his path lit by faint moonlight. As her sorrow built and built to something he wasn't sure even she, with all her innate strength, could survive, Ezra pushed his feet into moving faster, calling on the Force to lend him the speed of the wind.
Within moments, he was sinking down to the sand beside her and drawing her into his lap, hugging his arms around her shaking body. He knew she hadn't had enough time to grieve properly earlier, and so wasn't too surprised by this, but his heart near broke for her anyway.
Sabine buried her face in Ezra's shoulder. "Ezra," she managed to sob out. "It hurts."
He kissed the top of her head and rocked her gently. "I know, Sabine. I know. Just let it out. It helps. I promise," he whispered in a voice almost as haggard as hers. "Kanan would tell you to give the pain to the Force, if he was here."
Sabine clenched her hands on Ezra's shirt and tried to give the pain away, but she didn't know how. It was all just so built up in her. Years and years of holding it all in, culminating with the loss of her family was just too much. All she could do was cry harder, which didn't seem possible, but she did.
Ezra wished he could help her desperately, more than just being there to hold her. He wanted to take her pain away. Make her feel better. Make everything right for her again. Turn back time even. "I'm sorry, cyar'ika. So very very sorry," he whispered into her hair.
He didn't know how it happened but he was pretty sure he now had a mental bond with Sabine much like his with Kanan. He was feeling her much too clearly for it to be anything else. He was practically drowning in her grief. Maybe because she'd decided to open her emotions to him earlier today?
Deciding to try something that he and Kanan did when the situation was dire enough, Ezra closed his eyes and pushed his thoughts into Sabine's mind, her despair leaving her naturally shielded mind more open than usual. "Give me your pain," he thought clearly. "I can take care of it for you. Let me do this for you."
Sabine nodded slightly against his chest and opened her mind wider, sending her pain to Ezra instinctively, because she trusted him to take care of it.
Ezra almost gasped as she opened the floodgates, but he breathed through it and started siphoning it out into the Force like Kanan had taught him so many years ago, basically going into a meditative state to do it. He didn't know how long it took for Sabine's grief to slow down, but he dealt with it. When the last trickles of sorrow had been given to a better place, Ezra squeezed her a little tighter to his chest and kissed the top of head again. "Are you feeling better now?" he asked in her mind, not wanting to give up the deep connection that they'd established.
Sabine nodded again, scrubbing her face against his soft shirt, and suddenly noticing how hard his body was underneath of it. "Ummm hmmmm, thank you, Ez'ika."
Ezra smiled gently into her hair, not wanting to lose the feel of it against his cheek. It was so silky and smelled like the sweetest of flowers. "You're welcome."
Sabine's eyes opened wide and she reared back in his arms. "Ezra Bridger, are you talking in my mind?!"
Ezra shrugged and one side of his mouth quirked up and he returned to talking out loud. "If I say yes, will you be mad?"
Sabine narrowed her eyes at him and thought about it. It WAS an invasion of privacy, but on the other hand, he did help her feel better. "I'll let you get away with it this time, Bridger. But you better not make a habit of that. My mind is my own."
Ezra smiled and pulled her closer again. "I know, Sabine. I would never dare to intrude unless it was important. This felt important."
Sabine relaxed against his chest again, finger tracing the line on his shirt where two different colours met across his collarbone and up his shoulder. "You're right. It was justified." She looked up at him, eyes taking in the line of his jaw from that angle. It looked very kissable all of a sudden. "I didn't know you could mind talk to other people."
Ezra looked uncomfortable all of a sudden and his eyes no longer met hers. "I can't, not usually. Only to people I have a Force bond with, like Kanan."
Sabine's eyes widened as she realized what he was saying. "And me?" she asked very softly.
Ezra looked back at her, his blue eyes looking almost black in the dark. He nodded ever so slightly. "And you."
Sabine breathed in as she understood the implications of that. They were BOUND. It was incredible. And thrilling. Ezra really was hers now.
Her arms crept up around his neck and her fingers rubbed against the short hairs at the back of his neck. She suddenly wished he'd grow his hair out again so she could play with it. "Ezra," she said softly, invitingly, raising her mouth towards his.
Ezra's breath caught in his throat at how beautiful her pale face looked in the moonlight. "Sabine." He cupped one side of her face with his hand lovingly and bent down to press his mouth to hers in a soft, experimental kiss. The electricity that shot through him at the contact was amazing and he wanted it again.
Their eyes met for a moment and then closed as their mouths pressed together again, fitting just right and whispering soft caresses. Sabine opened her mouth a little with a gasp at how amazing this felt and found herself the recipient of Ezra's tentative tongue. She sucked on the tip, which made him groan and soon they were duelling in the most passionate way that made her shake with need and move around on his lap so she was straddling him, wanting to get even closer and feel even more of her body pressed to his hard one. She found herself grinding against the hard length that was in just the right place now to stimulate her senses even more. Jolts of electricity shot through her with every slight movement of her hips.
When she felt like she was going to combust from the fire trying to take over her insides, Sabine pulled her mouth away from his and stared at him in shock, breathing heavily. "I had no idea it could be like that."
Ezra gasped in air, the bare fingers of one hand buried in her silky hair and his other hand curled around her hip and basically holding her against his hardness. He THROBBED against her and he could swear he could feel her heat through their layers of clothes. It felt like he was about two seconds away from exploding then and there. He gulped as he realized he was holding her butt and practically forcing her to rub against him. Ezra reluctantly forced his hand to move up a little higher to the curve of her waist. "I didn't either. I think I lost all control."
Sabine smirked and wiggled just a little, teasing him. "You're not the only one, babe." She rubbed her chest against his, happy she wasn't wearing her armour plating. "I think we need more practice. You wanna do it again?"
Ezra's eyes went wide before a predatory smile settled on his face. "Force, yes."
Sabine hummed a little in contentment as his mouth crashed down onto hers again.
Choosing Ezra as her future husband had definitely not been a mistake.
Chapter 4: You're My Everything
You're My Everything:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Ezra was drowning in Sabine.
He was overwhelmed by her sweet taste. Her scent of flowers and paint. The feel of her weight on him. The feel of her slender curves under his hands that had lost the ability to stay still. The way she moaned and hummed her pleasure in tiny sounds in her throat as he worshipped her cute little ears and neck with his lips and teeth and tongue, careful of the small bandage on one side.
When he did manage to open his eyes, he drowned in the sight of her passion filled features, so exotically beautiful. The skin of her face was exquisitely soft, making a mockery of his own stubble and scar covered one. Her eyebrows arched just so over the amber eyes he'd never get tired of looking into. Her cheekbones were high and well defined in her delicate face, a flush of pleasure colouring them, even in the dark. Her nose was adorable. Her chin and jaw line, proud and pointed. Her lips were the perfect pillows for his own, parted right now as she gasped in air.
Somehow, he was managing to maintain enough control over his flaming body to keep from shooting off in his underwear, but he wasn't sure how.
Sabine could barely think, Ezra was doing such a good job turning her brain to mush. Who knew her neck was so sensitive? Or her ears? And her clit was practically singing from all the grinding she'd been doing against the large bulge in his pants. She loved the fire he brought to life in her and wanted more, so much more.
Deciding that he needed to feel this too, Sabine grabbed the sides of his face, since he didn't have enough hair to hang on to, and pulled his mouth away from her neck and plastered her lips to his in another mind blowing kiss. She had the passing thought that they'd wasted a lot of kissing time over the last four years, but it quickly flittered away.
Putting her hands on his shoulders, she pushed his back down to the ground so she was completely perched over him and in control. "You're mine, Ez'ika," she said teasingly.
Ezra didn't mind. She looked like a goddess with the moonlight outlining her face and figure. "I always have been." One hand reached up and pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear and she smiled at him before she swooped down and pressed her mouth to his neck just like he'd been doing to her a couple minutes before. Ezra's eyes near rolled into the back of his head. No wonder she'd been making little pleasure noises. This was GOOD. "Sabiiiinnnneee," he moaned.
In response, one of her hands snaked down his chest and then back up again, but this time under his shirt. Ezra sucked in his breath at the feel of her little hand on his bare skin and almost forgot to let it out again.
Sabine couldn't help but be impressed by the toned muscles she was feeling. There wasn't an ounce of fat on him. His skin was smooth and hard all at the same time in a complete contradiction of terms. Her hand came to rest over his heart, feeling it pound under her palm. This was so incredibly intimate and thrilling. She nipped his ear and then kissed a path down his rough jaw line and returned to kissing, delving her tongue in his mouth once again, yet another little moan escaping her throat at the raw pleasure of the carnal act.
Kanan woke up with a raging hardon and a pounding heart as the last of his dream of Hera and him doing very un Jedi like things faded from the forefront of his mind. After breathing through it for a minute or two, not able to give in to temptation to take care of the problem with others in the tent, Kanan realized he was feeling more than his own passion.
He also realized that two people were missing from the tent. Thunking his head against the pillow, he suppressed the urge to groan in embarrassed horror, realizing that a great deal of the current problem in his pants didn't actually stem from his own emotions. Although, in all fairness, this was exactly how he and Ezra had discovered they had a bond in the first place. Years ago, Ezra had come knocking on Hera's door while they were getting frisky, and asked if it was normal that he could basically feel everything Kanan was. Needless to say, there was no more frisky moments between him and Hera until he and Ezra learned how to shield.
Right now, Ezra had completely forgotten his shields and Kanan wasn't impressed. He didn't begrudge the kids their fun, since that would make him the galaxy's biggest hypocrite, but kriff, this wasn't how he wanted to find out they had moved past the friendship stage.
Throwing politeness to the wind, Kanan thought very loudly and very clearly, "EZRA! Put up your kriffing shields!"
Ezra pushed Sabine back as his eyes popped open and he gulped in horror. "I'm so sorry, Kanan," he thought back, then slammed his shields closed between him and Kanan, but that also closed him off from Sabine. This was going to take some figuring out. How did Kanan do it? He knew Kanan had a bond with Hera too. It was somewhat one sided when only one person had control of the Force, but it was there, just like Ezra's new one with Sabine.
Sabine stared down at Ezra in befuddled hurt. Had she done something offensive? "What's wrong? What did I do?"
Seeing the hurt on her expressive face, Ezra sat up quickly, pushing her back so she sat on his thighs and away from his quickly deflating erection. He hugged her and kissed her forehead in apology, his passionate mood lost to the flaming embarrassment. "It's not you, I swear. You were perfect. It's me. I forgot to keep my shields up between me and Kanan and he knows what we were doing."
Sabine blinked a couple times and then her own cheeks burst with heat as well and own frisky mood shrank down like someone had just thrown a bucket of ice on her. Too bad she still had the damp underwear to remind her of how close she'd been to climaxing. "Oh, kriff, that's embarrassing."
Ezra buried his face in her shoulder. "I know, right?" he mumbled into her bodysuit.
Sabine sighed and wrapped her arms around his back, putting her cheek on his shoulder in return. "Oh well. Just imagine it as repayment for all the times we've stumbled upon Kanan and Hera making out."
Ezra chuckled and kissed her cheek before mirroring her position. "You mean like the time Zeb and I practically fell on them in the cargo hold when we were chasing Chopper?"
Sabine laughed. "I remember that day. You still have the painting I made in your room."
Ezra grinned at her. "And I always will. I don't care how stupid it makes me look. You painted it, so it's staying. I had a lot of battles with Zeb over it."
Sabine beamed at him and kissed his cheek in return, letting her lips linger, whispering against it, "You keep saying things like that, Bridger, and I might just have to fall in love with you." Her tone was light and teasing, but Sabine could feel the truth of her own words in her heart. She really was falling in love with him. Maybe she was already there. Maybe she'd been there for years and just refused to see it.
Ezra lost his breath once again. He pulled back a little so he could see her face. "Do you really mean that?"
Sabine stared into his eyes that looked so incredibly vulnerable right now and knew she could never break his heart. She cupped his face in her hands, fingers resting on the sexy dual scars on his cheek, and met his eyes, willing him to feel her sincerity. "Yes, Ez'ika. I do mean it. You're my everything."
Ezra gulped and worked up the courage to say what had wanted to tumble off his tongue for years. "I love you, Sabine. I have since the first day I met you. I saw you blow up a bike right under the noses of the Imps. You jumped off a roof onto a moving bike like it was nothing. You didn't shoot me when you could have. You literally picked me up and tossed me out of your chair. You blew up some TIEs like it was fun. You were relatively nice to me compared to most people who encounter a streetrat. And of course, there was how beautiful you are. I love your colourful hair. I love your big eyes. I love you."
Sabine gaped and blinked at Ezra for a couple of seconds. That was an incredible speech, and she'd never felt more like she was actually worth something in her life. She felt special because she understood now that Ezra thought she was. And looking at herself through his eyes helped heal a broken piece inside of her that her mother had caused when she was banished from the clan all those years ago.
"Ezra." She didn't know what to say, so she pressed her mouth to his in a very gentle kiss that expressed everything she was feeling. Gratitude. Love. Acceptance. Need. Want. Home.
After, she pressed her forehead to his and they just breathed together, no more words needed between them. Ezra didn't need his new bond with her to know she loved him too. He was content to wait for her to be ready to say it for real. She'd already showed him that she did and it was enough.
They sat like that for awhile, wrapped around each other, their heads eventually finding a comfy place on the other's shoulder again. Soon enough, Sabine's breathing settled into a deep and slow pattern that indicated she'd fallen asleep.
Knowing that she needed her rest, Ezra didn't move for a long time. Not even when a cold breeze picked up. He just ignored it, pulling a little Force to him to warm them up as needed. He basked in her presence in his arms, having thought for years that this moment would never happen. At some point, his legs fell asleep, but he didn't care about that either. Sabine was all that mattered.
Ezra eventually fell into something that resembled a meditative trance, the Force swirling happily around and through him. He used the time to figure out how to separate his shields so he could feel Sabine and not Kanan, or vice versa, or both, in varying degrees.
As the moon was near setting at the horizon, Ezra felt Kanan approaching, but he still didn't move. A minute later, Kanan stopped and looked down at them with a raised brow, amusement and something that felt a lot like pride and approval in their bond for him to feel. He didn't say anything, understanding Ezra's reluctance to wake up Sabine, but he knelt down beside them and very gently extracted her from Ezra's arms, standing and holding her small form in his arms while Ezra very carefully worked some circulation back into his legs and got to his feet. The tingling was awful, but Ezra breathed through it while Kanan's mouth quirked up and he did a valiant job at not laughing out loud.
Ezra took Sabine back, cuddling her against his chest. She hummed happily in her sleep, wrapping her arms around his neck and snuggling back into his shoulder. Ezra kissed the top of her head and carried her back towards the camp, Kanan walking at his side.
Ezra was incredibly content in that moment, and he would file it away as one to treasure forever.
A/N: Sorry this one is short, but what happens next doesn't really belong in the same chapter.
Chapter 5: I Pledge My Loyalty
I Pledge My Loyalty:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Sabine woke up gradually to the sensation of smooth movement, feeling incredibly safe and loved. It was a feeling she had rarely ever felt, bringing back vague memories from her early childhood and being carried to bed by her father after he had let her stay up way too late painting with him.
Her eyes fluttered open as her arms tightened reflexively around Ezra's neck and she realized she actually was being carried. She had to admit it felt incredibly nice, but it wasn't in her nature to be carried anywhere. "Ezra," she murmured.
He glanced down at her and his teeth flashed in the dark as he smiled at her. "Down?"
Sabine nodded slightly, rubbing her cheek against his shirt just because. "This is nice and all, but I have legs and they work just fine."
Ezra chuckled lightly and so did Kanan, which made Sabine tense, because she hadn't realized they weren't alone. She craned her neck around, seeing Kanan walking beside Ezra on her blind side, and her cheeks flushed slightly with embarrassment. Curse him and his silent Jedi feet. Now she really wanted down. "Ezra," she said warningly as she wiggled and his arms held her tighter teasingly.
Ezra's eyes shone with mirth as he came to a stop, swooped down and kissed her warm cheek and then let her down.
Sabine gave him her best glare, which just made him smile wider.
Ezra looked at Kanan. "You let a girl sit on you for hours till your legs go to sleep and then you carry her for a kilometre or two and this is the thanks you get?"
Kanan shrugged, the corner of his mouth twitching. "Women. There's just no pleasing them sometimes. Get used to it."
Sabine huffed at the two males who where blatantly making fun of her while she stood right there. "Di'kuts," she muttered and started marching in the direction of the camp that was much closer than before. Actually, any closer and the guard would have seen her being carried like a child. That just wouldn't have been acceptable at all. Thank the Force she'd woken up. She was going to have to talk to Ezra about making sure her status as a badass was never questioned. A warrior Countess does NOT get carried unless they were unconscious and had two broken legs.
She called back over her shoulder at the men who were chuckling over her stomping figure. "Don't think I won't tell Hera what you just said, Kanan Jarrus. I'm sure she won't appreciate it. And Ezra, if you think there's going to be any more cuddling in the near future, you might want to hold your breath waiting for it." The chuckling came to an immediate end, making Sabine smirk to herself.
Ezra jogged up beside her to catch up, then matched his strides to hers. His eyes were wide in fear and remorse as he gazed at her. "Please don't say that. I was just teasing. I've waited forever for cuddling privileges; you wouldn't take them away already, would you?"
Sabine glanced at him and her lips twitched before she snorted with suppressed laughter. He'd actually believed her. He was already better trained than she thought. Taking pity on him, she laced her fingers with his and squeezed lightly. "Ezra, you're not the only one who can tease, you know."
He blinked a couple times and then he looked vastly relieved, shaking his head at himself. "I can't believe I fell for that."
Sabine grinned. "I can."
Kanan grinned at Sabine as he appeared on Ezra's other side. "So can I."
Sabine smiled at her second father conspiratorially. "He is incredibly gullible, isn't he?" She ignored Ezra's, 'Hey!' and continued talking to Kanan. "But I wasn't kidding about telling Hera. Us girls have to stick together when it comes to keeping the menfolk in line."
Now Ezra and Kanan both said, "Hey!"
Sabine grinned at them, let go of Ezra's hand, and marched up to and past the guard like she owned the world. After a quick stop at the refresher tent, she walked briskly to their borrowed tent, attached her armour and strapped on her weapons, then headed for the command tent with her helmet tucked under her arm.
Bo-Katan, Fenn, and her father were already there, along with the leaders of the various other clans that had come to help with the mission.
Bo-Katan glanced at her and Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper, who entered just behind her. "So glad you decided to join us. We were starting to wonder."
Sabine shrugged slightly, playing it cool. "I couldn't sleep, so Ezra and I took a walk. We went further than planned. I apologize if we kept you waiting."
Bo-Katan raised a red eyebrow, glancing from her to Ezra, who was, for once, doing a good job of keeping his mouth shut and not fidgeting, but his face was certainly turning red. "I see," Bo-Katan said, her tone clearly stating that she did, indeed, see.
Sabine sighed internally. If it hadn't been obvious already, she'd basically just declared her intention to take Ezra as her husband. One does not simply just go for a 'walk' with a boy in the dark for hours on a desert and then let it be known to everyone unless you intended to follow through with the implications. If she'd wanted to keep her relationship with Ezra a secret (which was probably impossible already since the guard had seen them) she could have come up with a hundred other excuses that didn't involve her and Ezra being alone.
Sabine glanced at the expressions of everyone in the tent at the implied declaration. Only her father, Fenn, and Bo-Katan portrayed actual acceptance. The others all looked either sceptical, were withholding judgement for the time being, or outright displeased. But no one made any moves to draw a blaster, so Sabine considered that a win. She focused on Bo-Kanan again. "I'm glad you do. Now. On to the small matter of getting rid of the Duchess once and for all..."
Bo-Katan's eyes widened and she stared at Sabine in shock. "Wait. Did you name your weapon after my sister?!"
Sabine winced. "It was a series of bad decisions that I'm not proud of. We can call it something else if you want?"
Bo-Katan was speechless for at least ten seconds as she glared at Sabine. A touch from Fenn on her arm brought her out of her mental snit. She sucked in a breath and forcibly calmed herself. "There's no point. We're getting rid of that thing and that will be the end of it. I just have to say that Satine was a pacifist until the very end and she would be appalled to find out that a weapon of mass destruction was named after her. I don't know what you were thinking."
Sabine glanced down at her helmet for a moment, deciding. Feeling Ezra step a fraction closer to her gave her the courage to say her piece. She looked back at the red haired woman, meeting the piercing green eyes steadily. "I was thinking that your sister's pacifist ways led to the fall of Mandalore. It was your sister's views on politics that eventually allowed the Imperials to take hold of our planet. She destroyed our people's spirit just as much as any weapon ever has. If she hadn't been a pacifist, there would never have been a need for the Republic to help our people. Maul and Death Watch should never have had the opportunity to take control. Clan Saxon should never have felt the need to ally with the Imperials just so what's left of our people aren't completely subjugated. It was your sister that was the catalyst for everything that is happening now. I don't claim to think that I could ever lead Mandalore better than anyone else, but Mandalore should never have been in the hands of a pacifist. And I know you know it. I know you were part of Death Watch because my mother was as well. I know you didn't believe in your sister's ideals, so you'd be a hypocrite if you said otherwise now."
Everyone in the tent was basically holding their breath as they looked from Sabine to Bo-Katan, waiting for her response. This could go one of two ways. Bo-Katan could be seriously offended and challenge Sabine to a duel to the death or she would agree with Sabine and let her words against her sister slide.
Bo-Katan's fists were clenched and she was barely breathing while proverbial steam rose from her. But as she stared into Sabine's eyes, her shoulders dropped ever so slightly and her fists unclenched. Everyone in the room breathed again. "You're right," Bo-Katan admitted quietly. "I didn't agree with my sister. It's the reason we hardly ever spoke to each other. We were on two different sides and in the end, we both lost and the Empire won. It's time to fix that. It's time to return Mandalore to being the home of people who are proud to call themselves Mandalorians. Proud of our warrior heritage. Proud to fight for what we believe in." Her voice rang with power and authority at the end and the tent erupted in cheers from the leaders of the other clans.
Sabine sighed in relief that that had turned out the way she'd hoped. Ezra nudged her with his foot and she glanced at him. He winked at her and smiled slightly as she fingered the Darksabre hanging off the side of her belt. She'd found the leader she sought. Sabine had always known it wasn't herself. Bo-Katan was the rightful leader of Mandalore based on heritage. It was gratifying to know the woman lived up to Sabine's expectations.
Sabine stepped forward, holding the Darksabre out to Bo-Katan and the room instantly went silent. "This belongs to you, My Lady. You are the true Mand'alor. The Mand'alor our people should have had leading us all along. I can't rightfully keep this anymore when I know I don't deserve to wield it. I now know that I found it so that I could pass it on to you."
Bo-Katan glanced from the sword hilt to Sabine's eyes and back again, indecision clear upon her face.
"Take it," Fenn said from beside her. "Sabine is right. You are a true leader of people and you uphold the original Mandalorian beliefs. I can think of no one better to be Mand'alor aside from Sabine, herself."
Bo-Katan glanced at him, and, seeing the sincerity and belief in his eyes, she reached forward and grasped the Darksabre. It instantly felt right in her hand, like a missing piece of her soul had been returned. Bo-Katan ignited the dark blade and held it above her head triumphantly, staring at her people. "I accept this sword as vengeance for my sister. For my clan. And for all of Mandalore."
Sabine went down to one knee in front of her, head bowed. "Clan Wren vows loyalty to Bo-Katan Kryze, the new Mand'alor."
Fenn Rau sank to a knee as well. "As the sole remaining Protector, I pledge my loyalty to you and vow to remain in your service for as long as I am of able body and mind."
One by one, the leaders of every clan knelt.
"Clan Awuad also vows loyalty."
"Clan Onyo vows loyalty."
"Clan Elder vows loyalty."
"Clan Rook vows loyalty."
"Clan Vizla vows loyalty."
And so it continued until every clan leader in the tent had their say.
Bo-Katan looked down at all the bowed heads and felt slightly overwhelmed. The only two people left in the tent not kneeling were the Jedi, but as she glanced at them, they both nodded at her respectfully, even the blind one. (How did he do that?) That was good enough, she supposed. Her sister's Jedi, Kenobi, had been a reasonable sort as well. Perhaps it was time to consider weaning people away from their hatred of the Jedi. Supporting Sabine's choice to marry one would be a good first step.
"I accept your loyalty," Bo-Katan's voice rang through the tent and everyone stood as one and cheered again. She slashed the Darksabre through the air, getting their attention before turning it off and hooking it to her belt. "Now is not the time for celebrating. We have a battle to win first and no more time to waste standing here. To your ships!"
There was a mass exodus out of the tent in a vaguely orderly fashion with a feeling of excitement in the air. Sabine, Ezra and Kanan waited patiently for the majority to exit. Bo-Katan swept past them with Fenn Rau at her side. "You three are with me," she said as she passed.
They dutifully followed. Sort of.
Sabine glanced back at her father, who was staying behind, his eyes worried. "I will come back, Father. Please believe that."
He smiled wanly. "I believe you will always try your hardest."
Sabine gave him an equally sad smile. "That has ever been the truth." Their identical eyes met for one more heartfelt second before Sabine turned and left the tent.
Ezra was waiting for her just outside. They walked together as they followed in the wake of the others. "I can tell you feel better now, now that you don't have the Darksabre anymore," he said quietly.
Sabine glanced at him and nodded slightly. "I was never comfortable with the thought of ruling the entirety of the Mandalorian people. It's going to be hard enough for me to adjust to the idea that I'm now the ruler of my clan. I know Father will help where he can, but he's not from the Wren line, so, no matter how wise he is, our clan won't follow him. Not openly. They'll listen to him, but they could disobey a direct order from him if they wished. From me? Not a chance. Unless someone from my family line challenges me to take the position. It would be a fight to the death of course."
Ezra gasped. "Please tell me you're kidding this time too."
She shook her head once. "No. I'm afraid not. But I wouldn't worry about it too much. I have no intention of being taken down in a duel."
As they walked up the ramp of Bo-Katan's Kom'rk fighter, Ezra gave her disbelieving eyes. "Not worry? Of course I'm going to worry. I always worry about you when you're doing something dangerous."
Sabine laughed softly and patted his cheek as they stopped in front of the door to the common area of the ship. "You're so cute." Since they were the only ones in the cargo hold, she grabbed his shirt with her free hand in a repeat of yesterday's move and pulled him down to her, kissing him quickly but thoroughly. Letting him go, she smirked at his wide eyed look. "Don't get yourself killed either, Bridger. It would make me very unhappy."
Ezra nodded dumbly as Sabine hit the button to close the ramp and another button to upon the door and walked through, leaving Ezra floundering on his feet as he tried to follow her. Did she even know how much she rocked his world when she kissed him? And not just a peck either. Her tongue had definitely been in his mouth. And to more or less declare that she worried about him too, but in her own badass way, was just the icing on the puffcake.
Finally getting his brain to more or less communicate with his lower limbs, Ezra stumbled into the common area, giving Kanan a grateful look as his Master covered his decidedly ungraceful entrance by turning to him and holding out his jetpack from yesterday, holding a second one in his other hand. Ezra grabbed the jetpack and Kanan held him up with it as he regained his balance. "You have any tips for me?" he asked glibly. "It looks like I get to wear one now too."
Ezra lowered his jetpack over his head as he felt the ship take off, engines still sounding not quite right, but someone obviously thought they would do for now. (Hera would be appalled.) He grinned at Kanan. "My only advice is to use the Force to steer. I don't know how they do it without. These things should be classified as suicide attempts."
Kanan snorted and put on his own as well. "I'll keep that in mind."
Of course, ten minutes later, when everyone but the pilot on Bo-Katan's ship jumped out of the cargo hold, Kanan flew straight and true in his jetpack. Ezra growled in disgust. "Why do I always look like a clutz compared to everyone else?" he muttered under his breath. Sabine and Chopper heard him of course, since she'd linked them via the comms in their helmets.
Chopper said something along the lines of, "Because you're a bumbling meatbag too pathetic to figure anything out." Ezra tried not to take that one too much to heart since Chopper had been insulting him for years but it still hurt.
Sabine giggled. (Giggled!) "I think that's cute too. Don't stress over it, Ez'ika. You're graceful when you really need to be. Have you seen yourself with a lightsabre lately? It's kriffin' hot."
Ezra flushed with pleasure while Chopper made the equivalent of gagging noises. Ezra turned off the link to the droid menace and just basked in the pleasure of Sabine's words. "Thank you, Sabine. If you were trying to make me love you more, you just succeeded."
Now Sabine was feeling all warm and glowy inside. "You keep talking like that, Ezra, and you're going to find yourself a very happy boy next time we get some alone time."
Ezra gulped, about a hundred different fantasies of him and Sabine doing naughty things all trying to take precedence at once and his pants getting rather tight all of sudden. At least this time, he'd remembered to keep his shields up between him and Kanan. With a little effort, he consciously lowered his voice to something he hoped sounded sexy. "Everyone knows a true gentleman takes care of the lady first. It would be my greatest pleasure to do so."
Sabine blinked as his rumbled words went straight to her core and she practically trembled with want. Holy nerfherders, who would have thought Ezra could do that to her? She cleared her throat. "Maybe we should shelve this conversation for later. We're almost at Saxon's Star Destroyer anyway."
Ezra glanced at the ISD that was dwarfed by the massive dome surrounding the city of Sundari, before looking back at Sabine, who flew just ahead of him. Her slender figure was much more pleasant to look at, hands down. He could stare at her for hours and be perfectly content. (He'd actually done so while she was painting or sketching and not paying attention to him, so he knew this for a fact.) "Sure, cyar'ika. But there's no way I'm forgetting to take this up where we left off when I get the chance."
Sabine smiled like a happy tooka inside her helmet. "I'm holding you to that, Bridger." Now that she'd decided she wanted Ezra, Sabine didn't see any reason to take it slow. If the last four years hadn't been enough of a test of the strength of their friendship, then nothing was.
A/N: If you last read this story before I moved it to the M section, I've since added some extra steam to Sabine and Ezra's make out session at the end of c3 and throughout c4.
Chapter 6: I Am Not Dar'manda!
I Am Not Dar'manda!:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Still feeling flushed and tingly from her rather naughty banter with Ezra, Sabine poked her head above the decking of Saxon's Star Destroyer, looking into the hangar. The area wasn't as busy as it could be, since it was about two hours before dawn and the ship was following Sundari's time schedule, but there were still a few troopers wandering around on patrol.
Waiting for a moment when their backs were turned the other way, Sabine then signalled to her small group that the coast was clear. Ezra, Kanan, Chopper, and Bo-Katan all flew up onto the decking beside her and they dashed into a secluded hiding spot behind some handy crates.
Bo-Katan touched her wrist comm, signalling to Fenn Rau that they were in position and to start the diversion in the main hangar on the other side of the ship. Fenn's group would then engage whatever troopers and officers appeared to investigate.
The signal also went out to two other group leaders who were going to simultaneously attack the Imperial Headquarters inside the city. This was the biggest group, by far, consisting of hundreds of warriors, since they wanted to eradicate the building and all who worked within it.
Everyone counted to five and then there was a joint grin inside helmets as the ISD rocked with an explosion from the other side of the ship. Kanan, only wearing his mask, could also be seen smiling slightly, being a bit more restrained in his enjoyment of the moment. What few troopers were in this hangar immediately ran out.
Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper dashed off towards the inner part of the ship, hopefully stealthily, but willing to do whatever was necessary to get to the main computer that linked the ship to the Imperial database so that Chopper could delete everything pertaining to the Duchess weapon.
"Good luck," Sabine called over her private comm to Ezra as he hurried away.
"Thanks, gorgeous," he replied. "You too."
Sabine felt herself blushing yet again and was grateful for her helmet. If only she'd known that Ezra was capable of making her feel so special, she was pretty sure she would have pursued him years sooner; dorky teenage stage, stupid flirting, and all. At least he had hair back then.
She really needed to convince him to let it grow back.
She and Bo-Katan ran past the red painted AT-DP Walker that had been modified to carry the Duchess and boarded the lift to an upper level beside the hangar, assuming that the weapon was being worked on nearby.
She was right. The familiar circular power generator was sitting out in the open, not far from the lift. Sabine cringed to see it whole again and the ghosts of remembered screams whispered through her mind.
Holstering her blasters upon seeing that the area was clear, Sabine gestured at her greatest regret. "There it is," she said quietly to Bo-Katan.
Bo-Katan also holstered her blasters and they walked towards the weapon. "It doesn't seem so dangerous like this," she said, eyeballing the object that had somehow turned warriors into ashes. "So how do you plan to destroy it?"
Sabine glared at the machine, reluctant to get closer to it. "I was thinking about blowing it up, but I tried that last time, and they somehow managed to rebuild it. I need to come up with something a little more permanent, apparently."
Bo-Katan unhooked the Darksabre from her belt and looked at it. "What about this?"
Sabine raised a brow under her helmet. "That... just might work. It'll be dangerous though. We won't have a lot of time to run for it."
Bo-Katan's voice was amused as she said, "If danger isn't your middle name, your not a Mandalorian."
"I guess I qualify then," Sabine laughed. "Ezra is always whining about how I'm always running towards the danger."
"About him," Bo-Katan said hesitantly. "Are you prepared to deal with the fallout of marrying a Jedi? There's going to be more than a few unhappy people who won't be willing to excuse his heritage, no matter how much he's helped us."
Sabine sighed. "I know. I was almost one of them, once, when I first found out that Kanan and Ezra were Jedi. Don't even ask me how Ezra won me over, because I have no idea."
Bo-Katan chuckled. "My sister said the exact same thing about her Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Sabine's helmet whipped around and she stared at the older woman in shock. "What? Your sister and Kenobi were a thing?"
"Without question. Aside from bickering like an old married couple whenever they were together, I caught them making out once, when we were all soo much younger. That was after Kenobi and his Master had been her protectors for almost an entire year and they were being reassigned to a new mission. I can tell you, they most definitely didn't like the idea of being parted."
"I can't imagine why," Sabine said dryly, thinking of how she'd feel if Ezra were to leave her for long periods of time.
Suddenly, a low buzzing sound filled the area and swiftly got louder. "What's that sound?" Bo-Katan asked, hooking the lightsabre to her belt as she moved forward cautiously.
Sabine almost froze in fear and then moved to rush the last metre to the Duchess and try and turn it off. "Oh no. It's been activated."
She didn't make it.
An electrical charge burst from the weapon and struck her and Bo-Katan.
It felt like her bones were being fried and her skin was on fire. It was agony. The worst pain she'd ever felt. And that was saying something, since she'd been shot more than once and broken a bone or two over the years.
It was all she could do not to scream.
Ezra and Kanan made quick work of the trip to the computer room. They'd only been spotted by one squad of troopers and they'd taken care of them as swiftly as possible. Ezra had pulled all of their blasters too him and neatly sliced and diced them as they flew towards him, while Kanan had grabbed the lot with the Force and tossed them against the nearest wall, knocking them all out.
It was a move they'd perfected over the years of raiding and escaping from Imperial facilities, and they were quite proud of it.
The computer room had a couple of techs working in it and only one guard on the door. Ezra took care of the guard. After relieving him of his blaster rifle, he threw him down the hallway with a big Force push, until he hit a wall with a thump. At the same time, Kanan opened the door with the Force, not bothering to wait for Chopper to do it.
"What are you...?!" came from inside the room before the male voice was quickly silenced by Kanan.
As Ezra walked into the room, carrying his new prize, he saw Kanan stunning the second officer and the man slumping over his console. Kanan twirled his blaster around his finger and holstered it with a grin in Ezra's direction.
Ezra chuckled. "That never gets old."
Kanan grinned wider and shrugged. "Once a gunslinger, always a gunslinger." He glanced at Chopper, who'd followed Ezra in. "Okay, Chop, do your thing. Find anything pertaining to the 'Duchess' or 'Arc Pulse Generator' and make it disappear forever."
"Yes, boss," Chopper beeped sarcastically, disgusted at being told his mission yet again.
Ezra suddenly gasped and almost collapsed as searing pain shot through his entire body and Kanan wavered as the pain kicked back through their bond until Ezra almost completely blocked his bond to Sabine.
"What is it, Ezra?" Kanan said softly, hurrying over and putting a hand on Ezra's shoulder, pouring strength into him through their bond.
Breathing heavily, Ezra straightened up. "Sabine. It's Sabine," he gasped.
Kanan squeezed his shoulder. "Go. Help her. I can hold the room."
Ezra nodded once and then took off, back the way he'd come, running as fast as the Force could lend wings to his feet. He kept his bond with her almost completely closed so that he could focus, but it was killing him that she was in pain and he wasn't there to save her. He wished he could take her pain and syphon it into the Force, but he couldn't do it and move at the same time. At the moment, he figured it was more important that he save her from whatever was hurting her.
He tried comming her on their private channel, but he got no response and had to assume that she either wasn't wearing her helmet or whatever was hurting her had shorted out the comm systems. Not good.
Not even a minute after Ezra left, a squad of troopers arrived at the computer room. They spotted Kanan and the leader barked out, "Don't move," while aiming his blaster at Kanan.
Kanan wasn't feeling quite as lenient as he had been now that he knew that Sabine was being tortured or something. He smiled coldly and ignited his lightsabre, sensing the troopers' surprise. "Oh, I'm moving," Kanan said mockingly.
They shot at him, blasters barking in staccato waves.
Kanan deflected their shots right back at them.
Thirty seconds later, it was over, and there was a pile of white armour clad bodies in the doorway.
"Well done, meathead," Chopper beeped. "Now we can't get out."
Kanan shot the droid what would have been a dirty glare if he wasn't wearing a mask. "You should know better than that by now, C1-10P," calling the droid by his designation number, knowing Chopper hated that just as much he hated being called meathead or meatbag or any of the other insults Chopper liked to throw at him.
Chopper raised a manipulator at him.
Kanan shook his head in defeat. Because he was Hera's droid, Kanan never could toss him out an airlock like he'd always wanted to, and dismantling him or crushing him with the Force was definitely off the table, so Kanan, as usual, ended up letting the droid get the last word. After all these years together, they were still frenemies at best. (And that was on a good day.)
Kanan turned his attention to the pile of bodies and started lifting them into the room and off to the side with the Force. While doing the grunt work, he wondered what was happening with Sabine and Ezra. All he could feel from Ezra at the moment was determination and worry, which wasn't very helpful.
Above the sound of her own brain cells frying, Sabine vaguely heard the sound of a door opening and a voice saying, "Stay back, Captain."
White boots came into her line of vision from her prone position on the floor and the excruciating agony finally eased off as the whine of the Duchess faded away.
"Sabine Wren," the voice belonging to the boots said condescendingly. "You truly are brilliant. Except for thinking you could infiltrate my ship unnoticed. Sadly, as much as I would like to end your life, I need you alive. You are going to upgrade your little experiment and deliver a weapon that operates at its full potential."
Rage inspired her abused body to move and she shoved her helmet off her head and stared up at the light haired man she assumed was the next Saxon bastard trying his best to murder her. "Never!" she spat, raising herself up onto one hand and feeling her muscles tremble in protest. "I'd rather die than help you, mir'osik!"
"Oh, I'm sure that will happen sooner or later, dar'manda bitch. But for now, let's see if I could persuade you," Saxon's ice blue eyes promised more pain and death.
Sabine glared back at the traitorous shabuir wearing Imperial armour and forced herself to her feet. She refused to lie on the ground in front of him any longer. "I am not dar'manda!" she spat in his face. "My clan formally accepted me back months ago. And since you killed my mother with this weapon that I never should have made, I am now the Countess of Clan Wren! I will have vengeance on the Saxon clan for everything they have taken from my clan."
Saxon seemed only slightly taken aback by her words, before a light of glee lit his eyes. "Sooo, my little trap caught the Countess, did it? That turned out even better than I hoped."
Sabine snarled at him and was just about to leap on him and pummel him to death when the Super Commando Captain stepped up. She wondered what clan he was from. It couldn't be the Saxon clan, or he wouldn't dare to question the head of the clan. "Governor, stop. This is too much. I understand using the weapon against rebels, but if she makes it more powerful, how will we prevent the Empire from using it against ALL Mandalorians?"
Saxon was incensed, his face turning red with rage. "I am the Empire! Palpatine has shown me the way to true power." The mental image that brought made Sabine shudder at the squidgy thought. Before she could stop him, he pushed a button on his vambrace and the Duchess powered back up, electricity targeting the beskar armour on those in the room once again.
Sabine cried out and fell to the floor again, unable to stand through the pain. The Captain also fell, his cries anguished, and Bo-Katan whimpered on the floor beside her.
Saxon laughed evilly, his voice ringing in mocking echoes through her head. "This is not enough power to kill you; just enough to teach you a lesson. But in the end, all of Mandalore will bow to me."
"Not while I'm alive," Sabine said through clenched teeth under her breath.
She thought she heard Bo-Katan say, "Nor I," but the agony was building again and her ears were ringing, so she couldn't be sure.
Ezra's journey to Sabine was delayed when he came to an intersection and was suddenly caught between two large squads of troopers. He ducked back around the corner and then, peeking around the edge, emptied the rifle he'd just acquired into one of the squads, laying them flat with ruthless head shots.
Tossing that to the side, he pulled his blaster and lit his lightsabre at the same time and charged around the corner, running right at the second squad. His blaster sang and his green lightsabre was a blur as he returned shots from where they came.
Two minutes after the battle started, it was over and Ezra was once again sprinting towards his love, leaving about forty bodies in his wake.
He'd deal with the regret later.
Kanan had taught him that a Jedi always did their best to leave their opponents alive whenever possible. In most cases, Ezra was all for that philosophy. Today was no longer one of those cases.
Ezra finally reached the hangar after what felt like an eternity.
What Ezra wanted to do was charge up to the next level where he felt Sabine was with guns blazing, since he knew she was once again in extreme pain, but a sense of caution from Kanan reminded him to stop and think so he didn't accidently make the situation worse.
Forcing himself to take in a big breath to help calm his mind and heart, Ezra then looked up at the bottom of the lift that appeared to be the only way into the workshop area on the second level. He concentrated on the lift and made it lower a couple metres and then he jumped up onto the platform.
And then he listened, since Sabine's pain seemed to have stopped again and something in the Force was telling him to wait. Perhaps this was something that Sabine needed to do on her own. He didn't like it, but Ezra heeded his instincts.
Sabine was once again gasping for air and praying for strength as the Duchess came to a stop.
"Are you impressed by how well your weapon works?" Saxon taunted. He pressed another button on his gauntlet and two regular stormtroopers ran into the room. All three of them pointed their blasters at Bo-Katan, who was in worse shape than Sabine, since she had a lot more beskar on her than Sabine did. "I believe you can do better. Help me to increase the range of the weapon, or she will die."
Sabine struggled to her feet again, resolve growing in her. A half baked idea that had occurred to her hours ago was finalizing itself in her mind. "Stop! I'll do what you want."
"Sabine, don't," Bo-Katan said weakly as she struggled up onto her feet as well. At least she'd managed to get her helmet off too, before the latest onslaught from the Duchess.
Sabine ignored her and went to the weapon, accessing the computer system. She frowned in concentration as she swiftly familiarized herself with the new computer they'd given it, and then she changed the command codes and linked the computer to her wrist computer, downloading the new specifications in just moments that she'd written hours ago on a whim while eating dinner. She also left Saxon his link to the computer, because if this was going to happen, she wanted him to do it to himself.
"You're doing the right think, Sabine," Saxon said as she was working. "This weapon of yours... It can unite the Houses. It can bring peace."
Sabine shot him a look of disgust. "As long as our people are on their knees before you and your Emperor."
"Mandalore must adapt to survive. Would you rather we destroy ourselves in a fight that CANNOT be won?"
Yes, she would. But she didn't believe they couldn't win. As a united force, Mandalorians far outclassed whatever the Empire could throw at them. Their problem in the past had been that they weren't working together. Now, under a proper Mand'alor, they were. She doubted Saxon was aware of just how many clans were currently attacking Imperial Headquarters right now. Bo-Katan had already brought more Mandalorians together to fight for their freedom then any leader had managed in the last hundred years. Bo-Katan was the only weapon Mandalore needed to make everything right again. She longed to tell him this and gloat childishly, but for now, she had to keep Saxon relatively happy and that meant more or less playing along with his little power trip. "At least we'd die free, as TRUE Mandalorians." She stepped back from the Duchess, raising her hands in supplication. "It's done. The weapon is at full power now, but I'm begging you... DON'T use it."
"I'll take that into consideration." His tone clearly said otherwise. He smirked in perverse glee and then hit the button on his vambrace. Sabine suddenly remembered that Ezra was wearing an Imperial helmet, painted by hers truly, and she winced, hoping he managed to get it off before it hurt him.
The Duchess activated again, its whining filling the room, and its rays of energy seeking targets. It found them in the plastoid alloy of Saxon's and the troopers' armour and then continued out of the room. It was now set to seek out targets as far as a kilometre away in all directions, meaning it would take out every trooper in the entire Star Destroyer.
She looked down at the man now writhing on the floor at her feet. "This isn't enough power to kill you! Just to make you suffer! How does it feel?!" Her voice dripped with scorn and hatred and her eyes were hard.
"Sabine, stop!" rang out two voices at once.
Ezra listened and waited.
Kanan sent a mental question mark, and Ezra sent back a mental shrug, implying he wasn't sure what was going on at the moment, but no one was screaming in pain right now, so that was a start.
It sounded like Sabine was doing what the speaker (whom he assumed was Tiber Saxon) wanted. But he knew his Sabine, and he trusted her not to do what it sounded like she was. Which meant she was probably doing the opposite and changing the Duchess to take out Imperial armour instead, like had been suggested in the meeting last night.
Through his bond with her, he suddenly felt Sabine's concern for him. It took him a moment to figure out why, but then he quickly took off his helmet and placed it quietly at his feet beside him.
It wasn't a moment too soon, for the Duchess activated again, throwing a blue glue above his head and electrical streaks flew through the air. One hit the helmet and it actually jumped and smoked. Ezra stared at it wide eyed for a moment and then leapt up into the room.
"Sabine, stop!" he called. He couldn't let her torture the thousands of troopers that lived on the ISD. It just wasn't right. A quick death was one thing, but this... This was just cruel.
He glanced at Bo-Katan, who'd called out the same thing at the same time, before focusing on Sabine. All that torture must have unhinged her a little, because her eyes were filled with maniacal righteousness.
"Mandalore must be free!" she said fiercely.
Ezra ran over to her through the blue lightning streaks of energy that went past him harmlessly and put his hands on her shoulders, staring into her eyes. "It will be, I promise. But this isn't the way to do it, and you know it."
Sabine blinked, sanity returning to her eyes. She glanced down at the three men contorted on the decking and then looked shocked at what she had done. "Kriff," she whispered. "You're right, Ezra. I'm sorry."
He brushed her cheek tenderly. "It's okay, Sabine." He held out his lightsabre for her. "It's time to finally put this behind you."
Sabine stared at the lightsabre for a moment before she grabbed it, ignited it, and then slashed through the spinning weapon. Then, just to make sure it stayed dead this time, she pushed the lightsabre into the side for half a minute, superheating the power core. "This is for my mother and brother," she said softly. And then, glancing at Bo-Katan, she slashed it one more time. "For Mandalore," she cried.
"For Mandalore," Bo-Katan and Ezra repeated.
The machine still tried to function, but the energy shooting out now was targeting electrical systems and running through the walls. A computer consol blew up, startling them, and then a bright orange fluid started leaking out of the screaming weapon.
"That can't be good," Ezra said as Sabine gave him back his lightsabre.
Sabine bent down and grabbed her helmet off the floor and plunked it on her head. "It's not. Time to go everybody." She nudged Saxon with a toe. "Except you, you Saxon sleemo." She whipped off a pair of binders from the back of his belt that he probably meant to use on her and snapped them around a wrist, dragged him bodily along the floor, put the empty binder around a support column on the Duchess, and then closed it around his other wrist. "You can die with the weapon that you never should have used on my clan," she said coldly.
Ezra thought about stopping her for only half a second and then decided it wasn't worth it. The moron was fated to die anyway after everything he'd done to Sabine. She needed this closure and Ezra was willing to let her have it, brutal death or not.
Bo-Katan turned to the Commando Captain that was staring at Sabine with what she assumed was either horror or admiration under his helmet. "If you value your men at all, you might want to evacuate the ship. This thing is going to blow. Oh, and you might want to consider changing your alliance back to the people you belong to. It's not going to be very healthy for the Imps around here anymore. And that's your Mand'alor speaking."
He sucked in a noticeable breath and then nodded once, then took off out the door he'd come through, followed by the troopers who'd just dragged themselves off the floor. Sabine, Ezra, and Bo-Katan ran to the lift and took it back down to the hangar, all of them ignoring the swearing and shouting coming from the left behind Tiber Saxon.
Ezra scooped up his helmet from the lift floor and called Kanan. Beside him, Bo-Katan was calling Fenn Rau. "Kanan. The weapon's power core's been breached. This whole place is going up. Get out of there."
"The data's wiped and Chopper and I are all ready on the way to the hangar. I have a whole herd of shaky troopers on my tail." Kanan didn't sound worried.
Ezra smirked as he waited at the hole in the floor for Kanan; he wasn't leaving without him. "You might want to run a little faster. Things are going up as we speak. Sabine's enjoying it though," Ezra said in amusement as he watched her watch things go boom all around them; Walkers, TIEs, the consuls in the walls, you name it, it was exploding.
"I'm glad someone's getting a kick out of this," Kanan said as he ran up with Chopper right on his heels. "I can feel the energy crackling around me, and it's not a good feeling."
"We should probably go then," Ezra said dryly before they jumped out of the hangar as a group and flew down the underside of the Star Destroyer. They met up with Fenn's group, who looked like they were only one or two members short of what they'd started with, and they all flew off into the early morning darkness. "How was your mission?" Ezra asked Fenn.
Fenn sounded quite satisfied as he said, "Successful. Most of the troopers on board must have shown up to try and take us out. We must have been outnumbered ten to one at one point, but as you can see, we won."
Ezra and Sabine chuckled at his smug tone.
Behind them, the Star Destroyer rumbled and shook with increasingly louder explosions as more and more systems were attacked by what was left of the Duchess.
"There's two more ISD's incoming," Chopper beeped.
"Saxon or someone must have called for reinforcements," Bo-Katan said grimly as they all paused in mid air and looked back towards Sundari and saw the Star Destroyers flying around and over the city's protective dome.
Everyone watched in silence as Saxon's ISD exploded spectacularly, sending shrapnel in every direction, including at the two new threats, but bouncing off the shields harmlessly.
Bo-Katan glanced around at the warriors surrounding her. "Who's up for round two?"
Cyar'ika – beloved, sweetheart, soulmate.
Dar'manda – outcast, no longer recognized as an honourable Mandalorian.
Di'kut – idiot.
Mir'osik – dung for brains.
Shabla – screwed up, f**ked up, f**king. (depends on context)
Shabiir - screw up, person who has severely blown it.
Shabuir – worse than a jerk, f**ker.
Shebs – ass, rear end, butt, etc.
Chapter 7: I Miss You
I Miss You:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Only four hours after leaving camp, the triumphant army was back, and they were already celebrating in a VERY loud fashion as they disembarked their ships. Those who had bothered to come back that is. Many were joining the party taking place in the streets of Sundari where the food and the bars could be found.
Not only had they accomplished their goal of destroying the Duchess and Imperial Headquarters, they had also destroyed all FIVE Star Destroyers that had taken up residence around Mandalore.
After deciding to continue the fight, Sabine and Bo-Katan had quickly come up with a plan; their brilliant strategic minds working almost in sync as they came up with similar ideas.
While they'd been talking, the Super Commando Captain had flown up to them with the last eight members of his squad accompanying him. Blasters had been drawn, but the Captain, who they now knew was named Jett Hark of Clan Saxon, had raised his hands in surrender and sworn himself and his men (also Saxons) to allegiance with the new Mand'alor. Sabine and Bo-Katan had immediately incorporated them into their plans.
Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper were sent to the first Star Destroyer approaching them to turn off the shield generators from the inside in a stealth mission.
The Super Commandos were sent to the second ISD, pretending to go back to their alliance with the Empire. Once inside, they also made their way to the shield generators and turned them off.
Once the two teams had flown off Bo-Katan had called for the many fighter ships waiting on standby at the camp to come shoot down the ISDs the instant the two stealth teams were clear.
Then Sabine and Bo-Katan had taken what warriors they had with them and split into two groups. After taking out the communication satellites so they couldn't warn the ISDs in space or send a long range comm to Coruscant, they harassed the bridges of the ISDs from the outside, causing utter chaos within as the officers tried to deal with Mandos blowing up their work stations.
As the fleet of Mando Kom'rk and Fang fighters approached over the horizon, all the parties in jetpacks had retreated from the ISDs and let the fighters do their jobs. With no shields, the two Star Destroyers were quickly demolished and crashed into the desert with the smouldering remains of Saxon's ISD.
Included in the fleet of Kom'rks was a familiar gold, silver, and black painted one called the Jai'galaar (Shriek-Hawk) which had belonged to Sabine's mother, and an even more familiar one painted in red and black belonging to Ezra.
The fliers had then boarded ships they were associated with. Bo-Katan took the Super Commandos with her to her ship. Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper had gone to his. And Sabine and Fenn Rau had made for the Jai'galaar. There, Sabine had found her father flying the ship. He had commed the few members of Clan Wren that were left behind to guard the camp and had them pack up and bring the ships to Bo-Katan's much bigger camp.
Alrich had been quite excited to be part of the action, artist or no. Despite his refined, mostly pacifist sensibilities, he'd been raised a Mando and was still a Mando.
Ezra and Sabine took over flying their respective ships and they joined the fleet of close to a hundred starfighters in their ascent to space. Then they split into two groups and went all badass on the last two ISDs above the planet, raining vengeance down on the Star Destroyers and engaging the TIEs that emerged from the bellies of the massive ships.
They lost about ten of their impromptu fleet by the end, almost all of them the unshielded Fang fighters, but they won and the deceased would be remembered for dying an honourable death.
Mandalore was now free of the Imperial army and Bo-Katan was determined to keep it that way. She was also going to do whatever was necessary to regain control of all of the hundred or systems that Mandalore called part of their corner of space. The good news was that the Empire had mostly concentrated on taking over the capital planet, so most of the others were either unoccupied or only lightly so. Only a few mining planets were heavily occupied and Bo-Katan was already making plans to get those back.
Still running high on adrenaline, Ezra landed his Gauntlet beside the Jai'galaar only moments after Sabine's ship touched the dry, dusty earth. He quickly powered down his ship, eager to see Sabine, while the two Clan Wren members quickly made their escape from the bridge, already chattering away in excited Mando'a as they spotted friends giving hearty back slaps in the camp.
Rising from his chair, Ezra clapped Kanan on the shoulder and shot him a grin. "Good shooting, Master. Those TIEs didn't stand a chance against you."
Kanan smiled slightly, indulging Ezra's enthusiasm but not really feeling the same euphoria pretty much everyone else was. Kanan just wanted it all to be over so he could go back to Hera. Four days felt like an absolute eternity when he wasn't in her company. "Your flying was pretty good too, Padawan," he stressed the word teasingly. "Hera would be proud."
Ezra shrugged as he flushed slightly at the praise. "Well. When you learn from the best..."
Kanan chuckled as he turned his attention to Chopper. "I'll tell her you said that. Chop, call Hera. She's probably paced a hole in the Ghost's decking by now waiting to find out what's been going on."
"Tell her I said hi," Ezra called as he left the bridge, leaving Kanan to talk to his mate in privacy. (If you didn't count Chopper; the blackmailing, mood destroying, pain in the ass droid from hell.)
The sound of the comm on her bedside table woke Hera up. Smacking the button out of reflex, she squinted with bleary eyes at the tiny blue image. "Kanan?"
It had taken almost a minute for Hera to answer the comm, but when she did Kanan felt a wave of relief and profound joy settle in his soul to hear her beautiful, soothing voice. Even if it did sound like she was ninety percent asleep. "Hera, I'm sorry. Did I wake you?"
Brain still in sleepy land, the best Hera could come up with was, "Hmmmmm. Maybe?"
"I did. I can comm back later if you want." Inner Kanan cringed at the thought, not wanting to let go of his connection to his beloved.
"No! No, no, it's fine. Please don't hang up," Hera said quickly, sitting up in her bunk, wide awake now. She leaned back against the wall and pulled the blanket up around her waist as she set the holo comm device on the bed in front of her, drinking in the sight of her precious mate.
Kanan smiled and relaxed into his chair. "All right, darling. How's things going over there?"
Hera shrugged, even though she knew Kanan couldn't see her holo image. "Okay. It's different. More organized but a million times more chaotic at the same time. There's so many people here, love. It almost feels like a real army. Oh! And wait till you see Kallus. He's almost unrecognizable out of his uniform. If it weren't for that funny shaped beard, you'd never know it was him. And he and Zeb are practically inseparable. They're like two long lost brothers or something."
"I'm glad for them. Kallus seemed rather like a lost soul when I saw him last. And Zeb... Well. He's due for a friend that's not a teenage bratling or one of us. Have you done anything interesting?"
"You mean aside from the nearly endless debriefing meetings regarding the massacre on Atallon?" Hera snorted lightly. "Once they let Kallus out of his equally lengthy interrogation, they gave him to me to take care of." She paused and rolled her eyes. "Like he needs taking care of. The man is a good decade or two older than me. Anyway. They sent us on an easy supply run; I think just to test the waters a little. That's it so far. What's been happening on your side of the galaxy?"
Kanan chuckled. "A LOT." He paused for effect. "Are you ready for this?"
"Alright. In order of events. Here goes. We rescued Sabine's father. Ezra almost died going over a cliff. Sabine kissed him then punched him. Sabine's mother, brother, half her clan, and some Kryzes were killed with a super weapon that Sabine invented called the Duchess. Bo-Katan Kryze almost killed Sabine but decided to let her fix her mistake. Sabine gave her the Darksabre and Bo-Katan is now THE Mand'alor. Sabine and Ezra are officially a 'thing' now, kissing and all. We destroyed the Duchess and all records pertaining to it while another team took out Imperial Headquarters. Then we proceeded to blow up five Star Destroyers. How's that for an insane twenty some hours?"
Hera blinked at the holo image that was smirking at her. And then blinked some more. She decided she must be dreaming this whole thing. It was all too insane to process. (This was perfectly feasible in her mind because she actually knew about the Duchess, both the weapon and the person, and the person's sister from Sabine already in one of their bonding moments years ago.) So she pinched her arm.
"Kanan Jarrus, are you pulling my lekku?" She said with narrowed eyes and a warning in her voice, leaning forward a little. (Even though, as far as she knew, Kanan did NOT know about the Duchess since Sabine had sworn her to secrecy.)
He shook his head as his smile spread. "Honest truth, every word of it, I swear."
Hera huffed a few times as she ran over what Kanan had just said in her mind again and latched onto the most important facts. "Poor Sabine. She must be feeling terrible. Is that how Sabine and Ezra finally got together?"
Kanan nodded. "I believe so. Nothing like a damsel in distress to bring out the best in a guy."
"Someone's speaking from experience," Hera teased.
Kanan smiled at the memory of their first kiss. "Broken heaters on the Ghost and you just had a fight with your father. Perfect recipe for blossoming romance."
Hera giggled. "Now you don't need an excuse to give me a hug and snuggle under the blankets with me."
"And I consider myself the galaxy's luckiest man for it."
Hera melted a little, hugging her knees to her chest and wishing her arms were wrapping around Kanan instead. "As far as the kids go, it's about time."
Kanan nearly rolled his eyes right out of his head at that understatement. "I was starting to think they were going to get stuck in the friend zone for the rest of their lives." (Much like he used to be afraid of being stuck there with Hera after living on the Ghost for more than a year and making no progress in the romance department. Now they were married and even talking about having kids soon since it looked like the war was going to drag on for years yet.)
"I would have been fine with that," Chopper beeped. "Having one set of organics exchange body fluids is bad enough."
"We don't need any comments from the peanut gallery, Chopper," Hera said warningly. "I'm still upset with you for cutting Kanan and I off yesterday."
"Sorry," he beeped in a very unapologetic tone.
Kanan kicked him a little, just out of principle.
Chopper raised a manipulator.
"Heeerrrrraaaaa," Kanan whined. "Your droid is flipping me off again."
"He kicked me first," Chopper beeped indignantly.
Hera hung her head and sighed, lekku drooping in defeat. "Why? Why do I even bother? It's like I'm surrounded by infants even when you're on the other side of the galaxy." Scrubbing her hands over her tired face, she looked up at Kanan's apologetic wincing expression. "Changing topic now. When do you think you'll be able to come home?"
Kanan shrugged. "I have no idea. Sabine's the Countess of her clan now, so that needs sorting out and I can't see Ezra wanting to leave her side anytime soon. I'm hoping I can drag him away from her long enough to get a ride back to you anyway." He paused and stared at Chopper's camera intently, just knowing she was watching his image. "I miss you, Hera."
One of Hera's hands involuntarily reached for Kanan's image, running her fingers through the blue light even though her brain knew he couldn't see and she most definitely couldn't feel him in the little beam of light. Her expression went all soft and misty eyed. "I miss you too, Kanan."
"What about me?" Chopper piped into their transmission again, ruining the moment. "Don't you miss me, Mom?"
"Never," Kanan mumbled under his breath, rolling his eyes as Chopper pulled out the 'Mom' card.
"Of course I miss you too, Chop," Hera said sweetly. "But you might find yourself dismantled the next time I see you. So why don't you think about that and ignore everything Kanan and I say for the next little while. Understood?"
"Yes, Hera," Chopper beeped meekly.
"Good." Pretending that Chopper didn't exist and they were simply talking over normal comm units instead of a snarky droid who had encryption programming built in, Hera's voice turned all soft and sultry. "Now, you were saying something about missing me, dear?"
Kanan blinked at the tone change and then his heart picked up the pace a little. His voice was deeper and huskier when he answered. "Yes, I did, darling. So much so that I've been having rather steamy dreams about you."
"Oh?" Hera purred, pulling a lek over her shoulder and whispering her fingers over it, feeling very turned on all of a sudden. "Tell me all about them," she said in a breathy whisper.
Heart thumping in his chest for real now, Kanan flicked a hand at the door to the bridge and locked it just to be safe, but he doubted it was necessary. Ezra was preoccupied with Sabine at the moment so he probably wouldn't come back, and there was no one else here who would care if he didn't emerge from the ship anytime soon. He should be able to indulge in some naughty talk with Hera.
"Last night I had a dream about us together all alone on a beach," Kanan started with. "The sky was filled with colour as the sun set over the ocean and in the other direction, the first stars were just visible in the midnight blue sky. We were splashing in the warm waves, running and laughing."
"I like where this is going," Hera said, closing her eyes for a moment to picture it. "Are we wearing anything?"
"Not anymore," Kanan rumbled as he slid down in the chair and one of his hands snuck into his pants and started a slow stroking rhythm on his rapidly hardening cock. "I'd snatched your blue bikini top off while we were kissing on the sand and then ran with it into the water. I turned around and watched you chase me, and a glorious sight it was, with your perfect curvy body practically bare and your beautiful breasts bouncing with every step. I swear I'm going to have that memory playing in my mind for years. I let you catch me, but I may have 'accidentally' dropped your top into the waves. So, in retaliation, you pulled down my trunks and pushed me over. We lost those too. So then I had to tackle you into the water and pull off your bottoms as well so we were even. Then there was a lot of kissing, giggling, and chasing."
"Kanan, your dream is sounding better and better," Hera breathed. Her one hand was still stroking her lek, but her other had made its way under the blanket, pushed the hem of Kanan's shirt that she was sleeping in out of the way, then her fingers found her moist heat between her now open legs and rubbed. "What happens next?" Her head fell back against the wall as the delicious sensations coursed through her from her fingers' ministrations and her mind imagined everything Kanan's sexy bedroom voice was saying.
"You tried to escape me by swimming out deeper into the water but I caught up and grabbed your ankle. You squealed and splashed me. I caught you around the waist and pressed myself up against you, lining us up just right so my length could rub against your core. Then you wrapped your arms and legs around me and we had one hell of a make out session with the waves crashing over us and I kept rubbing against you. I could feel your breasts squashed against my chest and your hard nipples pressing against me and driving me insane with wanting to touch them but I couldn't let go of your back." Kanan was stroking faster now, pretending his hand was Hera's soft folds.
Hera moaned as her imagination supplied details from memories of previous lovemaking sessions. "More, love. Tell me more. I love how you sound when you're all hot and bothered."
Kanan groaned low in his chest at her almost breathless tone. "Not as much as I love how you sound, my precious Hera. I love those little whimpers you make when I pleasure you just right."
Hera made one of those whimpers as she plunged two fingers into her hot channel. "Oh Force, Kanan, I wish you were here. Stars, love, just tell me what happens next."
Kanan gulped as he imagined what she was doing to herself right now to inspire her current tone of desperation. He'd had the privilege of watching her touch herself before and it always drove him insane with need. Imagining wasn't any better. His cock hardened impossibly further in his hand. "Kriff. Uhhhhh. Then you whispered in my ear that you NEEDED me inside you. And then you bit my ear just enough to hurt just right and added NOW. I was more than happy to oblige, I promise. I lifted you a little higher and found your hot opening. I pushed inside you all the way to the hilt and you moaned something about me being so kriffing, deliciously, BIG. That just made me bigger as I used my hands to rock you on my length."
He had to stop to gulp in air as his hand moved in a blur inside his pants and all his muscles tightened with his impending climax. "Force, Hera. You were so tight and wet and PERFECT around me. I just wanted to stay in you forever. Never lose the connection between us. But every thrust sent me closer to the edge. Every dig of your nails. Every clench from your channel. Every beautiful moan and cry you made. It all pushed me beyond my control."
"Kanan," Hera whimpered, her body tensing almost beyond bearing.
"And then you clamped around me and screamed to the sky that was now pitch black and twinkling with stars that you loved me. And I came like a geyser in you, flooding your womb with my hot seed until your belly swelled and suddenly you were pregnant with our first child."
His own words sent him over the edge, finally indulging in the climax he'd had to shut down last night. He groaned out, "I love you, Hera," as his cream shot into his hand.
Hera whimpered and bit her knuckle so as not to scream out loud as she came, since she wasn't alone on the ship and the walls were thick, but not THAT thick. "I love you too, Kanan," she said after, as soon as she could breathe again and her body floated pleasantly in the aftermath, finally opening her eyes to see his image with his head thrown back and a look of exhausted satisfaction on his handsome face.
They sat in their respective spaces, millions of kilometres apart, and just listened to each other breathe and shift around for a minute. Kanan pulled a tissue from a pouch on his belt and Hera pulled one from the dispenser beside her bed and they cleaned themselves up with deft hands and slightly embarrassed flushes to their cheeks. Not that they hadn't had long distance comm sex before, but it was still somewhat awkward in the aftermath when they realized that their partner was nowhere near them. And, despite telling Chopper not to listen, he probably had. And most likely recorded it too, the little menace.
Though, to be honest, a few of Chopper's past recordings had become some of their favourite home videos, especially when they were apart like this.
A sudden knock on the door brought Kanan back to the present. "Yes?" he called loudly enough to be heard through the durasteel.
"Sorry to disturb you and Hera," Ezra yelled back, "But we're having a meeting about what to do about Lothal if you're interested. Hera can join too, if she wants."
'I want," Hera said quickly, hearing Ezra's faint voice over the comm.
"We'll be there in two minutes," Kanan yelled to Ezra.
Kanan sighed. "Kid has good timing, you gotta give him that."
Hera laughed as she climbed off the bed, added some leggings to her outfit, picked up the comm unit, and made for the refresher. "I have to think that we have him pretty well trained by now, dear."
Kanan chuckled as he stood and stretched. "As far as that dream goes, darling, I'm pretty determined to make it a reality sooner than later, just to give you fair warning."
Hera paused with her hand on the refresher door button, her heart skipping a beat in excitement. "I'm holding you to that, love."
Chapter 8: Never Tease a Mando
Never Tease a Mando:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Sabine landed her mother's ship while feeling a confusing mixture of victory and defeat. Yes, they'd won the day, but Sabine herself felt like she'd lost too much. The very fact that she was flying her mother's Kom'rk with her father in the co-pilot's chair was testament to that.
Her mother should be in the pilot chair and her brother should be in the co-pilot's. Her father should be at home on Krownest or at his art gallery in Sundari. But he wasn't, and the later had been confiscated and trashed by the Empire's brainwashed troopers. And she... She should be with Ezra on his ship. Was it wrong that all she wanted right now was to hide in his arms and disappear from the galaxy for a while?
But she couldn't. She was the bloody shabla Countess now. She had duties. Responsibilities. Obligations. Her relatively carefree life was over. Forever. And all because she was too smart and too cocky and too stupid. Why did she have to invent the Duchess in the first place? She'd thought she'd hated herself before, when the Empire had first tested it against her people years ago. Now it had murdered half her clan and family, and she downright loathed her past self at the moment. All of this was HER fault. If Sabine could go back in time, she'd probably murder her younger self in her current frame of mind.
Kriff, she needed some of Ezra's upbeat enthusiasm right now. She was getting depressingly morbid.
Without even really thinking about it, she automatically powered down the ship. A gentle hand on her shoulder brought her back to the here and now, from where she'd been staring blankly at the consul. Sabine looked up at her father, his eyes looking both sympathetic and just as morose as she felt.
"Your mother would be proud of what you have accomplished today, Daughter." He gulped as his voice wavered and she could see how he was visibly trying to keep it together for her sake.
Sabine bit her lower lip to stop the trembling, but the sorrow was fighting past her willpower again. She turned her face away, not able to look at him, or she would start bawling like a child. "I'm so sorry, Father. I'm sorry I killed Mother and Tristan. And some cousins and second cousins. And... I'm not even sure who else. I'm sorry I killed your wife and son."
"Sabine, stop." Alrich interrupted her before she could start claiming responsibility for every death caused by the Empire. He grabbed both her shoulders and forced her to look at him again, kneeling in front of her chair. "You did NOT kill Ursa and Tristan."
"No!" he said, shaking her shoulders just a little. "No, you didn't, and stop blaming yourself for it, because I do not, and does my opinion not count the most?"
Sabine abused her lower lip some more as she nodded slowly.
"Yes, they died by a weapon that you invented, but if you manufactured blasters, would you claim the deaths of every person shot by one?"
"No. The person holding the blaster is the killer," she said quietly, seeing where her father was going with this. "I understand." She sniffled. "But that isn't going to help me sleep any better."
Alrich smiled wanly. "That, I can sympathize with. I haven't slept well for a very long time. Not since your mother cast you out. I loved her, don't get me wrong, but we've lived separately ever since she did that to you. I could not forgive her for choosing her honour over our daughter. I didn't even know you had reconciled until the rumours reached the city that you were back, had dueled Gar Saxon and won, and that Clan Wren was rebelling from Imperial rule." He smiled for real as he smoothed a hand over her vibrant hair. "I am proud of what you have accomplished all on your own, too. I know nothing would have changed if you had not come home and made it happen. You always were my Little Fighter. It warms my heart to have you back in my life, Sabine."
"Daddy," she all but sobbed and fell out of her chair and into his arms as they finally grieved together for what they had lost. "I missed you too. So much."
Ezra bounded down the ramp of the Gauntlet and then waited semi-patiently for the ramp of Sabine's ship to descend. After a minute of watching what seemed like herds of Mandalorian warriors cheer, laugh, backslap, kiss, and playfight as they celebrated their victory, while being completely ignored by the lot, it did. Fenn Rau and a Mando dressed in Wren silver and gold walked down the ramp, all smiles. Fenn tossed a smile Ezra's way before aiming for Bo-Katan. The Wren booted it for his fellow Wrens hanging out with some Kryzes.
Ezra peered up the ramp, but no one else appeared. Where were Sabine and her father?
Thinking that they might be talking or something, he leaned against the hull of the ship and decided to give them their privacy. So he continued to people watch, occasionally catching a word of Mando'a that he recognized. (Mostly the swears that Sabine used on occasion.) He thought he should probably start paying more attention to whatever Mando'a was spoken around him and actually learn it if he was going to be Sabine's significant other. He didn't want to make her life any harder than it already was.
He'd seen the looks some of the Mandos had given her last night at dinner with him sitting beside her. They hadn't done anything more exciting than sit close enough that their shoulders and thighs touched and maybe blush a little when they looked at each other, but that had been enough to upset more than a few people. They were clearly not happy with him being a Jedi, and some still resented her for inventing the Duchess, even though she'd vowed to destroy it again. The least he could do was learn her language. There was no helping who he was though. Ezra would never be able to just give up being a Jedi, not even for Sabine.
He was proud of who he'd become. It had taken a lot of work, a lot of sweat and tears, a lot of backwards and sideways steps as the Dark side tried to lure him away from Kanan's teachings, but he was finally content with who he was now. Everything within him
just felt right. Balanced. He was living a life somewhere between the Jedi of old and a more normal life of a person who came with a family and was very much attached to them. It worked for Kanan, and it worked for him.
Which made him wonder why the old Jedi Order frowned so heavily on attachments. If he and Kanan could do it, then why not everyone else? Even Ahsoka had said the attachment rule was a bunch of bantha poodoo. She'd said she considered her Masters to be her father and brother, and that most Master / Padawan relationships developed into the familial quickly if they'd been paired correctly. And before she'd died, he knew for a fact that she and Rex had been talking about getting married.
Poor Rex. He still wasn't the same, and that was about a year and a half ago now. He didn't even really cheer up when they finally found someone to reverse-engineer the accelerated aging gene and set it to go the other way. There was actually some brown in his beard now and you could definitely see that he, Wolffe, and Gregor were getting younger again. They planned to have the gene disabled when they looked their proper age, which should be about forty-five by the time it evened out, since they were thirty-two now, but looked like sixty something's.
Wondering what was taking Sabine so long, he peeked at her feelings and flinched as a wave of sorrow hit him. Now he was left with the conundrum of whether or not to go try and comfort her or to leave her be, since she was with her father. He wished he could ask Kanan for advice on how to deal with a sad female that was now more than your friend, but he was talking to Hera and he didn't want to interrupt them. And... Kanan was blocking him anyway. That could only mean that Kanan and Hera were having one of
THOSE conversations, that Ezra wanted absolutely nothing to do with.
On the other hand, he wouldn't mind having one of THOSE conversations with Sabine. Just the thought of it was enough to wake up the one track mind of the appendage in his pants. Ezra scolded it back into sleep mode by picturing Darth Vader, his aura of ice cold, and that red lightsabre held to his throat.
Yep, that did it. His entire body was cringing now.
Works every time.
And when it came to Sabine and her incredibly hot figure in that bodysuit that she didn't always have the armour attached to, or her silky blue pajama set that left her arms and most of her legs bare and did nothing to hide the shape of her breasts... Let's just say he needed to picture Darth Vader a lot.
Living in a confined space with the girl of your dreams, but not being able to touch her, was both a blessing and the worst form of torture. It was also a good way to inspire him to practice his meditation more frequently to help with body control.
Thank the Force she'd finally returned his interest. Not that he wouldn't have waited another decade if he had to, because he most definitely would have, for her. But he doubted anyone would blame him for exalting over her loving him back.
Which brings him back to his current conundrum... Should he go try and comfort her again?
It was easier when they were just friends and he didn't have an instant link to her feelings. Back then, even if he felt her in a sad mood, it had never been his place to try and cheer her up except in a roundabout fashion that didn't give away the fact that he was sensitive to the feelings of his family. Now that they were bonded for real, her emotions felt like his own and he felt almost compelled to do something to help her.
But she was still Sabine. Still the girl who liked her space and to deal with her stuff on her own. He didn't know how much she'd welcome his interference now that they were... Dating? Engaged? Friends with benefits? (What were they anyway? Force, he hoped it wasn't the last one.) Shrugging that question off for later, he focused on his current problem; whether or not to barge into the ship and distract her into feeling happier again. She'd welcomed his presence last night, but that didn't mean she'd do it again, not with her father present. Maybe not even if she was all alone.
He waffled for another minute, but finally decided to throw caution to the wind. The worst she could do was yell at him, and she'd done that plenty over the years, so that wouldn't be anything new.
Decision made, he was striding up the ramp of the ship in an instant and aiming for Sabine's signature at the front of the large troop fighter.
He paused at the closed bridge door, second guessing himself again. Sabine was still feeling sad, but happiness was creeping in there as well. What to do? What to do?
Scrunching up one side of his face from the indecision eating at him, his finger nevertheless moved towards the button to open the door. In slow motion.
The instant before he actually touched it, the door opened on its own. To say he was relieved would be an understatement.
Ezra smiled brilliantly at Sabine and Alrich as they blinked at him in surprise to see him right on the other side of the door. "Hi! I was just..."
"Coming to get us?" Sabine supplied helpfully with a small smile.
"Yah. That." Ezra smiled dopily at her as her smile widened and her emotions settled into contentment once again. He did that, he thought. Seeing him made her truly happy again. That just made his day more than anything else he'd done by a long shot.
Sabine had known for a few years now that being in Ezra's vicinity had a tendency to lift her spirits, but she hadn't realized quite how good he was for her until the last twenty-four hours. And now, being the entire recipient of his unabashed focus was doing funny things to her heart. She swore it was melting and skipping beats as she got lost in his twinkling blue eyes.
Alrich looked from his daughter to the Jedi and back again, his eyebrows rising almost to his hairline as the seconds ticked past. His mouth twitched in amusement, thinking back to younger days and courting Ursa. He cleared his throat, making them both startle a little and look at him. "I'll just... Leave you two alone, shall I?" he said as he sidled past Ezra, holding back a chuckle. He walked a few steps and then looked back over his shoulder to see both of them still blinking at him, but now their faces were turning quite red. "If you're not outside in ten minutes, though, I'll come and get you."
He let the laugh out when Sabine said, "Father!" in a distressed tone. "We're both adults! And we're not going to do anything you'd disapprove of anyway!" she yelled to his retreating back as he hotfooted it for the exit. The second he had a door between himself and them, Alrich was snorting with laughter.
Bo-Katan and Fenn Rau were nearby, heads close together as they talked quietly. They looked over at Alrich in curiosity. "What is so amusing?" the man who Alrich had taken an instant liking too last night asked. He was sure they were going to be good friends, and he owed him as well, for looking out for his family when he couldn't. (Not that Alrich was that great at the warrior arts, but he wasn't completely helpless.)
Alrich sorted himself down to just a few chuckles and nodded towards the ship. "The kids. They're so infatuated with each other, you'd have to be dead to miss it."
Fenn and Bo-Katan nodded in understanding. "I have observed this myself," Fenn said with a small twitch of his mouth. "Even before Sabine knew it herself. Ezra, on the other hand, has always known what he wanted."
"Much like yourself?" Alrich said in a teasing tone with a flick of his eyes towards the new Mand'alor.
He smirked as Fenn blushed and Bo-Katan said, "What?"
Alrich couldn't help but notice that she looked at Fenn differently after that. Assessing would probably be the best way to describe it. Good.
"We're not?" Ezra said, only half in jest. He pouted a little, his eyes going all wide and pleading, but sparking with mirth at the same time.
Sabine smirked, dropped her helmet, and pushed him back against the wall beside the doorway with a thump. "Of course we are."
He ooomphed in surprise, but grinned almost immediately, whispering a triumphant, "Yes!" as she grabbed his head and pulled him down to her. She gently bit the lip that had been sticking out just a moment ago and then demanded entry into his mouth.
Ezra opened willingly and their tongues immediately got tangled together as they fought for dominance. His hands found their way to her waist, kneading the supple flesh through her bodysuit, before lowering to cup her sweet rear end and press her against himself, lifting her off the floor to do so and leaning back against the wall again at the same time.
Sabine pulled her mouth away from his, her hands still holding the back of his head tightly, and stared into his dilated eyes. "You need to grow your hair out again," she said between panting breaths.
Ezra's brows rose in surprise before he grinned. "I can do that."
"Good," she murmured before attacking his lips once again. Kissing was amazing. Kissing was better than blowing things up. Just barely, but it was, and she never thought she'd think that. Kissing him as much as possible was her new goal in life.
Being pressed against his hard body was nothing to laugh at either. His kneading fingers on her ass were sending little thrills through her that settled right in her core. He held her effortlessly, too. And that was turning her on even more. She never knew he had so much strength in his lean body. She been under the impression that he used the Force to power his feats of strength, but maybe some of it had been just him. Kriff, that was hot.
Force, oh, Force, she tasted so sweet; like fire and candy and yogans all in one. He didn't know how that was possible, but he didn't care. Ezra just wanted to stay locked like this forever. But he had a mental clock ticking in his mind and he was allowing himself just one more minute of the heart pounding pleasure of holding her via squeezing her perfect round butt cheeks, and having her weight pressed against his chest, and delving into her mouth as they took turns chasing each other's tongues in a game of teasing kisses.
He didn't trust Alrich not to keep his word and show up back in the ship. There was no way he was getting caught with his hands on his daughter's ass and his tongue in her mouth. No way in hell.
When he was sure his time was up, he very reluctantly straightened off the wall and put her back down, hands running up her back once her feet were safely on the decking again. He eased off the kisses to just two final presses of his lips to hers ever so softly and then propped his chin on top her head as he held her close in a hug and started talking his electrified body back into submission, beginning by concentrating on his breathing and slowing it down, and then adding his racing heartbeat to the equation. And then he added a little image of Darth Vader for the final touch.
All those years of practicing meditation were coming in very handy indeed.
Sabine didn't want to stop but she knew he was right. Now was not the time to get too carried away. But kriff, sometime soon, they were going to have a very long and very uninterrupted makeout session. She vowed it.
How far she let that makeout session go in terms of intimacy she had yet to figure out.
For the time being, she simply wrapped her arms around his narrow waist in return and breathed in his startlingly good scent. Under the hint of sweat (which surprisingly wasn't repulsive), he smelled like grass and fresh air. He smelled like Lothal. (Before the Empire started burning it.) "How do you smell like Lothal, when, as far as I know, you haven't been back for weeks or longer?" she murmured into his collar.
Ezra shrugged slightly, a chuckle escaping him at the completely random question. "I don't know. My home is in my blood, I guess."
She rubbed her cheek against his shirt, sighing softly at how comfortable she felt right now. "Well, I like it."
Ezra smiled and kissed the top of her head, breathing her in in return. "For the record. I like how you smell too. Like citrus, and paint, and a hint of just fired blasters. You smell just like what you are."
Sabine looked up at him, dislodging his chin, a teasing smile playing with her lips. "Like a painted yogan exploded on me?"
Ezra snorted and rolled his eyes at her, a hand moving up to her hair and combing through it in apparent fascination. "No, silly. Like a warrior girl who also happens to be the best artist I've ever seen."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, Bridger," she said, stretching up and kissing his cheek.
Ezra beamed at her. "Awesome. I have a lot more where that came from."
Sabine laughed and rolled her eyes at him as she stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest. "Please. Not if it's like your attempts at flirting four years ago."
Ezra leaned a shoulder against the wall as he crossed his arms and ankles, adopting a negligent air. "My flirting was not that bad, but even if it was, I like to think I've gotten better at it."
Sabine raised a brow. "Oh? And who exactly have you been practicing on, Ezra Bridger?"
Ezra smirked at her. "Wouldn't you like to know."
Sabine narrowed her eyes at him, a niggle of jealousy winding its way into her. She punched him on the arm, not exactly lightly. "Tell me!"
Ezra laughed as he rubbed his arm in an exaggerated fashion. "Well... There were other girls on the base on Atallon, and you were gone for months."
Sabine's eyes narrowed further and she wound up to punch him again.
Ezra caught her fist before she could let it fly, laughing harder. "Whoa! I was teasing! The only girl I've ever flirted with since I met you is you. Believe me. Any and all practicing has been in my mind and my dreams only, I promise."
Sabine huffed, relaxing. But she let fly with her left fist, just because. "Don't joke about stuff like that," she said as he winced for real and rubbed his other arm. She crossed her arms over her chest again and gave him a warning glare. "I think I might be a very jealous Mando, now that I've decided to claim you as mine. You do not want to anger a jealous Mando."
Ezra raised his hands in surrender, his mouth still twitching with humour. "I see that. My mistake." He reached forward and cupped her face in his hands, leaning towards her, his eyes very serious all of a sudden. "I promise you'll never have anything to get jealous about from my side of things. You are the only girl I've seen for more than four years. No one will ever make me look elsewhere." He sealed his vow with a gentle kiss to her red and somewhat swollen lips from their earlier kisses. He rested his forehead against hers and gazed into her amber eyes. "And to add to the record, I have always been yours, so you don't need to claim me."
Sabine found herself cupping his face in return, eyes searching his and seeing only sincerity and truth. "Oh, I'm still claiming you. But, I think, somewhere in me, I've always known that, because I'm yours too, Ezra. Do you know how many guys I've turned down over the last four years?"
Ezra shook his head slightly within her grasp, eyes wide and he appeared to have stopped breathing. "Do I even want to know?"
Sabine's mouth quirked up. "Probably not. I'll just say that none of them ever felt right. None of them were you." She kissed him just as gently as he had her and then pulled away, but laced the fingers of one hand with his, not willing to lose their connection entirely. She tugged on it and started walking towards the exit. "Come. Talking about Lothal earlier made me realize we aren't done yet with our fight against the Empire. Mandalore may be free now, but your homeworld is not and I've been coming up with some ideas that might just work."
Ezra walked beside her willingly, blinking at her in shock. "At the same time as everything else we were doing and talking about?"
Sabine turned her head and smirked at him. "Of course. I'm a girl. We're fully capable of multitasking, unlike the male of the species."
A/N: As a present to all my wonderful readers, starting immediately, I will make updates based on the story that has the most combined favs from Fanfiction and kudos from AO3 every time I’m ready to start writing a new chapter. In this way, you will control which story I update next. The only exception will be that I won’t write for the same story two chapters in a row so other stories won’t be completely neglected. (Ties will be broken by number of reviews.) There is a list in my profile if you're curious as to which story is winning. :D
Chapter 9: A New Threat
A New Threat:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Captain Hark and his fellow Super Commandoes were feeling rather like the rotten yogans in the bushel of fruit. Almost every single Mando in the camp was giving them dirty looks and avoiding them like they carried the plague. A few had even gone so far as to spit at their feet, one of the worst insults you could deal a fellow Mando.
After ten minutes of this, Jett came to the conclusion that it was time for drastic measures. He needed a paint gun and he needed one now. All this Imperial white needed to go. And getting rid of the Imperial symbols on their bodysuits wouldn't hurt either. White was a rare colour on Mandalorian armour for a reason that went back millennia; it was too shabla easy to see.
And right now, he and his men felt like walking targets.
He'd like to just fly home to the Saxon Stronghold, but Jett was now stuck in a strange limbo position. He'd declared loyalty to the new Mand'alor, but aside from him and his men, there were no other Saxon's here. Which meant the clan was not allied with her. At
least not yet. He fully intended to change that.
With Tiber Saxon now assuredly deceased, the rightful heir of the Countship fell back to Gar Saxon's son, Drago, but the boy was only ten years old; much too young to lead. The next two in line had been cousins, but they'd both been killed yesterday by the Wrens before the Duchess had done its vile work. The power vacuum at the Saxon stronghold would cause a great deal of chaos as soon as people found out, which he assumed would be very shortly. Bad news had a way of travelling in the speediest of fashions despite all the odds against it.
Jett had every intention of filling that power vacuum and taking over as Count of Clan Saxon. But it was best if he bid his time, letting the other power seekers fight each other first, wearing themselves out. With the right timing, he should be able to walk right in, challenge whoever was left standing, and take command.
So that meant he was going to stay here for a day or so and make nice with the other clans. But they weren't going trust him as long as he looked like an Imperial.
With his men trailing behind him, Jett made his way back to Mand'alor Kryze's vicinity, wishing he'd never left it in the first place. At least when they were near her, people left them alone.
She was currently talking to Fenn Rau and Alrich Wren of all people. Just his luck. The leader of the Protectors was bound to have a hate on for him for what he'd done under orders to the Protectors, and he'd been taunting Wren about seeing Sundari for the last time just yesterday while on their way to the man's scheduled public execution. Karma was really coming around to bite him on the shebs now, wasn't it?
Telling himself to suck it up, he approached the group and interrupted their conversation when there was a hint of a pause in it. "Pardon me, my Lady, but I was wondering if you happened to have a supply of black and red paint lying around somewhere?"
All three of them turned their focus on him and his men, a light of understanding dawning in their eyes as they took in the white armour and Imperial symbols, and the nasty looks being cast at their group from anyone how happened to glance their way.
"I'm afraid I do not," Kryze said in apology.
Rau crossed his arms over his chest and just looked smug, the bastard. He was enjoying this. "Serves you right for following Saxon and what you did to my men."
"I only followed the orders of my Count and Governor like a good Mando," Jett replied, crossing his arms in return. "It was nothing personal."
Rau raised a brow in blatant disbelief for a moment. "So Bo-Katan was telling me. I find that hard to believe, but I will accept that for now. It's the only reason I'm not calling you out as we speak. But if you ever give me any reason to doubt your loyalty to our new Mand'alor, I will kill you."
Jett smirked under his helmet. He'd like to see the older man try. But for the sake of keeping the peace, all he said was, "Understood."
"My daughter may have some paint," Wren said, adding his voice to the conversation. "But I doubt it's black. She's generally inclined towards brighter colours." His mouth was twitching with amusement at what he undoubtedly felt was well deserved payback.
Both Rau and Kryze snorted softly at what was definitely an understatement as Jett thought about the new Countess Wren's armour and purple paint bomb she'd hit Wren's transport with. Bright colours indeed. "We'll take what we can get," Jett said in a resigned tone, his men shifting on their feet in dismay, but too well disciplined to say anything. "I'll ask her," he said as he saw the young woman in question appear at the top of the ramp of the Wren coloured Kom'rk.
Jett felt a great deal of admiration and a definite attraction for the vibrant female. He'd had more than a few encounters with her so far, almost all of which included him getting hurt in some fashion.
The first time he'd met her, if you could call it that, had been more than half a year ago when he'd chased her and the young Jedi all over Concord Dawn's moon. He'd been shot out of the sky by a blaster bolt returned right to him from the Jedi's lightsabre and crashed to the ground of the canyon in a spectacular fashion. He'd come out of that one with a dislocated shoulder and bruises. Sucking up the pain, he caught up in time to see her hold her own against Gar Saxon in a no holds barred fight, which was no easy feat. Gar Saxon was a brutal fighter and had no qualms about fighting dirty, as he knew firsthand.
Encounter number two occurred on Krownest in the Wren Stronghold. Instead of capturing the two Jedi, he and his men had been defeated by the Wrens, and Gar Saxon once again went up against Sabine Wren. From his kneeling position in the great room, with a blaster pointed at his head and his arm burning like a sonofahutt from where the older Jedi had redirected his own shot back at him (really got to stop aiming at the Jedi), he'd seen glimpses of their fight over the frozen lake. She had been spectacular, defeating Gar Saxon at his own game with the legendary Darksabre and a green one that belonged to the younger Jedi. For some reason that he didn't understand, she had let Saxon live. But her mother had ended his leader's life when Gar Saxon moved to shoot Sabine in the back. (A very dishonourable act that he deserved to die for.)
Encounter number three had been in Sundari. She and her brother had come to the city to seek out information on the whereabouts of her father, who was being held in the Saxon Stronghold at the time. Despite being very young, Tristan Wren had been one of his best Commandoes and was well on his way to earning the rank of second in command. Jett had also considered him to be a good friend. To see him once again wearing Wren colours had felt like a slap in the face and also inspired a twinge of jealousy that Tristan got to look like a Mando again as opposed to a glorified stormtrooper. Before they could get in trouble with any other Imperials, he'd called for backup and then chased them out of the city. He'd ordered his men to fire warning shots only, not quite able to bring himself to shoot at Tristan or his very hot older sister for real.
Encounter number four was just yesterday, when he'd been in command of the convoy transporting her father to Sundari. He'd seen her slender outline flying around through the purple paint as reports came in over his HUD from troopers and commandoes alike that they had been taken out of the game and that there were at least three Mandos and two Jedi attacking the convoy. The report had been verified when a green lightsabre had thrust its way up through the consol, barely missing killing the driver. He'd gone to look under the transport, but had seen nothing. Not even a minute later, he'd been kicked out of the speeding transport by the young Jedi, hitting the ground hard and dislocating the same shoulder again since it was now prone to it. At this rate, he'd end up with a mechanical right arm before he was thirty, since over the course of his lifetime, he'd dislocated it about a dozen times, broken it twice, and been shot in the elbow. He was sure the med droids were making bets against the survival of his arm.
And lastly, he'd seen her early this morning as Taber Saxon tortured her with her own weapon design. (And him too, the shabuir. He never did like him much.) To turn it around on him in only a minute of fiddling had been bloody brilliant and then to lock him to it as the machine went haywire... He didn't think he'd ever find a more suitable warrior female that would compliment him better.
Jett wanted her for himself.
There was just one problem. And he was currently walking down the ramp with his fingers interlaced with hers. Jett scowled at the sight of the young Jedi poaching on his prize. What was she doing letting a Jedi scum touch her? It was bad enough she worked with one, but understandable since the Jedi were formidable warriors and got things done.
She looked amazingly beautiful at the moment. Her eyes sparkled. Her cheeks had a rosy tint to them. Her lips were redder and plumper than he remembered and curved sweetly in a joyful smile. She was entirely focused on the Jedi as they strolled down the ramp, their eyes never leaving the other's. Jett wanted to be the one to make her look that happy. He had so much more to offer than the Jedi. All he had to do was make her see it.
"You go get Kanan," she was saying. "And I'll talk to Bo-Katan about having a meeting about my grand plan."
"Sure," the Jedi said eagerly. He kissed her cheek and was turning to leave, but Sabine hadn't let go of his fingers yet. He turned back with a raised brow when his arm stretched out. "Was there something else?"
Sabine grinned at him. "I just wanted to tell you that you've accomplished what no other person has ever done."
"And what's that?" the boy said curiously. And he was a boy. He was clearly younger than her, not even filled out yet into full manhood. What did she see in him?
She flicked her eyes towards the interior of the ship. "You made me forget my helmet for an entire minute," she said in a tone of mock horror and disbelief.
His eyes widened comically. "No!" He raised his free hand to his heart as if to still it. "I'll have to tell the galaxy's news stations that I, Ezra Bridger, have made Countess Sabine Wren forget her helmet for the first time in her life. It will be the juiciest piece of gossip ever heard, cause everyone knows that the famous artist warrior is never more than a metre from her helmet at any given time." He lowered his voice down to a conspiratorial tone. "It's even said she takes it to the refresher with her."
Sabine was giggling as she swatted him playfully on the shoulder. "Stop, you goofball, and get going before you start weird rumours about me." She grabbed him by the shoulders, turned him around, and pushed him towards the red and black Kom'rk that he'd overheard a few people gossiping about. It seemed the ship used to belong to Maul and was now owned by the Jedi boy. Between that and Sabine having possession of the Darksabre until she GAVE it to Bo-Katan has made everyone both wary and semi respectful of the pair of young people. If they could defeat Maul, then they must be formidable indeed.
The Jedi turned back around so he was walking backwards, grinning widely. "But you like my goofy side, Sabine. And besides, even if people start gossiping about you, I know you'll kick them back into submission and have fun doing it, so it's all good."
She shook her white and purple head at him as she started walking back up the ramp. "You know me too well, Ezra Bridger."
He stopped when his foot bumped into the ramp of his ship. "Ditto, Sabine Wren," he called across the distance. They exchanged a look for a long drawn out moment before he turned and leapt up the whole ramp in one effortless bound, making Jett blink in surprise.
Sabine sighed softly and then disappeared back inside her ship.
Jett glanced at her father and found him smiling indulgently, apparently perfectly fine with his daughter's choice in boyfriend. Rau was also smiling like a pleased parent. And Kryze had an amused slant to her lips as she shook her head.
"I did not think that choosing a Jedi was the wisest thing Sabine could have done, especially now that she is going to be under the scrutiny of so many," Kryze said to Wren when he focused on her. "But they are clearly bonded already and he has proven himself to be honourable and a useful ally. She will have my support."
"Thank you, Mand'alor," Wren said with a bow of his head. "I appreciate that very much."
"Please, Alrich," Kryze said with a roll of the eyes. "We've known each other for decades. Stick with Bo-Katan."
"As you wish," he said with a smile.
"I'm going to go ask Countess Wren about paint," Jett interjected, and then took off before anyone could object, giving his men a subtle hand signal to stay put.
He was seething that everyone important seemed to be perfectly fine with Sabine choosing a Jedi. So what if they were friends? That didn't mean she couldn't choose someone else as a husband. Jett was determined to at least try and change her mind. And failing that, maybe he could scare the Jedi off. Then she'd have to choose someone else. A true Mandalorian warrior like her deserved so much better than a Jedi scumbag BOY.
He strode up the ramp with determined strides, catching her returning to the cargo bay with her helmet tucked under her arm.
Sabine was feeling very light and carefree at the moment thanks to Ezra. Possibly a little giddy even, and she was not one to be 'giddy'. Stars, she'd missed him these last few months. She'd missed the easy camaraderie of her entire Ghost family, in fact. Which was why she was liking her newest idea for Lothal more and more.
Krownest just didn't feel like home anymore. Not even when her mother and brother were there with her. And now that they were gone? Sabine just couldn't see herself making the winter planet her long-term home whether she was the Countess Wren or not.
With any luck, Bo-Katan, Fenn, and her father would also be agreeable to her idea. It would work out to everyone's benefit in the long run, she was pretty sure.
Mentally crossing her fingers for the coming meeting, she bent down and grabbed her helmet off the floor, sighing over the new scuff mark in the paint from her mistreatment of it. Good thing she'd brought her paints with her so she could fix it. But then again, she always had her paints with her, in one form or another. If the opportunity to paint her phoenix symbol on something Imperial presented itself, she just couldn't stop herself from doing so.
Turning back around, she gave her helmet a thorough inspection as she walked, finding a few more little scuffs that needed attention from the day's activities. And if she looked closely enough, the entire paint job actually looked a little bit frazzled and blurred, courtesy of the Duchess. Frowning, she glared down at her chest plate and found the same problem. Grrrr. Now she'd have to repaint the entire set as soon as she had some time. It would bug her to no end if she didn't.
The good news was that she had been thinking about changing up her armour again soon anyway. Maybe to something that more reflected her new attachment to Ezra. Something with a lot more blue in it.
Walking into the cargo hold, she paused in surprise to see someone else coming in from the ramp side. "Can I help you with something, Captain?" she asked the Super Commando that she'd encountered a few too many times in the past for her liking, but she was giving him the benefit of the doubt in regards to his new loyalties until he did something to prove otherwise. Tristan had said he wasn't as bad as he could be, too, considering the viper pit he originated from.
He pulled off his helmet, revealing his face to her for the first time. He was younger than she was expecting; mid twenties maybe. His features were pleasantly put together in a rugged way. His head was covered in short black hair that was very similar to Ezra's current cut, but didn't shine blue under the lights, making it a true black. His eyes reminded her of Imperial grey hallways and the smile on his mouth didn't reach them.
Sabine still didn't like him.
"Your father said you would be my best bet to find some paint for my armour and that of my men's," he said genially. Glancing down at his almost entirely white armour with a hint of red ruefully, he added, "We're not feeling very welcome at the moment."
"I don't know why," Sabine said, trying to rein in the sarcasm but failing miserably. "You were fighting for the wrong team just yesterday."
He shrugged apologetically. "Just following the Head of my Clan. But they're all deceased now and there is no one left to follow." He puffed his chest out self importantly. "I'm going to fight for the title of Count Saxon when I get home. Then the whole clan will follow the Mand'alor."
Sabine was getting the impression that she was supposed to be impressed by this. She wasn't. She smiled indulgently anyway to help this move along a little faster. "Good luck with that. As far as painting your armour goes, I don't have enough to cover all that white on nine sets in anything resembling a matching fashion, so I won't even try. As far as the Imperial symbols go, have you thought about simply taking off your armour and bodysuit, since the symbols are on the upper arms of the bodysuit? There must be nine spare shirts or tunics lying around here somewhere. Go find them. Or kriff, borrow a cape and go buy some new bodysuits from the city and a bucket of paint in the colour of your choosing. It's not rocket science."
He blinked at her stupidly for a few seconds, frowned, and then visibly forced himself to smile. "That is a very good idea. I feel stupid for not thinking of it myself. Thank you for your time." Sabine's opinion of him rose half a fraction because he managed to be gracious about it.
"You're welcome," she said as she passed him and walked down the ramp with the ex Imperial traitor following her.
Ezra was waiting for her at the bottom of the ramp, watching them curiously. "What did he want?" he asked quietly as they watched him walk back to his men and Bo-Katan only a dozen metres away.
"He wanted me to paint all of their armour," she murmured, rolling her eyes slightly. "I also got the feeling he was trying to impress me."
Ezra glanced at her. "Another of the multitudes of men you've had to turn down?" he teased in a whisper, his beautiful blue eyes smiling at her.
Sabine rolled her eyes harder, shoving him with her shoulder. "Something like that. Anyway, keep an eye out for him. Something tells me he's not done in his attempts to get on my good side. And we all know what kind of environment he was raised in. Backstabbing and treachery are probably in his nature."
"Got it," Ezra whispered back with a smirk, obviously not worried about anything the commando could dish out. He raised his voice back to normal. "Kanan will be out in a minute, along with Hera in hologram form. I hope that's okay?"
"Of course," Sabine said as she started walking towards Bo-Katan, Fenn, and her father. "Now I just have to convince everyone that my idea is worth the risk."
"And what is your idea?" Ezra asked.
"Yes, we've all been wondering that ourselves," Bo-Katan called as Captain Hark and his men marched off in the direction of her Kom'rk and Kanan and Chopper emerged from the Gauntlet. "What scheme are you hatching now, Sabine Wren?"
Sabine grinned to everyone as they assembled around her and Hera's hologram flickered to life via Chopper, drawing out the moment for effect. "A really good one. What do you think of adding the Lothal system to Mandalorian controlled space?"
Chapter 10: Hashing Out A Plan
Hashing Out A Plan:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Everyone stared at Sabine for two whole seconds of shocked silence before there was an eruption of voices.
"Out of the question!" (Fenn)
"It's simply not feasible." (Bo-Katan)
"Why would we do that?" (Alrich)
"I doubt the Lothalians would be impressed with the idea." (Hera)
"How does that help anything?" (Ezra)
"She's officially lost it." (Chopper)
"What the hell?" (Passing bystander who almost fell over as they whipped back around to see who'd said such a ridiculous thing.)
"I haven't lost it!" Sabine said passionately into the momentary vacuum of silence before anyone could say anything else. "I think this would benefit everyone if you'd just hear me out."
Kanan was the only one who hadn't said a word. He had his arms crossed and his eyes closed behind his mask (automatic reflex) as he searched the feelings of the Force on the matter. He wasn't feeling anything negative. "I think we should listen to Sabine," he
spoke up. "And somewhere more private would probably be a good idea," he added with a nod of his chin towards the few people who'd been close enough to overhear and had all frozen and were visibly straining to hear what would be said next.
"Thank you, Kanan," Sabine said gratefully. She'd thought more people would be open to the idea, but apparently she was going to have convince them.
Bo-Katan glanced around them, raising an imperious brow at the gawkers. They instantly made themselves look busy and walking elsewhere. "I'm afraid the whole camp is going to know within a minute and all of Mandalore within the hour, but we might as well go to the Command Tent and have the rest of this discussion in peace."
So they all trekked across camp to the big tent. As he walked beside her, Ezra shot Sabine a questioning look. "Are you sure about this?" he asked in a barely audible whisper.
"Trust me," she mouthed back, not quite a question.
"All right," Ezra said, linking his fingers with hers to show his support.
Sabine smiled at him gratefully and squeezed his hand.
They assembled in the tent and Bo-Katan focused on Sabine. "Okay, Wren. Explain how you think this is supposed to work. I'm going to have my hands full as it is re-establishing control of the current Mandalorian systems. Adding another one is not something I was even contemplating."
Sabine set her helmet down on a table and took a deep breath to settle her thoughts. "First off, I just came up with this idea like ten minutes ago, so bear with me." She looked at everyone with her big eyes sincere and a just a little bit pleading. "I once vowed to Ezra that I would never give up on helping him free his planet and I have no intention of breaking that vow."
Ezra shot a beaming smile at her. "That's true. It was after one of our practice sessions with the Darksabre," he explained to Kanan and Hera's hologram, who were looking curious. "I asked her what she would do if she actually did become the next Mand'alor."
"And I said I would free Mandalore, but no matter what I did in the future, I wouldn't forget about Lothal, and I meant it; it's your home." Sabine's eyes locked with Ezra's for a moment before she faced the others. "And as far as I'm concerned, aside from the Ghost, Lothal is my home too. And the Empire is destroying it."
"But Krownest is your home," Alrich said in a reasonable tone that barely disguised the hurt.
"I'm sorry, Father, but Krownest hasn't been my home since I was twelve and was shipped off to the Academy here in Sundari."
Alrich's head bowed as he thought about that, eyes sorrowful.
"But you're the Countess now," Fenn said. "You have to call Krownest your home."
"Do I?" Sabine said with a raised brow. "What if I said I wanted to move Clan Wren to Lothal and establish Mandalorian control over the planet? Moving a Clan's main stronghold is not without precedent by any stretch of the imagination."
"This is true," Bo-Katan said. "My own homeworld of Kalevala was taken over by my parents while it was in a state of chaos. It flourishes now with prosperity. I have no objections to you moving your clan, but what do you intend to do about Krownest? You can't
just leave it empty. Someone must continue to protect the covert diamond mining operations already in place. You and I both know we need the steady income of those credits now more than ever."
Sabine smiled slightly at this in Fenn's direction. "No. I wasn't going to do that. I was thinking Fenn Rau was the perfect person to assume control of the planet. You lost your base by Concord Dawn because Kanan and I kidnapped you; it is only fair that I give you another one. I'm sure there would be plenty of volunteers to start up the Protectors again once they knew you were looking."
Fenn looked shocked at first and then drifted into intrigued. "I would not be opposed to this idea," he said stroking his jaw as he thought. "I've even been approached by a few warriors who were curious to see if I was re-establishing the Journeyman Protectors again, but I had no base and nothing to protect."
"Well, now you do," Sabine said with a grin. "I will not force my clan members to leave Krownest if they really want to stay, so you might end up with a few already on site volunteers."
"That is fine with me," Fenn said. "I like your clan."
"I noticed," Sabine said with a smirk. "You've been living with us for months."
"Pardon me," Hera said, interjecting. "But what does this mean for Lothal exactly? Assuming we can chase the Empire out of the system, that is. And are you including Garel? Because it's just the next system over and only a seven minute hyperjump. I doubt you could keep the Empire off Lothal if they still have control of Garel."
"Those are good questions, Hera." Sabine said. "As far as Lothal is concerned, just like Krownest and Kalevala, the reigning clan would oversee and protect the planet. I would put Ryder back in power as the Governor, since he has experience with the job and someone has to deal with the day to day running of things, but he would answer to me in regards to major decisions like establishing a new military, mining concerns, and expanding current infrastructure."
"That sounds reasonable," Hera said. "What do you think, Ezra? It's your planet."
"I'm all for it if it means Sabine lives on Lothal with me and not me on Krownest with her. The snow's pretty and all, but I'm definitely a summer person." Ezra grinned at Sabine as she snorted in amusement.
Everyone chuckled once or twice.
"But seriously," Ezra continued, finding a mature stance. "I actually really like this idea. Lothal is suffering under Imperial rule. Suffering badly. I doubt there would be too many protestors to a new ruler who promised them peace and prosperity."
"That's all well and good," Kanan said. "But Hera's right. What about Garel?"
"I've been thinking about that," Sabine said. "The Imperial presence there is minimal at best at the moment. They're concentrating on Lothal big time with their factories and mining operations. Bo-Katan, Hera, if we helped the Rebellion clean out Garel first, do you think Rebel Command would be interested in using Garel as a secondary base of operations? This would mean that Mandalore would support the Rebellion in a passive fashion, since I know you don't have enough forces to contribute to the cause full time, but that would also make Mothma and Organa happy. I know they've been trying to get Mandalorian support for years."
Bo-Katan didn't even have to think about it. "I have no problem with allying with the Rebel Alliance, but as you said, I cannot promise any ships or warriors for their fight. But they can use Mandalorian hyperspace routes and will have sanctuary on any of our planets. Once we have control of our farming planets again, I can also provide supplies as needed."
Hera was almost speechless. "Oh my. I had no idea this was where this discussion was heading. I can't speak for Command, being only a Captain, but I think they'll be all for it. As a trade planet, Garel is a perfect location for another base, as we know from when
Phoenix Cell was located there. I'll talk to them first thing in the morning. It's three a.m. here, if anyone was wondering."
"What are you doing up?" Sabine said curiously.
Kanan winced. "That was my bad. I forgot the time difference and woke her up with my call."
Hera's hologram looked at Kanan affectionately. "Trust me, I didn't mind, love."
More than a few eyebrows rose at her tone and Kanan's resultant flush that appeared on the skin not covered by his mask or beard. Sabine and Ezra fake shuddered, since they knew what that tone meant. Kanan and Hera weren't exactly their parents, but the relationship between all of them was close enough to make no difference. And no child wanted to think too much about the parental units' love life.
To get the attention off him and Hera, Kanan focused on Sabine. "So what is your actual plan then of how to make this happen? I'm sure we're all dying of curiosity. Lothal is currently blockaded by at least twenty Star Destroyers and under the personal supervision of Grand Admiral Thrawn. What you want to do and what is actually possible seem like two vastly different things right now."
Everyone stared at Sabine as they nodded in agreement with Kanan. She stood taller under their focus, a determined set to her jaw. "I know the odds are stacked against it, but I just know this is the right thing to do."
"It feels right to me," Ezra said supportively.
"We're listening," Bo-Katan added.
"Right," Sabine said on an exhale. "First, I have to go to Krownest and talk to my clan."
"I was hoping you'd say that," Alrich said, having been quiet for a long time now. "I will support you in this endeavour, Daughter, even though I think it might not be well received by many. "I owe you too much, and I owe your Jedi my life. I see that this means a lot to both of you."
"Thank you, Father," Sabine said with a sweet smile in his direction. "Next, I think just a small party, probably consisting of just our Ghost crew, Hera, if you're up for it, are going to sneak onto Lothal and do some scouting and planning. We need to know exactly what our opponents are up to and what targets to hit since we haven't been there for months."
"You know I'm more than willing to do that," Hera said, "But there's no way I'm getting anywhere near that blockade with the Ghost; I'm pretty sure every Imperial officer in the galaxy knows my ship. We can't take the Gauntlet either. A Mando ship would stick out like a sore thumb."
"I have an idea of how to get on the planet," Ezra said with a hesitant grin. "But you're not going to like it."
Kanan shook his head at Ezra. "If you say Visago, Hondo, or Calrissian, then yep, you're right. We don't like it."
Ezra's grin widened. "Then I won't say it." He turned his focus to Sabine. "What's after that, cyar'ika?"
Sabine melted a little at the term of affection in front of the others. "Then we get off planet again in whatever fashion is necessary, meet up with Clan Wren and whatever ships Rebel Command wants to send and we take Garel. Then we have a staging ground for the battle for Lothal. I was hoping we could come up with some kind of diversion to get most or even all of Thrawn's fleet to leave orbit so we could take control of the ground and blow up the Imperial Dome and their factories."
"Ambitious, but not insane," Bo-Katan said with a hint of admiration in her voice. "Your plan has definite potential. I would even send some fighters if you could remove most of the ISDs from the area. As we proved today, we can handle two Star Destroyers at a time with a fleet of about a hundred fighters. If the Rebels also sent the same number, you have a real shot of making this happen."
Sabine beamed with pride and gratitude. "Thank you. I told you that this idea would benefit everyone in the long run."
"You were right," Hera said. "Now we just have to get Rebel Command on board. And as I said, I'll talk to them first thing in the morning. In the meantime, everyone should start thinking of a good way to draw Thrawn's fleet away from the planet. And don't say
flaunt the Ghost at them and then just fly a little faster than their laser canon's can reach."
"Awww," Sabine pouted playfully. "I was totally going to suggest that," she teased.
Hera scowled for a moment as Chopper beeped out laughter.
"I actually have an idea for that too," Ezra said tentatively. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously as everyone focused on him curiously.
"What?" Kanan said. "It can't be that bad?" he asked, sensing his Padawan's reluctance to say his idea.
Ezra winced. "Weellllll. It kind of is. And I doubt anyone's going to believe me."
"Just spit it out, Ezra. I promise we won't laugh," Sabine said, nudging him with her shoulder when he was silent too long.
Still making a face, he said, "You remember the purrgil?"
"I don't think we're ever going to forget them," Hera said dryly.
"What about them?" Kanan said encouragingly.
"When I saved their food supply, they promised to help me once in return. They said I would know when the time was right and they gave me a frequency to use to call them." Ezra peered out from under his brows to see how everyone was taking that.
There was a lot of gaping mouths.
"Are you saying the purrgil are intelligent beings?" Sabine said, the first to put the clues together.
Ezra nodded eagerly. "That's exactly what I'm saying. I think they could come chase the Star Destroyers out of the system. They might even be able to do a great deal of damage if they wanted to."
"Wait," Alrich demanded, brain finally wrapping around everyone's words. "Are you saying you can talk to animals?"
"It's a Jedi thing, I believe," Bo-Katan said.
"Yes, I can," Ezra said matter of factly. "All Jedi can, to some extent, but Kanan says I'm better than most. And it's not talk so much as communicate feelings and impressions. The purrgil though, they TALKED to me. Telepathically. They're really quite amazing. It's kind of like the Ghost, an A.I. computer, and a space whale decided to get together and have a baby. That's what the purrgil are like."
"How come you never told us the purrgils were intelligent?" Hera demanded. "I thought you were just commanding them like you do with all the other animals you encounter."
Ezra shrugged and winced some more. "I didn't think you'd believe me, so I didn't bother?"
Hera and Kanan sighed in unison. "Of course we believe you," Hera said soothingly. "Though this brings up some interesting issues about what to do with the purrgil race."
"Someone can have that debate at another time," Kanan told her. "For now, it's nice to know we have a viable option to chase Thrawn's fleet from the system. And we all know the purrgil are more than capable of scaring the living daylights out of any ship's Captain, so it should work."
"That's settled then," Sabine said happily. "My plan really does look like it will work, doesn't it? Everyone's happy with my ideas?" She received a series of nods and, "I ams," mostly in synch.
"I think your ideas are brilliant," Ezra said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and giving her a half hug and a kiss on the cheek. "But I'm not surprised at all; your ideas are always brilliant."
"Suck up," Sabine replied to him fondly, putting her own arm around his waist and leaning her head on his shoulder.
"Yep." Ezra said with a grin. "And proud of it." He kissed the top of her head and sighed happily into her hair. "Force, it's nice to be able to hold you without a really good excuse like the time you twisted your ankle. I've been dreaming of doing this for years."
That elicited a round of laughter as Sabine's face turned red and she hid it in his shirt. "So I'm a little slow," she mumbled into it. "Feel free to sue me."
Ezra chuckled. "I wouldn't dare," he said, hugging her more fully by adding a second arm. "You could talk circles around a lawyer in your sleep."
Sabine looked up at him and laughed. "Very true."
Kanan, Hera, Alrich, and even Fenn were watching the absolute adorableness that was blossoming right in front of them with that happy and indulgent look parents have. Bo-Katan was wondering how she'd gone for so many years without finding a mate to hug and tease like that. She glanced at Fenn assessingly yet again, thinking that she might just have found someone to fill the empty space in her life. Maybe she should corner him somewhere private and try kissing him to see if there was any chemistry. From the way he'd been looking at her, she didn't think he'd mind.
Feeling rather content with how everything was working out, Kanan turned his focus back to Chopper and thus Hera's hologram. "It sounds like things are pretty much decided here for the time being, Hera. Why don't you try and get a few more hours of sleep?"
Hera raised a brow at him, even though he couldn't see it. "You're not trying to get rid of me, are you?"
"Wouldn't think of it, darling," Kanan said reassuringly. "I'm just trying to be helpful."
Hera snorted, then said teasingly, "You keep telling yourself that, love. Sometimes, it might even be true." She focused on the group as whole again. "Is Kanan right, though? Are we done for now?"
That inspired everyone to look at each other with questioning eyes and shrugging shoulders.
Bo-Katan made the decision by saying, "I'd say we're done here, Captain Syndulla. Have Command contact me to talk about an alliance."
"Will do. Thank you, Mand'alor Kryze."
Bo-Katan nodded regally. "You're welcome. But please, feel free to call me by my given name in informal settings like this."
Hera smiled. "Of course, Bo-Katan. And please call me Hera." Bo-Katan nodded. Hera gave everyone one last glance. "Goodbye for now then. I'll be in touch." She gave Kanan an extra special smile that he unfortunately couldn't see. "Thank you for calling me,
Kanan. I'm glad I got to be part of this. Come back as soon as you can talk Ezra into it. I'm going to catch a few more hours of sleep."
Kanan smiled sweetly back. "Night, Hera."
Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper then added to the well-wishing by all saying, "Night, Hera," too at the exact same time.
Hera smiled at her 'kids'. "Be good, my little Spectres. Oh, and I'm happy you've finally gotten together. I'm proud of you," she said, her eyes shining even through the hologram. Then she disappeared as she turned off the comm from her end.
While Hera was talking, Bo-Katan had raised an amused brow at the synchronous 'good nights' and said quietly to Fenn, "You'd think they'd practiced that."
Fenn shook his head. "Not so much practiced on purpose as practiced from doing it for so long. They really are a family."
"I think I see that."
Alrich sighed forlornly. "I know I do. I'm glad my daughter found a new family, but it hurts more than I can say to know that she had to look for one in the first place."
"Makes you wish there was a do-over button, doesn't it?" Bo-Katan said sympathetically.
Alrich nodded and sighed again, watching his daughter and the two Jedi huddle together around the astromech and have their own conversation. "After watching them for only a day, I've already seen how much they all love each other. I'm sure she sees Master Jarrus as a second father and I can guarantee she's never looked at Ursa with as much fondness as she just did Captain Syndulla. If there was such a thing as a do-over button, I would refuse to let Ursa send Sabine to the Academy, despite how smart she is. Everything would be so different now if she'd never left home."
"If it's any consolation, Alrich," Fenn said softly, "Despite everything she's gone through, she's turned into a remarkable young woman. You and Ursa obviously did something right for the first twelve years of her life so she had a solid foundation of strength and integrity to build on and get her through to this point. Yes. She found a new family, but they're a good family. She could be working for Black Sun right now or sitting in a prison somewhere if it weren't for them. I would just be thankful to have her back and count yourself fortunate for every day you get to spend with her from now on." His mouth quirked up and his voice took on a teasing tone. "And just think, with the way she and Bridger look at each other, you'll get grandbabies to play with sooner than later, I'll bet."
Alrich beamed like a ray of sunshine at the idea.
Chapter 11: I Challenge The Jedi
I Challenge the Jedi:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Jett watched the Mand'alor's Kom'rk fly away with his men in it, on their way to Sundari. There, they would buy new bodysuits and paint and get the fighter fixed properly. It had gone into battle with just a patch job by Sabine. Now, after the space battle, the fighter was as close to limping through the sky as a flying object can get. The men could paint their armour while the waited for the mechanics to put new parts in the ship.
When he'd asked Kryze for a means of transport to the city, since their jetpacks were basically out of fuel, she had volunteered her personal ship, providing they took the time to find a good mechanic. Jett had thought it a fair trade and agreed quickly.
As far as his own armour was concerned, he was still hoping he could convince the lovely Countess Wren to paint it for him if he supplied the paint. As the new Count of Clan Saxon, he would need a perfectly painted set of armour with many embellishments. It would only be fitting that Sabine painted his armour for him if she was going to be his wife. And, from what little he'd seen so far, she was a brilliant artist on top of everything else she excelled at. Did the woman have no flaws? No weaknesses?
Not as far as he could tell.
She really was perfect for him.
Jett shrugged his shoulders slightly to settle the borrowed grey tunic into place better as he turned around to face the camp again and go in search of Sabine. He'd also asked Kryze if she happened to know where he could locate a quick change of clothes. After a flash of sorrow had crossed her face, she'd said the last cabin in her ship had clothes he could have. They had belonged to her nephew, but he'd died yesterday by the Duchess and he wouldn't be needing them anymore. Jett had winced in sympathy and gave her his condolences on the loss of the semi legendary Korkie Kryze. As far as keeping the clothes, that wasn't going to happen. He'd make sure he returned the tunic to the cabin as soon as a new bodysuit arrived for him to wear.
One that wasn't white. Yay. What a stupid colour for soldiers to wear. (Unless you were on a snow planet.)
As he walked back into camp, Jett noticed that the atmosphere had changed from celebratory to... gossiping? That was the best description he could come up with. People were literally whispering behind their hands to other people.
What had happened in the last ten minutes to cause this?
Aiming for the Command Tent, he sidled up to a warrior near it dressed in Wren colours and was clearly using his helmet to blatantly eavesdrop on whatever was going on inside the tent.
"What's happening now?" Jett asked in a conspiratorial whisper, pretending he already knew the gist of whatever was going on.
Shubin Wren glanced at the unfamiliar guy who'd shown up beside him before focusing on the tent again. "Kryze just admitted that Sabine's plan is ambitious but not insane. It looks like she's going to support Sabine's plan to take Lothal from the Empire." Personally, he thought the idea had merit. Who wouldn't want to move to a warmer planet?
Jett blinked but kept his expression neutral out of sheer training. "Wow. I didn't think she'd go for it," he commented calmly. Meanwhile, his brain was going a million lightyears an hour. Why would Sabine want to fight for a rinky dink planet like Lothal? Aside from the mining operations, the planet had no redeeming qualities as far as he knew. Wait. Lothal. Wasn't that the planet Grand Admiral Thrawn was currently blockading personally? There had to be something of great interest there for such a high ranking Imperial to pay such attention to it. Maybe Sabine had a really good reason to go after the planet.
Perhaps he should support her endeavours once he had command of the Saxon warriors. That certainly couldn't hurt his quest to win her over for himself.
"Neither did I," Shubin said distractedly, his attention divided between listening and talking. "But Sabine came up with a feasible plan of attack that sounds like it might actually..." His voice trailed off as he tried to process what the Jedi had just suggested. Did he actually say use PURRGIL to get rid of a fleet of Star Destroyers? No way in a thousand shabla hells was anyone going to believe this.
Shubin glanced around at the other warriors also eavesdropping and saw them all stiffen as well. Yep. They didn't believe it either. The Jedi was nuts.
"What is it?" Jett said, dying of curiosity. He really wished he hadn't left his helmet on Kryze's ship right now.
"The Countess' Jedi just suggested using purrgil to chase Thrawn's fleet from Lothal space. And... he just said they were intelligent beings that owed him a favour and were not actually animals at all."
"What?!" Jett exclaimed.
Shubin nodded slowly, eyes super wide behind his visor. "I know, right?"
"My thoughts exactly." Shubin commiserated.
"Now what are they saying?" Jett said eagerly.
Shubin mentally played back what he'd heard while they'd been talking. "Ummm. Nothing too important. It seems the Jedi and the Countess' relationship is fairly new and he's giving her a hug or something. The Mand'alor and someone called Captain Hera Syndulla are now on a first name basis. Now they're saying good night. Syndulla's proud of her 'little spectres', which I'm guessing are the Countess and the younger Jedi, and she approves of their relationship." Shubin smirked a little at his younger cousin once-removed being called a 'little spectre' because it suited her. He remembered her as a child as being VERY good at causing mischief and being almost impossible to catch in the act.
Jett hmmpphed noncommittally, unenthused about the idea of Sabine being affectionate with the Jedi. "Anything else?"
Shubin shook his head. "Not really. They've split into two separate conversation groups and it's hard to focus on them both. It all sounds like generic stuff anyway," he said, not wanting to get into family dynamics with a stranger. The conversation his cousin's husband was having with Fenn was private enough that the whole galaxy didn't need to know it. And it sounded like Sabine and the two Jedi were just talking about time schedules. It looked like they'd be heading for Krownest within the hour. And from there... He wasn't sure. Was everyone splitting up? He'd missed some words while trying to focus on too much at once.
Now focused entirely on the stranger, Shubin tilted his head slightly. "Hey. Who are you anyway?"
Jett wondered if he should give a fake name, since he hadn't exactly been well received so far, but decided to just stick with the truth since this guy from the Wren Clan would inevitably be encountered again once he made Sabine his. "I'm Jett Hark of Clan Saxon, Captain of what's left of my Super Commandoes."
Shubin eyeballed the man suspiciously for a moment. "Ahh, one of the traitors who's come back to the correct side of the fence, and very wisely lost most of that Imperial white. Tristan spoke well enough of you. Said you weren't as fanatically stupid as Gar and Tiber Saxon." He pulled his helmet off and tucked it under his arm, revealing a man in his thirties with dark brown hair in a short style and warm brown eyes that clearly marked him as a Wren family member. He held out his hand. "Shubin Wren. Nice to meet you."
Jett smiled and grasped the man's wrist and they gripped each other tight for a moment then let go. Intros now done, Jett nodded towards the tent again. "Sooooo, what do you think of your Countess choosing a Jedi for her future husband?"
Shubin glanced at Jett, not liking the barely disguised bitterness in his tone, but dismissed it as a generic dislike of Jedi, which almost every Mando could claim. He shrugged slightly. "To be honest, I don't think it's the smartest choice she's ever made. But to be fair, Ezra Bridger has been instrumental in returning Sabine and Alrich to the Wren clan, as well as saving her life on multiple occasions, according to her. From what little time I've spent with him, he seems like a nice enough sort. A little immature still, and maybe not the smartest bulb in the box, but nothing like the slavering, Mando eating Jedi we've been taught to hate. His Master is quite likable as well, and Fenn Rau speaks very highly of them. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Sabine's Jedi is all right and worthy of respect until he proves otherwise. I will support her choice."
While Shubin was speaking, Jett watched the tent. A small herd of people finally emerged, Sabine and her young Jedi at the back of the pack, holding hands and whispering with their heads close to each other, walking much slower than the others. The sight rubbed him every kind of the wrong way. Because, no matter what Shubin Wren or any of the others said, a proper Mando should NEVER lower themselves to marrying a Jedi scum. Jett felt like it was his DUTY to stop this before it went any further. "Well, I will not," he nearly spat. "She deserves so much better than a shabla Jedi."
Shubin's eyes widened in alarm as Jett stormed towards the couple, his fists clenched, and a fierce look on his face. "This can't be good," he mumbled to himself and ran after him, plunking his helmet back on and sending a heads up to the other two Wren warriors that were around here somewhere, telling them to get their shebs over to the Command Tent on the double.
Ezra grabbed Sabine's hand and held her back as everyone else left the tent so they would be at the end of the group. He smiled sweetly when she looked at him questioningly. He laced their fingers together, still thrilling that he now had the right to do so, and picked up a meandering stroll, leaning his head close to hers. "I just wanted to thank you profusely for what you just did. Even if none of our plans work, I'll always be grateful to you for trying. You have to know this means everything to me."
Sabine shook her head slightly, a light flush of pleasure at his words brightening her cheeks becomingly. "Of course I know how much Lothal means to you. We've been fighting for it for years. And you need to believe our plans will work, because I vowed we'd free it, and you know I never break a vow."
Ezra grinned, eyes twinkling at her mischievously. "Like the time you refused sleep for three days cause you vowed you wouldn't rest until both the Ghost and the Phantom 2 had matching new paint jobs? Or what about the time you vowed you'd get Zeb and I to do all your chores for you for a week and proceeded to trick or bet us into doing every single one without us being the wiser until Kanan told us at the end, laughing like mad while he did so?"
Sabine grinned back. "Just like that."
"And that's one of the reasons I adore you," Ezra said softly. "No one is more determined than you, cyar'ika."
Being so focused on Sabine, Ezra only felt the barest hint of a warning from the Force before he was shoved roughly away from her as a furious Captain Hark came out of apparently nowhere.
"You're not good enough for her! " Jett exclaimed as Ezra stumbled back a couple steps before catching his balance and looking at him in surprise. "You're just a boy and a Jedi scumbag! And do you even know what cyar'ika means?! I bet not."
Kanan was only absently paying attention to the Force around him as he focused more on remembering images of Hera and imagining what she looked like right now as she lay back down to go to sleep. He might not be able to see her beautiful features in real life anymore, but at least he had his memories to call upon. His dreams of her were also in full, glorious colour, and those he carefully tucked away into his precious store of memories.
He was jarred out of his imaginings as a malevolent being in the Force bore down on Ezra and Sabine behind him. "Uh oh," Kanan mumbled, catching the attention of Fenn, Alrich, Chopper, and Bo-Katan. He turned around in time to see the angry aura of a man push Ezra's aura away from Sabine's. Kanan immediately strode back to the confrontational group in time to catch Captain Hark's words.
"What's your problem, Captain Hark?" Kanan said calmly, putting a hand on his arm to prevent the Captain from attacking further.
"Yes, what is your problem?" Sabine demanded. "The only one who gets to decide who's good enough for me is ME!"
"I'd think through your next few words very carefully if I were you," Bo-Katan said as she caught up to the action, crossing her arms over her chest and giving the man in question a withering stare.
Jett crossed his arms over his chest as well, since practically everyone else was, and reined in his temper out of sheer determination. He didn't want to anger the new Mand'alor. "I do not believe that Countess Wren has picked a mate worthy of her. And as such, I call on the right to challenge the Jedi for the honour of courting her."
The quickly assembling crowd that was drawn to confrontation like flies to dead meat ooooed and gasped, many nodding their heads in agreement.
"Can he do that?" Ezra asked Sabine in a stage whisper, leaning towards her.
Sabine winced in apology. "Unfortunately, yes. I probably should have warned you this might happen, but I thought we'd have more time before anyone got around to doing so. I intended to have us married before it came to this."
Ezra's eyes widened almost comically. "You did?! Karabast! Oh, wow." He smiled widely as that sunk in, reaching up and cupping her cheek lovingly. "Ni kar'tayl gar darasuum, Sabine Wren." His smile widened when she gasped in surprise at what he hoped was a half decent pronunciation of the Mandalorian version of a vow of undying love. "Yes, I learnt that for you." Ezra shot a smirk in Hark's direction as the man scowled in disgust. "And yes, to answer your question from before, I do know what cyar'ika means too. It means Sabine is my beloved soulmate and the term of affection is not used lightly. I'm just as capable of looking up Mando'a on the holonet as the next guy."
Kanan, Fenn, and Alrich snickered as Hark's scowl turned positively ugly and he more or less growled out, "Fine. So you're not completely stupid. But that doesn't mean you're worthy to be anywhere near her. I challenge you to a duel, Bridger, and if you lose, you have to give up all romantic inclinations towards her."
"I guess I better not lose, then," Ezra said, determination settling in. "How are we doing this? Swords? Blasters at twenty paces? A race around the planet on a speeder bike? A dogfight in space with Gauntlets? What?"
Sabine couldn't help but snort in suppressed laughter at some of the options Ezra came up with despite the gravity of the situation. She noticed quite a few others shaking with amusement as well. Only Ezra could turn such a serious situation into something fun. Force, why did it take her so long to realize she loved him?
Jett was not amused. "None of the above, di'kut. We fight hand to hand until someone gives up. No weapons. No Force tricks. Anything else goes." Then he whipped his tunic and undershirt off over his head and tossed them aside, leaving him in just his white bodysuit leggings.
Ezra blinked at the very bare muscular chest and arms that had a fair number of scars traversing the pale skin. "All righty then. I guess we're doing this shirtless." He unbuckled his utility belt and handed the whole thing, including his lightsabre and blaster, to Sabine. Then he pulled his big folding knife out of his boot and handed that to her as well. He smirked as Hark scowled once again. "Present from Sabine for my sixteenth birthday. I don't go anywhere without it," he explained cheekily.
Jett sneered. "And when was that? Yesterday?"
Ezra laughed as he unzipped his orange and beige jacket, adding it to the pile accumulating on Sabine's free arm. (As usual, her helmet was tucked under her other arm.) "Try two years and three days ago, di'kut. Yes, I know that one too. Sabine used to call me that all the time." He winked at her, letting her know he didn't mind. Then he pulled his black t-shirt off over his head, leaving him just as half naked as the other guy, and placed it on top of his other things.
Sabine couldn't help but compare Ezra's physique against Hark's. The Mando's was impressive, yes, but was to be expected, considering his occupation. Ezra's was... getting there. He was still leaner than he could be, but what he did have was ripped tight muscles that looked more than capable, including a very nice six pack. He just needed a few more years to finish growing so he could fill out properly. And his muscles were covered in lovely copper skin that shone in the sunlight, looking far more attractive than Hark's pasty skin. Add the odd mouth-watering scar here and there and Ezra won the contest in her mind easily. (Now if only that was all it took for him to win the duel.)
Jett's scowl felt permanently attached to his face as he noticed that Sabine only glanced at him before returning all her attention to that... wimp. "Wow. If that's the case, then I might actually feel a little sorry for you. You certainly don't look eighteen. Tristan Wren was a year younger than you and was almost twice as big. Whatever swamp you come from, they must not grow them very tall."
Ezra smiled, letting the insults roll off him from a lifetime of experience of being belittled. Having some good old Jedi calm helped a lot too. "I'm just a late bloomer. If you must know, I'm still growing, and my dad was taller than you, so I'm not worried." He walked right up to the other man, who was about ten centimetres taller, and crossed his arms over his bare chest. "Sooooo, are we going to have a duel of insults, then? Cause I'm up for that. Or do you want to do something a little more productive? I have things to do and places to go. Annnnddd, MY girl apparently wants to marry me and not a Neanderthal, sooooo..."
Jett lost his temper. The BRAT deserved the pummelling he was about to deliver. Jett growled and rushed at the Jedi, wanting to knock him down to the ground and beat that smirk right off his face.
Ezra calmly sidestepped the battering ram impersonating as a human and turned and watched as he scrambled to keep his feet when he didn't hit a target. The crowd of onlookers immediately backed up into a rough circle, giving them an arena of sorts and started hooting and cheering. "I'm surprised, Captain Hark. I would have thought you had better training than that. Or maybe it's because you've been impersonating an Imperial for too long. They're notoriously bad at fighting and shooting. That kind of thing must be catching." Ezra hadn't even uncrossed his arms yet.
Sabine tried to keep her grin down to just a small smile, but she failed miserably. Ezra was going to wipe the floor with this mir'osik. She happened to know for a fact that Ezra was VERY well trained in hand to hand combat. Aside from learning dirty tricks on the streets as a kid, he'd spent a month undercover in the Imperial Academy, she'd taught him everything she knew, Rex had taught him everything HE knew (and that was A LOT), Kanan had thrown in a few more moves that he'd been taught at the Temple specifically designed for Force users, he'd gone up against Zeb and not died, and he'd even sparred with Fenn a few times. Ezra was one of the most well rounded combatants she'd ever seen. He just didn't use the skills very often since he preferred showing off with his lightsabre and mind tricks whenever he could.
Hark was going down.
Jett looked at all the Mandos watching him expectantly and forced himself to calm down. The boy was frustratingly correct. He HAD made a very stupid opening move. He wouldn't make the same mistake again. Jett faced the Jedi and walked back up to him in a purposeful manner and once again stopped when they were face to face. He nodded slightly in the barest possible show of respect and then assumed a proper opening fighting stance, hands up with fingers loosely curled and feet spread and balanced, turning half sideways to his opponent.
Ezra raised a brow and copied the stance. "This is more what I was expecting. Your Mando ancestors can stop rolling in their graves now."
Jett kept hold of his temper by a very thin thread. "If you shut up, I'll promise not to hurt you TOO much. You might even be able to walk when we're done."
Ezra's smirk returned. "We'll see who's walking and who's not, won't we?" And with that, Ezra threw the first punch, almost faster than the eye could follow, clocking Jett in the jaw, whipping his head to the side.
Jett went with the momentum, spinning all the way around on his foot and delivering a kick that Ezra blocked.
The crowd cheered and the fight was ON.
Twenty minutes later, Sabine was close to gnawing through her lower lip, she'd chewed on it so much. Ezra and Hark were still going at it, their sweaty bodies covered in the red dirt of Mandalore, and their jaws set in a determined way that said neither was anywhere near finished. Ezra was sporting a black eye and he was limping more than a little from where Hark had kicked him in the back of his left knee. Hark's lip was bleeding and he was definitely favouring his right arm. He was rarely using it, now relying almost entirely on kicks and left handed punches.
"Hark's in pain," Kanan said quietly from his spot beside Sabine, having settled beside her when the circle was formed. "I can feel it."
"Yah, but Ezra's limping," Sabine whispered back.
Kanan leaned over and whispered so no one else could hear, "He's faking. There's no real pain in his signature."
Sabine's eyes widened fractionally before she schooled her expression. "Street rat," she whispered with amusement.
Kanan nodded, his mouth twitching at the corner as he held back a grin.
"Okay, Ez. Wrap this up," Sabine said to herself, not wanting to distract Ezra as Hark performed some impressive kicking spins that Ezra had to work to dodge in his current 'incapacitated' state.
Almost like he'd heard her anyway, Ezra suddenly turned the tide on Hark by crouching down on his 'bad' knee and sweeping Hark's feet out from under him. He pounced on the man while he was down, pinning his left arm to the ground under his foot and grabbing the right arm and yanking it back and up, causing Hark to yelp in pain. Ezra dug his knee into the small of Hark's back and yanked the arm higher, twisting the shoulder joint. "Do you yield?"
Hark shook his head quickly, trying to buck Ezra off. Ezra twisted the arm just a little more. "Yield, or I pop this out of joint and maybe break your wrist too, just because." He bent said wrist in a way it was never designed to go as a demonstration, making Hark whine.
Jett panted into the dirt for a minute, deciding if the girl was really worth wrecking his arm yet again. He knew from experience that he could fight without it, but Jett thought back over everything he knew about the Jedi and Sabine and came to the conclusion he just wasn't going to win this one. The Jedi was too good at fighting and the girl was too infatuated with him to ever look at him the way she looked at Bridger. Even if he did manage to remove Bridger from the picture at some point in the future, he had a feeling she'd never look at Jett the way she looked at Bridger. And Jett didn't want some other guy's figurative sloppy seconds. He'd find another warrior girl to make his Countess.
And there was something else to consider: Yesterday, the med droid had told him if he dislocated his shoulder again, he'd need surgery to repair it properly. If he lost the use of his arm while his shoulder and wrist healed, he'd have a very tough time winning the title of Count of Clan Saxon. That was enough to decide it for Jett. "I yield," he said begrudgingly. "Sabine is yours."
Ezra immediately let him go and rose to his feet, then held out a hand for Jett to take and helped the other man up. Ezra grinned at the taller man. "That was a good fight. I enjoyed myself. Thanks." He held out a hand. "No hard feelings?"
Jett stared at the proffered hand in surprise before accepting it, grasping the wrist in the warrior way and feeling an incredibly strong hand for the boy's size grip him in return. "No hard feelings. You have earned my respect, Jedi Bridger. I thought you'd be useless without your lightsabre. I was wrong. Maybe I SHOULD have picked swords."
Ezra laughed. "I've had some incredibly good teachers. Sabine being one of them."
Jett groaned. "I should have known." He shook his head at himself. "I really am the di'kut here."
Ezra laughed again. "You said it." He swiped at some of the dirt sticking to his skin half-heartedly. "Why did we do this shirtless again?"
Jett shook his head, choking on his own laugh. The kid was actually starting to grow on him. No wonder everyone else seemed to like him. "I was trying to impress the girl," he admitted.
Ezra snorted. "Sabine has never been impressed by muscles. Appreciative, yes. Impressed, no." Ezra paused in his dirt swiping. "Speaking of..." He looked out at the crowd, turning around in a circle. "Is there anyone else who wants to challenge me before I go wash all of this off?" he called loud enough for everyone to hear. "I'm good for another round or two if someone else really wants to try and win the most beautiful girl in the galaxy. I honestly wouldn't blame you for trying."
The crowd laughed and most shook their heads before starting to disperse. As a whole, the Mando warriors' opinion of the Jedi had risen considerably after watching him fight like one of them and win against a worthy opponent. They would spread the word and the new Countess Wren would most likely never get any flack for her choice of husband. He felt like one of them now.
Kanan smiled as he sensed the general mood of those around him. Ezra had won more than a fight and Sabine's heart this day. He may just have won over an entire nation.
Sabine couldn't contain herself anymore. Ezra looked so kriffing hot right now, all sweaty and dirty and half NAKED. And he'd just called her beautiful and challenged an entire camp full of warriors for her. She NEEDED to touch him. Kiss him. Hold him. NOW.
A bundle of clothes, weapons, and a helmet was suddenly thrust into Kanan's arms and he chuckled to himself as Sabine ran over to Ezra and jumped on him, wrapping her limbs around him as he caught her, and then kissing him enthusiastically despite their audience. Kanan's brows rose as their signatures almost literally merged into just one being, their colours blending together in perfect harmony. He'd have to ask Ezra if he and Hera did the same, cause it sure felt like it.
"I hope you've been recording all this for Hera to see," Kanan said quietly to Chopper.
"Of course," Chopper beeped brightly from the vicinity of Kanan's knees. "I record practically everything you ridiculous organics do."
Kanan laugh groaned. "Much to my chagrin."
Sabine pulled back from Ezra's mouth when the need for air was making her feel lightheaded. Or maybe that was just how much love she was feeling right now. She smiled at him beatifically. "Ni kar'tayl gar darasuum, Ezra Bridger. You just keep surprising me and I gotta say, I think I like it."
Ezra returned her smile, brushing a strand of cream coloured hair off her forehead as his other arm tightened slightly around her back. "I have one more thing to surprise you with, Sabine." He paused for breath and a little courage and then said (hoping his pronunciation wasn't awful), "Mhi solus tome, mhi solus dar'tome, mhi me'dinui an, mhi ba'juri verde."
Sabine's eyes widened in surprise as he started speaking and then settled into heavy lidded desire by the time he was done. She repeated his vows as soon as he was done. "Mhi solus tome, mhi solus dar'tome, mhi me'dinui an, mhi ba'juri verde."
The crowd had been leaving, but word spread quickly that the Jedi was spouting proper wedding vows. They rushed back and cheered loudly when Sabine sealed the vows with another minutes long kiss. Someone started up a chant of, " Feast! Feast! Feast!" and soon the whole camp was ringing with the combined voices of many different clans.
Fenn nudged Alrich and nodded with his chin at the couple at the centre of the chanting circle. "See. I told you you'd get grandbabies soon," he teased.
Alrich turned his suspiciously shiny eyes to his new friend and smiled shakily. "My daughter has done well. I wish Ursa and Tristan were here to see this."
Fenn clasped the man's shoulder comfortingly, expression falling into serious. "Perhaps they are. Who knows what they get to see from the bounds of the Afterlife?"
Alrich's smile brightened considerably. "I like that thought. Thank you."
Jett shook his head to himself as he found his undershirt and borrowed tunic trampled into the dirt. He shook them out as he watched Sabine and Bridger out of his peripheral vision, not quite able to gaze upon them full on because it made him feel like an absolute idiot. Seeing them now, locked together like that, like they were never going to stop kissing the other short of a Star Destroyer crashing beside them, he could see that his quest to win Sabine had been futile from the start. They truly loved each other, and a bond like that just wasn't something one should mess with.
On the other hand, Jett had finally figured out what Sabine's weakness was; her Jedi. If anyone were ever to exploit that fact, they would have some serious leverage against her. He assumed it was safe to think the same could be said for the Jedi. To love that much, you opened yourself up to a great deal of possible pain. But it just might be worth it, he decided, seeing the newly married couple pause for breath and just stare at each other like they'd found their own personal slice of heaven.
Now all Jett needed to do was find his own piece of heaven. He hoped she was as badass as the new Countess Wren.
Bo-Katan raised the Darksabre in the air and the hundreds of warriors gradually hushed, even the newly married couple parting and looking at her respectively, only their joined hands keeping them together now. "Yesterday was a day of tragedy. Today is a day of triumph. Tomorrow will be a day of victory and all of the tomorrows after that as we stand together as a united Mandalore once again." Bo-Katan's voice rang loud and true across the camp and people cheered again until she raised the Darksabre again for silence. "Now, as you so rightfully suggested, we shall feast and celebrate so we can fight again tomorrow, knowing in our hearts that Mandalore will always reign triumphant against its foes!"
The cheers of the warriors were deafening as Sabine and Ezra snuck away towards the Gauntlet while everyone was distracted. Only one noticed their escape, his eyes unseeing behind his mask as he smiled in contentment at the very rightness of how everything felt right now, the Force swirling happily through him. Kanan followed the young couple at a respectful distance, placing the pile of clothes and weapons at the top of the Gauntlet's ramp before walking back down and closing the ramp with a wave of his hand. They deserved their privacy for a few stolen hours.
Kanan wandered out of the camp, seeking a quiet place to meditate. The others could celebrate in their way. Kanan would celebrate in his; with the Force, since Hera wasn't available.
Ni kar'tayl gar darasuum - I know you in my heart forever. (Or literally; I hold in my heart you forever.)
Mhi solus tome, mhi solus dar'tome, mhi me'dinui an, mhi ba'juri verde. - We are one when together, we are one when parted, we will share all, we will raise warriors.
Chapter 12: Explorations In A Refresher
Explorations In A Refresher:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Ezra's head felt like it was in the clouds, he was flying so high on happy endorphins. He wasn't really sure how he'd gotten so lucky, but in the course of only one cycle of Mandalore around its star, Sabine had changed their relationship from 'friends only' to 'holy poodoo, we're a COUPLE!' And now... Now they were bonded and MARRIED!
Ezra just couldn't believe it.
Yes, he'd done his research and looked up the Mandalorian vows out of sheer wishful thinking years ago, but not on purpose. He'd actually been looking for Mando'a endearments to impress the beautiful and oh so badass girl, even as Sabine was turning down his attempts at flirting over and over and ever so painfully over again. He'd never found just the right time to use those endearments because they were so much more than just your average 'sweetie' or 'babe'. But they and the wedding vows he'd stumbled upon always lingered in the back of his mind because Ezra had just KNOWN that she was the only girl for him. She'd just felt so right, so perfect. And Ezra had learnt from a very young age to listen to his instincts because they were always right. He now knew that what he'd been listening to was the Force and its helpful whispers.
And man, was he ever grateful that he had when it came to Sabine.
Roughly three and a half mostly patient years after meeting her, he was being led by a secretly smiling Sabine up the ramp of the Gauntlet, down a hallway, past half a dozen doors, and then into the only big cabin that he'd claimed as his own for obvious reasons. (It was his ship after all.) From there, she continued boldly on, right into the small private refresher.
Ezra was now on the verge of freaking out. He had no idea what she intended to happen but he was hard as a rock in his pants at the endless possibilities zipping through his mind. How far was she intending for them to go? Technically, they were married now, and that usually came with certain benefits. But they'd only been 'together' for ONE day. No matter how much he wanted to just grab her and bury himself in her with zero preliminaries, even his foggy, lust addled mind knew that full on consummation was seriously rushing things.
For now, Ezra would content himself with just getting to hold her a little more, and receiving a few of those amazing kisses wouldn't be frowned upon either.
But he soon discovered that Sabine had other ideas. Really, really, good ideas.
Sabine let go of her new husband's (Holy osik! She was married!) hand once they were in the refresher and the door had closed behind them. She turned and faced him and pointedly looked him up and down as she crossed her arms over her chest, her mouth watering at how sexy he looked all streaked with sweat and dirt. "Kay, Ez. Strip."
Ezra visibly gulped and stared at her with wide eyes. (Okay, more like one wide eye and one squinty eye cause his left one was barely open, but whatever.) "What?"
Sabine smirked. "You heard me, husband. Strip. You can't take a proper shower with the rest of your clothes still on."
Ezra gulped again as his hands reached for the fastener on his pants. "If you're sure?" He had no problem showing Sabine the rest of his body, but it seemed like a massive leap forward in the relationship curve to him.
Sabine rolled her eyes at him. "Would I have said it if I didn't mean it?" her tone bordering on exasperation.
Ezra shook his head quickly. "No. No. You're right. Stupid question. You only say what you mean. I know that." His hands were still hovering on the fastener.
"And you're not moving because...?" A single shapely purple brow rose to nearly her hairline in an impressive show of talent.
Ezra jumped back into motion like he'd been zapped by Chopper, whisking his pants down to his ankles in two seconds flat. He flushed red in embarrassment immediately after as he realized his boots were in the way. "Karabast," he muttered, bending over and undoing the boots so he could awkwardly toe them off with his pants hindering his movements. He turned even redder as Sabine giggled softly.
"Real smooth there, Ezra. It's a good thing you're not trying to impress me."
Ezra suppressed the urge to growl out loud. Of course he was trying to impress her. He was ALWAYS trying to impress her. Finally free of his boots and pants, he stood up straight once more, now clad in only his tight black undershorts.
Sabine eyed him appreciatively, liking the strong muscles in his thighs and calves, the big and narrow feet with cute toes, and most definitely the v of his hip bones that disappeared inside the low waistband of his shorts and pointed the way to a very nice bulge in his crotch area. "Me likey. Now let's see the rest. I want to know what I just attached myself to for the rest of our lives."
Ezra couldn't believe how calm she was being about all this. He was in a refresher with her. ALONE. And he was stripping naked. He was on the verge of hyperventilating. Only his meditation training was keeping him from flat out fainting from lack of air. But it wasn't doing a thing to keep him from being both incredibly turned on and scared out of his mind. Needing some reassurance that he wasn't alone in this crazy moment, he peaked at her feelings via their bond and instantly felt a wave of relief; Sabine was just as turned on and scared as he was, but she was doing a phenomenal job of hiding it behind her tough girl persona.
"Okay." Controlling the trembling in his fingers out of sheer willpower alone, Ezra pushed his undershorts down and kicked them off to the side with his boots and pants. Then he had to school himself into making some sort of attempt at looking confident and not huddle over himself in a pathetic instinct to hide, drawing strength from the fact that she was feeling the same things he was whether she showed it or not.
Sabine blinked as she got her first up close and personal look at an intelligent being's cock. (Pictures, holovids, and random animals didn't count.) It was both ugly and beautiful in a weird way, being kind of purple and veiny. It was a work of art only someone physically attached to it would love. Sabine realized she was going to be included in that category sometime in the very near future which made her snort in amusement. She was also quite thankful that she was a girl and didn't have to deal with having a dick flopping around between her legs all the time. How annoying that must be. And from a fighter's point of view, it was definitely a weak link in the evolution of humanoids. Keeping it in a sheath like an animal seemed like a much more practical idea.
"I know it's kind of got a mind of its own, but you don't need to laugh at it," Ezra said, all offended and on the verge of diving for his shorts and pulling them back on.
Sabine shook her head quickly, realizing her mistake at once and making a mental note to herself to never laugh in any fashion that might be misconstrued as making fun of Ezra's manhood. "No, Ez'ika. I wasn't laughing at you. I was just thinking your cock was a work of art, I swear."
Ezra relaxed a fraction, but kept up the suspicious glare anyway. "Then what were you laughing at?"
Sabine took the step that separated them and put her hand on his chest, looking up at him with sincere eyes. "Myself. Nothing for you to worry about." Her eyes were drawn down to the pad of muscle her hand was resting on and she smiled coyly. "Why don't you step into the shower? I want to see all of the wonderful masterpiece that is you glistening with water." Her finger traced a pattern over his chest as she spoke, prompting another audible gulp from Ezra. Her hand trailed up to his shoulder and then cupped the back of his head, pulling his mouth down to hers for a quick kiss.
The kiss turned into a very long one as he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her into his side, Ezra's other large hand cupped her jaw and cheek tenderly. Now this, he understood. Kissing was definitely in his comfort zone and helped him forget how unfair it was that he was butt naked while she was still fully dressed. The only thing missing from her body right now was her helmet.
Sabine moaned into Ezra's mouth, wondering how he had taken control of the kiss and noticing that she was now basically straddling one of his hard thighs. As she leaned even closer into him, her centre rubbed against his thigh, sending pleasant shocks through her and making her core clench in need. Oh, stars, that was good. Within moments she had herself plastered to him and was rocking against his thigh over and over as their tongues duelled in a corresponding fashion.
She didn't realize she'd become so mindless with passionate need until she felt her muscles clench in an approaching climax. By that point, she didn't want to stop. But she also wanted to include Ezra in the experience. Parting their lips for a moment, she grabbed his hand off her face and placed it between her legs where she wanted it. "Rub me, Ez," she panted.
Ezra started in surprise, then did as she asked, not really able to feel any details of what he was touching through her clothes, but it seemed like it was sufficient enough for her. He drank in her beautiful features; skin flushed with pleasure, fiery dark amber eyes fully dilated with arousal, lips slightly swollen and parted as she gasped and whined quietly with each rock of her hips against his hand, all topped by the cream and purple hair that was beginning to stick to her forehead from the heat they were generating between them.
He was panting too, his cock throbbing against her thigh and being stimulated with every movement she made. In less than half a minute of riding his fingers, Sabine's eyes closed and she stiffened and stilled, moaning softly. Ezra froze, captivated by how gorgeous she looked as she came and by the amazing amount of Force energy she was throwing off right now. Kriff, he was the luckiest guy in the galaxy.
As Sabine came back to her senses, she pulled back with a gasp, eyes wide in shock. She'd never been able to get herself off that fast before on her own. Not even close. "Holy poodoo, Ezra! That was kriffing amazing!"
Ezra drew her a step forward again and hugged her, smiling like a happy lothcat into her hair and ignoring his protesting dick for being shut down for the moment. "I wish I could take some credit for that, Sabine, but I think you did that all your own."
Sabine flushed in instinctive mortification before pushing it aside, knowing that was silly now. They were a team, best friends, and not that far away from literally being joined at the hip. She could be mature about this. Sort of. She took a deep breath and peeked up at his face, seeing only love and need in his eyes. "I guess I got kind of carried away in the moment and how kriffing hot you are. I swear it wasn't my intention to hump your leg like a horny mooka."
Ezra chuckled softly, running his fingers through her silky hair. "You can hump me anyway or anywhere you want to, cyar'ika. I promise I won't ever protest."
Sabine giggled, rubbing her forehead into the crook of his shoulder and inhaling his musk and dirt scent greedily. "I might just hold you to that, babe." Feeling better about her crazy behaviour and realizing that she'd come but he hadn't, Sabine kicked into action once again.
She gently pushed him backward until he was in the shower stall then stepped out of it, hitting the button to turn it on as she did so. Then she very slowly and sensuously (she hoped) started to remove her weapons and armour one piece at a time.
Ezra barely felt the warm water raining over his head as he stared in wide eyed fascination as Sabine started taking off her clothes. He didn't move a muscle, afraid that might make her change her mind. In fact, he was pretty sure he was barely breathing. The only things really moving were his pounding heart, which he could hear thundering in his ears and his twitching cock, which he had only the vaguest control over anymore.
Each new patch of skin revealed to him was like a gift from the stars.
Once the armour and weapons had joined his small pile of clothes on the floor, she toed off her boots, smirking at him slightly in teasing, clearly saying that SHE, at least, could get undressed in the right order.
If Ezra hadn't been so focused on what she'd take off next, he might have muttered something along the lines of, 'show off', but he wasn't capable of even thinking that coherently so he remained mute and motionless.
She went for her socks next, balancing easily on one foot as she pulled the sock off the other. Those were tossed into the pile while Ezra's eyes stared at her cute little feet that had teal painted toenails and looked so incredibly feminine. He'd seen her feet before, many times in fact. He'd even seen her painting her toe nails. But with the new situation, it was like he'd never seen a girl's foot before in his life. And man, were they ever sexy.
The leggings of her bodysuit came next, exposing her long, slender, pale, and shapely legs. Ezra licked his lips to hide the fact that he actually just drooled a little at the sight. Once again, he'd seen them before when she wore shorts to sleep in or when they'd gone swimming on the two whole holidays the Ghost family had taken, but you change the context, and BAM; sexiest legs ever. Her bottom half was now only covered by her tight, purple undershorts that looked very similar to his.
Sabine undid the top of her bodysuit next, peeling it off her arms and tossing it to the side with added flair. Ezra nearly had a heart attack, because she was officially now wearing less than he'd ever seen since her swimsuit had been a one-piece. Her arms were slender but corded with muscle, which he knew, and came from equally slender but strong shoulders.
It was her midriff that he was entirely focused on now.
The girl had a kriffin' six pack. It was faint, but it was there.
If Ezra hadn't been in love already, he would have dropped like a rock then and there. He just couldn't stay quiet anymore. "Force, Sabine. You're officially the hottest girl ever."
Sabine paused as she was about to pull her purple sports bra off, tilting her head to the side slightly and raising a brow. "Really? Cause you haven't even seen the best parts yet."
Ezra shrugged slightly and waved a hand in the general direction of her middle. "Muscles, pale golden skin, your figure, your eyes, your face, your Force signature, your badass tough girl act, your caring heart. Do you need more?"
Sabine laughed and pulled off her bra. "No, I guess not. But feel free to add my girls to the list or they'll feel left out."
Ezra stopped breathing again as her breasts were revealed. They were bigger than he'd thought now that they'd been released from their confining clothing. So round and perky and perfect with cute little nipples at their tips. He sucked in air and nodded with wide eyes as his hands clenched unconsciously, wanting so badly to touch them. "Your girls are perfect, cyar'ika. Absolutely perfect. Your hotness just flew off the charts into uncharted territory. No one has ever been as beautiful as you."
"Awwwww, babe. You're so sweet. I think you're really hot too, Ezra." As Sabine shimmied out of her undershorts, she couldn't help but think that if Ezra was this attractive now, he would definitely be off the charts too once he was done growing and filling out. Add the longer version of his midnight blue hair to the mix and she'd have a very hard time keeping other females away from him. The thought of other girls poaching on her territory made her want to tear their hair out in a very girly reaction and it hadn't even happened yet. She shook her head at her inner girly girl and focused on Ezra again and almost laughed before she stopped herself at the last microsecond.
Ezra was actually drooling a little as his mouth hung open in shocked wonder while his eyes were glued to the space in the center of her hip bones and the tops of her thighs. She glanced down, just double checking that her meticulously groomed pubic hair was still in order. It was. "You like my phoenix, Ez?"
Ezra nodded dumbly as the teal and royal blue phoenix flying downwards towards her otherwise bare pussy came closer until it stopped right in front of him. He barely even noticed that his knees had kind of collapsed so that he could look at it better. "This just might be my favourite work of art you've ever done, Sabine," he breathed reverently as he knelt in front of her and water rained down around his head and shoulders unnoticed.
Sabine closed the shower door, locking them in and then ran her hands fondly over his sleek, wet head while he stared at her in adoration. "Thanks, Ez. Feel free to look as much as you want, babe, while I wash your hair, since you're down there anyway."
Ezra did exactly that. But it wasn't long before his attention was divided as her fingers massaged his scalp, sending pleasant thrills through him. He wished he could will his hair to suddenly be longer, remembering what it felt like to have her run her fingers through it when she gave him haircuts and imagining how that would feel so much better in a sexual situation.
Distractions aside, he was convinced that Sabine had the prettiest flower of a pussy possible. Granted, his only experience with them was via the holonet, but he doubted any other female had a better one. It was flushed and soft looking and he could see her clit and the hint of an opening which didn't look anywhere near big enough to even get a finger in, not to mention his dick. She hadn't given him permission to touch it yet, but he couldn't help but at least put his hands on the outside of her thighs, hands stroking slightly and savouring the softness of her skin.
"Stand up, babe, and wash this out properly before it gets in your eyes."
Ezra stifled the urge to sigh at losing his glimpses of paradise and did as she suggested; standing and putting his head under the strongest of the spray and rubbing the shampoo out with his hands vigorously.
While he was doing that, Sabine poured soap into her hands and started rubbing her hands all over his shoulders, arms, and chest, glorying in the smooth skin and hard muscles under her hands. By now, the water had already rinsed off most of the dirt from his fight with Captain Annoying, but she diligently washed every millimetre of his skin anyway all the way down to his bellybutton.
Ezra was in heaven as his own personal angel attended to him. He turned around when she asked and closed his eyes as she washed his back. He startled slightly when she kept going downwards and washed his butt cheeks, her hands pausing there as she pressed a kiss to the center of his back before whispering huskily, "You have a very fine ass, babe. Very fine indeed."
Ezra turned his head over his shoulder and shook it slightly. "Sorry, Sabine, but when it comes to asses, yours wins, hands down." He leered at her round, perfect heart shaped tushy playfully, wiggling his eyebrows at her.
Sabine snorted and smacked his butt, rolling her eyes at him. She pushed his face back to the front gently. "Let me finish your bath, di'kut. Then you can leer all you want as you give me one."
Ezra sucked in a breath in anticipation of getting to touch her all over. "Yes, ma'am."
Sabine smacked his butt again. "Cheeky nerfherder."
Ezra grinned as she started washing the back of his legs. "Yep."
Sabine had moved back around to the front of him and had washed his feet and almost finished the front of his second shin before it dawned on her that he didn't have any body hair. She stopped and looked up at him, past the jutting appendage that was determined to make itself known. "Ezra, I hate to ask this, but do you shave all your body hair off?" She knew some girls went that far, but even she didn't bother with shaving the fine hairs off her arms. Keeping up with her legs, armpits, and pubic hair was hassle enough.
Ezra laughed and shook his head at her. "No. I don't have to. I don't grow any."
Sabine stared at him, shocked. "What?!"
"It's true, as you'll find out if we're living together now. I get it from my mom who was only three quarters human, but I don't know what the other quarter was. She had purple eyes and opalescent lavender hair too, from whatever she was. I remember her not having any body hair and her saying to Dad that it saved her hours of the self torture most females put themselves through." He paused and studied Sabine closely, seeing how most of her was bare of hair as well. "Was she right? Is it hours of self torture?"
Sabine laughed without humour as she started washing him again. "Yes. It is, to be perfectly honest, if you add up the minutes over the course of a year. But that's just what we girls do to feel pretty. No girl wants to be compared to a wookiee."
Ezra was appalled. He reached down and put a finger under her chin, making her look up at him again. "I promise, Sabine, if you want to let your body hair just do whatever it wants, I'll still think you're the most beautiful thing ever. You could never look like a wookiee to me."
Sabine smiled softly and kissed his hand before shaking her head once "That's very sweet of you, Ezra, but I do it for myself and no one else. Trust me, if I felt like looking hairy, I would."
"Alright," Ezra said, unconvinced, but let it slide for now.
Sabine paused with her hands on his thigh as another thought occurred to her. "Wait. What about facial hair? You don't grow that either? Is that why I don't remember ever seeing you with stubble on your chin?"
Ezra chuckled again. "No, that I grow. Not like my dad or Kanan, but I can probably grow a goatee or thin beard if you want me to. You don't see me with stubble because it's so sparse and stupid looking that I shave it off constantly."
"Oh. Well. No, I wasn't thinking I wanted you to grow in your facial hair," Sabine said, hands massaging the muscle of his thigh again. "I like the way you look right now. I was just curious."
Ezra was glad to hear it. He doubted he could grow anything decent looking anyway. His focus returned to what Sabine was doing. Despite the random sidetrack of a conversation, he was fully aware of how amazing it felt to have her hands on him and even if he had been dying he wouldn't have missed the fact that she was nearly finished washing everything.
Everything but one last item, that is. It was the part of him that he wanted her hands on the most, of course. She paused and looked up at him as she finished the space between his hip bones, both of them wondering if she was going to continue. Ezra could practically feel his eyes pleading at her, but he refused to say the words. This was her decision. He'd never force her to do anything.
Sabine hesitated before thinking, 'kriff it', and pouring more soap in her hands and then grabbing his length gently in both hands. Ezra gasped and stiffened. "Too much?" she asked worriedly.
He shook his head quickly. "No," he said in a high pitched squeak. "Perfect. Promise. It's just no one's ever touched me but me."
Sabine smiled to herself. "Good. That's what I like to hear. And ditto for myself, so you know."
Ezra found his hands coming to a rest on her head, fingers delving into her wet hair. "That's good," he gasped out as she rubbed him softly. He was pretty sure he was about ten seconds away from exploding now.
Sabine was surprised when his length hardened even further in her hands and seemed to grow an extra centimetre even as she watched. He'd already been longer than both her hands could cover and her fingers didn't meet around his width. He was incredible. She honestly wasn't sure if he was going to fit inside her, but was determined to try, when the time was right.
She moved one of her soapy hands down to his tight balls and washed them very carefully, knowing they were supposed to be very sensitive. Her left hand kept up a steady stroking rhythm on his cock as her right continued to explore underneath, reaching further and further back daringly.
Ezra gasped and threw his hands out to catch the wall as his legs threatened to collapse from the overwhelming sensory overload she was delivering. "Sabine, I can't hold it anymore," he warned between panting breaths.
She looked up at him with heavy lidded eyes and a small smile on her lips. "Then don't. Come on me, Ez'ika. Then you can wash it off."
That was enough to make him lose it completely. He stiffened and groaned as what seemed like a never-ending stream of seed shot out of him, hitting her on the neck, collarbone, and dripping down to her breasts. "Foooorrrrrccceee," he moaned through it, the mere sight of what he was coming on drawing it out even further.
Sabine was so turned on right now, surprised that watching Ezra climax might just be the hottest thing she'd ever seen. When he finally stopped, leaning against the wall on his hands, legs trembling, and head hanging down as he sucked in air, she boldly leaned forward and kissed the tip of him, licking up the last drops of his creamy looking seed. She let it sit on her tongue for a moment, assessing the salty flavour, and decided it wasn't too bad. She might even grow to like it after awhile.
Ezra's eyes popped open when he felt her lips on him and watched in awe as she tasted him and then swallowed. His temporarily deflating dick twitched back to life at the sight. "Karabast, Sabine. I need to taste you too," he said before he even thought about it.
Sabine rose slowly to her feet in the circle of his arms, eyes shining and lips parted as she panted slightly at the thought. "You have to bathe me first," she whispered against his lips before kissing him slowly and deeply. "It's only fair." She pulled back and smiled at his dazed look. Her hand rested on his chest as she rubbed her breasts against him while her other hand snuck down between her legs and she scooped up some of her juices onto a finger. "But," she added as she raised the finger to his lips and waited for him to open. "You've been so good, here's a little sample."
Ezra sucked her finger into his mouth eagerly, tongue swirling around it as his eyes closed and he tasted her sweet juice mixed with the unpleasant shock of leftover soap. He ignored the flavour of soap and concentrated on the sweetness. His eyes opened slowly, meeting her curious ones. "Ambrosia. That's what you taste like."
Sabine smiled in pleased satisfaction. She swiped up some of his cum off her chest that hadn't been washed off yet and placed it in her mouth, holding it on her tongue, and then reached between her legs again. Her finger once again went in his mouth. Then she quickly pressed their mouths together and snuck her tongue into his mouth, mixing the flavours, finding that very thrilling indeed.
Ezra thought so as well as he groaned deep in his chest and wrapped his arms around her, lifting her up and pressing her against a slick wall. His hard length ended up between her legs when she wrapped them around his hips and she rubbed herself along it instinctively, both of them grinding their hips against the other in a sensual frenzy as they kissed and kissed and kissed some more.
Two minutes of this was enough to send them both over the precipice again, Sabine throwing her head back as she tensed in Ezra's arms, and Ezra burrowing his face into her shoulder and groaning like he was dying as he shot against the wall behind her and her hot juices practically gushed over his length.
Sabine went nearly boneless in Ezra's arms as she came down from her second orgasm in the space of half an hour. She rested her head on his shoulder, eyes closed and lips kissing his skin faintly. "Gar gotal'ur ner kar'ta darasuum briikase, Riduur," she murmured.
Ezra only understood a couple of the words but he wanted to know them all. He stepped back from the wall and put her on her feet again, cupping her face in his hands. "Teach me what you just said. I want to know your language."
Sabine studied his eyes for a moment, seeing only sincerity. She smiled as she brushed a gentle finger over the dark bruise under his eye. "Remind me to put some bacta on that soon before it swells even more."
Ezra grabbed her hand and kissed the fingers. "Yah, yah. But what did you say?"
Sabine grinned as she handed him the soap bottle in a clear command to get to work. She didn't say anything until his hands were full of soap and running over her arm and shoulder gently. "You really want to learn Mando'a?"
Ezra nodded. "It's your language. All of your people speak it unless talking directly to someone like me who doesn't understand. I want to know what they're saying. I have a feeling we'll be dealing with a lot of Mandalorian politics from now on with you as the Countess. I don't want to make you look bad."
Sabine stretched up and kissed him sweetly for that. "I knew you were smarter than most give your credit for, Ezra."
Ezra smirked as he spent a ridiculous amount of time washing her hand, fingers playing with hers. "Just your typical streetrat, cyar'ika. You gotta be smart to survive."
Sabine shook her head at him, but started the lesson anyway. "I said, 'Gar gotal'ur ner kar'ta darasuum briikase, Riduur'. It means, 'You make my heart forever happy, Husband."
Ezra paused as he moved his hands across her collarbone to start washing her other arm. "Oh, I like that. You make me forever happy, too, my beautiful and talented wife." He paused and grinned. "Man, that's nice to say." His fingers caressed her arm as his brow furrowed in concentration for a moment. "Gar gotal'ur... You make... Then what?"
Sabine smiled at him like he'd just solved all the mysteries of the universe. "Ner kar'ta... My heart." She took one of his hands and pressed it to her heart between her breasts and said it again very quietly and very seriously. "You are my heart, Ezra."
Ezra took her other hand and pressed it to his thumping heart as he gazed into her beautiful eyes. "Gar ner kar'ta darasuum, Sabine."
Sabine's heart felt like it literally melted into a puddle. She just had to kiss him again.
Needless to say, it took a long time to get her bathed properly. After which they curled up on the bed wrapped in each other's arms and fell asleep, exhausted from the incredibly long couple of days they'd had with almost no sleep.
For the first time in years, Sabine didn't wake up sweating and crying from the nightmares that usually plagued her. It only made her love Ezra more.
Chapter 13: I'm Not Interrupting THAT
I'm Not Interrupting THAT:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
The feast / celebration was in full swing and growing by the minute. Two ships had left to get fresh food from Sundari, since no one wanted to feast on rations and protein bars. Within an hour those two ships were back and were accompanied by dozens more as word spread like wildfire that THE place to party was the new Mand'alor's camp.
Bo-Katan had never been more proud of her people as she was now. This was the biggest peaceful gathering of clans in the memory of even the oldest amongst them. All around her, warriors mingled with the more 'enlightened' citizens of what was left of the New Mandalorians her older sister had worked so hard to promote. Their spirits were high as they ate their fill and drank a ridiculous amount of liquor.
She took a sip of her own spiced mead, glancing at her dinner companion who had somehow become her shadow over the course of the last day.
Fenn Rau caught her glance and winked, raising his cup to her in a salute. "I never thought I'd see this day," he said in exuberant disbelief. "You have performed what most would call a miracle."
Bo-Katan blushed slightly at the praise, glancing down her mostly empty plate. "I can't take all the credit. If it weren't for that Wren girl and her determination to stir up chaos over the last few months, I doubt the rest of us would have been inspired to act as we have."
Fenn tilted his head in acknowledgement. "As one who has taken part in most of her 'chaos', I have to admit you have a point. But I can guarentee it was you and not her who these people are here to celebrate with. You are the leader everyone wanted. We've just been waiting for you to realize it. I'm almost positive that everyone here would call you their Mand'alor even if you didn't have the Darksabre. It is only a symbol. YOU are the reality." His glacier blue eyes met her brilliant green ones, pouring all of his sincerity and admiration into his gaze.
Bo-Katan gazed back at him for a minute, not saying a word as she came to a decision. She stood abruptly from the hastily set up table in a clear space of the camp that was now packed with dozens of tables and hundreds of people. "Come with me," she said as she grabbed her helmet off the bench beside where she'd been sitting.
"Alright," Fenn said, quickly copying her movements and following her confidently striding form towards the small village of tents. He had no idea what they were doing, but he would happily follow that shapely frame anywhere and eagerly drink in the sight of her rounded hips swaying as she walked, without any complaints.
She strode into her personal tent. It was just large enough to stand up in and fit a small cot in comfortably with space beside to dress in. (Even as the Countess of her clan, she'd never felt the need to be ostentatious.)
Fenn followed her in, raising a brow in confusion. "Did you want to show me something?"
Bo-Katan smiled a secretive little smile as she sealed the heavy fabric door shut. "In a fashion," she said as she tossed her helmet onto the cot and then closed the distance between them until her armoured chest was only millimetres from his. She took his helmet from his unresisting hands and tossed it on the cot as well and then looked up at him as her hands came to rest on the hard armour over his chest.
By now, Fenn was getting a pretty good idea where this was going but he wasn't getting his hopes up too much, just in case.
Bo-Katan's eyes roamed over the rugged lines of his handsome features before settling on his eyes once again. She smiled slightly to see the anticipation in his gaze. Excellent; she hadn't misread his interest. (That would have been awkward.) "We're both way beyond the age of silly courting games," she finally said. "So I'm just going to kiss you and see if this attraction is worth pursuing."
Fenn returned her slight smile as he placed his hands on her narrow waist and pulled her closer so that her chest armour fit snugly under his and tilted his head down towards hers. "I'd be very surprised if this doesn't work," he murmured. "You're the sexiest female I've ever seen."
Bo-Katan hmmmed in pleased agreement before she rose slightly on her toes and closed the last remaining distance between their mouths. His lips were soft and fitted perfectly with hers. They kissed gently for a moment before drawing back and looking at each other, seeking permission to continue. Then their mouths meshed together once again and tongues quickly came into play.
Fenn growled out, "Bo" in a throaty moan and wrapped his arms around her, never having felt such an instant need to dominate and worship another female before.
Bo-Katan nipped at his lower lip as she jumped onto him, wrapping her legs around his waist as need coursed through her. "Fenn," she growled back, green eyes heavy lidded as she buried her fingers in his short red hair only a shade different in colour from her own. She smashed her lips against his again, moaning at his taste of mead and male.
Eventually they parted again, gasping in air and gazing at each other in lust and somewhat stunned shock at the combustible chemistry sizzling between them. Bo-Katan tightened her fingers in his hair and smiled a tooka smile. "We're going to have a pack of red headed kids and they're going to take over the galaxy."
Fenn threw his head back and laughed for a few moments before he leaned forward again and nuzzled his nose into the delicate spot below her ear, breathing in her female and flowery soap scent. "I can't wait to meet these hellraising children of ours."
Bo-Katan giggled as he tickled her with his nose and she started tugging at his armour. "Then we'd better get started, cause we're going to be awful busy for the next year or so while sorting out the mess Mandalore's in and it looks like you're going to be on a different planet than me more often than not."
Fenn pulled back a little again, eyes turning serious. "We'll figure it out."
Bo-Katan tossed a blue shoulder guard to the tarp floor before attacking the other one. "Yes, we will."
Kanan floated through the Force, letting it take him wherever it wanted for a few hours. As usual, he received glimpses of the past and flashes of possible futures. The tiny pieces of scenes or voices that he had yet to experience or hear were never enough to get a firm grasp on what any of them meant, but sometimes he could puzzle together enough of them to have an idea of what was coming.
Today, he was seeing enough things related to Lothal to let him know that going back there was definitely an idea approved by the Force and it helped to settle his mind over Sabine's plan.
His meditation was interrupted by the familiar sound of Chopper's wheels rolling in his direction. Kanan sighed softly and rose from his kneeling position, wincing as his knees protested the movement after being in the same spot on the hard dirt for hours. (There was definitely something to be said for meditating on his cushion.)
He walked off the stiffness in only a few steps as he moved to intercept Chopper. "What is it, Chop?" he asked as soon he was near the droid.
Chopper stopped rolling and waited for Kanan. "Hera's on the comm again. She says High Command wants to talk to Bo-Katan and Sabine."
"Thanks for telling him, Chopper," Hera's voice said dryly from Chopper's speakers.
"You're welcome," Chopper beeped back, pleased with himself as he deliberately ignored her sarcasm.
Kanan smirked, just knowing Hera was rolling her eyes right now. He continued walking back in the direction of camp about a kilometre away. "I'll find them, but I doubt you'll get Sabine anytime soon. She and Ezra just got married and are probably still in their own little world on the Gauntlet."
Kanan chuckled at her screech. "Yep. Not kidding. Some guy challenged Ezra for the right to court Sabine. Ezra trounced him after playing with him for twenty minutes so the poor Mando didn't feel too bad about himself, and then our opportunistic boy promptly said the Mandalorian wedding vows to Sabine so no one else could try and claim her."
"Well, poodoo," Hera said, startled into swearing. "I owe Zeb twenty credits."
"How'd that happen?" Kanan said, surprised. Hera almost never lost a bet, her intuition being incredibly accurate for a non Force sensitive.
"I bet they'd get married within a month when I told Zeb they were together this morning. After looking like he was about to drop dead from shock, Zeb promptly laughed like mad and said they'd be married by the end of the week. I think he was joking, but I took the bet, thinking I'd win for sure. Kriff," she muttered to herself at the end, but Kanan heard anyway.
He chuckled at her uncharacteristic slide into Vulgar Land. "Sorry to ruin your morning, darling. The good news is that I should be back in your company within the next two days, assuming we leave this planet sometime in the near future. We were supposed to leave for Krownest hours ago, but things... happened. I have a feeling the kids aren't going to be inclined towards thinking about real life again until tomorrow."
Hera smirked to herself on a jungle moon far far away. "Especially not if Ezra's anything like you, dear."
Kanan felt his face heat as Chopper beeped out a disgusted sound. "I haven't heard you complaining about my keeping you 'occupied' for hours at a time," he said in self defence.
Now Hera was smiling like a satisfied tooka. "Oh, I wasn't complaining. That was meant to be a compliment."
Kanan's lips curled up in a smile full of well deserved pride. "Thank you, darling."
Chopper made a gagging sound, ruining the moment. "If I have to listen to this all over again, I'm quitting and you two can find a new droid. You only get one sex call per day and that's final."
"It's okay, Chopper. We're done," Kanan reassured as he neared the camp, his long legs having covered the distance quickly. "You can have a fit at me another time."
"I'm holding you to that," Chopper beeped firmly, prompting a laugh from Hera and a scowl from Kanan.
"Getting back to bringing you home..." Hera said excitedly. "I've got a ride coming for you. I remembered Ketsu was passing near the Mandalore system on Rebellion business while I was trying to fall back asleep earlier. I commed her and she agreed to pick you up from Mandalore. She should be landing in the next hour or so."
"That is great news. But how did you know I wouldn't already be in transit to Krownest?"
Hera smirked to herself. "I just did. I know my family and I had a feeling something would happen to delay your departure. I wasn't expecting it to be the kids getting married, but... yah. Even if you had left, Ketsu said she didn't mind chasing you down on Krownest. She wanted to spend some time with Sabine anyway. They haven't seen each other for months."
"That's true," Kanan said as he nodded a hello to the warrior sort of guarding the entrance to the camp. "On a similar note, I feel like it's been months since I've seen you. Force, I miss you."
"What did I just say about your sappy blathering?!" Chopper beeped angrily.
"Hera, your droid needs his attitude adjusted again," Kanan said in exasperation. "I swear he gets worse every year."
"I get better, you meathead."
"Chopper! Enough! Kanan's right." Hera scolded.
Kanan smirked at the droid rolling beside him. Chopper zapped his leg. Kanan kicked him, sending Chopper flying sideways a few meters, making a few passersby laugh. Chopper reoriented himself and charged towards Kanan on one wheel, electric probe extended.
"What was that?" Hera asked suspiciously, only hearing the noises.
Chopper resumed rolling in a normal fashion.
"Nothing," Kanan and Chopper said together, neither wanting to get in further trouble.
"That's what I thought," Hera said knowingly.
Kanan snarled at the droid silently but continued on into the camp, dodging the ridiculous number of Force signatures now present. He focused on the Gauntlet as he walked past it and smiled to himself to see Ezra's and Sabine's signatures wrapped around each other once again but also quite dormant as they slept. His chest filled with joy for them, so proud of his 'children' for having the guts to move their relationship into new territory even if they did go a little nuts about it. "As I expected, the kids aren't coming out of the Gauntlet anytime soon. They're sound asleep right now, cuddled together like puppies," Kanan told Hera.
"Awwww. Now that's just adorable," Hera said. "Although how I'm supposed to explain that to High Command is going to be something else entirely."
Kanan chuckled again at her disgusted tone as he started half-heartedly searching for Bo-Katan's unique signature. "What? The Rebellion doesn't stop for weddings?"
"You know perfectly well it doesn't, Kanan. We were fighting for our lives on Garel only the day after ours."
Kanan shook his head at the remembered mess their honeymoon had turned into as they'd gotten separated while he and Ezra led the Inquisitors away from Phoenix Squadron once again. "And I'm still sorry for that, Hera. At least we haven't seen any more Inquisitor's since Malachor. That whole fiasco did have one good final result."
Hera sighed mournfully. "I'd rather not think about it. Just find Bo-Katan so I can get on with my day, all right?"
"All right, Hera," he said in a resigned tone, not really wanting to end their conversation but knowing it couldn't last forever. "Just give me a minute. There's hundreds of people here now, all having a very good time, from the sounds of it."
Kanan walked the edges of the eating area, searching for Bo-Katan or even Fenn Rau, since he had a feeling the other man would be near her. He soon came to the conclusion that they weren't in the crowd. That left one of the ships or one the tents. Frowning to himself, he walked closer to the tents and focused on them. It only took a few moments to find the signatures he was looking for. Kanan started laughing.
"What now?" Hera said in a somewhat exasperated tone.
With some effort, Kanan controlled his mirth enough to talk. "You're going to have to tell High Command that Sabine AND Bo-Katan will call them back later or tomorrow or something. The new Mand'alor is currently merging her signature with Fenn's and I don't feel like the situation is anywhere near important enough to interrupt them."
Hera's eyebrows rose to near the top of her forehead and she blinked as she interpreted Kanan's words. "You mean..."
"Yes. That's what I mean," Kanan said, still chuckling as he turned back around and aimed for the buffet tables. The fresh food smelled really good and his now rumbling stomach was reminding him that he hadn't eaten since dinner yesterday and it was now somewhere between lunch and dinnertime today.
"All righty then," Hera said in quiet disbelief. "I guess I'll go break the news to Mothma and the others. But I don't know if they're going to believe me."
"I'm sure you'll be properly convincing, darling," Kanan said confidently as he located a stack of disposable plates by watching what others were doing. Then it was just a matter of carefully following the desires of his nose and moving his hands cautiously around the food platters.
"Thanks, love," Hera said, heavy on the sarcasm. "Call me again in about ten hours if you haven't made it here by then and we'll talk some more. I'll be off duty then."
"All right, Hera," Kanan said softly. "Love you."
"Love you too," she replied.
"Finally," Chopper beeped. "You two are the worst to listen to."
Kanan frowned at the droid. "Why don't you go find someplace to charge for awhile and leave us 'organics' to enjoy the rest of the day in peace?"
"Gladly," Chopper beeped before rolling off.
Kanan muttered something under his breath along the lines of 'stupid, kriffing droid' as he finished filling his plate and located a pile of utensils and a bottle of water. He then turned and wound his way through the crowd in the direction of where he'd sensed Sabine's father to be sitting with three other slightly familiar signatures that belonged to his fellow clan members. He figured he might as well get to know Sabine's other father better, since they'd probably be spending a lot of time together in the future.
They were going to be sharing the grandchildren after all.
Ketsu Onyo landed her ship, the Shadow Caster, a Lancer class pursuit craft, as close as she could get to the big camp that was out in the desert not too terribly far from Sundari but not in seeing distance either. The camp was surrounded by a wall of ships, almost all of which were manufactured by MandalMotors just like hers.
She disembarked her ship and wound her way through the haphazard parking lot until she came to the entrance of the walled camp. Even from here, she could easily hear the hundreds of voices talking, singing, and shouting as people fought to be heard above the others. The guard at the gate leaned against the wall, looking as disgusted to be there as a person could while wearing a helmet. She bet the man wished he was partying with the others. Hopefully they rotated him off duty soon, because he looked like he couldn't care less anymore who walked into the camp as he waved her past without even asking her name. Now that was just sloppy. He should be recording every person who entered, just in case something happened.
Oh well. Not her problem.
Staying near the wall, not particularly wanting to interact with these people who would scorn and curse her if they knew who she was, she made for the distinctive red and black coloured Kom'rk, hoping Sabine was in there.
Upon arriving at the ship, Ketsu frowned at the closed ramp and crossed her arms in dismay. She stared at the ship for another few seconds, hoping that Sabine would magically emerge from it, but no such luck. Kriff. Now she was going to have to go searching through the crowd to find Sabine.
As she turned to head towards the center of the camp, Ketsu cursed herself for not wearing her helmet. Someone was bound to recognize her if they looked long enough. There weren't that many dark skinned and purple eyed Mandalorians running around out there. And all of those that were, were all descended from the Count of Clan Onyo who had the same colouring. The Count who just happened to be her father.
Ketsu still cringed when she thought of the day he'd disowned her for going AWOL from the Imperial Academy with Sabine. He'd beat her bloody and to the point where she could barely walk, and told her if he ever saw her again, he'd kill her. Ketsu believed him.
She really really hoped he wasn't here.
Just as she passed a tent and the eating area came into view, Ketsu's hopes were dashed to smithereens. Not only was her father here, he was sitting at one of the outer edge tables and was facing her way.
With only half a second to think, Ketsu improvised on the spot. Turning and running was out of the question because that would draw his eyes to the movement. That left her with doing something that most people will look away from out of courtesy.
Ketsu grabbed the arm of a passing male warrior and turned him so he was between her and Kean Onyo. She barely took the time to notice her scapegoat had startled looking but striking grey eyes and pleasing features before she grabbed the back of his head and pulled it down to hers as she plastered her mouth to his.
While she was kissing the poor guy breathless, she was also pulling him with her as she backed up until the tent was once again blocking her from the view of her father's table. Feeling safe again, Ketsu moved to pull away from her unwitting accomplice, but he had other ideas.
The man wrapped his arms around her and tugged her closer, taking over the kiss and stealing her breath in return. Ketsu's eyes fluttered closed as she hummed in pleased surprise, thinking this was turning out quite well, all things considered.
She wrapped her arms around the man's neck and pressed even closer to his hard frame, drawing out the suddenly mutual kiss even longer.
Eventually, they both pulled back a fraction and sucked in much needed air while looking at the other in wonder. "Hi," she breathed out softly, not letting go of him just yet. "My name's..."
"Ketsu Onyo," he finished for her.
Ketsu blinked in surprise, backing up and hugging her arms protectively, feeling wary now and ready to run if she had to. "You know me?"
He nodded, smiling enough to show nice white teeth. "I do. I was a couple of years ahead of you at the Academy, so we never met, but everyone heard about the girl who took off with Sabine Wren after the two of you blew up a rather large portion of the science and engineering labs. You're almost as famous as she is."
"You might be interested to know that she's an artist as well," Sabine's voice said dryly from behind them, making them both spin and look at her smirking figure in surprise. "That is, if you're still looking for someone to paint your armour, Captain Hark."
Chapter 14: Just Two Badass Girls
Just Two Badass Girls:
D3/1 BBY, Mandalore
Sabine woke up most pleasantly if somewhat awkwardly stretched across Ezra’s back, who in turn was splayed across the entire bed.
Her cheek rested on the pad of his shoulder muscle and her decidedly bare breasts were pressed against his equally bare skin. Her arms more or less followed the length of his thicker ones, but didn’t stretch anywhere near as far. One hip and leg touched the bed. The other leg was thrown over one of Ezra’s legs and nearly twined with it.
Sabine rubbed her cheek against his shoulder, inhaling his heady scent of soap, fresh air, and grass. She smiled slowly as she decided she liked using Ezra as a pillow. It seemed fitting somehow, given that he was hoarding all the of actual bed space. She had no idea how they’d ended up this way, though, because she distinctly remembered falling asleep wrapped in his arms with her head pillowed on his chest.
That memory triggered memories of everything that had come before the sleeping, bringing a flush of heat to her cheeks and a twinge of arousal to her core.
After she had personally cleaned every millimetre of her new husband’s skin and they had an even more intense dry humping session than the first, he had taken his sweet time bathing her in return. His large hands running over her body and massaging her muscles had been decidedly more erotic than she’d ever dreamed it being. He appeared to worship all of her parts equally, being just as fascinated with her toes as he had been with her breasts, just as an example.
Ezra had praised her from top to bottom with words such as, ‘prettiest hair in the galaxy’, ‘such a slender neck’, ‘love your abs’, and ‘these are the cutest knees ever’. Sabine had never felt so special and beautiful in her entire life.
Just like her, he’d left the most private area for last.
Looking up at her from where he knelt by her feet, he’d silently asked for approval with his eyes before daring to wash her pussy very gently, carefully, and quite thoroughly. And also just like her, he’d dared to travel further back and wash and caress between her butt cheeks. Not even a minute into his ministrations, Sabine had her hands on his shoulders to hold herself up as her eyes near rolled back in her head from the pleasure of having his fingers caress and explore her folds.
And when he figured out that she especially loved having her clit played with... Well, let’s just say she’d had her third orgasm of the day. Sabine knew for a fact she left impressions of her nails in his shoulders from that one.
Not that he minded or even seemed to notice. Instead, he’d watched her come apart intently, patiently, and damn near worshipfully, if what she’d seen on his face was any indication when she’d managed to open her eyes again and look down at him gratefully.
And then he’d said, “Now can I taste you?”
The very millisecond she’d nodded, he’d beamed up at her, rose to his feet faster than light and kissed her breathless. Then she found herself scooped up in his arms and carried out of the refresher. He hadn’t even taken the time to turn off the shower manually, which had turned pretty cold by then. (But neither had noticed or cared.) Instead, he’d waved a hand at it to shut it off while he was already moving away from it.
Sabine hadn’t realized he had a much broader idea of what needed tasting than she anticipated until he’d laid her reverently on the center of the bed and knelt beside her as he gazed at her with adoring eyes. “I’ve been waiting for this to happen for years,” he’d whispered. And then he proceeded to kiss and lick her from her forehead to her toes. And if she tried to move to alleviate the nearly overwhelming sensations, he stopped her with the Force, electric blue eyes pinning her to the bed even more then his powers. “Please, just let me have this,” he’d begged the first time. The second time she moved, he didn’t even bother to speak, just used those eyes on her again.
So she did, perhaps moving once or twice on purpose just to see if he’d hold her still with the Force again, which he always did. He’d loved her front side and then worked back up again with her now on her stomach, before turning her over once again and finally delving into her weeping pussy and bringing her to ecstasy yet again. By this point, Sabine had felt like one large, screaming nerve ending from top to bottom, astonished at how turned on she was to be completely at his mercy.
Except for emergency situations on missions where he’d caught her or pushed her out of the way of something bad, this was the first time he’d ever used the Force on her deliberately. This was also the first time she’d seen a more domineering side to his personality. Sabine decided that she liked it very very much, and would be quite all right with them taking turns as the dominant partner in bed.
That last orgasm was easily the strongest one she’d ever had and she ended up completely boneless and feeling a like a puddle of goo when it was over. This was when she mumbled many words of love, vowed to herself to do the same to him when she had the energy for it, and ended up wrapped in his strong arms as she fell asleep on his chest.
Now, after looking at the chronometer, it was three hours later and she was starving and desperately needed to use the refresher. But she also didn’t want to move from her surprisingly comfortable position.
Her bodily needs soon convinced her otherwise. So she kissed Ezra’s shoulder and rolled away from him, out from under the sheet, and off the edge of the bed in one hurried move.
Ezra stirred, head turning in her direction, but not opening his eyes. His hand moved half heartedly around the bed looking for her, and he mumbled, “S’ine?” Her heart melted even further, if that was even possible. Kriff, he was cute in every way you could think of.
Telling her bladder to shut up for twenty more seconds, she petted the back of his head and kissed his cheek, then said softly, “Shhhh. I’ll be back shortly. Go back to sleep.”
Ezra smiled slightly, made a rough sound of acknowledgment, and went limp again, falling back into dreamland.
Sabine smiled at him like he’d done something particularly clever and she was a proud mother for a moment before turning once again for the refresher.
Five minutes later, she emerged wearing her bodysuit leggings and top, but nothing else, not intending to be out long enough to bother putting on things like armour plating and underwear. As she left the room, she looked at Ezra again, noting he hadn’t moved at all. The copper coloured skin of his shoulders and arms made a wonderful contrast against the navy blue sheets on the bed, and his hair a few shades darker against the matching pillowcase. Sabine paused and smiled to herself, making a note to paint him like that, but maybe without the sheet covering him quite so high; it would be a shame to hide the V line of his back from shoulders to waist.
Happy with her newest inspiration, Sabine continued out of the cabin and down the hallway, on a mission to find some food that hopefully didn’t come in packaging meant to last years.
She found her helmet and Ezra’s things in a neat pile on the decking beneath the button to open the ramp and the ramp itself quite closed. Sabine laughed softly, knowing Kanan had somehow managed to do what most would consider the impossible again. Even now, more than a year later, she was amazed by how well he’d learned to function without his sight.
She’d never wish the tragedy on Kanan, but Sabine couldn’t help but notice he had emerged from the trial of Malachor a better person, a better fighter, a better teacher, a better husband to Hera, and overall just more centered and calm within his own skin. There was no Council left to bestow upon him the rank of Jedi Master, but according to Ezra, Kanan had assuredly reached that point in his Jedi skills even if he never claimed the title and was content to see himself as just a Knight for the rest of his life.
Sabine smiled at the irony of how she was now married to a Jedi Padawan and silently called a Jedi Master her second father, considering how she was raised to believe the Jedi were evil and the ENEMY. And somehow, her Jedi were slowly but surely earning the respect of an ever growing number of Mandalorians. Somewhere, there must be a ton of Mando ancestors rolling over in their graves at the horror of it all. Laughing softly at the image now playing through her mind, Sabine tugged Ezra’s neatly folded orange jacket from the bottom of the pile and shrugged into it, covering her form fitting black and grey bodysuit that left her feeling a little bit exposed without the armour attached to it.
As she did up the zipper, Sabine was surprised at how big the jacket was on her, making her realize once again that Ezra was definitely growing up. They could have traded clothes when he first appeared in her Ghost family’s lives, they were so similar in size. Now... Now the sleeves went past her hands, the shoulders hung down her arms, and the bottom hem hung around her thighs and covered her butt. It certainly didn’t cover Ezra’s fine ass, she thought with a smirk as she hit the button to open the ramp. Earlier today, she’d been admiring how his rear end looked in his brown trousers and how it was almost framed in by his belt and the straps that held his holsters to his legs, and he’d most definitely been wearing his jacket at the time.
Sabine walked towards the noisy center of the camp, certain she’d find the feast that someone had been calling for hours ago. Knowing Mandos and their propensity for long and raucous parties, she wasn’t worried that the food would all be gone; it was guaranteed that more food and drinks would be brought with every new addition to the party. And judging by the sound of the crowd, there’d been A LOT of additions.
Sabine came to an abrupt halt when she saw a familiar set of armour topped by a distinctive haircut and red tattooed head pull a now almost equally familiar Captain Hark into a very passionate looking kiss. Sabine blinked at the shocking sight for few seconds until she looked past where Ketsu had just been standing and spotted the Onyo clan members at an outside edge table. Understanding dawned instantly, but Sabine couldn’t help but have a little fun with her close friend and the guy who’d wanted to court her not even five hours ago.
Sabine walked a bit closer and waited for the pair to come up for air, finding herself more and more amused the longer it took. Ketsu’s behaviour didn’t surprise her much, as the other girl had always had a very strong love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude that had no problem with picking up a guy for a one nighter and then never seeing him again. (Sabine was sure Ketsu’s abusive father had a lot to do with that, making Ketsu unwilling to commit to a male but still craving their company.)
Sabine was kind of surprised by Hark, though. For a guy who had shown such interest in Sabine not so long ago, he was definitely on board with Ketsu’s kisses now. Then again, he was a guy and a hot girl had just kissed him. She couldn’t really blame him for getting into it.
There had been one occasion, years ago when she and Ketsu were bounty hunting together, that she’d even experienced one of Ketsu’s kisses even though neither of them swung that way. It had been a cover to get close to a bounty, and it had worked perfectly. (Apparently men turned into brainless idiots when they saw two females kissing.) Sabine had to admit that Ketsu was quite skilled in the kissing department and striking to look at, sooooo, yep; she couldn’t blame Hark at all.
Eventually they stopped to breath and struck up a conversation. And ohhh, there was a surprise; Hark knew who Ketsu was and he was in the Academy the same time they were, if a couple years older. AND he thought they were famous. Was that a good thing? Sabine had no idea. "You might be interested to know that she's an artist as well," Sabine butted into the conversation dryly. She smirked at them as they spun around and gawked at her. "That is, if you're still looking for someone to paint your armour, Captain Hark."
“Sabine!” Ketsu beamed at her, dodging around Hark and bounding over to hug her enthusiastically. “I’m so sorry about your mom and brother,” she said solemnly after pulling back.
“Thank you,” Sabine replied sadly.
“Buuuuuut,” Ketsu continued, completely ignoring the guy she’d just been kissing as he awkwardly shifted his feet a few steps behind Ketsu, not sure what to do with himself now. (Sabine was secretly amused.) “Hera says congratulations are in order,” Ketsu continued on a more positive tone. “You’ve destroyed the Duchess again and hooked up with Jedi Junior?”
Sabine nodded, smiling widely.
“Good for you. I always knew you’d cave in to the boy’s obvious adoration eventually. Annnnnd, you’re already wearing his clothes. Impressive.”
Sabine shrugged, grinning. “He’s my husband; I can steal his stuff now with impunity.”
Ketsu laughed. “Someone’s a fast worker. Last I heard, you’d just reached the courting stage and that was only a few hours ago.”
“Ezra was inspired, thanks to your new liplocking partner back there.”
Ketsu looked back over her shoulder at him, looking somewhat surprised to see that he was still standing there. “Him? What’s he got to do with anything? Other than being in the right place at the right time and being a really good kisser, that is?”
Hark lit up at the compliment and moved forward a few more steps so he joined the conversation group.
Sabine snorted and rolled her eyes. “What hasn’t he been involved in lately? But, in this instance, I mean that Captain Hark, here, decided that he could challenge Ezra for the right to court me. Ezra won.”
Hark winced and Ketsu looked at him with disappointment. “Is that true? Did you want Sabine?”
Hark flushed red and rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. “Well, yes.”
Ketsu huffed and crossed her arms over her chest, pointedly looking away from the man, dismissing him. She had no interest in Sabine’s cast offs.
“But,” Hark hurried on, obviously trying to salvage something. “I realize now that it wasn’t Sabine specifically that I was looking for, but her type.”
Ketsu glared at him, raising a black brow scornfully. “What? Tiny and pale? No offence, Sabs,” she added.
“None taken.” Sabine couldn’t wait to see where Hark was going with this. And she knew Ketsu was deliberately baiting the man.
“No!” Hark exclaimed, looking appalled. “I meant badass warrior type female who’s not afraid to stand up for herself.”
Sabine couldn’t help but be a little flattered at the description.
Ketsu hmmmmmed noncommittally, but Sabine could tell Ketsu was secretly pleased by the man’s comeback as well.
Hark continued on bravely, his entire focus on Ketsu. And what do you know; his eyes didn’t look like flat grey Imperial hallways anymore. There actually was some depth to him. “I know you’re one of those too, Ketsu Onyo. And for the record, I think you’re both beautiful, but you suit me better. Sabine IS a little short, now that you mention it.”
“Hey!” Sabine said in mock offence just for the principle of the thing. He did have a point though. She’d have to climb him like a tree to kiss him or he’d have a terrible crick in his neck in no time. Which made Sabine contemplate telling Ezra that he could stop growing anytime now (as if he had control of it) because at the moment, their heights fit together perfectly. Then again, she wouldn’t mind climbing Ezra like a tree on a regular basis. That thought led to another and suddenly, Sabine just wanted to wrap this up and get back to her new husband for some more fun alone time. (But not without finding them some food first, her rumbling stomach reminded her.)
Ketsu looked at the man assessingly once again, turning towards him fully. “Perhaps you’re not a complete dud, then. I don’t have time to stay and play, but if you go wait by my ship, the Lancer class painted in Rebel Alliance yellow and red, I’ll give you my holo frequency before I leave. Feel free to call me, and we’ll talk some more about getting better acquainted, Captain Hark.”
“Jett,” he said, looking quite happy with how things were turning out. “My name’s Jett.”
Ketsu’s mouth curved up in a seductive smile. “Jett it is, then.” She grabbed his tunic and pulled him close, planting a quick kiss on his mouth before letting him go. “You better not disappoint me.”
He looked kind of dazed. “Oh, I won’t.”
“Good. Now go do whatever you were doing. Sabine and I need some girl time.”
“Okay,” he said obediently, wandering off and muttering to himself, “I guess I’ll just have to paint my own armour. It’s gonna suck, though.”
Sabine shook her head at his retreating back. “You really know how to pick ‘em, Kets. That one is either the galaxy’s biggest idiot or incredibly smart. I haven’t decided yet.”
Ketsu shrugged, watching him walk away as well with her head tilted slightly to the side and smirk on her lips. “Who cares? He kisses like a dream, is built like a rock, has a large package in perfect working order, and has a mighty fine ass. That’s all I need to know.”
Sabine barked out a laugh and linked her arm with Ketsu’s. “Come on and I’ll tell you everything I know about Captain Fine Ass.” She led Ketsu back to the ramp of the Gauntlet and they sat down and had a little chat.
Seven minutes later, Ketsu shrugged. “You’re right. He’s either an idiot or very smart. Still don’t care. It’s not like I’m going to marry the man.”
Sabine shook her head at Ketsu fondly. “I wish you good fun, then.” She nudged her friend with her shoulder. “Sooo, what are you doing here, anyway?”
“Oh, that. I’m here to pick up Jedi Senior and the Droid From Hell. Hera sent me. I think she wants her man back.”
“Are you sure it’s not Chopper she wants back?” Sabine said, completely deadpan. “He’s so much more useful than a ‘meatbag’ after all.”
Ketsu and Sabine looked at each other for a couple of seconds before breaking out in snorts of laughter that grew for a minute until they managed to pull themselves together and wipe the tears from their eyes.
Now composed again, Ketsu sighed and looked a little woebegone. “I don’t suppose you could go get Kanan and Chopper for me while I go wait for Captain Fine Ass to meet me at my ship?”
Sabine shook her head slowly, despite knowing that would be the fastest way to get back to Ezra. But there was something that needed taking care of first that had been a long time coming. “Sorry, Kets. But I think it’s high time we fixed your status. The fact that you’d rather kiss a stranger than face your father is testament enough to that.” Sabine smiled as Ketsu sagged before nodding reluctantly. “And you know what else? I now have the power to help you.”
Ketsu looked at Sabine blankly for a few seconds before she got it. “Shabla nerfherders! You do!”
Sabine grinned and bumped her shoulder against Ketsu’s. “Come on, then. It’s time to be badass warrior girls who aren’t afraid to go after what we want.”
Ketsu giggled, rising to her feet beside Sabine. “Wouldn’t want to disappoint my new man candy. I have an image to uphold, after all.”
“Right. We wouldn’t want to disappoint Captain Fine Ass, because that would certainly be a disaster.” Sabine’s eyes twinkled with hidden mirth as she deadpanned utter seriousness.
Ketsu snorted and then both women giggled with laughter as they walked shoulder to shoulder back towards trouble.
Sabine grinned at the girl who’d been her friend since their first days at the Academy together despite the fact that Sabine was a year younger and started the program early. For a brief moment, it felt like old times again; just them against the rest the galaxy with only their guts, blasters, and each other to rely on.
(Too bad Sabine left her WESTARs in the refresher. She really hoped she didn’t need them.)
The next chapter is up on my patreon page: www.patreon.com/thelonerebel
It will move here on Feb 24th.