Actions

Work Header

Heir of Darkness

Chapter Text

“So where did you send us?”

“The first planet I thought of.”

“Which is…?” Ezra trailed off, walking around from behind Sabine’s chair and plopping down in the copilot’s seat next to her.

“Lothal.”

“Lothal, of course you thought of Lothal!”

He let out a groan of frustration as Sabine raised her hands in a placating gesture.

“Hey, look, at first I thought of Mandalore, where it would end up a lot worse! At least on Lothal we have a chance of escaping notice!”

“But there are literally no other decent planets anywhere near Lothal!

Sabine huffed. “Then why didn’t you offer to do the calculations?”

Ezra opened his mouth to retort but remained silent, shutting it and facing away from her with arms crossed tightly across his chest.

She sighed and leaned back in the chair, rubbing her forehead with a hand. She needed more caf pills, and painkillers. But she also didn’t want to use up whatever amount was in the medkit; they could get injured worse and she had no idea when they would be able to purchase more medical supplies.

Speaking of which, they would need food. The water from the sink in the ‘fresher would be okay for a while, but they would need more water along with coaxium. The ship wouldn’t be able to go forever without more.

She cast a sideways glance at Ezra. The Inquisitor had curled up in the chair, hugging his knees as he faced away from her. The whole image was rather forlorn, and for the briefest of moments she debated embracing the boy.

She shook the thought from her mind. It wasn’t Mandalorian. Besides, she had already seen the Inquisitor flinch when she had almost touched him before, on the Destroyer.

And both of them needed time to come to terms with what had happened.

She exhaled and stood. “I’m going to the ‘fresher,” Sabine mumbled, remaining still for a moment to fend off the wave of dizziness that had suddenly overcome her. Ezra didn’t acknowledge that he had heard her, but as far as she could tell, he wasn’t sleeping.

She made her way to the back, slipping into the refresher and locking it. She barely made it to the toilet before her knees promptly buckled and she started vomiting.

She continued to dry heave for what felt like hours but couldn’t have been more than a few minutes before shakily standing, swaying slightly. She remained standing over the toilet for another few minutes before finally walking to the sink. She rinsed her mouth out before glancing up at the med cabinet above the sink. Maybe there were painkillers, or at least caf pills, in there.

There was a knock as she rummaged through the cabinet. Sabine pulled away and glanced at the door.

“Are- are you okay in there? You’re just taking a long time, so I wanted to make sure nothing- nothing was wrong.…” Ezra’s muffled voice trailed off awkwardly.

The Pau’an had been right. Ezra did care about her.

She brushed the thought aside for later rumination.

“Ye- yeah, I’m okay. Just...feeling a bit sick.”

“Oh.” There was a pause before he continued. “I can run and get something from the med bay, or—“

“It’s fine, I’ll- I’ll just get something when I come out,” she responded.

“O- okay.”

There was a shuffling noise and then the sound of him walking away. She allowed herself a moment to relax before continuing to search the cabinet.


Sabine left the ‘fresher’s med cabinet empty-handed several minutes later. She walked to the med bay slowly, wary of tripping. Her head had resumed pounding and everything was starting to become slightly blurry, but hopefully painkillers and a couple caf pills would help with that.

She reached the med bay and halted.

Ezra was already rummaging through one of the cabinets and he turned to face Sabine as she entered.

“Painkillers,” was the only explanation he offered as he raised a bottle. He tossed it to her and she just barely managed to catch it. “Figured that’s what you needed. I...I hope I got the bottle right; I don’t know meds very well,” he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck.

With all the injuries he has, you’d think meds would be the main thing he’s familiar with.

She checked the bottle, nodding slowly.

“Yeah, it’s right. Thanks.” Ezra nodded again and slipped out of the room, mumbling something about exploring.

Sabine took two of the pills, glancing at the chrono and mentally calculating when she could take more. Then she continued further into the room and began to search for caf pills. It took several minutes to find them, and once she did, the bottle seemed old and less-than-reliable. Better not risk it. She replaced the bottle, suppressing a yawn and rubbing her eyes as she headed back to the cockpit. The painkillers would take effect soon, and hopefully she’d be able to stay awake then.

She sunk into the pilot’s seat, sighing.

Chopper.

She needed to comm Chopper.

She sat up more and began fumbling with the console, adjusting the comm signals until it was untraceable. She set it to Chopper’s channel’s frequency and waited.

Within a few minutes the droid picked up with a questioning beep.

“Chopper, it’s Sabine. I...I got off of the Sovereign. I’m okay. I found the Inquisitor. Thanks for helping me. Did- did you make it back to your crew?”

The droid chirped affirmatively, then warbled a question. Sabine cracked a slight smile.

“Yes, yeah, I do need them. But I can wait. Or get new ones.”

He chirped.

“Yeah, I don’t know...I’ll- I’ll have to find some way to get some. Not sure how, but- but I will.” Her smile widened. “Maybe I’ll even have to get another job. Not with the Empire, I think they still hate me.”

The astromech chortled as Ezra entered the room. He glanced at the console, then at Sabine. “Who’s that?”

She glanced up and back at him. “A droid.” She turned back to the console.

“Chop, I have to go. Maybe I’ll see you again?” she added hopefully.

The droid beeped affirmatively and the transmission cut off. She turned back to Ezra.

“What droid?” he asked in curiosity. He walked past her seat to his own.

“One I met recently,” Sabine said shortly.

Ezra didn’t question her further, instead pulling something from his cloak and beginning to fiddle with it. Sabine sighed silently and turned back to the viewport.

It was going to be a long ride.

Chapter Text

He glanced over at her, concerned.

Sabine appeared to be in danger of blacking out, though she had also been that way for some time now. He had asked her what had happened before she had come to the Sovereign—clearly something had or she would be in much better shape instead of stuck in a painkiller- and exhaustion-induced haze—but all she had replied with was “Mandalore,” which wasn’t all that helpful if he wasn’t given any other context.

Checking the chrono, he realized she only had about another twenty minutes left before she could take another dosage of the painkillers.

It had to be unhealthy to take that much anyway, even if she was taking them at the right time intervals. Then again, he wasn’t completely sure he should trust her slurred answer of “six hours” that she had given when questioned about it. But he knew next to nothing about painkillers, or meds in general, really. However that didn’t stop him from knitting his brows in concern when she clumsily felt for the bottle of caf pills again.

He placed a hand on hers hesitantly. Sabine didn’t flinch; he almost envied her insensitivity to touch. Almost.

“Are you sure you should be taking more of those?”

“Need...to stay awake,” she mumbled tiredly. He internally shook his head.

“No, I think you need sleep,” he answered firmly. Her hand flexed underneath his as she tried to take the pills out. He tightened his hold.

She jerked her hand out from under his, shooting him a glare as she pulled three pills out and swallowed them dry. “I need to be awake when we- when we reach Lothal. So I...can put in the new jump coordinates.”

“I know how to fly, too. I can calculate them; you need to rest,” he argued back. “Besides, how long has it been since you slept anyway?”

Sabine’s silent glower was all the answer he needed. Sighing, he started to raise a hand. Sabine grabbed his forearm with remarkable strength for someone who still looked like the shivering girl he remembered from the cell on the Sovereign. He flinched, breath hitching as his heart rate sped up momentarily. She looked up to meet his eyes, staring intensely for a moment before releasing his arm.

“You are not using that- that ‘mind trick’ or whatever the Inquisitorius calls it,” she spoke in a slurred snarl. “Never do that with me.”

He nodded slowly, heart still pounding rapidly at the sudden movement, though the speed at which it was doing so had lessened by a fraction. Sabine relaxed slightly, still watching him, but he remained tense.

After a few moments she finally broke eye contact, looking down before at the console and then out the viewport. She spoke without looking at him. “I can do the calculations. I will do the calculations.”

“But at least sleep after this last dosage of caf pills wears off, okay? I’ll wake you when we drop out.”

Sabine hesitated for a moment before finally giving a decisive nod.

“Fine. But I’m doing the calculations, and you’d better wake me up as soon as we leave hyperspace.” He nodded vigorously in agreement.

Sabine settled back in the chair, watching the blue lines of hyperspace streak past. He shifted in his seat as well, swallowing dryly as he tried to ignore the dull throbbing in both his temples and his side. He resisted the urge to rub his forehead; doing so would be showing weakness.

His master may have been dead, but that didn’t change the fact that showing weakness was unforgivable.

Sabine started to gradually become more coherent as the pills began to take effect. Finally she stood, mumbled something about going to the refresher, and stumbled off.

He watched ten minutes pass on the chrono before rising himself and heading toward the refresher.

He could hear Sabine retching when he was still several feet away from the refresher door. He hesitated outside for a minute, debating whether or not to knock. Making the decision, he raised his right fist and knocked.

The retching sounds petered out and there was silence for a few seconds. A slurred voice from within called out,

“What ‘s it?”

He swallowed. “It’s me. I- I heard you throwing up, and—“

“‘m fine.” Her response came too quickly to be true. He frowned.

“I don’t thi—“ Another round of vomiting cut him off. He swallowed and waited for it to end before continuing. “I really don’t think you’re fine. Where are the caf pills?”

There was silence before the refresher door slid open unexpectedly. Sabine stood in front of him, indigo-and-orange hair disheveled as she frowned grumpily at him.

“‘m fine.” She started to key the door closed but he raised a hand, using the Force to hold it open. Her frown deepened.

“Where are the caf pills?”

“Doesn’t matter,” she mumbled back. She stepped out of the refresher, a shuddering sigh escaping her as she walked down the hall and back toward the cockpit. He waited a moment before following.


Sabine was bloodied, his ‘saber in her hands and raised in a defensive position as a cold smile graced her lips. “You thought you could actually make a connection with someone? And a Mandalorian of all people.” His master’s dark chuckle echoed around them as he watched Sabine advance slowly. She raised the ‘saber high, bringing the red blade down in an arc that would—

An alert on the console woke him. His breathing cane in short gasps, and as he raised a hand to his forehead, to his dissatisfaction he found it covered in slick sweat.

Weak.

He gave a shaky sigh before sitting up further and glancing over at Sabine. The pilot was slumped slightly, her head rolled back and to the side as she slept. She must have fallen either unconscious or asleep shortly after he did.

Her neck was exposed.

You could kill her. Slitting her throat wouldn’t be hard, not with her jugular exposed like that.

He shuddered, shaking his head to rid himself of the intrusive thought. They weren’t that uncommon, not since the Pau’an had taken him on as an apprentice. However, that didn’t mean that he often acted on the urges to kill anything that moved.

Growing soft?

He shook his head again, inhaling and exhaling slowly and shakily. No. Sabine- Sabine was useful. It would be easier to survive with someone else, and harder to survive alone.

Easier to fight with, too. If they shoot to kill, you can make sure she’s in the way.

He closed his eyes tightly, breathing coming in short gasps as he forced the thoughts away. He wouldn’t use her as a shield. That was weak.

He turned his attention to the console, finally remembering the alert. They would drop out of hyperspace in about a minute.

To wake her or not?

He wouldn’t wake her. Whatever she did to get back at him about it afterward, he could handle.

The ship dropped out abruptly and he sighed, glad that the Imperials couldn’t track the shuttle since its command Destroyer had been destroyed. That would make it easier for them to slip onto the planet undetected, at least until he and Sabine could figure out their next course of action.

Of course, he didn’t plan on one of the Destroyers above the small planet hailing them.

Kriff. He was bad at improvising like this. If they weren’t in a shuttle, maybe. But when he had no face to face contact, he barely had any idea what he was doing.

He ignored the repeated transmission requests and focused on finding a route to the surface. An idea sprang to his mind and he quickly sent a transmission explaining that their audio communications systems were down but that they were headed to the garrison in Capital City. He didn’t wait for a reply as the shuttle entered atmo. He hurriedly switched the scanners off, preferring to rely on the Force and his own vision as he took over the controls, switching them from autopilot to manual, and then to the copilot’s side. He took the steering yoke and directed them toward the plains where they had first met the bounty hunter.

He didn’t register the strong Force signature coming from below until they were already landed and he had the ramp down.

Glancing back at Sabine, he swallowed hard and sent a wave of the Force toward her, encouraging her to sleep more deeply as he exited the ship.

He would deal with the Jedi.

Alone.

Chapter Text

Kanan opened his eyes and stood from his spot on the floor.  He had been kneeling and meditating ever since they’d landed back on Lothal a few hours ago.

Something told him he would need the peace meditation brought later.

A faint chill permeated his room and he sighed.  Of course the Inquisitor had to come to Lothal.

Of course.

He keyed his door open and glanced down the hall to the cockpit.  Zeb was out on a supply run, and Chopper was most likely still getting lectured by Hera.  “Hera I’m checking something outside, I’ll be back soon,” he called. He didn’t wait for an answer as he strode down the ship and easily climbed down the ladder into the cargo bay, opening the loading ramp.  As he waited for it to lower, he pulled both pieces of his lightsaber from his belt and connected them before reclipping it to his belt.

The ramp hit the grass with a soft thud and he walked down it, senses on high alert.  They had landed in the middle of the grass that covered Lothal instead of risking a clearing or one of the cities.  Better not to take chances.

However, that also left him blind to any attackers.  He would have to rely on the Force now more than ever.

And right now, it was nearly yelling at him to pull his lightsaber out.

He called it to his hand just as the grass started to ripple in front of him.  The Jedi took two steps forward and raised the weapon, ready to ignite it at a moment’s notice.

A boy burst from the grass, stumbling.

Kanan was shocked.  It took him a moment to place the boy in front of him as the younger Inquisitor.  If he was honest with himself, he hadn’t expected the boy to survive.

But here he was.  And as the boy raised his head, blinking through a black eye, Kanan ignited his blade.

The boy flinched back.

Kanan was surprised.

The boy’s flinch went unnoticed as he drew in a steadying breath, taking a step forward so he was now less than a meter away from Kanan.  The Jedi watched him warily.

“Are you Ezra Bridger?”

The Inquisitor’s eyes narrowed.  “Who said I was?” he responded in a hoarse growl.

Kanan barely blinked at the bruises that littered the boy’s face and neck as he responded.  “Sabine Wren.”

The boy’s eyebrows shot up in shock before quickly lowering into a glare.  He glanced back the way he had come, and Kanan noticed two cuts across his cheekbone.  He didn’t think those had been there before, but he could have been mistaken.

“Is she back there?” Kanan pressed.  The boy’s head quickly swung back around as his glare deepened.  His gaze flicked down to the blade before it returned to Kanan. The Jedi raised an eyebrow.

“She’s sick.”


Sabine groaned, head pounding as she started to wake.  No...she didn’t want to spar today, not yet at least...not this early...she just wanted to sleep more….

Something in the back of her mind kept telling her to wake up, but she pushed it away, groaning softly again.

No….

The pushing in the back of her mind suddenly shoved, and she yelped as she was startled awake.

She was in a ship.

She glanced out the windscreen.

Grass.

Not Krownest or Mandalore, then.  Or at least not the Mandalore she had grown up with.

Lothal.

Everything rushed back and she groaned again, forcing herself to her feet.  The copilot’s seat was empty.

Kriffing kid didn’t wake me when we left hyperspace.

Sabine put a hand to her forehead, massaging her temples as they continued to throb.  She started to walk toward the back of the shuttle, the ground tilting. Something...was wrong.  She dimly registered this as she made her way toward the loading ramp with halted steps.

She was on her knees and dry heaving before she knew what hit her.

Shaking, she put a hand to her forehead.  It felt...too hot. Everything felt too hot.

She glanced down at the tears in her bodysuit, vaguely noticing the jagged burns that also felt too hot.  Her arms were burning. Her legs were freezing.

She shuddered before starting to remove the armor on her arms and hands.  She forced herself back into a sitting position, still trembling slightly as she removed the armor piece by piece.

Dimly, she thought of it as removing herself.


“And?  Why should I care?”

The Jedi...had a point.  Even he had to admit that.  Still, he wasn’t backing down now.  He swallowed firmly, lifting his chin slightly.

“Because I won’t try to stop whatever you’re doing out here, and I won’t call the Empire down on you.”

It was a bluff, a very obvious one.  And the man seemed almost amused by it.

“Big talk for someone whose ‘saber broke.”

He would have to ask Sabine what she had done with it, if anything, once she was better.

She would get better.

The man’s comm crackled without warning and he glanced down.

Spectre Four to Ghost .  I seem to have, ah, run into a slight problem.

I read you, Spectre Four.  What’s the issue?

There’s, ah, a…. ”  The comm went quiet for a moment and he thought he heard the other line mumble something along the lines of “ how do I put this nicely? ”  “ ...a riot goin’ on…?

Do you need a pickup? ”  Whoever Spectre Two was, she sounded exasperated.  He watched the man carefully, but the Jedi made no move to respond.

Uh, yeah, that’d be great.  I’m in sector see eight.

Copy.  Spectre One, you coming?

Finally the Jedi moved.  The man pulled his commlink off his belt without letting go of the ‘saber, watching him carefully as he replied.  “I’m still busy. Get Spectre Four, and I’ll come then.”

Fine.  Spectre Four, is the Phantom good enough?

There was silence on the line for a moment before the comm crackled to life once more.  “ Uh, yeah, just hurry.

The Jedi abruptly shut the commlink off and glanced over his shoulder as a small ship that must have been landed somewhere behind him in the thick grass rose.  It sped off, and the Jedi returned his attention to him.

“Where’s the girl?  You’ve got ten minutes.”

He swallowed and turned, pointing back the way she had come.  “She’s this way.”

He hoped he wasn’t making a huge mistake.


“Sabine?” he called hesitantly.

There was no answer from within the ship and he swallowed nervously.  He forced himself not to look back at the Jedi as he made his way up the ramp.

He called her again and received no answer.  He could sense her, faintly, but the location made no sense.  Why would she be in the middle of the hallw—

He stopped, heart dropping.

Sabine was leaned against the wall, breathing shallowly.  Half her armor was off and it looked like she had started to unzip her bodysuit, but had only made it about three inches down before stopping.  Presumably because she had fallen unconscious.

He heard the Jedi coming down the corridor and turned in time to see a mixture of confusion and pity flickering across his features.  They were quickly replaced by a mask of cold indifference as he finally clipped the ‘saber onto his belt and folded his arms.

“What happened?”

“I- I’m not sure.  All she said was Mandalore when I asked.”

The Jedi took several steps closer and crouched, examining what looked like spider-webbing burns on her forearm before glancing back at him.  “What does this ship have in the way of medical supplies?”

He shrugged.  “Not much, I don’t think.  She took most of the caf pills and finished a couple bottles of painkillers.  I don’t know much about meds.”

The man nodded thoughtfully, glancing back down at Sabine in thought.  “She’s coming to our ship. C’mon, you can bring her.”

He didn’t question it, though he took one of Sabine’s blasters as an extra defense in case the Jedi changed his mind and tried to kill them.  He retrieved a bag from one of the storage compartments nearby and put the discarded pieces of armor into it.

“You said she took painkillers and caf pills?  Where are they?”

He glanced back at the Jedi.  “She threw a couple of the bottles away.  I don’t know where the others are. Maybe in the cockpit.”

The Jedi nodded and walked away.  He returned his attention to Sabine, checking her pulse as he felt for her signature as well.  Still there. Faint, but there.

The man returned a few minutes later, his expression the same as he put what looked like painkiller bottles into his pocket.  He stopped and crouched by Sabine, gathering her up before standing. He nodded in thanks, grabbing the bag with her armor before following the Jedi outside.

They walked through the grass silently, and he took the time to glance down at his own armor, or what remained of it at least.  There were holes in the fabric underneath it, and more of the armor was scuffed or burned than it had been when he had first met Sabine.  But surprisingly, there seemed to be less tears in the fabric underneath his own armor than there were in Sabine’s.

They broke through another clump of grass to see a freighter.  The same freighter the Jedi has had before. He gave the Jedi a sidelong glance as the  man unlocked the ship and headed up the loading ramp.

Once inside the cargo bay, the Jedi set Sabine down next to a ladder in the corner of the room.  The man turned back to him. “Help me lift her.”

“With the Force?”

He answered with a nod and together they started to lift her.

He tried to ignore how faint her signature was as they did so.

The Jedi stood behind him as he went up the ladder, and it took all his restraint not to glance down and check that he wasn’t about to shoot him in the back.  As soon as he reached the top he rushed forward, stepping carefully around Sabine as he turned back to watch the ladder. It looked like they were in a common room of some sort.  The Jedi emerged with something akin to amusement crossing his face briefly before it disappeared. He picked up Sabine again. “Med bay’s this way.”

He followed the Jedi silently, senses on high alert as he felt for both blasters.

Chapter Text

The Jedi was surprisingly gentle as he laid Sabine on a cot in the med bay.  He took a chance to glance around as the man started searching through the storage compartments, taking medical supplies out periodically.  The med bay was small, but still a bit bigger than the one on the shuttle. It also appeared to be better equipped to handle injuries. He just hoped it could handle whatever was wrong with Sabine.

He drifted over toward her again, brow furrowed as he felt for her Force signature.  It wasn’t any fainter than it had been the last time he’d checked, but it also wasn’t any stronger.

He moved out of the way as the Jedi came up next to him, dumping the supplies he had gathered unceremoniously on a small table next to the cot.

“Are you sure she didn’t say anything happened besides Mandalore?” the man questioned.  He nodded, and the Jedi frowned slightly as he started to organize the supplies. “You were on the Sovereign with her, I assume?  What happened there?”

He hesitated before answering.  “She...my master, he- she was trying to rescue me, and it- it was a trap.  She was tortured.” The Jedi looked up, meeting his eyes briefly as an unreadable expression crossed his face before he looked back down.

“I need you to get the rest of the armor on her upper body off.”  He started on the pauldrons, watching the Jedi prepare a syringe filled with something he didn’t recognize out of the corner of his eye.  “How was she tortured?”

He swallowed thickly before replying.  “She- she was beaten, and my master, he- he had his lightsaber...it was better than it could’ve been.”

The man nodded, studying the syringe briefly.  “Do you know how many of her injuries were from before the Sovereign?

He shook his head.

“Move, I need to inject this.”  He took a few steps back, bringing the pauldrons and sections of the breastplate with him as the Jedi carefully moved her bodysuit enough to expose her shoulder.  He injected the hypo-needle and pushed down, waiting a few more seconds after it had emptied before removing it.

“You met her when she was at the garrison?”

He nodded, watching as the man placed the syringe on a tray on the table.  He picked up a roll of medical tape and a small square of gauze and used the bandages to tape the gauze onto the injection spot, pressing on it for a moment to staunch the bleeding.

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked hesitantly after a moment.  The Jedi didn’t make eye contact as he answered while retrieving a small bacta patch.

“Infection.  See those burns on her arms?”  He nodded. “They got infected.  They’ve been there for a while, but the infection is recent.  I’d guess she got those while on Mandalore.”

He knew what infection was, but most of his burns were cauterized before it could set in.  The burns Sabine had...he didn’t recognize those.

“Do you know what they’re from?”

The Jedi shrugged as he applied the bacta patch onto a section of the burns that was visible through one of the holes in the sleeves of her bodysuit.  “Electro shock, I’d say. It’s hard to know for sure without her telling us. I’m no expert. Has she been falling unconscious a lot?”

“Yeah, and throwing up.”

The man nodded slowly as he prepared another bacta patch and carefully moved her other arm across her chest.  She twitched, face contorting for a moment before relaxing. He paused to make sure she was still unconscious before applying the next patch.  “She’s burning up. The infection probably caused a fever, but the painkillers stopped it from getting too serious. Did she overdose?” The Jedi glanced over his shoulder at him and he shrugged.

“I’m not sure.  She said it was six hours between doses.  Like I said, I don’t know much about meds.”

The Jedi cast a brief glance at his burned left hand.  He tugged his sleeve over it self-consciously and the man turned back to Sabine.

“Did she seem delirious at all?”

“A little.”

“At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if she had overdosed.  She looks exhausted, too; the caf pills wouldn’t have helped with that.”  The Jedi sighed, stepping back from the cot for a minute to observe his work.  “There’s not a whole lot else I can do without her awake to tell us what happened.  I could press into her mind, but—“

“—but that would wake her up,” he finished.  The man gave him an irritated glare.

“Yeah.  And I don’t wanna risk that.  Could complicate things.”

The pair was silent for a minute.  He felt for her signature and was surprised and relieved to find it somewhat stronger than it had been before.  Not much, but a little.

“What should I do once she wakes up?”

“Well, I would—“

The Jedi was cut off by a clang coming from another part of the ship, almost like the sound of a ship docking.  The man cursed.

“What is it?”

“Just- just stay quiet, okay?  If she wakes up, either keep her quiet or knock her out again.”  He was a little surprised by the instructions as the Jedi fled the room before pausing and turning back.  “And whatever you do, don’t leave this room. ”  He shut the door and they were alone.


Kanan pushed a stray hair back and wiped the sweat off his forehead, exhaling slowly to calm his nerves as he made his way to the Phantom ’s docking spot.

He heard the door open and groaned inwardly.

He rounded the corner and found Hera and Zeb already exiting the ship with Chopper close behind.  He sucked in a sharp breath as Hera turned to him.

“Kanan?  Is something wrong?”

“No, I’m just...hoping they didn’t follow you back,” he answered.  Not a complete lie.

Hera’s expression relaxed.  “Of course they didn’t. It was just a riot.”

He nodded, breathing out slowly again.  Now just to keep her out of the med bay.

He followed her down the hall as they headed to the cockpit.  So far, so good. And no one looked injured.

The group entered the cockpit and took up their usual spots, with Chopper sticking next to Kanan.  He’d developed a tendency to avoid Hera ever since he had returned to the Ghost and she had lectured him for an hour about how he shouldn’t listen to Mandalorians, especially Imperial Mandalorians, no matter how nice they seemed compared to Zeb.

“Zeb, did you get the supplies?” he questioned.

The Lasat nodded in answer.  “Yeah, just about. I, ah, ran into a problem gettin’ the hydrospanner, but seein’s as it was more just a tool than an actual part, I, ah, started focusing on gettin’ away from the riot instead.”  Kanan nodded, then noticed Hera was beginning to prepare the Ghost for takeoff.

“Why are we leaving so soon?”

She glanced at him with a raised eyebrow.  “We finished the supply run, and most of the planet’s looking for us.  It’s best to leave now while we still can.”

“But what if leaving will just get us seen?”

Her questioning look turned into an unimpressed one that was just short of a glare.  “Kanan, it won’t. You know my piloting skills.”

“And what if they shoot at us?”

“Kanan, for—“

“Hera, you never know!”  Kriff he was horrible at this.

“Kanan, are you sure you’re feeling okay?  You seem a bit...paranoid.”

“You mean more paranoid than normal?”  She shot Zeb a glare.

“Yeah, of course!  I’m fine! Definitely fine.  One hundred percent fine.” He gave a nervous chuckle as Hera returned her attention to him.

“I need to take your temperature.  You really don’t seem like you’re—“

“No!  There’s no reason to take my temperature, I’m fine!” he responded.  He could not let her go to the med bay.

But he also couldn’t let her leave Lothal, at least not until those kids got off the ship.

She sighed and stood.  “Kanan, come with me. We’re going to the med bay, and we’re going to take your temperature.”  She turned to start walking to the med bay and he shot up from his seat, spinning her around and kissing her.  He was running out of ideas at this point.

“Couldn’t you, ah, do that somewhere else?” Zeb piped up.  Chopper chortled in response, earning a glare from the Lasat.

Hera broke off the kiss, her expression bewildered as her lekku twitched in confusion.  “Kanan, not that I mind that, but is something wrong? You’re acting strange.”

“There’s just no reason to go to the med bay; I’m completely fine,” he replied quickly, rubbing his neck with a hand as he laughed nervously again.  She frowned.

“Kanan Jarrus, what are you hiding in that med bay?”  Before he could reply, she was already pushing away from him and storming off to the med bay.

He muttered every curse word he could think of in Basic and then a few in other languages as he ran after her.  Zeb and Chopper followed behind at only a slightly slower pace, clearly just as interested in what was about to go down.

She reached the med bay and stopped, and for a moment he thought she wouldn’t go in.

And of course, just because he had to think that, she went in.

He regretted even speaking to the kid as her yell reached him.

Kanan Jarrus—!

Chapter Text

He glanced up, eyes wild in shock as a Twi’lek woman entered the room.  Her eyes went wide and then narrowed, her expression turning to one of fury as she placed a hand on her hip and turned, lekku swinging irrately behind her.

Kanan Jarrus—! ”  The Jedi—Kanan—entered a moment later, wincing underneath the woman’s gaze.

“Explain this.   Now, ” she ordered, gesturing at him and Sabine.

Sabine.  He glanced back at her, fear now taking control.  She was still unconscious, but when he felt for her signature, he could tell she was starting to wake.

This wouldn’t end well.

He turned back to the woman, swallowing thickly as the Jedi raised his hands in surrender.

“It’s Sabine.  She’s sick. Something happened, and while I was outside I ran into—“

Sabine!?  You let that—“  She launched into a string of curse words that made even Kanan flinch.

Another glance back at Sabine showed her stirring.  He took a careful step toward the pair.

“She’s waking up,” he put in quietly.  The woman turned on him and he drew back, half-expecting her to pull a blaster on him with the way she had been yelling before.

“And you?!  What are you doing here, on my ship?!  Kanan, how could you let an Inquisitor—

She was cut off by a Lasat who pushed between them to enter.  The Lasat glanced around and spotted him.

He retreated a few steps, moving back in front of Sabine’s prone body as he drew both blasters.

“Hera, why’s there an Inquisitor in here?” the Lasat questioned gruffly.  The woman turned from him to glare at Kanan again, raising an eyebrow as she folded her arms.

“I don’t know.  Kanan, how about you enlighten us?”

Just then an astromech shrieked as it rolled into the room, nearly bowling the Lasat over as it ran straight toward the cot.  He swallowed thickly, aiming one of the blasters at it.

“You won’t hurt Sabine,” he muttered hoarsely.

The droid stopped, tipping back to see him as it grumbled something.  He looked to Kanan for an explanation.

“Look Hera, even Chopper doesn’t wanna kill her.  At least wait until the girl wakes up, she’s been—“

“Kanan Jarrus, after what she’s done, I.  Don’t. Care.

He stepped forward, aiming one blaster at the woman that Kanan had called Hera and the other at the Lasat.  “If you touch her, I swear I’ll kill you all,” he threatened hoarsely.  The group turned back to him and Kanan raised his hands.

“Ezra, put the blasters down.  Nobody is going to—“

“That’s not my name!” he shouted suddenly, grip on both blasters faltering as he started to shake.

Kanan continued in the same placating tone.  “Whatever you want us to call you, we’re not going to hurt you or Sabine.  Isn’t that right, Hera?”  The Jedi shot a pointed look at the Twi’lek.  She opened her mouth to reply but closed it, settling for a glare at Kanan that then shifted to him.  He flinched but swallowed, forcing himself to readjust his grip on the blasters.

“Fine.  They can stay until Sabine can walk.  But they’re both leaving right after. ”  Hera abruptly turned and left the room.

“Lower the blasters.”  He glanced at Kanan and shakily lowered the one he had been pointing at Hera.  However he watched the Lasat carefully, too wary to put the blaster aimed at him down.

“Relax, kid, I won’t hurt ya.”  His breaths came hard and fast as he tightened his grip on the blaster.

A hand clamped down on his own and he jumped, flinching as he turned to Kanan.

“Calm down, kid.  Relax. He won’t hurt you, and neither will I.”

His breathing slowly evened out and he lowered the blaster, eyes still flicking between Kanan and the Lasat warily.  The latter glanced over at Kanan. “I’m gonna...go help Hera.”

Kanan nodded as the Lasat left.  The Jedi turned back to him once the door closed.  “Chopper here can keep an eye on Sabine. And you look like you’ve got some injuries yourself.  Can I take a look?”

He shrugged, and the Jedi gestured to his burned arm.  He held it out, forcing himself not to flinch as the Jedi pulled the sleeve back, revealing the burn from his master’s lightsaber several weeks previous.

Kanan didn't meet his eyes as he spoke, continuing to examine the burn.  “Lightsaber?”

He nodded silently, resisting the urge to hiss in pain as Kanan gently probed the burn.

“It’s pretty recent.  Have you treated it?”

He hesitated before realizing it wouldn’t make a difference either way.  He shook his head and the Jedi glanced up in surprise.

“Why not?”

He looked down, breaking his gaze.  “I...didn’t want to.” He knew that Kanan wouldn’t accept that as an answer, but thankfully the man didn’t push it.

“Do you want me to?”

He shook his head immediately, looking back up as he pulled his arm away and tugged the sleeve back down over the injury.  “No, I- I’m fine.”

Kanan gave him a long, unreadable look for a minute before shrugging.  He moved onto the more visible bruises along his face and neck.

“You want me to do anything about these, either?”

He shook his head and Kanan thankfully didn’t press it.

He was strong.  They would heal.  If they left scars, all the better.


Tristan was the one screaming.

She was the one with electricity jumping around and arcing over her body, she was the one convulsing, she was the one with her mouth opening and making no sound, but Tristan was the one screaming.

She had no idea where he was, had never heard him scream that she could remember, but she instinctively knew that he was the one screaming.

And then she was looking back through one of the shuttle’s viewports as an explosion took her brother’s life, and the electricity was still arcing over her and racing across her arms and chest, but Tristan was still the one screaming.

His scream echoed and pounded in her ears until her entire being was throbbing with it.

She woke sweaty and gasping for breath, sitting up and looking around wildly.  Everything burned, and her shoulder stung. She groaned, reaching for it before pausing.

Her pauldrons were gone.  She glanced around, still breathing heavily.

Tristan and a boy she didn’t recognize were sitting in chairs across the room from her.  Both were staring at her, the boy more with confusion than anything. He stood and walked over.  She watched him warily.

“Sabine, are you feeling okay?”

She swallowed, ignoring his question and peering past him at Tristan.  “Tristan? Why is there someone else here? Where am I?”

Tristan’s face contorted in confusion.  “Who’s Tristan?” The voice wasn’t Tristan’s.

Her breath caught.  “ You’re Tristan.”   I think.

Her breath quickened as she moved to stand up.  The boy grabbed her arm but she pushed him away, swinging her legs over the side of the cot.  She needed to get out, to find out what was wrong with not-Tristan and what had happened to her real brother, to find her armor.

She pushed herself off the cot and onto her feet.  Instantly the world started to swim and she nearly lost her balance.  The boy glanced worriedly at not-Tristan. “Kanan, what should we do?” Panic was evident in his voice.

Kanan.

She knew that name, vaguely.

It was buried deep in the muddled fog that had become her memories and train of thought.  As she swayed, she looked toward the boy. He met her gaze again, concern and panic flooding his expression.  His golden eyes widened with terror as the world began to spin more.

She staggered forward another step before slipping and crashing onto the floor.

Moments before her head smacked into the durasteel, she heard the boy’s voice again, just as panic-stricken as it had been before, if not more so.

Sabine!

Chapter Text

Kanan leapt from the chair as soon as Sabine fell.  Rummaging through the cabinets again, he brought several hypo-needles and bottles over to the tray on the table next to the cot.  “Bring her up here,” he muttered.

He started to lift Sabine up, grunting as he managed to help her to her feet.  She was still slightly conscious, but not coherent. Not that she had been before.

Kanan turned, noticing that he was having difficulty getting her over to the table.  He set the hypo- he had been filling down and closed the distance quickly, taking most of Sabine’s weight as he helped her over to the cot.  She was mumbling something incoherent as he raised the syringe.

Without warning she started screaming, yelling incoherently as she drew back and tried to get off the cot again.  He cursed.

“Kid, help me!” he yelled.

“With what?!”

“Hold her down while I get the sedative in!  She’ll just hurt herself if she tries to walk around now!”

The astromech beeped something from the corner that was barely audible over Sabine’s screams, but it was loud enough to make him jump.  He glanced back at the droid, gaze wary.

Kid!   I need you, now!

His head whipped back around as he turned to face Kanan and he nodded.  “Of- of course. Yeah.” He reached for one of Sabine’s flailing arms, trying to grasp it as the hysterical girl continued to frantically get away from Kanan.  Her eyes were wild as Kanan muttered another curse, adjusting his grip on the hypo- as he tried to hold the girl still.

“Hey, hey, I need you to hold still for me, okay Sabine?  This wouldn’t—“ he grunted as her elbow struck home in his stomach, “—hurt as much if you’d just stop struggling.

The blast door slid open and he shot a quick,  nervous glance back to see Hera.

“Kanan, what is going on in here?”

She sounded exasperated and he couldn’t say that he didn’t blame her.

Sabine’s struggles lessened for a moment as she nearly paused to look at who had entered.

There was a grunt as Kanan yelled, “Got it!”  The screaming started again as he turned in time to catch Kanan shoving the end of the hypo-needle down.  A stray elbow caught him roughly in the side immediately after. The momentum took him half a step back and he tripped on the astromech, crying out as he fell to the floor next to the droid.  Blinking through the pain, he looked up to see the Twi’lek woman glaring down at him.

He pushed himself up to a sitting position before rubbing his neck as he looked over at Kanan.  The Jedi was setting the hypo- back on the tray as Sabine’s struggles became weaker. He still kept a tight hold on her until she was completely unconscious, and a few seconds afterward just in case she managed to fight through the sedative.

Laying her carefully back down on the table, the Jedi wiped his brow and glanced at him.

“Did you know needles triggered her?”

He shook his head.  “She was in a couple crashes; I always assumed she’d gotten surgery for them and was used to them.”

Kanan nodded slowly and glanced back at Sabine thoughtfully.  After a moment he commented, “It might be a residual effect from Mandalore.  We still don’t really know what happened there.”

There was an impatient sigh from the direction of the doorway and both of them turned to face Hera.

“Yes we do.  She killed a bunch of people, including the resident Imperial Viceroy, and then blew up a landing pad.”

His eyes widened fractionally, though a brief glance at Kanan revealed the adult was unsurprised.

“When did she…?”

“It happened on Mandalore,” Hera supplied shortly.  “Kanan, I’m in the cockpit if you need me.” She turned and exited, the droid letting out a concerned warble after she left.

Kanan turned back to him.  “Alright, let’s let her rest for now.  Chopper, can you watch her?”

The astromech chirped affirmatively and Kanan nodded.

“Let me know if anything changes.  Let’s go.”

He cast an anxious glance back at Sabine, but realized that the man had pretty much ordered him to leave.  Swallowing, he forced himself to turn away from her and follow the Jedi out.

He was led to the common room with the ladder leading to the cargo bay.  The Jedi gestured for him to take a seat behind the dejarik table. He sat slowly, warily watching as Kanan sat opposite.

“Blasters.”  He gave a look of blank confusion before Kanan sighed, extending a hand.  “Give me the blasters. I already got one of Sabine’s, and I’m sure you have the other.”

He sighed and placed the blaster on the table.  Kanan took it.

And the other one.”

He glowered at the Jedi as he removed the other blaster and placed it on the table.  Kanan collected both blasters and set them down on the floor next to him, but too far to reach.  He was left defenseless.

Adopting a more amiable tone, he began to speak.  “Alright, so what are you doing back on Lothal?”

He shrugged.  “Sabine chose to come back.”

Kanan raised an eyebrow.  “Why? Did she give you a reason?”

He paused before shrugging again.  “It was the first planet she thought of, and we needed coordinates fast.  We didn’t have an astromech.”

The man nodded slowly, bringing his elbows up onto the table and clasping his hands in front of his face.  The adult stared at him thoughtfully, and he suppressed the urge to flinch under the intense gaze.

Finally Kanan spoke again.  “So. You’ll be staying here, at least while Sabine gets better.”   At least?  “There’s a fourth room that’s currently unoccupied; Sabine had it while she was with us, but while she’s incapacit—“

“Wait, hold on.  Sabine was with you guys?

The edges of Kanan’s lips twitched up in a hint of a smile as he nodded slowly.  “Yeah. She’d seen us and our ship up close, so we couldn’t exactly let her leave.  She might’ve gone back to the Empire.”

He nodded once before quickly ducking his head, realizing what he had done.  “Sorry, I- I cut you off….”

Kanan shook his head.  “It was a reasonable question, and you were confused.  It’s fine.”

He risked a cautious glance up at the Jedi.  “So you’re not going to…?”

Kanan’s brow furrowed in bewilderment.  “Going to what?”

He shook his head quickly.  “No, nothing, it- it’s fine.  Never mind.”

Kanan raised an eyebrow, adopting the same unimpressed look he had had when his offers to treat the burn had been refused.  Thankfully, he didn’t question it.

“As I was saying, that was Sabine’s room, but seeing as she’s incapacitated and Hera seems pretty intent on kicking you both out as soon as she can walk, you can stay there for now.”  He nodded thankfully, then glanced uncertainly down the corridor in the direction of the rooms.

“Um...which one is it?”

Kanan stood, picking the blasters up as he went, and started to walk.  Realizing he wasn’t following, the Jedi turned back and beckoned. “C’mon.  I’ll show you. I’m not going to abandon you, even if you are unarmed.  I won’t pull the blasters or lightsaber on you either though; I promise.”

Hesitantly he stood and followed.

I’m not going to abandon you.

I promise.


 

Kanan entered the cockpit and sat with a sigh.  Hera frowned as she turned to look at him.

“What is it?” she asked in a slightly exasperated tone.

Kanan ran a hand over his face, starting to speak even as he did so.  “It’s the kid. I put him in Sabine’s old room; fixed the door so it’s keyed to all of us except him and Sabine.  Only way out’s through that, so if he decides to kill us he won’t be able to. But he’s so...jumpy. Flinches at everything.”

“You did, too, when I first met you,” she reminded him.  He shook his head.

“No, this- this is different.  I’m not denying I was skittish too, but the kid...he’s a different kind of skittish.  Won’t let me treat his injuries either, and he has a lot. I’m worried about him, Hera.”

The woman barely resisted from rolling her eyes.  “And this is exactly why I didn’t want you taking in more strays, especially an Inquisitor! ” she snapped.

“I’m not even sure he is an Inquisitor, Hera.  At least, not by choice.”

She stood suddenly, finally hitting her limit with the Jedi.  “Kanan, if it wasn’t by choice, then why aren’t they making a bigger deal about finding him?  Sure, most of the galaxy thinks he died on the Sovereign when it exploded.  But you- you Force-sensitives can...feel each other, or something, right?”  Kanan nodded as she continued. “So then why haven’t any more Inquisitors shown up on Lothal?

He raised an eyebrow.  “You think he’s a spy?”

She threw her hands up in frustration.  “ Yes, Kanan!   Of course I think he’s a spy!  I—“

“Hera, I sensed his signature when he first asked me for help.  He was a lot more scared of me and Sabine dying and the Empire than I was of him, so scared he couldn’t even shield himself right.  Or maybe he wasn’t taught how. But if he’s a spy, then they would’ve taught him how to shield his feelings and himself.”

Hera was still unconvinced as she shook her head, sighing as she stalked out of the cockpit.  “I need a caf to deal with this.”

Chapter Text

He tried to key the door open and was unsurprised when the pad flashed red.

He was used to locked doors and cells, though most of the time he was on the opposite side of them.  His own room had rarely been locked, if even closed, but nearly all of the other rooms on Mustafar had been locked.  On the few ground bases and Destroyers he had visited, however, barely any doors hadn’t opened to an Inquisitor’s code cylinders.

He went and sat back on the bunk, waiting for Kanan or someone else—though he would prefer Kanan over any of the others, aside from Sabine of course, but there was no chance the sedatives had worn off yet—to come and open the door.  Though he supposed it was nice, nice to just have a time of respite from everything else. And there was plenty in the room to look at, too; it was nothing like the cell he had been imprisoned in occasionally on Mustafar. There was actually light in this room, plus he could hear the sounds of the crew from outside the door, even if he couldn’t interact with them.

But he had discovered...other ways out of places.

He hopped off the bunk, ignoring the shooting pain that erupted in his leg as it struck the ground.  Turning in a slow circle and scanning the ceiling, a slight smile grew on his face as he spotted an air vent on the wall above the top bunk.


The cockpit door slid open and Hera glanced up from her spot at the dejarik table and leaned around the corner.  Kanan poked his head out. “You’ve got an incoming transmission from Fulcrum,” he called.

She stood and shut off a couple of the datapads she was working on and walked to the cockpit.  She entered and took her spot in the pilot’s seat silently. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Kanan cast her a glance.

“What?” she inquired tiredly.

“Do you want me to leave?”

She thought for a moment before shaking her head.  “If you want to stay, then stay.”

She waited a moment to see if he would decide to leave.  He did not.

Hera started the transmission, making sure it was audio-only and untraceable.  Even though she trusted Fulcrum with her life and the lives of her crew quite regularly, one could never be too safe.

The garbled voice came through as Fulcrum’s symbol lit up the cockpit.

This is Fulcrum to the Ghost.   I have a job for you, if you’re interested.

“What kind of job?”

It should be a simple grab-and-go.  There’s some crates at Fort Anaxes, asteroid PM-1203.  They should have some useful supplies along with some fuel pods.  I’ll send coordinates through if you agree.

“Let me talk with my copilot and I’ll get back to you.”

Okay.

Hera shut the comm off momentarily and glanced over at Kanan.  “Well? What do you think?”

He frowned in thought.  “Should be simple enough.”

“And the kids?”

“I can give Sabine more sedatives.  As for the boy...he should be fine in his room or in the med bay with Sabine.  We can leave Chopper with them.”

Hera raised an eyebrow and adopted a skeptical expression.  “Leaving him in the med bay with a droid to watch them?”

“Okay, so maybe it’s not my best idea,” Kanan muttered as he rubbed the back of his neck with a sheepish grin.  “But he should be okay in his room. And Chop’ll comm us if anything goes wrong.”

Hera started at him for a moment before nodding.  “Good. I’ll tell her we’ll accept.”

She flipped the comm back on.  “Fulcrum, we’ve made our decision.  We’ll accept.”

Good.  I’ll make sure the crates are there in exactly three rotations.  You should be good to get them after that. Transmitting coordinates now. ”  A blip on the console notified Hera that they had been received.

“We’ve got them.  Thank you, Fulcrum.”

May the Force be with you.

The transmission ended with Fulcrum’s customary farewell and Hera glanced sideways at Kanan.  He stared at the console in deep thought before shaking his head suddenly, seeming to snap out of it.

“Is everything alright, Kanan?”

“Ye- yeah, I just thought...never mind.”  He shook his head again.

“Are you still okay doing the job, Kanan?”

“Yeah, of course.  I- I need to go think for a few minutes.”  Without another word, the Jedi stood and walked away.


“Kid, you can come out.  I’m not going to hurt you.”

The vent grate opened and Ezra—no, the kid, he had asked not to be called by that name and Kanan was going to respect that—stuck his head out.

“Come on down.  I just wanna talk.”

The kid hopped down, landing on the floor with a slight wobble—probably due to yet another untended injury, but he wouldn’t press that again—but with an otherwise perfectly balanced crouch.  His golden eyes flicked to Kanan’s closed door, a look of apprehension and suppressed fear in them. Kanan had seen looks similar to that before, but nothing...nothing that extreme.

Not since he had been a terrified teen on the run himself.

“Come here.”  Kanan strode to the lower bunk and sat, patting the spot next to him.  The boy warily stood and walked over, perching lightly on the very edge of the bed.  He studied the floor instead of looking at Kanan.

Something inside him stung, but from what he didn’t know.

“So.  The vents, huh?”

There was a moment of silence before the boy finally spoke.  “You’re not- you’re not going to punish me, are you?”

“No, no.  ‘Course not.  Hera, on the other hand...just be glad I won’t tell her.  She...you’re still on her bad side. But she’ll come around, in time.”

The boy looked up at last, a worried expression written across his face.  “And the Lasat?”

“Zeb?  He will, too.  He tends to avoid Imperials; he’s had some bad experiences with them.  We all have,” he added as a quiet afterthought.

“I know what they did to Lasan.”

He looked up in surprise at the boy’s quiet response.  “You do?”

He nodded solemnly.  “He- he made me study it.  Said it was important because they worshipped the Force, but he said they worshipped it wrong.  He said that’s why...that’s why the Lasat were all killed. And because they weren’t- weren’t right.  But I don’t think that the second part’s true,” he ammended quickly.

Kanan frowned.  “Who said that?”

“My master,” he answered unflinchingly, though Kanan could see the suppressed terror in his eyes at the mention of the name.

“The Pau’an Inquisitor?”

The kid nodded quickly, the terror in his eyes surfacing further for a brief instant before he suppressed it again.

He almost seemed more frightened of the Inquisitor than Kanan himself was.

“Is he dead?”

The boy hesitated before nodding again.  “Yes, at least I- I think so.”

“You do it?”

He shook his head.  “No, Sabine did. I just kept him from attacking her after- after she shot him.”

Kanan raised an eyebrow.   Sabine killed a Force-sensitive?  And an Inquisitor at that?  He knew her Force signature was a bit stronger than the average non-Force-sensitive’s was, of course, but it still wasn’t enough to outright give her enough of the Force for combat (though she was Mandalorian so, he reasoned, she probably didn’t even need it to be formidable) or to let her defeat an Inquisitor.

He swallowed hard before continuing to question the boy.  “How long ago?”

“It was right before the Sovereign blew up.”

So recently.  Around the time the infection had set in, probably.

She was stronger and more dangerous than he had given her credit for.  He would have to watch his step around the Mandalorian girl.

“So he trained you?”

The boy gave another quick nod.

“In the Dark Side?”

He hesitated before nodding again, eyes flicking to the floor.

“Do you mind if I ask how?”

There was silence, and for a long moment he thought the kid wasn’t going to respond.

And then a quiet, small voice answered, “Pain.”

Chapter Text

The sedatives wore off sometime later that day, maybe a few hours after his conversation with Kanan.  He couldn’t be sure.

After Kanan had let him go out to the med bay—the Jedi remained with him for several minutes, claiming he was there to check how Sabine was doing though he saw through that easily enough—he had remained in the same chair he had sat in before.  He alternated between checking on Sabine and inspecting the damage done to his armor while on board the Sovereign.

When she started stirring, he glanced up quickly.  She shifted, a soft groan escaping her lips as her arm slipped off the edge of the cot.  Her fingers twitched, eyelids fluttering simultaneously.

He found himself holding his breath and he released it slowly, reaching a hand up to rub the back of his neck as he forced his gaze away from her and down to the ground.  If she woke now, great. If she didn’t, then that was also great.

“...Ezra?”

His head snapped up.  Her eyes were half-lidded, though she had turned her head enough to stare at him.  Sabine swallowed hard, wincing.

“Do you- do you have water?”

He nodded quickly.  “Ye- yeah, I’ll get you some.”

Her eyelids fluttered again and she swallowed once more, coughing as she attempted to force herself to stay awake.

“Stay here, I’ll get you some water.”  He stood and walked to the door, keying it open and nearly walking into Kanan.  He took a step back and looked up at the man.

“She wants water?” the Jedi questioned.  He nodded hurriedly. “I’ll be back in a minute.  Stay here.”

He went to stand by the cot, remaining a few feet away.  Sabine watched him for a few moments before finally letting her eyes close and exhaling slowly.

He thought she had fallen asleep when she spoke up.

“What did...what did Mother think?”

“Sabine, your mom isn’t here…” he trailed off hesitantly, casting her a quizzical look.  Her eyes remained closed as she shook her head slightly and continued to speak.

“Yes, yes she is, she’s here somewhere...where's Tristan?  Just...just get Tristan please, Ezra….” Kanan entered as she trailed off and coughed.

“Water,” he said unnecessarily, holding up a cup.  He raised an eyebrow as Sabine’s eyes opened and she shifted her head again to look at him.

“...Dad?  Where's—“ she coughed weakly again before continuing, “where’s Mother?  And- and Tristan….”

“Tristan?” Kanan echoed, wordlessly handing the cup to him as he approached Sabine, getting closer to her than he was.  “Sabine, who’s Tristan?”

“My- my brother.”

He caught a glimpse of the Jedi’s eyes widening momentarily.  “Tristan Wren?”

She nodded weakly and coughed.  “Wat- water….”

“Here.”  Kanan reached blindly behind him for the cup and he swiftly handed it to him.  The man passed it forward to Sabine, helping her sit up and holding the cup for her as she drank slowly.  Finally she pulled away, wincing as she forced herself to sit all the way up.

“My- my brother, Tristan—where- where is he...Dad, where is he?”

He watched as Kanan struggled to school his expression and suppress the grief-stricken face that threatened to surface continuously.  “Tristan’s dead, Sabine. And I’m- I’m not your father.”

Her brows furrowed before she winced, eyes squeezing shut momentarily in pain.  “Tristan...Tristan’s not dead...I- I was just sparring with him….And...Dad, Dad you were there too….”  She coughed again and he and Kanan exchanged a concerned glance.

“Sabine, why don’t you go back to sleep?  You got sick; you need rest,” Kanan suggested gently.  Feebly, Sabine nodded and the Jedi helped her lay down again.  She drifted off soon after.

He returned to his chair and Kanan sat in the one he had occupied hours before.  They watched Sabine in silence for several minutes before Kanan spoke up softly.

“If she wakes up again, come and get me, okay?  Make sure she knows you’re there though. I don’t want her waking up alone; it could scare her into a relapse.”

He nodded.  “I- I will.”

Kanan let a small smile slip onto his face.  “Good.” The man reached an arm out to pat the arm of his chair and he flinched momentarily before relaxing, realizing Kanan wasn’t touching him.  Something passed in the man’s eyes too quickly for him to catch before Kanan stood.

“I’ll be outside,” he said quietly as he exited.

He settled back into the chair as the med bay door slid shut, content to watch Sabine.


The door slid open and Kallus glanced up, swiftly suppressing the brief look of surprise that crossed his face upon recognition of the visitor.  He stood quickly.

“Inquisitor,” he said tightly, forcing a smile.  “I...assume you’re here to deal with the growing threat of the rebel cell?”

The door shut behind the masked woman as she entered, shaking her head.  “I am here on far more...personal matters, Agent, matters important to the Inquisitorius.  Though the results of my time here may...benefit you and your garrison here on Lothal, in a way.”  The modulator in the Inquisitor’s helmet made her voice take on a tinny, echoing quality.

He swallowed and tried his best to ignore the beads of sweat forming and starting to slide down his forehead.

“I- I must admit, Inquisitor, I was aware of your plans to come here, but I was not expecting you to arrive so soon.”  He gave a nervous chuckle in an effort to make his comment seem a harmless remark as the Inquisitor took two more careful steps toward his desk.

“The Inquisitorius is not tied down to schedules, Agent.  You would do well to remember that for the future.” Her voice carried a threatening undertone and he nodded quickly in agreement.  She drew back slightly. “Now, I am aware that there is an Academy on this planet, correct?” Kallus nodded again and she continued.  “A...colleague of mine will be arriving soon to help me inspect the cadets. I was also told that the officers stationed there had suspicions that several of them were Force-sensitive?”

He suppressed his shock at hearing Force-sensitive be spoken so casually.  Realizing she had phrased her statement of knowledge as a question, he quickly nodded again.  “Ye- yes, Inquisitor. Several of them outperformed Academy records, and the...medical requirements were met on two of them.”

The woman nodded.  “Good. When my colleague arrives, we will depart for the Academy and conduct a more thorough examination ourselves.  As for now, I still have the Inquisitorius’s personal matters to attend to.” Without another word, she turned on her heel and exited the room.

Kallus was left speechless and terrified.

Chapter Text

His eyes snapped open and his breath hitched in his throat.

She was here.  She was here. She couldn’t be here, couldn’t have found him so quickly—wasn’t that exactly what Hera had said when he had been eavesdropping on her and Kanan in the cockpit?  That they hadn’t come after him yet, so they probably wouldn’t? Hera was wrong.

She was here.  He was dead. Sabine was dead.  They were all dead.

His breathing sped up.  He needed- he needed to shield himself.  He needed to warn Kanan as well; the man hadn’t been shielding his signature when they had landed the shuttle, only his emotions and thoughts.

He stood from the chair, casting a last glance back at Sabine before he left the room.

He walked down the hall quickly, frustrated that he couldn’t sense exactly where Kanan was in this proximity and with the Jedi shielding his emotions.  He walked through the common room and was about to enter the cockpit when he sensed someone behind him.

“Kid?”

He whirled, heart skipping a beat until he realized it was just Kanan exiting his room and relaxed.  The man quirked an eyebrow up in inquiry.

He swallowed before answering the unasked question.  “There’s an Inquisitor here. You need to- to shield yourself.”

The raised eyebrow went higher.  “You sensed them?”

He nodded vigorously before his brow furrowed.  “Didn’t you?”

Kanan shook his head.  “I was...working on something,” he answered evasively.

He let a moment pass in silence.  “I can still sense you. Not your emotions, but- but the rest of it.  I don’t want her to find us,” he whispered hoarsely.

“Her?” Kanan echoed.  “The Inquisitor on Lothal is female?”

He nodded quickly.  “I- I know her. She didn’t bother shielding; she wants me to know she’s here, that she’s coming.”

“...because you can’t shield yourself, and she knows that,” Kanan finished.  He nodded feverishly, eliciting a sigh from the Jedi as he rubbed his temples.  “Looks like I do need to teach you that after all.”

The boy bit his lip as an expression of concern grew on his face.

“What is it?”

“I...I don’t really want a teacher.”


If he was being honest, Kanan didn’t want to teach the kid.

But he was still shocked when the kid protested on his own.

“Why?”

The kid bit down on his lip harder, cheeks flushing faintly as he scuffed a foot on the ship’s floor.  “I...still don’t really….” Whatever he said next was too soft for Kanan to hear.

“What was that?” the man asked.  The boy looked up, biting his lip harder.

“I still don’t really trust you,” he said quietly.

Kanan fought to keep amusement from showing on his face.  So he didn’t want the Jedi as a teacher because he didn’t trust him, but had he trusted the Inquisitor that had been his master previously?

“But if I don’t teach you how to shield yourself, who will?  Certainly not Sabine or Hera or Zeb.” The kid nodded in agreement.  “Then who? An Inquisitor?”

The kid flinched at the remark and its harsh delivery, ducking his head slightly.  “I- you can train me. I mean teach! Teach me! You can teach me!”

The kid was weird, but he would learn to navigate conversations with him better as time went on.  Hopefully.

He raised an eyebrow as he responded.  “I can do either, kid. If you just want me to teach you shielding, then….”  Kanan shrugged casually. “But if you want more training, just ask.”

The boy’s brows knit together in suspicion as he tried to figure out what Kanan’s ulterior motive was.  The man sighed inwardly, wishing he could help him get over that suspicion but also knowing that it had taken him years to get over his own caution—and he still hadn’t completely forgone that.  For good reason.

“Look, kid, I don’t really want to teach you either, but I wanna keep my crew safe—and at the moment, that includes you.”  The boy’s head lifted as his eyebrows shot up in surprise before he hastily lowered them again, schooling his expression instantly.  “I’ll teach you shielding, at the very least. C’mon. We can do it outside.”

Kanan turned abruptly and began to walk toward the back of the ship without looking back.  After a moment of hesitation, he heard smaller footsteps pattering behind him. He smiled to himself.

“What about Sabine?”

He glanced back at the kid.  “Chop’ll watch her. I think she’s one of the few people that bucket of bolts actually tolerates.”

There was a shriek and Kanan mentally cursed himself as the droid came shooting around a corner, screeching as he rolled toward Kanan and shocked his hand.  He rolled back and began to warble in indignation as Kanan shook his head, biting his lip in pain.

“Look, Chop, I didn’t mean it, okay?!” he muttered.  The orange and white astromech gave a warbling huff before beeping and rolling away.

“What’d he say?” the boy asked, moving up next to Kanan—well, almost next to him.  He remained a couple steps back, quickly averting his gaze when Kanan shifted his own gaze to him.

“He’s going to the med bay to watch Sabine.  He’ll comm us if she wakes up. C’mon.” Kanan resumed walking and the kid dropped behind him again.

Some things would never change.

Chapter Text

Kanan sat on the roof of the ship, crossing his legs.  The man nodded to a spot across from him and he sat down warily, eyes watching Kanan as he crossed his own legs.

“Now.  Meditation.  What do you know about it?”

He blinked in surprise.  “...not much,” he admitted sheepishly.  The Jedi’s eyes widened fractionally.

“You’re going to learn that first then.  Alright. Quiet your mind, think of nothing.  Simultaneously open yourself up to the Force around you and block everything else out.”

He raised an eyebrow but closed his eyes, breathing out slowly.  Nothing. Think of nothing.

Of course, Sabine popped into his head.

He pushed her out slowly, not as forcefully as he probably should have.

“Kid.  Stop thinking of her.”  Kanan’s voice was calm, with a faint tone of reprimand that hopefully he wouldn’t follow up on.

“Don’t read my mind,” he muttered in return without opening his eyes.

“It’s hard not to when it’s wide open.”

His eyes flashed open as he unfolded his legs and quickly stood.  Kanan followed suit.

“I don’t have good shields, okay?  But you could still respect my thoughts,” he growled in a low tone.  The Jedi’s face was impassive.

“You told me you were trained in the Dark Side by that Pau’an.  That would have included shield training.”

“He only taught me how to shield my signature.”  He bit his lip, trying to remain firm under the Jedi’s stare.

“Not your thoughts?”


The boy shook his head.

He was surprised, though after a moment he reasoned why that was.  It made sense for the Inquisitor not to show his apprentice how to hide his thoughts and feelings; he wouldn’t want the boy to try and kill him without warning.  It was a reasonable safeguard, he supposed. Not that he would ever attempt that with his Padawan.

Not that he wanted a Padawan.

He sighed.  “Then I guess we should start with that.”  His survival instincts, only honed after Order 66 was put into effect, screamed that it was counterproductive to his plan to keep his crew safe, what with having an unreadable Inquisitor around.

But the few instincts that remained from his years in the Jedi Order told him that this kid needed his help, and that if he didn’t teach him to shield himself they would all be worse off.  If they did come face to face with the female Inquisitor, he couldn’t have the boy compromising them because she could pick through his emotions easier than Hera picking her way through an asteroid field.

That was how he justified his actions that day as he taught the boy how to shield his mind.

As he tested the strength of the boy’s shields, he forced his own shields to strengthen so as not to reveal his emotions regarding the kid’s shields.  They were...meager, sparse. They only seemed to be surrounding certain things; everything else in the kid’s mind was an open book. And if he pressed, Kanan could’ve easily broken down the other shields.

Most of the kid’s shields seemed to be built out of the ruins of previous ones anyway.

The first thing he felt when actually pressing into the kid’s mind was just how ravaged it was.  It was as if someone had gone through and, instead of lightly tracing along it as he was doing, had torn apart the kid’s mind.  He was surprised the kid was still sane. The boy’s memories were dark, darker, even, than most—if not all—of Kanan’s own.

It was amazing the kid was still here; Kanan would’ve ended it all long before if his own mind had been ravaged along with his already-dark memories.

Speaking of the memories...Kanan shuddered as he quickly shifted through them, hoping the boy would manage to put up a stronger shield while he was doing so so that they could stop the exercise.  The kid had been through trauma, trauma that was almost if not more, if he dared to admit it, than what Kanan himself had been through.

A memory surfaced rapidly, almost as if it had been pushed to the front of the kid’s mind.  He realized he was seeing through the kid’s eyes as rain fell on a street.  The kid was watching it fall from underneath something; he couldn’t tell what.  Suddenly there was a loud crash and shouting. The kid looked to the right as his breathing sped up.  He remained still, but tense.

Abruptly, whatever was covering him—some sort of metal, by the way it sounded as it hit the pavement—was knocked off and a hand dragged the kid up from his crouch by the front of his shirt.

He could feel emotions, or at least fragments of emotions, through the memory.   Fear and panic and terror were currently the ones permeating this memory the most.

“I found the Loth-rat who’s been stealin’ our supplies!” the voice of the man holding the kid called.  The boy struggled, grunting quietly, but a harsh slap stilled and silenced him. “What’re we doin’ with him?”

There was footsteps and the kid started to struggle again before being roughly thrown to the ground.  He grunted, panting but remaining down.

“He’s smart at least.  Maybe he would last longer than a couple days on Kessel.”  There was laughter as the boy’s chin was jerked up to face a Twi’lek who appeared to be in his mid 30’s.  The kid’s breaths came even faster than before as he jerked to get away.

“Hold on, I recognize him.”  The Twi’lek moved out of view as a human male approached.  The kid scrambled up to a sitting position and began to back up, pushing himself away from the man before bumping into the legs of someone behind him.  He let out a soft whimper as someone—Kanan couldn’t tell who—dragged him to his feet by his arm and pinned both arms behind him.

“He’s the Bridger kid.  Empire’s payin’ a lot for all ties to rebels, and I’d definitely consider him one.”

The kid flinched back as someone approached from the side, though he couldn’t see who.

There was the vague sense of shocking pain in the side of his skull, and then blackness.

He pulled out of the kid’s mind abruptly.

The boy blinked innocently, looking up at him with a slightly guarded expression.

He took several deep breaths before speaking.  “Could you feel me in your mind?” Kanan asked evenly.

He shrugged.  “Yeah.”

“Then why didn’t you—“

“Because I was following your directions.  You said not to push you out, just to put my shields up.”  He shrugged again. “So that’s what I did.”

Kanan took another steadying breath, pressing at his temples with his hand.  Making a sudden decision, he stood up. “We’re done for the day, kid. Just- just mask your signature.”

Without another word, he walked to the side of the ship and hopped to the ground, landing lightly in a crouch.  He trusted the kid would follow on his own; Sabine was enough motivation to keep him on the Ghost.

For now.

Chapter Text

“Hey, kid.  Sabine’s awake.”  There was a pause.  “Thought you’d want to know.”

He stood from his spot on the edge of the bunk.  He had sat there, unmoving, ever since returning to the interior of the ship after his “training” with Kanan.  He wasn’t completely sure how much time had passed; he had always been bad at that without a chrono in sight. But now that Sabine was awake….

He walked to the door.  “I’ll come.”

The door slid open and Kanan made a beckoning motion with his head.  “C’mon.”

He followed the Jedi out into the corridor, ignoring his buzzing nerves as they made their way to the med bay.

The door slid open with a soft whoosh and he peered around Kanan.  The man made a soft noise of amusement and stepped to the side, sending a knowing smirk at him as the man moved out of his way.

He ignored it, instead taking a step forward so he was now even with the Jedi.  Glancing away from him and toward the cot against the wall, he caught sight of Sabine.

She had been apparently talking to the droid—Chopper, wasn’t it?—but was now making an effort to sit up, wincing as she did so.  She blinked and looked up, making eye contact with him briefly.

She smiled.

“How are you feeling?” he asked quietly.  She shrugged weakly.

“Like I got shot,” she answered hoarsely.  “That- that did happen at some point, right Ezra?”

“On Mandalore maybe, but not on the Sovereign.  At least I- I don’t think so.”

Kanan cleared his throat and he glanced up at the Jedi.

“I’ll give you two some space.  Chopper can come get me if there’s anything you need; I think he’d prefer to stay away from Hera at the moment.”  The droid warbled in agreement and Sabine’s smile widened slightly. The Jedi dipped his head before exiting, the blast door shutting softly behind him.

He turned back to Sabine.

“What happened on Mandalore?” he asked bluntly.  Sabine’s mouth twitched faintly downward. “You- you have burns,” he offered as an explanation.  He gestured to the spider-webbing burns across her arms and she shifted, pulling what remained of her sleeve over the area he had gestured to.

“I...I found my brother,” was all she said after a long, pregnant pause.  Her eyes dropped. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“It’s fine, you don’t have to,” he answered instantly.  She raised her gaze again, narrowing her eyes slightly before sighing quietly and looking away.  After a moment, he realized she was looking at Chopper.

“Chop, did the Phantom... does it still have my paints?” she asked tiredly.  The droid whirred for a moment before warbling what sounded like a noncommittal answer.  “Well can you check?” He gave a warbling huff and rolled out of the med bay. She glanced back up at him as the astromech left.  “So. They told you what happened after, I’m guessing?”

He nodded slowly.  “You...stayed with them.  Why didn’t- why didn’t you leave?”

She shrugged.  “I...I did, after a while.  After I realized my father was- that they had taken—“  She cut herself off, swallowing hard and closing her eyes for a long moment.

“You don’t have to say anything else, if- if you don’t want to.”

She nodded hesitantly after a brief pause, and they settled into silence.  After several moments, he went to the chair he had been occupying every time he had entered the med bay.

Chopper re-entered, already warbling something.  Sabine’s eyes opened slowly but immediately narrowed.

“What do you mean, ‘Hera took them?’  Go tell her they’re mine!” Sabine snapped, wincing and rubbing her forehead afterward.  Chopper shrieked something in response before exiting once more.

“Your paints?”

She sighed.  “Yeah, uh, for my armor.  I had to—“ She stopped herself and glanced around.  “Ezra, where’s my armor?”

“When I came back to the shuttle with Kanan, you’d already taken most of it off,” he replied reluctantly.  She raised an eyebrow.

“And the rest?”

“Kanan had me remove it so we could apply bacta patches.  And sedate you, he didn’t want you to pan—“

“Sedate?  With- with hypo-needles?”  Sabine’s breathing suddenly sped up and her voice began to climb in pitch.  “Hypos? Ez- Ezra, we have to...we have….” She glanced around wildly and her voice took on a haunted edge.  “Ezr- Ezra, we have to go...I can’t...I can’t go back—Tristan?!”

“Sabine, you’re fine.  Tristan- Tristan’s not here.  He’s dead.”

Her gaze snapped back to him and darkened.  “He’s- he’s not dead,” she answered with a wavering voice.  “He’s not dead.”

He glanced worriedly back at the door.  Whatever was happening to Sabine...he needed Kanan to help with that.


He sensed the boy’s distress immediately.

It was easy enough to read any of his emotions—the kid was literally an open book—but the sheer amount of distress and uncertainty and panic he was radiating at the moment was enough to make Kanan jolt.

He strode hurriedly to the med bay, barely resisting from running.  The kid was an Inquisitor, he reminded himself.  And the girl was an Imperial, a Mandalorian, and had stolen Chopper and the Phantom.

He had no reason to help them at all.

Then why was he?

He keyed the med bay door open and stepped in.  He could sense Sabine’s panic and paranoia too, now that he was close enough.  Her eyes snapped to him and she flinched back slightly.

“Where’s Tristan?” she asked hoarsely.

He slid a glance over at the boy.  Pressing into his mind, treading carefully so as not to damage it further, he posed a question.   What happened?

The boy started, eyes widening as he glanced at Kanan.  He responded slowly, his answer careful. She asked why we took her armor off and I mentioned sedatives.  She...I don’t know what happened after that. She started panicking.

She’s not here at the moment, Kanan replied quietly.  The boy’s brow furrowed as he sent confusion through to Kanan, and the latter realized he needed to elaborate.   She’s somewhere else.  Flashbacks, possibly a panic attack.  It looks like a mix of both. It was probably triggered by the mention of sedatives.

He nodded slowly in understanding, shooting a glance full of concern back at Sabine.

He really did care about her.

Can you calm her down?

The question surprised Kanan.   I’m...not sure.  You’re probably better at that than I am.  She trusts you more.

The kid nodded slowly and took several careful steps closer to Sabine.  Her eyes flicked to him and her breathing sped up again.

I need to either use the Force to make her fall asleep or sedate her again.

Don’t use the Force on her like that.  The protest was so strong it made Kanan blink.  The boy was staring at him murderously, eyes dark.

Okay okay, I won’t.  Easy kid. I’ll need you to distract her then so I can get the hypo without her panicking like she did last time.

Can’t she just stay awake?

In all honesty, the thought hadn’t crossed Kanan’s mind.   Maybe...it would actually be better for her in the long run.  You’ll have to calm her down first though.

The boy nodded, the murderous gaze easing as his expression steeled.  He turned back to Sabine.

“Sabine, hey, look at me.  You’re okay, you’re right here.  You’re not- you’re not on Mandalore anymore.”

Kanan watched, folding his arms in silence as the boy continued to talk to Sabine.  Her breathing was still shallow but seemed to slow down slightly as she appeared to listen to him.  Kanan stopped paying attention to what the kid was saying and instead just focused on the emotions flowing between him and Sabine.  There was still panic, though he had buried it below concern and a determination to make things right—

Get out of my mind.

The command was soft but sudden and Kanan quickly pulled back.  Clearly the kid was more sensitive to his probing than he had realized.  Glancing at the kid, he saw him still turned to Sabine and speaking softly to her.  Something about files. He wasn’t completely sure; he had only caught the tail end of the sentence.

Feeling for Sabine’s emotions again, he realized she was a lot calmer than before.  Still scared, but it wasn’t the raw, sheer terror and panic that had filled the room before.

You look like you’ve got this covered.  I’ll be in my room if you need me, he sent quietly, not even glancing back at the boy to see if he had acknowledged the receipt of the message.  He was too preoccupied with Sabine anyway.

As he left the med bay behind and walked to his room, however, he was surprised to hear a quiet thought in the back of his mind.  It had the odd feeling of being sent by a scared child rather than a dangerous teenager. Something about the simplicity and vulnerability of it struck Kanan.

...thank you.

Chapter Text

Ezra had retreated back to one of the chairs a few meters away after she had calmed down.  Sabine eventually laid back down, content to stare at the ceiling. They were both silent, and though she had no way to tell what he was thinking of, she had a good guess that it was the cause of...whatever had happened.  She still wasn’t completely sure, but she had a nagging feeling that it had been some sort of panic attack or breakdown.

Your mother would be ashamed, she thought bitterly.

But Ursa Wren wasn’t here.

She sighed softly, blinking as she continued to stare at the ceiling, seeing without seeing.

She heard the door open and winced as she raised her head.  Whoever had entered was too short to see from her current vantage point.

Chopper.

The droid rolled over to the side of the cot, warbling something grumpily.  She sighed again.

“Well can you at least get her in here so I can talk to her about it?”

The droid beeped something, rolling backward so he could turn and exit again.

“She’s refusing to give back my paints,” she called to Ezra as way of explanation.

“Oh.”  There was silence for a few seconds and she thought he was done speaking when he inquired, “Do you know why?”

“Because she’s mad at me,” Sabine huffed.  “I borrowed the Phantom and some supplies to go to Mandalore, and Chopper chose to go with me.  She...she’s still mad at me about all that.”

“Supplies?” Ezra echoed.  She nodded, wincing at the motion.

“Yeah.  A change of clothes, some medical supplies, hair dye—“

“Why does Hera have hair dye?”

She shrugged.  “I don’t know. I have no idea.  Maybe it’s for Kanan or something.  I don’t know if it would work on Lasats.”

“Is that what you used?”

“Yeah.”  They both fell silent.

Out of nowhere, Ezra spoke up again.  “I- I like your hair. The dye, it- it looks nice.”  He has spoken quickly, as if getting the words out before he could change his mind.

She managed to sit up enough to see the boy’s  cheeks flushing. He caught her eye and quickly glanced down, cheeks darkening further.

“Th- thanks,” she said quietly, letting herself lay down again.  She felt her own face heating up, but didn’t attempt to stop it. Trying to do so would only make it worse.

The door slid open and she heard Chopper’s whirring followed by footsteps.

“Sabine, I’m not giving your paints back,” Hera stated flatly as she arrived at the side of the cot.  She crossed her arms, a look of irritation flashing across her face.

“They’re not yours,” Sabine muttered.

“Neither was the Phantom, Chopper, or anything else you ‘borrowed.’”

She sighed and pushed herself into a sitting position, wincing as pain spread across her burns.  “Ezra, could you give us a minute?”

“Yeah, yeah, of course,” he responded, standing swiftly and nodding before leaving.  Sabine returned her gaze to Hera.

“Hera, I’m sure you know what happened to my father by now,” she began slowly, voice already beginning to waver.  She cursed it silently. “I only borrowed those supplies so I could try to rescue him. And Chopper chose to come with me, of his- of his own volition.”

Hera raised an eyebrow but remained silent.  Finally she sighed.

“When you leave, you can have them back.  I don’t want to risk you painting anything on my ship,” the woman said firmly.  “But not before that.” Abruptly, Hera turned and left. Sabine let out a shaky sigh and rubbed her temples, leaning back against the wall.


“Let go.”

His heartbeat—and that of another, though whose he didn’t know—was a strong undercurrent to the scene before him.  A boy he nearly recognized but couldn’t place glanced first at him before glancing at something behind him. But something seemed...off about the whole thing.  Maybe it was the colors, or the way the light was reflecting off of the plants around them.

“I can’t!”

The fear, the desperation in the boy’s voice didn’t match the calm expression of the one before him.  Underneath that surface, however, he knew there was a storm raging. He couldn’t explain how he knew, just that he did know.

“Don’t be afraid.”

With a jolt, he realized both voices were familiar.  This one more so than the second.

“I’m not afraid of them.

The boy in front of him said something he couldn’t hear and moved away, walking toward the entrance of a cave.  Suddenly he paused, glancing back. The boy seemed to sigh before unclipping a lightsaber from his belt and tossing it to him.

“Then what?”

Something seemed….

“I don’t know.”

Desperation was growing in the boy’s voice.  He turned, searching for the source of the voice.  But there was no one else there, besides a strange creature almost as large as the Ghost that he nearly missed because of the way it blended into the fauna.  The Force...the creature seemed almost made from it, it was so strong around it.  He turned his attention away from it quickly, catching its glare.

“Yes, you do!”

He recognized the voice.  It was his own. And the urgency in it shocked him.

“I—“

The boy in front of him entered the cave, and he realized what was wrong about the haziness of the whole image.  Realized why he couldn’t see details of it.

“Ezra!  What are you afraid of?”

He was- he wasn’t really—

“I’m afraid of- I’m afraid of knowing.”

No.  This had to be a dream.  It had to be.  Because he wouldn’t accept that it was true.   Couldn't accept that it was true.  It couldn’t- couldn’t be—

“I’m afraid of the truth!”

He was blind.

Kanan gasped for breath and jolted up, promptly smacking his head on the bottom of the bunk above him.  He winced, rubbing his forehead.

“Ow,” he muttered to himself, glancing around the nearly-empty room.

He had had a dream—no, a vision— but he remembered none of it.  Only that it had left a sinking feeling that something wasn’t right and that he needed to fix it, and fast.

But Kanan had no idea what was wrong.

And if he had no idea what was wrong, then how was he supposed to fix it and make it right?

Chapter Text

“We should be landing at Fort Anaxes soon.  Once we do, you’re staying in your room, and Sabine’ll stay in the med bay.  Chop can keep an eye on her, and as soon as we’re done with the job you can go check on her again.”  Kanan paused and lowered his voice. “And don’t try to see her through the air vents. This is a trust exercise; you stay in your room for once, and maybe I can convince Hera to let you stay longer if you and Sabine want to.  Okay?”

He hesitated before nodding slowly.

Kanan clapped a hand on his shoulder but quickly pulled back, biting his lip as he saw him flinch back.  “Good. It should be a quick job.” The Jedi keyed open the room and he stepped inside warily, glancing back.

“What if she gets sicker while you guys are—“

“She won’t, kid.  It’ll be fast. I promise.”

Without another word, the man keyed the door closed, and he was alone.


He actually listened to Kanan’s instructions for once, and remained in his room once the Ghost landed.

He paced in circles, unable to shake the feeling that something was either wrong now or was going to be wrong very soon.

Finally he gave a frustrated sigh and sat on the bunk, placing his elbows on his knees and putting his head in his hands.

Shield yourself.  Go on, do it. You can’t, though.  You’re weak.

No.  He was not weak.

But he needed to shield himself.

He forced himself to try, closing his eyes and starting to build barriers.  Emotions had to come last if he wanted to shield his memories as well.

Currently, his only remaining shields were protecting the memories of the beginning of his training.

And he wasn’t taking those down any time soon, not with the risk that Kanan would glimpse it.

His shields around his memories of Sabine had been destroyed on the Sovereign and at the Lothal garrison.  Those would be the first ones he rebuilt.

He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, trying desperately to build the shields up again.  Slowly, they started to come back.

Too slowly.

But rushing things wouldn’t help.

He took steadying breaths in and out, focusing only on the shields.

But when he felt the signature, he froze, eyes opening as his breath caught in his throat.

No.  No no no.

Not now.  Not yet.

He wasn’t ready.

Kanan, she’s- she’s coming.  We need to go now.


"He should still be with her, and the tracker should suffice to lead you to both of them.  And they want her for reconditioning, so try to leave her mostly intact?

The Inquisitor chuckled softly before she replied, her mask making her voice echo oddly.  “I’ll try. No promises.”

There was a brief, frustrated sigh on the other end.  “Please do.  And remember, they want the boy alive.”

“‘Alive’ is a loose term.”  She shut off the comm channel, smirking to herself as she watched her ship approach the small blip that was the tracker.

“Alive” was most definitely a loose term.

And she wouldn’t lie to herself—she was a loose cannon.

Chapter Text

He was in the air vents in moments, army crawling through to where he knew Kanan’s room was.  He could drop out there and leave from there, unless the Jedi kept his door locked. He wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

Opening the vent above Kanan’s room, he dangled by his hands for a moment before dropping to the floor in a low crouch.  He rose and turned to exit but paused, turning slightly to look over his shoulder.

There was a low humming coming from one of the drawers beneath Kanan’s bunk, almost like...singing.  It was familiar, and yet he had no idea where he had heard—no, felt— anything like it before.

He took slow, measured steps toward it, feeling for the catch to open it.  He found it and the drawer slid open silently.

Inside were his broken lightsaber and a small, blue cube that seemed to pulse faintly with light.

He had only heard about these; he’d never seen one in the flesh.

A Jedi holocron.

He picked it up almost reverently, a complete contrast to the mixture of disgust and morbid fascination that reigned on his face.  He inspected every inch of it before laying it flat on his palm, closing his eyes and concentrating.

He felt it vibrate faintly, but even after several minutes nothing happened.

He finally opened his eyes, sighing in frustration as he put the cube back.  He removed his lightsaber and stood, hitting the ignition for both ends. Only one end actually ignited, however.  The other remained dormant.

One end was still good.  It wouldn’t help much against the other Inquisitor, but it was still good.

He closed the drawer and left Kanan’s room.

He walked down the corridor of the Ghost, more than a bit frustrated that the Jedi hadn’t responded to his mental call of distress.  Though, he supposed, it would make sense if the man was ignoring him. The man barely seemed to tolerate him anyway.  Though he was better than Hera. A shudder ran through him at the memory of the furious Twi’lek woman when she had discovered him and Sabine in the med bay.

He keyed the loading ramp open and waited impatiently for it to open.  As he did so, a warning rang in his head.

Kid, what’re you doing?!

Coming to help.

The ramp clanged to the ground and he walked down it, restraining from running as his nerves hummed.

His foot hit the ground, and instantly he felt then.

Creatures, without a specific alignment to the Force, and a lot of them.

He felt their anger, derived from the basic drive to defend their territory from these invaders.  The base fury washed over him, enveloping him, drawing him into itself like a web. The invaders, he had to drive them off.  He advanced toward the group of creatures, toward the pack. His pack.  His pack was strong.  His pack would stand together, would—

Kid, what’re you doing?!  The same voice as before interrupted his thoughts, repeating himself.   Snap out of it!

He blinked.  His ‘saber was in his hand, the good blade already ignited.  He was trembling, and with a shock he realized Hera’s crew had their weapons already out and in defensive positions.

Against him.

“Step away from the fyrnocks, kid.”  Kanan’s voice was calm, but his lightsaber was out and ignited, casting a soft blue glow on his face in the shadow cast by the asteroid above them.

Glancing around, he realized he was surrounded by the creatures he had— connected with?

But their anger was not aimed at him; instead, it was aimed at the crew of the Ghost.

He sheathed his ‘saber blade and lowered his arm.  Instantly he felt a tug on the hilt as Kanan tried to call it to him, but he tightened his own grip on it.

“Kid, let me have the ‘saber,” he heard the Jedi say with a slight undertone of impatience.

“No,” he found himself saying.

“Kid, ‘saber.  Now.”

“I said no.

Just for a moment, the Jedi’s eyes darkened.  He felt the man brush against his mind and newly constructed but still weak shields.  He shoved the presence out roughly and Kanan took a physical step back.

“Hera, Zeb, go back to the Ghost, ” the Jedi said quietly.  The man never took his eyes off him.

“Not this time,” Zeb responded evenly.

“We’re with you, Kanan.”  Hera’s icy glare almost made him shrink back.  Almost.

The Jedi sighed.  “Alright.” He raised his voice, now addressing him.  “Kid, hand over the ‘saber and leave the fyrnocks alone now, and we won’t have any issues.  It’s your last warning.”

“I’m not going up against an Inquisitor defenseless.”

Kanan’s face darkened as he raised an eyebrow, adopting a skeptical expression.  “Are you even sur—“

He felt a sudden tremor in the Force and glanced up.  She was coming out of hyperspace.

“She’s here,” he said softly.

Kanan, Hera, and Zeb glanced up.  Hera pulled out her commlink.

“Chopper, is there anything dropping out of hyperspace?”

There was a brief moment of static before the droid’s shrieked response could be heard.  Kanan’s face paled.

He swallowed hard and made sure his shields were firm.

This was it.


Kanan had honestly thought the kid was bluffing.  Okay, he had honestly hoped the kid was bluffing.

But according to Chopper, he wasn’t, which was bad.

Kanan took a breath and allowed himself a moment to close his eyes and recenter himself, preparing for the inevitable battle.  They wouldn’t be able to get out in the Ghost quick enough.

And with the way the kid was acting at the moment, they would be lucky to get out at all.

“I thought you said he couldn’t get out of his room?” Hera hissed the question quietly enough that the boy wouldn’t be able to hear.  He leaned down slightly to answer, not taking his eyes off of the kid.

“Well it looks like I was wrong.”

The air vents.  He should’ve known the kid would try something like this.

But finding his lightsaber?  Admittedly, it had been in somewhat of an obvious place, but—

The holocron.  His holocron. Had the kid found it?  Who knew what he would’ve done with it.  What he still could do with it.

Kanan didn’t have much time to pursue that line of thought, because the Inquisitor’s TIE had just arrived.

He watched as it settled down calmly on the asteroid, the hatch opening and a lithe figure hopping out as if it was merely a matter of skipping a step on the stairs instead of dropping ten or more feet.  She landed in a crouch and stood smoothly, turning her helmeted head to look at the boy.

The kid was nearly quaking in terror, swallowing hard every few seconds.

“Well now.  It looks like you’ve done your job well, child.  Now finish it. Kill them.”

Her voice had an odd echoing quality that Kanan shook off as he studied the boy carefully.  The boy shook his head firmly.

“No.”

The Inquisitor laughed, taking a step toward the boy and seemingly ignoring everyone else.

Hera fired a charge at her.

Instantly the Inquisitor’s lightsaber was ignited in her hand and she was turning, deflecting the charge back at them.  Kanan’s own ‘saber was up just in time to deflect it into the ground.

“You have a reputation now, you know,” the Inquisitor continued as she turned her attention back away from Hera, seemingly still addressing the boy.  He swallowed hard again, shifting his grip on the ‘saber as he raised it. He still kept the blade sheathed, though he watched the woman with a calculated coldness that just managed to cover his fear.

“Word on the street is you killed your master.”  She began to take slow, measured steps toward the boy, ignoring the fyrnocks.  Something in Kanan’s mind screamed at him to step between them. “Is that so?”

“I…” the boy trailed off, and for a moment Kanan thought he was going to go with the truth.  Then he swallowed. “I did.”

The Inquisitor stopped, mere steps away from the boy.  “I’m impressed,” she admitted, the tone of admiration obvious.  “You’ve improved since we last met face to face.” She fell silent and within a moment the boy’s eyes were closed, his face contorting in pain.

“Get—out—of—my—head!” he yelled suddenly.  There was only a low growl as a warning before one of the fyrnocks leapt at the Inquisitor.

She cut it down easily, halving the creature before it could leave a mark.

“Still as defiant as always, child,” she chuckled, closing the distance between them.

“Get on the ship, now, ” Kanan muttered urgently.  “Set coordinates for Garel. We can lie low for a while there.  This might be our only chance.”

“Kanan—“

Now, Hera.  Or we die. ”  There was a moment’s pause and he briefly tore his eyes away from the Inquisitor to see Hera shoot him a glare before she and Zeb started their retreat to the Ghost.

He turned back to the Inquisitor and the boy.  She was saying something to him that he couldn’t quite make out, and raising a hand to touch his cheek.  He flinched violently away, beginning to tremble again.

Briefly sensing for their emotions, Kanan felt the terror that had been there before was now tripled and combined with repulsion.

The Inquisitor drew back suddenly, raising her voice so Kanan could hear her now as well.

“Do you know what it means to kill your master, boy?” she asked in a clear voice.

The kid accidentally projected his real thoughts on the matter to Kanan, and possibly the Inquisitor as well.   It means I’ve rid the galaxy of his plague.

The Inquisitor’s soft laugh was enough to confirm that she had also sensed the thought.  “Perhaps. But in a broader sense, it means that you inherit his rank. And have now finished with your training, though you still have yet to kill a Jedi,” she noted with a disapproving tone.

Rank?  The Inquisitors had ranks?

He supposed it made sense that they would; after all, they were affiliated with the hierarchy-obsessed Empire.

“But that can be...arranged.”  She turned to look at Kanan and he felt a chill run through him.

“I don’t want to be Grand Inquisitor.”

Kanan’s eyes snapped back to the boy.  The Pau’an had been the Grand Inquisitor?  No, the Grand Inquisitor had been this kid’s master?

“There are many who will gladly take that title from you once we return.  Now kill this Jedi, and—“

The boy actually took a step back from her this time.

“I’m not going back to the Works or Mustafar with you.  Or anyone.”

The Inquisitor raised a hand, pressing a button on the side of her helmet that retracted the panels covering her face.  Kanan caught a glimpse of the Mirialan’s look of fury before she turned it on the boy.

“You will come back with me, child.  Or you will suffer the consequences,” she snarled.

“There’s nothing back there for me,” he growled back.  The fyrnocks surrounding the pair began to mimic him, lips peeing back to reveal teeth ready to tear into whoever the kid ordered them to.

Kanan knew that if he was going to leave, now would be the time.

But he found himself needing to know how this would play out.

“And what about m—“

“I’m not afraid of you anymore!” the kid yelled.  “Don’t bother trying to scare me anymore. I’m not- not afraid of you anymore.”

Kanan was taken aback.  The kid was beginning to struggle to keep his emotions under control, but the Inquisitor also appeared uncertain.

He really should leave.

“You claim you don’t fear me, yet you don’t seem to be able to keep your emotions in check.  Perhaps the Dark Side is rooted deeper in you than you would have had us believe,” the Inquisitor mused.

“It is n —“  He fell silent, eyes squeezing shut.  She must have attacked his shields again; the kid was screaming in seconds as he struggled to remain standing.

More and more, he was beginning to wonder how the kid survived more than even a week with the Inquisitorius.

He heard footsteps on the loading ramp and turned, about to warn Hera to go back inside when he stopped.  It was Sabine, bracing herself on the support rods as she carefully made her way down the ramp.

And somehow, she had managed to find one of her blasters; she now had one in hand.

The fury in her glare was enough to even make Kanan glad he wasn’t at the receiving end of it—for the moment, at least.

Chapter Text

“Step away from him.”

Sabine’s voice was ragged as she made her way down the loading ramp of the Ghost.  She tried to disguise how shaky her grip on the blaster was as the armored woman next to Ezra slowly turned to her.

“Ah.  The Mandalorian.”  Her voice was high, with a faint echo to it.  The woman must be an Inquisitor...and it appeared, though Sabine couldn’t tell from this distance, she was a Mirialan.  With her and Ezra’s master both aliens, maybe the Inquisitorius was an exception to the xenophobia that was prevalent in the rest of the Empire.

“Yes, I’m the Mandalorian,” she answered the woman impatiently.  “Now get away from him.” She leveled her blaster at the Inquisitor.  “Or die.”

The Inquisitor stopped whatever she was doing to Ezra and his screams petered out as he collapsed to his knees before falling silent.

“Do you honestly believe you could best me in a fight, if it came to that?”  She laughed, yellow eyes narrowing. “Do you really?

Sabine bit her lip and adjusted her grip on the blaster.

“Sabine...don’t.”

She glanced over at Ezra, blinking as sweat began to bead on her forehead.  He was trying to make his voice deep again, like he had when they had first met, despite the hoarseness of it.  Her vision darkened momentarily and she blinked again. The navy-haired boy staggered to his feet, adjusting his grip on his lightsaber.

His lightsaber.  Somehow, he had gotten it back.

She just hoped it worked.

Sabine’s vision wavered again and she blinked, refocusing on the Inquisitor.  She raised her second hand to steady her grip and nearly fell in the process. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Kanan carefully walking back to the Ghost.  She ignored him as he jogged up the loading ramp behind her.

“Ezra, get back to the ship,” she said quietly, glancing quickly at him before returning her attention to the Inquisitor.

“You think you can leave that easily, girl?  Haven’t you figured it out yet?” The Inquisitor laughed again and Sabine bit down harder on her lip and remained silent.  Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Ezra began to take slow steps toward her. The fyrnocks surrounding him remained still, but their heads turned to watch him.  She briefly wondered if he was doing the same thing to them that he had done to the loth-cat.

The Inquisitor’s expression morphed into a mixture of genuine disbelief and amusement.  “You really don't know?  Child, you didn’t think to scan her after the incident on the Sovereign?

Her eyes flicked warily to Ezra’s again.  “Ezra…?” she questioned in a low tone.

The Inquisitor smirked and stepped back.  “I’ll leave you be for now, boy. It’ll be more...fun to see how this plays out.”

Without warning the fyrnocks leapt as one at the Inquisitor.  Ezra tore back toward the Ghost, grabbing Sabine’s hand and dragging her back up the loading ramp.  She stumbled after him, slamming the controls to close the door behind them.  She tugged her hand out of his grasp and ran to the ladder to leave the cargo bay.

“Kanan!  We can go now!” Sabine shouted up the ladder.  Within moments she felt the engines start.

She heard footsteps behind her and realized her hand holding the blaster was trembling.  She half-turned to face Ezra, vision darkening again for a moment.

“Sabine?”  His voice sounded off, and his face seemed fuzzy.

“Your voice...it’s….”

The blaster slipped out of her hand as her vision darkened completely as she collapsed.


KANAN!  Kananshe’scollapsedandIdon’tknowwhattodoKananpleasehurryKananplease—

I’m coming.

The firm reassurance was enough to quiet him but not enough to assuage his fear.  Sabine had just- she had just collapsed into his arms without warning and here he was, holding her without any idea of what to do—

“Kid.  What happened?”

He glanced up, wild terror in his eyes as he watched the Jedi descend the ladder.  He skipped the last three rungs, hopping down and quickly closing the distance between them.

“She just- she just collapsed.  We came inside, and- and she just—“

Kanan knelt and took Sabine from him and gave her a cursory examination.  The Jedi’s face darkened for a moment before graying.

The Jedi stood, still carrying Sabine.  He realized that he had been kneeling as well and stood, swallowing hard.

“We need to get her to the med bay.  Now. Help me lift her.”

He nodded and helped, closing his eyes to help himself focus as they carefully lifted her up the ladder.  Kanan climbed it quickly, pulling out his comm as he did so. “Sabine’s collapsed and we’re getting her to the med bay now.  We need to get to Garel as soon as possible; I don’t think we have the supplies.” The Jedi didn’t wait for an answer as he picked up Sabine again and started toward the med bay.  “Chop! As soon as we’re in hyperspace I need you!” the man called.

He followed, nearly running after the Jedi as he keyed open the med bay door and deposited Sabine onto the cot once more.

“She- she needs a scan, too.”

Kanan glanced up at him, brow furrowing.  “Why—“

“She just needs one.”

The Jedi’s brows knit together further but he didn’t press the issue, instead pushing away from the cot and moving to the cabinets to get supplies out.

They lapsed into silence as Kanan tended to Sabine, setting up a few monitors and checking them every now and then while he filled various hypo-needles.  Finally the Jedi broke the silence.

“So, kid.  There was something the Inquisitor said that’s been nagging at me.”

He froze.  No. No no no.  Not this.

“Tell me who she was.”

Chapter Text

Instantly he threw up every shield he had, especially the ones surrounding his training.

And the time he had spent with Seven.

“Kid, it’s okay.  The Inquisitor said you weren’t scared of her anymore anyway, right?  Just tell me about her.”

He swallowed hard, gazing at the ground instead of at Kanan.

“You said she doesn’t scare you anymore?  Why ‘anymore?’” Kanan continued to press. The man sat on his usual chair and gestured for him to do the same.  Reluctantly, he did.

Uncomfortably he finally started to speak.  “She...she was in the Inquisitorius before I was.  I only met her...later. A couple years in.” He swallowed hard and stopped, continuing to stare at the ground.

“On Mustafar?”

“Y- yeah.  She- she’s called Seven.”

“Seven?”  He risked a quick glance up to see Kanan staring at him in confusion.

He nodded.  “The Seventh Sister.  It’s- it’s her title, her rank.”  He gestured vaguely to the outside of the med bay before swallowing and continuing.  “I might’ve- might’ve had one by now. If...if I’d killed you that first time back on Lothal.”  It was a terrifying thought. He imagined remaining there, in the Inquisitorius, being expected to go out on his own and kill people like Kanan.  Like Sabine, even. He forced himself to continue. “She- she trained me, sometimes.  When my own master couldn’t. I...she always volunteered to. Other times….No matter what I said….I think everyone else just- just thought it was…” he trailed off uncertainly, swallowing hard.

He risked another glance up at Kanan to see a troubled expression on the Jedi’s face.  As he opened his mouth to ask another question, the door opened and Chopper let out a shriek as he charged in.

“Sabine needs a scan.”  Kanan rose and gestured to Sabine.  The astromech beeped a question and the Jedi shrugged in answer.  “I don’t know. Ask the kid.” Turning to him, Kanan translated, “He’s asking what he should be scanning for.”

“Could you...um...go…?” he asked Kanan hesitantly.  Kanan raised an eyebrow.

“Is it—“

Sensing the direction the Jedi’s thoughts were going, he quickly intervened.  “No! It’s not that, it’s just...I don’t know what they did, and….”

The Jedi nodded slowly, still not fully convinced.  “Chop, if it’s something you think we should know about, tell us anyway.”  The droid chirped affirmatively and the Jedi cast him another long glance before exiting.  He stood, exhaling slowly.

“You- you can scan her, Chopper.  For anything that seems...out of the ordinary.”

The droid chirped again and rolled forward.  A low hum came from him, presumably the scanner.  A minute or so later, the astromech chirped and rolled backward, projecting an image.

“What’s wrong with…oh.  Oh no.” His voice dropped to a whisper as he examined the projection, face paling.  “We- we have to get out of here….” He glanced down at Sabine, swallowing hard before looking back at the droid.  He beeped in question. “No, not now. When we’re back on Lothal with the shuttle, or if there’s a ship we can steal on Garel.  Can you disable it remotely?”

The droid hummed before falling silent.  After several minutes the droid beeped in the negative and his shoulders deflated slightly.  “We’ll need to get it out….And the Ghost doesn’t have the equipment for that.”

Chopper chirped a suggestion but he shook his head.  “No. I don’t want to risk it. Where did you say it was?”  The droid chirped again. He sighed in defeat, rubbing his temples.  “That’ll probably need a professional...and with the Empire looking for her….We have to leave.  If Kanan finds out I kept this from him and we’re still here….”

Chopper warbled sadly, dome tilting down slightly.

He sighed and sat down again.

You’re always a failure.


Chopper rolled back into the med bay, beeping as he interrupted Kanan and the boy’s heated conversation several hours later.  The droid knew it had something to do with Sabine, or at least guessed that much. The boy normally only got this agitated over her.  And rightfully so, Chopper reasoned smugly. Sabine was a big improvement over Zeb and even Kanan.

Speaking of the Jedi, he glanced up, raising an eyebrow as he spotted the droid.  “What is it Chop?”

Chopper beeped indignantly about the fact that Kanan sounded exasperated with him and the man sighed, shaking his head.

“Just go ahead and tell me whatever it is.”

Chopper huffed and began to warble, explaining that they were nearing Garel and that Hera wanted Kanan back up in the cockpit and the boy back in his room.  Chopper also added that Sabine would need someone to watch over her in case she woke up, and smugly suggested that Chopper was the right droid for the job.

Hera hadn’t given the astromech that suggestion, but the droid could make inferences without her input.  Given, they weren’t always good inferences, but they were still better than nothing.

Kanan sighed, running a hand over his face as he stood.  “Alright. C’mon kid, let’s go. Chop’ll watch her.” The droid warbled a goodbye and waved with one of his prongs as well as the boy stood to follow Kanan.  Once they left and the door closed behind them, Chopper rolled over to the side of the cot and stopped, performing another scan. The droid beeped in irritation; the results were still the same.

And Chopper didn’t have the skills to fix it anymore than the boy or Kanan did.  (Though to be fair, Chopper had avoided telling Kanan the true results of the scan, even though they were probably results that would fall under what Kanan would think he needed to know.)

But if helping Sabine meant Chopper would have to go against direct orders to do so, Chopper gladly would.

After all, she didn’t shed.

Chapter Text

He prepared himself mentally for when they would return to Lothal.

He raised his shields, silently knowing that the Empire would be waiting but knowing it would be a risk he would have to take anyway.

And he warned Sabine.


Admittedly, Hera knew the girl had collapsed soon after walking, but she was still firm on her previous decision.

“I said they were leaving when she could walk.  She can walk; they’re now leaving. End of discussion.”

“Hera, I don’t like ‘em anymore'n you do, but they are just kids.”  Her gaze slid to Zeb as she raised an eyebrow.

“One’s an Inquisitor.  The other has stolen both the Phantom and Chopper, among other things, and has also used up a fair amount of our medical supplies despite being an Imperial.”  She shot a glare at Kanan as she spoke. “We’re landing on Lothal in less than an hour. Chopper, go warn them they’ll be leaving then.”  The droid grumbled but rolled off, wheels squeaking faintly even as the cockpit door slid shut behind him.

“I’ll go with him, make sure there’s no miscommunications,” Kanan offered, standing and exiting.

“I’ve gotta...check some...things.”  Zeb stood awkwardly and left. Hera sighed.

Kanan didn’t like the Inquisitor much more than she did, or at least that’s what she had thought.  Now, however, it seemed she was wrong.


“So why did she just let you go?”

Ezra sighed before answering, running a hand through his hair.  “She- she has ways of finding us.”

“Tracking your signature?”

He nodded, then shook his head.  “More like...my emotions. I’ve spent so much time with the Inquisitorius, it’s- it’s almost easier to just track my emotions.  But there’s also...on the Sovereign, they’ve- they put a tracker in you.”  He gestured to her shoulder and Sabine glanced down at it, frowning.

“That...wasn’t on the Sovereign.

He blinked.  “It wasn’t?”

She shook her head.  “No, it- I think it was on Mandalore.”  A sudden realization hit her and her eyes widened.  “That’s...that’s how they found Tristan and me,” she whispered hoarsely.  “On- on the landing pad.”

“On Mandalore?  You- were you imprisoned there?”  His voice was hesitant, as if he wasn’t sure he should even be asking those questions.  She nodded in answer.

The med bay door opened and Chopper rolled in, grumbling something about them having to leave soon.  Ezra nodded.

“Thanks Chop,” Sabine said tiredly.  The droid warbled something else and then turned to exit as Kanan walked in.

“Hera said you guys are leaving as soon as we stop on Lothal.”

“I know,” Ezra muttered.  “Chopper told us.”

Kanan looked between them skeptically and then down at Chopper, nodding slowly.  “...Right.” He cleared his throat. “Anyway, we’ll be landing by the shuttle you two stole, so you can just take that and be on your way again.”

Ezra nodded slowly.

“I’ll be in my room.”  Kanan cast a meaningful glance at Ezra before exiting, Chopper warbling as he followed.

Sabine glanced at Ezra as the door shut, sighing.  “So the tracker. How are we getting it out?”

“My parents knew a guy, a- a medic.  If he’s still in operation...and the Empire hasn’t taken over his place yet...we should be safe to go there.”  She nodded, laying back down. His brows knit together in concern. “Do you think you’ll be able to walk into Capital City without collapsing?”

“First time for everything,” she smiled.


The Ghost landed and Hera strode into the med bay immediately after, hands on her hips.

“Get off my ship.  Now.”

He nodded immediately, hopping off his chair and walking to the cot.  Sabine stood unsteadily and he grabbed her duffel, slinging it over his shoulder as he hovered next to her in case she showed signs of collapsing again.

They reached the loading ramp and descended slowly, Sabine nearly clinging to the supports though she tried to hide it.  Kanan and Hera stood with folded arms at the bottom of the ramp, with Zeb and Chopper nearby. He caught Kanan’s gaze just long enough to see something akin to regret flash in the man’s eyes.

It was gone faster than it had appeared.  He shook his head to rid himself of the memory.

They reached the foot of the ramp and Kanan stepped forward.

“You’ve already got your ‘saber back and Sabine found a blaster somehow.  But you’re still missing a couple.” The Jedi handed the blaster he had stolen on the Sovereign along with Sabine’s remaining blaster over to him.  He took them warily, eyes flicking down to the blasters before back up.  He dipped his head in thanks and turned, handing Sabine’s blaster to her.  Wordlessly, she slipped it into one of her holsters.

As they passed Chopper and Zeb, Sabine paused to pat the astromech’s dome.  “Bye Chop.” The droid let out a sad warble, dome tilting down as she left them behind.

Once they were out of sight and what he deemed to be far enough away, they paused.  “Capital City’s...this way,” he said, taking a moment to get his bearings.

She nodded, staggering next to him as they returned to the place where it all started.


"Repeat, the Imperial Academy is now on full lockdown.  The Imperial Academy is now on full lockdown. Cadet 097625 is….

He tuned out the PA’s words as he skidded around another corner, stumbling for a step before regaining his balance.  He took a moment to remove and then throw his cadet helmet to the ground before continuing. The klaxons blared in his ears as the red emergency lights flashed along the walls.  He flew down another corridor and paused, panting as he reoriented himself before darting off again.

My name is Jai Kell my homeworld is Lothal I am not an Inquisitor my name is Jai Kell my homeworld is Lothal I am not an Inquisitor my name is Jai Kell my homeworld is Lothal I am not an Inquisitor and I never will be!

His heart pounded in his chest as he rounded another corner.

“Cadet stop!  That’s an order!”  He ignored the officer as he tore down the hall.

Move.

The warning was short, quick, and enough to make him take two steps to the left.  The blaster charges whizzed by in quick succession on his right and he again thanked whatever extra sense warned him of the charges.

After rounding another corner, he slowed long enough to pull out his blaster.  It was permanently set on stun since he was still a cadet-- had been-- but it would at least slow down the pursuit.

He turned, firing almost blindly over his shoulder.  Finally he stopped running long enough to shoot, hitting the officer and both ‘troopers before turning to the cadet.

“Wait!”

Jai barely paused, lowering the blaster barrel half an inch.  “Why should I?”

“There’s nobody at the west end; they all went east.  They haven’t finished locking everything down yet. You can still get out that way, if you hurry.  They always leave a couple speeders unlocked there.”

His eyes narrowed, trying to determine who was behind the helmet.  His eyes widened in recognition a moment later. “Zare?”

The cadet nodded once, then made a shooting gesture.  “Go!” Jai gave another glance at the officer and stormtroopers.  “ Go!

“What’s your cover?”

“I’ll say you shot me too.  They’ll wake up soon.”

He turned to run but stopped.  “They won’t believe you if it didn’t happen.”  Jai shot the other cadet before turning the corner and sprinting off toward the west end of the complex.

Chapter Text

He managed to get them into the city with some Force suggestions easily enough.

He would focus on getting out when it came time for that.

He could tell Sabine was going to collapse soon; it was a miracle she was still walking this far into the city.  But he needed to find the medic soon. If she collapsed and the Empire found them….

He slowed as they reached a familiar building.  “I’ll check in Old Jho’s. He- he’s not sympathetic to the Imperials.  If anyone knows about that medic, it’ll be him.”

Sabine nodded wearily.  “Should I wait outside? I’ve been here before; someone might recognize me.”

He shrugged.  “You choose. You might want to come in, just in case a patrol comes this way.”  She nodded again and followed him in, ducking her head to avoid notice.

Not that brightly dyed hair helped much with that.

He led the way around the perimeter of the room, slowing as they reached the bar.  “Jho!” he hissed. The Ithorian ambled over from the other end of the bar.

“Bridger?” he asked quietly, not bothering to hide the slight surprise that came with the recognition.

He hesitated before nodding quickly.  “I’m looking for Jumlin. Is he still…?”

The Ithorian hesitated before answering.  “Last I checked, he was still around. Check Seventh Street.”

Sabine spoke up, taking a step forward though she kept her head down.  “That’s too close to the Imperial Academy.”

Jho shrugged.  “That’s what the last rumor I heard said.  You two can see for yourselves. He’ll probably be in an alley off Seventh, if so.”

Sabine shot him a glance, though she didn’t say anything.  He felt her unease and resolved to address it further once they left.

“Thanks.”

Jho nodded.  After a brief pause, he added, “I heard about your parents a couple years ago.  I’m sorry.”

The brilliantly red ‘saber, shoving through them, ending their lives—

“It’s fine,” he answered, a cold undertone to his voice.  “We’d...better go.”

Jho nodded and Sabine turned, trying to hide the fact that she had been leaning heavily on the bar counter to support herself.  He turned with her, avoiding supporting her but hovering nearby in case.

Neither looked back as they exited.

Once they were what Sabine deemed to be a safe distance away, she spoke up again.  “First of all, are you sure he won’t turn us in?”

He nodded.  “He’s safe. He plays anti-Imperial stuff occasionally.  He- he used to play my parents’ broadcasts,” he added, voice dropping.  Sabine nodded slowly in understanding.

“Second question: are you sure this medic is legit?  I mean, he said he was in an alley off a street close to the Academy!”

“He knows what he’s doing.  He’ll be able to get the tracker out.”  Sabine just sighed, shaking her head.

“I sure hope so,” he heard her mutter under her breath.


He had ditched the speeder after two blocks; he was well aware—perhaps more so than most of the others—that it was only too easy to hide tracking devices inside them.  Still, it had put a decent enough distance between him and the Academy. And he knew these streets better than a lot of people.

He finally stopped at the side of a building, taking a moment to breathe heavily and glance out at the street the building bordered.  Jai watched it with narrowed eyes, waiting for a knot in the traffic so that he could slip into it and just...disappear. The wailing of the klaxons at the Academy still reached him, though they had faded into mere background noise in his head.  He didn’t know when they would start searching off-campus, but he didn’t intend to stay here long enough to find out.

Keep moving.

He heeded the nudge and pushed off of the wall, stumbling momentarily and hissing in pain as his bad arm painfully scraped against the side of the building.  He had been shot by the last ‘trooper he’d seen on campus before making his escape.

The ‘trooper had deserved what he’d gotten in exchange.

Jai glanced down at himself, sighing.  If he had no idea where to find something to change into, he should’ve at least kept the helmet to make the cadet uniform complete.

In retrospect, sometimes he was almost glad for the anonymity the Empire offered.

He needed to ditch the cadet uniform once he found a suitable replacement.  They would be sending out patrols soon, with instructions to stun (if they didn’t outright decide he was a waste of time and simply better off dead) any cadet they encountered—the rest of them, the “good kids,” would all be in the Academy.

He had been one of their good kids, once.

But if that meant becoming an Inquisitor, working with the beings who just felt so wrong every time he was around them, learning to force himself to ignore those warnings he got (every time he was around the Inquisitors the warnings screamed at him to get out getoutgetoutGETOUT, so he did)—then he wouldn’t be their star pupil any longer.

Besides, Zare deserved it more than he did.  He had told Jai the real reason he’d applied, and if the Inquisitors had something to do with his sister’s disappearance, then maybe Zare would find whatever he was looking for by following them.

Jai would find whatever he was looking for somewhere else.

Though he had no idea what that even was.


Sabine blinked rapidly, forcing her eyes open as she followed Ezra into the dim alleyway.  She blinked again, squinting into the darkness.

“Jumlin?”

There was a shifting in the shadows in response to Ezra’s call.  She tensed slightly, hands drifting down toward her blasters.

“Who wants to know?” growled a low voice.

“The Bridgers’ kid.”

A man emerged from the shadows, light hair covering half his face.

“Are you the medic?” Sabine inquired quietly.  The man turned to look at her before nodding slowly.

“I am.  Bridger here tell you about me?”

She hesitated before nodding.  Ezra took a step forward.

“We need a tracker removal.  Her left shoulder.”

There was silence for several moments and she thought the man wouldn’t help.  But then he spoke up again.

“I’ll see what I can do.”  He turned abruptly, walking back into the alley.  “Come on.” Ezra and Sabine exchanged a swift glance before following him.

Ezra seemed to tense up slightly as they neared the end of the alley.

“I...I know this place.”

“Of course you do, kid.  You’ve been here before. Now hurry.”  He sped up again to follow the man and Sabine forced herself to follow at nearly the same speed, ignoring the way her vision blackened momentarily.

Jumlin pushed open the side door of a building and entered.  Ezra followed, glancing back at her as his brows knit together in worry.  “Are you—“

“I’ll be fine,” she mumbled.

His face creased in concern before he looked back ahead.

The building was sparsely furnished, the lights flickering on and off as the pair followed Jumlin further inside.  They entered another room and the medic stopped, gesturing to a cot. “I’ll go get the supplies.” Wordlessly, he exited, and Sabine sat on the edge of the cot.

“You think he’ll be able to get it out?”

Ezra shrugged.  “Probably. I overheard my folks talking about him when I was little; they said he was good.”

She nodded, blinking again as her vision darkened.  It returned to normal a moment later and she sighed inwardly, gazing at the ground.

“Are you feeling okay?”

She glanced sideways at him, nodding again.  “Yeah. Just...tired, I guess. Where are we going after this?”

“Somewhere offworld, hopefully.”  He shrugged. “Doesn’t really matter where, as long as it’s in the Outer Rim.”

“What are we going to do?”

He paused before answering, sending her a sideways look with an unreadable expression.  “I don’t know. Up to you, I guess. I...I never thought I would make it this long outside of the Inquisitorius and still be alive,” he admitted, smiling reluctantly.  “But here I am.”

She smiled in return, quickly meeting his gaze before both looked down again.

“I was thinking...it’s the Empire’s fault for all of this, right?  Let’s take the fight to them.”

His head jerked up and she looked up in time to see his expression become incredulous.  He shook his head wildly. “No, we- we can’t. We have to hide. They’ll find us.”

“But—“

“Sabine, I’m not going back there.  Not ever,” he muttered shakily.

“Okay, okay.  Calm down,” she said slowly.  “We don’t have to decide anything yet.  Okay?”

Ezra met her eyes again and nodded shakily.  “I’m sorry, I’m- I’m just on edge…they’re in the city, hunting us.  Hunting me.”

“They?”

“Inquisitors.  Seven, and- and someone else.  I’m not sure who.”

She exhaled slowly and didn’t mention it when her vision darkened briefly again.

Chapter Text

“I don’t have any sedatives left.”  Sabine glanced up as Jumlin reentered, carrying a bag that had obviously seen better days.  She glanced over at Ezra, raising an eyebrow just enough for him to notice. He shrugged in response.

“Painkillers?”

“Yes—“

“You’re not taking more painkillers,” Ezra interrupted firmly.  She glared at him and hurried to defend himself. “What? Kanan said so.”

“Yeah, well Kanan’s not a medic and you can tell him next time you see him that he’s welcome to get a hole cut into his own arm without painkillers anytime he wants,” she growled hoarsely.  “Tell Kanan he can take his kriffing medical suggestions and—“

“Okay, okay.  You get painkillers,” Ezra relented, raising his hands in surrender.

Jumlin pulls out a bottle and tosses it to her.  Sabine catches it and unscrews the cap, removing two tablets and swallowing them dry before handing the bottle back.

“Let me know when you’re ready.”

Sabine nodded firmly, unzipping her bodysuit enough to slide the sleeve off the shoulder with the tracker.  “I am.” She glanced over at Ezra as the antiseptic the medic applied to the small horizontal scar started to take effect.  “You got a plan for after this?”

He shrugged.  “A bit. I know where we can get a ship.”

“Good.”  She winced as she felt the first incision, abruptly reaching for Ezra’s hand and squeezing it hard.  He blinked in surprise, and to be fair she surprised herself with the sudden gesture as well. “Do you, um, mind?”

He shook his head vigorously.  “No, it’s- it’s fine. Perfectly fine,” he answered, voice cracking slightly.  She bit back a smirk as his cheeks flushed faintly.

Though, upon further examination, she realized she was probably blushing as well.

Not that she minded that.


She wasn’t about to deny that she was probably high on painkillers at the moment, but she also wasn’t about to deny that she probably needed them.

Sabine stumbled next to him as they wove through the streets of Capital City.  In the time they had been with the medic, the number of patrols had increased tenfold.  Klaxons were blaring across the city as searchlights panned over the main streets. And he had been on edge for some reason—she was sure it was for a reason beyond the sudden increase in security, based on how jumpy he was acting—nearly the entire time since they had set foot outside of the medic’s.

She grabbed Ezra’s sleeve, pulling him to a stop.  He glanced over at her, brow raised. “What?”

“What’re you so anxious about?”

“The patrols.”  He answered too quickly for her liking.

Her vision darkened for a moment and she blinked hard to clear it, narrowing her eyes.  “No. That’s not it. There’s something else. Did your medic report us?”

He sighed, running a hand through his close-cropped hair.  “Yeah, there- there is. But Jumlin didn’t report us. There’s—well, I’m not completely sure how to explain it—but there’s something out there.   Someone.  I think- I think they’re looking for someone.  And I- I think the Inquisitorius is involved somehow.”

“Can you sense them or whatever?”

He shrugged.  “Somewhat. Whoever it is, they’re not very strong.  I doubt they’ve been trained, and I don’t recognize their signature.”

She nodded slowly.  “Should we avoid them?”

He hesitated before nodding.  “Probably. Just to be on the safe side.”

“Okay.”  Her vision darkened again and she blinked.

“Are you—“

“I’m fine.  Let’s go. We need to keep moving,” she cut off hoarsely.  He gave her a doubtful look but continued walking.

They turned a corner and suddenly Ezra froze, face paling.

“What is it?”

“We- we have to get out of here.  Now,” he replied, eyes darting around furtively.

“Then let’s go.”

She followed him, stumbling after him as he approached a corner.  He paused, raising the hand that wasn’t carrying her duffel, before continuing forward again.  She tripped over the curb, falling briefly. He whirled instantly, swallowing as she waved him away and staggered to her feet again.  “I’m fine.

He swallowed nervously again but nodded.  “O- okay.”

“How close are we to that ship you mentioned?”

Ezra shrugged.  “If the patrols don’t increase or change in the next few hours...then it should be another hour or two, maybe.”

“And where exactly is this ship?”

“The Imperial airfield…?”

Sabine sighed and shook her head.  “You really want to push our chances of survival to the extreme, don’t you?”

He let out a short, joyless chuckle, running another hand through his hair.  “I guess.”

She laughed mirthlessly too and shook her head, blinking to rid the darkness from her vision as they turned another corner.


Kanan’s eyes opened to fire.

It took him a moment to remember where he was, to remember why the breath was knocked out of him, to remember why everything was so bright and why that ISB agent was nearby with a holocam, shouting something at Zeb.

Zeb.  Zeb. He needed- needed to help Zeb.  Grunting, he inhaled sharply and forced himself to sit up on the duracrete, suppressing the urge to vomit.  Gradually, his hearing began to come back to him.

“You did this!”  The ISB agent’s face was furious as Kanan started to stand, the ground swaying beneath him.  He cast a glance back at the burning shuttle.

Tua.

Tua was dead.

Kallus had rigged the shuttle to explode somehow, had known what the rebels’ plan was before they had even solidified it themselves.

The Imperials had sacrificed one of their own.

And all to blame the rebels.

The chill he had felt on the planet ever since the kid and his master had first come to Lothal had been amplified tenfold in the past few hours.  He didn’t want to know what that meant.

He pulled out his comm and blaster, raising the latter into a defensive position.  “Hera we need a pickup. Now!”

Copy that, we’re on our way.”  He glanced around anxiously, waiting for the Phantom to appear.

Finally he caught sight of the small transport approaching and his face creased, relaxing slightly.  He waved to Zeb, motioning to the Phantom before firing several charges at Kallus and the stormtroopers surrounding him.

“Let’s go!”

The pair rushed toward the Phantom, darting up the open ramp as the ship touched down long enough for them to board before lifting off again.

Kanan didn’t fully relax until they had reached the Ghost again, and even then he was still tense as Chopper warbled anxiously about a broadcast they needed to see.

The trio followed the astromech into the common room, Hera and Zeb sitting around the dejarik table while Kanan leaned against the wall nearby, arms folded.  The droid started the broadcast.

A beloved citizen of Lothal, Prime Minister Tua’s life was tragically cut short by this criminal band of rebels.  If you do see them, please summon Imperial authorities immediately. Stormtrooper patrols have already been mobilized—

Hera abruptly shut off the broadcast, leaning back in her seat.  “They did this just to turn Lothal against all of us. We simply can’t do any more good here.  We have to leave Lothal, for good.”

“We can't just run Hera.  The people have to know the truth sooner or later,” Zeb argued.

“Yeah, well I don’t think the Galactic Empire is giving us much choice at the moment,” Kanan responded grimly.  “It’s decided. We have to leave, for good.”