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waking up.

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Jacen was laughing, running around and around the room before stopping, gasping loudly by the couch.  He bent down, laughter increasing as he got to his feet and began to circle the couch once more. “I found Ez!  I found Ez!”

The chuckling of the older boy came from behind the couch as Ezra stood, shaking his head with a good-natured smile on his face.  “I’m not Ezra. My name’s Dev Morgan.”

“No you aren’t!  You’re Ez’a!” Jacen giggled again.  “You’re my big b’other Ez’a!”

“Alright, alright, it looks like you found me,” Ezra admitted, putting his hands up and shrugging.  “You won that round.”

“Again!  Again!”

“What if we do something else?”

Jacen stopped jumping, cocking his head.  “Like what?”

Ezra put his hand to his chin, pretending to think for a moment as he ran his other hand through close-cropped hair.  “Like...tickle fight!”

Jacen squealed, turning and dashing away from Ezra.  The teen chuckled as he ran after him, chasing him into the kitchen doorway before stopping, cocking his head as if listening to something no one else could hear.  He turned back, directly looking into Kanan’s eyes. The man felt his breath catch as Ezra opened his mouth to speak.

The shrieking of the alarm on the chronometer wakes him and he groans, blindly groping for it before slamming a hand down on the “sleep” button and rubbing his eyes.  He stares blindly at the ceiling before sighing, sitting up with a grunt. He doesn’t need to look to know Hera’s not there; the distant smell of caf draws him out of their cabin as he walks to the galley, approaching her from behind and gently rubbing her shoulder as he gives her a soft kiss on the cheek.  Out of the corner of his eye, he catches an amused smirk as she rolls her eyes.

“You’re up early,” he murmurs.

“It’s me, love.  What were you expecting?” she responds quietly, pouring the caf into a mug before reaching for another one.  He’s one step ahead of her, already grabbing it and placing it on the counter with a quiet clink.

“Mm, not sure.”  He shrugs, watching her pour the caf in silence before taking the offered mug and sitting at the table.  She sits on his right, and they ignore the emptiness of the rest of the table, especially the space on his left where—

He squeezes his eyes shut.  No. He’s okay. It’s been cycles by now, he’s fine.

“Love?”

He opens his eyes again, taking a large sip of the caf even though it’s still too hot; the sensation of nearly being burned helps distract him.  “I’m fine,” he mutters. “Just...I dreamed about him again. Both of them.” He’s never been able to hide his concerns from Hera for long, and he’s glad; it took cycles but he’s learned that it’s better for someone else to know, too.

“Jacen’s all right, you know that.”  She takes a small sip from her mug, and even though he’s staring at the table, he can tell her gaze is on him.  “Luke’ll take care of him.”

“I know.”  They’re silent again.  Neither wants to bring up the other one; eleven cycles is still too soon.

Hera clears her throat a few minutes later, pulling a datapad out as she begins speaking.  “Well, Zeb commed after you went to bed last night. He said he and Kallus found another lead they want us to check out.  Apparently, Zeb’s too conspicuous for it and Kallus is too recognizable. Us, on the other hand….”

Kanan rubs a hand over his face.  “Alright. Where is it?”

When she doesn’t answer immediately, he removes his hand and glances at her.  She’s not bothering to hide the wide smirk on her face as she studies the datapad.  “Well, it’s on a small mining planet called Gorse….”

He smirks slightly as well.  Hera’s right. Luke can take care of Jacen.

As for the other one, he’s with the Force now.

Not much either of them can do about that.

It’ll take time, he knows, to make his peace with it.  And once he does, it won’t ever really leave.

But maybe, one day, the dreams of his sons chasing each other won’t bring him back to that too-humid night on Lothal, where a boy decided he couldn’t let his second set of parents go, either.