Kanan had to admit, out of all the ways he'd thought that he might die over the years, slowly freezing to death while locked inside a tiny utility closet on an Imperial ship had never crossed his mind. It went to show that the universe apparently had a sense of humor.
He closed his eyes, focusing on slowing his breathing. He'd been trained for situations like this, once upon a time. It had been a lifetime since he had actually attempted to meditate, and he couldn't even remember the last time he had tried to slow his heartbeat in order to put himself into a near-hibernation state. But the knowledge was still there, buried in his head with a million other memories that he'd done his best to forget.
(That was a lie. He could remember the last time he'd put his training to practice clearly, a rare smile lighting up his Master's face when he had succeeded in completing the challenge she had put before him. It had been only a few weeks before life as he knew it had crumbled to ruin around him, and it was a memory that he cherished.
Maybe that was why he tried to forget. It was easier to pretend it didn't still hurt, after all this time, if he didn't remember in the first place.)
Despite his best intentions, Kanan could feel his breathing picking up again. There was a reason that he had spent so many years trying not to think about the past, after all.
"Damn it," he muttered, opening his eyes again.
The view around him hadn't changed in the least bit. He was still surrounded by the same gray walls as before, the dim emergency lighting high above him on the ceiling the only reason he could see even that much. The room was still slowly growing colder, a sure sign that his sabotage of the ship's heating system had worked.
He just hadn't planned on still being trapped on the damn ship by the time it became noticeable.
Kanan was used to his and Hera's plans not going quite as expected, but this was the first time things had turned into this much of a clusterfuck. Oh, he wasn't an idiot. He was well aware that it was his own damn fault for getting cocky and not double-checking to be certain that he hadn't missed anyone in the control room before letting his guard down.
Things could have ended up being much worse, of course. He was lucky that the explosions Hera had been in charge of setting up had gone off when they did. The Imperial who had caught him by surprise hadn't had time to drag him down to the cells proper, improvising instead with the room he was currently locked in.
Then again, the cells would probably be the first place that Hera looked for him when he didn't make the rendezvous. A random closet near the control room, one that was probably used for the storage of powered off droids, was most likely near the bottom of the list. So maybe this was the worst scenario, since the guard had been smart enough to take his communicator off of him along with his blaster before shoving him through the door.
Kanan pushed himself to his feet, grimacing as his body protested. His joints were aching, and now that he was standing he could feel more clearly just how cold his extremities were getting. He'd apparently been sitting there longer than he'd realized.
"This would be a good time for an impressive last-minute rescue," Kanan said out loud, his voice sounding strangely loud in the stillness of the room. He also couldn't help but notice that it unsurprisingly shook slightly when he spoke.
It wasn't exactly a surprise when there wasn't any response.
He'd heard the sound of distant explosions earlier, as well as hurried footsteps running through the hallway outside. There hadn't been any sounds in some time, though, at least not that he had noticed. He just hoped that was a good sign and not a bad one.
Kanan walked over to the door and pressed his hand against it, grimacing at how cold the metal felt against his skin. He'd looked the room over for some type of control panel a thousand times already, but he couldn't resist doing it one more time. Not that he saw anything different than every other time he'd looked. The room clearly wasn't meant to be opened from the inside.
"This is going well," he muttered under his breath, pulling his hand away from the door and making a small lap around the room. It wasn't very large, of course, but if meditation wasn't going to work then he needed to keep moving.
For the first time in years, Kanan regretted not bringing his lightsaber with him on a mission. It was only fairly recently that he'd started carrying it even part of the time, usually at Hera's prompting. There were plenty of very good reasons to leave it back on the ship, and he'd found over the years that a good blaster was almost as effective and a lot less conspicuous. At least, that had been the argument he'd made when Hera had tried to convince him to bring it with him, just in case.
Still, it would have made it much easier to come up with an escape plan.
Kanan kicked the door in frustration as his next lap of the room brought him back in front of it. There was a dull clanging thud, barely noticeable even in the quiet that surrounded him, and he grimaced as the impact made the ache in his legs even worse.
Somewhere in the distance, there was another explosion. It was smaller than some of the ones from earlier, but it was still clearly noticeable.
Despite everything, Kanan couldn't help but smile just a little. If nothing else, it was a sign that Hera had managed to evade capture so far. She was a practical woman. She'd look for him, but if she couldn't find him before time ran out, she'd get the hell out of there. Kanan fully admitted that he was hoping for the former, but... well, if he had to choose only one of them to make it out of there, then she was the obvious pick.
With a shake of his head, he turned to make another lap around the rapidly cooling room.
"Kanan, are you in here?"
There was no mistaking the familiar figure standing in the doorway, or the voice that had just said his name. "Hera?" he asked, his words slurred more than he had expected them to be. He grimaced and cleared his throat a bit, even though he knew it wouldn't help. "Is that you?"
He couldn't quite see it, not with his vision still recovering from the sudden flood of light from the doorway, but he could practically hear Hera rolling her eyes at him.
"Who else would it be?" she asked. Her tone was light, but she wasn't even trying to hide the worry on her face. He could see that much even with his eyesight a bit spotty. "We need to get out of here. You can fill me in on what went wrong later."
Kanan tried to push himself up off the floor, but for some reason his body didn't seem to want to do what his brain was telling it to do. He grimaced, getting ready to try again, when suddenly two arms wrapped around him and all but yanked him to his feet.
He hadn't even noticed that Hera had left the doorway and walked up to him. That... probably didn't bode well, now that he was thinking about it.
"Come on," Hera said, her voice gentler than it had been a moment before. "Let's get out of here."
It took a second or five, but eventually his legs remembered how to walk as the two of them stumbled out of the room and into the corridor outside. He was still leaning on Hera more than he should have been, but they were at least moving forward. It was better than nothing.
Kanan thought that he felt fingers carding through his hair for a moment, but it might have been his imagination. No, it probably was, now that he thought about it. Wishful thinking on his part.
He pointedly didn't think about what that might mean.
The world swayed in and out of focus as they made their way down the suspiciously empty corridor. Part of him wanted to ask where everyone was, how she had found him, what was going on. But a larger part of him was more preoccupied with putting one foot in front of the next, the air still bitingly cold even outside of the small room he'd been locked in.
At least he knew that his sabotage earlier had apparently been thorough.
Beside him, Hera came to a sudden halt. Kanan stumbled, his reaction time a second or two slower than hers, and bit back a rather emphatic curse. He reached out to steady himself on the wall as she let go of him and pulled out her weapon.
The sound of heavy footsteps was coming from somewhere around the next bend in the hallway, still some distance away but clearly heading in their direction. Hera glanced at him, a look on her face that he couldn't quite read. "Can you shoot?" she asked, already reaching for her spare blaster.
"I think we're about to find out," Kanan said grimly, holding out his hand.
Hera handed the blaster over. His fingers trembled a little as he wrapped his hand around it, and his grip felt clumsy on it. But it didn't slip from his grasp and fall to the floor.
Kanan suspected that was the best they could hope for just then.
"Watch my back, love," Hera said, shooting him a grin that didn't quite meet her eyes. "And try to shoot the bad guys, not me."
He didn't even try to hold back his eyeroll. It was all but automatic. "I make no promises," he said dryly.
Hera's grin grew a little more genuine. Then, without another word, she turned and started heading in the direction they had been moving. It shouldn't have surprised him. She always liked taking the lead, even when everything wasn't threatening to topple down around them.
Still, he couldn't help but feel a quick pang of worry. Or maybe it was guilt. It was his job to watch her back, and he honestly wasn't certain how good of a job he was going to do with it. All things considered and everything.
Kanan took a deep breath, steadying himself, before following her. He felt somewhat disconnected from his body, and he knew from past experience that he wasn't going to be able to keep moving on his own merit for much longer. For the time being, though, he was still on his feet. He'd take what he could get.
The sound of blaster fire suddenly filled the corridor.
"Some backup would be nice right about now!" Hera called out from somewhere around the bend in the corridor, a hint of annoyance in her voice. Or maybe it was worry. Sometimes it was difficult to tell with her, even after almost a year of knowing each other.
Kanan didn't reply. Instead, he tightened his grip on the blaster she had given him and forced himself to speed up, even as his legs trembled under him.
He furrowed his brow, his eyes still tightly closed as he tried to puzzle through his somewhat fragmented memories. There were large patches of missing time mixed together with a disjointed scene here and there. It felt rather worrisomely like the aftermath of some of his more impressive drinking bouts, back when he'd still been on his own and hadn't had Hera there to glare him into submission when he stumbled back from a bar in the middle of the night.
Hera. There was something about—
A flash of memory popped into his head, only a few seconds long but enough to send his heartrate racing. Hera standing in front of him, grimacing in pain as one of her arms hung limply to the side even as she glanced over her shoulder to meet his gaze.
Kanan's eyes shot open, and he sat straight up.
Well, to be more precise, that's what he tried to do. He only managed to lift himself an inch or so upwards before he suddenly became aware that someone's arms were wrapped around, and the reason he felt so warm was because there was a quite-a-bit-warmer-than-him body pressed against his back. He also immediately noticed a hundred or so little aches and pains all over his body that he'd somehow missed until just then.
Behind him, there was a familiar chuckle. "I was starting to think you were never going to wake up."
"Hera?" Kanan asked, turning his head the best that he could.
A pair of bright green eyes met his, mirth shining in them.
Hera unwrapped her arms from around him and sat up, and Kanan felt a pang of loss as she pulled away from him. He quickly squashed it down, instead focusing on pushing himself up and taking a quick look around.
They were back on the Ghost, in Hera's quarters, both of them now sitting on her bunk despite it being something of a tight squeeze. Several blankets from their emergency supplies were spread out around them, as well as one of the small, portable heaters that they typically didn't use on the ship. It painted a very clear picture of what was going on, when it was all said and done.
She'd probably saved his life. Not that it was the first time that had happened, but it never ceased to surprise him. Even after close to a year, he wasn't used to not being completely on his own.
Kanan opened his mouth. Then he closed it. He felt much better than he had earlier, although he still felt shakier than he liked, but he couldn't for the life of him remember how they had gotten off of the Imperial ship they'd been on and back to the Ghost.
"What do you remember?" Hera asked suddenly.
He glanced at her, not surprised to see her studying his face rather closely.
"Not much," he admitted, more than a little reluctantly. Then he narrowed his eyes, his gaze drifting to her left arm. "You getting shot."
Hera rolled her eyes before pointedly lifting her arm. It was clearly a bit stiff, but otherwise it seemed fine. "Says the man who almost froze to death in a storage closet."
There wasn't really anything he could say to that, not that would make him come out on top. So Kanan rather prudently decided to keep his mouth shut for once.
"How do you feel?" Hera asked, her mouth twitching a little.
There were lots of ways to answer that question. Kanan decided to go with the one most likely to not invite any follow-ups to it. "Like I just woke up in bed with a beautiful woman and don't remember anything leading up to it?"
Hera raised both of her eyebrows – or whatever twi'leks called the tattoos some of them got over their eyes, since he'd never actually asked. "I'd think you were used to that, all things considered."
Kanan grinned at her.
"And don't think I didn't notice you not answering my question," Hera continued, shooting him a pointed look.
His grin faded.
Hera's mouth twitched again, but she didn't say anything. She just kept staring at him.
"Not great," Kanan admitted, a little reluctantly. There wasn't any point in trying to hide it, though. Hera was surprisingly perceptive for someone who wasn't Force sensitive. "But better than before."
"Considering you were almost unconscious before, I'm glad to hear it," Hera said dryly.
Kanan gave her a sheepish shrug. Then he grimaced as his body made it clear that it wasn't happy with that particular movement.
Barely holding back a smile, Hera slid over a bit to make more room on the bed. "Come on then," she said. "Go back to sleep. It looks like you need it."
He blinked. Then, because he couldn't quite think of what else to do, he blinked again.
Hera rolled her eyes.
"Here?" he asked. "I mean, my bunk's just—"
"Kanan," Hera said, cutting in, "you're still shivering."
He hadn't even realized it until she'd said as much, but now that she had pointed it out Kanan was uncomfortably aware that she was right.
Shaking her head, Hera reached out and put her hand on his shoulder. Then, very gently, she pushed him back down on the bed beside her. "Go back to sleep," she said softly.
Kanan knew better than to argue. He'd learned early on that he wasn't going to win in that particular situation. With a sigh, he settled back down beside her.
She was very warm.
Then he went completely still as Hera leaned forward and pressed a kiss against his forehead.
"Kanan," she said quietly as she pulled away, her mouth hovering near his ear.
He cleared his throat. "Yes?" he asked, and if it sounded a bit strangled he thought that he could be forgiven. Just this once.
Kanan could practically hear the smile in Hera's voice as she replied, clear amusement mixed in with a fair bit of annoyance. "Don't think that I still don't want to know how in the kriff you managed to get caught back there."