Ezra helped Kanan down into the seat of the Phantom, trying not to think. It was easier not to think, not to think of what might be under the ancient mask, why Kanan’s shirt under his hands was far too wet and sticky. He didn’t want to think of Ahsoka left behind, with that thing, in the ancient Sith Temple. He didn’t want to think.
Ezra could feel tears stinging at his eyes anyway as he got the med kit. Tried to give reassurances and felt his voice stutter.
“Hey, it’s ok,” Kanan murmured, even as Ezra lifted the mask as carefully as he could away from Kanan’s face. “It’s going to be ok.”
“Don’t lie to me,” Ezra choked back a sob, don’t think don’t think don’t think, just do. Just lay out the medical supplies, bacta, bandages, anything that might help. Ezra wasn’t good at this, never liked being around people who were in pain, and he didn’t know what to do. He poured bacta with a shaking hand over the deep slice in Kanan’s side, trying not to look too closely. He wrapped it as tight as he could, as if that would stop the bleeding and seeping. Kanan slumped and he struggled to catch him, easing him down onto the floor.
“I’ll be, I’ll be fine. You can handle this, Ezra.” Kanan’s voice was shaking now, softer than before.
“Y-yeah. This might, might sting a little,” Ezra whispered, pouring the last of the bacta over the deep gash across Kanan’s eyes. Maul had struck viciously, to wound and to maim instead of a clean kill. Kanan didn’t flinch, his breathing ragged now, and Ezra wound the bandages carefully over the wound, to keep the bacta in place and to protect the injury. His hands were shaking so hard he nearly didn’t get the ends fastened.
“You better be fine, Kanan, you hear me? You can’t leave me like this, not after that. Alright? If you leave me, if it was my fault… No one would forgive me, and that would be your fault. So you have to hang on, and you have to get better.” Ezra was distantly aware he was babbling, but unable to stop.
Kanan’s lips twitched up just a little “Not.. not your fault.” The words slurred a little, and Ezra could hardly hear them over his own heartbeat pounding in his ears.
“I...Yeah, but it doesn’t matter, you’re going to be ok,” Ezra shuddered, cupping a shaking hand against Kanan’s cheek, trying not to touch the bandage. “We’ll be back soon, and then, then it’ll be fine.”
“Ezra, Ezra I...” Kanan turned his head a little, struggling to keep talking. Ezra was distantly aware that the bandage over Kanan’s side was slowly darkening, but he didn’t dare disturb it to try and wrap it any better. Instead he tucked the emergency blankets around him, so he didn’t have to see.
“I’m right here, I’m listening,” Ezra spoke a little too loudly, too fast, too everything as he watched Kanan’s lips.
“I...” And then Kanan sighed, going limp.
“Kanan, no, please, please have just passed out, ok? We’ll be there soon,” Ezra pressed his fingers to the side of Kanan’s throat, holding his breath as he found the pulse. The pulse that beat steadily and slowly, then slower still, and then nothing. Ezra bit his lip until he tasted blood, feeling his own heart pounding in his ears, but the next beat never came.
“No Kanan, no, please, you can’t. Kanan you can’t,” Ezra pleaded, tears burring his vision. He wasn’t sure how long he would have knelt over him crying if it wasn’t for Chopper suddenly interrupting, beeping questioningly.
Ezra’s mind raced and he stood up, making his shaky way to the cockpit.
I can’t go back.
The thought echoed in his head over and over, not quite loud enough to drown out everything, but close. He couldn’t go back, how could he face everyone? He had to do something. He reached for calm, aware that it was only a small fragile bubble in a raging sea of pain, but he needed his voice steady.
“Chopper, where’s the nearest inhabited planet? I need to make a quick stop before we head back to the base.”
Ezra could feel himself shaking as he bent over Kanan’s body. He’d eased him into as natural a position as he could, and he’d left the Sith holocron in the cockpit. He didn’t want to leave it too close to Kanan, but it felt wrong not to leave it, not after all they’d lost getting it. Maybe the Rebellion would find some way to use it. He gently curled Kanan’s hand around his lightsaber, and tried not to think as he strapped Kanan’s blaster around his waist. It was too big, no matter how tightly he cinched it, but he would need some sort of weapon. It hung heavy on his hip, and he hated taking it, but he couldn’t think of any other way.
“I’m sorry,” Ezra whispered, too quietly for the ship’s audio to pick up, kissing Kanan’s cool forehead and feeling tears dripping wetly down. He stood up quickly, scrubbing over his face and walking to the ramp, stepping out and then pressing the button to close it. Chopper beeped from on top of the Phantom, demanding to know what he was doing.
“You need to get back to the base, look, you can’t wait for me, you need to hurry back. You need to get Kanan back, alright? Then you guys can come back for me. But you have to get going, now!’ Ezra’s voice cracked a little on the last part. If he wasn’t a monster before, lying to Chopper, letting him think there was a reason to hurry, made certain of it. Chopper tried to argue.
“There’s no time! Go!” Ezra turned and ran as he could hear the Phantom lifting off.
By the time anyone could come back to the planet to look for him. He planned to be long gone.
It was harder than Ezra thought to pretend like nothing was wrong. To inquire about getting a ship off planet, he wasn’t picky about where. He found what he was looking for easily enough, with a couple of traders who didn’t look too likely to rob him or worse. Not that he had anything worth stealing, but he wasn’t entirely sure what he’d do if someone attacked him. He felt like he was teetering on the blade’s edge of laying down and letting them kill him, or doing something unforgivable.
He left that planet and everything else behind.