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Love of a Lifetime

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Hera Syndulla was broken. "I love you," she'd said, finally admitting her deep seated feelings.

"Must be the truth serum talking," Kanan had replied.

"No. It's me. All. Me." She'd kissed him then. Deeply, and with everything she had. It was like their first kiss all over again.

The truth serum Pryce had injected into Hera had mostly gone through her system, with the adrenaline surge of the last several minutes. Instead of feeling foggy, she had similar effects to alcohol consumption. Mostly just reduced inhibitions at that point. It had simply made her unafraid to speak the words that had gone unacknowledged for far too long. Now her heart was shattered as she recalled her last view of Kanan - framed by flames as he started back at her with those beautiful teal eyes. Eyes that she hadn't seen for two years. Eyes that had been milky white for those two years. Eyes that had looked at her with so much love and sorrow then. She hadn't had time to even contemplate what seeing those teal eyes again meant, before he was sucked into the fiery maelstrom, and then he was gone. Hera was irreparably broken.

Kanan had Force pushed Hera into the transport, right into Ezra's arms, which then had wrapped tightly around her. Partly to keep her from running back to Kanan again, and partly in shared anguish that she was too distraught to notice. As she'd sobbed into his shoulder, her mind was screaming with how's and why's and what now's.

The flight back to base was a blur. She was vaguely aware of landing. She wandered off toward the sunset, Chopper following quietly, and she clutching her Kalikori to her chest. Her Kalikori that Kanan had taken back from Thrawn's office. She stopped and stared into nothing. Chopper reached up with a grasper arm and took her hand, and a single tear ran down her cheek. She looked at the Kalikori again, and a small snort of laughter at Kanan's "gift" turned into uncontrollable sobs. Her heart felt like it was going to explode with grief. She fell to her knees, her legs unable to support her any longer.

Why hadn't Kanan just gotten on the transport? Her thoughts were screaming at her. Sabine could have gotten them clear in time, couldn't she? Somewhere deep in her rational mind, she knew that if Kanan hadn't acted, they all would have perished. But that part of her mind was rapidly losing the battle with her heart that so desperately wanted him back. Kanan, the love of her life, her once in a lifetime love, was gone. Hera simply couldn't process the idea.

What was she supposed to do now? Hera looked around to see that the sun had risen. She'd been here all night? Numb, she stood up and made the trek back to the base. The rest of their meager little resistance was there, talking about Force knew what. Hera didn't care.

"General Syndulla?" Ryder Azadi was speaking to her. Hera looked at him as if to ask, "Who?"

"Hera." Ryder spoke again, trying to break through her grief. "What do you think?" Hera put her head down, uninterested in the conversation, and continued walking. Chopper followed her silently as she headed into the caves, still holding onto her Kalikori.

There was a small, low table, which Kanan's mask and his hair, still wrapped in a ponytail, were sitting on. She put the Kalikori next to them and sat back against the wall. She thought about Kanan's grin when he "gifted" her with her Kalikori. She realized that she was wrong when she'd told him he hadn't given her anything since they'd met. He'd given her the most important thing every day since the day they'd met - himself. His unconditional love for her, his support for a rebellion he'd wanted no part of. He'd stayed and fought with the rebellion because he wouldn't leave her. The guilt she realized caused a fresh wave of grief to wash over her. She sobbed again, feeling like her heart was being ripped from her chest, knowing she was responsible for the death of the man she loved. The man she had assumed she would spend the rest of her life with.

Ever faithful, Chopper stayed by Hera's side as she wept. As her weeping subsided, she thought about how much her family's history meant to her, and Kanan had known that. It was yet another example of his love for her, knowing what he had gone through to get it back for her.

She missed him so much it hurt. She knew that it would never stop hurting, that she was just going to have to learn to live without him, like with her mother. For now, she would put the worst of her grief aside, and join the others. She would try to help Ezra, Sabine, and Zeb through their grief. They would help each other.

There was a new piece on the Kalikori. The design was painted the same color as Kanan's eyes.