Hera sat alone in the Ghost’s fresher, clutching the little plastic stick she held in her hands for dear life. She almost hadn’t dared to look at it. Ignorance was bliss...but then Hera had never really had much patience for ignorance. Still, it felt like a solid block of duracrete had settled in the hollow where her heart used to sit.
One line for negative, two for positive
Two blue lines stared plainly up at her.
There was no getting around it; Hera knew without seeing the doctor back at Yavin IV that she was pregnant. Even now, her first instinct was still to walk straight to Kanan’s door and knock.
Kanan. Kriffing hells...Hera wanted so badly, somehow, some way, to tell him that he was going to be a father. Jedi or not, rebellion or not, Kanan would have absolutely loved this. If she let herself, Hera could almost picture the look of pure glee that would undoubtedly have covered Kanan’s scruffy face at the news.
Luv...I wish you were here...I wish you could know...
Another thought almost made Hera accidentally snap the positive pregnancy test she was clutching. Those last minutes that they had together, Kanan had been acting a bit...different. It was hard to remember perfectly through the haze of Imperial truth serum, but Hera could definitely remember Kanan seeming like he wanted to tell her something. She of course had beaten him to any sort of revelations with her first public declaration of love. But what if...?
There had been something so resolute, so determined about Kanan when the blast hit. Everything about his final stand had screamed sheer commitment to this course. Hera knew that Kanan loved her, had known it for years. Kanan loved Ezra in a way that only a Jedi could completely understand, and loved Sabine as if she were their own. Even so, there was an air of visceral protectiveness about Kanan in that fiery moment which could only mean one thing.
He had known.
Of course he had. Kanan was, after all, a Jedi. He probably knew she was pregnant before any science could have possibly told anyone. Hera wondered what must have gone through his head when he first realized.
What were you thinking, Kanan? Were you excited? Scared? Full of happiness and hope for a future that now can never be?
Legs trembling, Hera stood up. Unsure what to do with the positive test, she opted after a moment’s deliberation to flush it down the disposal unit. This was something that only she would know for now...she and Kanan both. It was their last and greatest secret.
Trying to force her posture back into her usual, confident gait, Hera took a deep breath before stepping out of the fresher. Carrying a child was going to have a big impact on her role in the rebellion, that much was for sure. There was no question about it though; Hera knew she wanted to have this baby. It was hers...and it was Kanan’s. That alone was enough to make her love the little life inside of her fiercely already. Thank all the stars above that the pregnancy had survived her ordeal at the hands of Governor Pryce. The little one must already have their parents’ determination, Hera concluded, and the thought made her smile quietly to herself.
Hera’s mind still reeled as she made her way down the crew passage of the Ghost. It was almost too much to take it. She wanted to start preparing right now, but she also wanted to feign normalcy for a little while longer. She was petrified with excitement, but also feeling the grief of Kanan’s death more acutely than ever before. Her hand fluttered of its own accord to rest on her still-flat stomach. Caught between a million extremes, Hera almost didn’t realize who was talking when a voice floated down to her from the roof turret.
“...They’ve fought so hard, given so much, and helped me to understand why you stood up to the Empire, and made the sacrifices you did.”
Ezra, sitting alone up in the gunner’s chair. Hera didn’t want to eavesdrop, especially when she suspected that he was speaking speak to the hologram picture of his parents which Sabine had recovered for him. Still, knowing that Ezra was also talking about the Spectres drew Hera to the ladder below him.
“I wish you could meet them; my new family.”
Hera felt another soft smile coming on. She and Kanan had never pretended to be what they weren’t, especially not to Sabine, whose parents were alive on Mandalore, or Ezra who was old enough when he came to the Ghost to still clearly remember his mother and father. Still, it warmed Hera’s soul to think that these strong, incredible young survivors thought of them as family.
“I guess in some way you will be with us today, when we finish what you started,” Ezra was saying. “I want you to know, everything I’ve done and will do began with you.”
It was a poignant thought, one which soothed Hera’s racing mind. Ezra and Sabine had grown up to be amazing people, and no doubt their parents were and would have been blindingly proud of them. If hers and Kanan’s child turned out anything like either of the youngest Spectres...well then, Hera would gladly accept the responsibility of bringing that child into the world and raising it. Even if she did so without Kanan at her side.
Nine months later...
It had been one hell of a labour. If Hera weren’t so tired, she would be cheerfully cursing Kanan from this side of the Force, or wherever he was, for setting her up for such a marathon. Every minute of miserable, miserable aches and hot pains all became worth it the second the Yavin IV base medics placed her baby in her arms though.
The little boy was amazing. He was amazing for existing at all, seeing as the odds were usually stacked against Twi’lek-human conceptions in the first place. He was amazing for having survived those first tenuous days when Hera had been captured and tortured on Lothal. He was amazing for his bright fluff of ridiculous looking green hair which Sabine would be in raptures over. He was amazing for how many of his father’s features he had inherited (one never did really know which way those rare Twi’lek hybrids would lean). Most importantly though, the baby lying swaddled against Hera’s sweaty chest was amazing because he was hers..and because he was Kanan’s.
“Hello little luv...welcome to the world,” Hera cooed, her voice rough with exhaustion. She had never heard herself sound so much like her own mother before though.
The baby snuffled, tiny fingers flexing experimentally within his blanket. Then he blinked his eyes open, and Hera fell irrevocably and undeniably in love.
She had at one point during her pregnancy hoped that the baby would have Kanan’s brilliant turquoise eyes. He did...and he didn’t. They were blue, beautifully blue like the sky at sunset or the edges of a hyperspace trail. Hera didn’t imagine that color came from her side of the family, so she guessed it must have come from Kanan’s. Even gone, Kanan still managed to surprise her.
It was only a matter of minutes before Zeb broke down the door to the recovery room, demanding to know if she and their newest Spectre were alright. Taking this moment alone to enjoy her son, Hera played with the baby’s fingers while musing on names. Briefly she considered naming the baby Caleb, after his father.
No, she decided. He’ll hear all about Kanan from everyone, including me. Better to give him his own fresh start.
A name suddenly bubbled up from the back of Hera’s mind. It had been an old mission, one which she, Kanan and Chopper had run in those early days after Gorse. They had gone undercover, posing as a bartender and patron of an upscale nightclub in one of the core planets. Hera didn’t know why she remembered it now. She and Kanan had flouted the professional boundaries which they had placed on themselves in those first few months by flirting up a storm over glowing cocktails. It had been part of their cover, Hera had told herself, but that hadn’t stopped the two of them from thoroughly enjoying every second of their uninhibited evenings. Hera still remembered the alias which Kanan had used; the name which had rolled warm and inviting off her tongue the first time she had ever let herself see Kanan as more than a crewman.
“Jacen...” she whispered, trying the name on for size. It didn’t hold any particular meaning for her, besides that one silly memory. That didn’t stop her son from curling his warm little fingers around her pinky. “Mmm, you like that?” When there was no further answer forthcoming, Hera decided it was as good a name as any other. “Well alright then, little luv, Jacen it is.”
With little Jacen Syndulla cradled in her arms and her family just outside the door, Hera laid back against the pillow and smiled. Tomorrow she could be General Syndulla of the Rebel Fleet again. For now, the two of them were just a tired Twi’lek woman and her baby, ready to settle in for a well-deserved nap.
"We did good, Kanan," Hera murmured, stroking Jacen's soft cheek. "We did good."