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l'espoir est dans l'air (nous arrivons finalement quelque part) {On Hiatus}

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No. It wasn't him. It was some Zygerrian woman mimicking the voice of her landlord who'd told her to get pay extra rent for all her animals.

But after rounding the corner, Sabine was pretty sure she found him.

"Yuan, I swear, that was cheating," an eerily familiar voice said, pointing an accusatory finger at the Rodian who was seated next to him.

As Yuan went off on an angry rant about how no, he wasn't cheating, Sabine noticed two things:

1: The man who'd accused Yuan of cheating was wearing an orange shirt, his hair was blue, and when he turned his head to argue Yuan, she glimpsed his scars, still clear as day.

2: Sabine could make out the corner of a card stuck in Yuan's boot.

All in one motion, Sabine grabbed the lightsaber from her hip and smashed it into the back of the man's head.

The man yelled in surprise and turned around, and then Sabine threw the lightsaber on the table directly in front of him, while bending over to retrieve the card from Yuan's boot, which she tossed on the table as well, before standing up.

The man had stood up while she was jimmying the card out of Yuan's boot, and while he had angrily pushed his chair out and stalked away, the man had stood up and just stared at her.

"...Sabine?" He asked, as if he were afraid that if he spoke, she'd disappear.

Sabine took off her helmet dramatically.

"That was for making a stupid sacrifice," Sabine said, guestering lamely to the lightsaber.

"And this," Sabine added, throwing her arms around Ezra's neck, "Is because I finally found you."

Ezra was slightly surprised, but after a second, he returned the hug.

They stood there for a good minute or so, hugging, until Sabine regretfully pulled away to study Ezra's face.

It hadn't changed that much, it'd just become somewhat older, his scars were the same, his eyes were the same, the only changed thing was the stubble on his chin and the little blue ponytail at the base of his neck.

"Taking hairstyle cues from Kanan, huh?" Sabine said amusedly. Ezra laughed.

Then, Sabine saw a bartender coming at her. Looking angry

"Cmon, Ashoka owes me 40 notes," Sabine said, tugging on his arm urgently, and after Ezra didn't move fast enough, she sighed, lunged in front of him to grab the lightsaber off the table, and switched it on as she whooshed it past Ezra so close to him, he could feel the heat on his face to deflect a shot from the bartender's E-11.

"Yeah, me and Biss don't get along well," Ezra said as Sabine grabbed his arm and pulled him out.

The two made it down the row before they both burst out laughing.

"Just like old times," Sabine giggled as she tossed Ezra the lightsaber.

"Yeah," Ezra agreed, hooking it on his belt. "So now what?"

"Well, let's find Ashoka, and then we have a dinner date."

"Oh really? With whom?" Ezra asked, quirking his eyebrows.

Sabine lightly punched his arm. "A little girl on the street gave me a rock and said that her mom wanted me to have it and that I should come for dinner... it was weird, but she was cute."

"Can I see the rock?" Ezra asked.

Sabine took it out of her pocket and handed it to Ezra.

Ezra studied it for a moment before his face lit up in surprise. "Sabine, this is a kyber crystal!"

"Cool! What's a kyber crystal?"

Ezra laughed. "It's a lightsaber crystal, Sabine."

"Ohhh," Sabine said, plucking it out of Ezra's gloved hand and depositing it back in her pocket. "Well then, I'm sure not turning down Kaundra's dinner invitation, if that's what it is."

"I would go and find this kid, even if you decided not to," Ezra said. "Now, let's go find Ashoka."

-

Finding Ashoka was thankfully extremely easy. All they had to do was go to the head of each row and stick their heads in to see if they spotted her. And soon, they did, in Row Nine.

"Ashoka! You owe me forty notes!" Sabine yelled as she walked up to the startled Togruta.

Ahsoka laughed a bit at her loss as she spotted the two and greeted Ezra with a nod.

"Where'd you find him?" Ahsoka asked.

"Row 12, Chimera Cantina, playing sabbac with a cheating Rodian," Sabine said.

"So he won, or he lost?"

"I caught the Rodian cheating, he left his money on the table. I assume Ezra picked it up before we had to make our messy exit."

"Oh, I did," Ezra answered, holding up a tiny brown bag and jingling it a bit "And I'm standing right here as you discuss me."

"We know," Ahsoka and Sabine said at the same time.

"This is creepy. How long did you guys look for me?"

"Not too long... it was what, a couple days, maybe, before we got here? I can't remember much of yesterday...Ahsoka?" Sabine asked.

"It only took a couple days to find you, but that's in much part to the fact that we had calculations of the Chimera's original trajectory, something we won't have when we're trying to find the next person."

"The next person? Who do you mean?" Ezra asked.

"Let's discuss this on the ship," Ahsoka suggested.

"No, wait, I didn't tell you about Kaundra!" Sabine exclaimed.

"Who's Kaundra?" Ahsoka asked.

"A little Tholothian girl, she gave me a... a kyber crystal, said that her mother wanted her to give this to me, and she invited me and you two to dinner at 1800 hours, at the Eastern end of Row 2."

"May I see the crystal?" Ahsoka asked.

"Yeah, sure," Sabine said, and put it into Ahsoka's outstretched hand.

Ahsoka studied it curiously for a moment before saying, "Well, perhaps we should at least see what the girl and her mother are up to, if they gave you a kyber crystal," Ahsoka said, handing back the crystal to Sabine who tucked it back in her pocket.

"What time is it here, Ezra?" Sabine asked.

"17:52," Ezra said after checking his wrist computer.

"Hey, did you make that from the stuff of the Chimera?" Sabine asked as they began to walk.

"Oh, this? Yeah. Most of the equipment in the bridge was pretty busted up, but this was once a hall computer in a section that got the least damaged. I just cut out the pieces I needed, and re-calibrated the computer to my needs and the screen size," Ezra explained.

"That's really cool, Ezra!" Sabine exclaimed with a small smile, to which Ezra returned with a grin.

The trek to the Eastern end of row to was quite easy, especially when they ducked around locals instead of waiting for the locals to move away from them.

Meanwhile, Sabine asked Ezra where all the people came from.

"Well, when the Chimera crashed, Thrawn and I decided to stay here for a bit, and we built a house out of the durasteel, which later became the Cantina, especially since we used a lot of underbelly durasteel with the painting on it and all, and one half was my side, the other was Thrawn's, and that's why the Cantina is the biggest house here. People started trickling in about a week later, and soon, I gave up my half to people who needed it and I never really got another house. Thrawn decided to go to Gurshkii, a planet that's supposedly nearby with this band of Rodian bounty hunters, because he wanted to find the planet of his origination from there, and I don't know what happened to him after that."

"Wait... so you're telling me that you sacrificed yourself and all that chit to stop Thrawn, and then you let him go?" Sabine practically screeched.

"He and I made an alliance. Neither of us knew how to get back into the Empire, and after awhile, he confessed that he didn't want to, not after a comrade, Eil Vanto, died at the hand of Palpatine himself, shortly before he was dispatched to the blockade on Lothal, and he was very close to him. Vanto, not Palpatine."

"Ezra, we can't trust him!" Sabine yelled angrily.

"I can, Sabine. Under the evil exterior and a couple layers of inner evil, he's really... well, he wouldn't want to join the Empire again. Unless he did. Did he?"

"Ezra, the Empire's gone. The Rebellion crushed it awhile ago... you've really missed everything, haven't you," Sabine said softly, anger suddenly gone.

"I guess I have. So fill me in, please," Ezra asked, trying to stay cheerful.

"After dinner. Look, there's Kaundra," Sabine said, and squatted down to the small girl's level.

"There you are! You were almost late!" Kaundra said.

"Hi, Kaundra!" Sabine responded.

"Cmon, Momma wants to meet you, over here!" Kaundra said excitedly, pulling Sabine over to a big pile of tumbleweed.

"Over here?" Sabine asked.

"Yeah! Sit down riiiight... here," Kaundra said, tapping a spot on the ground with her bare foot, where Sabine hesitated, before sitting down cross-legged.

"And you sit here, Other Lady," Kaundra said, tapping a spot across from Sabine for Ahsoka.

Ahsoka smiled at the young child and sat down.

"And you, Dev Morgan, you can sit here, and then Momma and I will sit on the other side!" Kaundra said, tapping a spot between Sabine and Ahsoka for Ezra, who sat down, following the women's example.

"I'll go get Momma!" Kaundra cried, then ducked into the tumbleweed.

"Um, Kaundra, that doesn't look very safe, maybe you should get out of there?" Sabine called anxiously.

"No, don't worry, I got it," Kaundra called back, muffled a bit by the tumbleweed. A second passed, and she emerged from the pile, carrying something that she slapped onto the ground across from Ezra, then sat cross-legged between it and Sabine.

"Cmon, Momma, say hello!" Kaundra prompted.

Ezra gasped when he recognised it.

It was the head and torso of one of Thrawn's murderbots from the Chimera, and at Kaundra's prompt, it's eyes lit up.

"Hello, Kaundra. Hello, Ahsoka Tano. Hello, Sabine Wren. Hello, Ezra Bridger," the droid greeted.

"Um... hi?" Sabine asked, not realising exactly what it was.

"I trust that Kaundra gave you the kyber crystal, Lady Wren?" The droid asked.

"Um... yes?"

"Predictable. There was an eighty two point nine chance that you would accept it."

"How are you..." Ezra paused, and swallowed, "Kaundra's mother?"

"Biologically, I am not related to her in any way. I calculate her mother died shortly after arriving in what would one day become this town, and I landed roughly three days after, on the Chimaera, where I was tossed from a transparisteel viewport that shattered upon impact, loosing me my legs," the droid explained.

"I found Kaundra dehydrated and on the brink of death by the tumbleweed, and I was able to get her some food and water from the wreckage of the Star Destroyer, and my arms were pulled off by the heavy supplies. Kaundra recovered fully, but without memory of her mother. She thought that I was her mother after the incident, especially after I trained her to find food and water on her own, and referred to me as such. My program requires me not to tell her that I am not her mother, and she would not believe me, anyway. It's a very good thing she's not listening, though."

Indeed, Kaundra had gotten bored and started spinning around with her arms out a couple feet away.

"So why did you tell her to give me the crystal?"

"You might not believe me, but I was once a droid who assisted Jedi younglings who had just collected kyber crystals build their lightsabers. My circuits were moved to this body and my programming adjusted slightly at the request of Grand Admiral Thrawn, which I why I know your names. Lady Wren once wielded the Darksaber, and later the sabre of Ezra Bridger, now she will wield a sabre of her own creation. The Force has willed it."

"So, you're a force-sensitive droid?" Sabine asked, not in an agrumentive way, but in a curious way.

"Not exactly, but my programming allows me to sense the Force in some small way, not as organics do, though. I was a failed experiment that was put to work for the youngling's sabres afterwards. Plus, Kaundra hears it, too, and she already has two crystals of her own, to be built when proper parts can be found for her. She reported to me two days ago that she'd found the crystal that you now posses, Sabine, and she knew it wasn't hers. With a little help from a vision she had the following day, she figured out that it was meant for you, and that you would arrive here soon."

"Well, what must we do now?"

"Take Kaundra back with you, and train her in the ways of the Light Side, Ezra Bridger, and if the Empire has been vanquished, it will not have to be in secret.

"No, the Empire was defeated, and we are free. Luke Skywalker has begun a school for Jedi," Sabine said.

"Who's this Luke guy?" Ezra asked.

"I'll tell you later," Sabine said.

"Very well, then, but Ezra Bridger must teach her, not Luke Skywalker. On your journey, Sabine Wren, you will find the parts for your lightsaber and build it.

"But... I'm not Force-sensitive."

"Irrelevant. Now, you must leave this planet now, find the last person, lightsaber parts, and return home to Lothal teach her. Make haste."

"Why must we leave now?" Ahsoka asked.

"Do you want Kaundra to have to live here much longer?"

"No, definitely not," Sabine said quickly.

"Good, then. She has but a few belongings, I'll ask her to grab them so that you can go."

"Fine, but you are coming with us," Ahsoka said.

"I calculate no such need for that."

"You clearly are very important to Kaundra, and will be important in Kaundra's training. Plus Jakuri and Jacen's training, she thought.

"I accept your logic, Lady Tano. Very well, I shall go if Lady Wren and Ezra Bridger consent."

"So they get to be called Lady Tano and Lady Wren, but what do I get to be called?" Ezra asked.

"You shall be called Ezra Bridger."

"Well, I agree with Ashoka, we should take him," Sabine said.

"Alright, fine," Ezra agreed.

"Very well then. Kaundra! Pack your things!"