At first, she blamed it on the grief. She was sick with it, waking up in the middle of the night (on the few nights she slept at all) with a gut wrenching pain and hurling onto the floor of the Ghost.
She’d lost a lover.
She’d lost a son.
She had never told them how much she loved them. She thought she had more time, consumed in her need to fly, to be a hero. Now, she’d been dragged down to rock bottom.
After all, no hero ever got a happy ending. Kanan-
But she knew it wasn’t just the grief. She’d known for a month now. And it scared her more than the Empire ever could.
She never told Kanan that, either. But she knew he’d known. The Force had its ways she’d never understand, some of which she’d never accept.
Ezra surely had had his suspicions; though he was as concentrated on Lothal as she was with the Rebellion; he must have felt something. The way he held her back from Kanan on that cursed night, carefully avoiding her abdomen yet holding tight around her chest, keeping her and the baby safe from the fire that was swallowing its father whole — he’d known. He’d known many things.
If he hadn’t, he would have thrown himself into the fire to save Kanan himself, not bothering to hold Hera back. He would have used the Force, pulled Kanan into the ship. Part of Hera wished he had.
Ezra said he saw many paths. She wondered where hers was going, a mother without a husband, in a galaxy fit for anything but a growing child. The Rebellion needed her, but so did her child.
She wasn’t ready to be a mother, but she owed it to Kanan, and to herself, and to the baby. And she’d fight to give this baby the universe. She’d love it, fiercely, and take nothing for granted. This baby would know their mother loved them, that their father was somewhere loving them too. And they would never know a galaxy half as cruel as this one.
When she first started showing, she visited Sabine on Lothal, and sent Zeb a message to come too.
A family reunion.
Sabine seemed almost as grief-stricken as she was, but threw herself into training, into working for Lothal’s freedom, into the mission handed to her by Ezra.
Sabine thought she had more time too. It was a burden too heavy to carry, the grief and the guilt and the what if. Hera knew it well. These days, Hera was carrying all she could.
The second Sabine saw her, they both allowed themselves to break down in tears long held back. Zeb watched, trying to pretend that his eyes weren’t stinging too. Zeb gave Hera an unusually gentle pat on the shoulder, and punched Sabine with more caring than he usually cared to show. Sabine led them into Ezra’s old tower, and they sat on the cold floor, looking at Sabine’s mural and drinking caf. Hera didn’t take a sip, and the two eyed her with suspicion. She was not one to turn down caf. Hera took a deep, shuddering breath, looking up at the mural, at Kanan’s painted face. She gathered all the muster she could.
“I’m pregnant,” she announced suddenly, her quiet voice booming in the silence.
Zeb’s bulbous eyes widened, Sabine choked on her caf.
“Kanan?” She sputtered.
Hera nodded numbly.
“How long?” She asked.
“About 2 months. I-never told him.”
Sabine inched closer to her and wrapped a strong arm around her shoulders.
“He knew,” Hera whispered.
Sabine nodded into Hera’s shoulder. “He loved you. He-gave everything for you,” Sabine choked.
Hera nodded. She knew.
Zeb placed a large hand on her other shoulder. “We’re still family,” he said gruffly. “And we love you too.”
Zeb’s uncharacteristic softness broke her. She sobbed into Zeb’s chest, wishing so badly Kanan could be here. Wishing she could make everything alright.
When Hera finally cried herself out, Sabine wrapped her in a blanket. “You can stay here with me until the baby comes. It’s the safest place.”
“Thank you,” Hera whispered.
Months later, Jacen Caleb Syndulla came, healthy with soft green hair and Kanan’s eyes and the delicate beginnings of his features. Hera held him tight, crying into his downy hair as he slept peacefully. He didn’t even cry.
She could feel Kanan kiss her sweaty forehead, feel him stroke Jacen’s hair. Jacen smiled in his sleep, and Hera did too for the first time in months.
The Force had given her a happy ending after all.