Ezra glanced over his shoulder as he walked on the edge of the street, eyes narrowing briefly before he turned back around. Gaze darting across the crowd, he found a mark and weaved through the crowd toward them. The teen slipped a hand out of his pocket, keeping it close to his side as he stared straight ahead. He would collide with the Rodian in less than three seconds now unless he changed course.
He hit his mark with a shoulder, immediately stumbling back but not quite lifting his gaze as he apologized profusely.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry. Just in a hurry, sorry!” he called behind him as he continued to back up before hurrying forward again, this time away from the Rodian. They yelled what sounded like a curse in Rodese after him as he vanished back into the crowd.
Ezra cast another furtive glance behind him, struggling to keep his expression neutral as he searched for any of the Coruscant officers. None that he could see. He was okay for now.
When a break in the crowd came up further ahead, he took advantage of it and slipped out and onto a side street.
There was less traffic here, but still enough that Ezra felt he could’ve found another mark and gotten away with it.
But he didn’t want to push his luck today.
He turned onto another street, making a right onto a third that was barely an alley before doubling back onto the second street and continuing straight. He glanced over his shoulder once before turning, slipping into a space between two of the buildings into which he barely fit. Edging along it, he stopped near the end of the space and stooped, pushing his bag through a small cavity near the bottom of the wall before squeezing into it himself.
Emerging into the wider space, he stood, shaking his head in a vain attempt to rid it of the dust that still clung to it from the less-than-dignified entrance. He moved to a crate beside the hole and shoved it in front of the gap, taking a step back to make sure he had covered it all the way.
Satisfied, Ezra grabbed his bag and slung it over his shoulder as he turned to head deeper into the building. He’d never been able to tell for certain what purpose it had served before, but there was a room on the other side of the ground floor that looked like it had had various mechanical equipment at one point (there were fragments of several cords lying around, some half-frayed and others missing the protective rubber), though if there had ever been anything of value it had been looted already.
Not that he minded too much, after all, it just made it less likely that his building would get targeted by more looters.
He approached the small collection of crates off to the side of the room, setting his bag down next to one as he sat on another. He fished in his pocket for whatever he had pocketed from the Rodian earlier; he hadn’t gotten a chance to look at it yet. His mouth twisted as he counted out six credit bars. Enough for two days, maybe four if he stretched it.
Ezra sighed quietly, slipping the credits into his bag and pulling out the bag of polystarch from another expedition a few days ago and the container he’d stolen with it, pouring a small amount of the powder into the container before resealing the bag and dropping it back in the backpack. He extracted a water bottle, unscrewing the cap and pouring just enough into the polystarch to cause it to rise before he slipped the water back into his bag.
He would eat half of it today, he decided, and the other half in a couple of days. If he was careful, he’d have enough water without stealing some to make the rest of the polystarch loaves as well.
As he broke off part of the loaf, swallowing hard, he felt it again—the weird humming noise that he both heard and felt deep in his gut. The humming had always been there, more background noise than anything, though it had only increased upon his arrival on Coruscant.
Eventually, however, that had faded into the background too, becoming just another foreign aspect of the unfamiliar planet.
But in the past few days, the humming had gotten louder, until he could no longer ignore it and was forced to acknowledge it. No one else he saw seemed to have any issue with it, but that had been the same back home, too.
It was just...he still didn’t know where it was coming from, or what was causing it.
If he knew the answer to either question, maybe it wouldn’t have bothered him so much. Then again, maybe it still would’ve.
He sighed, tearing off another small chunk from the loaf. Maybe he’d investigate it tomorrow. Or maybe not.
And besides, if he did he could always pick a few pockets on the way.
As usual, he didn’t sleep much that night, only his headache was worse than normal thanks to the persistent hum.
Ezra gave up around what he thought was about 0400 and, sighing, grabbed his bag and headed back out onto the streets.
There weren’t many people around this early, at least not many that even he wanted to be seen associating with, so he found a dumpster close enough to the ground that he could climb up it without having to toss his bag up first. From there, he climbed the rest of the way up and sat on the edge of the building, watching the scarce figures on the streets below.
At some point, the chrono must’ve finally shown a decent hour, because the thoroughfare began to slowly fill with people. He remained on the roof, attention briefly drawn to a scuffle between a Sullustan and a Togruta. Now would be a perfect time to pick another pocket or two.
He climbed down from the building a different way than he had gone up, blinking in the half-light as he shouldered his way into the growing crowd around the fight. Weaving through, he bumped into several individuals, spewing vacant apologies that were barely heard over the sounds of the fight anyway, his hand repeatedly returning to his own pocket.
The humming was only getting worse, to the point where he was getting an actively throbbing headache, but maybe it was just because of the noise level.
And maybe the fact that it sounded like a maglev was roaring past as he spotted a human distracted by something else, a holo or something on a nearby building, was because he was on edge slightly more than normal today.
The man had an odd-looking canister clipped to his belt. Ezra had no idea what it was.
It was probably worth some amount of credits on one of the black markets regardless.
He took it, unclipping it before clipping it onto his own belt as he shouldered past the man roughly. The man glanced down, brow raised, but seemed to accept Ezra’s apologies as the teen hurried past.
He headed back to his building a different way, eventually ending up in the alley he normally used as he slipped in through the hole. After blocking it, he unclipped the canister from his belt, studying it until he found what looked like a button.
Pressing it caused it to emit a shaft of blue light.
Did that mean the man he had robbed was a…?
Anakin stood on the balcony of his Naboo home. He felt the fresh, cool air upon his face then turned to look over at his family. There they all sat. Leia, his daughter, only four years old, on his Master’s lap. The toddler looked up at Obi-Wan with awe as he playfully held up her teddy bear with the Force. She watched it, floating in mid air, and smiled. Anakin couldn’t help but smile as well. All those years of living in anguish and in hiding as he possessed a forbidden love with Padmé, his wife, who now stood out on the balcony with him holding their son Luke in her arms.
Anakin had visions of the day he would be expelled from the Jedi Order and he feared it. Just as he feared losing Padmé.
But his premonitions were simply reflections of the fear he harboured. Yes, the Jedi Council as well as the Republic had found out about the forbidden marriage between the infamous Chosen One and the Senator from Naboo. Anakin was expelled from the Order, but his expulsion came with a sigh of relief.
Right after Anakin was expelled Yoda had warned him of the potential and likely path he would follow if he was to stay within the Order. A path that lead to fear, anger, hate and destruction. It was hard for Anakin to believe such drastic premonitions and at first Anakin reacted to these claims with anger. However, Anakin remembered Yoda’s words, “Protect you, I must.” Not knowing what this meant, Anakin had no choice but to trust Yoda and his visions of the future.
Yoda assured him he was the Chosen One, and he was to fulfill the prophecy of bringing balance to the Force. The only mystery that remained was how that prophecy was to be fulfilled. And now, as Anakin looked over the beautiful view of Naboo and upon the peacefulness of his family, he finally felt calm as he now could fulfill this prophecy away from the destruction of the war and away from the confusion he felt so heavily back on Coruscant. Anakin often wondered what was happening back on Coruscant, as did Obi-Wan, it was somewhat difficult to adjust to such a slow paced lifestyle as the Jedi were so used to being on the move amongst conflict and chaos.
“Protect you, I must.” The quote tended to swirl around Anakin’s head. He wondered what it meant and what Yoda was protecting him from, perhaps himself? Perhaps the Sith? Either way, Anakin was so used to helping others in need, he often felt concerned for Yoda and the other Jedi and wished he was there helping protect them from the darkness that seemed to shroud Coruscant and the Jedi Temple.
“Anakin, always on the move.” Another quote that tended to swirl around in Anakin’s head. He knew his Master would never approve of him returning to Coruscant, “Your path and the prophecy you are said to fulfill, lies here, away from the destructive conflict...and away from the politics.” Obi-Wan had reassured Anakin of his Jedi path many times in many different forms, during many, many lectures. But quietly, Anakin was eternally grateful that his Master...his best friend, had left the Jedi Order as well. Despite rarely admitting it, Anakin needed Obi-Wan around, to guide him, to keep him grounded.
And then there was Ahsoka. Anakin had reconnected with her after she left the Order. He had felt her reach out through the Force. He sensed her pain and her confusion, and her fear. He knew she felt as though she lacked purpose away from the order, being so young and to venture out into the galaxy, alone. Anakin and Ahsoka’s connection ran deep, and just in Anakin Skywalker style, he couldn’t bear to sense her anguish anymore…so he fled, in search of his former Padawan.
She was on Mandalore, fighting the tyranny of Maul and his criminals.
Although Anakin had managed to save Ahsoka from the conflict on Mandalore, the elusive Maul still remained, and they all knew he would soon find them, intent on seeking revenge. Fortunately that day had not yet come; the Master, the Chosen One, and the Padawan were still adjusting to life away from the war on Naboo, intent on continuing to pursue their Jedi training just in case Maul or any kind of threat felt the need to drop in unexpectedly. The three infamous Jedi were also fortunate to have Master Qui-Gon guiding them. Though he did not live with them, he lived not far from their compound, often accompanying them during their training and meditations. He had left the Order also, for his own reasons, none of them being bitter, he simply preferred to live free away from the reigns and ranks of the the Clone Wars. Qui-Gon also had spoken to Master Yoda upon his departure, and he knew that to leave and watch over Anakin, his beloved Chosen One, was the best decision during these difficult times, and Yoda trusted him.
“So, kid. What d’you think?”
He whirled, already cursing himself for letting his guard down—but it’s my own place, no one else ever comes in here anymore, there’s nothing for them here—and muttered a curse under his breath when he recognized the man as the Jedi he stole from earlier. His eyes darted to the lightsaber in his hand.
“Why- how’d you get in here? Never mind,” he added just as quickly, shaking his head. “Just- just get out of here. You won’t have to see me again, I’ll- I’ll disappear. Just don’t arrest me. Don—“
“Kid, calm down.” He jumped, raising the lightsaber slightly as the man reached forward as if to place a hand on his shoulder. The Jedi stopped, eyes narrowing slightly as he took in Ezra’s expression.
“I’m not gonna hurt you. I just want to as—“
“L- leave. Or I will.” His eyes darted across the room as he swallowed, calculating how quick he could get to the other exit and how much of a chance he even had of getting there before the Jedi caught him.
“Kid, relax.” The man’s voice no longer had the soft, wary tone of before; now it was hardened, commanding in a way Ezra had only heard—well, Jedi use before. He swallowed, lowering the tip of the blade.
“Now hand over the ‘saber. But turn it off first.” The teen studied him for a moment before finally clicking the ‘saber off, handing it to the man. He took it and reclipped it to his belt before folding his arms. “What’s your name, kid?”
“Jabba the Hutt,” he snarked, forcing himself to keep his arms at his sides instead of folding them in case he needed to make a break for it.
“Alright, ‘Jabba.’ Where’re your parents?”
“Gone,” he answered quietly, eyes flicking down before back up at the Jedi with renewed hatred. “Why do you care?”
“I’m just wondering...never mind.” The man shook his head, as if deciding not to continue. It nagged at Ezra, but he didn’t press.
“What’s your name?”
The Jedi seemed slightly surprised.
“Kanan,” he answered hesitantly.
“Can you leave me alone now? I promise I’ll leave everyone alone. Stop thieving. Whatever. Just let me out of here alive,” Ezra’s voice trailed off into a mumble.
The Jedi hesitated before nodding. “Yeah. But don’t leave the area. Or I may have to employ...other means of finding you.”
He didn’t know exactly what the threat was, but it unsettled him anyway.
Swallowing, he nodded in assent. “Okay.”
“Alright. I—“ the Jedi—Kanan—cut himself off, glancing around the building with a slightly raised brow before finally glancing back at Ezra. “I’ll be back.”
He turned, and only when he was halfway across the building, heading toward one of the exits Ezra never used in case he ever needed a quick escape that required a route out no one else had seen him use, did the teen yell after him.
“Am I in trouble?”
The Jedi stopped, turning back only enough to answer. “No.”
Ezra watched him leave.
He waited a week before deciding to risk it.
The Jedi still hadn’t come back at that point, and frankly, Ezra was beginning to doubt that he would.
So he decided to make an executive decision for the both of them and leave.
He would have to find a completely new part of the planet, he decided. No returning to his building. Maybe even going to a different level if needed.
The last option seemed the most foolproof one, and since the Jedi had repeatedly said he wasn’t in trouble with anyone—at the moment, at least—he decided that they wouldn’t look for him too hard.
Which was exactly why he wasn’t expecting the crowd of Coruscant officers at the maglev platform.
The repulsorlifts were only a few hundred meters from the platform, but he wasn’t sure he could make it without drawing attention. But if the officers were here because they were setting up a lockdown on this part of the planet….
He struggled to keep himself outwardly calm as he walked toward the ‘lifts, keeping his head down and avoiding looking anywhere near the platform.
One of them must’ve still recognized him despite all that, because moments later there was a shout and he glanced back to see two of the officers running toward him. He broke into a sprint himself, bolting for the ‘lifts.
One opened to reveal more officers.
Backpedaling, he stumbled as he turned and sprinted back the way he had entered the platform.
The voice was quiet, neutral. He almost missed it as he passed one of the side streets but slowed, catching sight of the Jedi from a week before. He moved to speed up again as the man came out to the edge of the street. A hand grabbed his shoulder and he froze, barely daring to breathe.
“Kid, get off the street and in here. Now. They’ll catch up if you don’t.”
Swallowing, he nodded, still not looking at Kanan as he stepped into the alley.
The man let go of his shoulder and gestured for him to follow. To his annoyance, he found himself obeying.
The man led him to the end of the street before waving a hand and then pushing open a side door. The humming was becoming worse now, as bad as it had been when he had first met the Jedi.
The man gestured for Ezra to enter the building and he did with reluctance, glancing back as Kanan followed him in.
It was a bar, sketchy even by his own standards. For a Jedi, however...being on the lower levels was one thing, but this?
He pushed the thought from his mind as Kanan directed him to a small table in the far corner. He sat warily, keeping his backpack on and back to the wall in case the Jedi had contacts in the crowd around them and he needed a place to make a final stand. Plus he could see everyone else from the angle.
The Jedi sat opposite him, placing his elbows on the table and clasping his hands together under his chin in thought as Ezra folded his arms tightly against his chest.
Before he could continue, the teen cut him off. “Please don’t arrest me! I didn’t steal an—“
“Kid, stop. You’re fine. Like I said before, you’re not in trouble. Just calm down.”
Ezra swallowed and nodded, the ever-present terror now slightly suppressed.
“I just want to talk, okay?” He nodded again as Kanan glanced back at the bar.
“You want a drink, kid?”
“I’m fifteen,” he muttered, confusion now mixing with the fear.
The Jedi turned back around to Ezra.
“I can’t have one anyway, and besides I don’t want one,” he answered. “I’m underage.”
Kanan shrugged. “Fair point. You mind if I get one?” He shook his head, brow furrowing. Nothing he had ever heard about the Jedi had led him to believe that they would allow themselves to get drunk. Admittedly, he hadn’t met one before Kanan.
The human stood and walked to the bar, and as soon as his back was turned, Ezra bolted.
He faintly heard Kanan yelling after him once the door closed. He didn’t turn back.
He didn’t stop until he reached another building a few streets over from the one he had been staying in before today. He climbed up to the second level, finding a spot between a couple of crates and huddling down.
He waited until his breathing had slowed down and he no longer jumped at every noise, thinking it was the Jedi, before pulling out a sleeve of crackers—the first thing he had bought in a few months, courtesy of the Rodian’s generous donation a week ago—and removing one, chewing it slowly before slipping the pack back into his bag. He stared silently at the wall ahead of him, thinking.
He would have to find another way out.
Qui-gon and Obi wan sat not far from their Naboo home in a small glass room shaped like a dome, a spot in which a lot of the Jedi meditated. The room sat high up looking over Naboo’s waters and although it’s glass design made the room see-through, Anakin didn’t have to see his Master to be able to sense his anguish. Something was out of place. Obi wan returned to the family home with a concerned look on his face and Anakin quickly approached him, “Obi wan, what’s wrong??” Padme had taken her children out for the day but Ahsoka sat not far behind Anakin on the sofa, she rose as Obi wan entered. “I fear as though we haven’t left all of our troubles back on Coruscant,” Obi wan spoke looking reserved. “I think we all know that Master,” Ahsoka said with a new kind of maturity. “But what are you talking about specifically?” Indeed, she had grown up since Mandalore, experience had aged her, Anakin thought. “I’m afraid our old adversary has returned, and I’ll admit, he is persistent.” Obi wan said looking at both of them now. “Maul?” Ahsoka spoke first with cynicism and disbelief. “Ha, I’ll finally be able to meet this fool,” Anakin said with smirking confidence.
Obi wan: “Anakin-“
Anakin: “What? It’s clear you need my help so we can end this once and for all. I’m surprised you’ve never asked for my help before since he’s still around to see another day trying to kill us!”
Obi wan sighed: “Just be glad you’ve never had to encounter a life form with such sinister morality.”
Anakin: “I don’t know Master, that gundark on Bancor comes pretty close...Oh and then there was that Sarlacc on Tatooine I pulled you out of, oh and don’t forget Dooku, I killed him then rescued the Chancellor and carried you on my back saving your life for the tenth time.”
Obi wan: “Well then I’m sure you’ll be well versed in dealing with this elusive Sith Lord.”
Anakin smirked proudly at his sarcastic looking Master.
“I’ll leave you to it then.” Obi wan said turning.
Ahsoka: “Wait! If you two are done arguing I believe we have a bigger problem on our hands then we truly anticipate.”
“Indeed, young one.”
Obi wan, Anakin and Ahsoka all turned at the sudden sound of Qui-gon’s voice who now stood in the doorway of their living room. The sarcastic expressions on Obi wan and Anakin’s faces now slipping into looks of worry and concern. “I regret to report that...Maul is here, now, on Naboo. I sense his presence, it’s close yet persistently elusive. Nevertheless, it is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. The time to fight is now.” Qui-gon’s voice was wise yet stern.
Obi-wan: “Master is it wise to act so quickly? Maul could easily be clouding our vision, I think we should let him make the first move while we devise a plan-“
*beeping* Ahsoka lifted at her wrist com: “I have an incoming transmission from… Rex?!”
Rex: “Ahsoka, I hope you can hear me, I tracked Maul’s ship from Mandalore to Naboo but my scanners say that you are here too. Nevermind that, I have bad news, I believe Maul is in possession of Senator Amidala and her children.”
Ahsoka and Anakin: “What!?”
Rex: “General Skywalker! Well it’s good to see you sir-“
Anakin grabbed Ahsoka’s wrist and pulled the com to his face: “Rex where is Padme!?”
Obi-wan looked toward his padawan, he sensed his growing fear and then his anger that slowly began to eat away at him. Although it had been easier to help Anakin control his emotions away from the war, the ability to control them in the present moment still eluded him.
Rex: “He is holding them hostage sir, in the senate building. I managed to make my way into the building but he has sealed the entrance to their location.”
Anakin: “I’m on my way. Stay there.”
Rex: “Yes sir.”
Obi wan: “Anakin slow down” He placed a hand on his Padawan’s shoulder. “This is obviously a trap to lure us in.”
Anakin: “My children, my wife, their lives are in danger! I’m not just going to sit here and let them be tortured. It is my responsibility to protect them and I’m going there to end this once and for all!” Rage consuming him now, Anakin ran out of the room.
Obi wan shook his head, “Why do I even try?”
Qui-gon took a breath: “I’m afraid Anakin’s attachments will continue to rule his judgement for now, but what’s most important is that you trust him.”
Obi-wan: “With my life. But even after all these years, I still seem to find myself constantly running after him.”
Obi wan ran out of the room followed my Qui gon and Ahsoka. Anakin had already fired up their ship while the others quickly joined him in the cockpit. “This scum is messing with the wrong Jedi, I’ve never even met the guy and he decides to take away my family!” Anakin aggressively flew the ship out of the hangar, eyebrows furrowed, he sped off into the sky.
Ahsoka: “I’ve encountered Maul many times, more than I would like to admit, but this is a strange move for him. What could he possibly want with Anakin?”
Obi wan: “This isn’t a strange move for him, I’m afraid Maul will strike at anyone who is important...to me.”
“Well you did cut him in half,” Anakin said smirking, his usual self slightly showing through his rage.
Qui-gon: “Regardless of his intentions, I believe he is gravely outnumbered.”
The ship now arriving outside the senate building.
Anakin: “R2, land the ship”
R2 beeped passively as Anakin and his fellow Jedi headed towards the exit of the ship. Jumping out swiftly, they headed towards the main door. With a swift movement of his arm, Anakin opened the door and they all ran into the building. Ahsoka could sense Anakin wasn’t messing around, he needed no scanners or security cameras to know where his family were being held. “This way!” Anakin shouted as Obi wan, Ahsoka and qui-gon followed him, nearing their destination. Anakin slowed and came to a stop in front of a large, heavily secured door.
Rex: “It’s good to see you sir, I’m definitely going to need you on this one.” Anakin put his hand on Rex’s shoulder and brought him into a hug. “No, I’m going to need you on this one Rex, that’s my family in there.”
Rex: “Your… your family?” Rex looked stunned.
Anakin smiled at him and nodded, “It’s been a while. But we have to get moving.” At that moment, Obi wan, Qui gon and Ahsoka joined them, each igniting their lightsabers. Anakin dug his saber into the wall and formed a circle. Rex smiled, “Just like the old days.” Anakin kicked the door in and they all entered, only to be met with their worst fear.
Maul ignited his saber with a smirk, “Ahh, the infamous Chosen One, we meet at last.”
The Jedi found him again a few weeks later.
He flinched away from the man, eyeing him warily as Kanan sighed and stopped, still several meters from the teen.
Ezra rose cautiously, eyes narrowed as he studied Kanan. “Why do you keep finding me? If you were gonna arrest me, you would’ve done it by now.”
Kanan nodded slowly. “Because I’m not going to arrest you. Like I said before, I just wanted to talk to you.”
He crossed his arms and snorted. “You keep saying that. And yet you haven’t.”
The man sighed, then gestured to the crates. “Let’s sit down, I’ll tell you what I’ve been meaning to, and then I’ll leave. I won’t bother you again. Okay?”
He hesitated before nodding, waiting for the man to sit first before following suit.
“Do you know what the Force is, kid?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Don’t believe in it.”
Kanan’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Why not?”
“My parents would still be alive if it was real.”
The man only nodded, clasping his hands together and placing his elbows on his knees as he hummed in thought. Finally he spoke again.
“And what do you know about the Jedi?”
“I know you’re one, and I know they live on Coruscant and they’ve got those lightsaber things. And people say they help keep the peace.”
“You sound like you doubt that.”
“You’re the first one I’ve met. And so far, you haven’t done a whole lot to ‘keep the peace.’” The man smiled at that comment, as if Ezra had made a joke. He frowned at the Jedi’s reaction to his answer.
“Do you know what midichlorians are?”
He shook his head, and Kanan elaborated. “They’re microorganisms. We’re symbiotes with them, and—“ He stopped, realizing Ezra was staring at him in blank confusion. He sighed. “Well...uh, basically...they’re a part of our cells. Every being has them. But the thing is, they- they interact with the Force on a pretty close level. In fact, some people think they actually are the Force. Am I making sense so far?”
Ezra nodded slowly.
“Okay. Um...well, everybody has a different amount of them for the most part. They...they affect how you interact with the Force.” He cleared his throat. “I th- I know you have the Force, kid.”
Ezra snorted, crossing his arms tighter across his chest. “I don’t. Because it’s not real.”
“Well then you have a higher midichlorian than the average being, whatever you want to tell yourself. Look, just try this one thing, okay? Close your eyes. And just feel for something, something that goes beyond just the average awareness of your surroundings. You feel it?”
He stared at the Jedi for a long moment, even after the man had closed his eyes, before finally sighing and closing his own eyes. He felt for...anything. Just to prove the Jedi wrong.
But...he did feel something.
The ever-present humming was growing stronger by the second as he reached for anything, grasping at straws he didn’t yet understand—but this humming, he did. He exhaled quickly, eyelids fluttering as he forced himself to keep his eyes closed and to continue feeling for it.
“You feel it?” Kanan repeated.
“Y- yeah,” he answered breathlessly. The humming had swelled to an almost palpable level. He was so close. It was within reach, just a little more, he could almost see its end—
“Alright, you can open your eyes now.”
He did so almost reluctantly, blinking. The headache was now worse than it had been before, even in the presence of the Jedi. He narrowed his eyes as he glanced up at Kanan. “What was that?”
“Why don’t you tell me what you felt first?”
He hesitated again before swallowing, looking at the floor instead of the Jedi. “It- there was a humming. It hurt my head.” He didn’t mention that the humming wasn’t an unusual occurrence; he had mentioned it to his mother once as a child when it was giving him a particularly bad headache and had been instructed to never mention it to others, to never let on that he was out of the ordinary.
“Do you feel that...humming often?”
“Because I do,” Kanan continued, his voice quieter. “I’ve felt it.”
He raised his head. “How long?”
“My whole life.”
He was perched on the roof of the building, slowly chewing a cracker and watching the beings and droids on the street below when he spotted Kanan. The man glanced up but the teen was already up and away from the edge of the roof, already heading down to the interior of the building.
Ezra had barely sat down on one of the crates when the Jedi entered the room, raising a brow as he spotted the teen before approaching and sitting on a crate opposite him.
“Could’ve sworn I saw you on the roof just now.”
He shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not.”
The Jedi just shook his head. “Alright. Um...you have any specific questions today?”
Ezra shrugged. “You still haven’t told me why you’ve been down here so long. Don’t they need you in the Temple?”
Kanan hesitated before answering, and when he did he spoke slowly, as if unsure of his words. “I...I’m helping them by being here, trust me. But enough about me, kid. This is the fourth time I’ve talked to you. I—“
“The first two times don’t count. So it’s the second,” interrupted Ezra. Kanan sighed.
“Alright, then the second time.”
Before he could continue, Ezra cut him off again.
“And you still haven’t explained why you’re telling me about the Force, regardless of whether or not I believe in it.”
“I’m getting to that. Are you done interrupting?” Ezra nodded and Kanan continued. “So. The Force. You have it, I have it, the Jedi have it. But you can’t just have the Force, that doesn’t do anything on its own. Maybe heightened reaction times and senses, but not much else. Do you want to learn how to do something with it, to build a connection with it?”
Ezra stared blankly at him for a long moment before asking, “Will it stop the headaches?”
Kanan nodded, smiling slightly.
“Then yeah, I do.”
“Next question, kid: do you want to be a Jedi?”
“Maul.” Ahsoka said with fury.
Maul: “Ah so the rumours are true...Where you find Kenobi, you will find Skywalker not far behind.” He laughed with confidence. “Jedi,” he spat with disgust, “so foolish and predictable, always running to save their friends.”
Obi-wan: “You truly are, relentless.”
Fury now showing on Maul’s face, he aggressively ignited one end of his duelled saber.
Obi-wan stepped forward in front of Anakin, swiftly twirling his lightsaber around with a slight move of his wrist in true Obi-wan Kenobi style, “You should never have brought Anakin into this.”
Maul: “Take one more step, and the boy is dead.” Maul turned his saber towards Luke’s face who sat trembling in Padme’s lap, along with Leia, as tears ran down all their faces. They sobbed quietly with fear.
Anger now fuelled Anakin. Just seeing his family so vulnerable was enough for him to succumb to his emotions and act out of pure hatred. What the most frustrating part was that Anakin felt more controlled, and more powerful, when he acted out of anger rather than passivity.
Maul raised his eyebrow, and at that moment Obi-wan sighed as knew what was coming. He knew Maul like the back of his hand, but he knew Anakin better than he knew himself.
Maul began to laugh, “Strange,” smirking, “I sense much fear in you Skywalker, you have hate, you have anger...but you don’t use them.”
Anakin squeezed his eyes shut and dropped his head down as he tried to refocus and bury his feelings deep down.
“What’s more, I thought these weaklings I captured in the street were merely just strangers but… no, I see it now. This is your… your wife! Your, children?” Maul laughed at his recent discovery. “Oh some Jedi you are, Skywalker. You’re not only unbalanced by your anger and hatred, but you...you have a family?” Maul ignited the other end of his saber twirling them arrogantly. “Oh how the mighty Kenobi has fallen. Training an apprentice that has defied every rule of the Jedi Order...and they call you Master…”
At that moment Anakin charged towards Maul and their lightsabers clashed together with angst. In true Anakin style, he threw his lightsaber over his head and charged aggressively towards his opponent as Maul was forced to step backwards. Their lightsabers remained clashed together for a few moments and Maul was forced to bend backwards as Anakin hovered over him with a determined look on his face. Both their blades so close to Maul’s face now that he began to realise perhaps Anakin was a worthy opponent. “I can feel your anger Skywalker. It gives you focus. Makes you stronger.” Maul spoke under the vibration of the blades, smirking. He now sensed that his words fed energy into Anakin’s body, until… Kenobi spoke, “ANAKIN NO!” At the sound of Obi-wan’s voice, the anger was suddenly drained from Skywalker’s face and subsequently, his power that was fuelled by the dark side. Maul saw his opportunity and caught Anakin off guard, untangling his lightsaber from their motionless clash and then swiftly kicked Anakin in the stomach, throwing him far into the wall. “Anakin!” Padme shouted with plea. Maul smirked at her words as he span his lightsaber around swiftly, now ready to confront Kenobi. The two old adversaries engaged each other once again for what seemed like the fiftieth time, but this time Obi-wan had help. As Obi-wan began to clash his lightsaber with fiery red blades, Qui-gon and Ahoksa appeared by his side, lightsabers in hand, ready for a fight. Obi-wan raised his hand and used the Force to push Maul back into the wall. He fell with pain and the three Jedi approached him with determination. He got up slowly, laughing under his breath, “At last, finally a fight worthy of my time.” Ahsoka stood, one of her blades in front of her body and the other behind as her wrists were turned backwards in her usual stance. Qui-gon held his green blade up alongside his face and Obi-wan held his lightsaber out in front with two hands. They felt the Force hum around them, they felt ready. Maul rose and charged at the three of them as they all moved quickly to dodge and attack Maul’s aggressive movements. Ahsoka jumped high and landed in front of him. Before Maul could react Ahsoka kicked him in his side causing him to stumble backwards, she then swiftly cut his lightsabers in two. Surprised by this, Maul appeared stunned as Ahsoka was ready to go in for her third attack. Charging at her opponent, she positioned her sabers to aim for his ‘legs,’ but before she knew it, Ahsoka was flying through the air as Maul Force pushed her backwards. She landed hard on the ground alongside Padme and her children. She rubbed her head in pain rising slowly. Regaining her vision, Ahsoka looked towards Luke, Leia and Padme and saw this as an opportunity to get them to safety. “C’mon, lets get out of here.” Ahsoka gracefully waved her hand over the three sets of binders that held Padme and her children captive. Ahsoka picked up Leia and ran with her in her arms, Padme grabbed Luke by his hand and pulled him alongside her towards the exit. “What about daddy!?” Leia yelled, looking back over Ahsoka’s shoulder. Anakin still lay unconscious on the ground by the wall. “He’ll be fine, trust me, I’ll go to him as soon as you’re out of here.” The twins and their mother reached the exit and quickly ran out of the role Anakin had made earlier. Padme began tapping into her wrist-com seeking help. “Go, I’ll be right behind you.” Ahsoka said as the three began to run down the hallways of the Senate building.
Qui-gon and Obi-wan continued to duel with Maul as Ahsoka climbed back through the hole in the wall. “Master!” She ran towards Anakin and knelt beside him. “Anakin!” She shook his face impatiently as Anakin’s eyes began to blink open, “Hey snips.” He awoke smirking.
At that moment, Ahsoka and Anakin shot up and looked over towards Obi-wan. His scream sending chills down their spins as they saw their worst nightmare. As they watched in disbelief, Maul aggressively pulled his lightsaber out of Qui-Gon’s stomach as Obi-wan watched his Master fall to the ground.
“My name’s Ezra.”
Kanan only nodded as they approached a speeder. As Ezra watched, he handed the driver something and spoke quietly before getting in and gesturing for Ezra to do the same. The teen followed suit warily, eyeing the driver with caution as the speeder lurched suddenly and sped off.
“‘Ezra,’” the Jedi finally echoed before nodding decisively. “It fits you.”
Ezra nodded thoughtfully, mulling it over as the speeder entered a worldhole and slowly began to rise.
“You said the Jedi have a group of leaders, a council. What’re they like?”
Kanan sucked in a breath through his teeth before exhaling slowly. “It depends. I’m not sure what they’ll be like now.”
“I...haven’t been back for a few months now. I had to leave.”
“To do something for them?”
“...you could say that.”
The teen stared at him for a long minute before shrugging. “Okay.” They were both silent again before Ezra cleared his throat. “Will the Council...be okay with me?”
“What do you mean?” The man’s brow furrowed and Ezra swallowed nervously.
“I just...I don’t know. Since normally they only take kids, right?” Kanan nodded slowly, still appearing confused. “And I’ve been on the streets for a while….”
“Kid, it’ll be fine. If they have an issue with that, I can vouch for you,” Kanan reassured him.
Ezra nodded, and the pair lapsed into silence again.
They reached the Temple and Ezra climbed out after Kanan, eyes widening fractionally in fear at the sight of several masked figures in white and gold.
Kanan placed a hand on his arm and he jumped, glancing up at the man.
“It’s fine. They’re guards. They just make sure there’s no one here that’s not supposed to be.” Like me.
Together, they approached the guards, slowing to a stop as one stepped forward.
“Caleb Dume,” they spoke in a genderless tone. They almost didn't even seem alive. “What business do you have at the Temple?”
“I have someone to meet the Council.” Ezra’s gaze whipped away from the guards and to Kanan.
The guard speaking, however, turned his gaze to Ezra. He finally looked away from Kanan and to the guard, swallowing as they studied him. “A Force-sensitive?” they said, the normally neutral voice now faintly tinged with surprise. “He is not a youngling, Dume. The Council—“
“Forgive me for being rude, but my business is with the Council, not you,” Kanan interrupted, not sounding apologetic in the slightest. “So let us pass.”
There was a tense moment of silence before the guard finally stepped out of their way, gesturing to the doors of the Temple. “Then allow us to escort you.”
They led them into the Temple, and Ezra heard one of the guards behind them muttering something into a comm before an unintelligible reply came through. He turned back around uneasily, glancing up at Kanan for reassurance, but the man was staring straight ahead.
Several people called out to Kanan as they walked, referring to him as either Caleb or Dume or both, but Kanan’s only response was a nod and, occasionally, a strained smile.
The humming was nearly unbearable now.
Finally they reached another set of doors and the guard turned to them. “The Council will let you know when they are ready.”
They ended up waiting several hours.
Kanan entered what he told Ezra was a meditative state when prompted, sitting cross-legged on the floor, his hands on his knees and his head lowered with eyes closed. The two Temple guards who had remained with them stood silently, so still that Ezra wasn’t completely sure they were even breathing.
For his part, Ezra tried to stay still. But his anxiety and the humming and the overall atmosphere of the Temple was getting to him, and within less than an hour he was pacing. Neither Kanan nor the guards commented on it, however.
At long last Kanan raised his head, opening his eyes as he unfolded his legs and stood in a single, fluid motion. Ezra stopped and glanced up at him.
“They’re almost ready for us,” the man spoke quietly in answer to the unspoken question, gaze focused on the door.
Moments later one of the guards’ comms beeped and they answered it, speaking quietly into it before turning it off and stepping to the doors. “The Council is ready for you.”
The doors slid open and the guard who had spoken entered first, followed by Kanan and then Ezra before the second guard.
The humming in his ears was deafening now.
They stopped in the center of the circular room. Kanan seemed only slightly ill at ease, but even if the humming hadn’t grown to a roar that drowned out nearly everything else, Ezra was unsettled. He couldn’t tell why, just...it felt off.
Or at least different than it had on Lothal and around Kanan.
Kanan was saying something, and an imposing Togruta woman was responding in a stern tone before casting a glance at Ezra. He swallowed thickly and tried to force out the humming; she was saying something to him that he couldn’t focus on.
“Hey, kid.” He glanced up to see Kanan placing a hand on his shoulder and forced himself not to flinch away. “Focus.”
He nodded, turning back to the Togruta. She cleared her throat.
“What is your name, child?”
“Ez- Ezra,” he answered hesitantly, feeling a sudden need not to lie to her. His eyes flickered to Kanan, desperate for the man to keep his hand where it was to keep the humming down to a manageable level. He wasn’t sure why or how it helped, only that it did.
“How did you meet Caleb?”
His brow furrowed in confusion at the question from a dark-skinned human male several seats away before Kanan squeezed his shoulder.
“He means me,” he said softly. Ezra nodded, still confused but trying to formulate an answer for the other Jedi.
“I...I ran into him on the street one day. He found me again a few days later.” He had a feeling that the Jedi wouldn’t respond well if they knew he had been a thief up until now.
“On the street, you said? Where do you live?”
“Lower levels,” he answered evasively.
“And your parents?”
The man finally nodded, seemingly satisfied with the line of questioning before he turned to a small, green alien with pointed ears, the species of which Ezra didn’t recognize.
“Knight Dume, much to discuss with this Ezra, we have. Conduct tests, we will.”
“Can I talk to him after?” Kanan asked.
“Yes,” the dark-skinned man replied. He nodded to the guards. “You can go.”
Kanan hesitated before nodding, squeezing Ezra’s shoulder once more before turning and exiting with the guards.
The humming swelled a bit more as Kanan’s hand left his shoulder, but not to the same level it had been before.
“Ezra.” He turned away from the door to see the green alien addressing him.
“Some tests to conduct, we have.”
He only nodded as one of the Jedi pulled out a comm.
“Master! No!” Obi-wan ran over to Qui-Gon who laid weak on the floor. He kneeled beside him and gently held his head in his hands. “It’s too… it’s too late.” Qui-gon’s voice was soft, he gently caressed the side of Obi-wan’s cheek. “No!” Obi-wan pleaded. Qui-gon’s eyes slowly closed and his former apprentice pressed his forehead against that of his fallen Master. A tear streamed down Obi-wan’s face as feelings of disbelief overwhelmed him. How could Qui-Gon be gone? He was powerful, he was wise, he taught Obi-wan everything that he knew, and now, Obi-wan felt as if his whole world had imploded before his eyes. Loss was an inevitable truth in these difficult times, but losing someone so close never prevailed to be easy. The memories of himself and his Master flooded into his mind, the times on Mandalore with Satine, the times in the Temple going through the Forms and even the most sentimental moments between Master and Padawan where Qui-Gon and Obi-wan would simply sit in solitude and reflect on their times together.
But Obi-wan’s flooded mind of emotion was quickly interrupted by the very familiar sound of a double bladed lightsaber, spinning and slicing through the air. Obi-wan had no choice, he was a Jedi, and Jedi were not granted the pleasure of feeling whenever or whatever they would like (despite his apprentice proving otherwise). The Jedi doctrine was ingrained into Obi-wan and he lived by the Jedi Code, and that Jedi Code told him that he had to finish the job.
He rose to his feet. A stern look on his face. He was determined. As long as Maul was alive he would continue to destroy everything that mattered to Obi-wan, he would not let this Sith continue to prevail. He not only had to protect Anakin but he had a job to protect Luke and Leia, the very future of the Jedi. But before he could engage his long-time adversary, Obi-wan felt that very familiar feeling of the cold. He knew exactly what it was, but everytime he felt it, it was like feeling it for the very first time, the pain and discomfort it caused in Obi-wan’s heart never lessened. The feeling of the cold was Anakin. The cold that would arise every time someone threatened Padme, or Ahsoka, or his children, but especially when someone threatened Obi-wan. So long had Obi-wan tried to eradicate that feeling that resided in his apprentice, to eradicate the fear and the darkness inside Anakin’s heart that was so easily tempted.
As Maul laughed in his arrogance at his recent victory of killing Obi-wan’s Master, he was blinded by his overconfidence as Anakin approached from behind. Anakin’s rage appeared so clearly on his face as he punched Maul in the back of his head, causing the Sith Lord to fall to his knees, his laughter turning to silence in less than an instant. “YOU’RE A MONSTER!” Anakin yelled angrily. Anakin kicked Maul this time in his back causing him to fall forward and land flat on his face, his lightsaber shrinking to nothing. Anakin raised his lightsaber ready to end it once and for all, before Maul quickly but painfully turned onto his back and ignited one end of his saber to block Skywalker. Maul moaned in pain realising that Skywalker was perhaps a lot more powerful than he initially anticipated. As Anakin fiercely pressed his lightsaber against Maul’s red blade, Maul could sense The Chosen One’s anger that evidently made Anakin so strong and powerful. Their blades were a mere centimetre away from Maul’s face as he could feel the heat from them radiating against his cheek. Realising his predicament, Maul quickly raised his free hand and used the Force to once again push Anakin back. Though the damage wasn’t as severe this time as Anakin landed on his feet only slightly gliding backwards. As Skywalker repositioned himself, another lightsaber ignited from the right of Maul, and then another sound of ignited hum and vibration was heard to his left. Obi-wan, Ahsoka and Anakin now stood, determined, surrounding their enemy.
Anakin: “You’re gonna pay for what you did today… Maul.”
Maul: “Such a shame that your powers never reached their true potential, Skywalker. You could’ve made a powerful Sith…”
As Anakin had no choice but to listen to Maul’s words that evidently cut deep into his heart, visions began to cloud his mind. The dreams Anakin had been having lately were of pain, suffering, death. He saw himself reigning terror across the galaxy and although he was aware of his fears about losing the ones he loved, the worst fear he had was losing himself...to the dark side, and that’s all he had dreamed about since leaving the Jedi Temple. Anakin’s nightmares, his premonitions; tended to distract him from the present moment as he felt the conflict between his heart and his mind. It was like the Dark Side, and the Sith was… calling to him?
“MASTER!” Ahsoka’s voice forced Anakin back into reality, and so did the force that came with Maul’s blow to Anakin’s head. He fell to the ground and Ahsoka came from the side ready to strike at Maul before he instinctively Force pushed her upwards into the ceiling, causing her to then fall painfully to the ground. Ahsoka was knocked out. Obi-wan then swung his saber at Maul and consequently cut at his shoulder causing him to drop his saber as blood began to roll down his red and black skin. That was enough to tick the Sith Lord over the edge as he growled angrily and threw a punch at Obi-wan’s head. Maul then kicked Kenobi in his side and he went flying into the wall on the far side of the wall. Obi-wan too, laid seemingly unconscious on the floor.
Seeming satisfied that the fight was finally finished, Maul sighed...a slight smirk now appearing on his face as he looked down at Anakin. He proceeded to kneel beside him. “Such a shame, that Kenobi has brainwashed you with the doctrines of the Jedi... With your raw power, we could be great allies, Skywalker.” Anakin seemed as though he was fading in and out of consciousness, he felt his head throbbing. His eyes blinked up at Maul but he was too weak to do anything, except listen to his words. “I see your mind Skywalker. You already know that your hate makes you powerful, give in to your anger and set yourself free.”
“H-help m-me…” Anakin’s voice was barely a whisper as he slowly raised his hand.
Maul’s expression lifted as Anakin pleaded, “I can help you Skywalker, I can set you free from your pain, your conflict. All you need to do is pledge yourself, to me.”
“That won’t be necessary.” At that moment Maul felt the heat and energy of a lightsaber slice all the way up his back. The very distinct voice that was none other than Kenobi spoke from behind as Maul sat in disbelief at his defeat.
“Th-thank you, Master.” Anakin looked up at Obi-wan with an expression that Obi-wan very well knew and loved, before Anakin’s arm fell back down beside him in his weakness.
But before Maul fell for the very last time, a sudden surge of energy caused him to instantly fly back into the large glass window behind them. The glass broke and Maul fell to his final defeat. Anakin and Obi-wan both looked at the broken window with confusion. “What was that!?” Anakin managed to sit up in disbelief, but now Obi-wan only looked forward, past him, in complete awe. There, stood, a four year Luke Skywalker in the doorway of the room with his hands raised in front of him and his eyes closed. “Luke!” Anakin spoke as he looked towards his son, in complete disbelief. “Hello Father,” the child walked over to Anakin and Obi-wan smiling, “I’m, I’m not sure what I uh, just did...” Luke was well spoken for his age. Obi-wan laughed lightly and smiled down at him, “You just saved our lives little one.” Anakin then brought his son onto his lap and hugged him tightly, glad to have his son in his arms, “Son what are you doing here, you should be with your Mother, and your sister. That was very reckless, you could’ve been killed!” “Well it’s clear recklessness runs in the family,” Obi-wan said pleased with himself. Anakin gave his Master a look but chose to ignore him. “I’m sorry Dad, I don’t know what happened. It’s like... it’s like I was lead back here! Without even choosing to come back here. Something inside me said I had to come back.” Luke’s voice was as sincere as it could be for a four year old. Anakin and Obi-wan knew exactly what he was talking about, and from what they just witnessed, it was clear what was to be made of Luke Skywalker’s future.
Kanan reentered the Council chamber, confused when he didn’t see Ezra before realizing that they must’ve sent him to the med bay for midichlorian testing. As the door closed behind him, he bowed to the Council before straightening.
“Tell us again how you found Ezra.”
“We ran into each other on the street, and I sensed his sensitivity so I asked him about it. He left, and I found him again later and asked.”
“How long ago did you two first run into each other?” Mace continued, frowning in thought.
“A few weeks ago. I’ve had to convince him to let me bring him here; he wasn’t sure about it.”
“Did you ever officially test the extent of his sensitivity?”
Kanan shook his head. That one was true enough.
“The child has a midichlorian count in the mid-1300s. High enough that we’re not sure how we possibly could have missed him,” Plo Koon rumbled, expression unreadable. Kanan suppressed his surprise quickly.
“Will he be admitted to the Order?”
There was silence as the Council members glanced around at each other. Finally Yoda spoke.
“A potential danger, the youngling has become.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Mace answered. “It means that unless someone can provide a decent case for him, he will need to be terminated. There’s too much of a risk that he could fall to the Dark Side; he’s too old and we’ve already seen enough of his emotional insta—“
“You’re planning to kill him?! He’s not even sixteen!”
“Caleb Dume, you are in no position to argue. You have left the Order yourself. The child has no one who would be willing to take him on as an apprentice. And we are now in the middle of a war; we don’t have time to worry about a child who could potentially be our downfall.”
At his grandmaster’s words, Kanan felt a sudden nudge from the Force to protect the boy.
“Have you even asked anyone if they would take him as a Padawan?!” He was shouting now. “He’s still barely more than a kid!”
“Caleb Dume, control your emotions, you must!” Yoda reprimanded sharply. “Unless willing you are, to take on such a volatile Padawan, reprimand others you will not.”
“Sure I’ll take him on as an apprentice!” He said it before he had fully registered just exactly what he had said.
The Council chamber fell silent once again as the full weight of what he had said hit him. He swallowed.
“You’re saying you want to rejoin the Order?” Mace questioned dubiously, raising a brow.
If that’s what it takes to stop you killing a child….
“Yeah,” he finally answered, voice rough.
“Rejoining the Order then, you are, Caleb Dume. Hmm.” Yoda stared thoughtfully at him and he swallowed, forcing himself not to drop his gaze.
“Except I’ll be going by Kanan Jarrus from now on. Caleb Dume is a name that belongs to someone else now.” Someone who died with Depa, he added silently.
The Council was silent for a moment and glances were exchanged. Kanan swallowed.
“Give this topic much thought and discussion, we must, I think,” Yoda answered finally. “Go, you may.”
Kanan nodded and left.
As soon as the med droid had turned, he’d hopped off of the cot and ran out.
He’d skidded around a corner, going up to several doors before leaving them, sensing that they didn’t hold what he was looking for, before he had finally found one that suited his purposes and ducked inside.
It was a cleaning closet, with a couple of droids shut off in the back along with several brooms leaning against the wall. He moved to the back, climbing up onto one of the droids before dropping to the floor next to it. He hugged his knees and waited.
He estimated it had been about an hour when the door finally opened. He raised a hand to shield his eyes against the light as his headache increased before hearing a familiar sigh.
“C’mon kid.” Kanan entered and Ezra rose hesitantly, climbing back over the droid as the Jedi beckoned with a hand. “I want to talk to you.”
They exited the small room together, Kanan ducking his head to avoid hitting it on the frame as they emerged into the hall. “This way, there’s a courtyard.” The teen followed him silently as he led the way, pausing only for a moment when they came to a fork in the hall.
They reached a set of doors that Kanan opened with a wave of his hand. They entered a spacious courtyard with something that looked vaguely like a plant in the center. Kanan led them to the set of stairs leading down from the platform the doors were on to the level of the plant. Ezra pointed to it as he sat down on a step. “What’s that?”
“It’s the Force tree.”
“Oh.” They didn’t have those on Lothal, and plants in the lower levels were pretty much non-existent.
They were silent, just staring at the Force tree, and Ezra realized the humming had become...calmer, somehow. Still there, and stronger, but...easier.
Finally Kanan cleared his throat and he glanced over at the man. “I...need to talk to you about something.”
“I already know your name isn’t Kanan,” he said in response. The man quickly masked his surprise, but he shook his head anyway and shifted his gaze away from Ezra and to the Force tree.
“It isn’t, but there’s...more. I...I couldn’t use Caleb in the lower levels. People know—knew—Caleb. I wanted...I guess I just wanted a fresh start. Caleb- Caleb’s dead now. I go by Kanan.” He rubbed the back of his neck before continuing. “I left the Order a few months ago, almost a year ago now. My master...she died.” He cleared his throat, clasping his hands and leaning forward with his arms on his knees as his voice quieted. “I was Knighted a few rotations after, and I left the Order a couple weeks after that. I’ve been living in the lower levels since.”
“Was there anyone with you?”
“I...no, no, there wasn’t anyone. Hasn't been, not for a while now.” Sighing, he cast a sideways glance at Ezra. “But that wasn’t originally what I meant to talk to you about. The Council, they...they know you’re powerful. They—“
Ezra interrupted him with a snort. “Me, powerful? Have you seen me? I don’t fight people.”
“Being a Jedi isn’t about fighting people. It’s about avoiding that.” Kanan cleared his throat again. “Anyway, the Council, they uh, they don’t think anyone will take you on as a Padawan. And they’re...they’re wrong.” He swallowed, reclasping his hands. “Because I will.”
The teen jolted in surprise. “Um. Okay. But if they don’t think anyone will take me, then can’t I just leave?”
The Jedi shook his head, sighing. “It’s not that simple.”
He opened his mouth to elaborate but then turned, along with Ezra, to see the door opening and a Temple guard standing just inside.
“The Council has made their decision.”
It had been a few days since Anakin, Obi-wan and Ahsoka, Padme and the children, had all returned to their home, still coming to terms with what had happened. They had held a memorial service for Master Qui-gon at their home on Naboo, and the Jedi from Coruscant, including Master Yoda and Master Windu, had flown in to honour the fallen Jedi Master. Master Yoda and Master Windu had decided to stay on Naboo for a few days in order to check in with Kenobi and update him on the progression of the war. And in return, Kenobi updated his old friends on the progression of the children, and Anakin.
Although Anakin had reunited with his fellow Jedi Masters, his attention was...elsewhere.
“I thought we made the right decision by coming here Anakin, I thought we were safe.” Padme’s voice possessed the usual tone of tiredness, indeed the war had left its scar on her.
Anakin: “Padme I told you, no matter where we are, there will always be a threat, but I’m here. And as long as I’m here no harm will come to you, or, our children…” Anakin brought his wife into a warm hug that convinced Padme she was safe. Though Padme was brave, daring and always ready for a fight, the birth of her children no longer allowed her to take the same risks as she once did.
The two held each other closely and Padme dug her face into Anakin’s chest. He grabbed at her waist tightly and kissed her forehead. He then proceeded to place soft kisses on her cheek before digging in his head into her hair and started kissing her neck softly. Padme placed her hand on the back of Anakin’s neck and tugged tightly at his hair, “A-Anakin,” she breathed softly into his chest. “Yes my lady?” He spoke smirking into her neck still kissing her. Anakin then picked Padme up gently. He carried her over to the couch as she laid her head against his shoulder. He sat down on the couch while she sat comfortably in his lap. Padme now began kissing Anakin’s neck, causing his head to fall back in delight. She laughed into his neck then moved to face him, “It has been too long since we’ve had a moment like this. Even here, away from the war...I never thought that children would demand so much of our time.” “Well that’s why we have Obi-wan,” Anakin said smiling, “he’s our permanent baby sister.” Padme smiled back at him before moving to kiss him properly. They smiled between kisses, and for once, Anakin felt as though he was entirely in the present moment.
He felt something else though, a presence, that was moving closer and closer. “Anakin?” Obi-wan’s voice was heard behind the door and Padme quickly jumped off her husband and sat at the other end of the couch. The door opened revealing Obi-wan, Master Yoda and Master Windu. Anakin’s hair was ruffled and his tunic was untucked from his belt. Padme sat on the other of side him, her face was red and her dress was also twisted in an all too obvious manner. Obi-wan simply sighed, crossing his arms and shaking his head. ‘Even as adults with children they still act as though they are teenagers in love,’ he thought to himself. “Interrupting something, am I? Skywalker?” Yoda spoke with humour in his voice and Anakin’s face went red as he cleared his throat. “Uh, no Master, the Senator and I were just, Uh..” Yoda interrupted him, “Playing cards, were you?” Yoda then laughed to himself. “Skywalker. Your marriage with Senator Amidala, no longer a secret it is. Children you have. Forget this, did you?” Anakin coughed into his fist awkwardly, “No Master, I didn’t forget. You just, Uh, caught me off guard is all.” Obi-wan looked at Anakin as he tried to smile through his discomfort. “I should be going,” Padme then rose to her feet, dusting the front of her dress with her hands, “I know you all have a great deal to discuss.” “Padme if you please,” Obi-wan began, “Master Windu and Master Yoda have just informed me about a transmission they received from Mandalore. It would be helpful to have your... political input.” Padme nodded, “What’s the situation Master Jedi?”
Master Windu then pulled out his hologram transmitter, revealing a hologram of Duchess Satine of Mandalore. “We received this message a few hours ago,” Mace said emotionlessly.
“Members of the Jedi Council, I am sure you are all aware that Maul’s reign of terror on our planet has left grave consequences on the state of my people. As our planet is now under the control of various crime syndicates, the necessary supplies for my people’s survival is now at a stand still. We are short of food, medical supplies, education, and just about everything else that will allow my people to prosper. Forgive me...I stand corrected, they are no longer my people. I am transmitting this message from a stolen comm link in my jail cell. I have managed to stay in contact with my sister Bo-Katan, who has been informing me on the state of Mandalore. I assume you already know from Bo’s alliance with the Jedi, Ahsoka Tano, that she and numerous other Mandalorians are working tirelessly to rebel against Maul and his thugs. I also know that as I record this message, Maul is no longer on Mandalore, which brings me to my point of contact. I believe Maul’s departure gives Bo and I a chance to reach out for help and thus ask you for food and medicine in order to keep us alive. Our planet has indeed fallen, but as long as we have the necessary tools for survival, I believe we still have a chance for future prosperity where there is no conflict on Mandalore. I understand that we are a neutral system which eradicates your ability to get involved in our turmoil, but I beg you to send whatever supplies you can in order to keep us alive—“
“The transmission was intercepted there...which only raises our fears. The Duchess is right, the Jedi Council and the Republic...cannot get involved in this conflict, but...you, Kenobi and Skywalker, you can.” Mace’s voice was stern. Anakin looked to Obi-Wan, he could see he was hurting, but more importantly, he could feel the pain in his Master’s heart. He knew how Obi-Wan felt about Satine, but Anakin also knew that unlike himself, Obi-Wan had always put his head before his heart, and thus resist his temptations. But Anakin also knew that despite Obi-Wan’s unmatched inner balance, he would never refuse helping those in need, especially those that he felt so strongly towards. Anakin knew this for a fact as he laughed to himself, ‘Heck how many times has he come to my rescue?’ It was at that moment that Anakin knew he would be travelling to Mandalore in less than a few hours, he could even see the vision in his head already.
Mace: “Anakin and Obi-Wan, your departure and separation from the Jedi Temple and the Republic on Coruscant makes it accessible for you to travel to Mandalore and thus help Duchess Satine.”
Obi-Wan: “I will leave no later than this afternoon.”
Mace: “Though you are still Jedi, you are in a position to attend to the needs of the Mandalorians.” At that moment, Rex appeared in the doorway.
Anakin: “Rex! I was wondering where you disappeared to.”
Rex: “Good to see you General.”
Mace: “Commander Rex has volunteered to return to Mandalore with you. He already has the supplies on a ship that is ready to depart.”
Rex: “I’ve still got men back on Mandalore that need my help.”
Padme: “Wait, if the Republic isn’t involved in this war then why are there clones on Mandalore?”
Mace looked to Anakin, “I’m afraid Commander Rex has adopted a lot of his General’s traits, including the art of disobeying orders.”
Rex laughed, “Ha, What can I say? There’s no one like Skywalker.” Anakin smiled up at him. “Mandalore needed our help, I saw firsthand what they were up against. So myself and a handful of my men set course for Mandalore intent on helping those who could not help themselves.”
Anakin: “I’m proud of you, Rex.”
Rex: “Thanks, General.”
Obi-Wan: “I’m sorry to interrupt this moment of sentiment but I do believe Mandalore is suffering as we speak so we must get a move on.”
Anakin rose to his feet, smirking, “Okay Obi-wan, let’s go save your girlfriend.”
“Anakin she’s not my girl- … Ugh!” Obi-Wan sighed and put his head in his hands.
Yoda: “Duchess Satine, close to her you are, Obi-Wan.”
Obi-Wan: “Yes but-“
Yoda interrupted him by laughing, “Obi-Wan, no explanation do I require. Save your girlfriend, and her people, you must.” Obi-Wan sighed once more as Anakin laughed and patted Obi-Wan on the back.
Obi-Wan: “Since when did Anakin’s foolishness rub off on Master Yoda?”
Rex: “I’m afraid his traits seem to rub off on everyone, sir.”
Anakin smiled, “Alright let’s get to work.” He turned to kiss Padme on her cheek bidding his farewell. She blushed in shyness, still not yet comfortable with the fact that their relationship was now open. “I will see you soon Padmé.”
As the fellow Jedi Masters said their last goodbyes to the Senator, Ahsoka suddenly appeared in the doorway. “I heard about the mission Masters, and there’s no way I’m missing this one.”
“C’mon Snips,” Anakin said smiling.
*Now in the hangar bay next to their ship*
Yoda: “Return we must, to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.”
Mace: “Indeed. Unfortunately we are still at war.”
Obi-Wan: “Very well Masters. May the Force be with you.”
Yoda: “Skywalker, a word with you if I may?”
Anakin: “Of course Master.”
The two Jedi moved away in private.
Yoda: “Proud I am of you, young Skywalker. Strong you are with the Force. But, a great burden, and life-long challenge it is, to conquer your emotions.”
Anakin: “I...” Anakin signed, “I understand Master. What must I do?”
Yoda: “Protected you I have, from the external forces of evil that are the Sith. But protect you I cannot...from the forces of evil that lie within you.”
Anakin squeezed his eyes shut and lowered his head as Yoda reminded him of his inner turmoil and pain. “Fear not,” Yoda began, “Soon enough, your resolution will arise.”
Anakin: “What do you mean Master?”
Yoda: “The Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned.”
Anakin: “I understand.”
Yoda: “Safe you are, away from Coruscant, away from the elusive Sith Lord...But, feel your pain I do. Feel your conflict, inside you it is. Even at the Temple, sense your anguish I can. But, learn more about oneself a Jedi Master does, by teaching others.”
Anakin: “As you say Master. I will train my son, and my daughter.”
Yoda: “Balance you will find, through training your children. Positive I am of this.”
Anakin: “Thank you Master Yoda, May the Force be with you.” The two Jedi then bowed to one another before Anakin headed for the ship where Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and Rex awaited him. “Don’t wait up for me Master. R2 fire her up! I’ll be back in a moment,” Anakin said running back into their home. “Anaki-!” Obi-Wan sighed, “Always on the move. Where could he possibly be going now?” Ahsoka and Rex smiled to themselves behind him. For just a moment they both thought as though they were back in the Clone Wars, amidst Kenobi and Skywalker’s unmistakable banter that always seemed to prevail above the chaos and destruction of the war. It was Anakin and Obi-Wan’s presence that kept both the clones and Ahsoka optimistic and grounded, and it was their infamous friendship that kept everyone smiling amongst persistently difficult times. ‘It’s certainly good to be back with the Jedi,’ Rex thought to himself.
At that moment Anakin appeared back in the hangar carrying none other than little Luke Skywalker, an expression of bursting excitement on the younglings face. Obi-Wan however, wasn’t so impressed.
Obi-Wan: “Anakin what do you think you’re doing? Don’t even think you’re taking Luke on this trip. I’m not taking a child into war!”
Anakin: “What’s the problem? We did the same thing with Ahsoka, and that one was your idea Master.” The smirk on Anakin’s face was unmistakable, and Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and Rex had seen it way too many times. Ahsoka rolled her eyes. Anakin spoke more closely to Obi-Wan now as Ahsoka and Rex boarded the ship.
Anakin: “Obi-Wan… Master Yoda, asked me to do this,” he looked down, “not just for Luke, but for me as well.” Obi-wan knew exactly what his best friend was saying and he put a hand on Anakin’s houlder for reassurance. “You are strong and wise Anakin and although I don’t agree with this, I must accept it,” Obi-wan’s tone was warm and supportive, “If Master Yoda believes that this is a wise decision than I must be on board with it. I only ever want to see you happy and...balanced.” Anakin smiled at his Master and moved to board the ship with Luke in his arms. Obi-wan followed him, now trying to mask his anxiety about the younglings involvement in all of this, he was already plagued with nervousness about seeing Satine and now the pressure was immense.
Obi-wan joined the rest of the crew in the cockpit. “Hey little guy,” Rex looked over at Luke who now sat in Ahsoka’s arms as Anakin began flying the ship out of the hangar. “My name’s Rex.” “Hello Rex, my name is Luke.” Rex and Ahsoka laughed at the younglings cute and calm nature.
Anakin: “Luke, Rex is a good friend of mine. We’ve worked together for years and years. Let’s just say he’s your uncle, like uncle Obi-wan or auntie Ahsoka.”
Ahsoka: “If you keep this up your children are going to have a lot of aunties and uncles.” Anakin gave her a look before gearing up for hyperspace. Anakin sat in the pilot’s seat as usual while Ahsoka co-piloted with Luke sitting happily in her lap. Then Rex and Obi-wan sat in the two seats behind them. “Strap yourselves in. Ready everybody?” “All set,” Luke said smiling. The ship went into hyperspace as R2 made his usual scream of excitement at the ships sudden surge of speed. “Time to go get Obi-wan’s girlfriend.”
They re-entered the Council chamber together, Ezra carefully watching the Jedi as they stopped in the middle of the room. The doors slid shut with a soft thud that made him jump and glance over his shoulder.
“Kanan Jarrus, our decision, we have reached,” Yoda began. Kanan folded his arms.
“You will be allowed to take on Ezra as your Padawan,” the Kel Dor spoke. His shoulders sagged slightly in uncertain relief, but a quick glance at Kanan revealed that the man was as unresponsive as the members of the Council. He nodded.
“He will be inducted tonight, and his quarters will be assigned then as well.” Ezra nodded to the Kel Dor as the man’s rumbling voice continued. “You will be assigned one of the temporary quarters until we can find a more permanent one for you, Jarrus.” Kanan nodded.
“Go, you may, but later return you will, for the induction.” The Jedi nodded again and Ezra hesitantly followed suit, trailing after the man as he exited.
“We’ll need to get you a lightsaber soon.”
His head whipped up at Kanan’s casual remark, but the man didn’t spare him a glance as he led him through the Temple. He turned at a corner, seemingly without needing to pause and check that it was the right way.
Maybe someday he’d be able to do that too.
He cleared his throat before speaking in an attempt to distract himself from the humming. “So, lightsabers, um...where do you get them?” he asked as they turned another corner. Kanan glanced down at him as he answered.
“We build them. You have to find a kyber crystal, generally when you’re a youngling, before you’re a Padawan. But since you’re older, they’ll probably make some sort of an allowance for that.” He nodded, then hesitated as he mulled over what the Jedi had just told him.
“‘Kyber crystals?’” he echoed, cautiously waiting for Kanan’s nod before continuing. “They- they have those on Lothal.”
“The Temple there?” Kanan asked, glancing down at the boy.
“Um...a mountain? I se- saw ships head toward the mountains occasionally, but there’s nothing- nothing up there. At least- at least nothing that...would warrant a settlement.”
Kanan nodded slowly, glancing ahead again. “That would be the Temple probably. I’ve been to that one once, but I had my crystal already. Most of the younglings get them on Ilum though.”
“Oh.” They walked in silence for several more minutes before Ezra glanced back up at him. “What’s the induction like?”
“I’m...not entirely sure. Since you’re older, they might change it. Normally you’d be required to meditate beforehand, but they didn’t mention anything about it to me.” He shrugged. “Since yours is a special case, they’ll probably exempt you from the meditation because I haven’t taught you that yet.”
He nodded and they turned another corner before stopping at a door. Kanan waved a hand and it slid open easily; he then gestured for the teen to enter first before following himself as the door shut.
There were four cushions arranged so that each one was the side of a square in the middle of the room, however there was about a foot of space between each so none were touching. The room was bare apart from the cushions.
Kanan sat on the cushion on the far side from the doorway, gesturing for Ezra to follow suit with the cushion closest to the door. The teen folded his legs carefully, mimicking Kanan’s position as he glanced up at the Jedi.
“What’re we doing?”
“I’m teaching you how to meditate, in case they do ask you to.”
He blinked abruptly and then moved to stand, but Kanan’s hand snagged his wrist before he could do so. He tensed but froze, eyes flickering down to the grasp on his arm.
“Don’t leave, kid.”
“Why? I don’t want to learn how to meditate.” He twisted out of Kanan’s grip, standing quickly. “How’s that supposed to help me be a Jedi?”
“It’s...complicated,” the man sighed, running a hand through his hair. “But you need to listen to what I tell you to do if you want to be a Padawan.”
The boy snorted, crossing his arms. “And meditating?”
The Jedi sighed. “Just trust me, kid, alright? The Council….Let’s just leave it at that you need to listen to me. It’ll be better for everyone involved.”
He snorted again, rolling his eyes, though Kanan’s tone, when contrasted with the man’s words, confused him. He spoke as if he were joking, but the actual tone of his words put Ezra on edge for a reason he couldn’t explain. “It’ll help with the humming, too.”
He sat down again to a relieved sigh from Kanan. “Fine. What do I need to do?”
They were summoned again that evening, though Ezra had tuned out when the guards announced where to. Instead he simply followed Kanan up to another tower, similar to the one the Council chambers were in. However, upon entering, he realized that this tower was noticeably different.
The segment of floor they were standing on was the only one still on the same level. Ahead of them, a gaping hole awaited, with only a few segments of the floor supported by dark durasteel pillars above it, some of which appeared to seat the Council members. A Council member across from them waved a hand, and one of the vacant segments’ pillars drifted down to them. Kanan glanced behind them to see the guards gesturing for them to step onto the new segment. Kanan stepped forward first, followed shortly by Ezra. Once on the segment it slowly began to lift and as Ezra watched, the guards below left them and the door slid shut.
He felt trapped.
The humming made his head pound as the segment stopped smoothly once it reached a level slightly below that of the Council. He glanced up at Kanan in uncertainty, only to see that the man had set his jaw and was staring at Master Yoda.
What’s your surname?
He jolted in surprise at the sudden foreign thought, casting a glance up at Kanan. The Human didn’t react.
Well, go on kid. What is it?
He swallowed thickly, uncertain if he should say it aloud or not.
Just think it. I’ll be able to tell.
Nodding slightly, he blinked. Bridger, he thought silently.
Okay. I’ll explain how we can do all this later. He nodded slightly again before following Kanan’s gaze up to the Council.
“Kanan Jarrus,” Master Windu spoke suddenly, addressing the man beside Ezra. “You’ve requested to rejoin the Order and take on a Padawan.”
Kanan inclined his head. “Yeah, that’s correct.”
“And you’d like it to be Ezra…?”
“Bridger,” supplied Kanan before nodding again. “And yeah.”
“Is there a reason for this?”
“Not particularly, just Ezra needed somebody to train him and no- I decided to be the one to do that.”
Ezra glanced up at the man’s quick correction, but his gaze was expressionless and unrevealing again. Swallowing, Ezra looked back up to the Council.
“We have convened about this already, and decided to accept your request.” Ezra let out a quiet sigh of relief and noticed that Kanan also seemed to visibly relax.
“Thanks,” the Human replied, nodding again.
“Ezra Bridger, you are now a Padawan of the Jedi Order.” The teen swallowed, expecting to feel some sort of surge of emotion or something, but there was nothing. “You will adhere to the Jedi Code. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony.
“There is no death, there is the Force.”
There was silence for a moment before Ezra realized they were waiting on him. He swallowed, clearing his throat. “I…” he trailed off uncertainly.
Kanan was quick to respond. I understand the Code. I will strive to keep peace and spread knowledge, to keep harmony and remain serene. And above all, I will follow the will of the Force.
He nodded just enough for Kanan to see before clearing his throat. “I- I understand the Code. I will strive to keep peace and spread knowledge, to keep harmony and remain- remain serene. And above all, I will follow the will of the Force.”
The Council members nodded and Master Windu spoke again. “Are there any objections?” Silence, and the Human nodded. “The Order accepts you, Padawan Bridger. The Temple guards will show you to your quarters.”
The rest of the Council members were silent as the segment of the floor lowered again, connecting again with the part that led out of the tower. The door slid open, and Master and Padawan exited together.
A couple things:
1) The reason Ezra’s more salty than anything about the whole meditation situation is because he tends to revert to that attitude when he feels more on edge, and at the moment Kanan’s still slightly on edge from his discussion with the Council earlier so Ezra’s sensing that. And then the increased humming is annoying too.
2) The reason Ezra knows the names of some of the Council members later is because they either introduced themselves to him during his assessment or he asked Kanan about them afterward.
As the ship zipped through hyperspace, Rex retired to the back of the ship that held private quarters for each of the passengers. Ahsoka also left the cockpit in order to meditate. Although the ship was on autopilot, Anakin and Obi-wan remained in the cockpit, with Luke fast asleep in Obi-wan’s arms. Anakin thought to himself for a moment, amidst the calm white noise that was created only by the hum of the flying ship and by R2’s soft, familiar beeps behind him. He was at ease...For the first time in a long time. Although life on Naboo was still somewhat tenuous due to the demand of raising two children, Anakin and Obi-wan went from one extreme to the other, from fighting a war, to sitting around aimlessly meditating, sometimes even watching the time go by. And Anakin was so accustomed to being on the move, ‘actually, it was a Jedi’s duty to always be on the move,’ he thought to himself. But he knew his duty as The Chosen One remained on Naboo, and Anakin had already proven that he was going to fulfill his destiny. But he also couldn’t help but be thankful that this Mandalorian mission presented itself...he was ready to be a warrior again. Anakin also believed it was easier for him to control and focus his emotions when he was using his lightsaber, rather than sitting alone with his eyes forcibly closed trying hopelessly to reorganise his thoughts. “Anakin, how many times have I told you that you can’t solve all your problems with your lightsaber?” Obi-wan’s voice broke Anakin’s trail of thought before he quickly caught on to what his Master was saying. He turned to face him, “You know, it’s not the Jedi way to voluntarily read someone’s thoughts.” “But it’s a good trick,” Obi-wan said smiling, his voice obviously mimicking that of Anakin’s. Anakin shook his head and gave Obi-wan a look that simply read, ‘shut up,’ before Obi-wan spoke again, “I’m sorry Anakin but you know how it is with you and I.”
Anakin: “I know Master.”
Obi-wan: “We’re together so much...my thoughts and actions are practically your thoughts and actions. We’ve had this discussion before.”
Anakin looked at Obi-wan and smiled, “You’re practically a part of me Master.”
Obi-wan: “Well that’s one way of putting it.”
Anakin: “It’s the truth, how else do you think you and I have survived this long? All through the war… and all through life! It’s because you and I are one in the same. If I slip up, you’re always there to back me up, and if your infamous negotiations ever fail, I’m always behind you ready with my lightsaber. Your actions are my actions. My thoughts are your thoughts.” Anakin’s face glowed with confidence and Obi-wan could feel his warm emotions radiating towards him through the Force, and all Obi-wan could do was smile.
Obi-wan: “You’re right, we are strongest when we are together and I wouldn’t of wanted anyone else by my side all through these years. You’re my brother Anakin, and I love you.” “I love you too Master-... I mean, Obi-wan,” Anakin’s grin grew wider, “...But of course, when your thoughts are my thoughts, it’s pretty hard for me to ignore all of your extravagant dreams about... your Duchess,” he was smirking now. Obi-wan blushed slightly before quickly composing himself, reading to deflect the banter, “Oh please, may I remind you of the years and years you were fantasising about Padme, blindly believing that I had no idea about you two.” Anakin narrowed his eyes at him before turning back to face the cockpit window that displayed a moving blur of blue and white. “Very funny.” Anakin said bluntly. “I mean, did you really think that you could keep something like that from me?” Obi-wan continued smiling, “The council perhaps, but me? I will admit, it’s not like you did much to hide your tracks; consistently missing briefings, always overly excited to return to Coruscant, frantically looking for her amidst the passing groups of Senators-
“I get it Obi-wan.” Anakin interrupted him. “You know I think I played the part of the fool quite well don’t you? I kept your secret from the Council because… because that’s what friends are for,” Obi-wan cracked a small smile at Anakin and the frown on his former Padawan’s face disappeared. “I appreciate it, Obi-wan,” Anakin returned the smile before a certain someone shifted in Obi-wan’s lap, “What’re you guys talking about?” Luke spoke softly, slowly coming out of sleep.
Obi-wan: “Nothing young one, how was your sleep?” Luke stretched his arms up and yawned, “It was good, my dreams were strange though.” “How strange?” Anakin asked, a stern look firming on his face. “There was lots of explosions. And lots of people in the same kind of, armour? And you were there Daddy, and so were you Obi-wan, and Ahsoka!” Luke’s voice was pure but he spoke of things he didn’t truly understand. Anakin shot his Master a look, before Luke continued, “But then the scary man who stole mommy, Leia and me appeared-“
Obi-wan: “You don’t mean-“
Luke: “The scary man that’s red and black, the man with horns on his head!”
Anakin: “Weren’t you afraid? I was watching you sleep Luke, and you didn’t look like you having a nightmare.”
Luke: “It didn’t...it didn’t feel like a nightmare Dad, it was more just flashes of pictures.” Obi-wan noticed the worried look on Anakin’s face, “Run along little one, go get something to drink, we have a long day ahead of us.” “Okay Master,” Luke said as he hopped off Obi-wan’s lap and ran out of the cockpit. Obi-wan was suddenly taken aback by Luke’s address, ‘Master?’ He thought to himself and a sudden flash of memories of when Anakin was just a Padawan flooded his mind. It was at that moment Obi-wan knew somehow he would always be tied to the Skywalkers, in some way or another, and now he had to prepare to train the next generation.
His thoughts were quickly interrupted by the sound of Anakin’s voice and by the sense of his growing anxiety. “Flashes of pictures?” Anakin’s voice was harsh and puzzled, “I knew this would happen, I just knew it!” Anakin threw his head in his hands in frustration. He had spoken to Obi-wan about his fears that his children would potentially possess the same gift Anakin does, a gift that allows him to see into the inevitable future. A gift that evidently caused Anakin a great deal of pain and could perhaps be the sole reason for his imbalance. A gift that sacrifices ignorance for a painful sort of wisdom. Anakin’s gift showed him his mothers pain and suffering. But the most frustrating part of Skywalkers’ gift was that he was forced to see into the future and simply accept his visions of fate, because trying to change fate had grave consequences on the universe.
Obi-wan: “Anakin calm down, do not blame yourself. Your gift...was given to you for a reason. And the fact that your gift was passed on to your children is a blessing, a blessing that we must use to our advantage.” Anakin looked at him, how is it that Obi-wan could seem to calm him down in a heartbeat? “You can teach Luke to make sense of his visions, just as I taught you.”
At that moment the ship left hyperspace and the planet scope of Mandalore filled the cockpit window of their ship. “Coming up on Mandalore.” Anakin spoke into the ships internal comm. Ahsoka slowly opened her eyes at the sound of her Master’s voice echoing through her room. She got up and exited her room, evidently meeting Rex in the hallway, and they both headed for the cockpit.
Ahsoka crossed her arms as the ship entered the planet’s atmosphere, “Well, here we are again Rex. I never expected I’d be back at this war zone so soon.” “Well Commander, let’s just say I’d much rather return to it with you than without,” Rex narrowed his eyes as the smoke outside clouded the ships windows, making it impossible to see, “it doesn’t look like things have improved much around here, the planet seems to be on fire.” Obi-wan scratched his beard in contemplation, “This is what continuous war does to one’s home.” The passengers in the cockpit braced themselves through the ships turbulence caused by the thick clouds of smoke. Anakin manoeuvred the ship through way of the Force that enabled him to see through the fog and haze. He eventually was able to land the ship just outside the capital city of Sundari, just a few meters away from the city’s dome. He sighed and laid back in the pilot’s chair.
Anakin: “Well, what are you waiting for Obi-wan? Contact your girlfriend.”
Obi-wan: “Are you blind? I can’t contact her without risking a signal trace. Because you know, I’m sure that Death Watch would be happily waiting for us at the entrance of Sundari with warm hearts and open arms.” Obi-wan’s face couldn’t be anymore sarcastic.
Anakin: “Very funny Master. So what you’re saying is, we need a plan?”
Obi-wan: “Precisely. Any ideas?”
Rex: “I still have men on the inside. I can contact one of them to come pick us up and smuggle us into the capital.”
Anakin: “Well that’s a start.”
Ahsoka: “Once we get in, Rex and I will meet up with Bo and create a diversion while you and Obi-wan sneak into the prison blocks and free the Duchess.
“And what will I do?,” At that moment Rex, Ahsoka, Anakin and Obi-wan all looked behind them to see Luke standing in the doorway of the cockpit. Anakin looked to Obi-wan, “You’re with me son.”
The Jedi, the clone and the youngling waited about twenty minutes before a fellow member of the 501st came to escort them into the capital of Sundari. The Death Watch guards at the city’s entrance scanned life-forms aboard the clones’ shuttle, pursuing them to board the ship to investigate. Their investigation was cut short however as the Death Watch were evidently no match for Jedi, who had swiftly knocked them to the ground in the blink of an eye. Anakin and Obi-wan removed the Death Watch’s armour and re claimed it as their own, which was fitting because assuming a Mandalorian disguise was an essential part of their plan. Ahsoka put on a rob over her clothing in hopes that she wouldn’t be recognised by the Death Watch. “Ready?” Obi-wan asked whilst putting on his helmet that displayed the symbol of house Visla. “Yep,”Anakin replied “let’s go.”
Two members of Death Watch who were really Obi wan and Anakin, escorted Ahsoka, Luke, Rex and the other clone out of the ship; now approaching two more Mandalorians who stood by the entrance into the city. Ahsoka, Luke and Rex walked in binders as supposed prisoners. “This clone was trying to smuggle this woman and her child into the city sir, I’d like to take them to the prison for questioning. They could be potential allies to the Republic trying to feed information to Bo-Katan or the Duchess.” The irony was perfect and Anakin spoke as monotonic as possible. “I don’t see how a woman and a child could be much of a threat...but very well, take them to the detention blocks for interrogation.” The Mandalorian then disabled the shield and Obi-wan set the shuttle in motion and headed inside toward the city.
Anakin: “Alright, we’re in.”
Luke: “That wasn’t so hard.”
Ahsoka lifted her wrist to her face as her comm started activating, “I’ve got a lock on Bo’s location, c’mon Rex let’s go.” At that moment Ahsoka and Rex jumped off the shuttle, landed on a platform and ran into a dark alleyway within the depths of the city. Obi-wan, Anakin and Luke remained on the shuttle that was now nearing Sundari’s prison.
Anakin: “You okay Luke?”
Luke: “I’m fine dad. Come to think of it...there’s sort of something familiar about this place.”
The shuttle finally reached the prison building. Anakin, Obi-wan and Luke hopped off the shuttle and approached the guards at the entrance of the building. “I have orders to drop this prisoner off,” Anakin said bluntly. The Mandalorian guard looked at him for a moment, the puzzled look on his face could be sensed behind his helmet, “This prisoner? … This is a kid.” “We have our orders sir,” Anakin spoke again. “I’m sorry but this is very irregular, I was given no such orders. I’m going to half to contact the authorities for confirmation.” As The Mandalorian was about to turn away, Obi-wan lifted his hand and waved it in front of the guards face, “You will let us into the prison.”
“I…, I will let you...into the prison,” the guard repeated ignorantly, and then turned to enter the security code that enabled the doors to open. “Thank you.” Obi-wan said in true Kenobi style.
Luke: “How… how did you do that!?”
Obi-wan placed his hand on Luke’s shoulder as they walked through the prison, “The Force has a strong influence on the weak minded.”
Anakin: “Alright Obi-wan, how do we find the Duchess?”
Obi-wan then lifted his arm and reached out into the Force, searching for that familiar and calming presence that was Satine.
Luke: “She’s...she’s on the fifth level, cellblock..ugh, AA23.”
Obi-wan and Anakin looked at each other in complete astonishment.
Anakin: “How, how did you know that?”
Luke: “I saw it in my dreams.”
Obi-wan, Anakin and Luke rode the elevator to the fifth level. It was at this moment that Obi-wan’s heart felt as though it was beating out of his chest. Satine’s Force signature was close, he could feel it. Obi-wan let the Force guide him toward her cell. He took off his helmet now, eager to look into her eyes after so long. Finally, he arrived at cellblock AA23. Through the glass, there sat Satine, her back facing him, her head down and her hands in her lap. With a quick wave of his hand, the door to the cell opened, “...Satine.” Obi-wan spoke softly. Satine’s head rose and she quickly turned around towards the voice she knew so well, there stood the love of her life. She ran straight into him and threw her hands around his neck bringing him into an embrace, “Obi-wan! I’ve missed you.”
He had his own room.
It was in the Padawan dorms, or at least that was what the Temple guard had answered when asked. He also had a bed, a luxury he hadn’t had for years. But all Ezra cared about was the splitting headache that only got worse the further he went into the Temple, especially when he arrived in the dorms.
He wasn’t used to the bed and it seemed too exposed, just a cot in one of the back corners of the room. He decided to sleep on the floor instead, curling up near the foot of the cot and trying to ignore his headache.
Needless to say, he didn’t sleep much the first night.
“Clear your mind.”
The humming simply intensified as soon as he tried and he clenched his teeth in frustration. So far, he was disliking the Temple; he’d been here less than sixteen hours and already he’d had enough of the causeless glances of suspicion. None of them knew he was a thief; no, had been a thief. But still….
Can I just get out of this kriffing place already!
Kanan’s voice drew him out of his thoughts immediately as he inhaled, breathing out slowly.
He’s running again, on the streets and running again, rain slanting down in sheets that smother his dark hair and press it to his neck because they can’t find him they can’t find him they can’t find him—
Kanan’s voice was sharp, drawing him out of his thoughts as he took a drawn-out, shuddering breath.
“You okay kid?” Glancing up to meet the Jedi’s eyes, he saw concern woven across his face.
He swallowed, eyes flickering down.
“I’m fine. I just- I just can’t meditate right now.”
“Kid, you have to. They won’t let you anywhere near a lightsaber if you can’t even meditate.”
“I just can’t right now Kanan, okay!?”
“Yes, you can!” the Jedi insisted, and he had to admit the continued calm was unnerving.
“I can’t!” he yelled back, standing up quickly.
“Kid, look. Let me make it clear for you,” Kanan began, his voice barely covering a slight snarl. “The Council and the other Jedi don’t trust you yet. You’ll have to gain that trust by showing them you can adhere to their rules and traditions. Currently, you’re doing neither.”
He huffed, folding his arms. “What if I don’t want to follow their rules?”
Kanan sighed, running a hand over his face. “You have to, Ezra. I’ll explain later. Just...trust me.”
The teen stared at him for a long moment before huffing again and resuming his kneeling position from before. “Fine. I’ll try again.”
“Do or do not, there is no try.”
Ezra shot him a glare before closing his eyes again.
“Clear your mind.”
“Well I can’t when you’re talking,” he muttered.
“I’ll be quiet.” Ezra let out another shuddering breath, clenching and unclenching his hands as he tried to calm down. Focus. Breathe.
He’s slipping, stumbling and barely managing to catch himself as his foot skids across the slick surface of the street. He winces as he forces himself to run again, turning a corner almost too quickly to be safe in the darkened rain. Because if he goes any slower, they’ll catch up they’ll catch up they’ll catch up they’llcatchupthey’llcatchupthe--
He jolted, breathing heavily as he blinked and looked up at Kanan again. “Ye- yeah?”
“Kid, what’s wrong? You keep...I don’t know how to explain it. Zoning out?”
“I….” Finally he sighed, shaking his head. “Like I said, I just can’t do it today.”
“What is it?”
“Just...I’m just...just thinking too much. Not today.” He shook his head and Kanan raised an eyebrow.
“Do you want to try something else?”
The teen hesitated before nodding reluctantly. “Sure.”
The Jedi’s expression was unreadable again before he nodded, standing. “C’mon.”
Ezra followed suit, his confusion obvious as he hesitantly followed Kanan out.
“How’s your headache?”
A thoughtful hum was Kanan’s only answer. His confusion heightened as Kanan led the pair through the halls of the Temple, turning several corners until Ezra began to recognize where they were going.
The Jedi waved a hand to open the doors leading out to the Force tree courtyard and they exited, the teen’s bewilderment not lessening at all. The man led them to the steps and sat down with the boy following suit, much as they had the day before.
“Why are we out here again?”
“The Force tree is supposed to have a calming effect. At least, that’s what my master always told me.”
Ezra followed his gaze to the large plant, studying it. If a “calming effect” meant the fact that the humming wasn’t as bad out here, then he’d take it.
They sat in silence for several minutes before Kanan cleared his throat. “Let’s try meditating again, but out here this time.”
He stood and walked to the base of the stairs before kneeling a few meters from the tree, his Padawan warily following. He noticed Kanan’s quick glance back at the Temple, but the man returned his attention to Ezra with a strained smile almost immediately.
“Alright, go ahead and clear your mind. Try not to focus on anything at the start, that might work a bit better for you.”
He nodded as he closed his eyes, exhaling quietly as the humming retreated to the back of his mind, becoming almost a comforting murmur rather than the brash buzzing form it usually assumed.
He pushed the rest of it out as well, thinking not of Lothal, not of the lower levels, not of the other Jedi or even Kanan.
The grass waves gently, the soft wind stirring it just enough to be noticeable, but no more.
A small, blue and gold cube, slowly rising in the air before the corners come apart.
Another night out on the roof, watching the twin moons rise and thinking of nothing else.
A Loth-cat weaves through the grass, meowing quietly as a chuff from a much larger creature comes from above.
The words are spoken in the soft voice of an older man, but the emotions they produce are warring with each other; slick comfort and solid uncertainty trying and failing to exist together.
“The power to save your master, and your family.”
He gasped, blinking his eyes open as he glanced at Kanan. Moments later, the Jedi opened his eyes as well. His expression was blank, almost peaceful but not quite, before swiftly morphing into concern at the sight of his Padawan’s own expression.
“Ezra, what’s wrong?”
“I- I- I can’t—“ he started as he stood, shaking his head and hugging himself.
“Ezra, what is it, what did you see?”
He shook his head again.
“I can’t help you unless you tell me what you saw, Ezra.”
He swallowed hoarsely. “It- it was fine, it was working, and- and then- then there was a man, and...and he was talking….”
“What did he say?” the human pressed gently.
“He- he said the- that- I don’t remember,” he finished quietly, eyes still bewildered and terrified.
“C’mere,” Kanan said after a long moment.
He hesitated before stepping forward; when the Jedi moved to embrace him, however Ezra took a half-step back and shook his head. Kanan nodded in understanding and dropped his arm.
“You’ll be okay, kid. It was just a vision. It doesn’t mean anything.”
He swallowed, looking at the ground. “Can we stay out here?” he asked softly. “My headache isn’t as bad.”
Kanan cast a glance at the Temple again before nodding. “Of course.”
They returned to the steps and sat down, remaining silent for several minutes. Finally Kanan broke the quiet.
“I’m...sorry, for getting mad at you earlier.”
Ezra nodded silently, staring blankly at the Force tree.
“I was just...stressed. Being back in the Temple and all, it’s...it brings back some things.”
The teen only nodded again.
Kanan exhaled slowly, glancing back at the Temple again before glancing back at Ezra. “Why do you keep looking up there?”
“Just checking something.”
Kanan shook his head. “I’ll tell you after you get your crystal. Jedi secrets.” In response to his Padawan’s pout, the older man smirked.
“When can I?”
“Learn meditation first. Then we’ll talk.”
Ezra sighed, eliciting a soft chuckle from his master as the two lapsed into silence once more.
I'M SORRY I'M SO SLOW AT UPDATING GUYS I PROMISE I'LL BE BETTER NEXT TIME
Anakin and Luke stood in the doorway of Satine’s cell. Anakin, smirking, and Luke, smiling happily at the sight of uncle Obi-wan and the infamous Duchess he’d only heard about in stories from his family. Anakin coughed into his hand, “uh hem.” Satine looked over Obi-wan’s shoulder only just realising Anakin and Luke’s presence. She quickly pulled away from Obi-wan, straightening herself up, tucking her messed hair behind her ear, slightly embarrassed. “Oh, hello Master Jedi.” “Duchess.” Anakin spoke confidently.
At that moment Satine gasped, only now noticing the small boy that stood next to him. Obi-wan turned and hesitated, “Satine, this is...Anakin’s son, Luke Skywalker.” “Oh! ...it’s very nice to meet you young Luke,” she then turned back to Obi-wan, her eyes looking cynical and he could already sense what was coming, “Funny how the uttermost restrained and unbearably strict Jedi Master has an apprentice who defies the very rule that forbids a Jedi from forming attachments,” she sighed, “I only wish it was the apprentice who had more of an impression on the Master,” she softly caressed his cheek, “Satine-,” Obi-wan tried to speak but she ignored him. She now looked at Anakin, “I knew that Skywalker was famous for breaking the rules, doing things his own way...but now I understand; you love him beyond the way a Master loves an apprentice, you love him in the way a friend loves a friend, and there is no way you could ever of stopped him doing things his own way. For now I see...you practise Jedi restraint for only yourself and yourself alone.” “May I remind you that had you said the word, I would have left the order.” Obi-wan spoke sternly. “And may I also inform you that Anakin and I no longer live at the Jedi Temple. Anakin was expelled from the Order and I decided to leave with him.” At this, Satine was stunned, “You...you are no longer Jedi?” “We’re still Jedi, we will always be Jedi,” Anakin said. “We just serve the galaxy...elsewhere, away from Coruscant, and away from the war,” Obi-wan said slightly smiling at her. “Hm, shame you couldn’t have stopped by sooner,” Satine now returned to her usual playful tone. Obi-wan looked down and smiled, “Well you know, training the-,” Satine interrupted him again, “Yes training the Chosen one takes up so much of your time.” Obi-wan frowned. “Speaking of the Chosen One,” she looked to Anakin and Luke, “I can only assume Senator Amidala has something to do with this.”
Anakin: “How, how did you know that?”
She laughed, “I am no fool Master Skywalker.”
Anakin blushed, “Well...you aren’t mistaken that she’s my wife.”
At that moment, the cellblock was filled with sounds of alarms and various voices speaking through comlinks.
Obi-wan: “Yes well I’m glad we’ve made our acquaintance, but I think it’s time to get moving.”
“Hey! You there stop!” Muffled yelling was heard through various Mandalorian helmets. Obi-wan and Anakin turned instinctively as six Death Watch members ran towards them, their guns held up aimed and ready to fire.
Anakin: “Now would be a good time to figure out our escape.”
Satine: “I know how to get to the back entrance! … Only, it leads directly to Maul’s palace, we’ll be right in the middle of Death Watch territory.”
The guards started firing. Obi-wan and Anakin ignited their lightsabers, effortlessly deflecting blaster bolts, “Their Jedi! Kill them!”
The Jedi and the Duchess began to move backwards, “Well Duchess we could always just go back through the front door!” Anakin yelled over the chaos.
Satine: “I see your art of sarcasm has rubbed off. Follow me!”
Satine grabbed Obi-wan’s hand, pulling him towards the back of the detention block. “C’mon Luke!” Anakin grabbed his son’s hand as he continued to deflect blasts from the gaining Mandalorians. “I see we’re taking children to war now,” Satine looked at Obi-wan as they ran simultaneously down the alleys of the prison, hands still clasped together. “The boy is...gifted.” Obi-wan said. Satine turned back to face down the alleyway that was shortly coming to a close. “Here. This is it.” Satine moved toward the security code that sat next to the doorway that was their escape. Anakin, breathless, and now carrying Luke in his arms, caught up to them, “I guess I’ll just be the one who saves everyone’s lives,” he closed down his saber. “What’s new?” Obi-wan said cooly.
As Satine punched numbers into the security code, it flashed back at her in red. She tried it again, more slowly, but again, it flashed red, indicating the code was wrong. “What? I created these codes! I don’t understand!”
Obi-wan: “I think Maul has other plans.”
Satine: “There’s no possible way he could have changed them, only the person who creates the code has that ability!”
Anakin: “I’m afraid it’s a simple wave of the hand that can change all of the circuits within that security system my lady.”
Luke: “Like this?”
At that moment Luke waved his hand gracefully at the security code that hung on the wall, and in the matter of a second the security console flashed green, consequently unlocking the door.
And for the third time today, Obi-wan and Anakin stood stunned. And now Satine, looked at Luke in astonishment. No training, no practise, only simple observation of his Father and uncle.
Just a second later red blasts of laser broke their speechlessness and Anakin and Obi-wan had their lightsabers ignited before they even knew the hilts were in their hands.
Anakin: “C’mon let’s get moving! I’ll signal Ahsoka and see if we can rendezvous.”
Satine opened the door that lead to a simple ladder. The ladder lead downwards for a few dozen metres before meeting a glossy floor at the bottom… and that only made Satine’s heartbeat race faster, she had no idea who was waiting down there at the bottom in the palace.
Obi-wan, Anakin and Luke, still in his father’s arms, followed Satine down the ladder, which was encased by four walls with just about no where to move. Anakin slashed the security code from behind the entrance of the door, “That will hold them for a time, but what kind of person would create a mysterious back exit from the prison that leads straight to Maul’s quarters?” His voice echoed through the downward alleyway.
Satine: “It’s actually used as a trap. Prisoners are made to think they’re escaping when really they’re heading to somewhere much, much worse.”
Anakin: “So what you’re saying is you lead us down a trap.”
Satine: “Like you said, it was here, or the front door.”
Obi-wan shook his head, laughing to himself amidst his predicament; hanging from a ladder in between the two people he loved the most.
Anakin: “How do we know there aren’t more guards down there?”
Satine: “It doesn’t matter because we know they’re up here.”
At that moment a Death Watch trooper used an explosive to blow through the door Anakin had supposedly locked.
Obi-wan: “Too late jump!”
Satine let go first, screaming and Obi-wan fell gracefully ahead of her, instinctively ready to land and catch her as she fell. He landed on two feet, kneeling as the flow of his robes followed his movements. He looked up as Satine fell, effortlessly catching her and her screams were suddenly silenced by the sight of her love looking down on her, smiling. Luke clung to his father as tightly as he could and Anakin landed effortlessly beside Obi-wan and Satine, practically mirroring Obi-wan’s movements.
As the four of them began to catch up with the moment, they all looked up at the sound of footsteps on glass floor.
“Well done Master Kenobi. I see you and your protégé are still saving the galaxy. How predictable.” The menacing voice drowned the silence from the room.
Satine’s heart was beating out of her chest now. All around the room that was once her cherished foyer, lay dead Mandalorian’s, their chests slashed by what could only be Dooku’s blade. She had to say something. “What’s your business here Dooku!” She began aggressively, “You have no allegiance here! You betrayed Death Watch years ago-“ The emotion in her voice was stumped and suddenly switched to desperate sounds of breathlessness as Dooku raised his hand, choking her.
Obi-wan: “Let her go Dooku!” He rose swiftly igniting his blade.
Dooku: “Take one more step, and she dies Kenobi.”
“Don’t …. don’t do it, Obi!” Satine breathed desperately. And with that, Obi-wan backed down, and the vibration of he saber shrunk to silence.
Dooku released his hand and Satine fell crumbling to the ground, but before Obi-wan could touch her, Satine’s body flew through the air landing damagingly behind Dooku, and with this, she was unconscious.
Obi-wan’s face darkened as he looked at the motionless body of Satine.
Dooku: “Ah the mighty and faithful Kenobi, it seems you finally have a weakness. Perhaps it is Skywalker who has had more of an impression on you than you would like.”
Luke dug his face into Anakin’s chest. Anakin could feel the pain within his son. Luke was indeed sensitive to the Force, but the dark side that now filled the room was gravely effecting him.
And Obi-wan, pushing his emotions as far down within him as he could, and all he could think about was the safeness of Naboo, of his new home, the stability and the safe environment where the dark side didn’t exist and Anakin couldn’t be tempted. And the only thing he could think of to say was “We should never have come here.”
He spoke in a whisper, to himself. His mind raced through all the possibilities regarding the outcome of this terrible situation. But his anxiety...his anxiety focused only on Anakin. It wasn’t as though they were back in the clone wars where it was only Obi-wan and Anakin, now there were more lives involved, more important, more vital lives involved, and they all meant so much to Anakin. All these lives that Anakin cared for so deeply were all triggers for The Chosen One to simply fall from the light...he was still afraid to lose everything. And now, with Luke in Anakin’s arms, Ahsoka out in the firing lines, and Obi-wan willing to sacrifice himself for the life of Satine...it would be an understatement to say that Obi-wan’s anxiety was high.
Running, running, running.
Rain falls in sheets and he rounds a corner, not knowing exactly why he’s running but knowing that he has to because if he pauses to breathe, even just for a second, they’ll find him they’ll find him they’ll f—
He came out of his meditative state gasping, quickly swallowing and choking back air as he glanced up at Kanan.
The Jedi raised an eyebrow after calmly exiting his own state, studying Ezra with mild concern. “You okay, kid?”
“Ye- yeah,” he answered shakily, raising a hand to wipe the sheen of sweat from his forehead. “I’m- I’m fine. It’s just still...overwhelming.”
Kanan hummed in thought, brows knitting together further as he continued to study Ezra. After a long moment that mostly involved his Padawan trying and failing not to fidget under his gaze, Kanan nodded and stood.
“Where are you going?”
“You’re coming too, kid. I have to talk to the Council.”
“Why?” he asked, standing and following his Master out.
“I have a request.” Ezra glanced around as they walked, trying to get a feel for the layout of the Temple; even after a couple of weeks he was still just as lost as his first few days on Coruscant.
After winding through several wide hallways and exchanging short greetings with fewer beings than they normally saw while traversing the Temple, the pair reached a repulsorlift and entered. As the doors shut, Ezra glanced back up at his Master.
“What kind of request?”
Kanan fought a slight smirk as he folded his arms, glancing down at Ezra before looking up toward the doors again. “You’ll see.”
The doors slid open again and the two stepped out, walking toward the pair of doors at the end of the corridor. However, before Kanan could enter, one of the Temple guards blocking the door stepped forward.
“The Council didn’t mention any appointments for today.”
“That’s because I don’t have one.” Ezra stopped next to his Master, still remaining a half step behind as he watched the guard warily. “I just need to ask them something.”
“You need an appointment. They’re in a meeting right now.”
“And that’s why I came here instead of seeking Master Yoda out myself. I’ll only be a minute, and then I’ll be out of their hair.”
“You’ll have to wait until their meeting is done.”
Kanan sighed and crossed his arms. “Alright, we’ll wait here.” The guard returned silently to their post in front of the door as Kanan guided the teen over to the side of the hall to wait.
Kanan entered the Council chambers, once again without his Padawan. The teen was waiting anxiously outside with the Temple guards while he met with the Council privately.
Mace frowned in thought. “How’s your Padawan’s training going, Kanan?”
“That’s actually what I came to ask about. Ezra’s been working on his meditation; he’s improved a lot. I think he’s ready to get his lightsaber.”
“Control his emotions, the Padawan can?”
“We’re...getting there. He’s improved a lot though.”
The Jedi glanced at each other and Kanan forced himself to stand his ground. Finally Mace cleared his throat.
“Send Ezra in. We’ll need to talk to him before we make our decision.”
Kanan nodded, giving a small bow before exiting.
Ezra glanced up from his spot on the floor next to the door and quickly scrambled to his feet.
“The Council wants to speak to you.”
He nodded and started to the door, pausing when he realized Kanan wasn’t following. The boy glanced back, gaze conflicted.
“You aren’t coming?”
He shook his head. “They want to talk to you privately.”
The boy nodded, hesitating a moment longer before slipping inside.
They commed Kanan about forty minutes later and he entered, raising an eyebrow as Ezra made a beeline for his side. Ignoring the frowns of disapproval at the blatant show of attachment that came from several of the Masters, he placed a hand near Ezra’s back, careful not to touch the teen, and guided him back toward the middle of the room.
“We’ve discussed it,” Mace began, looking to Yoda to finish.
“Ready we believe, the boy is. Head to Ilum tomorrow, you may. A ship waiting, there will be, since no other younglings going, there are.”
Kanan nodded, feeling Ezra’s confusion through the Force but deciding to address it later. “Thank you, Masters.” He gave a short bow and after an awkward pause, Ezra quickly followed suit.
They left together, and as soon as they were around the corner from the guards, Ezra began peppering him with questions.
“What was that meeting about? Ilum’s the lightsaber planet, right? Why were they asking me about my visions?”
“‘Visions?’” Kanan echoed, stopping. His Padawan trailed to a stop alongside him. “Ezra, what did they ask about your visions? What exactly did they say?”
“They...they asked me how my meditation was going.”
“I told- I told them someone kept chasing me, and that- that there was a man talking to me, but I didn’t remember what he said, so it must not’ve been important…?” He trailed off, glancing up at Kanan with what almost looked like a wince.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, kid,” he said quietly in an attempt to assuage the worry the teen was exuding. “I’ll explain on the way tomorrow. But get some sleep, kid. You’ll need it.”
His Padawan’s brows furrowed briefly but he nodded, following slightly behind Kanan as they headed to the 'lifts.
“Kanan, what is all this?”
The Jedi glanced back at him as he carried one of the smaller boxes into the ship. “Supplies,” he called back. “Like I said, I’ll explain on the way.”
Ezra nodded slowly before stepping forward to grab one of the crates.
He was exiting the ship to grab another when he spotted the astromech, an orange and white model that grumbled when it saw him. He froze, not taking his eyes off of it as he called for Kanan over his shoulder.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s the droid.” The droid shrieked something indignantly and Kanan shook his head, sighing.
“Droid? Why do we need a droid?”
“It’s an astromech; it’ll make the trip easier since we’ll both be meditating.”
Kanan cut him off with a chuckle. “First lesson, kid: you won’t be done with meditation, ever. Even when I...left, I still meditated.”
Ezra sighed in resignation, grabbing another box and heading up the ramp as Kanan stopped to talk to the droid.
Within the next twenty minutes they were done, the droid and Kanan both working on pre-flight checks while Ezra stood uncomfortably at the entrance of the cockpit. The ship lifted off several moments later and he stumbled at the sudden movement, catching himself on the back of the copilot’s chair.
“You’ve flown before, right?”
“Y- yeah,” he answered, swallowing and trying to walk up further so he could actually get into the seat instead of just holding onto the back of it without falling. “Not- not in a while though.”
“I can tell,” his Master responded, a faint smile on his face as he finished messing with the console and sat down in the pilot’s chair.
“What’s the droid’s name?”
Kanan glanced back at the astromech trundling to the back of the ship, raising an eyebrow. “Well?”
The droid stopped, turning slowly and beeping something. Ezra looked to Kanan for a translation.
“See One,” he translated, glancing at his Padawan. “He said it’s the first part of his designation.”
“Oh.” They watched the droid roll away in silence.
“He’s already done the hyperspace coordinates for us,” Kanan said finally, clearing his throat. “Once we get clearance to leave atmo, we’ll jump, and then we’ll meditate.” The teen groaned and Kanan raised an eyebrow. “You do want a lightsaber, right?”
“Yeah,” he answered, rolling his eyes. “I just don’t want to meditate to get it.”
Kanan let a small smile slip out. “Neither did I when I was your age. But here we are,” he finished, patting the ‘saber hilt on his waist.
Ezra jumped at the sudden static from the console. “Clearance to exit to Upper Lane Four Dash Five Oh One See approved, proceed to lane.”
Kanan turned, tapping a button on the console and speaking into it. “Copy that, Control.” He guided the ship away from its current spot hovering above the landing platform and out into the chaos. Ezra only watched, bewildered as to how anyone could make their way through that, though somehow his Master could. As they approached the edge of the planet’s atmosphere the traffic finally began to thin, and the droid from before re-entered the cockpit, grumbling something that the teen couldn’t understand. He rolled up into the narrow spot between the pilot and copilot’s seats and stopped, dome turning briefly to glance at Ezra before beeping something to Kanan.
“Yes, I’m aware of that, thank you,” the Jedi mumbled distractedly before gunning the ship’s engines, shooting it through a narrow spot between two freighters.
The droid grumbled again before falling silent until they exited the atmosphere. Ezra’s eyes widened and he found himself subconsciously inching toward the edge of his seat; despite the chaos present even out of the planet’s atmosphere, space was breathtaking. Regardless of the various transports, the darkness didn’t seem empty; rather, it seemed more...freeing than anything.
He felt Kanan’s eyes on him but didn’t react. If his Master was going to laugh, then he might as well. He hadn’t been offworld since he was young and he was going to enjoy it.
There was a break in the chaos and Kanan pressed several commands into the console and then pulled the steering yoke hard, pressing something else as the stars stretched out ahead of them. They continued to pull until it looked like the white streaks would tear in half, and then the ship launched forward, the blackness turning into blue.
Ezra’s jaw dropped.
He stared at the blue vortex swirling around them, content to watch it for several long minutes before he finally turned back to Kanan, grinning widely.
“Big,” Kanan finished, smiling. “I know. And that isn’t even the best part.”
His Master’s smile widened. “When you get there.”
They dropped out of hyperspace after what Kanan said was almost twenty hours later, but to Ezra felt like three weeks. He nearly fell off of the chair at the jolt, causing See One to chortle loudly, and even louder when he actually did fall out of the chair at the sound. Kanan’s glare only seemed to encourage the droid, so the Jedi sighed and gave up, instead standing to extend a hand to the teen. He waved it away and stood up himself, shooting the droid a glare alongside his Master. When he was on his feet again, Kanan nodded to the windscreen. His Padawan turned slowly, jaw dropping again as he caught sight of the blue and white world.
“Welcome to Ilum,” Kanan announced. “We’ll get your kyber crystal here, and—”
The droid shrieked suddenly and they both glanced back. Kanan cursed under his breath as the droid continued to beep from his spot a few feet back, connected to an access port as his dome swiveled wildly. The Jedi approached quickly.
“What do you mean you sensed three other ships coming out of hyperspace? There’s nothing else out he—”
“Not now Ezra.”
“No, Kanan, I uh...I think you should come look at this.”
Sighing, the Jedi turned, eyes widening as he saw what Ezra had seen out of the viewport. A group of ships was rapidly approaching, and a light on the console was blinking. Kanan took three slow steps forward and pressed the comm button.
“My friends, my friends! ” a bright voice drawled. “Welcome to the crystal world Ilum!”
Ezra cast an anxious glance up at Kanan, mouthing, “Who is he?”
Kanan shrugged in response, and both of their gazes returned to the console.
“I am so so glad you have come, because, you see, my crew and I are in need of some help! We have recently been found by a contingent, no, a full fleet of Separatist ships, with whom we had a certain, ah, disagreement regarding a recent acquisition of theirs. We barely jumped to hyperspace with our lives! But it was a good thing we came out when we did because, you see, I said to my crew, ‘Men, this is a Jedi planet! And the Jedi help everyone! Surely there will be a Jedi around to help!’ And it was then that we spotted your ship, Jedi! I am good, good friends with a Jedi, and he is always so very helpful!”
Kanan cleared his throat, determined to cut into the conversation before it dragged out much longer. “Sorry, who are you?”
“Who am I? I am no other than the great, the magnificent Hondo!”
Kanan’s eyebrows raised. “Pirate,” he mouthed to Ezra before responding.
“Look, Hondo, we actually can’t help right now. I’ve got a kid I’ve got to get back to the Temple with his crystal, an—”
Hondo tsked, cutting them off, and Kanan set his jaw as the pirate spoke. “That is a shame, I must say that is truly quite a shame, Master Jedi. We only need a few, just a few parts, but clearly that is too much for Hondo to ask of the great Jedi Order. But it is no matter. We can retrieve them ourselves. It will only take a moment.”
“Wait, wait, what are you saying?!” Kanan pressed urgently, stepping forward and bracing a hand on the console as he yelled into the comm.
“In essence, Master Jedi, I am saying prepare...to be boarded!”
That was literally twice the length of a normal chapter from me which some of you might find good and others might find annoying but I wouldn't expect them to start becoming that length in general. I just had some things that needed to get done narratively so xD
Luke whimpered in his father's arms. Satine laid motionless on the floor. Ahsoka and Rex were off fighting for their lives amidst the explosions that could be seen through the giant glass windows of Maul’s quarters. Dooku’s stare upon Obi-Wan showed his pride and overconfidence, and Obi-Wan wasn’t even looking at him; right now in this moment, the Jedi Master was more afraid of Anakin than Dooku. His compassionate and loyal apprentice whose power could either save or destroy the galaxy, revealed an expression of utter anger. If Obi-Wan stared at him for any longer he could’ve sworn Anakin’s eyes were yellow. The fire in his eyes and the edge of darkness that appeared on his face looked only to Dooku, who in turn, seemed to be loving all of this.
Dooku: Skywalker it is a pity you left the Jedi Order. My Master had great plans for you.
Obi-Wan: Enough Dooku!
Dooku: Tis a shame, we could’ve all been such great allies.
Anakin’s face somehow darkened more, and now Obi-Wan was forced to glance between his long time adversary, and his best friend.
Dooku: I need not to read your thoughts Kenobi, the expression on your face says it all.
Obi-Wan fixed his eyes on Dooku now.
Dooku: To think you could take the Chosen One out of the war in hopes that you could change his fate. Your destiny lies with me Skywalker. You must break through the fog of lies your Master has created around you.
At that moment the anger drained from Anakin’s face and was suddenly replaced by a look of confusion and anxiety. His face ran pale, and his gaze fell downward, suddenly scanning the floor as if they were looking for some kind of control over the situation.
Obi-Wan grabbed a hold of Anakin’s shoulders in order to keep him up right. Dooku laughed.
Dooku: Your Master cannot save you Skywalker, he’s a failure and he should be punished for his failings. He fears your strength. He knows your power will be too strong to control. You must...let go.
He rose from the floor, as if it was Obi-Wan’s gentle touch that drained his anxieties and suddenly brought him back to the present moment. He stood tall and defiant, still holding his son’s hand.
Anakin: My destiny is not yours to make.
He ignited his blade.
Anakin: Tell your precious Master that he has failed!
Dooku’s face suddenly darkened and in less than an instant his blade of fire sprung to life in front of his face.
Dooku: How unfortunate.
Anakin: Luke run!
As Anakin charged at the Sith, Luke sped for the door at the entrance of the foyer.
Obi-Wan: Luke signal Ahsoka!
Obi-Wan’s voice cried out over the clashing of lightsabers but his message got across as he saw Luke raise his wrist to his face and quickly punch in coordinates in order to signal for Ahsoka’s help. Luke then raised his head and looked back toward the madness in the room. Obi-Wan had joined the conflict now too and all that could be seen were flashes of blue and red and robes that seemed to dance somehow intentionally but also gracefully. Luke could feel the room radiating and circulating currents of the Force. Both sides, light and dark, being pushed and pulled toward each other. Luke didn’t entirely understand what he was feeling, all he knew was that he could feel it and that the light was tugging on his little heart to do something in order to help his family. Obi-Wan then turned back to look at him, to see if his was safe.
Obi-Wan: Luke! Go!
Luke took that as it was his time to leave and run to safety. Logically, that was the right thing to do. But Luke’s destiny was to become a Jedi, so he ignored what was strategically sound and instead, settled for what was morally correct. He closes his eyes and let the mystical energy within the room fuel his body and his mind. He stood in the middle of the entrance where two large ceiling-to-floor glass doors stood behind him. He took a deep breath in and raised both arms out in front of him, and as he exhaled, he used all the power he had and sent a raging force of energy directly toward Dooku that sent the powerful Sith flying toward the back wall of the room. Dooku landed damagingly as he was caught totally off guard, only to have him painfully raise his head toward the source of the power. There was Luke, looking suddenly exhausted as his sudden use of the Force not only sent Dooku into a wall, but also sent Luke flying backwards through the huge double glass doors and evidently landing in the passage way outside. As he finally caught up with what he had just done, Luke quickly rose to his feet and ran for his life a second before Dooku was up again and charging toward the door. Obi-Wan’s raised his hand slightly and swiftly waved the doors closed again.
Obi-Wan: You won’t escape this time Dooku. We aren’t your only enemies here.
Dooku: Look around you Kenobi, I am quite capable of dealing with my enemies.
Obi-Wan looked around him once more at all the Mandalorians whose lives had been cut short by one slash of a red blade.
Obi-Wan: And yet for all your expertise, Maul is still alive.
Dooku: I told you everything you needed to know on Geonosis all those years ago Kenobi. I am not here for that horn-headed monster. I am here...for the Chosen One.
Anakin and Obi-Wan reignited their blades simultaneously.
Dooku: Do you think it was wise to send a child off into the chaos that surrounds us. You of all people should know Kenobi... Skywalker’s fear of loss is his one way ticket to the dark side. Perhaps I could encourage him? I’m sure my Master would love to babysit the son of Skywalker.
Before Anakin’s rage encased his entire body, the doors at the entrance swung open.
Ahsoka: This ends right now Dooku!
Chapter by stardustgirl
TW: Manipulation, Mentions of Parricide, Electrocution
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Kanan’s eyes widened and he slammed the mute button on their end of the comm before turning to Ezra. “Keep him talking, I’ll get us a way out of here.” The teen had barely nodded when Kanan was already turning back around, turning the comm off mute and nudging Ezra forward. “The kid has a couple of questions for you,” he called over his shoulder as he walked to See One. “I’ll get the ship ready.”
“Oh, a youngling! Hondo loves younglings, they are just always so smart and brave and….”
Ezra allowed the pirate to keep talking without interruption, but his own focus was drawn to Kanan and See One arguing quietly by the access port. However, when he moved to approach, Kanan waved him away and back toward the comms. Sighing inwardly, he turned back to the comms, a moment of panic hitting as he realized that they had fallen silent. He shot a quick glance at Kanan, but the Jedi was still arguing with See One. Sighing again, he bit his lip and studied the console until he found a button that looked like it might go to the comms. He pressed it and swallowed.
“Hey, uh, Hondo, right?” he began uncertainly. There was silence for a moment, and then the other end crackled.
“Yes? What does the little youngling,” he winced at that but didn’t interrupt, “require of the great, the magnificent Hondo?”
Clearing his throat, Ezra continued. “So, uh, you’re a pirate, right?”
“Of course, of course of course, my boy! But did you have a question?” The underlying threat is enough to put him on edge as he scrambles to respond.
“Uh, yeah, actually, I had a few. It’s just, my Master and I, we haven’t really run into any pirates before, and I was kind of, uh, wondering...what do pirates do, exactly?” He winced again, wishing he had been able to come up with something better.
He glanced over at Kanan and the Jedi turned, mouthing, “Two minutes,” before turning back to See One.
“Well, you see, my boy, pirates tend to, ah, limit themselves. But Hondo Ohnaka is the greatest pirate because he does not limit himself! For example....”
Kanan was suddenly back at the console, plugging in coordinates rapidly. “Keep him talking until we jump,” he muttered under his breath. Ezra nodded, turning back to the comm just as Hondo fell silent again.
“Uh, that’s really cool, Hondo. What about that Jedi friend you mentioned you had? What’s their name?”
“Ohhh, you are referring to the great Master Kenobi, yes yes yes.”
Beside him, Kanan suddenly stilled. Ezra shot him a nervous glance, but the man’s gaze was still fixed on the ship’s console.
“Kanan?” Ezra asked softly.
The man blinked, nodding quickly. “Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it.” He continued to plug in coordinates, and then glanced at Ezra. “Ask him something else, and we’ll jump.”
The teenager nodded hurriedly and turned the comms back on. “How did you guys meet then?”
Kanan threw the lever that launched them into hyperspace, and the stars began to streak. Suddenly they jerked ahead, pulling the ship with it, and Ezra nearly lost his balance with the force of the movement.
After recovering, Ezra moved back to the copilot’s seat and sat down, running a hand through his hair and exhaling shakily. Kanan was still messing with the console for another minute or so before sighing and heading to the back of the cockpit. The teen twisted around in his seat, watching Kanan pause at the entrance to the cockpit and turn halfway to address him.
“I’m heading to meditate. You should join me, according to tradition, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” His brow furrowed as the Jedi exited fully, leaving the door open behind him. Had his aversion to the exercise been that obvious?
He remained in the cockpit a moment longer, and then stood to follow Kanan out.
The man glanced up as he entered one of the cabins off the main hallway, smiling slightly and nodding to a nearby cushion that was suspiciously similar to those that had been in the meditation room in the Temple. He knelt on it, casting a glance at the Jedi before the man closed his eyes again.
“Where are we going?”
“Lothal,” the Jedi murmured, lips barely moving. “It’s the only other kyber planet that’s not under Separatist control right now.”
“I- I can’t go there, we have to find something els—“
Kanan opened one eye, glancing at him with curiosity. “Why?”
“I- I just really can’t go back there, Kanan, I can’t—“
The man opened his other eye as well and reached a hand out to his shoulder, stopping when he noticed the teen’s flinch. “Hey, it’ll be okay. We’ll only be there long enough for you to get your crystal, and then we can go back to Coruscant.”
“I- I can’t.”
Footsteps following him as he sprints down another street, pausing only to glance around and find another way to go. He darts in a new direction, breathing heavily as he rounds a corner.
“Kid. I promise, we won’t stay there long.”
A hand, grabbing his shoulder and slamming him against the wall. Twisting to get loose as—
“Ezra. Listen to me. We’re only going into the Temple. Nowhere else. Okay? Here.” The man stood, offering Ezra a hand to get up. The teen eyed it warily before taking it and allowing Kanan to pull him up. “There’s something else we have to do anyway. We might as well do that now.”
“O- okay,” he answered shakily, nodding as Kanan let go of his hand and led the way out of the cabin. He led the way back to the cockpit and motioned for Ezra to sit on the floor in front of the pilot’s seat. The boy slowly did so, glancing back up as Kanan sat in the seat above him.
“You’ve seen the other Padawans at the Temple, right?”
“And those braids they have?”
His expression was still wrought with confusion until a flicker of understanding came. He shook his head quickly, standing back up as Kanan stood with him.
“No, no, I- I can’t do the braid—“
“Kanan, you don’t understand, I can’t. ”
“Why can’t you?” He didn’t recognize the expression on Kanan’s face behind confusion, though he could tell that there was something else there.
“I...hair on Lothal, it’s...you can’t just…you don’t just touch someone’s hair, it’s...it’s not….” His face reddened as Kanan simply became more confused.
“Why can’t y—“
“Because it’s just not something you do, okay?! You can’t just touch someone’s hair, it- it means something, it means you’re...you’re….” His face reddened further, and now he could feel the tips of his ears warming as well.
His master stared at him, still not understanding, and then slowly his face changed. “Oh. Oh. I- uh, sorry kid.” The man rubbed the back of his neck, face reddening as he cleared his throat. “Um, sorry.”
“It’s, um...it’s fine.” Ezra grinned sheepishly and scuffed his boot on the floor, looking down.
Kanan cleared his throat again. “So, uh…meditation?”
“We’re coming out of hyperspace in a couple minutes.”
Ezra nodded, hugging his knees as he rocked in the seat slightly. His master shot him a glance, brow creasing in concern.
Hesitantly, he reached a hand out to the arm of the chair. The kid jumped, glancing up at him. “Hey, it’s okay. I’ll be with you. Nothing’s gonna happen.”
Ezra shifted but nodded reluctantly, and Kanan removed his hand from the arm of his seat and exhaled slowly.
There was a beep on the console and he sat up, checking to see a notification that the ship was about to leave hyperspace.
The ship dropped out with a jolt, and Ezra nearly tumbled off the chair again. See One let out a haughty chortle as he trundled over to an access port on the right of the cockpit.
Ahead, a planet that was about half green and half blue waited, humming softly with the Force. It looked too serene to be the cause of Ezra’s anxiety, though from what he could tell, the kid was terrified at the prospect of returning. And yet he had no idea why.
Ezra buried his head in his knees as Kanan commed the traffic control.
“Control, this is Republic freighter Ghost. Looking for clearance to land at coordinates eight oh point two and five one point one.”
There was a buzz of static and he leaned back in the seat, casting a glance at Ezra as the kid swallowed shakily.
“Control Tower E-272 to Ghost, you have clearance to enter atmosphere and land at the stated coordinates. Proceed.”
“Copy,” Kanan responded, guiding the ship to enter the atmosphere.
The ship touched down softly in the grass, and See One warbled quietly. Kanan shot him an irritated glance as he stood. “No, we’re not leaving anyone here. Stay with the ship; Ezra and I will be back soon.”
Ezra finally stood as well, trailing behind Kanan as they exited the ship. He led them across the grass, stopping on top of a large, flat rock.
The teenager glanced up at him. “Why’d we stop?”
“You remember what I taught you about reaching out into the Force, to search for connections?” The kid nodded. “Do that now. Reach out, feel for the Temple. Try to sense it.”
Ezra frowned but closed his eyes, stretching a hand out as his brow furrowed in concentration. Kanan sensed the vague frustration ebbing from him, but only watched. Within several minutes, his expression began to lighten.
“I- I think I found it….”
“Good. We’re going to open it together now, okay?” Hesitantly, the boy nodded, and this time Kanan closed his eyes and reached out with him.
Together, they started to urge the Temple to open, to turn towards them. And slowly, it did so.
He could feel it moving, both through the Force and through the vibrations in the rock below them. Finally, when he felt it still, he opened his eyes and lowered his arm. A moment later, Ezra did, too.
The large rock had turned, and part of it was in the process of opening to reveal a gaping maw. Kanan turned to his Padawan, raising an eyebrow as the boy glanced up at him. “Are you ready?”
Together, they entered the Temple.
Once inside, Ezra blinked into the darkness, trying to make out something. Vaguely, he made out pillars and what looked like statues of various beings sitting with their backs against them. He glanced up at his master warily, swallowing thickly.
“It’s okay.” Kanan placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, helping to calm the humming. “Do you see something?”
“No- wait. Ye- yeah, I do.” Three glowing lights lingered ahead, drifting in the only darkness. He cast a glance back up with Kanan. “Don’t you?”
The man shook his head. “No, I don’t. But if you see them, go ahead and follow them.”
“But...if you can’t see them...I’m not crazy. I’m not,” he insisted, voice getting smaller. Kanan’s brow furrowed.
“I never said you were, kid.”
“But you think that. Because- because I can see those.” He pointed toward the orbs again, hand shaking slightly. Kanan shook his head.
“No, no, I would never think that, Ezra. That’s how the Temple works. You see what it wants you to see, what you need to see. Doesn’t mean you’re crazy. And it shows me what I need to see. Doesn't mean I'm crazy, either.”
Kanan nodded again, squeezing his shoulder lightly. “You’re not, I promise. Now go follow them. I’ll be right here when you get back.”
Ezra nodded. “Okay.” Kanan backed away to kneel, likely to meditate, and he turned, following the lights into the darkness.
Behind him, he heard the entrance to the Temple thud closed.
Swallowing, he continued forward, following the orbs around a corner before they vanished, leaving him at a fork. Three tunnels stood before him, none with any trace of the mysterious lights. He frowned. Was it some sort of maze? That he had to complete before being allowed to get his lightsaber crystal? He could do that. He’d lived in the lower levels of Coruscant for several years now; a cave system on his homeworld would be nothing.
Raising a hand and swallowing again, he pointed toward the tunnel on the far left. “Loth-rat, Loth-cat, Loth-wolf run; pick a path and all is done.”
His finger landed on the middle tunnel at the end of the rhyme and he allowed himself a slight smile as he walked into the near-darkness. Something was lighting the cave, just enough to where he could walk without fear of falling, yet he couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
Abruptly, the tunnel ended, and he was in the main cavern again. He glanced around, searching for Kanan as his brow furrowed. Where…?
The Jedi had said he’d be waiting for him. Waiting until he returned. That- that he wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t just leave him in the cave alone, would he?
His breath caught in his throat as he walked warily out into the open area of the cave, spinning slowly. “K- Kanan?” he called, voice hoarse. “Kanan, are you here?”
He left you. He left you just like you knew he would. He doesn’t want to waste his time on a pitiful Loth-rat like you.
Ezra’s breath caught again and he forced himself to swallow, eyes flicking to the shadows to scan them for any sign of his mentor. “Kanan?”
There was a sound and he turned abruptly, heart pounding. Relief flooded through him as he recognized Kanan, striding confidently out of the mouth of the tunnel he himself had just come from.
“Kanan!” he cried, running toward the Jedi. But the man’s expression was stony, even as Ezra slowed to a stop before him. “Kanan?”
“You shouldn’t be here, Ezra,” the man said quietly.
“But you were the one who—“
“I said you shouldn’t be here.” The man’s gaze hardened further until he was almost glaring at Ezra. The teen swallowed, taking a step backward.
“You’re- you’re not Kanan. Kanan wouldn’t- wouldn’t say things like that.”
“But it’s the truth.” The man took another step toward him, and his senses screamed for him to run. He stood his ground. “Isn’t it, Ezra Bridger? ”
He swallowed hard, ignoring the emphasis the man had placed on his surname.
“No wonder you didn’t tell me your last name at first. After all, who would after letting their own parents die?”
“I didn’t kill them!”
“Maybe not, but you still let them die, didn’t you? If you had been there, if you hadn’t—“
“I didn’t!” he yelled at Not-Kanan, shaking slightly. This was just something from the Force. Just something to test him. Maybe.
“But you weren’t there. You don’t know if it would've been diff—“
He stumbled backward another step before ducking around Not-Kanan, bolting into the tunnel behind him. He tore across the rock, not checking which way he was going as he bolted down another tunnel.
He suddenly broke out into another large cavern and skidded to a stop, panting as he looked around. He noticed a figure kneeling in a traditional meditative position at the far end of the cavern, shoulders sagging in relief as he recognized and approached Kanan.
“Kanan, I’m so glad I—“
He stopped as bolts of webbed lightning arced from the shadows and struck his master.
He bolted again, uncaring as he fell hard to his knees on the stone and checked for a pulse.
“Kanan, Kanan come on, Kanan wake up please wake up—“
“So he was calling himself ‘Kanan,’ was he? Well, it hardly matters now.” There was a deep chuckle as a cloaked man emerged from the darkness. Ezra glanced up, a ripple of fear striking his heart as he felt Kanan’s body begin to grow cold. He shifted backward, sniffing as the man ahead of him took another step closer and looked down at him from the hood, yellowed teeth curved into an unsettling grin. “Your turn.”
“I’ll make you pay!” he yelled, standing and taking a step backward. “I swear you’ll pay!”
“Apparently someone’s not ready to become a Jedi,” the man began in a voice that reminded him of a rusted pipe, taking a step forward as he took one back, “and never will be.”
“I am ready.” He stumbled backward again. “You’re- you’re just an illusion. This, it’s...it’s all an illusion.” He trembled, continuing to slowly back up.
“What you saw before may have been, boy, but I assure you that I am not.” The man chuckled again and Ezra swallowed. “Ready to die, or are you afraid to face the fate you brought upon yourself, boy?”
Screams suddenly echoed in his head and he shook it, trying to clear his mind. He had to be brave, to face this. It was what Kanan would want.
“I’m- I’m not afraid.” He swallowed, bravely closing his eyes as the screams got louder and the purple lightning from before began to crackle around the man’s fingers.
The screams began to become more coherent as the lightning grew bright enough to be seen from behind his eyelids. He breathed in shakily as one of the shouts became particularly clear.
“...my son, Ezra! I loved you! ”
The lightning hit him.
That was nearly triple the length of what my chapters normally are yikes xD So kudos to you if you got through that (especially in one sitting)!!
A couple things:
-Hondo wasn't threatening Ezra. I highly suspect that canonically, Ezra has anxiety (and in this AU he definitely does), and I personally struggle a lot with recognizing when someone's threatening me or mad at me versus not in regards to mine, so I incorporated that into here a little bit :)
-The concept of hair being important to the Lothali was inspired by this headcanon from sheepfulsheepyardinspace https://sheepfulsheepyardinspace.tumblr.com/post/138384112244/place-headcanons-lothal . It's pretty interesting; I recommend you give the whole thing plus the rest of their blog a look!
-You may recognize some of the dialogue in the last scene as it's directly from or based off of dialogue in "Path of the Jedi."