Ezra sat in silence, legs folded underneath him, hands gently placed over his knees, he inhaled a slow but deep breathe and listened to the various sounds around him, his eyes still sometimes glancing over at the spot Thrawn had been but now wasn't anymore, every so often, out of instinct.
Ever since they found themselves here, after the Purrgils came out of Hyperspace and they crashed here in this bizarre planet filled with snowy nights and blazing heats, Thrawn has done nothing but plan his escape while in their captivity and one night he finally seemed to achieve that, for the next morning, before the sun rose, he was gone.
Ezra rolled his eyes at his own foolishness and resumed his mediation.
And listened to the blizzard storming outside, the cold from the storm not doing any favors for the aches and pains that still covered his body from head to toe. While the winds seemed to change octaves every few hours, going from shrill crescendo, to hushed alto around twenty minutes whenever the direction of the current changed, all the chaos seemed to slam against the cavern entrance making the noise much more prominent.
Ezra let out a breath when he heard footsteps approaching.
He waited a bit, just a bit, to get his barrings, when he felt a light touch against his shoulder. It traveled down to the wound along his shoulder blade he received from Thrawn's blaster back on his ship, and gently rested there.
"How's your shoulder?" Kanan asked softly, the noise from outside did little to mask the obvious worry there. “Still swollen?”
Ezra didn't answer and pretended to be lost within his meditative state. And Kanan squeezed his shoulder, lightly shaking him. "Ezra?"
Ezra blinked his eyes open, but remaining downcast, as his hands lay limply on his knees. His chest felt tight. "It's fine, I'm okay."
Through their bond, Ezra could feel Kanan's skepticism. "Really? Because the last time I had a look at it, it was infected and frostbitten."
Ezra remembered the day Kanan looked at his wound.
He'd put it off for as long as he could, as they tract through this unknown planet they found themselves on, knowing that they couldn't stop for any reason. For the heat from the sun’s rays was far worse here then they had ever been on Tatooine, and it had forced them — forced Ezra to keep walking, attempting to find shelter before they all got heatstroke.
Something that Ezra didn't want Kanan to go through again, because the last time had been bad, the last time he had almost—
So he shrugged it off and said he was fine.
Until the pain of it, having been blistered from the heat and then frozen from the sheer cold nights that came after, had became too much for him to bare any longer, and the end resulted in him promptly falling to his knees.
Kanan hadn't been happy with him after that, as he worked to disinfect the wound with the supplies they had. "It… doesn't hurt as bad as before." Ezra finally answered, his eyes now focused on the flickering flames from the fire Kanan had just reignited with the wood he collected from outside.
Kanan's hand softly but diligently, prodded at the wound, "But it still hurts?"
Ezra grit his teeth, before nodding, "Yeah."
A moment of silence past between them, before Kanan spoke again, "He still hasn't come back?"
Ezra's eyes glanced over in the Thrawn had been two nights previously, before returning to the fire, trying to resist the urge to shrug Kanan's hand away from him. "Not since he declared he'd either kill us in our sleep or leave us stranded. Looks like he went with the latter, surprisingly."
Another moment of silence passed, the longer it lasted the more Ezra found himself gripping the fabric of his pants tightly. And once again, Kanan was the one to break it.
"Ezra, I'm not mad at you."
His left eye twitched, "Well you should be." He spat out, his throat suddenly dry and tight when he swallowed. "In fact, I'm mad at you." He didn't even need to look over at Kanan to see the look on his face, the expression of someone who wasn't surprised by such a statement.
"Ezra, I made a choice—"
"Yeah, I know that!" Swearing was never something he did out of anger. That was Zeb or Rex, sometimes Sabine or Kanan. But Ezra only ever swore as a joke because he knew Kanan would always affectionately chastise him for it. But now here he was, in a dark, damp cave in a no where part of the galaxy, angry at his Master. "And it was a kriffing stupid one!"
He said all this with guilt in his throat, the anger still prominent and not letting up.
"You might be angry, Ezra. But I know I made the right decision—“
He couldn't take it anymore, "NO, you didn't!" His body sprung up without him realizing and before he knew it, Ezra was running out into the blizzard with Kanan close behind him.
"Ezra!" Kanan called out, voice still managing to carry over the blazing winds. "Wait, Ezra!"
But Ezra just kept walking.
He walked until he was about fifteen feet away from their shelter when Kanan bellowed out his name, a commanding tone, one he remembered his father using once when Ezra climbed a high place when his father told him not to.
He stopped and whirled around, glaring at Kanan, "I knew where I was being lead to, Kanan! I was ready, I was ready to sacrifice myself for everyone, for something bigger, because that's what you told me, remember? And I was ready even though it wasn't the path I wanted."
He had planned it, he knew what he was destined to do, the path that laid before him was shrouded and hidden to everyone except him, not even Kanan knew of what the Force showed his Padawan. Because he knew that even if their first attack on Thrawn had worked, the he still would need to leave, and taking Thrawn, the Empire's greatest asset along with him was the perfect opportunity to give the Rebellion another fighting chance.
But then Kanan, had to through him a curve ball and show up at the last possible second.
His hands were raised, keeping the doors closed while simultaneously keeping Thrawn at bay too. He was ready, he was ready for whatever this path was going to bring him. Because whatever happened from here on out was up to the Force.
He was ready.
"And remember, the Force will be with you. Always."
He blinked, his heart ceased beating in his chest as he turned around and saw Kanan standing there, teal eyes stared into his own dark blue ones before everything fully register with him— because Kanan wasn’t suppose to be here...
He wasn’t suppose to be standing there with Ezra, whom was getting ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for his family,
But before he could to even shout his disapproval, his overall dread of Kanan being there, the Purrgils blasted them all into Hyperspace.
"You should be with Hera, and Zeb and Sabine, not stuck here with me. The Rebellion and Hera need you more, everyone needs you more then I deserve to!" Ezra didn't realize there were tears spilling down his face until he felt them freezing to his cheeks as Kanan wiped them away with his thumbs.
When had Kanan gotten so close?
When had he crossed that distance between them?
Kanan's voice was gentle and soft, barely above a whisper as he cradled Ezra's face in his hands, wrapping his Force signature tightly around him like a blanket, without hesitation as it blocked out the world and the cold from the blizzard around them, It's okay, I'm here. I love you. "Ezra, you deserve so much more than the life you were dealt." Kanan placed his forehead against his and Ezra had to force a tight hold on the anger he felt in his heart, because he knew right now that anger was the only thing keeping him from falling apart. "I told you back on Tatooine that no matter where you go, no matter what ridiculous or dangerous idea you come up with, I will always be there to back you up. This is no exception."
Whether it was from the cold or from his crumbling emotions, Ezra began trembling, as the guilt threatened to consume him. "Hera needs you, you said that she was— Kanan, you're going to be a father, they need you!"
For a brief moment, just a split second that Ezra could feel Kanan's deep pain and mourning within their bond, but was gone as quickly as it had come, "They'll be fine." Kanan shook his head and practically crushed Ezra to his chest, hanging on for dear life, placing a loving kiss on the side of the younger's temple, "You need me more, kiddo. I’ve nearly lost you more times than I can count, I’m not losing you. You’re important to me too."
"Yes, you do. Always, Ezra. For as long as you need me."
Then something snapped inside Ezra's heart, his anger faded and was now replaced with this gut wrenching feeling of emptiness, this gaping hole of fear and pain in his chest. His legs collapsed beneath him he unceremoniously fell to the ground, as he clung to Kanan like a drowning man. "I didn't want this..." He cried, his words muffled against Kanan's chest, his nails digging into the fabric of Kanan's coat, "I didn't want any of this."
"I know." Kanan whispered, holding him close as they both started to shake from the cold. "I know, Ezra. When we went to rescue Hera I knew my fate. I knew, and I accepted it, but that didn't mean I wanted it... No, I didn't want to leave you or Hera or— But I knew there wasn't anything I could do... No way to prevent my fate, until you surprised me, just as you always do and saved me anyway."
"I couldn't l-let you go." Ezra's teeth were chattering at this point but still, neither of them moved. As he remembered standing there in the World Between Worlds, and pulled Kanan to safety, "I couldn't… I—"
"Shh, it's okay, I understand." A shiver ran down Kanan's spine as he too was feeling the effects of standing out in the middle of a blizzard can do to a person. Running his numb fingers along Ezra's back, Kanan lifted Ezra into his arms and stumbled back to their shelter. And even though he was seventeen of age, in that moment he felt like a child, clinging to Kanan like a baby animal. It was foolish and childish of him, but in that moment, Ezra found that he couldn't care less.
Kanan had to practically pry Ezra's fingers from around his neck so that he could safely place him on the ground, he moved to grab a few torn sheets they had managed to scrounge from the wreckage of Thrawn's ship to warm them up, logically Ezra knew this, but fear gripped at his heart anyway, and all he could think about was that Kanan was moving, Kanan was leaving at a time where Ezra was the most valuable he's ever been, and he needed his Master to stay.
His hand shot out immediately, grasping hold of Kanan's wrist and held on, fingers twitching from the numbing cold. Kanan paused, and Ezra could feel those sightless eyes staring at him and felt ashamed of himself for acting so clingy, so needy. Ezra melted almost instantly when he felt a hand run through his hair, "I was just getting those torn sheets, your freezing."
Ezra shook his head, "Don't need them…" He murmured, his body trembling from fear and cold. "Please, just… please."
Stars, he really was a child, wasn't he?
"Alright." Than to his relief, he heard Kanan let out a small sigh, and settled down beside him, pulled Ezra in close and laid them both down, the cavern ground was cold, hard and incredibly uncomfortable, but to Ezra none of it matter to him. "I'm here."
His heart ached, at the amount of love and care Kanan held for him, knowing it was one hundred percent genuine. "Kanan…"
Kanan rubbed his arms up and down Ezra's smaller form, attempting to warm the younger up as they laid there, "Shhhh... I got you." Letting out a small hum, letting it vibrate through his chest and in turn soothe Ezra's emotions.
Ezra buried his face in the fabric of Kanan's clothes, and shivered. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know that's what you— what Dume wanted and I was able to let my parents go but you— I couldn't... I'm so sorry, I failed the lesson you were trying to teach me. "
Kanan shook his head, running another hand through Ezra's hair, wrapping his Force signature around the kid. "Ezra, the fact you were able to let them go when the Emperor showed them to you, that he gave you that what you’ve always desired; to be with them and you still found the strength to let them go proves that you didn't fail."
"But— I couldn't let you go." Ezra began but Kanan stopped him by tugging him closer.
"And there's nothing wrong with that, letting loved ones go is never easy, some hurt more then others. Your ability to let them go and your inability to let me go, doesn't mean you failed the lesson." Kanan rested his chin on top of Ezra's head, give the still shivering body in his arms another squeeze, careful to mind the wound. "What you were able to let go and move on from doesn't mean it'll be easy every single time, because death hits everyone differently. And years from now, when I do eventually pass, when you don't need me anymore, I know and have every confidence that you, despite the grief you may feel, you will be able to let me go. You'll be just fine."
Ezra shook his head, denying it. "You're my family, I'll always need you." Hot, thick tears spilled down his face, dampening Kanan's shirt as he tightened his hold around Kanan's waist, digging his fingernails into the fabric. Because it was true, no matter how old he got or how much he learned, Ezra knew he'd always need Kanan, because Kanan hadn't just taught him how to be a Jedi.
No, it went deeper than that. Kanan taught him how to live again, taught him about life and how to fight for others, taught him how to love when he didn't think he could again after his parents were taken away from him.
"I'm sorry, I was so angry at you."
Kanan merely shushed him once more, and pressed his cheek to the crown of Ezra's head, as the bond between them practically sang with relief. "I understand, you had every right to be upset. I'm sorry I made you feel so angry and uncertain about yourself. But I knew the path ahead of you, I saw it, envisioned it. Back when I was tied to it, knowing there wasn't anything I could do. Knowing I would be long gone by that point but— when you saved me? When I was there with everyone else, remembering what you were about to do… I couldn't let you go through it alone, knowing I could be there with you." Kanan paused for a moment, and Ezra felt Kanan's fear and uncertainty, "I guess I couldn't let you go either.”
"I love you." And he meant it, more then he ever has before. "Just... thank you for being here when I need you most."
"I love you too, kiddo." Kanan let out a soft huff, filled with emotions at his words, sending out all the love and care he possessed through their bond. "I'll always be here, Ezra. Nothing you do will ever change that, okay?" Ezra nodded solemnly, closed his eyes, and let Kanan’s presence wash over him in a sea of never ending comfort.
Together, wrapped in each other's warmth, while the storm raged on outside, they slept.