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Lay Me Down (to Sleep)

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Old enough to kill, old enough to drink.

That’s Rex’s epitaph on the subject. He pours another shot of liquor and slides it toward Ezra through a forest of beer cans, bottles and picked-over plates of snack food. “Go on, lad. Make it an even three.”

“Three is not even,” Kanan says.

“It’s a whole number, innit?”

“Whadever,” Ezra slurs with a cocky grin, “I can hannel it. I got the Force. ‘M one with it.”

Face flushed and eyes bright, he reaches across the table and accepts the tiny glass of amber-colored liquid. He raises it to his friends—Rex, Kanan, Hera, Zeb, Sabine, even Chopper, who is almost effervescent from a recent lubing—before putting it to his lips and tossing his head back. Sabine hoots and strikes the table with her fist. Ezra holds the liquor in his mouth a moment, cheeks bulging, before he swallows. He slams the empty glass onto the table and smiles proudly. 

Everyone cheers except Kanan, who sighs and pretends to be scandalized at the further corruption of his Padawan. Rex brays a thunderous, belly-shaking peal of laughter. Hera shakes her head back and forth, making her lekku dance. 

“Okay, okay, now t’at is all.” Her Rylothian accent really comes out when she’s had a few. “No more liquor for Ezra. He’s had two too many already and I’m”—she starts to laugh—“I am really not looking forward to treating everybody’s hangovers tomorrow morning. Especially poor children who shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.”

“M’not a children,” Ezra says.

“E’s right,” Zeb says. “Sixteen is the age of majority in most o’ the galaxy.”

“Most of the galaxy isn’t in my ship.”

“But your ship is in the galaxy,” Sabine says.

“The Ghost exists independently of all other parts of the galaxy,” Kanan says. “An isolated microcosm of peace and serenity in an otherwise chaotic universe.”

Rex belches in the following silence.

“Wow,” Ezra murmurs. “That was beautiful, Kanan. Din unnerstan a worduv it, but I felt it.” He taps his chest.

Laughter ripples around the table. Kanan rolls his eyes so hard only the whites show.

Okay, I have had all I can take,” Hera declares and stands up. “Good night and good luck, everyone. If you t’row up in my ship, clean it up or I will flog you.”

Several inebriated salutes and acknowledgements follow. One by one they drag themselves out of the booth. Ezra, giggling, tries to pull himself across the table on his belly. He makes it halfway before giving up and laying his head down in defeat.

Sabine clicks her tongue. “Aw, look at that. He fell asleep. How adorable.”

“M’not sleeping,” Ezra burbles. “But I’m glad you think I’m adorable.”

“You’re not adorable. Your alcohol intolerance is cute, though.”

“I got ‘im,” Kanan says.

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Unless he pukes on me. C’mon, pup.”

Ezra yips like a dog before bursting into giggles. Kanan peels him off the table and lifts him up. Ezra throws his arms around Kanan’s neck and clings for dear life. 

“Oh kriff, this is really high up. You are really tall, Kay.”

“I know. It’s a tragedy.”

Ezra rests his head on Kanan’s shoulder like a sleepy toddler. “G’night, everybody,” he mumble-sings, waving.

“Good night, Ezra,” they chorus.

Kanan carries him from the warm, boozy-smelling lounge through the cool dark corridors of the Ghost. The boy radiates heat as if a fire burns beneath his skin. Kanan feels the damp sweat on Ezra’s collar and smells his armpits. It’s not unpleasant. Boyish and sweet. Muted sour notes. His hair is a pleasant mixture of high-proof alcohol and fading floral shampoo, the same kind Kanan uses. He presses his nose to Ezra’s scalp and takes a deep breath.

“Don’t cry,” Ezra says.

“I’m not.”

“Oh. Thought you were crying.”

“Why would I be crying?”

“I dunno.” Ezra hugs his neck.

Kanan pauses at the door to Ezra and Zeb’s cabin. Stares. Thinks. He doesn’t want to let go of him. Not here. Not yet. Honestly, he doesn’t want to step foot in that cluttered fetid swamp of bachelor Lasat and teenage boy living on top of each other. His stomach churns at the thought. He burps quietly. Liquor fumes in his throat. He smacks his lips and continues down the passageway, arrives at his cabin. The doors open and he carries Ezra inside. They close behind him.

Cool, familiar scents. Clean. Sanctuary. He kneels beside his bunk and carefully lays Ezra down. Hands lingering on his body. Looks so small.

Ezra’s eyes flutter open and he smiles sleepily. “Mmm, hey. This isn’t my room.” He reaches above his head in a lazy stretch, grasping Kanan’s pillow, arching his back.

Kanan stares and doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s staring. “No, it’s mine. Figured you might need a little peace and quiet after… since you’ve been drinking. You’re probably gonna feel like shit in the morning, and if you roll outta your bunk and puke on Zeb, he might kill you. And I don’t want any bloodshed on this ship. Your blood especially.”

Ezra’s eyes soften. He reaches out and drunkenly paws for Kanan’s face. He finally makes it on the third try. “You’re such a good Master. Thank you for being so… you.”

Kanan smiles. “Just looking out for my Padawan.”

“Kanan?”

He leans in close, hopeful. “Yeah?”

Ezra smiles as he maps Kanan’s face with his eyes. He lingers on his lips. “Don’t let me fall asleep in my clothes. I really hate that.”

“Okay.”

Ezra makes a contented noise. His eyelids dip closed and a few seconds later he relaxes. His breathing slows. He’s asleep.

Kanan removes the hand from his cheek and cups it tenderly. Holds it for a full minute and a half. Just holding and gazing and thanking the universe for bringing this wonderful boy into his life. He raises the hand and kisses the knuckles, strokes them with his thumbs. Ezra shows no indication of having felt anything.

“I love you so much,” he whispers against the boy’s soft smooth skin, his voice so low that barely any breath leaves his mouth. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Ezra, and I’m… I’m so proud of you. I know I… that I don’t say it often enough, and maybe I should. Maybe I’m afraid to. That’s me. My problem. But I am. Very proud.” 

His eyes wander all over Ezra’s face. He reaches out and touches his cheek with the back of his fingers. 

“Just look at you. You’re so…” He sucks his lips against his teeth and shakes his head, sighs. Beautiful is a good word, and it certainly fits Ezra right now—thick eyelashes casting shadows on his cheeks, indigo hair spread out on Kanan’s pillow—but it’s not the word Kanan is searching for. He needs something fuller. Something between handsome and gorgeous. Comely. Exceptional. But what he ends up saying is, “Smooth.” 

He’s thinking of satin. Or a rich, decadent cream, lush and fatty. Something meant to be eaten slowly with the tongue and savored. 

Suddenly there is nothing in the galaxy Kanan wants more than to drag his tongue down the length of Ezra’s entire body. Taste him from temple to toe. Learn the flavor of his skin and sweat. Finally answer the call that has been tormenting him for the last year, when the fires of instinct and attraction began to render simple camaraderie into something more potent. Something he thought he had conquered years ago.

“I’m weak,” he whispers and brushes the hair off Ezra’s forehead. “So very weak.”

But he knows this already. He acknowledged it first on Kaller, then learned to live with it on Gorse. He’s a weak man with a powerful habit and a thousand vices, but in spite of his failings—and they are manifold—Kanan Jarrus is a man of his word, and when he makes a promise, he intends to keep it.

He begins by removing Ezra’s boots. They thump to the deck, empty and hot on the inside. Then he peels off Ezra’s socks. He takes a moment to cradle Ezra’s heel and massage his warm plump toes. They’re soft and velvety and smell like a humid mixture of detergent and Ezra’s own light musk. Kanan has always liked the way Ezra smelled. A little wild and spicy, natural in a fresh, unspoiled way. Like leaves and earth and rain.

He takes off Ezra’s leg guard and wrist communicator and sets them aside, then unfastens his belt and holsters. With all outer accessories removed, Kanan proceeds to unzip Ezra’s orange jumpsuit from neck to crotch. He’s wearing a dark, tight-fitting tanktop and a clingy pair of briefs probably in the size range of a prepubescent boy. But Ezra has always been on the small side.

Kanan carefully peels the jumpsuit down his shoulders, vest and all, and works the sleeves from his arms. Ezra doesn’t wake. He’s sleeping very deeply. Kanan tugs the suit off his legs and takes a moment to straighten it out, fold it in half, and lay it aside. Like a mindful parent taking care of their child’s things. Then he kneels beside the bunk and proceeds to admire Ezra like an unearthed treasure. His golden skin. His handsome nose. His small, beautiful mouth. The muscles developing in his lean arms. The way his hair falls over his forehead. The sliver of bare skin showing between his tank and briefs. The lumpy outline of his genitals. His slim legs and soft, curvy calves. So many pretty things. But there are more, Kanan knows. Many more. And he wants to see them more than anything.

Without a flicker of hesitation, he pulls up Ezra’s shirt and drinks in the sight of his small chest. His nipples are dark brown coins perched on the tips of his pectorals. Warm velveteen. They’re soft, the areolas dilated with heat. Kanan craves their texture on his tongue. 

Why not.

He leans down and clasps his lips over the closest nipple and begins to suck. It hardens into a tight nub in his mouth. He purses his lips and applies his teeth. Pulls on it. Exhales through his nose. 

Ezra sighs and mumbles and turns his head sleepily. 

Kanan goes still, lips glued to Ezra’s breast. When there’s no further disturbances, he resumes sucking. He lightly pinches the other nipple, rolling it between his fingers and tugging. He switches after a few minutes, letting the flushed, pinkish-brown bud slide swollen and hard from his lips. 

Ezra’s breath is coming faster now. Kanan sees he has an erection rising in his briefs. He reaches down and cups it. Ezra mumbles wordlessly and pushes up into Kanan’s hand, purely on instinct.

Kanan is suddenly overcome with the desire to kiss him. He must. He absolutely has to. 

He slides his left hand under Ezra’s shoulders and lifts him up. Ezra’s head falls limply back. Kanan leans over him and slides his tongue between Ezra’s lips. He kisses him deeply, breathing through his nose (he tastes like alcohol, sweet and pungent), his right hand pawing and kneading Ezra’s covered genitals.

He’s out cold. Kanan can do anything he wants to him. Anything at all. What a liberating notion.

He slips his hand beneath the waistband of Ezra’s briefs and feels him. His bristly bush of pubic hair. His rigid, silk-soft penis. And farther down, his tight little scrotum. He kisses Ezra harder and begins to stroke him while his own cock swells in his trousers.

“Stars, I adore you.” 

Kanan doesn’t know if he spoke the words or if his thoughts are just that loud. It’s so quiet in here. So peaceful. Nothing but the soft rustle of clothing and his own heavy breathing. 

“You’re the light of my life, Ezra. I’m gonna make you feel so good, baby. I’m gonna give you a beautiful dream. And you’re gonna wake up happy and not know why. It’ll, it’ll be our little secret.”

He stops fondling to rub his way up Ezra’s bare belly, lingering around his navel. He wonders how much he might be able to fit inside Ezra before bottoming out. If he were to try it, of course. If his cock would reach this far. If Ezra would moan about how deep he could feel him.

Kanan almost groans. He throbs in his pants, fully erect despite the amount of alcohol he’s consumed. It’s nothing compared to what he used to drink any given Zhellday night.

He takes his hands off of Ezra so he can undo his belt. Metal clinks and leather purrs as it slips through the buckle. He keeps his eyes on Ezra’s serene, gorgeous face as he unbuttons his fly. His erection bulges in his underwear. He scoops himself out into the open air, hot flesh finally freed. He sighs with relief.

Ezra would probably appreciate the same. All that alcohol, and he already runs so hot. Like most teenage boys.

He reaches over and carefully pulls Ezra’s briefs down. His thick thatch of pubic hair comes into view first, then his semi-stiff penis, then his testicles. Kanan works the briefs down Ezra’s slim legs—pausing to plant a kiss on his right knee—before sliding them off completely. He crawls into the bunk and gently pushes Ezra’s legs apart so he can kneel between them. He grasps himself and begins to pump, groping Ezra’s body with his free hand.

Sprawled out like this, his head turned to the side and his shirt rucked up to display his nipples, Ezra is the most beautiful creature in the galaxy. 

Kanan pushes Ezra’s thighs apart and strokes himself faster. He clasps a handful of inner thigh and spreads it so he can see Ezra’s hole, that beautiful, tight little star the color of burnt gold. Rosy pink on the inside. He stares at it, his pulse throbbing hard in his temples and neck, his breath ragged. 

He imagines pushing his cock into that pretty little thing and watching it stretch wide to take him, wrinkles disappearing. Sliding in and out. The crown of his cockhead catching on the rim, feeling the ribbon of muscle squeeze his frenulum and fuck, fuck, he would cum with just the tip inside Ezra. Then he’d thrust in all the way to his balls and drive his seed deep into that soft virgin belly, and if there’s a God, Ezra would wake up and moan Kanan’s name and cum for him. Swear his love then and there. Give this to Kanan any time he wants. 

He shudders and strokes himself harder. He’s right there. Almost there. Almost— 

A strangled grunt, then his semen shoots onto Ezra’s belly. He gasps and continues to pump, jetting out another stream of semi-opaque seed. One more spurt, the last, little more than a cockspit, and he’s done. He sighs with relief and stops moving, still grasping himself. He looks down at Ezra’s golden stomach painted with streaks of white. His white. It’s beautiful. Art. There is no remorse. No guilt. Maybe it’ll come later, but right now all Kanan feels is love.

He lets go of himself and reaches out to touch one of the cool, rapidly-drying spots on Ezra’s skin. He swirls his finger in it like a painter mixing two colors on his palette.

“Maybe someday this’ll be inside you,” he whispers. Or thinks. “And then you’ll be mine. And I’ll be yours. We’ll have each other, and that’s all we’ll ever need. Each other.”

He stays like that for a little while, gazing pensively and adoringly, until he goes soft. He tucks himself back in and slips Ezra’s underwear back on—it’s much harder than taking them off—and pulls his shirt down, covering the dried ejaculate on his stomach. As an afterthought, Kanan untucks the thin sheet from the bunk and draws it up to Ezra’s waist, that way if he gets cold he can just pull it up. Or push it down if he gets too hot.

He sits back and examines his work. Everything seems to be in order now. Nice and neat. Yes. This is good. 

He leans over and presses a gentle kiss to Ezra’s lips like a knight kissing his sleeping princess.

You are no Knight, Kanan Jarrus.

He knows. He doesn’t care. That life ended for him on Kaller. The only thing that matters to him now is the life in front of him. 

Swaying a little, he rises to his feet, still mellow from his orgasm. He shuffles to the doors, pausing to look back at Ezra one last time. He smiles fondly. “Goodnight, Padawan. Sweet dreams.”

The doors slide closed behind him.