Kanan sat in the pilot’s seat with the engines running, gripping the control yoke, practically sweating quicksilver. The staccato screams of E-11 Imperial blaster rifles grew closer, but he could see nothing out the viewport except the congested cluster of buildings he was hiding within. He was torn between staying in his seat like he’d promised and saying the hell with it, pulling out his lightsaber, and going out there to make sure Cal and Ezra got safely back on the ship.
He wondered if this is what Hera felt like whenever she was waiting to make a pickup. A whole new flower of appreciation blossomed in Kanan’s chest. Didn’t alleviate his anxiety one bit, but if Hera could do it, so could Kanan Jarrus.
Maybe. Hopefully. Kriff, what was taking them? A damp film of sweat condensed on his upper lip. “Come on, come on,” he muttered, leg bouncing.
At last they burst into view, slashing blue arcs in the air with their lightsabers as they deflected the volley of laser bolts slicing toward them. Kanan’s heart rejoiced and he sat up straight in his seat, ready at the helm.
Cal and Ezra faced their enemies and ran backward toward the ship, clanging up the boarding ramp. A squad of stormtroopers emerged around the corner of a building and began firing on the ship.
Kanan spoke into his comm: “You in?”
“We’re in,” Ezra said. “Punch it!”
Kanan threw a lever, pulled the controller, and stomped the fuel pedal. The ship shot up over the rooftops and went screaming into the sky at a very exciting 65-degree angle, if Ezra’s yelling from somewhere in the back was any indication. Kanan leveled off once they hit upper atmo, and the drama in the rear quieted. As soon as they broke grav, he activated the hyperdrive, tapped a set of coordinates into the navicomputer, and they were streaking across the galaxy at the speed of light.
With the autopilot engaged, Kanan sprang out of his seat and hurried aft. On the way he met Cal and Ezra coming up front. They both looked like hell. Ezra was scraped and scratched and his clothes were soaked as if he’d fallen into a river, but Cal had the worst of it. Like Ezra, he was sweaty and disheveled and wet up to his knees, but his bright orange hair was dusted black with ash and he had a nasty cut over his left eyebrow. A wide ribbon of blood sheeted down the side of his face and disappeared into his collar. Some of it was even spattered onto BD-1, who still clung nervously to the back of Cal’s leather vest.
“Fucking stars,” Kanan swore and immediately invaded Cal’s personal space, pinched his partner’s lacerated flesh together—Cal hissed and winced—and herded him over to the common room.
“Ezra, get the medkit.”
“Right.” Ezra darted off.
Kanan seated Cal on the tabletop and leaned over him with worried eyes. His fingers were stained red with blood. “Kriff, this is deep.”
“It looks worse than it is.”
“Yeah? Well, it looks pretty fucking bad. Practically down to the bone. You need a stim?”
“Nah. It doesn’t hurt that much. Didn’t even know I was hit until Ezra said something.” BD-1 slid down Cal’s arm and perched on the table, twittering with concern.
“How did it happen?” Kanan asked.
“There was a secondary explosion after Ezra set the bomb. Fuel tank or something went up. Piece of shrapnel caught me before I could st—ouch.”
“Sorry.” Kanan’s fingers had slipped trying to hold the gash closed.
“It’s okay. Must’ve been as sharp as a surgical blade ‘cause I didn’t feel a thing.”
“Yeah, looks like it was made with a razor. You’re lucky it didn’t hit any lower.” Kanan stopped staring at the wound and looked at Cal’s face instead.
Cal gazed up at him with a lazy smile on his scarred lips.
“Why’s it always your face, huh?” Kanan touched the pale line across the bridge of Cal’s nose, then the long pink mark that ran from the right side of his neck to his jaw.
Cal’s smile widened. “I’m starting a collection. Gonna go for a record: most decorated Jedi in the galaxy.”
Melancholy settled in Kanan’s eyes like a cloud shading a grassy hill. He cupped Cal’s cheek and stroked it with his thumb. “You look pretty sexy covered in blood, not gonna lie. I just wish it was someone else’s.”
“Oh, you prefer me being a murderous butcher, huh?”
“I just think you look good in red, that’s all.”
Kanan grinned and his own scar—the one he’d received fighting Maul three years earlier, a burnt mahogany line running from his left cheek to his right eyebrow, narrowly missing his eyes—bent to follow the swell of his cheeks.
Ezra returned with the medkit and placed it on the table. “You should probably clean that first,” he said, motioning to Cal’s wound. “We both fell into a canal—”
“You fell,” Cal said. “I pulled you out.”
Ezra rolled his eyes. “Anyway, the water was really nasty. I think I saw a dead rat. Or maybe it was a turd, I dunno. But I think I got some of it in my mouth, so if you hear me puking later, don’t worry, it’s probably just me having space E coli or sour manila or something.”
Kanan shared a private look of suffering with Cal. Cal rolled his lips inward and tried not to laugh.
“Thank you, Dr Bridger,” Kanan said. “We’ll be sure to perform all the necessary sanitizing.”
“No prob. You guys need me for anything else?”
“I think we’re good, Ezra,” Cal said with a smile. “Thanks.”
“Okay, great. I’m gonna hit the sonic.”
“Toss your clothes in the cleaner while you’re at it,” Kanan said. “But don’t run it yet. Cal’s gonna need his clothes cleaned, too.”
Ezra saluted and strode down the passageway, unzipping his orange jacket.
“He’s a good kid,” Cal said.
“Yeah, he is.” Kanan handed the medkit to Cal. “Open that up for me and grab a bacta swab and a couple butterfly bandages. Maybe three. Goddamn, this is a lot of blood.”
Cal rummaged around in the medkit until he found what was needed. He sat still while Kanan treated his wound in silence. The only sounds were the hum of the ship, BD-1’s occasional curious chirps, and the sonic running in the refresher.
Cal stared at Kanan while he worked. “You haven’t even asked if we got the datachip yet.”
“That’s because I know you did.” Kanan’s gaze flickered down for a moment, playful. “Actually, I don’t care about that right now. Priority’s changed. For the moment.”
By the time Kanan finished closing up the cut with three bandages, he had blood smeared up to his elbows and looked like he’d just performed field surgery. He leaned back to examine his work. “Okay, I think that’ll do. Hopefully it won’t scar too much.”
It wasn’t often Cal called him by his new name, but when he did, it sent a thrill down into Kanan’s core for reasons he didn’t fully understand. All he knew was that his name sounded beautiful on Cal’s lips… which were looking very plump and inviting right now. Cal’s eyes were a warm, shadowy green. Kanan didn’t need the Force to get the message. He leaned in.
Cal closed his eyes and tilted his head up to meet Kanan’s mouth. They kissed gently for a few seconds, parted for a breath, and sank together once more, deeper this time. Kanan tasted the bright, metallic tang of blood on his tongue and pulled back to make sure it wasn’t coming from the inside.
Cal gripped the back of Kanan’s neck. “I’m fine, Kay.”
“Yeah, you are.” Kanan leaned in again and swallowed the laugh that trickled from Cal’s lips.
BD-1 stared at them, the spanners around his one big lens whirring as it focused and refocused. He warbled concernedly.
Cal broke the kiss with a chuckle. Even Kanan was amused by the droid’s question.
“I’m fine, BD,” Cal said. “Why don’t you, uh…”
“Go keep an eye on things in the cockpit, okay?” Kanan suggested. “Cal and I need to…”
The droid bleeped.
Cal laughed out loud. “No, we’re not gonna eat each other.”
“We might,” Kanan said under his breath. “Been a while since I’ve had red mea—”
Cal pressed a gloved hand over Kanan’s mouth. “It’s okay, buddy. We’ll be fine. You go on.”
BD-1 gave a dubious chirp but obediently hopped off the table and scuttled to the cockpit.
Kanan turned his head to get out from under Cal’s hand. “He’s a good droid.”
“Yeah, he is.” Cal pulled Kanan down to him.
The two Jedi kissed each other with increasing fervor. Kanan slid his hands around Cal’s waist and hugged him, and Cal wrapped his legs around Kanan’s hips and locked his ankles together. Soon they were moving languidly against one another, seeking friction. Kanan pushed forward and eased Cal onto his back. Cal went down, his legs falling open on either side of Kanan’s body.
Kanan pressed his bloodstained hands flat on the table and rocked himself against the growing bulge in Cal’s trousers.
“You know,” Cal panted between kisses, “I really should get cleaned up before we go any further. You’re getting blood all over your face.”
“I don’t mind.” Kanan kissed Cal’s left cheek, tinting his lips red.
Cal leaned up and sucked them clean, making soft wet noises.
“Fuck,” Kanan grunted.
Cal was already undoing his belt.
In less than two minutes Cal’s trousers lay crumpled on the floor and Kanan’s were around his knees, his naked hips and bare buttocks pumping forcefully between Cal’s pale thighs.
Cal gasped open-mouthed as Kanan fucked him raw on the table, arms spread and gripping the edges to prevent him from being pummeled forward by the thrusts. Despite the intensity of their lovemaking, they were quieter than usual, their pace a little rushed. But this short window of opportunity didn’t prevent Kanan from bunching up Cal’s shirt and vest as far as they could go and lavishing kisses on his scarred chest. He even managed to get at one of Cal’s soft pink nipples, sucking and nibbling and tugging. Cal let out a strangled moan and reached down between their bodies to grasp his cock. He began to stroke.
Kanan lifted his head. “Let me know when.”
Cal nodded breathlessly.
Kanan was the more experienced lover; his stamina was excellent, as was his self-control, so he automatically deferred to Cal’s pace, especially if they wanted to climax together. He slipped his hands under Cal’s knees and bent the shorter man almost in half. He stood a little straighter, which changed his angle, and when he slid in again, he touched Cal perfectly.
A delirious smile graced Cal’s lips. “Oh, yeah.”
“Yes.” His half-lidded eyes settled on Kanan. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Cal stroked himself faster. Precum bubbled out, clear and slick. Kanan was striking his sweet spot with every move, and it wound up the hot, delicious feeling in his belly like a steadily-tightening ratchet tie-down.
His cock jumped in his hand. He was close. He nodded to Kanan. “Come inside me.”
Kanan’s nostrils flared at the invitation. He thrust harder. The table thumped and shook in its rivets.
Cal shut his eyes, arm working rapidly, his bloody, sooty face bending into an expression of ecstasy. “Oh, stars, oh, fuck, fuck, Kay—”
They crested at the same time, Kanan driving his hips forward and back, in and out of Cal’s glorious warmth, Cal gripping his cock as it pulsed and spurted two jets of semen onto his glove and belly. He dropped his head onto the table with a thunk and a sated sigh. Kanan stilled between his legs, heaving for breath.
“Kriff. That was good.”
“For a quickie, definitely,” Kanan agreed. He sounded winded. He pulled out with a wet slurp and bent to retrieve Cal’s trousers.
The sound of the sonic shutting off hastened their redressing. Zippers went up, belts clicked, and boots thumped as feet were quickly shoved into them.
When Ezra returned to the common room dressed in his civvies, clean and dry and fluffy, Kanan was methodically repacking the medkit while Cal emptied out his pockets in anticipation of laundering.
Ezra smirked. “Sonic’s free.”
Cal looked up as if he hadn’t noticed Ezra was there. “Oh. Okay, good. Thanks.” He got up, winced briefly, and strode to the refresher.
Ezra turned to Kanan with a leer. “So. You get Cal fixed up?”
“Oh, yeah. Nothing to it. More blood than anything. Just a little”—he flipped his hand in the air—“swip swip and, y’know. Good as new in a day or two.” A tense nod.
“Mm.” Ezra stared at Kanan with that ever-present smirk. “Well, you’d better do something about all that blood on your face. Red just isn’t your color.”
Kanan’s eyes widened.
Oh, kriff. He’d forgotten all about the damned—
Ezra walked past him with a snicker.