"You're not focusing, Ezra."
Startling, Ezra shook his head and regained his meditation pose. "I got it, I got it."
"Ezra." Kanan smiled patiently, and Ezra sighed.
"I just can't…" Can't stop thinking about it. About everyone – dead. About you – my fault.
"There's something you're not telling me," Kanan said concernedly.
"I didn't –" Ezra brusquely looked away. "It's not important." He jumped when Kanan knelt before him, squeezing his shoulder.
"You can talk to me, Ezra. That's why I'm your master."
Master and padawan. The feeling was pure again. Bolstered, Ezra said in a rush, "I used the dark side while I was on Mustafar."
Kanan raised one dubious eyebrow. "Is that all?" He settled beside Ezra, mimicking his pose. "When I thought the Inquisitor had killed you, I believed I had faced my worst fears. Vader proved me wrong." Shadow flickered in Kanan's eyes. "I wanted him to experience the same agony I felt from your death. That's why I traveled to Mustafar; to find him."
"Would you have done it?" Ezra whispered.
"I don't know," Kanan admitted quietly. "That's why I warn you about your emotions. It doesn't matter how you feel, Ezra; it's how you act when your mind wants to do something wrong."
"So if I had turned to the dark side…." Ezra thought about his lost saber and the red kyber crystal. "What would you have done?"
Kanan smirked and lightly cuffed his padawan's ear. "Probably locked you in the hold until you snapped out of it."
"Just so long as Chopper wasn't guarding it." It felt so good to laugh; to know Kanan would tease him another day, and everything would be fine.
"Something's still troubling you," Kanan guessed.
Ezra folded his arms and rested his chin on his knees. "While I was there…. Do you – do you think my parents were really from Lothal?"
"Do you doubt it?" Kanan said wryly. "Wasn't Sabine the one who said you smell like a Lothal sewer-rat?"
"Funny," Ezra deadpanned. He toyed with his sleeve. "But really… what if I'm not actually from Lothal? What if I was born elsewhere?"
"Is there something I should know about?"
Taking a deep breath, Ezra disclosed rapidly, "Darth Vader told me he was my father."
Silence. Flushing, Ezra looked away, knowing Kanan would see the truth and realize he was training the wrong apprentice. It was only destiny for a son to become like his father.
"He told you that?" Kanan said at length. Incredulously he ruffled Ezra's hair. "And you believed him?"
"Why else would he train me?" Ezra exclaimed. "He explained everything! Who my mother was, why I was taken to Lothal, my heritage –"
"Whoa, whoa! Kid! Calm down!" Kanan was … smirking?
"This isn't funny!"
"I know." Immediately the Jedi sobered. "I know, Ezra. None of this is funny. I just don't see why you would think a bucket of spare parts could be your father."
"He showed me visions of his past," Ezra said. "I think he was a Jedi."
Kanan's brow furrowed. "A Jedi?" He was silent a while longer. Finally he shrugged and said, "Well, I still don't know where he conjured the family resemblance. I saw the picture Sabine dug up, and you obviously have your mother's nose." He tweaked Ezra's nose and Ezra batted him away, nostalgic for past bantering.
"What if it was true," Ezra asked uncertainly. "What if Darth Vader is my father?"
Kanan rotated one shoulder uncomfortably. "I don't care whose kid you are. It's what you become that matters to me."
Enlightened, Ezra turned the words in his mind, envisioning Mustafar, the Jedi with the blue lightsaber, and the dark haired woman he had never seen. It doesn't matter whose kid you are … It's what you become that matters.
Maybe he was the son of a Sith Lord. Maybe he was destined to be Vader's apprentice. But destiny could change. He could still be a Jedi, just like Kanan.
You are alone.
Not anymore, he shot back.
As long as Kanan believed in him, Ezra wasn't afraid of anything.
Logic whispered that Darth Vader could claim him at any time.
The Force told him to trust his master.
Hope reminded him that there were always new beginnings.
Loyalty assured him that he would never be alone again.
On the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer, a Sith lord paced. A misfortunate mouse droid squiggled up to his feet, then zipped away with a squeal. The nearby lieutenant swallowed. The Inquisitor's temper had been deadly after Tarkin's visit to Lothal. Darth Vader was renowned for disposing of incompetent officers.
This would have been the perfect day for a demotion to cleaning the refreshers.
The lieutenant nearly gasped his relief when Agent – Inquisitor – (was it Commander now?) – Kallus stalked onto the bridge. At last, someone else to bear the consequences of Lord Vader's disappointment.
"Lord Va –"
"You deliberately allowed the prisoners to escape."
"They boarded without warning, our systems were rigged by your interference –"
"I did not ask for excuses, Commander."
The lieutenant coolly looked away. Kallus did have an obnoxious habit of crinkling those leather gloves.
"We have intersected their ship before," Kallus said gratingly. "I shall track the rebels and –"
"Your ineptitude has interfered with my plans for the last time. If not for the Emperor's confidence in your trifling skills, you would never have stayed above lieutenant. You will return to the Lothal planet, where you will tend the matters of state and law, and should I hear that any rebel escaped again, you will answer to me personally."
"Understood, Lord Vader."
If Kallus wore out his teeth as much as that fine leather…. The lieutenant had a new theory for the betting pool on "Why the higher officers never smile properly."
"Dismissed, Commander." Cape furling dramatically, Darth Vader paced to the window. The lieutenant sighed in relief.
Jolting, he saluted sharply and approached. "Yes, Lord Vader?"
"Send a transmission to the Lothal bioweapons facility, to begin construction immediately."
"Yes, my lord."
Reprieved. As quickly as deliberation would allow, the lieutenant fled the bridge. Someone else could die for the glory of the Empire. He was going to demand 'fresher duty tomorrow.
Even now Ezra skirted from him, clinging to the Jedi would never replace his blood family. Darth Vader reached across the stars and brushed the uncertain mind.
Go away… came the faint answer.
He withdrew, but only for a time. In the months to come, Ezra would accept that denial was futile; that his path was inevitably linked to the father who protected him from the Emperor. Should Palpatine decide Ezra Skywalker was immovable, the boy would discover he had more to lose than his master. Until then, he would be hidden, drawn to Vader's side until father and son stood together against the Emperor. Darth Sidious would fall, and a new order would control the galaxy.
Then Vader would establish the peace Padme had always wanted.
Through Plagueis' teachings, her son would rule forever.
That's it! :D
Future sequel? Already in motion. I have a series of oneshots lining up for the aftermath (Already started - titled "Renewal"), and a short sequel that will take place some months after Never Alone. Kanan and Ezra are not "magically better", and Vader has this all under control...
Thank you to: UnfathomableFandoms, PrincessCadence2012, Rebels-lover, Valkyrie-Sythe, majo2, Ichichi05, A M3mb3r123, BuruPlays2, Force sensitive, angel74, AzulaBlue92, SWRebels, The Reviewer, Sophia, Gracie, heartbreakerninja, neostorm854, RadicalCat, TheUltimateAngela, anonymus, GME, Kat Bridger, Corinth, Paint the Wolf, Hermit Crab, EmpressRulerofallthatiswierd, , Jacob, ezraSWrebels, CrimsonHeresy, Debra101, Star Wars rebels, angel74, skyfireflight16, SharonMckellie, DeathGoddess, rebels-lover, Lime Gap, hadesgirl015, Kavella, candyland7sis, Lombax901, TeamFinnickandAnnie, CosaBella, KawaiiFangirlOvrLord, Delta General 42, RUHLSAR000, PsychJediPirate, JediRebelWriter, minisilver20, Anon, Jabba Bridger, ezbine fan, nuyen236, Notrandomatall, Ginger Inc, Jillie Chan, and all the Guests for leaving feedback over the course of this story!
Thank you especially to those who reviewed almost every chapter! I started Never Alone as a oneshot, and y'all kept up. Thanks for the encouragement. :D
Special recognition to skywalker05 for letting me use the "Vader's son" idea from the Rebels fic "Discovery".
And of course, thank you to Jillie Chan for dragging me into the Rebels universe with her awesome stories! :D
More writing in this universe coming soon!