|| Holy crap guys. This was meant to be a short little thing I complete in my free time between Ghost of Our Past and Where We Go From Here. Not a 10000+ worded document. Fair warning ahead of time, though it's rated for violence. Nothing that wouldn't appear in one of the movies but perhaps not so much the show.
Not mine. Just borrowing (and hurting, apparently) for a bit. Like always, hope you enjoy. ||
It had supposed to be a simple mission- in and out.
No one would even know they had been there, Kanan said. The place looked abandoned anyways and, unlike all their other botched missions turned sideways, this one would go the way it was supposed to.
The thing about this mission, though, was that it really was supposed to be easy. The empire hadn't even been involved, just some creepy abandoned ship floating out in the middle of space. A normal, boring run-of-the-mill cargo ship most planets use to transfer supplies from one another.
Naturally, as soon as she laid eyes on it, Hera sent out a welcoming message. Nothing fancy. Just a reassurance that they weren't space pirates come to loot the ship empty, but when no one replied back her and Kanan shared a look.
Ezra knew that look.
It was one they shared right before they go and do something either really brave or really stupid (it's amazing how those two traits always seem to coincide, Ezra noted). Behind him, he could already hear Zeb speaking up to protest because he recognized the look also. They all did and Sabine was smirking in that sadistic way of hers that Ezra admires.
And normally Ezra would go along with the plan silently because he knew Kanan was trying, and it wasn't his fault his plans always seemed to backfire in their faces. Nobody has died yet so at the end of the day Ezra would always chalk it up as a win no matter how rough it got.
But this was a creepy ship- a very large ship- and nobody had responded to them, which only happens if something was wrong.
The second Hera tipped the GHOST towards the ship to dock, Ezra felt his protest bubble out of his throat with surprising ease.
"No," he denied shaking his head fervently, "No, no, no."
"Come on Ezra," Kanan chided as a mirthful smirk started to spread across his features as he turned playful eyes towards his padawan, "Don't you want to help them?"
"Help who?" Ezra demanded incredulously, "The ship looks abandoned, probably by space pirates."
Which Ezra always thought were so cool when he was younger. Now the thought of facing off with the merciless mercenaries of space sent shivers down his spine and ice cubes settle deep in his gut.
He wasn't going on the ship, he decided with a resolve of steel, they couldn't make him.
All except Kanan, who Ezra would probably follow blindly anywhere.
"No one's making you go," Kanan reminded with a knowing smirk as he rose from his chair, "You can always stay on the ship. Alone."
The cold feeling that's crept down Ezra's spine since first settling eyes on the ship dropped below freezing and he practically leapt out of his chair to follow Kanan to the unloading bay.
"Wait up for me!" he called behind his master's retreating form and he didn't see the triumphant grin spread across Kanan's face but he knew the man had one; he found great pride in being able to manipulate Ezra to do most of what he wanted.
Besides, there couldn't be any harm if they stuck together.
The ship at least looked abandoned and pirate free, but no matter how hard Ezra tried he couldn't shake the looming feeling that something very evil was waiting for them on board. Ezra knew he should've listened to his instinct but Kanan didn't look concerned so Ezra had just figured it was more nerves than anything else.
He figured wrong.
And, to think, the plan had been so simple: get on, look around, and rescue any survivors they came across. With any luck, the ship had just lost power and were unable to retrieve their transmission because everything was down, and the crew were passing the time by playing card games, bored out of their minds.
The moment they stepped foot on the ship that happy hopeful idea shriveled up and died.
"Stay close," Kanan demanded through the space suit they all had to wear until he was certain it was safe to remove it.
Ezra had no qualms with that order as he flashed back to the Jedi temple and the strange vibes it had emitted. It had been different and odd, sure, but not nearly as creepy or ominous. Not even the caves with the freaky shadow monsters that nearly killed them made him this uneasy.
He got his answer soon enough when the floor went from solid to crunching under his feet. Glancing down, he realized he had started stepping on glass that had shattered everywhere.
"Uh Kanan," he asked as he ignored the millions of shards to catch up with the rest of the group, "What are the odds that we deem this ship not worth our time and just bail? Because I seriously doubt anybody's here. You'd have to be insane to linger any longer."
Kanan snorted before replying, "You can always head back to the GHOST kid."
"Yeah, kid, if you can't handle a little darkness," Zeb teased smacking the back of his head as he passed and Ezra frowned.
"Kanan," he continued to protest anyways ignoring the teasing looks Zeb and Sabine were giving him, "I really think we should leave."
Which would've been nice if someone actually bothered to listen to him for once. Just this one time, that was all he was really asking.
"What's the matter?" and that was Sabine as she went to pass, "Is the kid frightened?"
"No," Ezra denied too quickly and he was thankful that they were supposed to stick close together- it gave him an excuse to practically walk in Kanan's shadow.
Whatever was giving Ezra this uneasy sensation, Kanan would protect him from- of that Ezra was certain. He was just tired of Zeb and Sabine's teasing.
"Look, Sabine," Zeb spoke just loud enough so Ezra could overhear, "I think he's scared."
"I think you're right," Sabine agreed and Ezra felt his cheeks flare up with embarrassment- they really were like the two older siblings he never asked for.
Ezra didn't bother turning around to deny it either because he realized that he really was scared. He didn't know why- it wasn't like the dark bothered him before- but something about the place was undoubtedly creepy and set every instinct Ezra owned for him to run the other way, let the others deal with whatever lurked in the shadows.
Which is nothing, Ezra reminded himself unhelpfully, it's just an abandoned ship. Probably ran out of power and the crew escaped. Yeah. That's it.
Kanan stopped suddenly before turning so he could face them. It was the first time Ezra focused in on the man's aura, which was usually calm and reassuring. Brave in the face of danger.
Now it was scared.
"We should head back," he quickly commanded and it was that moment that Ezra realized whatever sent his instincts wailing a moment ago had now sent every internal warning bell to go insane.
"Why?" Hera asked, frowning before looking around and refocused back on Kanan, "Is something wrong, love?"
"Something feels… off," Kanan admitted seriously, eyes narrowed as if he was trying to see through all the darkness.
At least Sabine and Zeb had stopped teasing him and were now also focused on the unknown danger Ezra no longer doubted were there.
If Kanan felt something then it was serious and no longer just a child's fear.
About a split second after Ezra had that realization, red sparkles of fire suddenly lit up behind and in front of them. Ezra grunted in discomfort as he shielded his eyes and sought out Kanan's presence like a needy child.
It wasn't hard to find. Kanan had latched onto him too, reassuring himself that they were all still there together.
"Lookie here boys!" a half-deranged voice cawed out gleefully and Ezra focused on the speaker, a tall silhouetted figure standing slightly in front of everybody else.
Hera sucked in sharp breath about the same time Kanan mumbled, "Pirates."
But Ezra didn't think so. At least, not in the traditional form of the word. Besides, if they were there to rob them then they'd just do it and not focus so intently on them away from all their valuables which meant…
Ezra's eyes grew in size as he exclaimed, "Kanan, they're slave traders."
Which he hadn't meant to say out loud, especially not his master's name, but the leader's sudden cackling laugh informed him that he had.
"Clever boy," the trader praised, "The name's Scar and, unfortunately for you lovely folks, you just became my newest merchandise."
"I don't think so," Kanan growled as he stepped forward so he stood in front of their ragtag group, "and if you want to leave this ship alive then I suggest turning around and leaving in whatever ship you came in."
Ezra was awed by the man's bravo but Scar just burst back out in his deranged sounding cackle.
"That's perhaps the funniest thing I've heard all day," Scar goaded them and Ezra imagined the self-assured grin splitting across his features as he added, "Unfortunately, you're outgunned and outnumbered so if you'd please just all come silent-"
Kanan's gun was up and firing before anybody had the chance to blink. Even Ezra flinched and he was behind the man holding the gun.
Scar didn't seem perturbed though as he tutted them sadly and muttered, "You shouldn't have done that. You see, now my people are going to have to teach you and your people some manners."
A buzzing sensation filled Ezra's ears as he leapt forward while screaming, "Kanan, duck!"
Something shot beside them, burning a hole through the sleeve of Ezra's suit and then it was chaos. Scar's group charged at them and everybody around them did their best to keep them back, all except Ezra whose head suddenly felt like it was stuffed with cotton and the red flare lights seemed to blur and swirl together.
Drugs, then. Drugs or…
"Kid, look alive!" Kanan demanded and Ezra blinked back to the present a split second before one of the traders reached out to grab him.
He lashed out, kicking the guy backwards as he scrambled on the ground.
Scar was right about one thing- they were outnumbered.
Not that that ever stopped them before.
Ezra climbed to his feet in time to sense one of the trader's aiming their gun towards Sabine and it was like a burst of uncontrollable energy surged through him. The trader yelped as the gun went flying and instantly knew he just made a grave mistake.
"Jedi," Scar breathed and Ezra imagined his eyes flitting around each of them to figure out who it was.
A sharp jolt of fear tingled between the connection Ezra was sharing with Kanan before the man quickly unclipped his lightsaber and ignited it.
"Kanan, no," Hera protested quickly as she stepped beside him.
He held out his arm, signaling for her to stay behind him as he ground out, "You know what I am. You let my companions go and I'll go with you quietly."
Ezra felt his stomach shrivel up as Hera protested, "Kanan. Don't."
But all Kanan was thinking about was protecting them, protecting him and Ezra didn't think he could handle losing the guy a second time.
"Kanan," he whispered, and Kanan either didn't hear him or ignored him because he remained silent; eyes burning in the direction of Scar, awaiting the man's reply.
"I see," Scar muttered as he mulled it over and nodded, "Alright Jedi. You have a deal. You come quietly and I'll let all your little friends go."
"Unharmed," Kanan practically snarled and Scar was close enough now that Ezra could see him nod quickly in agreement.
"Why, of course," he reassured before sticking out a hand, "What do you say, Jedi?"
Kanan glanced down at the hand distrusting but he didn't have a choice; moving the lightsaber to one hand, he shook in agreement.
He bent his head so he could focus on Hera as he demanded, "Get everybody on board," nobody bothered moving so he snapped, "Now! That's an order!"
It was an order Ezra was willing to defy…
Hera tapped his shoulder sadly, motioning him towards the direction they had came, and Ezra couldn't believe that she was going to leave Kanan alone again (okay, so he could believe it. They were all soldiers and the safety of the many outweighed the safety of one).
Still Ezra followed, trying to desperately rack his brain on a way to save Kanan but kept coming up with nothing.
They made it to the end of the room when Scar spoke again.
"Wait. Grab the woman, the green one. She could be useful," Scar suddenly mused and Hera was jerked away from Ezra.
"That wasn't the deal," Kanan snapped, stepping forward in protest but Scar beamed in reply.
"Deals change," he replied and Ezra felt the shift in atmosphere about the same time Kanan swung his lightsaber at Scar's head.
Someone standing beside Kanan struck the side of Kanan's head with their gun and Ezra watched as Kanan lost grip of his lightsaber and it clattered uselessly to the ground.
"And here I thought we were finally getting along," Scar sighed in disappointment, kicking Kanan back on the ground before jamming something in his thigh.
Blue snakes of electricity shot across Kanan's body as he started to involuntarily convulse before finally falling limp. Unconscious.
Ezra felt panic coil around his chest as he heard Hera command, "Zeb! Get Kanan out of here! Now!"
Zeb didn't bother protesting as he rammed himself through the traders and hefted one of Kanan's limp arms around his neck and hefted the guy up.
"Don't let the Jedi escape!" Scar bellowed and Ezra shot several of the traders who tried to stop Zeb.
"Ezra! Sabine! Let's go!" Hera shouted and Ezra turned towards her voice, not even slightly surprised to find her free from the traders and rushing towards them; Sabine followed Zeb without protest.
"Kanan's lightsaber!" Ezra objected as he turned towards the direction it had clattered to the floor.
"Leave it," Hera snapped as she made it to his side but Ezra knew that they couldn't just leave it, chances were it wouldn't be there when they returned.
Without much thinking, Ezra held out a hand and urged the object to clatter across the floor and into his grip where it belonged. Hera jerked on his arm, everybody else already running towards the ship and safety.
"Ezra," she growled and Ezra turned to follow without complaint about the same time something wrapped itself around his other arm and jerked.
"Two Jedi," Scar cooed, voice borderline dangerous as he jerked on the whip wrapped around Ezra's thin wrist. Biting into the suit and nearly ripping Ezra's arm from his socket.
"Hera," he grunted fumbling with Kanan's lightsaber as his head spun.
"Save it," she grunted clinging onto his arm tightly, "We're not leaving Kanan; we're not leaving you."
The traders descended on them and Ezra instantly knew what he had to do.
Pushing out with the force, he shoved her out the door and willed it shut and locked behind her. He heard her scream in protest, already rising to pound against the metal sharply but he doesn't remember much else.
Something hard slammed into his arm and a strangled gasp of surprise was all Ezra managed as he felt his throat close up and limbs go weak.
The world went black as he limply sank on the ground at the traders' feet.
Kanan's lightsaber clattered uselessly against the ground in front of him.
Ezra woke up knowing he was in a bad situation.
For one, his hands were bound in cold metal chains behind his back. That in itself was never a good sign but he also felt an overwhelmingly cold feeling. Cold and weak and it was a wonder he managed to stay upright.
The second thing he noticed was that all his stuff had been stripped from him.
He was no longer wearing the space suit and his backpack along with his lightsaber had been confiscated, leaving him feeling bare and naked.
A door slid open, the sound of metal scraping against metal causing Ezra to cringe, and he managed to lift his head up far enough to see black boots stroll in.
"So, baby Jedi," Scar's voice singsong mockingly, "I'm so glad that you're finally awake."
"I'm so sure," Ezra grumbled rolling his eyes tiredly, shifting so the metal chains clanged behind his back; he frowned, that would cause picking the lock difficult.
A rough hand latched around his face, squeezing his cheeks and drawing him from his thoughts as his head was forced back until he came eye to eye with emotionless black eyes on a scaly face. Ezra also mentally noted the long jagged scar running across the trader's neck, directly over his jugular vein.
It was almost like someone had tried cutting the trader's throat once and failed.
Ezra idly wondered where that person was now.
The hand disappeared from around his face and he allowed his head drop again, too tired to lift it back up. Instead he listened as Scar moved back to observe him more fully.
"You know, for a Jedi, you sure are… small," Scar suddenly noted and Ezra didn't bother stopping the laugh that bubbled from his throat.
He couldn't seriously think that Ezra was a full grown Jedi, could he?
"I say something funny boy?" Scar demanded, all amusement void from his voice as a black boot struck out to hit him against his shoulder.
The force knocked Ezra back on his elbow as he continued to giggle before shaking his head and replying, "No. Only that you're wrong. I'm not a Jedi."
"Hogwash," Scar denied quickly, "I saw you move that lightsaber with your mind. That's a Jedi trick."
Ezra forced himself back on his knees as he explained with, laughter clouding his voice slightly, "I'm a padawan. You know? A Jedi's apprentice."
He looked up, just to see if the trader was getting any of what he was saying. Sure enough, something seemed to be turning behind Scar's gaze as he allowed the truth to sink in.
"Jedi apprentice, huh?" he mumbled thoughtfully, hand to his chin as he stroked it before asking, "They still dumb enough to take on apprentices."
"You don't ask to be a part of the force," Ezra mumbled suddenly feeling very tired again.
"I'm sure it certainly helps, though," Scar teased lightly and Ezra didn't have any more strength left to laugh.
Otherwise he would have.
Instead he felt his chin drop back to his chest as darkness overcame him once again.
The next time he woke up, everything seemed a little clearer.
He was still sitting on his knees, his legs numb along with his arms which were still chained behind his back with large metal cuffs that bite into his skin viciously. He twitched his arm, allowing the chain to clang noisily and his head tilted back as he followed the sound.
The cuffs were tied off to a long metal pole running parallel to the ceiling and he realized this was where they kept their cargo stored. Fortunately, Ezra was the only one in the room which meant that the others had successfully escaped and that the traders didn't have any other slaves.
Ezra dropped his head back as blue eyes scoured the room for an escape route. Coming up empty he decided that perhaps it would be best if he waited until they came back and removed him from wherever this room was.
The only issue he bothered to linger on that plan was that he didn't know to whom or when he'd be sold.
"Come on Ezra," he chided to himself softly as he shuffled uncomfortably, "Think. What would Kanan do?"
Sighing, Ezra closed his eyes and concentrated on the force. Something tickled the side of his brain and he realized that the traders gave him something to block him from the force. He didn't know what (or how something like that even existed to begin with) but it left him feeling hollow and defenseless.
And incredibly bored.
He isn't sure how long he sat there, fading in and out of his attempts in meditating, but he felt immense relief when the door finally did clang open and two traders speaking a language he didn't recognize strolled in. They stopped in front of him and Ezra felt rather than watch as one of them freed his cuffs from the chain keeping him tethered to the ceiling. He was wrenched to his feet and shoved in the general direction of the door.
Ezra took an awkward half step before collapsing on his knees when numb legs refused to support his weight.
The trader exclaimed something foreign before hefting him roughly to his feet and dragging him out the door. Ezra felt his feet pinwheel beneath him as he desperately tried to keep his feet underneath him and soon the tickling of pins and needles started to circulate.
The traders seemed oblivious to their prisoner's discomfort as they roughly forced him through the halls of their ship, stopping in front of a door. The trader on his right reached out to knock and Ezra took the opportunity to re-gather his footing.
The door slid open and he was forced inside.
Scar was standing off to the side, watching with an emotionless face as the two traders drug Ezra to the chair sitting in the middle of the room. He was forced to sit down in it, which Ezra appreciated.
"May we get you anything? Food? Drink?" Scar asked, unmoving from his spot against the wall.
"Water would be nice," Ezra rasped out, his burning throat making itself known.
Scar tipped his head and someone shuffled behind him before a hand tangled itself in his hair, tipping it back. Automatically, Ezra opened his mouth and whoever was holding him poured a canteen of water on his face.
He choked automatically, rejecting the water, but instantly changed as he lapped at it thankfully, choosing to ignore how water splashed on his face, up his nose.
The water stopped when he started sputtering, folding his entire body in half as he coughed and wheezed excess water from his lungs and nose. The body behind him moved back to his position by the back wall and Ezra realized that they were there in case he tried anything funny.
"Anything else?" Scar asked him as Ezra straightened himself up on the chair.
He just shook his head in reply, water soaking his bangs and making them stick to his face. And because his hands were bound behind his back he couldn't push the wet strands away.
"Alrighty then," Scar sang a little too cheerfully as he clapped his hands in front of himself as he said, "Let's get this thing started, shall we?"
Ezra would've rather not, but no one was asking his opinion on anything. So he kept his head bowed and breathing steady, praying that they'll just leave him here alone.
Not that he regretted what he did. Kanan's lightsaber was valuable and the only one the man had. If they had lost it to the hands of the traders than they'd be placed at a major disadvantage, and Ezra couldn't let that happen because he already lost his master once. He wasn't willing to lose him- or anybody else- because of a stupid disadvantage.
And if he had to endure a little of Scar's sadistic pleasure then he shall with a proudly raised head.
The empire wasn't able to break Kanan and he was going to ensure that these traders weren't going to break him.
He'd been so caught up in his resolve that he failed to notice when one of the trader's stopped directly in front of him until their hand was fisted back in his hair and his head was jerked back until the veins in his neck threatened to pop. Still, Ezra refused to make any sound that would give away his discomfort. Instead he glared up at the trader through his curtain of bangs, frowning tightly.
"'Dis one's tough. I'll give him dat," the trader holding him spoke, a low rumbling sound emitting from his chest.
Scar just hummed as he appeared beside him, long bony finger reaching out to stroke Ezra's cheek. Ezra tried jerking away but the grip in his hair forced him to remain where he was, staring up at his captor's pensive face.
"I expect as much from a Jedi," he murmured before waving his hand and the fist in Ezra's hair disappeared and he allowed his head to drop back to his chin.
"Not a Jedi," he reminded through gritted teeth and he suddenly wished Kanan was there.
Not because he wanted his master to be in the same predicament as him but because he knew Kanan would protect him. Keep him safe and it wasn't until Ezra met up with their ragtag group of rebels that he realized that's all he really wanted.
Perhaps he wasn't as grown up as he originally liked to think.
"Should we sell him to the Empire?" one of the traders by the wall suddenly piped up and Ezra felt ice creep through his veins.
If the Empire got ahold of him then there wouldn't be any interrogations. There would be no trial, no chance of rescue. Just an execution.
"No," Scar replied with a slight shake of his head as his eyes bored into Ezra's head, "We wouldn't get very many credits that way."
"So what are we going to do boss?"
Ezra glanced up in time to catch Scar's sadistic smile as he purred, "Look at what we've got. He's young, strong, and capable as he demonstrated back on that ship. He's resilient, a fighter and I just so happen to know somebody very interested in young fighters."
Ezra's stomach dropped at the implication behind the words.
There was no way this could end well.
One of the traders must have agreed because they suddenly piped up and asked, "You think that's safe? I mean, look at him, he's just a child."
Scar frowned before replying simply, "A tough child and his alternative is, of course, selling him out to the empire."
The trader that spoke out in Ezra's favor didn't reply and Ezra knew he was doomed. Whatever Scar had planned for him wasn't going to end well and he wasn't fond of the idea of sticking around to discover what it was.
Shuffling his wrists, the metal chains clang against each other and Ezra immediately froze. It wasn't like he had forgot that the slightest movement would give him away, he just really hoped it wouldn't happen to him at that particular moment.
Something out there had to be looking out for him and he figured he was in due for some serious good luck.
The universe just so happened to disagree apparently.
Scar burst out in maddening laughter as he recognized what Ezra had just attempted and never before had Ezra wanted to sink deep in somewhere and just disappear. Then he wondered how desperate the traders has seen some of their captives get, and if that had in coincide with the fact that none of them even twitched.
"Oh, my sweet little paycheck," Scar huffed, settling a large hand against Ezra's shoulder and bending over so their foreheads were nearly touching, "You are so… precious."
Not a word Ezra's heard describe himself by other people. Especially not by deranged space pirate slave traders.
Then Scar's unwelcomed weight lifted from his shoulder as he spun his wrist lazily and commanded, "Take our dear friend back to his room and start a course to Geonosis."
Ezra was hefted out of the chair, stumbling as he was half-drug out of the room; the last thing he saw before the large doors slammed shut behind them being Scar's back.
Whatever drug they had given him was starting to wear off, the realization first striking him when he became more aware of the creatures around him.
Two guards stood outside his door- the only sign of life Ezra could feel at first. Then it seemed to broaden and widen as it stretched and expanded until the drug had all but disappeared.
Concealing a grin, he bowed his head and concentrated on the warm protective aura he's grown accustomed to. His first attempt sent a painful bolt through his brain, causing him to flinch. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and tried again.
This time he managed to find it, faint as it was, and he instantly tried worming himself through.
Kanan blocked at first, defecting the violation but Ezra was never one to give up and as soon as Kanan realized who it was he opened up.
"Ezra?" Ezra all but collapsed in relief at the sound of his master's voice.
"Kanan," Ezra related before the door to his cell opened and he quickly spoke, "No time, Kanan. They're taking me to Geonosis."
"What? Ezra," Kanan pestered but then a hand jerked his head up and water was forced in his mouth.
The worst part about it was that they made no effort to conceal the taste of the drug. It was bitter in his mouth, leaving him dizzy and groggy as he desperately tried to keep in contact with the one person he was certain would come rescue him.
"Kanan… can't… drugs… Geonosis," and then the connection was gone and Ezra gasped, tears gathering in the corner of his eyes at the sudden emptiness it created.
The traders just laughed before one teased, "Aw, is the little kid missing his friends?"
Ezra bristled at them calling him kid but remained silent. He didn't trust himself to speak at the moment, positive his tongue wouldn't work in his favor.
And why would it? It's not like anything else had recently.
"He looks so young," one of the traders noted in a bored tone of voice, "Ya think he's ready for a place like the Petranaki Arena?"
"Who cares?" the other trader shrugged, "This way we'll get our credits, those foul creatures will get their entertainment and the Empire will have one less Jedi to worry about. Win-win-win."
"Except for this one," the trader mumbled as a toe poked at Ezra's chest, "but I suppose that it's for the best. Wonder what they'll charge him with?"
"Who knows? If I had to guess, though, I'd say it'll have something to do with being a Jedi."
Nothing they were saying made any sense to Ezra as he listened intensely, trying to remain impassive on the outside.
He wasn't sure rather or not that was working.
All he knew that this Geonosis place with its Petranaki Arena was coming off less and less appealing by the second.
And they were headed directly towards it.
Come on Kanan, he pleaded despite knowing Kanan was no longer able to hear him, find me.
He lost track of time after that.
He remembered trying to meditate, like Kanan taught him, but it just seemed to heighten the void whatever drug they'd given him caused so he quit. Above him, the chain clanged against everything within reach and normally would have drove him insane but today he welcomed it.
The silence, he decided some time ago, was so much worst.
When they finally did stop and the traders came to get him, he welcomed it warmly. They wrenched him to his numb legs, the sudden shift in position causing them to bend underneath his weight and he struggled to remain upright as they drug him out of the room, down the halls, and out underneath the burning sun.
He winced, squinting his eyes in displeasure as the trader continued to jerk him across the vast wasteland. For a split second he feared that they were going to leave him there but then figured that they wouldn't get paid if they did that- not that it made the alternative necessarily better.
They finally stopped several yards away from the ship and it was then that Ezra realized that there were others that had come out to meet up with them.
"This the one?" a voice demanded and Ezra focused on the speaker.
They didn't look like much. Their skin was a sickly green-yellow color and beady black eyes were focused intently on Ezra as if they could see deep down inside him.
Ezra just remained frozen, barely breathing as he waited.
"Yes he is," Scar nodded, voice void of emotion as he set a large hand around Ezra's neck, "Doesn't look like much but he has the powers of a Jedi."
The weirdly colored creature hissed as if stung, jerking away from Ezra as he snapped, "Fool. Why did you bring him here? Jedi are nothing but murderers."
"Yeah but this one can't do much," Scar protested calmly but Ezra felt his hand disappear as he tried reasoning with the sudden furious creature.
"Nothing good shall come from bringing that thing here," he objected, "He'll be the death of us all, bringing along the black devil and their burning sticks of fury."
Ezra blinked, officially lost as he glanced towards Scar to see how he was taking it.
In a word: bad. In two words: not good.
"You don't understand Pogo," Scar denied frowning a voice barely containing the fury he undoubtedly felt, "I drug him halfway across the galaxy-"
"No one asked you to do so," Pogo snapped as he continued to shuffle away, "and now we're all going to die a slow gruesome death."
Scar twisted towards Ezra as he shouted with a rough slap to the cheek, "Tell him that there isn't a black devil coming for you. Tell him!"
"Whoever you think is coming for me, isn't," Ezra complied as he tried in vain to dodge the rough strikes directed at him, "There is no black devil."
"Lies!" Pogo screamed, "You all lie! Round them all up! No one leaves this planet alive!"
"What?" Scar demanded about the same time the hands holding him in place fell limp.
Jerking free, Ezra stumbled backwards as he took in the scene before him. Creatures that resembled Pogo were grinning maliciously at him, long bony hands gripping around the staffs of prods.
"You can't do this!" Scar demanded before a prod was jammed in the side of his neck and he fell limp in the sand, body still convulsing as he settled into unconsciousness.
Panic griped at Ezra as he ducked away from one of the prods, swinging his leg in a graceful arc tripping his attacker. They fell with a soft thud, the prod still buzzing useless severally feet away in the sand.
Ezra remembered it as the last thing he saw before electricity vibrated through his entire frame and he fell down on the ground limply.
Ezra woke up with a headache.
Blue eyes blinked open, immediately causing two pulsing jolts to shot through his brain. Wincing in discomfort, he jerked his head to the side and concentrated on his breathing. In and out, just like Kanan had taught him.
"Would you look at that? Baby Jedi has finally graced us with his presence," the voice that's Ezra's quickly coming to dislike filtered through the mind numbing erratic pulses currently shooting behind Ezra's eyes.
"Scar," he groaned, shuffling slightly.
He felt a jerk, a cloud of dirt and sand settling at his feet as he quickly regained his footing. Slowly, he tipped his head back so he was able to see the chains binding him in place.
His arms had been wrenched over his head in a way that looked painful, large metal cusps connected to a thick metal chain bending him to the roof. Blinking, he dropped his head back to his chest and focused on seeing through the murky blackness surrounding him.
"I wouldn't move around too much. That's a good way of wrenching a shoulder out of place," Scar commented unhelpfully from somewhere in front of Ezra.
Ezra didn't reply, just ground his teeth together as he focused on the force. By now whatever drugs Scar had given him should've wore off. No such luck though, the void was still as empty and vast as ever.
"They pumped you up with the good stuff," Scar explained as if he could read Ezra's thoughts and Ezra lazily rolled his head in the general direction of the voice, "That's probably why you're experiencing a head pains to end all head pains."
"So what now?" Ezra demanded blinking away the still lingering groggy feeling, "What exactly is this place?"
"This, my dear baby Jedi, is a waiting cell," Scar said cryptically.
Ezra resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he asked, "What are we waiting for?"
A slight pause and Ezra briefly thought the trader had lost interest in their conversation and stopped talking altogether. Then he let out a shaky breath and spoke with a slight breathlessness that wasn't there before.
"Well that sounds… unpleasant," Ezra grouched tilting his head back to focus on his chains, "Have they told us why we're being executed?"
"I venture that it'll have something to do with them killing Poggle the Lesser," Scar explained like he expected Ezra to understand what he meant.
Ezra just blinked before refocusing on the chains binding him, testing them with his weight as he grunted, "I'm going to pretend like I know who that is. Why are we being punished for that?"
"What? Did you live on the streets most of your life?" Scar snorted and Ezra chose not to inform him how accurate that statement actually was as he continued in a more somber voice, "He was murdered by the Jedi in the black suit and these… residents didn't take it very well. I was a fool for bringing you here."
Ezra snorted as he gave up on the chains and demanded, "You made it seem like you didn't know what they're killing us for. Have they charged us with anything?"
"Why do you think we're not dead yet?" Scar growled, sounding angry as the chains clinked in the darkness so Ezra figured he was shuffling around restlessly.
"Right," Ezra grumbled about the same time the door to their cell opened, emitting a square bar of light in the room and causing his headache to flare.
He winced but kept his eyes on the door as Pogo strolled in, long golden staff thumping against the earth with every step.
"You backstabbing little snake," Scar immediately insulted, his chains clinking again as he leant forward with a murderous scowl.
Pogo lifted a bony hand and demanded, "Silence. You brought this upon yourself by bringing bad blood to our home. Today you shall die."
"Under what charges?" Scar hissed, only his eyes betraying the true fear he felt.
"For the boy: murder," Pogo explained calmly and Ezra gaped.
"I never murdered anyone!" he protested, the chains keeping his hands bound nearly wrenching his shoulders out of place as he jerked forward.
"Oh yeah?" Pogo challenged, burning black beads of spite narrowing on him as he asked, "What about our dear leader? You take no responsibility for that?"
"I don't even know what you're talking about!" Ezra exclaimed helplessly as he matched Pogo's stare unwavering, "I haven't had any idea of what anyone's been talking about since I've gotten here!"
Pogo stared at him for a long time, eyes seeming to seize him completely before he finally spoke in a slow tone, "Doesn't matter. Poggle's blood has been on your hands since you chose to become a Jedi."
He spat out the word like a curse and Ezra knew that he wasn't going to make him understand that Ezra's technically not done whatever he's accusing him of doing. That fancy trick where Kanan convinces people to think what he wants would have been helpful at the moment.
Unfortunately for them, Ezra didn't know it- had no idea if it could even be done with his hands tied over his head.
He didn't get long to linger on one, though, as the next moment Pogo turned towards Scar and hissed with barely contained resentment, "This one shall be charged with betraying our peaceful society."
Before he could stop himself, Ezra snorted.
He didn't mean to- not really. At least, not out loud. He was smart enough to figure out what the consequences of that was- death.
Pogo twisted his hate-filled gazed towards him and Ezra didn't bother to look sheepish. He figured Pogo was going to try to kill him anyways so why bother?
"Take them to the arena," Pogo snarled angrily as bony hands curled into tight fists at his side, "Today, they die."
Some of the creatures that entered with Pogo moved forward to unhook them from the ceiling. Ezra twisted his body in protest but they easily forced him into submission as they unhooked him from the ceiling and back out under the scorching sun.
He was really starting to hate this planet.
They forced him on a large white cargo hold, chaining his hands in front of him. Scar was hooked in beside him and Ezra didn't have to be in tuned with the force to know that the trader was terrified. He also knew what was waiting for them.
The hold lurched under his feet as they started moving and Ezra forced himself to be calm. Concentrate. Figure out a plan because he certainly didn't survive on his own for as long as he did to die on some wasteland charged with something he had no part of.
His ears twitched at the sound of cheering and applause.
Ezra frowned because that didn't seem right. Shouldn't people be screaming if they were sent to their deaths?
Then they entered a large bowl shaped arena and he realized that the cheering didn't come from the victims but the crowd, and they were expecting a bloodbath. The mere prospect of it sending them into a crazed frenzy of over-zealous fans.
Ezra was hating this planet more and more with each passing second.
He forced his attention away from the cheering crowd as he took stock in the arena itself. Bare, mostly, except for the large orange pillars rising from the ground and it didn't take a genius to figure out what they were there for.
Ezra heard Scar swallow beside him and he risked a glance. Impossibly enough, the trader had lost whatever little color he had and his eyes were wide and blown with panic as the dire situation became clear.
Ezra wasn't just going to roll over and allow himself to die however these creatures kill them. Not when he finally found a place where he felt like he belonged- a home.
Kanan and the others just needed to hurry up and come rescue them…
The hold stopped and he was jerked out, forced over to one of the pillars. His arms were wrenched back over his head before secured into place, the drugs and heat making his head swim. Beside him, Scar was begging.
"Please, please let me go," the trader pleaded with the silent creatures, "I won't ever come back. I promise. Please."
They moved away from him and Scar's scream of anguish cut through Ezra like a sword.
He might not like the trader but no one deserved this, whatever this was. Then he remembered that he was in the same situation and felt his stomach settle into his shoes.
Kanan wasn't going to make it in time. Whatever was going to happen was seconds away from happening and they were going to arrive to whatever was left of Ezra.
No. He wouldn't let that happen; he just needed to concentrate.
A sudden roaring from the side of the arena drew his attention to where they were leading out two large beasts with electrified rods. Ezra swallowed, feeling his eyes widen in shock as a hefty looking one with a horn sticking out from its forehead and two from its cheeks started towards him.
A heavy breathing beside him drew his attention away from the beast.
"Scar, concentrate," Ezra demanded as calmly as he could convey, "Close your eyes. Breathe. We can do this."
"Speak for yourself," Scar snapped coldly and Ezra rolled his eyes as he returned his attention back to the beast headed towards him.
It charged and Ezra jerked to the left, feeling the chain go taunt and holding him in place centimeters from where it rammed its horn against the pillar. Scar made a strange sound as Ezra jumped over the horn that tried piercing him, landing awkwardly on the thing's back.
It roared, shaking as it tried throwing him off and Ezra just roped his chain around the thing's horn and allowed it to rip the chain from the pillar.
His victory didn't last long as he took his attention off his situation a split second. A split second was all the beast needed though as it successfully managed to buck him off. Ezra hit against the ground with his shoulder before rolling out of the way of stomping feet.
Scar whooped, still teetered to the pillar but not dead so Ezra focused on staying alive.
"NO!" Pogo protested angrily as he slammed his staff against the ground from where he stood safely on top his balcony.
A foot nearly crushed Ezra, he barely able to dodge it last second and he forced himself to turn his full attention to beast trying to flatten him.
He just needed to survive. That was it. Survive and he shall conqueror.
Kanan once told him that, through the force, he was connected to all living things and as motivating as that was Ezra didn't think he would have been able to connect with the thing trying to squish him. It just seemed… angry.
Ezra climbed to his feet and ducked out of the way of one of the electrified rods one of the beast tamers were jabbing at him. Hands clasped over the pole before they were able to jerk it back to try to strike him again and he yanked it from their grasp.
They made an impressive sound as Ezra dodged another horn, tossing the pole to the side.
Kanan wouldn't want him to hurt the thing anyways.
Another strike and another dodge, the chain still tied around his wrist snapping across the dust at their feet.
He suddenly had an insanely stupid idea but it was the only he had and no time to come up with a new one.
The beast charged him again and he jumped back in the air, positioning himself so he could land on the thing's back. Once he shifted in a stable position, he flung the chain around the beast's thick neck. As expected it wrapped around before flinging itself back at him where he caught it creating a sort of rein.
The thing bucked uncomfortably and Ezra closed his eyes as he tried working through whatever drugs they gave him. His stomach lurched, head pulsed and he was almost jerked off.
"Whoa," he protested, blue eyes snapping open as he reached out shaky hands to pet the rough skin by the horn, "Calm."
The thing snorted but- amazingly- seemed to calm under his touch.
Naturally, one of the tamer's jabbed a rod into the thing's thick hide and Ezra practically choked the thing back into submission.
"Is he allowed to do that?" someone standing beside Pogo demanded but, surprisingly, he didn't seem as mad as he had before.
He looked more… curious?
The beast snorted and Ezra managed to kick away the next rod that attempted to electrocute the thing back into aggressive action. Pulling on the rein, the beast slowly circled in a deadly circle and Ezra risked a glance at Scar.
He was no longer tethered to the pillar, which was good, but he appeared cornered as the large cat-like thing reared back its paw for a strike.
The beast he was riding charged forward without any prodding from Ezra and slammed the cat into the wall with its horn. The cat snarled in protest, large tail whipping around at them as its claw swiped out.
Ezra jerked the chain back, forcing the thing to stumble backwards as the cat laid sprawled on the earth glowering up at them. Scar took the opportunity to run out of the way, jerking one of the rods away from a tamer and electrified them in a limp heap on the ground.
"Scar!" he shouted and Scar wasted no time sprinting over to them, quickly climbing on top of the thing's back.
"Got to hand it to ya kid," Scar cheered from his spot behind him, "This was pretty resourceful."
Because no matter who tried approaching them, the beast would lash out at them. The cat was still a useless heap in the dirt.
Ezra did his best to control the thing, holding it back from killing their attackers because he knew Kanan wouldn't want that. No matter how bad or what they did, no one deserved to be killed.
"I've got to ask, though," Scar continued as he struck out with the rod at anybody dumb enough to get within striking distance, "What's the rest of the plan?"
"Plan?" Ezra asked over his shoulder, "I'm improvising. There is no plan."
Scar barked out a short laugh as he commented, "You would've made a fine Jedi, boy. Too bad most of them all are dead."
"Yeah," Ezra agreed as blue eyes searched for a way out and coming up empty.
They needed a miracle.
And a miracle they got.
The cat beast managed to get itself off the ground and leapt in the air, aiming at Ezra. He jerked back on the reins, feeling the beast underneath him buck in response. It tossed its massive head towards its attacker, striking it back in the side and sending it flying about the same time the ground underneath them seemed to shake.
"Hey baby Jedi!" Scar called from his back, "I think your friends finally joined the party!"
"Great," Ezra cheered as he yanked at the chain in his poor attempt of steering the thing, "Let's go find yours!"
And then Ezra kicked the thing's side, having seen others do it to spur whatever they had been riding into action. The beast jerked, springing forward and nearly jerked Ezra off.
"Whoa! You ever done something like that before?" Scar demanded from his spot in the rear and Ezra just shook his head, earning a gleeful cackle from the trader as he exclaimed, "If I knew that you were this much fun I would've kept you!"
Ezra didn't reply.
They reached the door he was pretty sure they came out of and clung on for all he was worth when the beast smacked against the metal bars with its horn. Over and over until the entire cage was ripped from the doorway and flung across the arena.
From behind, Scar started laughing again.
At least one of them was having fun, although Ezra knew some part of him was finding glee in this. It was like a ride- a very dangerous ride that could lead into disaster quickly.
The beast lunged into the tunnel and outside in the arena Ezra could hear the cheering turn to outrageous screams before cries of terror.
And then the sweetest voice Ezra's ever heard before.
"This execution is canceled!" Kanan shouted and Ezra faltered in his movements just by the sound of his master's voice.
"Whoa baby Jedi!" Scar protested with a dangerous edge to his voice, "You're not thinking about going back out there are you?"
"Course not," Ezra instantly denied as he refocused on the task at hand, "Where would you think they'll hold the rest of your crew?"
"Beats me?" Scar shrugged, "When I woke up it was just me and you."
Ezra resisted the urge to roll his eyes because he knew that technically it wasn't the trader's fault that they had separated him from the rest of his crew. It was, however, his fault that they were even in their current predicament.
Without warning, the thing stopped and this time Ezra went flying over its head. He felt his shoulders wrench painfully as the chain caught the thing's horn and he struck the ground hard enough to knock all the air from his lungs.
Scar landed somewhere behind him and the thing snorted, shaking its massive head and taking Ezra with it. He stumbled, sliding across the dirt as he kicked madly.
Then Scar was there, wrapping an arm around Ezra's thin waist and jerking him back to safety. The beast snorted again, making a move to charge them when Scar pointed the electrified rod at the thing's face, forcing it back into the arena.
"Thanks," Ezra muttered as he rose back to his feet, shoulders sore and head aching.
"Don't thank me yet," Scar warned, swinging the rod at his head suddenly.
Ezra ducked before demanding, "What's the big idea?"
Scar just shrugged as he apologized, "Sorry baby Jedi but I've got a crew to find and you've got a crew to find you."
And then he connected and Ezra hit the ground, blinking black spots from his vision.
Scar reared back and struck him again.
This time blackness enveloped Ezra in its soft cocoon.
He could hear voices.
"Kanan … found him… still alive-"
Slapping of boots against dirt as someone approached them quickly.
"Kid… can… hear me? … Kid?-"
"-one… the ship, now-"
Running as footsteps disappeared and Ezra groaned as a head touched his face gently.
"-hear me? Kid?"
And someone stroke his face, shoving dark strands of hair back but Ezra was suddenly so tired- the combination of the drugs, adrenaline and exhaustion threatening to drag him back under.
A hand gripped the back of his knees as the other latched onto his shoulder blades before he suddenly felt weightless and safe. For the first time since this whole thing started he felt safe.
"Kanan?" he asked weakly, blinking bleary eyes up at his master's face.
He looked worn and ten years older but he was smiling when soft eyes focused on him.
"Hang on, kid. You're going to be okay," Kanan promised.
And Ezra believed him, even as he sank back into oblivion.
The next time he came too he was a little more aware.
He was laying on his bed back on the GHOST, cover pulled to his chin and hands crossed over his stomach. He blinked, shifting slightly and immediately regretting the decision as it caused several spikes of pain to vibrate throughout his entire frame. Especially his shoulders, which were still sore from being swung around violently.
Groaning, he reached towards the sore spot but froze midway.
White bandages were tightly bound around either wrist, and he remembered how the metal chains seemed to eat into his skin every time he tried controlling the beast.
At the thought he glanced back around the room- his room- before deflating against his warm bed tiredly. He hated to admit him but there was some part of him back in the arena that doubted he'd ever see this place again and now that he was there he nearly passed out from relief.
He'd passed out enough the last couple of days, he decided instead and his thoughts were interrupted as his door suddenly slid open and Kanan strolled in.
He looked cleaner, better groomed then he seemed when Ezra was barely conscious and hurt at the arena. If it wasn't for the still lingering ancient look in his eyes Ezra would've convinced himself that he had imagined it all.
Then Kanan's eyes focused on him, awake and aware, and he froze as if he was unprepared. Ezra didn't blame him, if not for the overwhelming sense of relief he felt upon finally seeing- feeling- his master he would've shared the same look of shock.
Instead a broad grin spread across his features as he teased, "You sure took your sweet time coming for me, huh? What? Did you stop to go sightseeing?"
And relief bloomed across Kanan's features as he chuckled softly, fondly, shaking his head and admitting, "You scared the crap out of us kid. Whenever you told us where they were taking you."
Ezra frowned, the fear of that place still lingering despite his attempt to bury it deep down within himself.
"Yeah…" he agreed slowly, "That won't be my choice for a vacation place any time soon."
Kanan chuckled again, closing the distance between them and settling beside his padawan on the bed. He reached out, seemingly hesitant, and Ezra welcomed the calloused fingers that brushed against the soft skin on his forehead.
Those fingers- that hand- he knew. Welcomed because it wasn't one that wished to hurt him. It didn't want to sell him out or betray him. They were warm and gentle and Ezra trusted them, possibly with his life.
"Kanan," he breathed softly, nearly inaudible, "Thank you. For coming for me."
The fingers disappeared only to reappear on his arm as his master reassured, "Of course," as he traced his fingers down Ezra's arm before stopping at the bandages around his wrists.
"How's your wrists?" he asked worriedly and Ezra blinked blue eyes open, focusing on the tight frown crossing his master's face.
"Fine," Ezra reassured, "I'm fine. You came, and I'm fine."
"Ezra," Kanan practically growled, "We both know that it's not that simple."
Perhaps not but Ezra wanted it to be. He wanted for it to be enough to just be in his room, beside his master. Safe and sound again.
"I know," Ezra admitted in a soft voice, "but, at the moment, I think it is. I feel fine, at least."
Kanan chuckled as he replied, "That's the drugs we gave you talking."
At the sound of being drugged, again, Ezra shuffled suddenly restless before demanded, "Drugs? What kind of drugs?"
"Whoa. Calm down," Kanan reassured settling both his hands firmly against his shoulders as he explained, "They're just a couple of drugs to help with the pain."
Ezra felt his body deflate in relief, aware of Kanan's worried gaze focusing on his thin frame as the man asked almost cautious, "What did they give you?"
Ezra dropped his gaze to the blanket, fingers picking at the fibers of his blanket as he shrugged and replied honestly, "I'm not sure. Some sort of suppressor. I was unable to focus on the force at all."
Kanan sighed sadly, eyes weary as he said, "I was afraid of something like that. After you managed to contact me and tell us where you were going before suddenly disappearing again. I'm sorry- that you had to endure that."
Ezra just shrugged as he grumbled, "It's over now, at least. No more suppressors for me. Right?"
Kanan chuckled again, warm hand reaching out to ruffle his hair as he nodded and agreed, "Right."
Ezra breathed again in relief, his entire body seemingly relaxing at the moment and he wasn't even aware of how concerned he'd been about it. At the thought of being forced back on the drugs, however, he knew that never having to feel the void it created ever again wouldn't be soon enough.
Kanan seemed to understand as he watched with vigilant eyes.
He was still concerned, Ezra realized, that he wasn't 100% okay. That he was suffering from whatever horrors he had to endure upon being captured.
Not that Ezra blamed him. He could feel the panic and fear still remaining even after leaving the arena.
For a moment, as he was being tossed around by the beast, he hadn't believed that he would make. His friends were so close but he was going to die tossed around like an overused toy.
"Kanan?" he asked, eyes not meeting his master's inquisitive expression, "Did I do the right thing back at the arena?"
"Of course," Kanan instantly agreed, "Why would you think otherwise?"
"Cause I let Scar loose. I lost him when he knocked me out and he's probably off selling people like items," Ezra's knuckles were white from where they were suddenly gripping the cover and he had to consciously force himself to relax them.
"Listen to me," Kanan demanded finger reaching out to jab him on his forehead as he continued, "There was nothing you could do about that. Do you understand? Nothing, and I'm just thankful that we found you in one piece."
Then Ezra remembered how Scar saved him, pulled him away before knocking him out and leaving him.
He had kept him alive, though. That was key. He could've killed him but he hadn't. He could've left him for dead but he hadn't done that either. And he apologized before whacking him into unconsciousness.
"Kanan?" he asked again suddenly as he allowed his thoughts to trail off.
Kanan just hummed in reply, patiently waiting for his question.
Ezra didn't ask one though, he just bolted forward and wrapped thin arms around the man's waist tightly. Kanan hesitated before returning the favor and Ezra finally felt safe and there wasn't a doubt in his mind as he buried his face into Kanan's chest.
He was home.
|| Yes, I know that the chances of them still having the executions after the clone wars and order 66 is slim but, in my head, they do in secret. They also hate Darth Vader for killing Poggle the Lesser so they tend to avoid the Jedi. I hoped you all enjoyed it, my little self indulgence to one of my favorite parts in my favorite Star Wars movie (I spoil myself, I know) and I'd love to hear what you guys think. I've considered writing a second part in the crew (mostly Kanan's) POV but I don't know. Can't decided.
Remember to review and that all hate will be ignored and burned a very slow painful death. ||