AN: So here is my first ever attempt at a Star Wars: Rebels story! I hope you guys like it. I'm not really sure how to describe it exactly in the sense of timeline. It's kind of its own little timeline as of right now. I may add aspects from season two in as the season progresses but I'm not positive yet. Hope you all enjoy it! Reviews are always appreciated!
Summary: It was just meant to be a recon mission. That's what they had been told anyway. Unfortunately, Ezra had no idea what would come of it.
You won't save them.
You cannot save them.
You can't save them without the Dark Side, Little One.
They're doomed…And so is your light.
It was a gasp. Small, quiet, pitiful. As soon as it escaped his lips, he was quick to cover his mouth with his hand. He was trembling. Ezra Bridger was actually trembling under his blanket. His blue eyes blinked hard, fighting back the tears that threatened to fall. No…No he was not going to cry because of a nightmare. Insolent. Stupid. Not from a nightmare he couldn't even remember. Only children cry from nightmares.
Silently, he assessed his room. Safe. In the Ghost. It had to be close to morning on Lothal. Everyone would be rising soon and they would leave for their next assignment given by Ahsoka. Everything would be ok. Everything would turn out alright and he would be back to normal in no time.
It was just a bad dream. He couldn't remember half of it, just the voice. So what was the big deal?
Swallowing thickly, Ezra shifted on his bunk as not to wake Zeb below him and silently he climbed down. He knew if he woke the Lasat there would be hell to pay. He padded from the room, sliding the door open and slipping through without a peep.
He was still trembling as he moved down the corridors, ringing his hands together. Why did everything feel so cold? His blood felt iced, he wanted to just curl up and go back to sleep, but that wasn't going to happen with this block in his stomach. It was a weight, pulling him down to the depths of his fears.
Ezra stopped in front of Kanan's room, peering inside. His heart took a leap into his throat when he saw the bed empty and his master gone. All the scenarios played in his head. Maybe it hadn't been a dream. Maybe he was gone, whisked away by whatever nightmare that had invaded Ezra's mind.
Ezra whirled around on his heels only to bump into a chest standing before him.
Pausing, he looked up, a sense of calmness washing over him. Kanan. The man looked at Ezra curiously, clearly trying to figure out why the boy was emitting such awful feelings through the force.
The older asked in a quiet tone, "Nightmare?"
Ezra felt embarrassment creep into his bones before he shrugged, "I-I don't know, I don't remember a lot."
"I'm surprised," Kanan replied slowly, trying to give the trembling boy a sense of calm through his own mind. "It woke me up."
"I'm sorry," Ezra mumbled as Kanan walked around him waving a hand.
"I needed to get up anyway. The day is starting."
As they entered the kitchen area, Ezra saw Kanan already had a bowl of breakfast ready. The man sat down, beginning to eat as Ezra rubbed his arm, glancing around. He supposed no one else had managed to crawl out of bed yet. Surprising…Usually he was the last to wake up.
"So are we heading out soon?" Ezra croaked, not realizing his throat was hoarse.
Kanan looked up and Ezra couldn't quite read his face. Kanan was so quick to hide every emotion that threatened his exterior. So careful. Ezra wondered what the look had been, but it was gone too quick. Maybe not…Maybe Ezra shouldn't have seen anything. It was better that way after all.
"Yes," Kanan explained. "We're going to head off of Lothal and make our way to the Imperial Ship Ahsoka told us about. It's just a recon; Ahsoka wants more information about the rise in Imperial troops on Lothal. She thinks their decision has to do with something other than Rebel activity."
Ezra gave a tight nod, biting down on the inside of his cheek. He felt off balance, but he didn't know if it was physically or mentally. He took a seat anyway, in case his body decided the thought for him. Kanan stared at him, his food was barely touched but he pushed the bowl away.
"Ezra," Kanan began, studying the teen's face. "What's wrong?"
Ezra wasn't sure himself, but the question came out before he could think about it…
"How do you tell the difference between a dream and a vision?"
"Is this about your nightmare?" Kanan's face had concern now and Ezra was appreciative he didn't have to work too hard to read it.
Ezra nodded, "It felt cold…Like that time I let the dark side in and…Someone kept telling me that I would never be able to save you all without the help of the Dark Side. I didn't recognize the voice, but it seemed familiar to me somehow."
Kanan was quiet so long Ezra became frightened. Maybe it was something to be worried about. Kanan kept moving his eyes throughout the room, searching for something. Nothing physical Ezra had to bet, but a thought. Something that would give Ezra peace.
Finally, he answered the boy's prayers…
"Dreams reflect worries, fears. They bring our worst thoughts to life."
"So it was just a dream?" Ezra whispered.
Kanan gave a small smile, putting a hand on the boy's shoulder before nodding. Ezra felt the relief flood through him, making the ice in his body subside enough for him to stop trembling.
Suddenly, one of Chopper's high pitched squeals could be heard from down the corridor. The robot rolled in, just to roll right out through the other door with his little arms raised highly in the air. Pounding footsteps approached, banging down the halls until Zeb appeared, shouting, "When I get my hands on you, Chopper, I'm taking you apart bolt by bolt!"
And then…He too disappeared down the corridor.
Sabine was last in the line, a small cackle escaping her lips as she did so. Kanan sighed, leaning back in his chair, "What happened?"
Sabine grinned widely, "I may have left him a little smoke surprise in his room and blamed it on Chopper."
"Of course," Ezra laughed. It was almost forgotten. It was almost gone…
"Is everyone ready!?" Hera's voice called as she came down the corridor. She placed her hands on her hips, studying three of her crew members.
Kanan shrugged, "Depends, do Zeb and Chopper count?"
Hera paused, listening to the racket in the background. Slowly she shook her head and replied, "We'll catch them up soon. Do you three at least remember the plan we went over last night?"
All three gave quick nods and she clapped her hands in return, beginning to turn and head towards the front of the ship. Pausing, she glanced back at the three and said slowly…
"Remember, this is a recon mission only. Ahsoka is counting on us."
Ezra gasped quietly as a buckethead shot directly past his shoulder.
It went by so close Ezra could practically feel it coast by. His eyes widened as he reached into his belt and pulled out his lightsaber. He looked up just in time to see Kanan throw his hand out and push the group of troopers back with the force. He breathed a quietly sigh, gripping his weapon tightly in his hand.
Kanan looked back at his apprentice and Ezra whispered, "So much for recon."
Kanan's shoulders slumped and Ezra continued, "So, Ahsoka didn't feel the need to mention it was a trap?"
"Obviously they didn't know," Kanan sighed, grabbing Ezra's arm and pulling him into a sprint beside him. They began to run down the corridors, drowning out the sound of the alarms in the background. Kanan spoke into the com, "Spectre Two, where is our pick up?"
"ETA five minutes, Spectre One," Came Hera's quick reply. "Where Spectre Four and Five?"
"They're in the East Hangar waiting for Spectre Six and I. We should be there by the time you arrive," Kanan breathed, picking up his pace a bit.
Ezra glanced at Kanan as he hung up the com. He couldn't help but feel the anxiety grow. Every time they found themselves in a trap, which seemed more often lately, he got a sick feeling in his stomach. As if something could happen any second, but they just couldn't predict it. It was just a recon mission…Easy. Just recon.
Suddenly, Ezra stopped in his tracks when he felt like someone had just punched him in the chest. He held it, placing a hand directly over his ribcage as he gasped quietly. Kanan stopped his sprint, turning to look at Ezra who was staring at him with wide eyes, filling to the brim with terror.
It was so cold.
"Ezra," Kanan said, just loud enough to hear. "What is it?"
Ezra tried to catch his breath. Was it the running? Or the fact the air had just been thrown from his body? He croaked, "You don't feel that?"
The same voice from his dream whipped through his mind…
Kanan stepped forward, grabbing the boy's upper arm to keep him steady as Ezra hissed, shutting his eyes tightly then opening them.
"What is that," Ezra muttered, his body beginning to tremble again like it had done so many hours earlier.
"What is it, Ezra?" Kanan was staring at Ezra with confused eyes that held so much concern, Ezra wondered if he was dying.
Ezra felt off, "Y-You don't feel that?"
The cold swam over him again and up his spine, causing him to whirl around. A figure stood at the end of the hall, under the flickering lights of the sirens. Kanan quickly pulled the boy behind him, raising his blue weapon up between himself and the hooded shadow.
Ezra could only stare, his weapon lowered as he continued to hold his aching chest. He swallowed past the lump in his throat. It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.
Carefully, the figure stepped further into the light, causing Ezra to actually let go of his chest and grip Kanan's arm. "Stop being a coward," Ezra thought. "Kanan isn't your babysitter!"
The hood was lowered and Ezra was met with the face of a human. His eyes were a startling amber and his hair was a home of ebony waves, pushed carefully to the side of his head. He looked young…Too young to be a Sith. Maybe he was a bit older than Sabine, but Ezra couldn't be sure.
Unsheathing a red lightsaber, the male spoke, "Pity they chose this ship for their little trap. She was a good one."
His stare was intense as he alternated his eyes back and forth from Kanan to Ezra. His presence was fearful, yet familiar, causing Ezra to grip Kanan's arm tighter.
"Do you feel that?" Ezra nearly whimpered. He hated how weak he sounded in his own ears.
Kanan glanced back a moment and said, "It's alright."
The teen chuckled, stepping even closer, "Yes, Little One…It's quite alright. I won't hurt you. Much."
"Little One," Ezra said under his breath.
The other tilted his head and continued, "However…There is something fairly odd about you. Padawans in this time are…Rare…I heard of your coming. I've been anxious to meet the two of you."
He then held up the red lightsaber and raised an eyebrow, "Shall we put that training to the test?"
Before either could speak, he lunged. First at Kanan, slamming their weapons together, causing Ezra to stumble back. He pressed against the wall, watching as his master swung his weapon in the direction of the Sith's head. The teen simply ducked, his face stone cold as he did so.
Then, with one simple push of his hand, Kanan went into the wall and onto the floor.
A short lived fight. So short lived it caused Ezra's heart beat to stutter. Kanan was better than that. He had beaten the Inquisitor for crying out loud. Then some teenage Sith came along and knocked him down with one hand motion? Ezra recoiled when his eyes met the other. He was locked up; something gripped him that was so much stronger than terror. He didn't know what this was. He didn't know how to control it. This guy was hurting him just by being here…
Suddenly, his lightsaber flew from his hand without him even realizing. He didn't move. He only glanced towards Kanan who lay motionless on the floor.
As the teen stepped forward, he actually looked fairly confused…
"Does the Dark Side truly affect you so?"
Ezra gripped at his chest. Was he having a heart attack? Was that what this feeling was? Unrelenting.
"No," Ezra managed to growl, mustering up as much defiance as he could. "No…It doesn't. It's not that."
Ezra hissed when his face was grabbed, causing him to grip the other's wrist and try to pry it away from his bruising cheeks. The taller ignored this and hummed, "You're correct, Little One. Something is very…off."
A cold hand pressed to his forehead and without a moment's notice he was screaming in agony.
It felt as if a cold shard of glass was scrapping into his core, his very being the things that made him human. It sliced through his memories, his thoughts, his dreams, and nightmares. He screamed, he screamed his throat raw and torn as he clawed at the hands on his face. The blade tore through everything happy and everything sad. Everything good and dark. Things that he had locked away, feelings he had pushed under a rug somewhere in the back of his subconscious, it all attacked with prejudice.
When he thought he would run out of air, his lungs just filled with more. Maye he would scream his throat bloody. Maybe he would die this way. It felt like his soul had been ripped out and thrown into a bag of ice, then stuck back in, bruised and beaten to a blood pulp.
It felt like Hell.
When his face was released, he fell to his knees onto the metal floor…
He heard the Sith whisper, his voice laced with shock, "I see."
Then…An explosion and feet…
He was gone.
That cold floor looked very inviting
When Kanan came back, he was met with a smoke filled room and Zeb yanking him to his feet.
Then his ears weren't only met with the sound of the alarms, but with the sound of Ezra's wails as well.
The Jedi's eyes scanned for his Padawan before seeing the boy curled onto the floor. Sabine was kneeling beside him, holding what was left of her explosives in her hand. She looked up, saying, "That guy…whoever he was…He was doing something to him. I don't know what happened."
Kanan didn't know either. All he knew was that the terror radiating off of his apprentice right now was something he had never felt before. Not even the day Order 66 had gone into motion.
Kanan leaped forward, sweeping the boy up into his arms. He grunted when he stood and said, "We need to get to the ship. Now."
The boy's wails continued as they ran down the corridors, Zeb knocking people out from behind and Sabine taking front. Once they arrived at the East Hangar, Hera was there waiting, the ship open and ready for boarding. Too perfect…Too perfect.
They boarded and Kanan noticed the boy's wailings had stopped all together as they took off and jumped into hyperspace. Gently, Kanan set the boy on the floor, kneeling into front of him and holding his head gently as they boy's body began to spasm with shivers. His teeth were chattering loudly and his lips looked almost blue.
"Ezra," Kanan whispered, placing a hand on the child's cheek. "Ezra, can you hear me?"
The teen made no sign that he could and Kanan shut his eyes, trying to enter the Padawan's mind. Nothing…No opening…He was pushed out before he could even request entrance. Kanan opened his eyes, the fear was subsiding but something was still wrong…
"What happened!?" Hera's voice shouted as she climbed down the ladder and stood over Kanan and Ezra. Sabine and Zeb watched helplessly as she kneeled beside the boy, touching his face.
"Kanan!" Hera gasped. "He's freezing! Sabine, get a thermometer!"
Sabine was gone and back in seconds, carrying a small strip in her hand. Hera hurriedly pressed it to the boy's forehead, holding her breath…
Ninety-Five degrees Fahrenheit.
"Oh no…" Hera whispered. She looked up into Kanan's eyes and said, "Kanan if it gets any lower we're going to lose him."
Kanan blinked, looking down at Ezra as his mind raced. He didn't even try to be gentle as he scooped the teen into his arms tighter and lifted him once more, beginning to make his way towards the showers of the Ghost. Once he entered, he turned the nozzle to just cool enough not to scald himself and Ezra before he stepped in.
He sat on the floor of the shower, pulling Ezra into his lap as both sat fully clothed, and their clothing sticking to them. Ezra's hair pressed to his forehead, causing Kanan to push it away gently. The older whispered, "Come on, Ezra. Come back. Come back. I'm right here."
The agonizing seconds that followed nearly took the crew's breath away as they stood in the doorway and watched the exchange.
Suddenly though, there was a break in Ezra's mind, and Kanan took the opportunity to enter.
The color began to return to the child's face and the blue tent left his lips…
Kanan sighed with relief, pushing Ezra's hair back once more.
"What did he do to you?"
Thanks for reading! I'll update when I can! Reviews are always welcome. :)