Before I go back and work on the next chapter of my Seventh Sister story, something that was requested a lot was more Sabine x Ezra. It may not work for SbtL, but this might serve for those that asked for it.
It goes without saying that I do not profit from this work, nor do I own the characters used within (something which I'm sure we're all grateful for.)
Follow the Leader
by Dash Anhelo
I'm fortunate to be able to say I lead a skilled and qualified squad. Especially Spectre's Five and Six. They possess a natural… no, an organic partnership, if I'm honest. Ezra may be reckless sometimes, but I can count on Sabine to pull his rear end out of the fire. – Captain Hera Syndulla. Formal debriefing at the formation of Yavin Base. Yavin IV.
"Hands up, Jedi!" One of a pair of identical Stormtroopers bared their rifle, and Ezra froze. He could already smell burnt ozone from the weapon being fired so much. 'Great,' he thought morosely. 'Another trigger happy Imp.' The Jedi planted his knee in the dirt of Mandalore, his hand drifting towards the lightsaber hilt on the back of his belt. He looked confused, eyes widening and shaking his head as if there had been some grand mistake.
"Jedi?" he asked with a tone of disbelief. "No, no sirree, not I," he insisted. The Imperial helmet did nothing to filter the scoff of disbelief from his adversaries.
"Do you think we're stupid?" the trooper growled, and Ezra had to stop himself from nodding and agreeing. 'Oh, absolutely I do.'
"No, honest," he said instead, reaching out with as much Force talent as he dared to reveal. The closest Stormtrooper was anxious and angry, finger hovering close to the trigger. But the other was tired, feeling worn out as battle adrenaline had begun to ebb away. "I'm not a Jedi – I'm a Mandalorian! From clan…"
In years to come, Ezra would look back on what was surely a defining moment, and wonder why he didn't spare an extra second to think of a better name for himself. But at the time, he knew he needed something that sounded less threatening than a Jedi, but just as important to capture their attention and keep it.
Who better than Sabine's clan, infamous for treacherously turning on their Imperial hosts?
"Clan Wren, of House Vizsla!" He spread his palms up in surrender, watching as one of the Imperial's gently lowered their weapon. It was all the encouragement he needed, and he pushed, reaching out towards the susceptible minds.
"You expect us to believe that?" the first Stormtrooper demanded. But already there was a tone of uncertainty in their voice. Why would a Jedi be on Mandalore? It's not like the two factions were on friendly terms.
"It's the truth," Ezra said calmly. "My name is Ezra Wren, from Clan Wren, House Vizsla."
"… you're Ezra Wren," the trooper parroted, in a faraway voice. "From Clan Wren, House Vizsla."
"I'm the furthest thing from a Jedi," he pressed. The second trooper nodded, seemingly satisfied.
"You're the furthest thing from a Jedi," they agreed together. One began to relax a little, prepared to walk away from someone who clearly wasn't the high priority target they thought he was.
"But I'm still very dangerous!"
"You're still very dangerous." The rifle was brought to bear once more, hoving in his direction.
"And you still need to watch me."
"We still need to watch you."
Ezra nodded, slowly lifting himself from his kneel, hands up and crab walking a few paces, placing the entranced pair between himself and the approaching figures.
"You're doing excellent work," Ezra gushed, a charming smile lighting his features.
"We're doing excellent work."
"And when you come to, you shouldn't feel too bad about it."
"When we – what?"
A cadre of jetpacks roared to life behind them, and they whirled, too late, to stop the collection of flying Mandalorian's from charging forward and ferociously kicking the Stormtroopers, hard enough to dent the armour of one and fracture the other entirely. Ezra let out a low whistle of appreciation as three figures planted their boots on the ground, admiring their work before nodding towards him.
"I've heard about that move before," commented a now familiar voice. Tristian Wren, Sabine's older brother, removed his helmet and gestured towards the incapacitated Imperials. "The Jedi Mind Trick, right? What's it called? Influencing, or something?"
Ezra shrugged his shoulders. "That would sound more impressive," he confessed. "But I've only ever heard it referred to as a Mind Trick. Kind of takes the mystery out of it, doesn't it?" And the Jedi Padawan turned towards the figure standing beside him and meekly scratched the back of his head. Ursa Wren managed to intimidate him in a way he wasn't able to put into words.
"Sorry, Missers Wren," he murmured. Sabine's mother, the matriarch of the Wren Clan, removed her helmet and regarded him coolly.
"Whatever for, Master Jedi?" she asked. Her tone betrayed nothing, and Ezra wished, not for the first time, that Mandalore wasn't so hellbent on being 'the toughies of the Galaxy.'
"Well. If I had to guess, I'd say I've probably broken a few dozen traditions by pretending to be from your clan for a second there," he explained, trailing off as he realised just how silly it all sounded. To his great relief, Ursa Wren favoured him with a look of bemusement.
"Hardly necessary," she said, before adding "You only broke some traditions, and very few would demand a trial of blood to answer for it. But I'll let them slide since you had the taste to pick a good clan to pose from."
Ezra swallowed a lump in his throat. Just like her daughter, it was nigh impossible to tell if she was joking or not. He was willing to bet credits that she wasn't, either.
"For you," she said smartly, producing a datapacket from seemingly nowhere. "If you intend to join the ranks of a Mandalorian clan, I expect you to read up on our traditions and become more familiar with your new… family."
Ursa Wren replaced her helmet, leaving the dumbstruck Jedi to look at the data in his hand like it were an explosive set to blow. He wouldn't be surprised if it were able to detonate, too, just as a precaution. "But I don't want to be-"
"Let it go," Tristian interrupted, replacing his helmet and nodding towards him. "But give it a look if you get the time. Knowing Mother, she's just as likely to spring a quiz on you, later."
Ezra opened and closed his mouth, knitting his brows together and nodding as he turned to follow Tristian and his mother. Finally, at a loss for words, he shrugged helplessly towards his third and final rescuer.
"I made a mess for myself, didn't I?"
"You have no idea," Sabine remarked from beneath her helmet, crossing her arms. "And guess what? You will read up on it, Spectre Six. Because my mother probably will test you, and when you fail I'll paint you pink in your sleep for the headache it will give me." The older rebel turned and marched away, leaving her partner jogging to catch up.
"Oh, yeah? Well, I bet pink suits me! I'll pull it off just fine, and you'll feel so silly when it does."
"Yeah, you tell yourself that," she called back over her shoulder.
"I will." Ezra regarded the data packet silently, slipping it into his pouch and matching her stride. "You have to admit, though – I handled that whole thing back there pretty well."
Sabine's helmet masked her face, but she nodded and waved behind them with her hand.
"Oh, no, seriously. Good work. You've come a long way," she said with genuine emotion.
With all due respect, Senator, no. I'm not worried. Ezra has been getting in and out of Imperial cells so long that Kallus called them the 'Bridger Suites.' I'm sure he'll be fine. And he has back up. If anything, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now. I know Sabine was planning on doing her hair again if they wrapped up soon enough. – An overheard conversation between Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus and Senator Mon Mothma
"All right, Chop. Tell me where our hero is." Sabine grunted and slumped the unconscious guard inside the utility closet, locking the door afterwards. Security rooms always managed to have some convenient water closet of sorts and she was happy to make use of them. Meanwhile, a stubby, antiquated astromech wheeled in on mismatched legs. Cee One Ten Pee – or "Chopper" as his owner affectionately called him – plugged into the network and began spinning sockets, before turning and warbling a series of noises in droidspeak.
"Maximum security. Of course he is," she remarked blithely, checking her WESTAR weapons and nodding. "He doesn't do things by half measure, does he?"
Another collection of bleeps and grunts answered and her shoulders sagged.
"And of course he's being interrogated right now. Why wouldn't he be." Sabine gestured towards the console. "See if you can't make some noise or get a signal to Ezra before I get there. If he doesn't stand back from the door when I set the charge, losing his eyebrows will be the least of his worries."
The droid shook on his stumpy legs and trilled a collection of questioning noises.
"I'm sure you'll work it out. And yes, we do want him in one piece." Sabine Wren smacked the door control panel with her elbow and marched towards the nearest lift, fed up with cantankerous droids and needless delays. And Ezra, curse him, for having the audacity to swagger as he was led away to the detention block when he knew she wanted this mission to be over and done with already.
He was getting painted in his sleep, one of these days.
In the control room, Chopper worked away, spinning his extensor arm and withdrawing from the network with what could only be a sinister laugh in droidspeak.
"Don't act the fool with me." Deep in the detention block, behind more hallways and patrols than the other cells, Ezra sat on his hands and tried not to look bored by the officer who grilled him, flanked either side by a pair of Stormtroopers.
"I assure you. I'm not acting," he said cordially, earning a disapproving glare. The officer, a woman who looked in her late thirties (and very unhappy about spending her time interrogating a petulant young man) towered over the sitting Jedi.
"Fool you may be, but you're also a known member of the Rebel Alliance and a terrorist, with more than enough evidence to have you publicly executed." She withdrew her datapad and scanned it with her eyes, leaning forward and waving it like a priest would wave their bible. "The Empire knows every action you take, Wren."
Ezra blinked. Hard. He leaned back, brow furrowing as he tried to process what he heard.
"Scared? You should be." The officer brought her information back up, reading aloud the laundry list of details they had uncovered over time. "Born on Lothal. Orphan. Crew member of the Corellian freighter designated Ghost. Apprentice of illegal Jedi terrorist Kanan Jarrus. The Empire's information network is second to none, I assure you. Your file is being updated with your latest offences as we speak, mister Ezra Bridger Wren."
"Huh." Ezra ducked his head, biting his lip and looking for all the world as though he had been caught red-handed. "You guys really do know everything. And you say it's being updated right now?"
"With the crimes you're guilty of when we caught you skulking around the loading bay, no doubt."
"I don't skulk," he argued, genuinely offended. "And are you sure they're being updated now?"
"Don't change the subject!" The officer was losing her patience and her complexion, turning redder as she began yelling. "Start talking or I'll have you sedated and brought before an Imperial Inquisitor!" She hurled the datapad to the ground where it shattered, in a display of frustration or intimidation. Or both. He wasn't sure.
"Get comfortable," she seethed. "You're going to be here a long time."
"I don't want to upset you even more, but I wouldn't bet on it."
The door of the cell suddenly began to whine, rapidly rising in pitch in the span of a few seconds. Ezra turned away as the durasteel burst open with a loud crash, knocking the pair of flanking Stormtroopers aside and throwing the incensed officer forwards. He tucked his legs up at the last instant as she headbutted the bench he sat on, knocking her out cold.
He slowly stood, peering over the dissipating smoke to find the cell blown open and the ragged hole splattered with purple paint.
"My hero," he sighed as Sabine appeared, wielding his retrieved lightsaber. The Mandalorian shook her head, igniting the blade long enough to cut his manacles before offering him the weapon.
"C'mon," she insisted. "I cleared out enough of them but that blast'll bring the rest down on top of us in no time."
"Oh, sure," he agreed, stepping through the mangled portal and running after his partner. "Anything you say, 'wifey.'"
"Don't be absurd!" she yelled over her shoulder. "You're the 'wifey' here, 'Jedi Wren!'"
"Not until you've made an honest bride out of me, I'm not!"
Sabine had no time for dancing, and she wasn't afraid to let everyone at Yavin Base know it. Especially Hera, who insisted the mission required her best infiltrators and undercover operatives. Agents who had countless experiences in slipping in and out restricted areas and blending in where possible
She couldn't argue any of those skills or titles, but that didn't mean she had to like it. The Mandalorian caught her reflection in one of the floor-to-ceiling windows, fighting the urge to play with her bob of boring dark hair.
"Try and relax a little more," her partner whispered. "Dancing is meant to be fun."
She levelled a glare at Ezra, silently threatening to hit him. Her stare sharpened when he answered with an easy, con-artist grin, pulling her a little closer before spinning her around.
"You're just upset that I'm better at this than you are," he ventured, and Sabine gave a very unladylike snort.
"Please. Dancing is an art form, and I am a master artist," she insisted. "I just don't care for it, is all."
"Plus you keep stepping on my toes."
"It's on purpose. I want to annoy you."
"Mm. It's not working."
"I'll try harder."
Ezra laughed, and Sabine caught herself smirking a little, unable to help but be affected by the honest timbre in his voice when he was genuinely amused. On the whole, it wasn't a terrible assignment. Out of their depths and comfort zone, sure, but there weren't too many members of the Alliance who could assume an identity and slip into a ritzy affair so easily. Their growing ranks were engineers and military men and women. Not their brand of special ops.
"There's our man," Ezra murmured, and Sabine allowed herself to be swept around in a slow circle while she peered over his shoulder. A squat, balding man in an officer's uniform stood nearby, pointing animatedly at a Stormtrooper and gesturing wildly. The colour of his face seemed to be turning towards a steady shade of purple.
"Keep the doors locked!" she heard him snap as they moved closer. "If I catch one more pair of hooligans trying to sully my garden with their seductions, I'll have them shot! Honestly, I thought Palpatine would have brought back traditional values to curb the smutty tendencies of today's youth…"
"What a fun gent," Ezra whispered without moving his lips. Sabine flashed him with a smile for show.
"Glad you think so. He's coming our way," she said with a wag of her eyebrows before a heavy hand clapped down on either of their shoulders and they found themselves being turned towards the host for the evening. Surprisingly, in a much calmer mood, no less.
"Now this!" he boomed. "This is what I like to see! A young couple with some grace about them! What are your names?"
Ezra opened his mouth, thrown off for a moment as Sabine gave their target a demure smile.
"Otsi," she said, offering the phoney surname she had adopted at the beginning of the operation. "Mister and Misses."
"Married! How wonderful!" He threw back his head and laughed jovially, suddenly the image of a patron saint instead of the purple-faced Imperial from before. "It's so rare to see young people taking vows! Tell me – how are you enjoying the evening?"
"It's lovely!" Sabine offered with a grin, as once again Ezra found his voice failing him. "I was just commenting on all the art you have on the walls – they're gorgeous!"
"Well, you simply must come along when you're free and I'll give you both a tour of the pieces in the other wing!"
"Oh, we don't want to be a bother-"
"Nonsense!" He clapped his hands on their shoulders once more, causing his weak combover to jump dangerously from his enthusiasm. "I insist! Now, I must attend to some other guests, but I'll be back! Such a nice young couple – the real stars of the floor tonight."
"That was quick thinking," Ezra murmured as they watched him depart. Sabine nodded, quietly letting out a breath she didn't realise she had been holding.
"Don't worry. Surprised myself with that one. I guess some people really do have a thing for 'old-timey values.'"
The undercover pair departed the floor as the song ended, heading towards a table with drinks littered across the pristine cloth before another number started and they had to dance on.
"Mister and Misses Otsi?" Ezra asked, lifting a glass towards his lips. "That's your name."
"Yeah, well." Sabine sniffed a clear drink, sipped it, found it palatable and swallowed the rest. "Why break with tradition?"
"I thought tradition stated that the wife took the husband's name?"
"I meant our tradition, 'Wren,'" she murmured.
"It's been six months," Ezra said flatly. "Let it die."
"Never." She finished her glass, dropped it on the table and grabbed his hand, tugging him back towards the dance floor.
"Hey, what's all this?" he asked, replacing his drink before he was pulled out of reach of the table.
"Dance with me, wifey," she smirked at him. Ezra looked at her suspiciously.
"What did you just drink? And where can we get more of it?"
"Shut up and dance with me, and maybe I'll leave your toes alone this time."
It wasn't so bad, really. Dancing.
We knew Yavin Base was on borrowed time after Luke – I mean, Commander Skywalker – destroyed the Death Star. We figured we had a bit of breathing room while the Empire routed their forces. But they were on our doorstep in no time. That evacuation was chaos. Just as well we had some experienced members of the Alliance to keep cool and doll out orders. – Pilot Wedge Antillies. Excerpt of the debrief of Yavin IV's evacuation.
Klaxon's blared as staff pelted through the old ruins of Yavin Base, clutching equipment of various sizes and piling into transports. Dust shook free from the high roof's as Rogue Squadron had been deployed, slashing at TIE's with their lasers above the jungle canopy.
"Commander Wren!" A young man in a technician's uniform ran up, red-faced and with sweat beading on their forehead. "You're needed at once in the East hall! There's been a collapse, and some debris has to be shifted or we risk losing everyone in the wing!"
Ezra turned and scratched his scarred cheek, frowning at how itchy it had gotten since his own stubble had begun growing out. But it was a distraction he was thankful for, trying to block out the panic that was being broadcast around him.
"Sabine!" he hollered up towards a Y-Wing, where his partner was busy working on a weapon's array to get the bomber scrambled and into the dogfighting outside. "Leave it be! They need you to blow something up!"
"Sir?" He looked back at the tech, frowning at the look of sheer concern on his face.
"Sir, I don't think you understand – I was sent to get you. You're a Jedi, are you not? Surely you can help move the debris that has fallen."
"Well, yeah, I mean… I didn't think you really wanted it blown up more." Ezra frowned deeper, moving from his cheek to the back of his head as he was suddenly struck dumb, oblivious for a second of the chaos around them. "But you said you wanted Commander Wren?"
"Isn't… sorry, isn't that you, sir?"
The ruins rocked as a TIE screeched overhead, but Ezra barely noticed it, levelling a flat stare at the troubled technician.
"You can't be…? Oh, for the love of – Sabine!"
The Mandalorian leaned out of the bomber, pushing short, emerald hair out of her eye and glaring down the ladder at the Jedi. "What? I'm busy, Ezra!"
"I thought you fixed this thing!"
"I'm trying to, but someone keeps yelling up at me!"
"Not that, the – the name thing! The 'Wren' thing!"
Sabine leaned back into the bomber and stopped, before standing on the ladder and waving her welding tool like it were a weapon. If Ezra wanted to have this little talk now, she was happy to oblige him.
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" she called down to him. "Get back to work, Ezra Wren, of Clan Wren, House Viszla!"
Ezra spread his hands, dumbfounded before the technician grabbed his hand and began to drag him towards the East wing.
"Sorry! I- I actually forgot about –" He cut himself short, embarrassed and feeling the pressure building around them all. Before he was pulled out of the hanger, he shouted a final curse at his traitorous partner.
"We're going to talk about this, Sabine!" he yelled, and was promptly answered with a rude gesture.
"It's already established – make peace with your new name!"
Ezra Bridger allowed himself to grumble about mad Mandalorians and psychotic astromech droids as he picked up speed towards the damaged hallway.
The Ghost sat silently in one of many icy caverns that comprised Echo Base. Ezra huffed into his hands to keep them warm as a rugged up, red-nosed Alliance crew member offered him a sympathetic look.
"I'm sorry, Commander," she offered. "Most of the cells are being used to power the shield generator outside, and a lot of the others have been commandeered by Captain Solo to help in repairing the Millenium Falcon. I wish I could spare some more for your crew in the meantime."
He waved her concerns away, shaking his head. "It's fine. I'll let Captain Syndulla know the outcome," he insisted. It would take a while to get used to Hoth, he knew. He hoped. At this point, if they had to move again in a hurry, the Alliance would probably be left drifting as a convoy in space.
"Good luck, Commander Wren," she said, snapping off a salute that he returned automatically.
"You too, Ensign," Ezra replied, catching himself after she had already turned and left the icy alcove. "No, wait, it's Bridger! Commander Bridger!"
He heard an amused chuckle behind him and he turned, meeting Sabine's smirk with a flat stare.
"Oh, you're loving this, aren't you?"
The Mandalorian shrugged.
Han has taken almost all the tools and fuel cells to repair that crate of his. He'd have the engineers too if I didn't put my foot down. Meanwhile, some of our longest allies are left on minimum rations of everything. I'd hate to have to tell Hera that her team is getting the short end of the stick again. She's so nice about it, too. Which makes it even worse. – Princess Leia Organa. Extract from journal.
Sabine tucked her legs up behind the Dejarik board, wrapping her blanket tighter around her. Encased in her forged armour, on the Ghost, inside of Echo Base, the chill still managed to annoy her. Most of the Alliance had been outfitted with weather-appropriate gear, but there wasn't enough to go around. And Hera, being Hera, volunteered to go without.
As well as fuel. And decent consumables. And everything.
"I think Solo has begun to outstay his welcome," she muttered, pulling the blanket tighter around her shoulders.
"Keep talking," Ezra hummed on the ground beside her. "You'll stay warmer that way."
She was annoyed at him, too. Mostly for how he was able to kneel there in his usual flight gear, with his eyes closed and practising the meditative stance Kanan had taught him so long ago. Either Ezra Bridger was immune to the cold, or it was some secretive Jedi technique. And curse him for whichever one it was.
"You know me," she muttered. "I'm not a fan of sharing things, Ezra."
"It'll help warm you up," he answered serenely, and she rolled her eyes.
In a moment he was up, standing smoothly and stretching before sitting down beside her on the bench. Despite refusing to 'open up,' she allowed him to pull at the edge of her blanket and slide closer. There was a brief chill, soon replaced with his natural body heat, and Sabine allowed herself to press closer.
"Talk to me about Mand'alor the First," he offered, and she felt her coloured eyebrows rising into her hair.
"Are you making words up?" she asked, before growing sceptical. "Just where did you hear about that?"
Sabine felt Ezra's shoulder shrug against her as he scratched the whiskers growing on his chin.
"Honestly? I remember reading a bit about it in the info your mom gave me back on Mandalor."
"You actually read it?" She didn't bother hiding the amazement in her voice. She was impressed, truth be told.
"Bits and pieces. I thought about it and pink probably isn't my colour. Think you can fill me in?" Ezra sat deeper into the seat, his arm and leg flush against hers and fueling a steady heat between them. Sabine paused for a moment before loosening the blanket enough to pull her hand out, beginning talk animatedly with gestures.
"Our legends say that Mand'alor the First lead some of the greatest warriors in all of the galaxy. They thrived on battles, but kept to a strict code of honour."
"That sounds like your family, alright."
She grinned, her hand beginning to make grander motions as she talked.
Commander Wren. Your heroics and service history notwithstanding, I have to remind you that the Rebel Alliance is a military unit and not an art gallery. I will thank you not to deface Echo Base with your graffiti, nor to 'tag' everything like a gangster who marks their property. Consider this a formal writ of reprimand. – General Draven of the Rebel Alliance, in a communication to Commander Wren. Refused on delivery. Reason given: "I am not Commander Wren, damn it."
The loss of Echo Base was expected, but that didn't make it any easier. Nobody imagined the Alliance would squat on Hoth for forever and a day, but they knew that they had safety there. Now they were reduced to a mobile fleet, gathering together as best they could and keeping to pockets of empty space and rendezvous points.
"We'll be fine!" Sabine overheard as she finished painting her Starbird on the back of an X-Wing. Nearby, a group of female pilots, still in their flight suits, had gathered with cups of caf to try and reassure each other. "After all – we've still got the Jedi."
"You mean Luke? I thought he was just talking about learning all that stuff."
"No! I mean, yeah, Luke's a good pilot. But I mean the other two. Part of Syndulla's crew, you know?"
"Oh! Kanan and the cute one?" Sabine's paint nozzle died and she frowned, peering out from behind the engine of her latest model. 'The cute one?'
"Yeah, with the little beard. That's him. Ezra, I think. Ezra… Wren?"
Sabine rolled her eyes, returning to her work. Her paint gun changed inks and she squeezed the trigger, spraying a quick film of sealant over the design. And, as luck would have it, attracting the attention of the pilots nearby.
"Oh, Commander Wren!" Sabine turned, her Mandalorian helmet presenting her as a blank mask before them. Three young women stood by, one interested in her work while the other two regarded the older Rebel with apprehension. One of the pilots fidgeted with her cup before deciding to bite the bullet, blurting out "is Commander Ezra your sibling? You know, with the name and all?"
Sabine tilted her head, knowing she was presenting herself as cool and aloof. And, honestly, it was a look she rather enjoyed.
"Nope," she said simply, slipping her paint gun onto her hip and dusting her hands.
"Oh…" The disappointment was palpable, and she slipped away as the pilots frowned and sipped their caffeine.
"Wait," one of them piped up. "Does that mean he took her name?"
"Maybe. I mean, she's a Mandalorian," another offered. "They let everyone know what belongs to them. Like your X-Wing, just now."
"Hey – she's already got my future boyfriend. I'm keeping the X-Wing!"
Sabine Wren slipped out of the hanger without a word. Her helmet hid a rather smug smile that she didn't quite understand herself, but she was going to wear all the same.
The other day I saw the Wren duo from Syndulla's team play that Mando game – Cubikahd, I think? They played it for over an hour and didn't say a word to each other! Now, I know there's a lot of romanticism about couples communicating without words, but here's a fun fact: those Jedi can make people dance like puppets on strings with their mind tricks. The Mando girl? She's clearly in charge. What if she's using him to control all of us? What if we're just pawns on some Mandalorian take over? – Name Withheld. Recorded therapy session of Alliance communication's staff. Recommended treatment: shorter work shifts. More rest. Monitored social situations.
"So then he tells me 'no, it's his ship, and he doesn't trust anyone else to sit in the cockpit.' Even after everything else we've done! Oh, I trusted him with one or two things, let me tell you…"
'I wish you wouldn't,' Sabine thought, content to ignore the sex lives of the pilots and staff around her. But if she were honest, she did feel for Pilot Moore. Things were tense enough without that kind of drama going on, but it sounds like her boyfriend was a real dick. Possibly in a few different ways.
"… so I told him if he can't trust a better pilot with a ship that isn't really his, he can just get used to sleeping on his own again from now on. And he said 'fine.'"
"That is the stupidest thing I think I've heard, ever." Sabine couldn't censor herself, and she didn't try to. The Mandalorian crossed her arms, sitting back on the bench in the hanger and frowning up at Moore from beneath her newly-coloured cherry red hair. "I might have given him a black eye at the time."
Moore's friend sniggered and patted her on the shoulder. "Be like the Mando," she urged. "Go smack him!"
"Don't be weird," she said, brushing her accomplice off. "And with respect, Commander Wren, I'm not surprised you think it's stupid. You've never had to worry about all that stuff, right? I mean.. you've handled Commander Ezra's lightsaber."
Sabine's eyes flew wide before narrowing dangerously. A sudden heat was beginning to grow over her cheeks. "Come again?" she asked evenly.
"You know," Moore pressed. "His weapon? I heard a Jedi treats their lightsaber as part of themselves. I can't imagine any of them just letting someone swing it about, but you've used it a bunch of times, right? He obviously trusts you a lot."
The Mandalorian blinked, settling back in her seat and quietly wondering when she had started to get up. Followed immediately with wondering when 'lightsaber' became a metaphor for something else…
"Right, Ezra's weapon," she murmured, refusing to think of other implications.
"Right – sacred Jedi stuff. Meanwhile, I got dumped over a hunk of metal by a pilot who's worse than I am."
"And that's why you're going to rub it in his face," Sabine declared, deciding to switch subjects before she was forced to review her own romantic life (and lack thereof).
"I don't want to go causing trouble, Commander," Moore began, but her friend was already pushing her forward with urges of "do it!"
"It'll be fine," Sabine urged, withdrawing her ever-present paint spray. "Just tell me which is his precious ship…"
Kanan actually surprised me the other evening by taking me out. I mean, it was just a cup of caf and a bit of stargazing, which he couldn't see… But still, it was just the two of us. It was… well, it was quite nice. You just have to appreciate those moments, Princess. If you see a chance, don't let it pass by. – Intercepted message from an unknown source to Leia Organa. Bespin communications records. Origin of communication impossible to determine before connection lost.
Sabine slid her hand higher up Ezra's waist, earning a chuckle from him. The Mandalorian gave him a questioning look; eyebrow arched and waiting patiently.
"Typically, the man is the one to lead," he said as they danced outside of the Ghost. Sabine hummed, swinging him around in an arc and keeping perfect footwork.
"You may be taller, now. You may be the man. And you're definitely hairier." She flicked his furry, unshaven chin with her fingertip. "But last I checked, I'm still leading you."
"Still? I don't remember so well. It's been a while since we practised for an undercover op, you know."
"And yet I haven't gotten rusty at all." She favoured him with a playful smirk, once again steering him in a graceful arc and keeping herself from stepping on his toes. "You're free to compliment me at will."
"I'll tell you what…" Ezra moved his hands around her lithe waist, taking a little bit more initiative and guiding her around a collection of crates, ending the sequence with a low dip. "You tell me why you suddenly wanted to go dancing first."
The Mandalorian hummed again, allowing her Jedi partner to pull her back up onto her feet before she shrugged. "I'll give you some free advice, Ezra. A woman doesn't always need a reason for trying things." Sabine took his hand and gave an ironic bow, once again copying a move that was traditionally reserved for the lead.
"You dance sublimely," Ezra offered, before tilting his head and giving a more graceful bow himself, closer to a curtsey. Sabine sniggered, slipping her arm around his and leading him off towards the exit.
"C'mon," she said. "I'm going to buy you a caf and a meal for being such a gentleman."
"Why I do declare! Dancing and refreshment? You certainly know how to court a guy, oh Majestic Miss Wren." Ezra half expected to feel the sudden jab of her armoured elbow in his ribcage. He was surprised as she looked up and gave him a warm, playful grin.
"Well, nothing's too good for my little bride, Mister Wren."
"Oh, for-" And, once again, the Lothrat who prided himself on being a con-artist wilted under the Mandalorian's smug expression. "It's been years, Sabine. Shut it down."
"Never." She lead him past the adjoining hanger where an almighty ruckus had erupted. Pilots cheered and jeered and held one of their own aloft – Pilot Moore – as though she were the hero of the hour.
"All hail the Cosmic Queen!" the crowd chanted, as several younger members of Rogue Squadron got down on bended knees and professed their undying affections for her. And all while an exasperated crewmate, half dressed in flight gear, stood flailing and gesturing between the crowd and his X-Wing.
A craft which now bore a pinup of Pilot Moore on the fuselage, looking every bit as glamorous as a seductive poster girl might, and all in Sabine's signature art style. "Cosmic Queen" stretched from the nose to the cockpit behind her, spelt out in a trail of painted stardust.
Sabine grinned to herself. 'Good for you,' she thought, watching Moore laugh as she was carried away like a herald.
"You do good work," Ezra murmured to himself, admiring the scene unfold.
"Please. You say that like you're surprised."
"Oh, no. Never. Perish the thought, husband."
"Damn right you will."
Now that the Alliance is reduced to a floating Armada, it is virtually impossible to keep the inventory updated where possible. Worse, I'm finding numerous carbon-based staff members sneaking in and out of cargo containers for what I can only presume are romantic liaisons. It makes me actually miss the structure of Atollon base. I can only hope whoever reads these reports will appreciate the significance in such a statement. – Personal notes on the Shipping Manifest by unit AP-5.
It had been two days since Luke Skywalker had left for his home of Tattooine. Two days since their most promising pilot had, after helping to dismantle the underworld organisation Black Sun, been declared a Jedi Knight. Two days since the Alliance fleet held their position in the stars, waiting for Leia's plan for rescuing Solo to pay off.
Two days since Ezra sat cross-legged and began to meditate, studiously practising the many techniques Kanan had taught him for finding his centre.
"You have got to stop this," Sabine announced, wearing out the durasteel floor beneath them as she paced back and forth. "It isn't healthy. Get up and walk about. Take a break. Your legs will fall off!"
"There is no emotion," Ezra murmured, eyes closed and knuckles together. "There is peace." A Mandalorian boot stomped down in front of him, the very picture of emotion.
"Don't ignore me, Ezra," she said. "Let the training go for a while and come and play Dejarik with Zeb and me, or embarrass Hera and Kanan or-or something."
"Sabine, I need to get better." His voice was the epitome of harmony, and she wasn't afraid to say that it annoyed her even more.
"Because of Luke? I mean, sure, he's good, but he's had Master Kenobi help him out. You've made some insane progress over the years!"
"I just need to get better. For everyone."
"Shab," she cursed in her native tongue. "You're a Jedi, but that doesn't mean you have to be some perfect white knight, you know." She crossed her arms over her chest piece. A lick of teal hair slipped over her eyes, but she was too frustrated to brush it away.
"There is no ignorance," Ezra replied, already slipping back into his mantra. "There is knowledge."
"Ezra, I swear to whatever God you Jedi worship that if you don't give it a rest…"
"There is no passion, there is serenit-mpf!"
Ezra's thoughts evaporated. Whatever progress he had made on calming himself had been sucked into the void of space as he felt a pair of hands press firmly against his cheeks, forcing his head back. His vision was blue. He smelled paint. Sabine's lips were pressed against his, moist and firm and more than a little determined. The Mandalorian pulled back with a loud 'mwah' noise before boring into him with her amber eyes.
"Don't you ever say 'there is no passion,' alright? I mean it. You're not a droid or some holy fighter, damn it. You're Ezra and you're fine enough as you are!" A few colourful praises of her language followed before she shook him, hands still plastered against his scarred and bristly cheeks. "Do you understand me?"
He said nothing, still looking up at her with a look of frozen surprise. The Mandalorian smirked in triumph.
"Well, it's about damn time I made the con artist speechless. Now, are you going to come out of your little exile, already?"
Ezra could feel his heartbeat thumping in his ribcage. He tentatively licked his lips, still able to faintly taste the invisible gloss she preferred to wear over lipsticks. He hesitated before a slow, cheeky smile spread across his cheeks, warped and flattened beneath her hands.
"I think I may need a little more convincing if I'm honest."
Ezra fell back against the floor in a sprawl as Sabine dropped her entire weight against him, claiming his lips as her own before they hit the ground.
Those two should just rut and get it over with. – C1-10P, translated from droidspeak.
The deaths of both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine spread across the galaxy like wildfire. Across worlds like Naboo and Coruscant (or the Imperial Capital, as it had been officially known for so long,) fireworks flew in the air while people celebrated in the streets. Tucked away in one of the treetop villages of Endor, members of the Alliance greeted each other as more of their numbers arrived from their missions.
Kanan swayed a little as Hera gave him a bemused look, wheeling him away from the party goers to sit down on a log bench that was cut more for Ewok's than people their height.
"Had a little too much to drink, love?" she teased. The Jedi laughed and waved it away.
"There's a lot of people celebrating tonight," he said. "It's hard not to get swept up in it all."
Hera Syndulla sniffed and nodded. She still remembered how he and Ezra had reacted when the Death Star vaporised Alderaan and remembering how, one day, she was determined to see what would happen when they won.
As it turns out, a galaxy full of revellers made Kanan look intoxicated. It suited him, she thought. But –
"Just where are the kids, anyway?" she asked, wondering if Sabine was left to deal with a tipsy Ezra somewhere.
"Them?" Kanan tilted his head. "Oh, I think they're off celebrating, too, somewhere. You know our Sabine – she's only loud with her art."
"True," Hera agreed. Sabine was still rather private with most things in her life. "And we know our Ezra, too. Just as happy to follow her lead."
"Us Jedi seem to attract bossy, older women like that," Kanan supplied, earning a thump from Hera's elbow and a stern look, which quickly melted into one of amusement.
Alliance ships, fighters and freighters of all shapes and sizes littered the few plains of Endor, most having ferried crew from the frigates in orbit. Tucked away in the Phantom II, unseen from the rest of the party going on nearby, Sabine Wren arched and whined, bit her lip and softly shook as she hit her climax. The Mandalorian sighed and collapsed, bare and boneless on top of Ezra, who ran a wide hand through her short, colourful hair.
"Say my name," she murmured, leaning up to press lazy, affectionate kisses against his jaw, just above the neat beard he had begun to style.
"Hm? What's that?" he asked. Ezra was still floating somewhere, comfortably pinned beneath Sabine's modest weight.
"My name," she pressed. "The way you said it just as you finished. I liked hearing it. Say it again?"
Tanned hands caressed her damp flesh, from her backside over her spine and up to her shoulders, pulling her closer until she felt the prickly hair of his chin tickle her ear.
"Sabine…" he rasped gently, and the Mandalorian shivered and wriggled against him, her legs tensing with re-awakening arousal. She looked down to find Ezra grinning broadly at her.
"Your turn," he hummed, watching her patiently. "Say my name, hm?"
"Ezra Wren. Duh."
"Oh, for the love of-" Ezra's hands flew to her ribs and sides, tickling Sabine's bare flesh. She shouted in surprise and immediately began to wriggle away from the sudden tickles as he held her closer. "You're not getting away that easy!"
"Cut it out!" she cried, but she knew she was losing this battle, able only to flail and laugh as his fingers flew over sensitive spots on her body.
Neither could remember the last time they really laughed so much.
Marriage? Well, if I had to wager, I imagine Miss Wren took the lead. Not to dismiss Commander Ezra's bravery by any means, but… well, have you met her? – Excerpt from "After The Empire: A series of interviews with key members of the Alliance to Restore the Rublic." Issue six: General Kallus.
It was said that there was an anxiety that came with peace. A buzzing that grew inside of so many individuals who were left picking up pieces when the battlefields were abandoned. The Empire, too big to just fall, it seemed, remained scattered. But far from defenceless. In the wake of Palpatine's death, however, there was a power vacuum that seemed wide enough to swallow most of the galaxy.
Politics, too, became the front for many new fights. It was a subtle enemy that many veterans didn't understand, and didn't care to, either. Generals like Leia Organa and Senator Mon Mothma were exhausted as they attempted to broker deals and treaties. While many worlds embraced the change, there were just as many who had been content with the Imperial laws and trade, and were left struggling to decide where to go next without their patrons.
For younger members of either side, who were born after the shadow of the Empire had established itself, the question on everyone's mind was simple: What now?
Sabine never doubted that with her Alliance duties fulfilled, she would return to Mandalore and help to heal the scars left there. And it seemed just as natural that Ezra accompanied her, standing to attention in clean clothes, cut hair and a trimmed beard as Ursa Wren greeted them both at the bottom of the shuttle ramp they had travelled on.
"Welcome home, daughter," she greeted them, scooping Sabine into a familial hug which the younger woman returned.
"It's good to be home," she answered in Mando'a, beaming up at her mother with freshly painted armour and hair a shade of platinum white. "You don't mind that I've brought an escort, I hope?"
Ezra thought that perhaps she was being funny, but knew better. Too often in the past, he thought she was joking about Mandalore's laws and customs. 'You're joking, right?' had been asked too many times. Now, he stiffened as her mother gave him a look of evaluation, nodding.
"Of course. It's been too long, Master Jedi. How have you been?" But Ezra stiffly produced the old datapacket from years before, offering it to Ursa before speaking, in tense, broken Mando'a:
"Thank you for the gift. I found it most enlightening."
"Well, well!" She favoured him with a smile, nodding at him. Ezra allowed himself to relax ever so slightly. "I see Sabine didn't have to paint you pink after all, Master Bridger," before adding in her native dialect "Consider myself most impressed."
Ezra's knitted eyebrows betrayed him. It had taken the better part of a day to memorise his one phrase of Sabine's language, and could only imagine just what she had tacked on to the end of it all. And he didn't trust himself to say anything, either – not after last time.
"Mom." Salvation came in the form of Sabine, who hooked her arm around his and gave her mother a stern look. "You know better than that."
Ezra said a silent prayer of thanks for his partner, once again whisking him away from the jaws of defeat.
"His name is Wren, and he's my little bride."
And, just as swiftly, throwing him back into it.
"Indeed," Ursa hummed, sizing them both up. Sabine gave her mother a knowing smirk, but Ezra looked ready to throw himself into the engines of a shuttle, growing more uncomfortable beneath her gaze.
"Very well," she finally said, nodding in satisfaction. "I approve. You have your work cut out for you in teaching him our ways, daughter."
"And I've got plenty of time!" Sabine answered as her mother turned and strode back towards the entourage. "Well, that went well," she hummed, jabbing Ezra with her elbow and leading him off in the same direction.
"You're never going to let this name thing go, are you?" he asked her. She answered with a shrug of her shoulders, her lips quirking into a half-smile.
"Why should I?"
"Well, keep it up, and some people might start taking it literally. Like, officially, or something."
"And would that be so bad?"
Ezra stopped short, grabbing her hand and turning her around to face him. Sabine looked like a blank slate, as cool and collected as she ever was. But there was no missing the honest, nervous energy hiding just behind her eyes.
"What are you saying?" he asked her. For a long moment she said nothing, and he stared. Soon enough she broke, looking off to the side.
"What do you think I'm saying?" she evaded, before gesturing with her hand and refusing to meet his gaze. "Look. Let's just say that maybe… I'm saying what you think I'm saying. Okay?"
"I'm thinking a lot of things," he pressed, and her amber eyes returned to his with a glare.
"The big thing you're thinking about, then. The big official thing. That one."
A broad smile slowly stretched over Ezra's handsome features, and she wanted to curse and stamp and walk away. "So why not say it?" he pressed.
"I don't have to," she answered stubbornly. "You already know what I'm talking about." Arms crossed over her chestplate and she looked away, oblivious to the waiting guards from Clan Wren hovering nearby and waiting for them. It was easy to miss details when Ezra leaned back into her vision, giving her a playful pout and batting his lashes at her.
"Aren't I worth it?" he asked, and Sabine sighed dramatically.
"You are definitely the bride between us, Ezra," she muttered.
"Well, feels like it's been that way now for a long while," he said with an easy shrug. It struck Sabine just how often she wanted to kiss him, both to feel hip lips against hers and to actually shut him up.
"So? You going to say yes already, then?"
"I will when you ask and make an honest Jedi out of me," he remarked, as playful as ever.
"Oh for –" She turned and cursed before taking his hands in hers. She felt vulnerable, even with the warm, tingly look he was giving her. It's not like he'd say no, right? And anyway. Wasn't this the man's job? 'Well, I've taken every other role from him,' she thought, sighing and gazing up at him.
"Ezra Bridger. Will you mar-"
I don't think I've ever seen so much paint during a wedding. Mind you, I don't think I've seen either of them so bleedin' happy before, either. Like…. Deliriously happy, you know? Hopefully, Organa and the rest can sort all that political junk up. Those kids deserve a bit of peace. 'Ell, we all do. – Garazeb Orrelios at the union of Sabine and Ezra Wren, Clan Wren, House Vizsla on Mandalore.
Mandalorian weddings were an unusual affair, many thought. For a planet and people who revered culture so much, they appeared rather lax when it came to life unions. Probably due to the peaceful nature of it all, Kanan said aloud, which made Sabine snort. "Don't count on it."
All the same, it was a simple affair. Some members of Mandalore married in private, revealing themselves as a couple to the witnesses only after they had exchanged vows. Others were more open with their celebration, inviting guests to watch the entire exchange. Sabine, normally reserved and private, had a list of people as long as her arm who she wanted to witness the happy affair. And Ezra, as usual, was just as content to go along with it. (Though he was a little hesitant to extend an invitation to the ever smooth Lando Calrissian.)
"I can't tell if the new look is something to do with the Wren clan, or just Sabine being a rebel," Hera murmured into Kanan's ear.
"Let me guess – she's painted her armour half a dozen different shades?"
"Try a full dozen. I think some of it's still wet."
"That's our girl."
Leia Organa sat composed near the front of the audience, looking every bit as regal as possible while Han Solo hung onto her waist. Part of her envied the older couple at the altar, wondering if and when Han was going to get down on a knee and ask for her hand in union.
"Tell me there's going to be drinks afterwards," he whispered into her ear. Leia rolled her eyes and nudged him.
"Mandalorian ones. Stick to Corellian brandy. Don't think I didn't catch you sneaking it in."
Maybe, she thought, she ought to take a page out of Sabine's book and ask Han herself. She may just be old and lined in the face before he gave up adventuring and proposed himself, otherwise…
"Before these witnesses, we present now the union of Sabine and Ezra Wren, of Clan Wren, House… yes, well." Fenn Rau cleared his throat and looked away as Sabine threw her arm around her partner's neck, helmet still clutched in her hand, and all but yanked him down towards her. And like so many times in the past, Ezra was content to follow along.
"Presenting the happy couple," Fenn finished, certain the rites were all but swept aside by now. "I would have thought one of you would have spared more time for tradition," he whispered towards Sabine. The new bride leaned back with a dreamy hum, giving their officiator a far-from-sorry grin.
"We've got plenty of time to work on all that stuff later," she said, pressing a hand against Ezra's chest and looking down. "… and I got paint on your robes."
He followed her line of sight, finding that sure enough, flecks of paint had passed from Sabine's chest and pauldron onto the traditional Jedi attire he had worn for the day. He waved it away.
"Hey – not like I'm going to be needing these ever again," he smiled.
"Damn right you're not," she breathed, pulling him back down towards her.
General Leia Organa came to her senses as a hand waved in front of her, obscuring the glowing blue map that hovered silently in front of her.
"Ma'am? You okay, General? You seemed a bit lost there."
Leia forced a smile and rubbed her brow. "I'm fine, Poe. Just thinking of times gone by." She spread her hands across the table and leaned back in her seat. "Nothing new, yet?"
"Not yet." Poe Dameron, her best pilot, and a personal friend and confidant, gave a wave towards the glowing projection. In the darkened room it seemed to bathe everything in an eerie light. "At least nothing from the scouts out on Tattooine. Maybe the party you sent to Mandalore will have a bit of better luck."
"I hope so. If anyone has an idea of where to find Luke, it may just be Ezra or his wife." A communicator beeped quietly beside her on the table, and she stared at it for a moment, hesitating.
"Speak of the devil," Poe said. "Think that's them now?"
"…" Leia wordlessly picked it up and scanned the information. She wasn't aware she was holding her breath until she set it back down, feeling so much heavier when she did. "Yet another two friends I have managed to outlive," she remarked bitterly. Poe Dameron frowned.
"Mandalore?" he asked, and she nodded. "Both of them? How did that happen?"
"Apparently, Sabine Wren passed a little over a week ago due to age and illness. Her husband, Ezra, went two days later in his sleep. It seems he never regained consciousness after she… Well." Leia folded her hands and looked away. "Ezra was always happy to follow Sabine's lead everywhere."
"Sabine Wren?" Poe leaned against the table and frowned, looking lost for a moment. "I've heard of her. The artist, right? I thought these two might have been Mando trackers or something with the way you talked about them."
"They were both veterans of the Alliance. Participated in a number of large-scale operations. Before they retired and married, Sabine was an explosions expert. But Ezra was a Jedi. I just assumed…" She trailed off, waving her hand. It was a long shot at best. As far as she knew, Ezra had been happy to settle on Sabine's homeworld. If he continued to hone his Jedi powers among her people, there was just as good of a chance that he had no idea where Luke could have gone.
"So he was a Mandalorian Jedi?" Poe gave a low, appreciative whistle. "Not too many of those around. I can imagine he must have been quite the fighter back in the day." Despite herself, Leia smirked.
"He was more of a con artist. But he was actually a native from Lothal. He took Sabine's name officially when they married."
Poe Dameron sat beside her, brow furrowed. And then simply remarked that "I think I need to hear this story."
"Focus, Poe. We don't really have the time."
"General Organa? We have nothing but time. Sabine and Ezra Wren you say, right?" Poe set to work at the nearest keyboard, banishing the galaxy map and mouthing as he typed. "… and… Ezra… Wren. Oh, now that's a cute couple."
The holographic table projected a smiling pair: a Mandalorian woman with olive skin and mischievous eyes, with a bob of iridescent hair and drips of paint on her cheeks. Beside her, taller but grinning goofily, stood a darker man with scars on one cheek and a neat beard. Loose, traditional Jedi robes contrasted with forged armour.
"Yeah – I can see she wore the pants in that relationship," Poe hummed, looking over at Leia and grinning cheekily. Organa found herself shaking her head, smirking despite herself.
"You have no idea. They were both older than me and they still acted like a pair of delinquents at times."
"You're not old," Poe said with a wave of his hand.
"Thank you, mister Dameron," Leia said with a roll of her eyes. But she knew better. She certainly felt much older these days. She gave the image a moment of consideration. It was hard to imagine either Sabine or Ezra as old. Harder still to imagine them both gone. Either one of them were practically bursting and bubbling over with life. Together they seemed unstoppable.
She was able to take some comfort in guessing that they enjoyed their lives. The growing threat of this New Order probably wouldn't have dared to invade Mandalore anytime soon. The Wren's would have enjoyed peace for their final days.
"I offered to marry them, you know," Leia said, nodding up at the picture. "But another Mandalorian did the rites. Very official, until Sabine got impatient and molested her new husband at the altar."
Poe chuckled, planting his palms on the table and standing. "Don't move," he said. "I'm making us both a caf and you're telling me about them. They're starting to grow on me."
"Poe, we don't-" But Poe interrupted her.
"General, we have nothing but time," he insisted. "The next report isn't due for over an hour, and you need a rest. Tell me about the fierce Mando and her Jedi sidekick instead."
Leia wanted to protest. She had work to do. Avenues of interest to explore. A galaxy in turmoil and a brother to find.
The image of the happy pair seemed to paint the room in a glow that wasn't the usual sickly light from the tactical map. Leia could imagine Sabine would be rather pleased to think that even now, she was bringing a little bit more colour wherever she was.
"Alright," she conceded. Maybe Poe was right. It would be good to remember fonder days. A reminder of what they could have again, when they finished fighting the good fight once more.
"Since you probably won't let it go make us both a cup. But you should know that Ezra had some initiative about him when he was a young man. One time in particular: he was trying to convince a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers that he wasn't a Jedi. So, instead, he thought it was better to tell them he was 'a dangerous Mandalorian from Clan Wren…'"