(A/N This was bothering me, so I think I do need one more chapter to close this off :) I was debating just switching the prequel to a sequel, but I think I'll keep it as is and continue with "Lightning on the Streets" when I'm ready.
*facepalm* it hit me while I wrote this that I had him running from Kanan when a few minutes before he had sprained his ankle. Eh, call it adrenaline rush. *double facepalm* oh come on… because of course twisted = sprained
This chapter is rated M for… erm, rape. It's not graphic, but… yeah, it happens. If it feels awkward, sorry; I've only written a scene like this once before, and even that was very different and much, much shorter (you did ask for this).
Thoughts or onomatopoeia or particularly emphasized words
"Telepathy through the Force")
"String 'im up!" that voice calls out again. No, NO! I frantically tug at the cold, metal restraints again. "Please, I swear I won't tell anyone. J-just-"
"Ha! You won't leave here until Master's done with you, ya little loth-rat!" I flinch, leaning as far away as I could from the Zygerrian. She unlocks the chains from the wall, yanking on them as I stumble forward. Biting my lip to keep from crying out, I shuffle forward. I stop before the door of our room and almost fall as I'm yanked forward again. Brow knitting, I sneak a look up. We're heading towards the only colored door I've seen in the few hallways they've led me down. Electricity explodes from my wrists up and down my body. I scream, shaking from the brief intensity until we reach the door. She looks down in… pity? "Just try to relax and it won't hurt as much."
Eyes wide, I stumble into the room. Every surface was covered in sound-muffling fabrics, even the strange tables and chairs. For once, the Zygerrian gives me a moment to stare before practically dragging me to one of the contraptions. The bond in between my cuffs is broken, but the Zygerrian quickly ties the ends of the restraints to rings on the kneeling… thing. She forces me to my knees and straps my head into a mask of sorts, lining my mouth up with a fairly wide hole.
(Kanan's POV – I just mentally cannot write anymore of that)
Blearily half-opening my eyes, I sense something off in the Force. Sighing, I almost fall back asleep in my chair when my mug hits me in the back of the head. "OW!" I mutter, starting awake as I realize everything not tied down, including my chair, is floating about my room. Grabbing the bunk ladder for stability, I slide off my chair to the floor.
"No, please…" Ezra is hardly breathing, thrashing about on the bed. "Wait, what are you- AAAAAH!" I flinch as he screams, throwing me and everything in the air against the door with the force. The door automatically opens, making me fall on my back and the other objects falling around and on top of me. Hera and Ahsoka run towards me, but I quickly wave them back. Cautiously weaving back into my room, I return to Ezra's side and try to hold him down by his stomach and legs.
"Ezra, its' all right, it's me. You're safe now," I try to reassure him. Ezra only continues to thrash about, clawing at my arms as he tries to get away from the dream. Hesitating for half a moment, I gently place a hand on his forehead and close my eyes, reaching out with the Force. I wince, probe met with a dark cloud of fear, pain, and anger. Radiating peace and calm while repeating what I said earlier, I push forward, fragments of his dream digging into my conscience. Fiery pain everywhere, flashes of a soft, red room… My eyes snap open as I stand to his side in the memory. A tall, reptilian male stands behind Ezra, thrusting as tears stream down the kid's face. Fuming, I throw the Aa'raa back with the force and quickly free Ezra from the strange contraption. "Ezra, it's me. He can't hurt you anymore; this is just a dream. You have to wake up."
"K-Kanan?" Recognition flashes in the kid's eyes and we both wake in the present with a start. Ezra bolts upright, my hand the only thing that keeps his head from hitting the bottom of the top bunk. I wince, the force of the blow making my hand smart. Ezra blushes, letting himself fall back.
Force-pulling everything back into our room, I lock the door. "Ezra," I start softly, pausing as tears start to slip from his eyes. Ezra quickly turns to face the wall, shaking as silent sobs rack his small frame. "Ezra, I know y-"
"You don't know anything!" he sobs.
"No, Kanan, you don't." Flinching, I resist the urge to hug him, to hold him close and never let go. After that… how does he let anyone get even close to him?
"You're right," I admit softly. "I don't know what it's like to lose everything you've lost."
Ezra flinches, something hitting a nerve. "I didn't mean-"
"Ezra, you've been through more than any kid - karablast, more than anyone - should have to go through," I take a deep, shaky breath. "I don't know what to say or do to help. All I really know is what not to do."
Eyes lowered, Ezra flips to face me. "Maybe… maybe we figure this out…" he mumbled the last word.
I frown slightly. "Sorry, I didn't quite catch that last part."
He glowers at the floor, "Together! Okay? I said maybe we can figure this out together."
Smiling comfortingly, I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding. "Of course! Ezra, I only want the best for you. If that means…" I lightly drum fingers against my thigh. "if that means talking about my past, then okay. I'd do anything for you."
Finally looking me in the eye, Ezra pleadingly searches for the truth. Opening myself completely to the force, I radiate comfort and peace, and he relaxes with a small sigh. Suddenly Ezra throws himself forward into a hug, wrapping his arms tightly around me and burying his head in my chest, right over my heart. In shock, I hesitate a moment before lightly hugging him back, rubbing his knotted muscles a bit.
After a few minutes, Ezra releases, pulling back slightly. I reluctantly let go, wishing we could stay like that forever. With me he's safe, but how can I protect him if I'm not right there? Cocking his head, Ezra asks, "What's that?" Confused, I turn to see that he's pointing to a half-wrapped package.
I chuckle, that market trip certainly feels like an eternity ago, not three days. "I got something for you when we went on that supply run. Go ahead, open it." His smile wavers slightly, and I inwardly curse at reminding him of that day. Still, Ezra walks over with a slight limp. I frown, "What happened to your leg?"
He winces. "Fell from a vent grate. That's how I ended up in Ahsoka's room." I nod, making a mental note to check on it later. Ezra carefully removes the crinkled brown paper and string, setting them aside like they were gifts. Curious, he opens the small, beat-up box I had found for them and grins broader than I've seen him before. "Spine tree roots! How did you…"
I smiled, relieved he likes them. "I figured you could use something that reminded you of Lothal, and I saw a shopkeeper with 'deals' on off-world plants. I was going to see if there was something alive, but…"
Ezra cradles a few in his palm, deeply inhaling their earthy, mildly spicy scent. "These are perfect, thank you." He hesitates, a shiver going down his spine. "My…parents used to make me spine tree tea when I had a cold or a bad day at school."
I offer a small smile, "Hey, I think you've deserved some of that. One scoop of sweetener?" Ezra nods, and I rinse the kettle just in case before he drops in his handful of roots. He wobbles a bit, shifting his weight. I sigh, "Ezra, let me look." Ezra sits down and I slide his shoes off, prodding his ankle lightly. He bites his lip.
After a few minutes, I grab some gauze from my first aid kit. "Looks like just a minor sprain. Stay off it for the rest of the day, and we'll see how it is in the morning."
Ezra frowned, getting up. I almost grab his leg to plop him back down but quickly go for his hand instead, gently tugging from just before the bandage. "I've had worse. It'll be fine in a couple days."
I sigh, "It'll heal in a few hours if you stay off it. Now sit." He looks longingly towards the door but sits with a muffled thump. We sit in silence for a while, Ezra looking into the distance before the kettle dings that the tea is done. I pour each of us a mug before his attention snaps back.
"All right, Kanan, what is it? Is it the scars? The dream?"
I start, wondering how obvious I was. "It's… everything."
Ezra flinches, spilling a little tea on the outside of his pant leg. "Okay…want to be a little more specific?"
I take a deep breath, "Let's start with the scars. When…"
"Did they happen?" Ezra looks at me strangely, then shrugs. "Very first one on the back of my wrist was from when I was eight and just barely avoided getting my hand cut off for stealing a jogun from an Abednado. Last one was, well, the wrists, but… ah, time before that was when- oh…" Ezra blushes, suddenly finding his tea very interesting.
Oh Karablast, that's what he meant. Of course he wants to know, you fool! He doesn't trust you, remember? None of them do. You're just the pathetic, broken Loth-rat. A hand rests on top of my right, guiding it to set the mug down as I realize I'm shaking.
Kanan brushes lightly against my Force signature, and I eagerly let him in. "Ezra, if you don't want to talk about it-"
"No, it's okay," I offer a weak smile as his warmth spreads. "You guys helped. A lot. It took me a while, but after that day when we found out Master Unduli is dead, I just… didn't need to anymore. Sometimes I still got the urge, but my connection with you and the Force helped me through it. When my parents died…" Relief with a touch of sadness flooded through our bond
"Ezra, you can always tell me if something's wrong. We won't ever think you're weak or pathetic." I jump a little. How- "Ezra," he almost sounds amused. "Our bond is through the Force; when you're upset, I can feel it. Unless you're blocking me."
I nod, relishing in our closeness for a few minutes before my stomach rumbles loudly. A knock pulls me out of our little trance as Kanan chuckles. "Figured you'd be hungry, too. Had the chef bring some nek tongue soup and nerf stakes."
A few minutes later I dig into the delicacies, relishing in the rich, smoky flavor dipped in the spicy broth. Kanan sputters, fanning his mouth as he feels around for his mug. Snickering, I force-pull it away. "Basic doesn't really have the right word for it… On Terra, apparently it's called a 'dipping sauce.'" Scowling, Kanan pulls the mug back, chugging it to relieve his burning mouth and throat. I chortle as he stabs into his steak and rebelliously shoves a slice into his mouth, wincing at the strong flavor. He finally gives in and dips it into the soup, pure bliss spreading across his face at the marrying of flavors. Unable to hold back anymore, I burst out laughing, spewing droplets of the soup everywhere. Kanan glares at me for a moment before chuckling lightly at the ridiculousness of it.
(A/N yes, spine roots are actually listed under Lothal's flora. Mwahaha I don't actually know if nek tongue soup/dipping sauce is a thing on Lothal, but hey, if they don't mention any delicacies, we can make 'em up)