“Ezra, do you have anything that needs washing?”
Ezra had just started to sit down to his breakfast when Hera’s voice echoed into the galley from down the corridor. “Ugh, yeah. Sabine decided to use one of my shirts as a paint rag.”
“Well, get it in the wash while I’m in the mood to do laundry.”
The boy let out a dramatic groan. Kanan, in the middle of his own breakfast, just smiled around a mouthful of food. The kid could always be counted on for a laugh even if he didn’t intend it. Ezra took one last look at his plate, clear longing in his eyes, then decided he rather liked not running around in a paint-stained shirt. He practically sprinted past Kanan out the door, more so he could return to his food as fast as humanly possible than to get his shirt cleaned.
Kanan took the moment to enjoy the rare moment of peace and quiet. Chopper was in the control room doing repairs with Zeb, Sabine usually ate in her room, and Hera and Ezra were washing clothes. It wouldn’t last long, but Kanan would enjoy it while he could. It wasn’t that he didn’t like anyone onboard the Ghost; quite the opposite, in fact. He just liked having a solitary moment to himself without feeling like he was actively hiding himself away.
Which was why he made a conscious effort to keep his head down when he felt someone, most likely Hera, enter the room at his back. Please don’t talk, don’t say anything, don’t make a lot of noise. Thankfully, Hera remained relatively quiet while she prepared her own meal. That wasn’t like her. Normally, she didn’t give a flip about how much noise she made once everyone was awake. Kanan brushed the thought aside and lowered his head even further towards his plate, wholly determined to go back to his relative seclusion for the time being.
The captain pulled out the chair next to where Ezra had been about to sit and plopped down. Kanan still refused to look up. The sharp aroma of citrus wafted towards him; Hera liked adding fruit to her cereal sometimes. “You should have some fruit,” she said lightly, softly so as not to disturb the temporary peace. “Our stash is about to go bad.”
Out of habit and before he could stop himself, Kanan raised his head to tell her he didn’t want any…only to have the words freeze in his throat. “Hera,” he said instead, his voice flat. “What is that?”
She gave him a perplexed look. “Protein cereal with a Lothal orange. Same as I usually eat.”
“Not that.” He pointed past her bowl directly at her. “That.”
She looked down at herself. “It’s one of your shirts, duh.”
Food and desire for solitude forgotten, Kanan leaned his elbows on the table. “‘Duh’, I know that. What I mean is why are you wearing it?”
Hera wasn’t intimidated in the slightest; she just chewed a spoonful of her cereal, rolled her eyes, and crossed her legs. Her long, bare legs. “Did you not hear me earlier? I’m doing laundry. My clothes are in the dryer, so it was either wear this or walk around naked.”
Kanan forced down the heat that threatened to rise to his cheeks at that thought. “So you chose to raid my closet instead of asking to borrow from Sabine because…?”
The look she fixed him with practically shouted, are you mental? “Kanan, I know you’re a bit thick when it comes to clothes, but Sabine and I aren’t exactly the same size. Everything she has is too small for me.”
“Why not ask Zeb, then?” He wasn’t sure why he was so upset, if ‘upset’ was even the right word. But now that he got going, and Hera wasn’t the least bit apologetic, he couldn’t stop himself. Maybe it was just because she hadn’t asked him first before stealing his clothes. He wouldn’t have minded…maybe.
“As sensitive as his nose is, it would have taken a weeks’ worth of washings to get my smell out of one of his shirts to his satisfaction.” She didn’t even bother to look at him as she said that. She just put another spoonful of cereal in her mouth as if this was an everyday conversation.
Well, now she’d done it. He leaned even further across the table with his best ‘I’m as serious as a plague outbreak’ expression. “Take it off, Hera.”
She blinked wide, innocent eyes at him. “Kanan, right here? In front of Ezra?”
Kanan spun around to see Ezra standing in the doorway with a face that looked somewhere between embarrassed and forcibly blank. “I can come back for my food later if you guys need a minute.”
Kanan turned back to Hera when she started to laugh around her spoon. That heat that he had stomped down earlier now returned with a vengeance. “Not like that!” She just kept laughing under her breath. With a growl of frustration and more than a bit of mortification, he snatched his half-empty plate off the table and took it to the sink. Once again, he was determined to ignore anyone and everything in the room.
“‘Kaaay,” Ezra said. “Hera, your clothes are done drying. You want me to-”
“No, that’s alright,” she interrupted, the legs of her chair grating on the floor as she stood. “I’ll get them out. I’ll let you know when your shirt is done. Come, sit. Eat.”
Ezra did as she asked, digging into his food with gusto. A glimpse of green out the corner of Kanan’s eye was the only indication of how close Hera had come to stand beside him. “You know,” she whispered as she set her empty bowl in the sink, “your shirt really is comfortable. Maybe I’ll keep it.”
She had already made it out the door by the time Kanan could follow. “No, you don’t!” he shouted when she disappeared into the laundry room. “I want my shirt back, Hera!”
He got his wish: a mass of green came flying at him down the narrow hall to land squarely on his head. “Happy now, whiner?” Hera’s laughing voice said.
Kanan tried not to think about the fact that having his shirt back in his possession also meant that Hera was now, at least for the moment, completely naked just a few meters away. He succeeded…for a little bit. It was only the sound of another laugh, this one light and muffled, that brought him back to the present. He snapped his head to the side to see Ezra trying and failing not to laugh. “What’s so funny?”
Ezra just shook his head and returned all of his attention to his food.
Kanan rolled his eyes and huffed in irritation. “Just eat, kid,” he ordered unnecessarily. Apparently, today was ‘gang up on Kanan’ day. He’d have to come up with some kind of decent payback for the captain and his new student. Revenge wasn’t the Jedi way, but in this case he’d gladly make an exception.