Saga - OT A Single Grain | Rebels, Mulan Quote Mini-Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: A Single Grain
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Characters: Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger
    Timeframe: OT, during Rebels Season 2
    Synopsis: When Ezra doubts that he can make a difference,:Kanan teaches him a lesson he learned from his own master.
    Notes: Written for @devilinthedetails Mulan Quote Mini-challenge

    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading @};-

    A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man may be the difference between victory and defeat.
    ---the Emperor, Mulan


    Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk! KA-THUNK!

    Kanan glanced up from his game of dejarik at that particularly emphatic “thunk”. The muffled thudding noise had been coming from Ezra’s cabin for more than a quarter standard hour now. He’d been withdrawn and brooding since the Imperials had raided Phoenix Squadron’s base on Garel and they’d been forced to abandon it and flee to the dubious safety of space. Ezra’s reaction was understandable; it had been a disastrous loss for the Rebel cell, and just the latest in a string of losses for the Spectres. When he’d holed up in his cabin, Kanan had been inclined to give his padawan a little space to think things through. And when he’d started throwing a rubber shockball at the walls--well, all things considered, it wasn’t the worst way he could deal with his emotions. Perhaps it wasn’t the most constructive way, but it was far less likely to lead to the Dark Side than some of the ways Ezra could have vented his frustrations--like throwing the ball at his cabin mate’s head…

    Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk! Ka-thunk!

    The noise wasn’t that loud here in the common area, but it was persistent and becoming increasingly annoying. While Kanan had little trouble filtering out distractions, thanks to his Jedi training, some of the other Spectres weren’t so lucky. Every time another thunk sounded, Zeb’s ears twitched and his scowl deepened. “Karabast!” he growled and threw down the rag he’d been using to polish his bo-rifle. “If that kid doesn’t knock off throwing that karkin’ shockball soon, I’m gonna go spare!”

    “BWAAAAH!” Chopper agreed, slamming his kintan strider down on the dejarik table so hard it roared in protest. “Bwah b’bwaah bwaah BWOP!” The astromech’s electroshock attachment sparked to life, underscoring his suggestion for dealing with Ezra’s irritating new pastime.

    Kanan rose with a sigh. “I’ll take care of it.” Apparently it was going to require more than time and patience to help Ezra handle this defeat. He rapped gently on the cabin door, and when he received no response other than another volley of ka-thunks, he tried the door. It was open; he took half a step inside.

    Ezra lay in his bunk scowling up at the ceiling as if it was personally responsible for everything that was wrong with the Galaxy. He tossed the ball up with what was probably excessive force, given that there was less than a meter between him and the ceiling. KA-THUNK! The blow rattled the bunk’s plasti-steel frame, and Kanan thought he saw a pattern of small dents dotting the ceiling above Ezra. Hera wasn’t going to be pleased about that.

    Kanan stood in the doorway for a moment while Ezra continued his assault on the ceiling without acknowledging him. Finally, he cleared his throat and asked, “Do you want to talk?”

    “Talk?!” Ezra snagged the shockball in midair with the speed of a Loth-cat striking. He rolled onto his side, propped himself up on his right elbow, and turned the full force of his adolescent you-have-no-idea-what-I’m-going-through glare on Kanan. “What difference will talking make? What difference does any of this make?” He flung his left arm out wide in a gesture that encompasses the Spectres, the Rebellion, maybe even life itself. “It doesn’t matter! None of it matters--what you do, what I do, what my parents did…. Nothing ever changes! Nothing gets better!”

    It continually amazed Kanan how the younger Spectres acted as if they were the first ones in the history of the Galaxy to discover disappointment, betrayal, heartbreak and grief. Did they assume that adults had existed in some sort of emotionless stasis, doing nothing in particular until they’d come along? Because contrary to what his padawan seemed to think, Kanan knew exactly how he felt. He experienced the same sort of existential crisis when he was about Ezra’s age, at the height of the Clone Wars when negotiations with the systems broke down on a daily basis and the Republic lost as many battles as it won. The tipping point for him had been Stance’s death on Mygeeto. The young clone had been the first friend he’d lost in battle, the first time the numbers on the endless list of clone casualties had really meant something to him, and he’d wondered what good being a Jedi was if you couldn’t keep the wrong people from dying.

    “Come with me.”

    “What?” Ezra sat up in surprise as Kanan walked out of his cabin, clearly having expected and been prepared for an argument.

    “Just come with me,” Kanan repeated, glancing over his shoulder at his flummoxed padawan. “I think it’s time for another one of those deep Jedi Master lessons I know you love so much, something Master Billaba taught me when I had the same doubts during the Clone Wars.” He heard the thump of Ezra jumping down from his bunk and footsteps following behind him down the corridor; it seemed he’d piqued Ezra’s curiosity whether he was in the mood to listen to Jedi philosophy or not.

    “This is the galley,” Ezra protested when their destination became apparent.

    “I know.”

    “Master Billaba taught you to cook?”

    She had, actually; Master Billaba had believed that rank was no reason not to pull one’s weight in camp, and so she’d made sure that her padawan could take care of his own gear, build a fire and make some simple meals. He’d been glad to have that skill; even plain camp fare was a change from the tedium of the Republic’s prepackaged rations. That, however, was another lesson for a different time.

    “Sit.” Kanan gestured toward the dining alcove as he rummaged through the cupboards to find what he needed for this particular lesson. He got two plates, from the cabinet above the cooktop and two identical cans of fleek eel soup and a bag of tikkit grain from the pantry. He slid into the alcove next to Ezra and set the plates on the table, one in front of each of them, and put a can on each plate. He opened the bag, and shook out a few grains onto the table between the plates.

    Ezra regarded him with an expression that suggested he thought his master had finally flipped. “I don’t think this is a nutritionally balanced lunch.”

    “It isn’t lunch; it’s an analogy.” Kanan supposed it was good to know that the boy wasn’t so sunk in depression that he’d lost the will to make flippant comments. He waved a hand toward the table. “Pretend these plates are a scale. Which side is heavier?”

    Ezra continued to give him the you-have-clearly-lost-it stare. “Uh, they’re both the same— four hundred-fifty grams.” He picked them up and held them up for Kanan’s inspection. “See? Says so right on the label.”

    “All right.” He took the cans from Ezra and put them back on the plates where they’d been, then selected a single tikkit grain from the pile and set it on top of the soup can closest to Ezra. “Now which side is heavier?”


    “Just answer the question.” Asking seemingly stupid questions of one’s padawan was a Jedi’s prerogative, especially during these sorts of lessons.

    Ezra heaved a sigh, because thinking your master was a moof-milker for asking you stupid questions was a padawan’s prerogative. “Okay, so I guess this one is,” he said, pointing to the can in front of him. “But not much heavier!”

    “No, not much,” Kanan agreed. “But maybe enough.” And that brought him to the lesson that Master Billaba had taught him when he’d felt like giving up after Stance’s death and demanded to know what one padawan, one clone, one Jedi mattered to the fate of the Republic. “Just like one tikkit grain can tip the scale, one person can make a difference. Even though we may feel inconsequential sometimes, we keep going, because you never know when you’ll be the single grain that tips the scale just enough.”

    Ezra took the point about as well as Kanan had at his age. Which was to say, he protested loudly that it wasn’t true. “But Kanan… I’m not a Jedi! I’m not a pilot or a soldier or...or anything! What can I possibly do that could tip the scales?!"

    “You should ask Morad Sumar that. Or Pypey and Oora,” Kanan suggested. Ezra had risked his life to free the jogan fruit farmer from Imperial custody and risked it several times over in the course of returning the kidnapped Ithorian to his mother. Perhaps he hadn’t single handedly defeated the Empire, but Ezra had definitely made a difference for them and for many others.

    “But…” Ezra started to protest, but stopped, his aggrieved expression melting into a pensive frown. “Well… maybe,” he allowed.

    Kanan hid a smile as he gathered up the plates and cans. That admission wasn’t much, and he knew that, as he had so long ago, Ezra was going to need more time to fully deal with everything he felt right now.

    But at least now his padawan was thinking, and that was enough.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
    castin, Kahara, AzureAngel2 and 3 others like this.
  2. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 19, 2019
    Aww. I love the Jedi wisdom in this and how Kanan uses the scales and the rice to make his point to his Padawan who is feeling insecure about the value and the difference that each life has. Such an important lesson to teach and remember, and I love that it was a lesson Kanan had learned from his own Master that he was then passing onto his apprentice. You also have a gift for incorporating humor into the narration that I appreciate very much. Thank you so much for sharing and for participating in this Mulan Challenge:)
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Very realistic and understandable reactions from Ezra. Love how Kanan could recall his own tangled emotions and relay that he understood and thus could pass on a valuable, wise lesson that he had been taught but which of course took time to absorb, as it will for Ezra. It does soothe a deep ache to know that every action does make a difference, if not on a cosmic/galactic scale, certainly on the personal one. [face_thinking]
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, but what a lovely scene this was from start to finish! I felt like it was a missing piece of the show, the characters and the feel of it was so spot on. Really wonderfully done! [face_love]

    Ha! I appreciated the introspection and the little bit of humor that sneaked in there at the end. You did a really great job with setting up the dramatic of the mood and the overall setting. I could perfectly see everything play put in my mind's eye - could hear every solid thwack of the ball on the opposite side of the wall and feel the tension build and build until-

    [face_laugh] So in character for everyone - but not that I'm surprised from our resident Rebels maestro!

    Though, in his own way Zeb too is fighting the same feelings Ezra is, no doubt. Which isn't doing anything to give him patience, I can well imagine! And Chopper is just, well, Chopper! :p

    Oh my goodness, this drama gualama - because teenagers are obviously the only ones to know pain and suffering and understand disappointment and ah, lookie there but Kanan ends up thinking the same thing.

    But, Ezra is going through something Kanan has felt down to the very same thread from his time fighting in the Clone Wars, and he understands. (Gah, Stance. :() It's a lot for an adult to process without giving into feelings of despair, let alone a kid who's been robbed of his childhood by the selfsame forces he's fighting against. Oh but I just want to hug them both here. =((

    Ha! [face_laugh] Glad to see that Ezra can still snark here. He's going to be okay. And Kanan's analogy is genius! Depa would have been proud. [face_love]

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - I don't have anything insightful to add but to say that I adored the symmetry of experiences between masters and padawans, and appreciate the impact of Kanan's wisdom. =D=

    Sometimes, that's all you can ask for! [face_love]

    Really, truly well done, again! This was an excellent answer to your prompt and I enjoyed every word. Thanks for sharing! =D=
  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Now, there is not much left to say after such wonderful feedbacks already.

    A wise & skilled teacher makes his student think for himself/ herself. :D
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    A great lesson to learn.
    I could see all of this clearly! Love how naturally Kanan slides into that role of both master and father.

    Such a creative use of the prompt. Nice job! =D=
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    I love what you did with this quote! It really and truly is perfect for these two characters—not only because of their own master-and-student dynamic but also because of Kanan’s own past experiences, not to mention Ezra’s future ones, as we know that many times in the future he’ll be the “single grain” that tipped the scales for the Spectres. At this early stage, though, his “sixth wheel” feeling is oh-so-understandable, as is the frustration that nothing the Spectres seem to do seems to make any difference in the larger scheme of things. It definitely is a “two steps forward, one step back” type deal, in a big way. At the same time, we know that Kanan at this stage has his doubts about being a worthy mentor to Ezra. But I think the way he draws on his own past experience here, and combines it with this pithy object lesson (lunch is always a good way to get things across! ;) ) shows he’s more than equal to the task. And when he points out to Ezra the ways Ezra already has made a difference—and the people he’s made a difference to—Ezra gets the message, or at very least starts to, and that’s no small thing.

    As others have mentioned, everyone here is spot-on in character—a perfect mentor-student chat between Kanan and Ezra, of course, but also Zeb and Chop, even in the brief glimpses we get of them here, show us how well you understand this ensemble cast—you really are our “resident Rebels maestro,” just as @Mira_Jade Says! :kanan::hera::chopper::zeb::sabine::ezra: Thanks so much for running with this wonderful prompt and transforming it into this enjoyable and thoughtful vignette! =D=
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020