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BRING ME HOME

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BRING ME HOME

Because I know you're lost when you run away

Into the same black holes and black mistakes

Taking all my will just to run alone

Until I bring you home

Starset

 

 

Jyn was sick of the snow.

She had been on Vallt for a little over two months now, but she was ready to move on. The cold of her homeworld was terrible, oppressive—almost as oppressive as the void growing deeper and stronger in her soul with each passing day.

She had thought she needed to come here, to see what she didn’t remember about the early days of her chaotic life. She had thought that contemplating the beginning would help her to accept the death she had unjustly escaped in the end.

Jyn Erso was born in a prison and had spent her entire life running away, hiding, fighting, barely surviving from one day to the next. Now Jyn was free—truly free. She had earned her liberty, cleared her name, and could go wherever she pleased. Alas, nothing ever truly changed under such unforgiving stars, and that newly-found freedom had enslaved her in another prison—that of her own mind. Denied an ending, Jyn was now running away from the very life she had fought so tirelessly to earn for herself.

Once a criminal and a smuggler by necessity, Jyn Erso was falling back into the shadows of anonymity, eager to lose herself into the infinite silence between galaxies. She wanted to disappear from sentient memories, so she never had to face her own self again. Here, between forgotten routes, no one knew who she was and no one could hold her to the agonizing standards of a war hero. She wasn’t one.

Jyn still remembered Saw's words from back when she was barely fourteen. They need more fighters like her to die like she did, he had told her one day, talking about his late sister. The resistance needs a martyr. A tragedy. Something so horrific that people can’t help but stand up and fight, too. And now, they had it. The martyrs, the tragedy—all of it.

Now, Jyn truly understood what he meant that day, because she had lived it.

Heroes had perished on Scarif for the glory and the hope of the living. They were the ones that people would thank, the brave, the fallen— not her. Jyn Erso was nothing more than she had been all of her life: a renegade, a shadow. And Jyn Erso had left the Rebel Alliance almost a year ago without ever looking back.

She had spent her time traveling from place to place, resorting to old habits and skills to earn the credits she needed. Scandoc and clearance code forgery had been something she had learned during her time in Wrea, working with the Partisans, and she was particularly good at it. It hadn’t been hard to forge a new set of IDs for her alias, just like she had done so many times through the years. By the time she had reached Takodana, Jyn was Kestrel again—claiming back a name she had earned at the age of sixteen, but with a different surname.

After that, she left the Mid Rim and wandered off to the Ring of Kafrene for a time, enticed by some mining cargo shipments. She joined a crew of resellers for a few weeks, processing loads of stolen kyber crystals that would never reach their intended Imperial dispatching bases. When she stumbled upon a ship leaving the Thand sector and heading to the Outer Systems, she jumped on board without a real plan. She had stopped having plans the minute she walked outside of the medbay of Yavin-4. Plans were for people with a future; Jyn didn’t want one anymore. Kestrel was good at only existing—there, now, without questions. Kestrel wandered off to Vallt out of pain and loneliness, drawn like a moth to a flame, orphaned—again. Kestrel stayed on Vallt to lick her wounds like a feral animal, remembering that Galen had given his life for her—for the whole galaxy.

Your father would have been proud of you, Jyn.

No matter how far she went into the starless night, Jyn still couldn’t forget the one person that hadn’t died in her arms, right when she was holding him so close to her soul. She would dream of him almost every time she closed her eyes, and would wake up with silent tears as the only witness to her agony. There, lying awake in the dark, Jyn would finally allow her thoughts to drift to Cassian—where he was, what he was doing, what he was feeling.

She had been too afraid to stay, too afraid to face him then—maybe for fear of being hurt, but also of hurting him—more so than anyone she had ever known. She was afraid to see it in his eyes too, because she couldn’t handle the pain he would go through with her.

For a time, she had thought she was doing it for him—saving them the trouble of reflecting on whatever had blossomed between them so inconveniently. Eventually, they would’ve fallen apart. Or so she told herself. Ten months later and countless nights spent mourning the loss of what she never even had were starting to make her doubt that.

Last time was different.

When Hadder had died, the pain felt like an ice shard right through her heart. She was shattered, destroyed by guilt, left as a hollow shell on the face of a burning world. He was her first love and the wound had never properly healed. Maybe she had been broken to begin with—she knew she was. After losing him, Jyn had vowed to never again let her guard down long enough to let anyone in. She couldn’t bear the idea of looking back at her broken heart for a single second more, for fear of never finding the courage to pick herself up off the ground again. The cold had made her stronger, numbing everything she couldn’t control, and she found solace in the feeling of distance. She went on with her life, alone—and soon she discovered that she didn’t need a heart at all. She could just be free of those chains too.

But Cassian was different—he was a casualty of war like her, he was like her, even when she didn’t want to admit it. When it became clear to her that death was the only possible outcome, she knew she wouldn’t have to live long enough to face the aftermath of that trauma-forged bond. She knew—maybe way earlier than she wanted to accept, that she could let Cassian in. The last one. And so she did.

Living with the idea of what could’ve been ended up a far more cruel fate than anything she had ever endured. She could’ve been with Cassian, she could’ve stayed. She could’ve been happy—maybe. But that life was for people way more deserving than her. She had done too much wrong. She was too far gone, too broken. Jyn didn’t know how to be happy, no one had taught her how.

She had run to the other side of the universe just so she never had to look into those serious brown eyes ever again. She didn’t want to answer the questions, to see the anger and the disappointment. She didn’t expect him to understand or to forgive her. She could only imagine what went through his mind when he woke up to find out that he was truly left alone—and it broke her soul each and every time.

She had left Cassian but she couldn’t let go of his memory. In the deepest realms of her mind, she held onto unspoken wishes. No matter where she went, she searched for his face in every stranger she met, seeking the particular timbre of his voice and the way his eyes were smiling for him even when his lips didn’t.

Even here, in the middle of nowhere, shielded from a snowstorm inside a freezing maintenance airshed with a week’s worth of rations and a transport departure schedule, Jyn wondered what it would be like to see a blue coat emerging from the white abyss of the blizzard. And when she hurt too much, she recalled it was her own decision—both selfish and incredibly altruistic. It was for the best. Maybe not hers, but for the best nonetheless.

No one had ever taught Jyn Erso how to stay, so she had to leave.

 

 

Garel City was different from what she remembered. More— Imperial . But it was good for business. Jyn had spent another six weeks forging codes for a freighter to pay for her transportation, but she was growing space-sick. Instead, she decided to stay put near the spaceport for a while. She found a bunk to rent in a boarding house—the single room was smaller than a U-Wing interior, but it was good enough for her. She didn’t spend much time inside anyway.

Jyn picked up a job near the city market for a local junk trader. She would spend her days there, sorting through used blasters and fried datachips. The mismatch of tools and regulators somehow reminded her of her father and the years on Lah’mu more than it reminded her of Saw and Wrea. It was a mindless job, and she could just go through the motions for days without having to worry about a single thing. On occasion, gruff customers would try to pick a fight with her to avoid paying their credits, but wielding a truncheon in front of them changed their minds quickly. After fighting the Empire, this was a faint echo of violence that barely even registered in her mind.

At night, Jyn would often wander alone on the streets, listening to rhythms of life, observing the movements of the black market, smelling the street foods—making sure there were only two moons in the nocturnal sky of the Garel system. It was a fear that never completely died down, making her shiver in her sleep and reach for a hand she couldn’t grab anymore. She wondered if the Rebellion had made any progress, if they had been able to destroy the Death Star with her father’s plans. She wondered if word of such news would reach the Outer Rim Territories. She wondered if she even wanted to know.

By the next morning, everything had dissolved from Jyn’s mind, leaving Kestrel to work in silence.

 

 

Most of the time, Jyn Erso thought she was a clever person. In spite of that, it had taken her almost a full year to understand why she was still looking over her shoulder each time she heard a new set of footsteps. It wasn’t so much about who she feared could track her down—why would the Empire bother? They most likely didn’t even have a clue about the role she had played on Scarif. And even if they did, because somehow they had always managed to know everything about Jyn, they probably thought she had died with the rest of the rebels on that planet. No—it wasn’t about the fear. It was all about who she still hoped to see, and it was killing her to know she was still hoping.

In a world where everyone she had ever loved had always left her behind—Lyra first, Galen, Saw, Hadder, Akshaya, and then Bodhi, Chirrut, Baze —even that doshing K-2SO had died on her! She had pushed Cassian away before he too could leave. She couldn’t survive another blow, not from him. Jyn had run away, but she failed to understand that deep down, she wanted nothing more than for him to follow her. To prove her wrong.

Now, it was way too late to undo what had been done, and she deserved every bit of the blazing agony she had brought upon herself.

 

 

Her hair was shorter now, falling just above the curve of her collarbone. She had been fed up with herself the night prior and grabbed a blade in hope of doing something, anything , to help dissipate her weariness. Looking sternly at her own reflection in the mirror hanging above the crowded bar, she didn’t know if she liked it. After her third drink, Jyn decided that it didn’t matter. She wasn’t trying to look appealing to anyone—and certainly not to the human male staring at her while talking to his Bith friend for the past twenty minutes or so.

From time to time, she had to deal with that . She didn’t like it, because no matter whom she was looking at, it only served as a cruel reminder that none of them were Cassian Andor. They all fell short in comparison with the captain. She wanted his soft face and resolved gaze. She wanted the strength of his arms and his narrow body. She wanted that scent, that voice, that smirk .

She wondered if Cassian was smiling at someone else now that she was gone, if he was loving someone else tonight, lying in arms that weren’t hers. The thought alone almost made her break the cheap glass in her hand. Jyn stood up in a sharp motion, ready to walk into trouble to take her mind off of it.

The tavern was packed with smugglers and mobsters. It wouldn’t be too hard to pick a fight with such trigger-happy scum. But then there was Baze right next to her— good luck, little sister —and Jyn was doused in cold water all over again.

“Kriffin’ move,” she growled as she pushed past the unnamed man and his obnoxious friend.

She stormed outside, leaving the sour and sweaty smell of the tavern behind to be greeted by cold drizzle. Jyn frantically searched for the sight of the moons through cloudy skies. Two. Only two. She stumbled into a black alley, her boots stepping into the dark mud covering the ground. Her chest was so tight that she pressed a hand to it like she wanted to keep from breaking into pieces. She settled a few steps further down, her back hitting a hard wall for support as she gathered her thoughts. It wasn’t long before she had to run a hand through her wet hair to keep it from bothering her.

She lingered there unmoving for several minutes. She closed her eyes reluctantly, shaking on her feet, as a flow of treacherous memories was threatening to submerge her with nothing to hold on to. There was no lifeline left and Jyn felt so incredibly alone in a galaxy that had always been unkind to her. Yet it was the only world she had.

“I’m looking for a woman named Kestrel. Buzz any circuits?”

Jyn stopped breathing all at once—because it couldn’t be.

She opened her eyes with her next heartbeat, and watched the stars collide as if she was in one of her dreams, acute pain piercing through her chest.

“Cassian,” she barely whispered, feeling blood pounding in her ears.

And surely enough—Cassian Andor it was, just a few meters away from her. He was talking to the Kel Dor posted just outside the tavern’s door, trying to get some information out of him with a composed attitude. He wore his spy face, forehead frowning, his back not straight enough to intimidate his interlocutor—yet still demanding an answer.

Jyn watched him, helpless, paralyzed.

He was everything she remembered, but something else she didn’t. The rain had drenched his dark hair, making it stick to his face. He didn’t bother to use the hood of his jacket. He was now turning away from her, making his way into the shabby establishment, hand not far from what she imagined was a concealed blaster. Her heart burst from anxiety at the prospect of losing sight of him for even a second but she couldn’t find her voice to call after him.

She took one step forward, and then another.

Jyn felt slow and awkward, like dragging a hundred tons of melted metal behind her. She quickly realized it was fear—a hot, white, burning fear. Why was he here? What could she say to him? If he had come all the way to this black hole of a world just to tell her how much he resented her, how much he was disappointed in her desertion—she would not blame him. Let him go, she thought to herself.

“Cassian.” Her voice came out stronger, but was muffled by the rain. “ Cassian !”

This time, she shouted it and he turned around.

 

 

He had hoped to catch her at the junk dealer’s den, but he came in too late for that. Navigating through Imperial territories was never a carefree undertaking, even when he was confident enough that his business on Garel was irrelevant to anyone but him. Still, Cassian wasn’t the only spy in the galaxy. Others might know the things he knew as well, and he wasn’t willing to lose track of her for another six months.

She was good at jumping from planet to planet, but Cassian was way better at tracking people down. It was what he did for a living—Jyn couldn’t run far enough away for him not to find her.

His contact on the ground had pointed him in direction of an inconspicuous tavern situated on one of the major outlaw arteries of the city. She sure had a way of picking volatile environments to hide out in, just like that time he arrived too late to catch up to her on Takodana. The memory almost made him smile, but he would wait until he had found her for that.

Cassian was not worried because of the place—all of the places—she had chosen to go to, he was worried because of the place she had chosen to leave. You .

Waking up that morning on Yavin-4 to find out that Jyn Erso was gone without a word had been brutal. How did you get up from something like that?

Cassian had been ready to die on that beach, and he would’ve been content. But the moment he held her in his arms, she had ruined everyone else for him. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else after that—but somehow, death got delayed. And now he was left to deal with that, because being alive wasn’t good enough if it meant being without her.

Maybe he should’ve let her be. After all, she was free to leave if she wanted to. But Cassian saw way too much of himself in Jyn—and the mirror did hurt like broken glass. That wasn’t something he could simply let go of, and he didn't want to. Besides, she didn’t want him to let go either.

“I’m looking for a woman named Kestrel. Buzz any circuits?”

The Kel Dor was shaking his head slowly, breathing through his imposing mask. Cassian could tell the answer was genuine enough. He had a hologram of her in his right pocket, but decided to look inside first, just in case. His informer had been oddly specific about the pretty human female doing repairs at the trader's shop and Cassian hoped to finally get answers. Why did you leave? Why didn't you let me come? Why did you leave the door open for me? That—maybe he already knew.

She could've made this a lot harder for him. He would've found her regardless—because he was that good, but she had chosen to leave a burning trail behind her. Cassian was too intelligent to dismiss her intentions. She could've forged any new identity for herself, but she didn't. She had picked up an old one instead, and it was entirely deliberate on her part.

That's what he told himself when he was unsure of the way a reunion would unfold.

“Cassian!”

When he turned around, he already knew. Just like that, it felt as if the past year had been reset, blurred into an endless stream of hyperspace journeys and infinite nebulae. She was more vivid than his memory of her, now that she was stepping out of the blue shades of a hologram back into reality again. He had found Jyn Erso, and she wasn’t running away from him as he approached her.

They stared at each other like strangers under the cold rain, but Cassian still felt the comfort of her presence. She didn’t move. She was probably thinking about the things she wanted to say to him. So many things—he was sure, that she wouldn’t say in the end.

“Why are you here?”

Her voice came out sharp, unapologetic. It was almost an accusation. Jyn didn’t falter in front of him, which wasn’t surprising, but he still saw the uncertainty that her tone didn’t betray. Though she had asked the question, she was afraid to hear the response.

Cassian considered his words carefully, looking straight into her eyes. It would’ve been so easy to get a taste of revenge, to hurt her just as much as she had hurt him. But he hadn’t come this far for that, not after so much time.

He still perfectly remembered the first time he had seen those green eyes filled with anger and resentment, need, drive, then courage, hope. When she had told those men to take the last chances, when she had told him that someone was out there. Now he was here, to be that someone.

“I said ‘all the way’,” he simply told her. “I meant it.”

He couldn’t be sure because of the rain, but he thought she was crying.

 

 

“Living the life, Erso.”

Jyn sent him a sarcastic glare over her shoulder but said nothing. Behind him, the door slid shut and Cassian took stock of his surroundings. There wasn’t much to see. A single bunk on the opposite wall, a metal chair framing the corner of the room next to a square window covered by a metallic grid. A lonely cup waiting next to a sink and some food rations. Cassian didn’t see any other doors, indicating the showers must’ve been located somewhere else in the cramped building. The cockpit of his gunship was probably bigger than this cage.

“I’ve seen worse,” Jyn said with a shrug.

Of course, they both had.

The cooling system of the place was loud and persistent, almost as noticeable as a roaring spaceship engine. There wasn’t a single piece of Jyn displayed in the room. If he hadn’t been with her, he would never have known it was her place. It felt like she expected to step outside sometime soon and never come back.

Jyn set her soaked jacket on a wall hook, letting it drip onto the metal floor. Cassian did the same and they both unstrapped the leather of their blaster belts. In the proximity of the small space, he caught a faint trace of her scent when she bent over to unlace her muddy boots.

“You cut your hair.”

She looked up at him, her eyebrows drawn higher on her forehead.

“I did. Yesterday.” A small sound of derision escaped her lips. “It was bothering me.”

Cassian stepped closer, which wasn’t difficult considering the options available. He took a strand of brown hair between his fingers as if he had found something new to study about her. What could he have said? You look beautiful. She always had, but she wouldn’t want to hear it. Not now, anyway.

“Don’t worry, I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”

Cassian laughed quietly and let his arm fall back. He wasn’t worried about the floor. He had been awake for the past thirty-eight hours, manning a spaceship without co-pilot, and he could’ve slept in the cold rain if he had to. No, Cassian was only worried about waking up to find himself alone all over again.

She tensed next to him, probably reading his thoughts on his tired face.

“Maybe I should’ve brought a pair of binders, just to be sure.”

Her shoulders dropped at the joke and she cracked a smile—barely there, but a smile nonetheless.

“Sounds familiar,” she said sarcastically. “Did you come to drag me back to the Alliance in chains, Captain Andor?”

There was a fierce tone coloring her words when she used his rank. Defiance almost. Cassian felt thankful that this fire hadn’t burned down to ashes.

“I think we’re past that point.”

“Lucky me.”

Jyn sat on the edge of the bed. He watched her as she took off her cargo pants, leaving her only covering a shapeless green shirt. He couldn't hold back the double-take he did on her bare legs, but she didn't appear bothered by it. They were past the point of tension and the awkwardness too. They were past so many points, as if they had already shared all of those moments together without having actually experienced any of them.

He didn’t even know her, because he hadn’t had the time to. Yet he knew everything there was to know about her. A whole lifetime wouldn’t have made a difference. If it didn’t work out this time, he would just try harder. Cassian didn’t believe in soulmates—he barely believed in love. He didn’t believe in absolution either. But Cassian believed in hope, and Jyn was the closest thing he had ever felt to a hopeful sunrise.

He stepped out of his boots next and started to toss his clothes aside. She studied him in silence under the pale light of a single lamp. Down to a black pair of thermal underwear and a t-shirt, he came to sit next to her and found that the domestic scene had left them with a feeling of simple contentment. Jyn silently reached out for the necklace hanging over his chest, her eyes shining with emotion. He closed his fingers around hers, holding her tight to soothe whatever pain he could take away from her. Her skin was warm under his touch and he couldn't remember the last time he had held the hand of someone other than Jyn.

“You kept it.”

“Do you want it back?” Cassian asked.

He knew just how precious that necklace had been to her. It was probably the only thing of value Jyn had left in this life—though only sentimental, and she had left it behind. To him. It wasn't a goodbye, it was an apology.

“My mother gave it to me.”

“I know.”

She still hadn't answered and kept on looking at their joined hands, breathing slowly.

“And I gave it to you. Keep it, so you never forget about me.”

“I couldn't even if I tried to,” he said with a soft smile.

Jyn didn’t return the smile. It was hard for him to know what she was thinking about. She wasn’t a talkative one—neither was he, but the silence wasn’t overwhelming between them. If anything, it was reassuring.

“How did you find me?” she finally asked, of all questions.

The palm of her hand slid down until it came to rest on his thigh while she examined him closely.

“I'm an Intelligence officer,” he snorted with a dash of arrogance. “What do you think? No one walks out on me like that. I would've found you under a rock, though you were quick to move.”

“How long?”

“As soon as they let me off. Close to nine months.”

She reflected on the information for a time. When Cassian felt like she was closing him off again, he decided to pick up the conversation. It was a difficult thing to converse with Jyn Erso—as she had spent so much time trying to avoid her own name. She had grown up forced to be someone else, shielding a frightened little girl inside a cave to be a fighter. Now that the walls had fallen down, she still didn’t know how to reach out.

In a way, Cassian had been fortunate enough to gain her trust the way he did. He could’ve spent his whole life without knowing how it felt to have Jyn tighten her grip around him—trying to hold on to him.

“I don't pretend to understand why you left,” he said earnestly. “But if you wanted to get rid of me, you really should've called yourself something else than Kestrel Andor.”

A small gasp parted her lips, barely audible, as she returned his gaze.

“It was… the first thing that came to mind.”

She hadn’t prepared herself for that conversation—and Cassian realized painfully that she had never imagined he would actually come for her.

“I remember you being a better liar than that,” he said to mask his own dismay.

Jyn averted her eyes. Her fingers pressed inadvertently into his thigh, trembling, and he grabbed her wrist to drag her closer. He still refrained from hugging her at the last moment, just in case it would’ve scared her off. She was a shy animal, and she wouldn’t respond well to his affection unless it was of her own initiative.

Cassian didn’t know a lot about Jyn Erso, but he knew that much.

“I wanted to take a piece of you with me,” she eventually confessed to him.

It felt nice to hear it from her. It gave him the certitude that he had been right all along.

“You made it easy. So I followed.”

Jyn stayed silent, withdrawing again, and he didn’t know if it was because she was afraid of his reaction or her own. But now that he was here, there was no going back.

“You wanted me to follow,” he insisted.

“Yes.”

“Did you want to prove something to yourself?”

“I don’t know,” she said truthfully.

He believed her.

“Will you run again?”

“I don’t want to. I’m so tired of this,” Jyn told him with a strained voice. “I wanted to go home, I really wanted to. I just didn’t know where it was.”

“It’s with me.”

She was startled by his words.

It wasn’t an eloquent declaration. Cassian didn’t try to be charming or flirtatious. It was simply his truth, bare of all artifice, and he wanted for her to believe it. Even if he had forgotten what it felt like long ago, he was still willing to make a home for her. He was willing to try to, so she could find her peace—and maybe so he could find his. The absolution he had been waiting for hadn’t been Jyn’s to give him, but under the layers of pain they had shared, Cassian had found a hand to hold on to. He didn’t want to let go now.

“I’ll bring you home, Jyn.”

 

 

Jyn lay awake in Cassian’s arms.

The last time she hadn’t slept alone had been in her parents’ bed, on Coruscant, after she had a nightmare. Lyra had sung her back to sleep, gently stroking her hair. She didn’t remember the song, but she still remembered how nice and warm it felt between the two of them. Yet the memory barely held up compared to the embrace of Cassian. She relished the feeling of his touch, his warmth, the security of his arms—after having been so lonely.

From the steady rhythm of his breathing, she knew he was in deep sleep. She wasn’t surprised—exhaustion had been written all over his face, begging for him to take a break. Jyn wasn’t so lucky. She kept drifting off, just to abruptly wake up in a state of panic every twenty minutes or so. But each time, she would find his arms around her and the weight of his body squeezed into the small space of her bunk.

She hadn’t been dreaming of it like she had done countless times. Cassian was actually here—with her. Still, she felt the need to be sure before she could try to fall asleep again.

Through the metal grid mounted on the window, a dim light was piercing the darkness of the room. Jyn was facing him, watching as shadows lingered on the soft features of the man next to her. He still looked as beautiful as anyone Jyn had ever known. She ran a hand lightly across his face to brush back strands of hair from his forehead, careful not to touch him. She liked watching him sleep, seeing him so unguarded. She liked the fact that he allowed that vulnerability between them. He trusted her—he who didn’t trust anyone but himself.

It’s with me.

The words had made her heart beat faster, flustered. Her chest was overflowing with emotions each time she thought about them. She wanted nothing more than to believe. She wanted to belong with him, so badly.

Jyn snuggled closer to him, one leg resting between his as she tried to fit the map of his body like a glove. The warmth of his skin was as pleasing as the caress of a sun, chasing away the cold, the grime, and the rain. The last time she had been in the arms of someone, had been his—on Scarif. It felt like she had wasted a lifetime away from him since then. She still couldn’t figure out why he had come for her after all the pain she must have caused him, but she was more than willing to take that chance now. It was too late for regrets. She would not be a coward anymore.

Somehow, she thought about the fact she had never said the words to him, despite knowing they were there. When she thought about kissing him, anticipation and need would flutter in her stomach. It was a comforting feeling—to know that she was still capable of affection and longing. She hadn't had much opportunity to think about that in a very long time. From the way he looked at her, he probably wanted it as well, but hadn’t acted upon it.

He was careful with her, trying to discern all the things she wouldn’t say. He was good at it—maybe because he was a spy, but more likely because he was Cassian.

“I love you,” she whispered to a sleeping rebel.

 

 

The Starquake stormed out of hyperdrive against a black canvas of distant stars. Cassian checked his commands and set a new course for their travel. Scanners had picked up a large fleet of Imperial ships right in the middle of their route and he'd rather take a few more days to loop around them than to run into unexpected trouble. Time didn't matter anymore now that he had Jyn on board. Even in the worst-case scenario, she couldn't escape a ship in the middle of deep space, and he liked those limitations very much.

For now, she wasn’t trying to go anywhere. He had suspected that she barely slept the night before they took off from Garel City. After another day spent purchasing some supplies and reprovisioning the UT-60D for a long-distance travel, she was finally catching up, sound asleep in one of the pilot bunks behind the main command area.

Cassian left his seat after engaging the autopilot and went to check on the comms—just in case. Nothing of immediate importance came up on the rebel frequencies, though he spotted isolated reports in coded languages. He already knew what was at work among the spec operative cells—chasing down the remains of the Empire—but it wasn’t his fight anymore. He had done his part already. He had done enough. At least, Draven thought so when he let Cassian fly off without charging him with desertion.

On the top bunk, Jyn was mumbling unintelligible words in her sleep, curled up under Cassian’s blue coat. For a moment, he debated whether or not he should wake her. It didn’t seem like a very pleasant dream.

“Jyn,” his voice tried to ease her mind as his forearms came to rest at level with her sleeping frame, holding on to the railing of the bed.

She didn’t react to her name. Upon closer examination, Cassian noticed that her eyelashes were soaked with tears. He pressed a hand to her shoulder and gently shook her, calling her name again. This time she opened her eyes with a frightened expression, and it took her a few seconds to be able to focus on her surroundings.

“Cass—”

The nickname felt intimate on her lips, just as much as the look she gave him.

“I think you were having a bad dream.”

Jyn was recovering her composure already, pushing everything down like she always did. She couldn’t sit up on the thin mattress, as the ceiling of the bunk wasn’t high enough, so she folded an arm under the side of her face and kept on looking at him pensively.

“Yeah… They had come to Garel,” she told him, still half-living the reality of her dream. “With the Death Star. You were there too, but they fired up before I could talk to you. I couldn’t see your face, not a single time.”

Her voice died down and she said nothing else. Standing up in front of her, Cassian lowered his head with a conflicted expression.

“You can look at me now,” he offered with a heavy smile. “But I bet I’m less charming in person.”

“You’re beautiful.”

That was an odd thing to say about him. Nobody had ever defined Cassian as beautiful. He wasn’t supposed to be memorable as a person, he was supposed to blend in—to be as undistinctive as anyone around, to be invisible. Cassian had spent twenty years learning how to be an operative of the Rebellion, and he thought he looked as jaded as he felt. Until you asked Jyn Erso what she had to say about that apparently.

“Don’t be so shocked,” she mocked him.

“People usually tell me what a scummy face I have.”

“Well, that makes two of us,” Jyn laughed softly.

To his surprise, she reached out for his hand—something she had started to do quite a lot, he noticed. He didn’t have any complaints. It felt nice to be able to touch her again, to be close to her—physically. Confident she wouldn’t back up, Cassian slid his free hand over the nape of her neck and tried to ignore the pressure building in his chest. It wasn’t easily done when she looked at him the way she did.

There was no one left in the entire galaxy that he cared more about. He—the deadpan soldier who had his aim set on the flag of the Empire for so long—had finally breached his self-imposed confinement to seek another human being. After all those years alone, he hadn’t expected to fall for her—but he did. And when she had rejected the idea of running and trying and save herself, just so he wouldn’t die alone, she had left a permanent imprint on his heart.

Had they not been rescued before it was too late—all thanks to Jyn, he would’ve never known how much he wanted to be alive with her.

“I love the way your eyes smile,” Jyn said.

“I love a lot of things about you.”

If he had stepped over the line now, it would’ve been impossible to fix. Thankfully, he was growing more skilled at reading her. Cassian lowered his face to hers and searched for her lips gently, seeking a final permission to kiss her the way he desperately longed for.

She was the one to close the distance between them.

The second he tasted her, Cassian felt as if he had known her affectionate lips all of his life—and he wouldn’t be able to ever forget them. I love everything there is to love about you. Breathing in sync with him, Jyn naturally found the angle that would work between them. She kept on kissing him again and again, with a growing passion that had him spellbound. He dragged a thumb across her cheek and a gentle moan escaped her throat—wonderful sound to his ears. Cassian wondered just how much of that same desirable response he could elicit from her.

When he thought about Jyn as a lover, he had always pictured her as assertive—dominant almost. For some reason, she wasn’t as much as he would’ve thought. She let him have control over her and he wondered if she was aware of it, if it was because she trusted him—because it was him. He hoped so.

Cassian sucked on her lips with relish, mapping every one of her reactions. Her mouth was welcoming, warm, just like the hands tugging in his hair when he made her part her lips for more intimacy. Feeling her tongue brushing over his, Cassian started to wish they weren’t in such an awkward position. There was no way he could’ve fit next to her, and that was truly unfortunate. She was making it very difficult to think about anything else than having her naked under him, especially when he recalled the sight of her bare legs—waiting to be wrapped around him.

He must’ve groaned inadvertently, because he felt her smile against his lips.

“So you’re just a man after all,” she teased with a hint of affection.

“Very much so,” Cassian laughed. “You're also the only thing I could think about for almost a year now.”

She brushed her fingers over his lips slowly, as the expression on her delicate face shifted into a frown.

“I dreamed of you almost every night,” she said.

Cassian almost refrained from asking, but it was too much—even for him. If he wanted to be with her, he needed to understand.

“Why did you leave, Jyn?”

Her eyes were gleaming and reflecting the lights of the control panel.

“I was afraid of getting hurt,” she told him, voice tainted with guilt. “Afraid I wouldn’t be enough for you, not after the legacy we had to live up to. I’m not a hero, Cassian. I couldn’t find my place beside you. I know it doesn't make sense but... I was so lost when we came back. I still don’t know if I can.”

“Of course you can,” Cassian breathed out fearfully. “You stayed on that beach for me, and that was enough for a lifetime. You’ll always belong with me, as long as you want to. You… want to, right?”

The soft plea in his voice bothered him, but in spite of all his self-discipline, he hadn’t been able to suppress it.

“I never wanted to leave you. But I just didn't know how to stay .”

It was a heartbreaking thing to hear, especially from someone he wanted to protect as much as her. Alas, Jyn wasn’t a thing he could try to put back together. She was a person, and a very complex one at that. Cassian didn’t have the answers she was after—just like she hadn’t brought him the resolution he had desperately longed for. There wasn’t any mystical prayer to speak into the universe that would heal their pain. He couldn’t make everything alright just because he wanted to, but he could be with her while she tried to tame the darkness, and he found that was enough for him.

“If you ever hurt so bad that it’s too much,” he said. “Just promise that you'll let me try to help before walking out on me.”

“I don't want to leave you ever again,” Jyn told him fiercely.

“Good. Because you'll have to stay if you want to keep that new name of yours.”

 

 

Jyn was carefully considering the fact that the Death Star had been annihilated by the Rebellion some months prior. Had she not been running to the ends of the universe, she would’ve heard about it sooner. Maybe her nights would’ve been quieter then. Overall, she couldn’t decide if it would’ve made a difference for herself, but knowing that Rogue One had ignited that hope for the galaxy, that first taste of victory—was something she was proud of. She was proud of the ones that didn’t make it home, especially because she had.

Jyn also inadvertently felt a haunting mixture of guilt and satisfaction to have stolen Cassian away from the Rebel Alliance. She was glad he didn’t take part in that fight, and even if it wasn’t entirely because of her, she liked to pretend it was. She had been such a fool, but at least she had drawn the captain away from the violence of war, and for that, she wouldn’t apologize. Kay-tu probably would’ve been satisfied by this too, and it brought a soft smile to her lips.

The Starquake, in which she had embarked almost one week ago, slipped out of hyperspace when it came within standard approach distance of its destination. The planet of Ord Pardron, situated in the Mid Rim, was covered with dark blue oceans and jungle areas inland, with a tropical climate—something Jyn had barely experienced before.

Like her, Cassian had been born into mountains and snow, but they didn’t want to seek a new life somewhere that would remind them of the same old wounds. Ord Pardron was listed as a safe world for the Alliance, and it was good enough for a temporary retreat—or a longer one. They didn’t have plans beyond their immediate future, taking one step at a time.   

The late evening landing was smooth, as expected from Cassian’s piloting skills. She could’ve used a few lessons from him—knowing how to properly fly a spacecraft couldn’t hurt anyone.  

They were met on the ground by an unexpected party of what she assumed was the local defense force. It consisted of a bunch of weary men with retired blaster models that, she suspected, were barking louder than they could actually bite. Cassian introduced them as Jeron and Kestrel Andor, and she couldn’t tell if it was a residual safety measure from his years as a master spy, or simply a tendency to not trust anyone at first glance. Either way, Jyn was happy to provide them with her fake ID to corroborate the story.

“Am I supposed to call you Jeron, now?” she asked sarcastically, walking next to him along the streets of an old city near the coast.

“Actually,” Cassian told her with his usual accent, “that’s my middle name.”

“Really?”

Jyn thought about that with a pensive frown.

“How long do you think it will take them to put two and two together?”

“That wasn’t the point, I just wanted to see what kind of security they had in place. Now, I know it’s shit,” he laughed to himself.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye out for you,” Jyn snorted.

“I could use it,” he said half-seriously. “This way.”

“You’ve been here before.”

That wasn’t that much of a question, but Cassian nodded nonetheless, a hand on her back to guide her through a maze of small alleys made of woods and grey rocks.

All of Jyn’s belongings fit into a single satchel she had brought with her from Garel—mainly spare clothes, a well-used code replicator, and a few extra masters of code clearance to switch off her base every now and then. Cassian was also traveling light, as per usual. The two of them passed a marketplace and a handful of locals, sentient species for the main part—primarily humans, as the last rays of light were hitting the lowest point over the horizon. When they reached the shore, the two suns of the Ord Pardron system were already fading away into darkness, staining the sky with a crimson shade.

“Here,” Cassian said.

At the end of a small wooden path, a single house with round roofing and white walls was hiding behind a row of palm trees. They stepped onto the front porch and found that the entrance was left unlocked for anyone to enter. Cassian didn't embarrass himself with manners and simply barged inside as if he owned the place. Curious, Jyn followed closely in his footsteps.

“Where are we?”

She took an inquisitive look around, noticing the smell of dry weeds and salt lingering in the air. The interior was simple, kept minimalistic. She discarded her backpack on a round table in the middle of the room while Cassian was finishing a scouting inspection, probably making sure the place was truly empty.

“This is a safe house,” he finally said,  “from one of my contacts. We can stay here as long as we want.”

Jyn made a face, contemplating the horizon of the sea through one of the round window openings in the thick, dry walls. Behind her, she heard Cassian putting his bag down.

“I didn’t know spies were paid with beach house credits,” she told him without looking. “I would’ve considered the job.”

“You gotta have some fun if you walk out of it alive, right?”

It was meant as a joke, but the heartfelt truth still fell too harsh in Jyn’s chest. She didn't like to be reminded of the precariousness of his own existence—not when she could lose him at any time without warning. Cassian must’ve noticed, because his expression softened when she turned to him. He then added, “And no snow.”

“No snow,” Jyn finally smiled.

That was good enough— better than good.

In just a week's span, Jyn had shifted from cold, resolute despair to awakening hopefulness. She went from utter solitude and grief to being able to embrace the only man she was dreaming about. Some would've said it was too good to last. Everything good dies. Jyn was definitely on the edge, but she had been before, far worse—and she knew better than to waste precious moments with that darkness.

Besides, she started to remember just how good of a team they were together. They had overcome such disastrous odds that Cassian’s presence alone was enough to ease her unsettled soul.

“Do you want to pick a bed?”

He looked tired from the space travel, and also probably from his long odyssey to find Jyn Erso. The prospect of sleeping on a real bed for a change was appealing to her. There was no doubt that the upcoming journey would require some adjustments, but it could wait for a new dawn. Meanwhile, they weren’t in immediate danger, they were fed, and they had a roof over their heads, which were the only requirements Jyn really needed to let her guard down.

“I want the one you’re sleeping in,” she casually said.

“That can be arranged.”

There wasn’t any trace of banter in his tone. Jyn was the sarcastic one between the two of them, and right now she had dropped the act.

In the growing shadows surrounding them, she walked up to him without making a sound. Her acute gaze flickered over the brown material of his long sleeve shirt, just as she looked up to meet his eyes.

“Can I have it now?”

“Yes, you can.”

Something warm and heavy spread in her chest with just a sting of apprehension. Jyn studied him for a few seconds, intrigued to see how this man had made his way into her heart so blatantly. In the confinement of an unknown place, she dared to touch his face without fearing that he would disappear with the next morning.

The rough hair of his beard itched her skin when she traced his angular jawline like a shy animal. His brown hair had grown longer since Scarif. She tucked it behind his ear gently, feeling his insightful gaze locked on her. Cassian leaned to her touch, drawing his forehead closer until they met. His breathing brushed over her skin with a barely increased rhythm, still enough for her to notice the effect she had on him—it was a dazzling thought that overpowered all others. She had been so deprived of human touch since she left Yavin-4—deprived of him —that she couldn’t have enough of it now, asking with every inch of her body that he’d stay close to her. When he wrapped an arm around her waist, Jyn almost shivered.

“Cassian… Can you do something for me?”

“Tell me,” he whispered in her ear. “What do you want?”

You. It had taken her almost a whole week of close-quarters living and reassuring kisses to be sure she could handle that change in their relationship without breaking. Now, she didn't want to wait anymore.

“Can you undress me?” she simply asked.

It may have sounded funny to some people, but it was not to Jyn. Up until now, she had never let anyone but herself take her clothes off. She liked to be in control, even during intimacy. Of course, she had done those kind of things before—though not many times. Where she came from, people used sex as a means to an end. Not something she’d spent a great amount of time thinking about or wanting, for it was never really that good no matter the person she was with. She couldn’t remember being fully naked even once, not even that first time.

But for him, she would be.

Cassian still hadn’t moved, holding her tight against his chest while he stroked her back with one hand. For a moment, she almost thought he didn’t want to do it, which was… unlikely.

“Cass?”

“When I first met you, I never thought you’d say that to me,” he finally explained, pulling away just enough so he could look at her.

He had that familiar smirk back on his face.

“I’ve never said that to anyone.”

The confession seemed to seal the deal between them—she saw it in his eyes, the same need that she held in hers. He was going to give her anything she wanted, and if she didn’t know what she wanted, Cassian would find out for her.

When she thought about him as a lover, he was always caring and compassionate. There was just something soft about him, about the way she pictured him when she was trying to get off. Not that he wasn’t—but Jyn quickly found out her imagination was lacking substance. The real Cassian was more impatient, more demanding. He was breathing alive against her lips and he was the best thing she had ever had.

In the near pitch-black house, he guided her towards what she supposed was the sleeping quarters. Soon enough, she found her feet colliding with a soft obstacle on the ground and she almost lost her balance. Cassian steadied her at the waist, pulling her flush to his chest. They could’ve used some light, and he apparently thought so himself.

“Wait.”

Jyn was forced to let him go, while her body protested the separation. She heard him rummage around the room, what she thought was the sound of a wooden box and then finally—a small halo of blue light flashed before her eyes. She squinted in the sudden brightness until she became accustomed to the new visibility provided by a single lightstick. Jyn noticed a pile of equipment that was left in a crate in a corner of the bare room. No doubt that Cassian had visited the place more than once.

He let the lightstick fall back to the ground, near a grey pallet covered by a textured blanket of geometric patterns. When he stood up, the shadows on his face shifted to follow his every movement, bathing his eyes in blue glimmers like an unnamed constellation. It was the most beautiful thing Jyn had ever seen.

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pulling him down into a kiss. He responded without hesitation, grabbing the back of her neck between loose hairs. When she asked for it, he opened his mouth, deepening their kiss as Jyn’s breath started to match her pulse. A burning sensation tore through her veins, travelling down her body to pool in her lower stomach with an unbelievable longing—to be touched, to be loved. Blast, she wanted love so badly, but only if it was his. She would not have permitted anyone else to come so close to her. Cassian was the face of her hope.

“Thank you…” she whispered almost breathless. “For coming back.”

Cassian left her swollen lips to drag his mouth across her jaw, before kissing the soft line of her neck. His tongue caressed the hot skin under her ear and she trembled at the touch.

“Welcome home, love,” he said with a deep and raspy voice.

And for the first time in forever, Jyn felt like she truly was both—home and loved. After that, words went silent and were replaced by the sounds of their breathing and the rustle of fabrics rubbing against each other.

Cassian did exactly as she had asked. He pulled her shirt from her pants, pushing it up on her flat stomach as his hands slid under to claim her skin. His fingers traced the curves of her body, coming to brush up the sides of her breasts with just a hint of restraint. Jyn parted her lips in a soft moan, feeling Cassian's hot breath down her neck and his hands over her all at once.

She tugged at the front of his own shirt, searching for the clasps on the asymmetric garment. She wanted nothing more than to feel his skin against her, to be engulfed in radiant warmth, and never going back to that cold place where she had locked up her own mind for so long. When she located the first snap button, she pulled on it eagerly. His collar fell lower, and she managed to open the panels to gain access to his upper body. For the first time, Jyn had a glimpse of what was under the spy, under the soldier.

The sheer blue light was cruel, unforgiving, but she didn't falter at the sight of his scars. She had expected it. She knew what kind of life he had lived. She knew because she had the same. She wasn’t ashamed of it, and she didn't find him any less beautiful because of the stories he was forced to carry with him.

He let her map his body patiently, tracing over the torn skin and the solid muscles of his abdomen. Soon enough, he pulled her own shirt over her head and captured her lips again, sliding his hands down her back. Jyn shivered when he reached one of her nastiest stories, something that medbacta almost couldn’t heal. He then grabbed her ass and pressed their hips together—a gesture that made them both moan in pleasure.

Next up was her breastband. Cassian had a little trouble getting rid of it, failing to see the logic in the way the piece was put together. A part of Jyn wondered how many women he had undressed before her—though she didn't really want an answer to that question. She found herself being extremely territorial all of a sudden. She was the only one allowed to see him like that, to have him open, eager, in need of her. Cassian was hers.

She wanted to tell him but the words got stuck when his mouth closed around one of her now-naked nipples. Jyn gasped softy, almost pleading. That was actually way more pleasurable than she remembered it. Or maybe she was just way more turned on by him than she had anticipated. She wrapped her fingers in his hair while he switched sides and Jyn took a sharp breath, eyes shut.

His hands started to work at the buckle of her belt and she noticed they still both had their weapons on them. They made a pretty pair of rebels.

Cassian discarded her holster and did the same with his own. When he returned to her, he started to unbutton her trousers while Jyn was busy kissing him again. She bit his lower lip carefully, earning a new groan of appreciation from him. Not long after, one of his hands traveled lower, sliding inside of her pants to find better access to rub her through her underwear. It was merely a tease, but Jyn dug her nails into his shoulders with a small cry. She was starting to feel very hot under his touch—wet, especially when he continued stroking her with barely enough pressure for her to stay still.

Finally, he kneeled in front of her. Jyn whimpered inadvertently at the loss of his hand but he kissed her stomach instead and that was a whole new level of sensation for her. Cassian unlaced her boots with a dexterity that was almost suspicious. After removing them and the knife she kept around her ankle, he slid her pants and underwear down in one single motion. Dexterous and practical.

For the first time in her life, Jyn stood fully naked in front of a man—and that man choose to use his privilege to kiss her thighs attentively. If she thought she was aroused before, it was nothing compared to the way she was now burning from the inside. She realized just how much she needed him. With each centimeter of skin he uncovered, Cassian came closer and closer to where she wanted him to go, yet she was nervous to let him. That wasn’t what she had in mind when she thought about him. Everything was more— straightforward when she thought about sex.

“Cassian.”  

He didn’t respond and simply pressed his lips to the inner corner of her thigh as he moved further up between her legs.

Cassian,” she hissed. “You don’t have to.”

“Yeah, but I’m still going to,” he said with a lustful gaze.

Looking back at him, Jyn took a deep breath, hands on his shoulders. Anticipation was killing her, she didn’t know what to expect from that. She was unable to look away, mesmerized by the image of Cassian Andor pressing his lips to her core. The audacity of it sent more blood rushing to her center. Jyn heard herself moan when he licked her, barely recognizing her own voice. This definitive shift in their relationship was like a shot of pure dopamine in her brain. Mine.

She liked the way he used his tongue on her. She liked how he liked to do it. At least, he seemed to enjoy what he was doing and Jyn was breathing more heavily with each passing minute. His fingers were laced over her thighs to keep her in place, but she started to have trouble keeping her hips from moving. He was really—good.

“Cass,” she pleaded between short pants.

She didn’t even know what she was asking for. More. Just more of everything.

“Lie down,” his deep voice directed her.

Jyn was light-headed and she whimpered when he sat back down on the pallet, kicking his boots and socks aside. She joined him without hesitation, heart ready to jump from her chest. Cassian’s shirt joined the rest of their clothes on the ground and it wasn’t long before he found his way back to her. He flipped her on her back and lowered himself on top of her, pressing the weight of his body against her. Jyn decided right there this was her favorite thing in the entire universe. Her necklace fell between them, familiar. Jyn kissed him, tasting herself on his lips with a curious fascination. Then he decided he wasn’t done and started kissing his way down her body again.

Now that she wasn’t standing anymore, he made her spread her legs for him and Jyn complied without an ounce of shame. A thin layer of sweat was starting to bead on her skin. She arched her back, biting her lip, closing her eyes. His tongue went further down her, exploring her entrance, and she knew she was obscenely wet just by the sound it made. This was unlike anything she had ever experienced. She ached to have him inside of her. She knew it would be good. Just the thought of it had her throbbing.

Jyn threw an arm over her face, panting loudly. She felt a soft tickle, then a growing pressure, and she cried out when he slid a finger inside of her. He easily pushed a second one almost immediately and the stretch was so good, yet so frustrating. There was just something about him that drove her mad—to the point where she was begging for release.

“Please, please .”

“Let go,” he said. “Just let go.”

While his fingers went in and out of her with a rapid motion, her whole body tensed, rigid. It felt too good, almost painful. It came like a wave, breaking over her body to pull her under. Jyn was unable to articulate a single sound. She frowned, mouth wide open, and she looked at him—the man that made her come all by himself. That too, was a first.

“You’re really good,” she said when she finally regained her voice.

Cassian laughed and looked down, almost shyly.

“Thank you.”

He crawled back to her, kissing her neck with attention, then her lips. The exhaustion she was feeling in the afterglow of her orgasm quickly vanished when she wrapped her arms around his bare back. He pressed himself between her legs, and even still half-covered, she could feel the hard length of him rubbing her core.

“You want me,” Jyn whispered.

It wasn’t a question, but maybe she had to say it out loud to be convinced this wasn't one of her dreams.

“So much it hurts.”

“I want you inside,” she said, imperious.

“Anything you want, love.”

She was already reaching for the front of his trousers, trying to unbutton them while Cassian balanced his weight on his elbows. She seized the opportunity to palm him through the heavy fabric, then without it as she slid the garment down his narrow hips. He had to get up for a moment to kick it off, then fell back next to her, finally naked. Jyn pushed a hand against his torso and wrapped a leg over his hip as they kissed almost desperately.

Cassian grabbed the nape of her neck. His hot breath was coming in short pants over her lips, groaning in a low voice. When Jyn rolled her hips against him, he stopped breathing all together for a few seconds. She could feel the burning heat between her legs, wanting nothing more than to let him climb inside her.

With one hand, Jyn guided his length to her entrance, the other was still trapped under his head. They were facing each other and their gazes remained locked when he finally slid inside, both of them moaning at the new sensation. The feeling of completion was uncanny. Jyn drew her leg higher and he grunted at the motion. She went to kiss his neck, encouraging him, breathing in the smell of his skin with delight.

When he first started to move, she felt like she never had proper sex before because surely, this couldn't feel that good.

Cassian grabbed her ass with one hand, guiding her, and she followed his rhythm. He was taking more time than she would’ve thought possible, seeing how they were both incredibly desperate for this. She wanted to tell him he didn’t have to worry about it, but she didn't want it to end. Ever.

" Jyn ," he breathed out with a strained voice.

"I'm here."

Yes, she was. She was never going anywhere without him ever again.

Cassian buried his face in the crook of her neck. His breathing was shallow and fast. She held onto the sweaty skin of his back, her whole being pulsing around him. The friction of their bodies together drew her way closer to release than she had time to realize. This time, she cried out in a way she had never heard herself do before. His name was tumbling from her lips repeatedly and her eyes squeezed shut so hard that she was seeing white stars.

Cassian came shortly after her, letting out a long raspy groan with a final thrust. She felt the hot flush between her legs and he trembled in her arms. Then silence fell over them, only disturbed by the echoes of their unsteady breathing.

She found herself gently stroking his hair without a word. He kissed the red skin of her neck softly while his fingers caressed her back. Finally, he shifted away from her and managed to grab the blanket from under them. Jyn welcomed the embrace with a blazing contentment, enveloped between the warmth of his body and that of the cover. She tilted her head back to be able to look at him. He had his eyes closed.

“Cassian,” she called softly.

“Yes.”

“Will you teach me how to fly a spaceship?”

The question seemed to unsettle him. He then relaxed again and a smirk pulled the corner of his mouth upward.

“Yes. I'll teach you whatever you want.”

“Whatever?” Jyn teased with a rebellious tone.

“How to fly,” he said, kissing her hair. “How to deactivate a plasma bomb.” He kissed her cheek. “How to pick a binders lock.” He kissed her lips.

“I know how to pick a lock probably better than you,” she snorted. “I'm undisciplined, remember?”

“Right… So what about—I teach you how to stay?”

Jyn’s heart suddenly jumped in her chest.

“Yes,” she told him with what she hoped was a steady voice. “That would be very helpful of you, Captain Andor.”

“I thought so, Sergeant Erso.”

“You said I could keep my new name.”

Cassian blinked at her in surprise. It took him about a full minute to be able to compose himself again, which was a true achievement from her end. Jyn thought it was a good sign. It meant he trusted her enough to show her his emotions, and she was grateful for it—knowing how hard it was for both of them. Trust goes both ways, she recalled, and she knew it was true with Cassian.

“You can,” he finally decided, his accent thicker under exhaustion. “But you're gonna have to use real identification at some point… Luckily, I happen to know exactly how you can obtain a legal ID for Jyn Andor.”