She dies on the beach, in his arms.
It isn’t the first time. It isn’t even the second.
“We’re trapped,” she tells him, blood bubbling up between her lips. His fingers spasm on her wound and he shushes her, his voice shaking. She draws a shuddering breath that rattles in her lungs. “It’s my turn, but it’ll be yours, next. We’re trapped here.”
He looks at her with pity.
The dying woman spouting nonsense.
“Stay with me,” she says.
And he could make it, she thinks. If he left. It wouldn’t matter. They would reset anyway. But it might be nice one time to die watching him escape.
He nods his head. He doesn’t look up to watch the fire and wave approaching. He never does.
And he never, ever leaves.
She opens her eyes, the ship jolting under her as it comes out of hyperspace.
And Scarif looms ahead of them.
The first time she led him to the beach, she assumed it would be the last time. His strength was fading. Hers was spent. Better to die with someone than alone, and so they held each other.
Then they woke up, and he didn’t remember. No one did.
And then it happened again.
Jyn has seen Cassian die a hundred times. She has died with him a hundred more. She has fallen from the top of the tower twelve times. She has fallen from the data banks thirty-seven times. She has gone down under Imperial fire more than she cares to count.
She has heard Cassian’s voice call her name in the last seconds of her life thirty-four times. Pain. Anguish. Fear. Loss. Thirty-four times.
She has lost him and he has lost her, but she’s the one who has to remember it.
And in all those chances spent, he has never left her when he could.
Jyn has kissed Cassian twice. He has kissed her forty-seven times.
Statistically, K2SO would say, there’s a high chance of Cassian kissing her if they ever manage to get off this rock alive.
If she wanted, she thinks she could probably get off Scarif. That might be enough to stop this day from resetting. But once she figured out the secret – if she dies, she resets, and no one remembers – it got easier and easier to just start letting go. Watch him fall and then stand up from behind cover. Throw herself from the tower. Shoot until she’s shot back.
They’re getting off Scarif together or not at all.
She has already worked out how to save Bodhi. Chirrut and Baze, too. K2SO is harder, but she figures it out on the eighty-sixth time through.
Cassian, though, always dies, or she dies trying to prevent it.
A shot to the gut, early in the run, and she watches Cassian’s face melt into an expression of horror as she brings the blaster to her temple and pulls the trigger.
She gives them away when she’s trying to check out a utility closet she’s never explored before, and Cassian jumps in front of her, trying to block her from blaster bolts that hit her anyway, and they lie dying beside each other on the floor, and Jyn wants to tell him, wants to apologize, wants to explain I’m just trying to save us all, while he looks at her with eyes that ask why.
He dies, bleeding out from a shrapnel wound, as she kisses him.
She dies, bleeding out from a shrapnel wound, as he kisses her.
“We just need more time,” she says to him, in the elevator on the way down. Bodhi and Chirrut and Baze are gone. They’ve survived every run since the sixty-second. K2SO is probably with them, but she hasn’t made it this far in a while. It’s possible she messed something up.
Cassian’s breath is ragged. It pushes the loose hair around her face.
“How did you know?” he asks her. He means the tower. She tried to warn him.
She presses her forehead to his and closes her eyes.
“You’ll bleed out in this elevator,” she tells him. “Krennic hit you too high up this time. My fault. I wasn’t moving fast enough.”
“How did you…?” he trails off, breathing shallow, and she can feel the strength as it leaves him in increments, and she doesn’t open her eyes, because she has watched the light leave them thirteen times. Once was enough, and twice was too many, and fourteen might drive her mad entirely.
“We’ve been here before. We’ve done this before,” she whispers. “And last time, we did this.”
She presses her lips to his, and she feels him kiss her back as much as he’s able.
She waits until he sags against her, knees buckling, pulse slowing, before she takes the blaster from his holster and ends it, their foreheads still touching.
He’s dangling from the databanks, but she manages to hold on to his hand. He manages to shoot Krennic, and his wound is to the calf this time.
“Not bad,” she says aloud.
“How did you know?” he asks.
He asks this maybe forty percent of the time.
“We’ve done this before,” she says.
Sometimes, she lets it play out. She stumbles away from his cooling body, away from his wide, unseeing eyes and the grip of his fingers, and she staggers off to explore something, or watch something happen. She knows she has to do it, because the more she memorizes about the trillion moving pieces that make up her prison, the more she can navigate them, but every step she takes towards survival without him feels like wasted effort.
Together or not at all.
They run together across the beach, and the AT-ATs loom large before them, and she hears him cry out, and she sees him fall, and seconds later she joins him, her head landing hard on his chest, and she hears him whisper something as his arm comes up around her.
“We’ve been here…” he says, before the explosion.
But she wakes up. And he doesn’t remember.
She’s crying in the ship, and Chirrut squeezes her hand.
“You’ll figure it out,” he tells her. She isn’t even surprised that he knows. She just shakes her head.
“One of us has to die,” she tells him.
“You would have given up long ago if you believed that was true.”
She has watched Cassian die more times than minutes she had known him before Scarif. And yet, and yet, it’s impossible to imagine abandoning him.
It’s the thousand smiles and kisses and exchanged glances. It’s the jokes he makes, unexpectedly, on some of these runs, and she laughs every time, because they’re such a surprise against the neverending march of misery.
It’s “I’m with you” and “I’m here” and it’s the fact that he never, ever leaves her. Not when her arm is blown off, when her legs don’t work, and the death troopers are coming. Cassian’s kneeling behind her in the sand, still holding onto her and firing at them as they approach. K2SO is dead by their feet, and Jyn is begging him to kill her, just kill her, just leave her, but he won’t. He doesn’t even hear her. He just grits his teeth and keeps firing until they kill him, too.
It’s the fact that every time they go down together, he’s reaching out with the last of his strength to touch her.
It’s the fact that after living this day a thousand times, she still finds things about him to admire, to care for, to love.
(He has known her only a short time. If they ever survive, if she ever figures it out, she will know him so much better than he knows her.)
It’s the fact that he kisses her so often when he thinks there’s no hope left, and she wonders how long he’s been waiting to do that.
She can’t just leave him.
“I’ll figure it out,” she promises him, again in the elevator. But Cassian can’t even stand this time, and so she’s leaning over him, crouched between his sprawled legs, and she kisses him. (She has kissed him three times. He has kissed her eighty-seven). And he brushes his thumb over the tears on her cheeks.
“You could make it,” he says as the elevator doors ding open.
“Not without you,” she says. “It doesn’t matter anyway. You die, and then I die, and then I wake up, and you won’t remember. We’ve done this before.”
It’s a mantra. It’s repeated. In her head. Out loud.
“You’ll figure it out,” Chirrut says.
He has said this to her three hundred and forty-two times now, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that.
They make it to the beach again.
They just need more time. The pieces always fall into place just a little too late.
But Jyn is losing hope, is losing ambition.
There was a string of five runs where she shot herself before she could even leave the ship, just because she was so tired.
There was a run where she left the ship on her own, sprinted as far as she could onto the beach, and kept running until someone killed her.
For the past three runs, she has kissed Cassian early and often, as if the power of her desperation can keep him alive.
They have kissed now more times than words than they had spoken before Scarif. Before this hellish loop.
“I can’t save you,” she says to him, wrapping her arms around him as he’s dying. The sobs are trapped in her throat. She’s too tired even to cry. “I just need more time. I just need…”
“We’ve been here before,” Cassian whispers, and she freezes, her arms tight around him, her eyes forward, facing the explosion. For the first time in thirty-seven runs, she feels a smile lighting on her face. “We’ve done this before.”
She pulls back to see him, and he’s wearing an expression that looks like a revelation.
“We have,” she whispers. And his eyes, dimming, light fading, meet hers for the last time, and he surges forward with his last strength, and he kisses her.
“And last time, we did this,” he says into her ear, and she can’t tell if it’s sobs or laughter that escape her as the light reaches them.
She wakes up. Scarif looms ahead.
Cassian puts his hand on her shoulder.
He has done this zero other times.
Chapter 2: We've Done This Before
This was initially supposed to be a oneshot. I wrote it in about an hour after finishing the season finale of Westworld (idk what the connection is; I just wanted to write). A lot of the comments expressed a desire to see a proper ending, but just as many seemed to like the ending I went with (vaguely hopeful?) The comments were so great, and I really love the ending too, but I also wanted to write more in this (exhaustingly miserable) universe.
I was going to leave it as it was (though I deleted the last line of the last chapter because it's been bugging me all weekend), but then I started writing and wound up with a super long, more Cassian-centric second part.
So I'm just gonna recommend that if you were satisfied with the ending, don't read this chapter??? Let's call Chapter 1 the Director's Cut and Chapter 2 the Theatrical Release. I love them both, but I also understand the ~art value~ in leaving it as it was.
I'm sorry if this has been ramble-y and pointless, but I had to get that out!
That said, there's a hint of boning in this chapter, so there's ~art value~ in that too, probably.
Once he’s in it, once he starts remembering, the run only sticks in his memory if he dies touching her.
That takes three tries to figure out.
“That was one of the worst runs yet,” she tells him, still in the ship, getting changed into their disguises.
“Was it?” His face is twisted into disagreement as he hands her another piece of her armor.
“Your leg was blown off,” she reminds him, incredulous. After so many lives lived together, she knows that he has a tendency towards understatement, but this is extreme even for him.
“I was shot in the head,” he tells her.
She eventually realizes that he remembers two times ago, when they faced down a pair of Stormtroopers and were shot, hands clasped.
She’s remembering last run, where a thermal detonator sent him flying through the air, and she couldn’t reach him, could only watch him trying to stop the bleeding, too little too late.
But for a second, the despair of not understanding is overwhelming.
“Breathe,” he tells her. “Breathe! We’ll figure it out!”
“You don’t get to tell me to breathe,” she says. Her voice breaks. Bodhi is looking at them strangely. Jyn has become used to that, but she lowers her voice anyway. “I have watched all of you die hundreds of times.”
“I know,” Cassian says. “I know. I’m sorry. We’ll figure it out.”
When they realize that touch is the key, they do their best to stay within reach. When it doesn’t work, it’s usually a bad run. He figures that out quickly. Those are the runs she doesn’t want to talk about.
“You need to tell me so I know what not to do,” he says.
“It won’t happen again.”
She’s pale, breathing hard. Won’t look at him.
He was shot as they tried to exit the elevator. She was taken, ripped from him before he died. She thought, for far too long a moment, that the Stormtroopers would take her with them, would take her from the planet. End her chances. Leave Cassian dead for real. She fought them, tore at their masks, finally managed to grab a blaster and shoot herself, three times in the gut, the only place she could reach, and they finally let her go.
“You don’t need to remember that one,” she tells him.
After fifteen runs, the weight of his hand on her shoulder becomes heavier. It’s the first thing she feels every time she wakes up. His hand squeezes, a reminder that he’s with her now.
After thirty-two runs, it becomes two hands, one placed on each shoulder.
“It isn’t easy to watch you die,” he tells her after forty-seven, standing in the vault, listening to K2SO escape on the other side. She’s about to be offended by that, about to snap at him for that, but he continues, “I can’t imagine what this has been like for you.”
She laughs. Humorless. Bitter.
“I’m glad you don’t have to,” she says.
“If I could take your place…”
Jyn thinks it might be the Kyber crystal on her necklace. She could place it over his head. Pass the torch.
She can’t do that do him.
It takes twenty more runs for him to kiss her again, and she realizes that she missed him.
“You only ever kiss me when you don’t think there’s any hope,” she says. It’s not until she speaks the words that she understands. “Oh.”
“I’m not leaving you.”
“You’ve done this a thousand times, you said.”
“I’m not letting any of those thousand times be wasted.”
“Enough, Cassian. Together or not at all.”
It’s her new mantra. Cassian reluctantly starts saying it back, but she knows that if she ever gets too tired of trying, he’ll let her go with a smile.
She wishes he understood that only makes it more impossible to consider.
“You’ll figure it out,” Chirrut says, and now he looks at Cassian when he says it too.
She breaks her leg falling from the databank, and he climbs down to her, tries to help her up.
“Just shoot me,” she says, and he curses, lets her slide back down to the ground. He joins her, sitting beside her.
“How long are you going to be able to keep doing this?” he asks.
“Shoot me and we’ll find out.”
But he doesn’t take out his blaster. When he looks at her, it’s with a sad enough expression that she has to look away. She doesn’t want his pity.
“Why don’t we just rest a while,” he says.
She hasn’t cried in what feels like weeks. For some reason, this is what does it.
He holds her, cradles her, kisses her hair.
“Please stop asking me to leave you,” she says, curled against him. Her leg throbs, but it’s a relief to rest, to simply sit here with him.
“Okay,” he says.
“I can’t,” she tells him. “I don’t know if it would even work, or if I would just reset again. I don’t know if there’s something else it wants. But I couldn’t live with myself if I walked away from you now.”
This, she thinks, is the closest she’s ever come to telling someone she loves them. She wonders if he realizes that.
He kisses her hair again.
“I’m sorry,” he says. He doesn’t know what else to say, she thinks.
In reality, there aren’t words for the guilt he feels. The sorrow he feels for her. She’s exhausted. Lost. Hopeless. And it’s because of him. He wishes he could convince her that it’s okay. It’s okay if she leaves him. He wants her to leave him.
“Am I even helping?” he asks.
He’s dying, stretched out on the top of the tower. She didn’t bother getting him to the elevator this time, so he at least gets to enjoy the view.
She kicked Krennic off the tower after he took the bolt to the chest. That wasn’t bad either.
Cassian’s head is pillowed in Jyn’s lap, and he looks up at her to see if she’s listening. She’s looking down at him, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.
“Before you knew, sometimes I had to leave you. I wanted to understand everything. I needed to memorize everything, so maybe we’d have a chance. And you would look at me as I left, and you would look so…” she sighs, and her fingertips brush across his lips. She’s wiping away blood, he thinks. Pretending it’s a casual gesture. It’s funny. He sort of thought they were both immune to death at this point.
“Betrayed?” he guesses. She nods, makes a noncommittal noise.
“Betrayed. Hurt. That was worse. Confused.”
“I’m sorry,” he says again, and she laughs. She’s been laughing a lot more, lately, but it isn’t a good laugh. It’s harsh, jagged. Spiked. He wonders sometimes what her real laugh sounds like. Does she even have one?
“The look on your face was almost too much for me to bear,” she says, as if he hasn’t spoken. “Just you being here is helping. Of course it’s helping. I’m not alone.”
It’s one of the bad ones. He can tell. When he puts his hands on her shoulders, she reaches up with one of hers, grabs his fingers with her own. Her entire arm is trembling.
Last thing he remembers, they were staring down death on the beach for the thirty-eighth time in his memory. She doesn’t remember how many times it’s been for her. She’s too shaken for that, so he knows they died apart. He missed one.
He knows it was brutal, because she wipes at her eyes with the back of her free hand.
“I think it’s the necklace,” she whispers. Shaking fingers dig it out from under her shirt. She turns to face him as they land, and she pulls it from around her neck. “It’s the only thing I can think of.” She presses it into his hands, curls his fingers around the cool crystal. Her shoulders shake with tired sobs. “I’m sorry.”
Cassian shakes his head, slips the necklace on. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her.
“Thank you,” he says.
He’s terrified when she goes down. Krennic shoots her off the tower. They thought if they slowed their ascent, they could surprise him at the top, but it backfired, and she slips right through Cassian’s fingers.
What if she was wrong about the necklace? What if, when she took it off, it simply freed her? What if this is the last chance they’re going to get, and he let her fall?
He kills Krennic and sends the plans. Just in case. He completes the mission.
And then he pulls out his blaster and shoots himself, not knowing if it’s going to be the end.
It isn’t. There’s a part of him that’s disappointed.
He hopes he never has to fully understand. He can’t imagine what it was like before he was able to remember. When she was alone. He hopes it won’t ever get that bad.
But he understands some of how much it can hurt after five runs in a row when she can’t remember anything from the runs before.
She’s remembering how close they came last time they died together.
He’s remembering her choking on her own blood as he tried to fight his way free from the troopers driving him to the ground, breaking his arm as they tried to secure him, ignoring his pleas to get Jyn up, to help her.
“So close,” is the first thing she says, for the fifth time in a row, and he smiles at her.
“So close,” he echoes.
He really does think that one of them has to die, but she gave him the necklace.
He’d have to run through two thousand more times before he even considered leaving her behind.
After the torture she put herself through for him, he can endure whatever he has to to make sure they get through this together.
She told him, and it’s true, that he spends a lot of time bleeding out in the elevator. It’s his favorite way to die, actually. It’s peaceful. She’s there.
Back when she had the necklace, he used to wonder how she would die once he was gone. He used to wonder if it was as simple as pulling the trigger.
The first time they make it to the elevator, and this time she’s the one bleeding, and she dies holding onto him, and he watches as the life leaves her eyes, he pulls out his blaster without thinking about it.
And now he knows.
“You can go,” she tells him, another time. Her leg is bent nearly backwards. Her face is frozen white with pain. “You can still make it.”
There’s a shuttle waiting for him at the landing pad.
“No,” he says. “Together or not at all.”
And he can tell that she wants to argue, but she nods anyway.
“Now you understand,” she says, like it’s a joke, before he wakes.
She also told him that he’s usually the one who kisses first. She was right about that. But she kisses with far more passion than he expected, and he can taste the sorrow of a thousand lived lives. A thousand lived deaths.
Cassian has never loved someone before, so he wonders what the rules are.
How many times do you have to die for someone before you’re allowed to call it that? How many restarted hours? How many forgotten days do you have to live together before they count as having been lived at all?
Three hundred and forty since he received the necklace.
Some deaths, he’s lived upwards of thirty times.
Some of them linger. The pain. The anguish. The loss carved out in his chest. He knows he’s going to wake up again, and some of the power of it is taken away by that fact, but it’s too little. Too much of it is still there. Her screams and his pain and the exhaustion of failure.
“I don’t think I’ve ever failed this much at something,” he says to her on the ship, in the beginning of three hundred and forty-one.
“Me neither,” she says.
She doesn’t ask him to leave without her.
Sometimes he thinks she might expect him to anyway. Sometimes he thinks that might be why she gave him the power to decide when was enough.
In the elevator again, and neither are hurt. But he knows the troopers will get them at the bottom, because he forgot to tell Bodhi to divert them when they were still in contact.
Sloppy. They’re getting sloppy.
“We’ll remember it next time,” he says. “We just have to do everything else the same.”
Jyn wipes frustrated tears from her eyes. They’ve both been doing that more often. Now he understands what she meant when she said she was tired.
Sometimes he considers taking off the necklace and leaving it in the sand.
“Next time,” she spits, and a sob wrenches forth with it. He reaches for her, like he always does, and he sags against the wall beside her.
He just wants to sleep. He just wants to stop. Again he thinks about how much worse it must be for her.
One run, they locked themselves in the vault and just sat together, huddled together, while the war waged around them. Jyn fell asleep, but Cassian stayed guard.
The next time, she did the same for him. He slept with his head in her lap, her fingers tugging through his hair.
Cassian doesn’t think it helped, he doesn’t feel any more ready to face it, but it was worth a shot. The exhaustion isn’t even physical. It’s the exhaustion of constant repetition. Of repeating the same words at the beginning of every run. Of remembering every single step and detail, and inevitably faltering in the wrong moment and watching it all blow up around you. Knowing as the pain lances through you that you’re just going to have to do the whole thing again once you’ve died.
The only thing interesting anymore is a new death. A new kiss. A new trooper they’ve never met before.
New ways to lose Jyn.
Some of the runs, he pulls away from her on purpose. He doesn’t want her to remember the bad ones anymore. It’s the smallest kindness he can offer.
“Next time,” he promises in the elevator.
She kisses him, then. A rarity, her initiation of it, and he responds in kind, pushing her back against the wall, his lips bruising against hers.
“It never works next time,” she says, and yet she deepens the kiss and gets bolder still, reaching for his belt. He hisses at her and pulls back from the kiss to meet her defiant gaze. “Why not?” she asks.
He only takes a moment to consider that.
They make quick, messy work of it. It’s not how he imagined.
(Of course he imagined this. He’s been imagining it since the moment she faced him down after Eadu)
She channels her frustration into him, her rage. She pulls his hair as she rides him, her legs hitched around his waist, her gasps oddly breathy and delicate in his ear. He kisses up her neck, sloppy, imperfect, his breath stuttering too soon. It’s hard and fast, his fingers pulling her over the edge with him. Her cry is almost feral, and she angles her hips against him as if to drive him away, except her arms pull him closer.
After, spent, he can hardly find the energy to let her down, and once he does, they stand like they’re on a lilting starship, adrift, the ground unsteady.
“One,” Jyn says. And he laughs a broken, hollow sound.
The elevator slides to a stop, and he takes her hand so she’ll remember this.
They don’t succeed next time. But they get to the elevator uninjured again, two times later, and the moment the elevator doors close, she kisses him.
“Why not?” she asks him again, voice faltering, and he nods.
“Why not?” he echoes.
Cassian has never been a man with many wants. He was a boy with few possessions, with few ambitions, with few hopes. Everything he was became wrapped up in the Rebellion. If he wanted anything, it was the success of the Rebellion. It was the success of the people around him.
He wonders how many times you have to be inside someone minutes before you’re both gunned down before you’re allowed to call it love.
He wonders how many times you have to kiss someone as she’s dying before you will stop wondering if you’re moving too quickly, feeling too quickly. Before you stop worrying that this isn’t what love is supposed to feel like at all.
Cassian has never wanted much for himself, but he wants this. Not the rough, edgy desperation of her body moving against his or the aching emptiness of after, but the quiet companionship of all the moments shared between. Looking over at a person and seeing that they understand what you’re thinking, because they know you well enough.
Cassian has never known anyone well enough to know that was even possible, but now there’s Jyn.
More and more he realizes why she wouldn’t leave him.
“It needs to be perfect,” he says on the beach. She’s bleeding from a shrapnel wound, but she seems okay. She’ll make it to the explosion this time. “Divert the shuttle. Beat the troopers down, or get through them before they can board it. It needs to be perfect, but we can do it.”
Jyn nods, her head under his chin. She’s curled around her wound, nestled against him. It’s the most comfortable he’s been in maybe forty runs.
“We just keep running it until we do it,” she says.
He doesn’t feel hope. Not exactly. But it’s good to have a goal again.
Five more runs, and that good feeling is gone.
He’s at more than five hundred with the necklace.
They leave the ship after telling Bodhi to attach the uplink as soon as they’re gone.
“The fleet will be coming,” Cassian says, as always.
“How do you know?” Bodhi asks.
There was humor in it at first, but now Cassian’s voice is flat when he says, “I just do.”
They don’t need a map anymore. Jyn could recreate this facility by memory if she had to. Instead, they enter a routine inspection into the databank vault schedules. Then they divert a shuttle to landing pad five. Then they tell Melshi to be waiting by the master switch. They tell him to light it up.
Cassian greets the Imperial officer outside the vault like a friend. Asks after his children. The officer is too polite and socially anxious to ask for identification when this man clearly knows him, and he leaves the room when asked, when Cassian politely informs him that he’s only on planet for inspections.
“We’ll soon be out of your hair,” Cassian says with a smile.
This officer has killed Cassian fourteen times. He has killed Jyn more than twenty-six, probably, but twenty six is what Cassian remembers. Politeness is hard.
Timing is everything, so they don’t bother being quiet. K2 locks them in the vault and goes, back down to Bodhi.
He will catch a grenade and throw it back. Save Bodhi’s life.
They climb. Take the files. They duck behind the pillar and fire back at the death troopers and Krennic.
Killing Krennic here always feels anticlimactic to Jyn, but she’s since achieved the catharsis of needing to do it. She doesn’t even check to see if he’s died. She knows he has. She keeps climbing.
Cassian radios to Bodhi and tells him to have Chirrut and Baze take out the troopers near landing pad five before they go. Bodhi argues, as always, about leaving. But in the end he agrees, and Cassian knows that the others will be safely on their way.
There’s always a small pleasure in knowing that. Still. After all this time.
Cassian goes to the antenna alignment. Jyn hits the call button on the elevator. Then she goes to the controls in the center.
Together, they push the plans into the slot and begin transmission.
They’re uninjured in the elevator. Cassian’s heart is pounding with hope, though they’ve made it this far a hundred times, and they’ve never made it off. Still. Every time, he can’t help but hope. It’s what makes the failure more acute. More painful.
When Jyn kisses him this time, it’s gentler than it’s been in a while. Tentatively hopeful too, he thinks.
They don’t give in this time. They just look at each other. Shadows playing over their faces as the elevator descends. Cassian lets her anguish sink into him. Lets her hope do the same.
They’ve done everything right so far. But it’s not the first time.
“Just run,” he tells her. “Just run and keep running.”
She nods. She kisses him one more time.
They run. The troopers that have killed them more than twenty times as they step out of the elevator have been taken care of by Baze and Chirrut and Melshi and the others. They make it across the open spot of the beach. Jyn pulls him down when he forgets the stray shot that killed her sixteen runs ago. And then they’re in the trees, running along the tracks of the transport.
The shuttle is there. It’s waiting.
He takes a shot in the arm when they get to the landing pad, but it’s not his shooting arm, and he keeps going. Jyn is fire and destruction, blazing through the five troopers in their path, easily. Cassian takes another shot, this one in the side, but it hardly registers. Jyn’s arm is snapped, audibly, when a trooper pins her, but she fights him off, and Cassian kills him.
And they’re alone.
The shock of it is almost too much. It’s almost impossible to believe.
“They’re...” Cassian breathes, holding his side, holding his blaster out, looking around. He laughs, disbelieving. Jyn runs to him and kisses him.
“We’re not home yet,” she tells him, which is funny, somehow. After how many lifetimes, this fucking beach feels more home to him than anywhere else.
She helps him into the shuttle. He gets it started. She finds medigel, bacta patches. She pulls up his shirt as he pulls the shuttle up, into the Scarif air.
“This is yours,” he says, taking the necklace from around his neck and passing it back to her. She takes it, crying. She slips it on. She presses her face into the skin of his neck and breathes him in.
“If this doesn’t work,” she says against him. “If we just wake up again...”
“It’ll work,” he says, though in truth he’s worried about the same thing.
Thank you is not enough. There aren’t words enough for her. As he reaches out and enters their coordinates, the Death Star fires. Jyn closes her eyes against the light as they drift towards space. She clutches his hand as he reaches for the lever, and together, they pull.
The stars merge, flatten, straighten out.
“It’ll work,” he tells her again.