Cassian and Bodhi carefully crept through the room as dust lifted up around their feet with each step. The closest thing either of them could describe this place would be a church or a shrine. It was probably once beautiful, pristine, and full of music and life. There could have been holidays, births, and deaths honored within these walls.
But now, as the light from the two moons beamed through the ripped away ceiling, it was a hallowed out shell. Cobwebs and dust drifted in the chilled breeze. Some of the leftover pews were covered with sheets like elongated ghosts, but the rest of them rotted in pieces. Shattered window cast long jagged shadows on the floor. Everything seemed held together by memories of things that once was.
Bodhi pulled his jacket tighter around him as his eyes darted around at every small movement. His breath visibly drifted from his lips, “Are you sure this is the right place?”
Cassian smirked at him, “Scared?”
“No!” Bodhi snipped back, though his tone didn’t hold much confidence. “It just seems like an odd place to meet our informant.”
“There’s nothing around for miles, and the Empire’s on the other side of the planet. We’re safe here-”
The ground suddenly shifted under them. The wood slats groaned.
Cassian spun and shoved Bodhi as hard as he could.
Bodhi staggered back hearing the splintering crack where he once stood. A strangled yelp followed, but it wasn’t from him. Sprawling across the ground, he coughed as dust filled his nose and eyes.
“Cassian?” He snapped his head up and gasped.
Bodhi was alone in the dark. Where Cassian once stood was a gaping hole.
His boyfriend was nowhere to be seen.
Cassian fell into the darkness. He felt his body hit rock after rock and more rock. He felt stone tear at his flesh and clothes as he rolled and tumbled. Grappling first, his fingers reached for anything he could snag. But his fingers burned and jammed on the earth. Cassian pulled his arms close over his face as he spun down the slope.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, he stopped.
Gasping for air, Cassian didn’t know which way was up in the darkness. He could feel he was still on a slope. Dirt and cobbles shifted around him threatening to take him further into the void. But his body was wedged between two boulders, and it thankfully held him in place.
Liquid heat filled his eyes, thick and sticky. He must have gashed his head open. Wiggling his fingers, his arms were banged up but working. His toes wiggled in his right boot. He hissed trying to move his left foot. Something was definitely broken in that leg.
At least he could reach his blaster on his hip.
“Bodhi!” he called out in case his friend fell too.
At least his pilot wasn’t down here.
Unless he was also trapped and in worst shape.
No, Cassian couldn’t think like that.
Dropping his head back, Cassian stared at the nothingness willing his eyes to adjust. Not even the double moons’ light made it down to wherever he fell.
Was this how it would end? After surviving the Clone Wars, the rise of the Empire, Scarif, Hoth, and all of their battles so far, dangerous spy missions, and scraps with Stormtroopers, he would get taken out by a hole in a shitty floor?
He shut his eyes trying to ease his breathing in his aching chest.
Being alone never used to be a problem. He was alone for most of his life. Cassian never needed anyone before.
And then he took a mission to find a pilot who defected from the Empire. Everything changed that day.
He couldn’t imagine his life without his team. They changed him. He found himself doing things he never considered before.
About his feelings.
It was a foreign concept to him.
But one night after he went out to take a sniper hit, he came back to base and there was Bodhi. His pilot waited up half the night for Cassian to return. And for the first time ever, Bodhi asked him something that no one had before:
“How are you feeling?”
Cassian remembered stopping in the middle of the room. It was a simple question, but for him, it was such a foreign one.
“What do you mean?” he answered far gruffer than intended.
Bodhi tensed at the tone but held his gaze with those wide, dark eyes, “It must be hard. You know, taking a life. Like hard as in weighing on you. I can’t imagine it.”
Cassian had turned away unable to look at the pilot, “I’m used to it.”
“But should you be?”
Those words cut deep. Cassian laid in bed that night pondering those words, cranking them through his mind.
After every mission since, he would find Bodhi, sit in a quiet place with him, and talk about it. Sometimes it was just the two of them. Sometimes the entire team shared their demons.
He was never left alone to his feelings.
The soil around him settled. The pain shifted between sharp stabs and dull throbs. But in the darkness, Cassian dreaded the idea of never speaking to Bodhi again.
That idea would kill him faster than any fall.
He didn’t know how many hours passed. Maybe he slept or maybe they were pain driven dreams. Throat dry and tight, Cassian felt the dirt above his head shift.
The darkness moved too, dancing in his line of sight.
Lifting his heavy head ignoring the crackling itching sensation of dried blood crinkling on his skin, he realized it wasn’t darkness that moved.
It was a light.
Above him, a distance faint light swept the area. He squinted trying to make out a shape. His fingers brushed his blaster just in case.
It drew closer and weaved back and forth like it was on a rope.
The beam passed over the rocks above him, drifted up, then shot back to illuminate his face.
“Cassian!” she cried out.
“Jy-!” he sputtered before his throat seized up. Hacking hard, he tried again. His voice barely carried to her, “Jyn…”
Strapped into a harness with a tether reaching up into the darkness, her feet touch the loose dirt. She eased down the slope keeping her torch light firmly on him. She quickly touched the com strapped to her shoulder, “I found him. He’s hurt.”
Churrit’s voice crackled over the speaker, “And you doubted we would find him.”
K2’s voice followed, “The probability was low, and he’s far squishier than he lets on to survive a fall like that.”
“Can he walk it off?” Baze added to the excited vocal fray.
Jyn gripped one of the boulders holding Cassian in place, “I don’t think so. We’ll need to stabilize him to move him.”
Baze grumbled, “That takes too long. Strap me in one of those harness things! I’ll get the bastard myself!”
Jyn ignored the chatter and touched Cassian’s head, “We thought we lost you.”
Cassian grinned painfully, “Takes more than a hole.”
“You should know that your boyfriend’s been worried sick about you. He drove the ship back to base, demanded all of us get on, and zipped us here. I’ve never seen him drive that fast.”
“I’m surprised you’re here and not him.”
“I don’t weigh as much.” Reaching into a pouch on her belt, she took out a long cylinder of pain medicine. “Rest. We’ll get you home.”
She jabbed the medicine into his neck. And everything dulled away again to black.
Cassian’s eyes flickered open to warm light. He could hear the pulsing rhythm of medical machines. He was warm and clean. Soft sheets rested over his body.
But it was the calloused fingers from years of gripping ship steering wheels too tight that brought Cassian back to the world. Bodhi’s lips worked silently as relief washed over him. Unable to form the word, he laughed like the biggest weight got ripped off.
“Bodhi,” Cassian breathed out seeing his face.
Just like every mission when he came home, Bodhi quietly asked, “How are you feeling?”
“Better now that I can see you. What happened with the mission?”
“We don’t need to-“
Bodhi rolled his eyes, “The bad news is we missed the informant. We haven’t been able to contact him since. K2 picked up Imperial scout ships nearby shortly after we found you. He… was probably captured.”
Cassian pursed his lips. That was certain death for their informant. Damn…
Bodhi stroked Cassian’s hand with his thumb, “Good news is that you’re on bed rest for a few weeks.”
“How is that good news?”
“I don’t have to worry about you falling into anymore holes,” he chuckled.
Cassian huffed, annoyed at the situation. He hated not being able to act.
But at least he was home with his team and with Bodhi. He knew they would never abandon him.
That was enough for him.