“Hey, computer geek? You want another cup of coffee or something?”
Cassian let out an annoyed noise, not taking his gaze away from his laptop. “I have a name, Bodhi. But yes, another cup of coffee would be nice.”
“Coming right up then.”
Cassian barely heard the sounds of the various coffee machines, his eyes focused on the code in front of him. He was so close to a breakthrough on this particular script that he wasn't going to stop until he got it to work.
“Here,” Bodhi said as he set the cup and saucer down on the small table Cassian was working at. “I put an espresso shot in it for you too.”
“I didn't order an espresso shot,” Cassian said, tearing his eyes away from the screen and looking up at his friend.
“You look like you're about to drop, Cas. You need it. Don't worry, it's on the house.” Bodhi began to walk back towards the coffee shop's small counter, glancing up at the clock on the wall as he passed by. “You mind if I turn the television on? Rumor on the internet is that Jyn Erso was released from rehab at midnight, so that means the whole Jedha scandal is going to heat up again.”
Cassian took in the silence of the coffee shop as he brought his cup to his lips, frowning after taking a sip. “Are we the only ones in here? What happened to those college kids?”
“It's almost four o'clock in the morning,” Bodhi said, leaning against the counter. “Of course we're the only ones in here. As for the college kids, they left hours ago so they could get back to the dorms before curfew locked them out. You didn't notice because you were like in a trance with that laptop of yours. And for asking such stupid questions, I am turning the television on.”
Cassian blinked rapidly as Bodhi reached for the remote, realizing that it was far later than he had imagined as the television that was mounted on the wall across the room came to life. He took a longer sip of his coffee as Bodhi flipped through the channels, groaning inwardly when he stopped on some news show. “Don't you have something better to do than watch that?”
“Hey, just because you're in love with your laptop doesn't mean that the rest of us are. I watch the news for information. So that I can make small talk. In a bar. Over drinks. Hopefully with someone gorgeous. You should try it some time.”
A flash of pain ripped through Cassian's chest, and he closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths until it faded away. “How many times must I tell you? I'm never having a relationship ever again. Stop.”
“I'm not talking about a relationship,” Bodhi pointed out. “I'm talking about a date. Or maybe not even a date. Just someone you meet in a bar and go home with for the night.”
“That doesn't interest me,” Cassian said, bringing his cup back to his lips.
“Oh, come on, Cassian. How long as it been since you had sex?”
Cassian nearly choked on his coffee. “That is none of your business, Rook.”
“Well, it certainly hasn't been since I've known you. And considering that you started coming in here every night about two months after I started working here, and I've been working here for nearly seven years......”
“For the record,” Cassian said, as seriously as he could, “I am not in here on the weekends, though you would not know that seeing as you don't work the weekends.”
“Whatever, it doesn't change the fact that you've gone at least seven years without sex. My God, how can you stand it? I don't think I could make it seven days!”
“Fuck off, Bodhi.” Cassian was grateful that the shop door swung open then, distracting Bodhi from their conversation and allowing him to get back to his code. The script was almost perfect, just one or two more algorithms to change, and then he thought it should work. He was just about to begin typing when someone sat down across from him, reaching out and closing the lid on his laptop. “Kay, that was ridiculously childish.”
“No, it wasn't,” Kaytoo said, snatching up the laptop and setting it in front of himself. “Cassian, you've been in this coffee shop every single night for the past seven years, and it's really time that you got a life.”
Cassian sighed heavily and leaned back in his chair, staring at his friend with the strange name. “You two obviously do not understand. I have a life. It involves that laptop, several other computers, a couple of servers, and a ton of coding work. And neither of you really wants me to stop working at the pace that I do, either. For fuck's sake, I'm working on a change that you yourself suggested last week, Kay.”
Kaytoo's eyes widened slightly and then a big smile crossed his face. “You mean the tagging thing? Wow, Cas, I totally just said that. I didn't think you'd actually incorporate it!”
"Why wouldn't I?" Cassian asked, reaching for his coffee. "It's a great idea. The ability to add your own tags to posts made by other people in order to make searching through your favorited posts easier. I'm mad that I didn't come up with it myself. I'm totally crediting you with the idea when I send out the notice with the new release."
“Kay, that's great and all, but,” Bodhi said, clearing his throat and drawing the attention of both men towards him, “can we get back to the plan?”
“Plan?” Cassian asked, glancing between the two of them. “You planned to ambush me about whatever the fuck it is this is about?”
“We just think you'd be a lot happier if you had someone in your life,” Kaytoo said softly. “You're on the wrong side of thirty now, and you know that we totally love the website and all, but we're also your friends, Cassian, and we think that you need to get out and live a little. I've barely seen you without a computer in front of your face in the last four years.”
“At the very least, go out and get laid,” Bodhi added. “I have absolutely no idea how you have gone so long without sex.”
Cassian shook his head and pushed his chair back, reaching for his messenger bag and taking the laptop back from Kaytoo's grasp. “I do not have to listen to this.”
“We're not trying to upset you, Cas,” Kaytoo said quickly. “We just want you to be happy. And you can't lie to us. You're not happy.”
Cassian finished stuffing all of his equipment into his bag and slung it over his shoulder. "I am perfectly happy," he said, fishing his wallet from his pocket and tossing a couple of bills down onto the table. "I don't know what I have to do to make you two realize that. You don't have to be with someone to be happy. Being alone? That makes me happy. Fucking deal with it."
Kaytoo sighed as Cassian stalked out of the coffee shop, looking over at Bodhi as he heard the door open and close. “We tried?”
“Yeah, we tried,” Bodhi said, shaking his head. “We need to push Chirrut for information again, even though he claims he knows nothing about that last relationship Cassian keeps talking about.”
“He's known Cassian since Cassian was in university! He should know this!”
"I know," Bodhi said, turning his gaze to the television. "But Chirrut says he doesn't remember Cassian ever being in a relationship during university, even though Cas's told both you and me on multiple occasions that his last relationship was during university."
“We've got to work this out,” Kaytoo said, standing up. “I feel like we're going to have to know what happened before we can ever get him to work through it.”
“I agree,” Bodhi said, reaching for the remote. “Now be quiet so I can hear this. They just said they've got an exclusive on Jyn Erso coming up. That's got to be official confirmation that she's out of rehab.”
According to a statement released by Jedha three hours ago, Erso remains on a voluntary leave of absence while internal investigations of her conduct continue. Sources within the company have told us that she will likely step aside as CEO as soon as Friday. Erso is thought to be currently hiding out at the home of her adoptive father Saw Gerrera. Coming up later this hour, an exclusive interview with Orson Krennic, the reporter at Imperial magazine who first broke this story.
Cassian reached for the remote and turned off the television, not wanting to hear another word about that particular scandal. He turned back to his computer screen where rows of source code stared back at him, daring him to find the problem with the script he'd just implemented. He was about to start changing another algorithm when he was interrupted by the sound of his doorbell. After glancing at the clock in confusion, he took a moment to make sure his progress had been successfully saved before standing up and heading towards his door, wondering who would be there at just past seven o'clock in the morning. The doorbell rang again as he reached for the lock, and as he pulled the door open, a woman came into view.
Her hair was dark, darker than Cassian ever remembered it being, and long, nearly to her shoulders. She was dressed impeccably, as she always was, light gray skirt and a thin black sweater worn over a white button-down shirt. A pair of oversized sunglasses rested on the bridge of her nose until a delicate hand reached up and pulled them off.
Her voice was soft, tone apprehensive yet still friendly, as though she wasn't sure she'd be welcomed. Cassian understood that without much thought. It had, after all, been ten years since the last time they'd stood face to face.
Cassian knew he could easily shut the door, make it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with her. But one look into the eyes he knew so well had him stepping back and motioning for her to come inside.
He stood aside as Jyn crossed through the doorway, then took a deep breath as he closed the door, making sure to re-lock it before turning around. Jyn's back was to him and Cassian leaned against the door, taking in the sight of her. “It's good to see you.”
Jyn glanced back over her shoulder, laughing slightly. “No, it's not. You don't have to lie to me.”
“I wasn't,” Cassian said truthfully, pushing away from the door and walking towards the apartment's small kitchen. “Television keeps saying you're at Saw's.”
“Good,” Jyn said, following Cassian. “That's what I want them to think.”
Cassian sighed as he reached the counter, shaking his head briefly. “You don't want anybody to know where you are, and so that's why you came here. I always was your hideout.”
Jyn leaned up against the doorway, watching as Cassian pulled a couple of coffee cups from a cupboard. “You were a lot more than that.”
“If I was a lot more than that, you never would have stolen my idea and disappeared,” Cassian said, surprising himself with the calm in his voice. “Coffee? It's not that fancy, designer coffee I imagine you still drink, but it's all I've got.”
“That's fine,” Jyn said softly, watching as Cassian filled up both cups. “You look good.”
“I already let you in here,” Cassian said, taking the cups and walking over to his small table. “You don't have to flatter me.”
Jyn wanted to protest but thought better of it, instead walking over to the table and joining Cassian, smiling when a couple of sugar packets were tossed in her direction. "Thanks, Cassian."
“You're welcome,” Cassian said, twirling his cup around in his hands as Jyn stirred the sugar into her coffee. “You didn't even try to deny it.”
Jyn glanced up at him. “You expected me to?”
Cassian nodded honestly. “Yes.”
Jyn shook her head lightly. “What's there to deny? Jedha is based entirely off of an idea of yours, an idea that I watched you work on practically every night for three years, knowing that it was better than any idea I'd ever be able to come up with. And so when it was time for me to head out into the real world and make something of myself, instead of figuring out how to do that on my own, I broke into your dorm room and stole every single thing you'd ever written or planned out about it, right down to the laptop that I knew had the initial coding on it.”
Cassian stared at her as Jyn sipped at her cup, unable to keep from rolling his eyes at the look of distaste that crossed Jyn's face. “I didn't even know that you were the one who did it until I first started hearing about Jedha, and even then I was still so ridiculously and stupidly in love with you that I didn't want to believe it. I was that way the whole fucking time, truthfully, because you had to have been the one who did it. No one else knew about the idea but you.”
“I kept waiting for you to sue us,” Jyn said after a moment, “but you never did.”
“How could I?” Cassian asked, sighing heavily. “I had no money and you took every single piece of evidence that existed that would have proven that it was my idea.”
“You have money now,” Jyn said. “The Alliance is worth at least thirty to thirty-five million dollars.”
“I think you're crazy if you think the stupid website that I run is worth that much money,” Cassian said, laughing. “And even if it was worth that kind of money, that doesn't mean that I have that kind of money. I still need at least another fifteen people to either sign up or renew paid accounts this month or I might get evicted for not being able to pay my rent.”
Jyn set her cup down and reached for her purse, pulling out her billfold. She looked through it for a moment before pulling out five brand new hundred dollar bills. She let her fingertips run over the crisp paper before tossing them across the table and putting her billfold back in her purse. “There. That should help.”
Cassian stared at the bills lying in front of him before taking another sip of his coffee. “I can't take your money.”
“Let's just call it the beginning of me paying you back for the unauthorized use of your idea for the past decade, okay? Take it.”
Cassian sighed and drained the rest of his coffee from the cup, standing up and walking towards the sink. “I don't have a guest room, but there's a sofa in there with the television,” he said, pointing towards the room where all his equipment was set up. “You can sleep there.”
Jyn glanced over at him, watching as Cassian rinsed out his cup and set it upside down on a towel next to the sink. “Sleep?”
“Yeah, you know, that thing that happens when you lay down and close your eyes,” Cassian said sarcastically, walking towards the refrigerator and flipping the light switch on the wall, plunging the apartment into darkness. “I go to bed at seven. I usually wake up around one-thirty. Whether you're here or not when I do, I really don't care. Just don't steal anything if you decide to disappear again, alright?”
Cassian didn't wait for a response, walking out of the kitchen and towards his bedroom. He shut the door behind himself and stripped off his t-shirt, stretching for a moment before sliding his jeans off and kicking them towards the closet. He stared at the old t-shirt that was lying on the bed for a moment before picking it up. The blue had faded almost entirely from the cotton, and it had been worn so much that it was thin and practically falling apart. He glanced at his bedroom door, then walked back to it and locked it before sliding the old t-shirt over his head, as tight of a fit as it ever had been. He climbed into his bed and pulled the sheets up to his chest, closing his eyes and letting his hands run over the worn cotton shirt.
To anyone else, he was sure it looked like something that should be thrown into the trash, but to Cassian, it was his most prized possession. The only thing he had left of Jyn; the only reminder he had of the fact that long ago, he felt he had been loved. Jyn had stolen the information that Cassian had been planning to make his living off of, and Cassian had stolen a lousy t-shirt.
The quiet was broken a few moments later, the sound of the chair Jyn had been sitting in sliding backward echoing through the small apartment. Cassian listened to her footsteps, heard them come close to his bedroom door then change and head in the direction of the apartment's door. Cassian squeezed his eyes shut even further at the sound of the door opening, then snapped them open as the sound of a conversation drifted into the room. It took his sleepy mind a moment to realize that Jyn must have had some sort of security waiting for her in the hall, and he shook his head at the insanity of the situation. The conversation ended abruptly and then the door shut, and Cassian listened for footsteps, getting angry with himself for feeling disappointed when he heard none. He rolled onto his side and slammed his hand into the mattress, readjusting the pillow beneath his head before trying to allow himself to settle into sleep.
And then the footsteps started again, heading from the apartment's door and into the small room where the sofa was wedged in between servers. The telltale sound of a suitcase being set down on the hardwood floor made its way to Cassian's ears and he let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
He eventually drifted off to sleep with a single thought on his mind.
Jyn was staying.