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the uproar of an understanding

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ONE.
“Will it be alright?” Bodhi says, mostly because he has to. He certainly won’t, so he’ll say it for the two of them. He thinks maybe Cassian needs someone to ask, first, before he can talk and sort out his own thoughts on the matter. Before he can make his peace with the whole affair.

Bodhi stares at Cassian. Isn’t it one great tragedy that he realizes now? The Death Star is in place, the beam is probably already firing, and he’s realized right here, right now—he’s in love with Captain Cassian Andor.

Goddammit.

“Of course,” says Cassian. “Of course. We got the plans to the Alliance. We gave them hope. That’s all that we can give when it comes to this. We’ve done it. It’s enough.”

His eyes seem to say otherwise.

But they can’t.

Cassian Andor has been in this fight since he was 6 years old, since his father was torn away from him and his mother looked him in the eyes and told him that these things happened. He says that rebellions are built on hope. It’s sentimental nonsense for the masses. Rebellions are built on the sacrifice of people like him, like Bodhi, as bitter as that is, Bodhi, who ran from an innocent world of cargo piloting to become another martyr. Rebellions are built on the bodies that are piled on the beach right now, the blood sinking into the sand. No matter.

People like her majesty Princess Leia, so proud, so filled with dignity, will walk on the bridges built from the heartbreak of people like Cassian and Bodhi.

“Is that really all we can give?” says Bodhi, after a long silence, because he’s four feet from death and doesn’t feel like being timid anymore. “Just our lives? Whatever skills we picked up over the course of them?”

“People like us—”

"People like us,” says Bodhi, but he sounds like he understands. Or he’s pretending to. Death is millimeters away, and it doesn’t matter anymore. He sighs, his head on Cassian’s shoulder, Cassian’s arm around Bodhi’s, and they sit there together on the beach as the world falls to pieces.

 

TWO.
Cassian sighs and they slump together against the wall as fire licks the floor around them.

“We did our best,” says Bodhi. Or whatever his name is in this star system. It’s something like Bodhi, at least, because names have meaning behind them and they define a person, and people never really change. Not concretely. Not for long. Not for things like this.

Fire burns slower than the sting of kyber crystals, so they have a bit longer this time around. Or so one hopes. Nature is unpredictable. Maybe for the sake of poetry they ought to be punching the flames and jumping through them on the off-chance they get through. But the ships will have left, so what does it matter?

Bodhi is a little shorter than Cassian, and it shows. He glances up at him, and starts to say something, but thinks better of it. Instead the two of them, exhausted, tired, worn over by the triviality of life when all you are meant to do is die for some obscure higher purpose, just sit and wait and think. Cassian runs his hands through Bodhi’s hair, and they wait.

Maybe someone will come for them, remember the two of them, as critical to the Rebellion’s success as they are.

Or maybe they won’t. Hearts are an awful lot like names when it comes down to it. They loop over and over again. The same hearts that left them behind on Scarif are leaving them behind now, albeit in different bodies, different uniforms, and the irritating thing is it’s a good tactical decision. There’s nothing to complain about, so they don’t.

 

THREE.
They smile at each other with a quick, sharp nod. What is it this time? What is it they’re fighting against? Fascism again, of course, but—who? Right, a dictator, rising out of Star-System 4—492? It’s one of the new ones. One of those that still only have numbers for names because nothing notable has come out of them yet. Well, Bodhi thinks, staring up at the face of the new evil, here’s something notable.

“See you when it all blows over,” says Cassian.

Bodhi grins because he feels brave enough to, and they both head off.

It’s really too bad.

 

The moments they share in every world in love, fully realized, get shorter, and shorter, and shorter. Four, five, six are all inconsequential; they glance across the room, no one has time to smile, and everything is over. But their eyes meet. They understand. That’s enough, or maybe the concept of anything being enough is a ration, dealt out in wartime, in time of rebellion, to keep the people meant for sacrifice tided over until they can make it.

They never quite get to be happy. But that’s expected. Rebellion isn’t happy. War isn’t happy. Revolution is miserable and horrific and it stains your fingertips red until you claw at your heart and you realize there’s nothing there. There shouldn’t be anything there.

Yes, Bodhi thinks, across every star system, across every continent, across the muzzle of every gun. There shouldn’t be anything there, in your heart, because if there is, you’ll only end up one of thousands, dead without a name.

Then again. What a hypocrite he is, because every time Cassian breathes his heart trembles. He kisses him and it feels like the brightness of stardust and the sweetness of anything, everything.

It’s still there.

Maybe that’s why he keeps dying.

 

The fact that the moments are getting shorter is bittersweet. The more rebellions there are, the less there is need for them. Of course, there are little rebellions. Workers’ rebellions about wages and unions, schoolyard rebellions against convention and the way it’s always been done, but people don’t die in those, or at least not en masse.

Someday, there’ll be a world where he and Cassian don’t need to speak at all. Don’t need to breathe in tandem to understand orders and communications. Won’t need to meet, even. They’ll shuffle right away from each other on a busy street and think nothing of it.

They’ll be two sacrificial lambs in a world that doesn’t require sacrifice.

Will they really be sacrificial lambs then? No, no, Bodhi doesn’t think so. Maybe they’d just be lambs, and then grow into sheep. You can’t sacrifice a sheep. It doesn’t have the same poetry to it, doesn’t have the syntax. Can’t build a dactyl or a hexameter from sacrificial sheep just like you can’t build castles out of water. It’s simply incorrect. They’ll only be two meandering sheep in a world that doesn’t particularly care.

Or maybe they were never lambs. After all, lambs go to the slaughter blind and bleating; they knew what awaited them and they walked towards it with clenched fists. Still, in every world, he feels like he’s been thrown to bullet-fire as an offering to guard against the loss of someone—better.

 

Seven, eight, nine.

 

TEN.
Bodhi stares across the cold steel muzzle of a gun, or is it another weapon of mass destruction, or is it an old knife with a sharpened edge, or is it something else? It doesn’t matter. He laughs, or maybe cries; it doesn’t matter, because this time, his heart doesn’t hurt. This time, he has it figured out like Cassian always has.

 

Next time they meet they won’t treat each other as time sensitive, as fragile. Next time they won’t have to meet, won’t have to offer up their hearts in hecatombs to a god called justice and freedom, but maybe they’ll meet anyways. Next time they meet they’ll only be human beings, with wide, open smiles and nothing to lie about. Next time they can be happy.

Next time, thinks Bodhi, swears Bodhi, and he jumps into whatever new rebellion they’ve stirred to fight against whatever new evil has arisen. Next time. Next time. Next time.

They are two people bound by two words, and that is enough.