The little air her lungs have managed to hold on to escapes between her lower teeth in a hiss. Jyn inhales sharply, pressing the heel of her hand down against the mattress of her medward bed in an attempt to sit up straight.
“Easy,” Cassian mutters. His hand is an anchor between her shoulder blades, keeping her stable. “The ribs haven’t finished reknitting.”
“Perfect.” Jyn’s gaze darts up accusingly. “No remaining damage to your ribs, I see.”
He doesn’t smile. “None.”
It takes them both a second to look elsewhere, but then Cassian clears his throat. “On the count of three. One, two-”
Jyn sits up. Her hand grips the mattress fiercely.
“...three.” His brows raise. “You were supposed to wait for my count.”
She tilts her head. He hasn’t moved the hand from her back yet. “Didn’t realize this was so serious.”
“Of course it is.” His eyes don’t move from hers.
Jyn lifts up her chin. Cassian leans forward-
The hand on Jyn’s back flexes lightly. She bites her lower lip. As one, they both turn to the door.
K-2 stands in the doorway. To its chest, it presses a stack of what appear to be datafiles.
“This is not resting,” K-2 observes.
“He’s just helping me sit-”
The droid brushes her off, taking a few, spidery steps into their shared med room. Its arm carefully extends the files to Cassian.
“I prepared strategy analyses to wish you a faster recovery.” Its head quirks up as Cassian stares at the offering. “The algorithms are tastefully arranged.”
Cassian shoots Jyn an amused look, before he nods and takes the bouquet of aggregate data. “I...Sure, K.”
“I will now monitor your recovery.”
“That isn’t necessary-”
“I will now monitor your recovery.”
Cassian stares at the “present” in his hold. Looks past K-2 to Jyn-
K-2 cranes his neck in between them.
“That is not recovery.”
He exhales, knowing a loss when it appears, and withdraws to his own side of the ward.
Jyn smiles to herself on the opposite side of the Imperial barricade between them.
He finds her in what has become Derra IV’s cantina, a few tables and chairs pulled to a remote corner of the mess. She’s already served herself something brown, but the glass looks untouched. Cassian takes a moment to observe-- her chapped lips pressed together, her hair escaping its bun in messy chunks of hair. Her boots are propped on the seat across from her, arms over her chest. Were he anyone else, he would understand these gestures as aggressive.
...they are still a little aggressive.
But he only has a few hours before he’s due for a debriefing, and Cassian decides he’d like to make the most of the borrowed time he has with this woman. They’re both still not officially cleared for physical service, but the viewport between recovery and field duty grows smaller every hour.
She looks up when he approaches her table, upper lip twitching in amusement. “How were the strategy analyses?”
He doesn’t bite. Instead, he snakes his hand under the heels of her boots, pushes them off to the floor, and takes their place on the chair. “Thorough.”
They sit in companionable silence for a moment. Then, Jyn fidgets lightly in her seat.
“Here,” she offers, gripping her glass and sliding it across to him.
He rests his hand over hers to stop it. “I have to report in a few hours.”
“Good to see the galaxy still has a use for you.”
He doesn’t move his hand from hers. The back of her fingerless glove is coarse against his palm. “And what about you?”
“Yes. What use are you going to be?” He doesn’t feel hesitant in asking. All Cassian feels is a steady certainty that, no matter what line is drawn for them in the sand, they will be finding it together.
She doesn’t move her hand out from under his. The drink isn’t cold, but there’s condensation beading on the backs of his fingers. “...I suppose there might be some things to stay around for.”
“For how long.”
Her gaze flickers to meet his. The green of it brighter against her smudged make-up and bruised eyes. Her fingers slowly relinquish their hold on the glass, turn up and brush against his-
“There is an emergency.”
Cassian closes his eyes. Counts to ten. And, very slowly, pivots in his seat.
K-2 stares down at them. Its metallic fingers cover where their hands are joined.
“An emergency,” it repeats.
“What sort of emergency,” Cassian says flatly.
Slowly, Cassian slides his hand from underneath K-2’s hovering embrace. Jyn clears her throat before doing the same, picking up the glass and tilting its contents into her mouth. He watches the display, before looking up at K-2. The droid stares unblinkingly.
He sighs. “I’ll find you later,” he mutters before standing.
“This way,” K-2 instructs.
And Cassian follows.
K-2 takes him to the end of a hallway.
“I am stalling.”
“Stalling for what ?”
“Is there something we need to talk about?”
“I cannot state a justifiable excuse.”
“So you just wanted to interrupt.”
“I was bored.”
“ K. ”
“We have found the correct hallway!” It explains, before pivoting and loping back the way they walked in.
She’s taking her time, and she hates it. Her arms automatically move the contents of her duffel in and out of her bag-- torn between deciding if it is too full or too empty. Feeling like its missing something, but being unable to articulate what it is.
As of 800 hours that morning, Jyn Erso has been officially conscripted. As of 10000, she has orders for departure-- Coruscant, of all places. From this backworld to the shining center of the galaxy.
And she’s going alone.
Jyn sighs, runs her fingers through her hair. Takes out a blaster, puts it back in. In her head, all she hears is the ticking of a chrono moving slowly downward. Of time being wasted.
She has to-
“Your performance is sub-optimal.”
K-2 fills the doorway to her quarters.
“Performance.” The droid clinks and clacks into her quarters, and Jyn moves automatically to the side to give it space. It neatly places the blaster into the duffel in a manner reminiscent to someone folding a shirt. “The Alliance offers several regulation items for field deployment-”
She tilts her head, amused despite herself. “Are you helping me pack?”
“I want to.”
Jyn lets it go at that, taking a step back and watching K-2 work. It is careful with her items, conscious of the limited space of her singular bag.
And then once it’s done he drops it unceremoniously on the ground.
“Two minutes, twelve seconds,” it brags, if a strategic analysis droid were to brag.
“Much faster than me.”
“I am also able to shoot much further.”
“My auditory senses are also vastly superior.”
“Is that so?”
“Vastly . ”
She is beginning to hazard a guess as to what this conversation is about. And decides to call it as she sees it. “You’re worried about Cassian.”
K-2 straightens. “I am an analysis droid.”
“I do not worry.”
“You are an anomaly.”
She blinks, takes a half step back. “Thanks,” she says with an uncertain sort of humor.
“As an analyst, I have a priority to disrupt anomalous behavior.”
“Which means you,” it clarifies.
“I am still determining.” Its next statement comes with more than a hint of exasperation, “As stated previously. Anomalous.”
K-2 lifts up her bag and holds it between them.
For the first time in years, Jyn laughs.
He looks to his chrono, then the number sprayed onto the hanger. Cassian knows, rationally, that he has it right. Less than rationally, he worries that he’s missed it. Missed her.
His worries are compartmentalized and eventually displaced when he sees a familiar green scarf in the crowd. Jyn walks toward him, one bag slung over her shoulder. She hasn’t noticed him yet, doesn’t seem to notice much of anything until he steps from his spot on the wall and clears his throat.
Her lips curve. “Waiting for something?”
He steps backward into the shadowed area of the hanger bay. She steps forward to compensate. “A moment alone.”
“Any particular reason?”
He leans his face near hers. “No.”
She shifts forward. Cassian brings his mouth to hers-
K-2 watches as the humans embrace across the hanger. In its core processor, it understands that it is strategically advantageous to intervene before anomalous behavior affects outcome.
But as it observes its reprogrammer hold the disruption, it decides that maybe just this once it will not do that.
Entirely predictable behavior sets are boring, after all.