In sabacc, cards’ worths change throughout play, and players choose when to lock the value by tossing them into the table’s suspension field.
Miss the right moment - too late, too soon - you might not change the outcome of the whole game.
But you’re sure as hell going to be holding a different hand.
Jyn Erso is, in fact, playing sabacc against a Corellian - never a great decision - when first word of the Accords comes through.
It’s been nineteen years since the Battle of Yavin. Jyn’s just back from Bothawui, supervising a fruitless reconnaissance and managing to wrench an old injury. Her leg’s elevated as she sits at Iella Antilles’s sabacc table.
If they’d met twenty years ago, Corellian Security officer Iella Wessiri would have arrested Jyn Erso for her forged identity chips, let alone the Imperial warrant on most of those old pseudonyms.
They met after Endor, instead, with Jyn as the ranking officer assisting with Iella’s recruitment into New Republic Intelligence.
Corellian Security theoretically remained independent, though overseen by Imperial Intelligence. So no one in the then-changing Rebel Alliance used the word ‘defector’ for Iella - though plenty thought it.
Jyn didn’t have many soft spots left, but by then, she had one for defectors. And maybe, too, one for someone late to the cause.
Since the liberation of Coruscant, she and Iella have maintained a standing game of sabacc when they’re both on planet. Iella’s the better player, but Jyn cheats and sometimes plain gets lucky.
They’ve met more rarely, recently. Iella has two daughters under the age of two, and though she’s managed not to entirely retire, she’s firmly out of field work.
“We’ll see when I’m needed again,” Iella keeps saying, but with the sort of tone that makes Jyn lurchingly uneasy, the same ground-slipping-under-her-feet feeling when meeting Iella’s daughters.
The galaxy is still technically in civil war.
A buzzing comm interrupts the game. Jyn’s holding a three, which would get the sabacc pot, but she lays down her cards while Iella checks it.
“Secure channel,” Iella notes, which means it’s probably Wedge, or about him. When she comes back, her stride’s steady, but the faint lines around her mouth betray her shock.
There’s usually a little more to catching the first wind of a brewing shift in galactic relations, but all it is, this time, in word of mouth, a call from colleagues in high places:
“The Imperials are suing for peace,” Iella says.
Shit, Jyn thinks, and immediately registers that’s one hell of a kneejerk response to the promise of galactic tranquility.
She crosses one boot over her already-elevated leg and, looking at Iella over the blue glow of the table’s interference field, asks, briskly, “What do we know?”
Admiral Pellaeon, current commander of the Imperial Remnant Navy, met secretly with former Chief of State, current High Councilor, Leia Organa Solo.
Over the game table on Han Solo’s ship, of all places, they talked peace.
This doesn’t mean a treaty- yet. Pellaeon would have to get the Moff Council to agree. The New Republic will have to be in a state to accept. If they can’t stem the latest internal crisis, the Imperials may pull back their offer, go on skirmishing and hoping the Republic implodes...
But it’s Leia Organa Solo doing the talking.
Leia, who is two inches shorter than Jyn and more than two years younger, who seems to hold the New Republic together single-handedly on an annual basis and managed to find time to have three children, too. Leia, who has a lightsaber, if rarely-used, hanging from her hip, and a brother running a Jedi Order as new as this Republic over on Yavin 4.
It’ll be peace, all right.
The Imperial Remnant still holds eight sectors - including some of the wealthiest systems beyond the Core - but they’re down to two hundred Star Destroyers. They had twenty-five thousand, once.
“We’re so close -” Jyn says, shaking her head, “they’re a fraction-”
Iella shakes her head back. “And we can keep dividing them, but they’re never going to be gone, completely. Only superweapons eliminate on that scale.”
Jyn reaches to turn off the interference field on the sabacc table with a snap of its switch, removing the haze of blue light between them.
Tightly, she says, “Don’t talk to me about Death Stars.”
Saw Gerrera’s voice, after all these years, is shouting in Jyn’s head, Liberation, not collaboration. Victory, not co-existence. She knows what Saw would say about a treaty that will almost undoubtedly include lucrative trade deals.
“I wouldn’t presume,” Iella says, measuring her words carefully. “But there isn’t a Death Star to take down, anymore. It’s not that Empire, anymore, and even when it was - some beings choose the Empire-”
“And those in Imperial space still waiting for us to save them?”
“Not many of those, but a treaty would have to include provisions allowing Imperial-held planets to petition to join the Republic-”
“And the reverse, then,” Jyn says, her stomach churning at the thought. She’s learned enough about the politics of paperwork working for the New Republic. “One for the other. It’d open the option of going back to the Empire. Planetary decisions to be made by those in power, by a narrow majority, the monarch - does that sound like the dream to you?”
“As long as there’s mobility,” Iella says, “to leave a Remnant world for a Republic one, to choose - yes.”
“Oh, come off it,” Jyn snaps, getting to her feet despite her wrenched knee. “Mobility for some, and you know it.”
It’ll be impossible to guard against planetary prevention tactics, threats of reprisal against families, friends. For others - their home planets have a grip on their souls in a sense Jyn can only compare to how Lah’mu haunts her dreams, still. Not that she’s ever gone back to see that sky, not that she understands clinging to a place, no matter what.
She’s never felt that way about a world.
Iella doesn’t stand, which is for the best. She’s taller than Jyn, enough for it to be a bit embarrassing. Iella’s a long sort of woman, long legs, long eyes, long silences when she wants.
Jyn’s had a lot of practice dealing with someone capable of annoyingly long silences, though. She stays standing, staring Iella down, even as her knee threatens to buckle.
“It’s a lot to process,” Iella says at last. “It could all go sideways, still, but, Jyn - it could be the best of all possibilities, and I believe you know that.”
Jyn’s fists bunch against her sides and she feels, briefly, very young again, and lost. Iella and Jyn are the exact same age, have been doing the same job for a decade and a half, but Jyn looks at the woman at the same table, and thinks, peacekeeper. Iella jumped from securing one planet to spending her days making a newly-legitimate government more legitimate. She’s decidedly not the person Jyn wants to be having this conversation with.
Jyn breathes, regains her calm without losing the edge underneath, and lets her hands relax. She sits down again.
Iella restacks the sabacc deck, not for a new game but to put away. She gets up to put it in a cupboard.
“Fest is still in the Imperial Remnant,” Iella says, mildly.
Jyn doesn’t talk about Cassian with her co-workers. Everyone in Intelligence still knows, or assumes, at least.
To be fair, everyone’s assumptions are rather on point.
“Yeah, it is,” Jyn says, “though I’m thinking about a thousand planets, not one.”
Lie. It’s going to break what’s left of his heart: the truth worrying at her tired bones.
Another truth - most of the planets left in Imperial Space are clinging, by choice, to its government over her own. They are choosing how they live.
Stop people from choosing, and you’re the Empire. The real Empire, not its lingering shadow.
She knows what Saw would say. She doesn’t know what Galen Erso would say- the father she never saw again, the man Bodhi Rook spoke of with something like awe. The man who believed in doing the right thing, at the right time.
Which is it, the right thing - peace, freedom, justice- when they’re not the same thing?
The job’s been about more than freedom for a long time now - about more than justice, even.
It’s squabbles in the Senate between honorable people who fought a war together but can’t agree on taxes.
It’s negotiating planets joining the Republic, without pressuring.
It’s figuring out how to quash a lunatic’s rebellion on Almania without looking- or feeling- like they’re the Empire shutting down a planetary uprising.
“‘The best’. Is this as close as we get, really?” Jyn says to Iella’s ceiling. There’s Alderaanian moss art hanging on one wall. There’s a plaque of commendation for Wedge Antilles, the man there for the end of two Death Stars, on another. “Or is it just that we’re all getting too old for this?”
As clearly as she can hear the spite in her own voice, she hears the retirement papers landing on desks in a post-peace Republic.
Iella pauses pointedly by her window, with its view of Coruscant’s busy skyline, a different object in her hand.
“There has to be a time to stop fighting. Otherwise- what were we even fighting for?”
Jyn’s asking herself just the same question as Iella sits down back across from her with a patch kit and comm unit in hand for Jyn to borrow- just the items she planned to go look for herself.
She makes a comm call to a shipping company and raids Iella’s patch kit for synthetic tape- two pieces of sticky fabric that, applied correctly, somehow make her wrenched knee so much easier to walk on. She leaves for Selonia within the hour.
Officially, she’s not supposed to know the location of Cassian Andor’s current posting.
Jyn has been a government agent for a long time, now. She has still has not found a damn to give for officialism.
When Jyn called Mirax Horn for a favor, a ride on one of her ships, she had not expected to end up on the other woman’s personal freighter. Mirax, a few years younger than Jyn, is a friend of Iella’s, and like Iella, married to a man out of Rogue Squadron.
(Hearing that squadron’s name still gives Jyn’s pins and needles, every time, puts a pit in her stomach that she feels all the way into her spine. She got into a fight a few years ago with one of the moon jockeys of Antilles’ squadron who made the mistake of saying it had been named for ‘somebody, some pilot’ in her hearing.
Antilles had reached out to apologize personally. “Do better,” she’d told him harshly, wanting him to make them all remember.)
Once they’re in hyperspace, Mirax offers her ryshcate, some sort of pastry cake that still isn’t often found outside the five worlds of the Corellian system.
“Contraband?” Jyn asks, half seriously - Mirax had spent her early life as a smuggler, before starting a legitimate shipping company.
Legitimacy is in vogue of late - the smugglers, mercenaries, con men, and pirates who’d aided and abetted the Rebel Alliance either went clean long ago or have drifted, with increasing unease, away from the galaxy’s predominant government. An end to war would mean a final end to overlooking former allies’ criminal enterprises.
“Homemade, by yours truly,” Mirax says, flashing a smile. She still looks the part of a smuggler, in the type of fur-lined jacket favored by deep space pilots, and goggles idly hanging about her neck. A former smuggler who bakes.
She shows Jyn holos of her father holding her kids that Jyn definitely didn’t ask to see. Mirax’s father was a famous enough smuggler that Jyn had heard of him back when she was still with Saw, though it’s questionable how well ‘fame’ and ‘smuggling’ really mix. He’s a large man, lifting each grandchild one-handed, and though his laugh in the holo is silent it still looks like a roar. One of his eyes is conspicuously prosthetic.
“Five years in the mines of Kessel,” Mirax says of her father, “I didn’t think he’d survive, but it all worked out in the end. He’s even operating legally, now - well, as much as he ever will.”
Jyn nods, unable to take her eyes away from the holo now. Saw never laughed. Galen had, but she can’t recall the sound. The memory, over three decades old, plays as silent as the image of light.
“Your children are Force sensitive, aren’t they?” Jyn says. The question’s just to be polite - she’s read their files.
“Future Jedi, maybe,” Mirax says, with a slight eye roll that doesn’t diminish the pride in her voice. It come from her husband’s bloodline - hidden for two generations. “Better than future criminals, I suppose.”
Better than dead, which was what they’d have been if born and found under the Empire.
The boy in the holo, the older of the two children, looks about eight. The little girl’s hair is in two braids.
Jyn feels an ache so nearly physical she grimaces. When Mirax asks after her, with concern, Jyn blames it on her knee.
Selonia has tunnels. It’s an oceanic planet - there are islands, and beaches, somewhere - but the mammalian Selonians chose tunnels, to connect their continents.
Someone really ought to have introduced the Selonians to boats. Jyn spends a few days winding her way through the tunnels, complete with underground markets and waystations. Her thoughts spend a few years spiraling back to Toprawa, to the year and more spent in tunnels, trapped in a blockaded system with restricted communications.
It took two days, from leaving Yavin 4 to intercept the convoy picking up the last unarchived copy of the Death Star construction plans, to succeed at their mission.
It took a lot longer to leave a planet being razed for its direct insurrection.
When they’d heard about Alderaan, one of the Toprawan rebels had muttered, “Luckier than us,”
Cassian Andor had slammed him up against a wall of Mountain Home base. Between his teeth, he’d told that man and everyone listening the last-calculated number of sentient beings on Alderaan and that where there was life, there was hope. He’d said it too viciously to be inspirational, but it still rings in Jyn’s mind.
Jyn’s relieved to leave the tunnels for the above-ground Republic Intelligence station. She takes an elevator up, alone, tells the ensign on duty she doesn’t need her arrival announced over comm.
Cassian’s in an office with an elbow on his desk, hand under his chin, and a frown on his face. His back’s to the door, but Jyn can feel the frown. It makes her lip quirk up- not a smile, but just at the sight of him, the knowing of him.
There are only two things in the galaxy Jyn Erso looks at and thinks, mine. One is the kyber crystal around her neck. She’s looking at the other. He’s been hers, probably ever since she tied her kyber crystal around his wrist as if it could tie him to life, to her, and waited for him to wake up in the tunnels of Toprawa.
“You’re early,” Cassian says, without turning. “And limping.”
“Only slightly,” she says, and doesn’t disguise the limp well as she steps up behind his chair, dropping her arms over his shoulders and leaning forward till their heads are side by side.
He reaches his hand up, gripping her arm in place as if she was about to let go. Breathes her in, as she does the same.
He closes his eyes a moment, while Jyn’s stay open.
Forty-five sits more lightly on Cassian Andor than Jyn would have thought, when she met him. Whatever planet the phrase ‘lean as a whip’ came from, it’s true of Cassian- he’s thin in a way that puts her in mind, always, of weapons and leather. He looks worn, but his leanness keeps a disconcerting trace of boyishness about him, in certain angles, in certain light. There are more lines on his face, especially one frowning crease between his eyebrows, there is gray in his dark hair, but to Jyn, he seems little changed. He did most of his aging before we met, she thinks, and everything since has just made his eyes more tired. She wonders if he thinks the same of her.
He’ll be another year older, very soon, a birth date she learned by sneaking access to his file, rather than asking, and which they’ve only ever celebrated by her showing up somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be.
That’s not what he means by early, though.
She eyes the papers spread on Cassian’s desk, the failed droid-memory disk he still tinkers with when he’s feeling maudlin, and the empty bottle. She can taste the bottle’s contents on his air.
He has Gilad Pellaeon’s file open in front of him and is as drunk as he ever gets. Drunk, for him, means he can still shoot straight and carry on a clear conversation, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have holes in his memory, in the morning.
“You’ve heard,” she says.
“Only just,” he says, his eyes opening close to hers. “You came from Bothawui?”
“Coruscant. They called the search on Bothawui off before they even had the Caamas Documents - we weren’t getting anywhere. It was a waste of everyone’s time.”
“Bureaucracy,” Cassian says, smiling a little. It doesn’t touch his eyes, and the word is tart on his tongue. “They had to show Intelligence was looking into it.”
“And here?” she asks. “Reports have been thin. I know, neo-Imperials are still a problem system-wide even since we took down the Triad, but I didn’t expect you to be stationed here this long.” She debates with herself whether she should say it, then adds, stubbornly, even crankily, “It’s been too long.”
“Kalenda asked me to stay,” Cassian says, naming the ranking agent in the Corellian system.
It takes Jyn a moment to match a face to the name, finally able to summon up an image of hair in multiple tight braids and kind eyes - Belindi Kalenda, an imminently competent and intuitive agent. The kind of officer Cassian would stay to assist without question - especially as there’s few of those from the old days left.
“I might have to hate her a little,” Jyn says, not caring if she sounds half her age, and manages to get a groan-laugh out of Cassian.
She slides her arms off his shoulders - he keeps his hand’s loose grip on her arm, letting her glide her hand through it - and comes around to face him.
The desk’s just the right height to rest her hip on, letting her legs stay in his space, bumping against hers, as she picks up Pellaeon’s file.
Pellaeon is perhaps the Imperial’s version of a Belindi Kalenda - an imminently competent officer, though not anyone Jyn would ever have expected to wind up running the whole show. It’s technically the Moff Council in charge of the Remnant, but Pellaeon’s the one with all the Star Destroyers; he’s the man to watch and the man to decide. He served the Republic, during the Clone Wars, carried over to the Empire, would have been a contemporary of Jyn’s father. A by-the-book officer- granted, the Imperial book. Intelligence judges his loyalty as being truly to the Navy itself, before the Empire, which is perhaps the only thing in the file Jyn hasn’t seen before.
“I hear,” Cassian says heavily, “that Gilad Pellaeon is ‘all right’.”
“What damn fool said that?” Jyn says, outraged. There are levels of evil, and Pellaeon is by all accounts a man of discipline who has never, personally, committed an atrocity -- he’s still worked in a system that did for the vast majority of his life. Stood by for them, fought against those trying to stop them, shot down who knows how many Alliance and Republic ships.
“I stand by my assessment,” Jyn says. Cassian’s desk chair has wheels, she notes, and hooks her leg to tug it a little closer.
She hops up on the desk, and he lifts one hand to hover at her waist, his head bowed slightly.
Another truth she’d never have expected when she’d met him - Jyn handled the change of the Alliance to the New Republic better than Cassian.
He’s quiet about it, as he is about many things, but she’s learned to read whole paragraphs from the clenches of his jaw and occasionally, when quartered alone, he’ll blurt out small confessions that speak volumes.
“It wasn’t the Empire that killed my father,” he said, once, after Carida. There have been superweapons in the years since the Death Star - rediscovered prototypes, horrific adaptations of her father’s work, new terrors that might as well be stamped with ‘inspired by’ - but they’ve mostly been shut down, stopped.
That was not the case in the Carida system, and that attack, half accident, was an act of revenge on Imperial space, on their preeminent academy.
Cassian’s father had died on Carida in a long-forgotten protest, and the destruction of Carida struck him oddly.
Cassian’s people had been Separatists - he’s built his own philosophy in the years since, made his own judgments on yesterday’s war. But their fight, his parents’ fight, against the Republic was still the starting place for all that he is. He didn’t need to say, It was the Republic that killed him, and now we have brought about a Republic again, and is it better and going to stay better, and is it worth all the doing and dying? She read it in his eyes then, has been reading it since.
When she sees him. Much less than usual, this year, and she’d like to place the blame on work alone. But he’s been letting it keep him away, the way they’ve sometimes kept their sour times from touching each over the years, and the recent Corellian insurrection had enough of a tinge of old Separatist flavor to drive in a nail.
“What do you think?” she asks Cassian.
“Of Pellaeon?” he says and slips into report mode. “He thinks himself a righteous man. He’s as devoid of self-interest as an Imperial officer could come. His offer of peace, if truly in his power to extend, is genuine, and he would persecute any outliers who attempted to keep attacking the Republic, rather than look the other way.”
“You despise him and everything he stands for,” Jyn says, in his same matter-of-fact tone.
“Entirely,” Cassian says. “But the Alli-” He stops. There’s the drink, catching him after all. “From this man- we’ll sign his treaty.”
“And it’s all right?” Jyn asks. She reaches her hands out to cup his chin and prompt him to meet her eyes.
“It’s the right move,” he says. She waits, still watching his eyes, until he looks away, gently moves her hands off his face - though he holds onto the one, lets his own hand fall onto her leg, her hand on his, even as he leans back into his chair.
“I never truly thought Fest would be free of Imperial rule within my lifetime,” Cassian says. He combs the fingers of his free hand through his graying hair. “But then I never thought I would live this long.”
There are names written in the lines of his face. Jyn doesn’t even know them all, but she knows Cassian thinks they deserved to live more than him, that the universe plays games with the life of men. That Cassian has always thought he had a righteous cause, but has never thought himself a righteous man. That the cause is slipping from his grasp.
“I feel it, too,” she says to him. “I’m here as much for me as for you.”
She means that she needed to see him, to shake the sense of ‘lost’ away. But it’s been true of being there for the New Republic, too. There was a clear bright path of what had to be done that dragged Jyn properly into this, and it’s been fading, for almost two decades now. She spent the first half of her life without its direction, and then there it was, so essential, so obvious - the Empire cannot have a Death Star, at any cost, save the dream - and it hurts, it hurts, because dream made flesh is better, of course it is, but bringing it into reality ends the dream itself all the same.
“That does in fact make me feel a little better,” Cassian says.
Everyone’s going to retire, what’re we going to do, threatens to burst out of her, so she gives him an up-and-down and says, disapprovingly, “You haven’t been taking care of yourself. Didn’t I tell you not to get any thinner?”
“Excuse me, you’re the one limping,” he says. “Didn’t I tell you to watch your step?”
“You’re supposed to be there to watch it for me,” she says, quietly, and his hand tenses under hers, before squeezing gently, on a spot that manages to briefly relieve the ache of her knee. He knows that injury of old.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “The days got away from me.” He clears his throat. “I suppose I needed you to come after me, this time.”
“Fair enough, I think I was due for a turn,” she says, trying to think of which planet, which year, he last came after her. That’s what they do. “We’ve been putting off a conversation, haven’t we?”
“Which one?” Cassian asks her.
She kicks her leg forward against his, a tap of her toe against his upper shin, and asks, “‘What’s next?’”
He’s silent for a long moment, closing his eyes.
“I don’t know,” Cassian says, and then repeats it, with his eyes open. There’s a question in them, searching hers, but she doesn’t know what she wants, either. She can’t keep on in this role for the New Republic. She doesn’t want a farm. She’d be lost, with children it’s already a little late for, and she thinks, too, of her mother, thinks I finally understand why you chose him over me, I’d go back for this man every time, and I can never do that to a child. The galaxy is going to be at peace - as much as it ever is, worlds-wide - but there is no guarantee there won’t be wars to come.
He turns his head, shakes it a little in thought. The man from a lost cause, looking lost himself only now, with his cause finished and done.
Jyn’s hand tightens over Cassian’s.
“I love you, you know,” she says matter-of-factly.
His chin turns back toward her, a new sharpness in his eyes - she hadn’t thought them hazy a moment ago, but they are a dozen times more intent now. Years and years she’s known him now, in every way, and still it is a blazing thing every time she captures his full attention, rare still, outside their quarters, for him not to have a corner of his eye watching the periphery, no matter what. But all of his corners are entirely hers, in this moment.
“Didn’t you?” she asks, less sure of herself. He’s not looking at her like someone who knew. That thought leaves her something very close to actual, breathless fear, counting all the times before she’s as good as said it.
He turns his hand over, under her grip, until his palm is against hers, bringing them callous to callous as he grips hers back.
“I had a suspicion,” he says, real warmth teasing its way back into his voice. He pauses and brings his forehead nearer to hers. “For a long time, it was more of a hope.”
She kisses him, not gently, and he kisses her back harder but slower, corded tension in his arms as they come around her. He’s trying to keep desperation out of his motions, which is how she can tell when he needs her even more than he wants her. She considers asking him teasingly if they’re too old to employ his desk for less than professional purposes but decides, yes, tonight, they are. Her bones pulse toward his but she’s still tired enough to want a pillow.
“Where’s your bed?” she asks him.
He stands, their hands still gripped, and she lets him tug her up, enjoying the momentum that pulls her into him. He slings an arm over her shoulder, his weight on her a smidge as they walk off together. There’s a memory in the motion that aches, and it occurs to her this was once a dream- not even a dream so much as an escaping thought- made solid.
“We could get a ship,” she says, into his arm.
“I have a ship.”
“One that isn’t Republic issued,” she said. Jyn, as they walk where Cassian points, is counting credits with each step, wondering what kind of a purchase deal she could wrangle out of Mirax Horn.
Nowhere, everywhere, neither’s quite right.
“The right place at the right time?” she suggests. “Or look for it, anyway.”
Cassian looks at her, their noses almost touching this close.
“A ship’s a start,” he says.
It’s later, much later, and there’s morning light on Selonia, and a view of lapping blue water and white sand from the one window, if Jyn was willing to get up from the bed. She’s not, nor is she trying to sleep. She’s half propped up on a pillow, and Cassian’s head is against her shoulder, his arm splaying over her waist. Her fingers are threaded through his hair. She wonders how late in life his will stay mainly dark - how long hers will. She finds herself thinking of the gray in Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus’ hair. Of how Chirrut seemed to be Baze’s purpose, while Chirrut’s was larger than that, and the difference between what drove those two men through their days.
Purpose is as precious a commodity as hope, and its absence is a song of fear in her chest. Purpose should not be a person, and for the first time, she and Cassian feel dangerously close to being each other’s. Love doesn’t need that weight. Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi certainly seem to find enough good to busy themselves doing about the galaxy. She supposes two old rebels can, too.
And peace, drip-slow peace, isn’t here just yet, anyway.
“We’ve got time,” she whispers, and Cassian, who never sleeps that deeply, wakes.
“Who’d have thought,” he says, with humor, and touches the crystal resting against her chest. “I suppose the Force may be with us, after all.”
Jyn thinks of those who have died who deserved to live and those she’d rather have the other way around and understands why Cassian has never trusted the Force. She does, anyway.
She wouldn’t say that all’s worked out in the end - or know when to call the end - but it’s become a better universe, a more balanced one.
“I think it must be,” she says. “I’m with you.”