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people think the strangest things

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1.

Jyn is just delivering a second and final kick to a Zabrak bounty hunter’s head when Cassian shows up. He takes in the scene – the bar in chaos, unconscious bodies on the floor, Jyn facing off against the remaining two of the Zabrak trio – and shakes his head.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” he tells her.

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” she snaps, but she follows him, and with his help they make it out a back door and into an empty alley in just minutes, bruised and bleeding but still on their feet.

He waits until they’re back on the ship to tell her, “That’s the last time you go alone to meet with a contact.”

Jyn purses her lips, annoyed. “Please, that could have happened to anyone,” she says. Cassian just gives her a look and goes to get the med kit.

“How did you know I was there, anyway?” she asks when he comes back. She’s glad they brought extra bacta this time, they’re going to need it.

“Navad told me,” he says. Navad, a contact of Cassian’s, was the one who told them about the weapons shipments they’re currently trying to trace.

“Navad?” Jyn frowns. “I didn’t think he even knew my name.”

“He, um,” Cassian trails off. She gives him a suspicious look.

“What?”

“He doesn’t quite know your name,” and now he’s very carefully not looking her in the eye.

“What did he call me?” she asks, rolling up her pants to see where the blood on her shoes is coming from.

“His exact words were ‘your wife is making trouble at the bar,’” he tells her. Jyn almost chokes.

“He thought we were married??” she says, rubbing bacta along the knife wound on her leg. “Why would he think that?”

Cassian wipes the blood off his forehead and shrugs. “No idea.”

“I assume you corrected him,” she says, keeping her eyes focused on her leg.

“Well… no,” he says. Jyn looks up, and he’s still looking away from her, eyes trained on the med kit. “There wasn’t really time for that.”

Meaning, Jyn knows, there wasn’t time because Cassian raced off to save her, like he always does. Someday he’ll realize she can take care of herself. But – it’s not the worst thing, having backup.

“Here, let me do that,” he says as she moves on to dealing with her arms. He helps Jyn as she eases off her jacket and overshirt to reach a nasty scrape on her shoulder. Cassian grabs the bacta and starts smoothing it gently over the injury. Jyn tells herself the tingling feeling spreading across her skin is from the cold.

She’s getting spoiled, she knows. Getting used to having help.

It’s not the worst thing.

 

2.

“Come on, you worthless lump of metal, FASTER.”

“This is taking time for a reason,” Kaytoo says. “If you wanted sloppy, unconvincing paperwork, you could have written it yourself.”

Jyn gnashes her teeth. She is in no mood to hear anything from Kaytoo. If he doesn’t finish that paper in three seconds, so help her…

Luckily, the droid signs the paper with a flourish 2.4 seconds later. “There,” he says. He might say something else, too, but she doesn’t hear. She’s already running wildly through the market, paper in hand.

It won’t end like this, she tells herself, pushing her body to move faster. Cassian fought for twenty years before she met him, he survived Jedha and Eadu and Scarif, and another few dozen missions since. He wasn’t going to die because he got caught in a stupid, random inspection on a worthless rock of a planet in the middle of nowhere.

He was always so careful. It would have to be the one time – the one time! – that he didn’t have proper fake ID papers on him. He’d left base with papers, of course, but thanks to their work on Bespin, “Varhat Jaar” is now a wanted man, so that identity was out.

It wasn’t supposed to be a problem. Wouldn’t have been, if they hadn’t decided to make a quick stop for supplies on their way back to base. They were just in the market, buying fruit, when suddenly they were rounding up all the men for inspection and the one time he didn’t make it away in time…

By the time she reaches the soldiers, she can barely breathe. “Wait!” she gasps, gesturing to Cassian. “Wait, I have his papers. I – “ Her lungs fail her, and she can only hope they heard.

Thank the Force, and the stars, and everything, the soldier closest to her calls it down the line. “Hey! Wait a minute,” he says, gesturing to the soldier holding Cassian. “This guy’s wife says she has his papers.”

She was going to pretend to be his cousin this time, but – wife works better. They don’t even have the same accent.

Jyn passes over the papers, and for a long, long minute the commanding officer looks them over. And then the soldiers are taking off Cassian’s cuffs and he’s walking back to her and she’s throwing herself into his arms and it’s all she can do to breathe.

“Your name is Billen Xho. I’m Clara,” she manages to whisper.

The officers take a couple of minutes to give them a stern lecture. Billen and Clara must always carry their identification; it’s the law now. Violators will be arrested and taken in for the local Stormtroopers to deal with.

If she had arrived just a minute later, Cassian would be on his way to the Stormtroopers right now. Unless he’d already managed to work the little pill out of his inner pocket and into his mouth.

Jyn doesn’t have to fake her tears as she promises the officers that it won’t ever happen again.

 

3.

Jyn is sitting at the cantina on base, pleasantly drunk. Opposite her is a man named – Junn? Johan? Something like that. The important thing is, he’s cute, and he seems to like her.

It’s been a long time since she did this, just sat at a bar and flirted with someone. First there was the arrest, and Wobani, and then there was Jedha and Scarif and the Rebellion, and then… well, then there was Cassian. Except there wasn’t Cassian, not really. He was her teammate, her friend, her ally – but nothing more than that.

For a long while Jyn had thought they were dancing around each other. She had been so sure that it couldn’t be just her. It couldn’t be just her whose nerves lit up when their hands touched. It couldn’t be just her who wondered what it would be like if she let herself just lean in and touch him, if he would taste like she imagined.

But it’s been almost eight months since Scarif. Cassian has had more than enough time to show her that he wanted her, if he wanted her. He didn’t.

Jyn’s, well… she’s not OK with it, not really. But maybe this is the first step toward being OK.

So now she’s here, flirting with a cute pilot. She can do this. It’s fun, really. They trade stories about near-misses, and about all the places they’ve been, and she laughs at his jokes and he buys her another drink. And if she can’t stop thinking what Cassian would be saying if it were him on the other side of the table, if his name comes up a little too often in her stories, well. It’s still a good first step.

An hour later, Junn (Jorgan?) tells her he has to go prepare for a mission. “This was fun,” he says shyly, looking at her from under long blond lashes.

“Your husband is a lucky guy,” he adds, standing. “Tell him I say ‘hi,’ OK?”

Jyn just watches him walk away, at a complete loss for words. Dimly, she realizes her mouth is open, and shuts it.

So much for her flirting skills. Oh well, she tells herself, at least Cassian wasn’t there to see it.

 

4.

Jyn is on her way to the mess hall when she’s stopped by a nervous-looking soldier, a girl she doesn’t know. The girl starts and stops talking twice; she looks like she thinks Jyn is about to punch her. Which – not fair. Jyn only ever punches soldiers bigger and older than herself.

“What?” she finally asks, trying to keep the irritation out of her voice.

“It’s, um,” the girl says, looking scared. She takes a deep breath. “It’s your husband. He suffered a blaster wound, and – “

Jyn’s pretty sure she’d remember if she had a husband. But when she hears “blaster wound,” she knows who the girl means, and her heart stops.

She can only think of one person she knows who was supposed to be back on base hours ago. Who she knew would get in trouble without her, would ignore his own safety completely for the sake of the mission.

(She can only think of one person who spends nearly all of his free hours on base with her. Who can read her with a glance, who understands her even when she doesn’t fully understand herself. Who could possibly be mistaken for her husband.)

She doesn’t wait for the rest.

The infirmary is deceptively quiet. The low beeping of machines and the nurses’ soft steps hardly do justice to the life and death struggles taking place all around. Jyn passes quickly down the row of rooms, eyes flicking back and forth.

She’s getting close to the end of the hall when she sees him. Cassian is lying in bed, eyes closed. He has a new cut on his forehead, large dark circles under his eyes, and what looks like a broken finger. But it’s the massive bandage around half of his midsection that makes her heart plummet to her toes.

His eyes flutter open as she tiptoes toward the bed. “Hey,” he croaks. He might be trying to move a hand toward her, it’s hard to tell.

“Hey,” she whispers back, taking his hand in hers. “I thought you said you wouldn’t get shot this time.”

He shrugs slightly, and the small movement makes him grimace in pain. “Sometimes my plans really are as bad as Kay says they are,” he says, looking embarrassed.

Jyn gives him half a smile. Their fingers are twined together, and his hand is warm against hers. She focuses on that, and tries to ignore his injuries and the faint scent of blood.

“How are you here?” he asks.

She pulls back slightly. “Do you want me to go? I’ll go, you should sleep.”

“No!” His fingers tighten on hers. “No. Just – they said they weren’t going to let my friends visit until tomorrow.”

Oh. “They, um. I think they think we’re married,” she manages to say.

Cassian looks embarrassed again. “That’s not – I didn’t tell them that,” he tells her.

“No, of course not, I know,” she says. “I’ll tell them they got it wrong.”

They’re quiet for a minute. Without thinking, Jyn lifts her other hand and runs it across his forehead, smoothing back his hair again and again. She watches her hand and remembers someone’s hand on her forehead, long ago.

Cassian’s eyes slowly close. “Jyn?” he says, half asleep.

“Yes?”

“Tell them we’re not married another time, OK?” Jyn blinks, shocked.

“I just,” he continues, eyes shut. “It’s nice to have the company.”

He would never in a million years say that when fully conscious. Even on Scarif, when half his ribs were broken, when they thought they were about to die, he had tried to keep his weight off of her as they limped out onto the beach. Cassian Andor is not a man who asks for things. (He’s probably not even a man who admits to himself that he wants things. Not that Jyn’s in any position to judge.)

Jyn smiles, and stays.