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Be alright tomorrow

Chapter Text

It arrived whilst they were in the turbolift. A strange, quiet moment shattered by panicked shouting, the clatter of Imperial boots falling out of line. They may as well have been invisible in the chaos, still cocooned in the harsh fluorescents of the lift pod, where the only sounds were the swooshing of the lift and their ragged breaths.

The sunlight was dazzling, battering them from above as the luxurious white sand pulled at their feet. The idyllic beaches were overlaid with black smoke. She could smell her own sweat and Cassian’s, and the scorched red scent of the blaster wound in his side. The sky was delicate eggshell blue, cracked and blistered with the tumbling wreckage of starfighters and trails of laser fire. It hung in the clear backdrop, a mockery of the moon’s delicate outline, as the meteors born of a star destroyer’s demise began to pepper the air.

The only ships in flight seemed to be TIE strikers, and her neck ached from looking up. Her voice sounded dusky and unfamiliar when she spoke again into the commlink, and she felt Cassian watching her impassively, growing heavier with each shaking, stumbling step.

A static rustle, the most beautiful noise she could imagine. Bodhi, breathless, sounding pained, the crackle of the channel merged with the agony in his voice. But he was coming, and the zeta-class shuttle rising from the jungle was made elegant despite its rusty underside and ominous black wings.

Troopers ran at them, blasters forgotten, arms waving, their air-filter grilles become grimaces of panic. She guided the two of them backwards as Cassian fired, his mouth grim and eyes shadowed: their escape was not an act of charity. Reality set in, and those still standing started to fire back. She held his left hand in her left, his right hip in her other hand, and she steeled herself to take the trust he gave her, to keep him standing, keep him moving, to take that trust and face away from the troopers firing on them, to trust him to keep them covered. The landing ramp was so close behind them, furrowing the sand, leading to muffled sounds of Bodhi’s encouragement.

Their confused shouting overlapped in waves, the deck of the cargo shuttle tilted drunkenly, she felt the ridged surface of its metal floor dig into her knees and palms. Air and sand and salt water mingled with her wild hair and she made herself crawl onwards to the edge of the deck, where the ramp started to slope down away from her. She took Chirrut’s limp hand, her shoulders whining like the shuttle’s engines as she pulled back, dragging him up the ramp. The sound of Baze hauling himself onto the ramp below Chirrut was metallic and heavy, his gun and armour clattering beneath him as he struggled to get all four limbs under him, secure on a surface that wanted to tip him back onto burnt and bloodied sands. His voice added to the melee in the shuttle even before he was off the ramp, everyone’s invocations of Bodhi’s name ringing out over the pilot’s desperate acknowledgements.

The ship rattled like it was being pelted with meteorites as it was forced into an early jump to hyperspace. Her bones jarred and teeth clattered together, and she didn’t even try to stand. The inside of the shuttle was dark and yawningly empty compared to their earlier flight. It smelled of fire and blood and fear. She tried to gulp in panicked breaths, but the atmosphere made her retch. Chirrut was moaning in a low voice, Baze’s breathing was a growl, and two voices running high on adrenaline were still raised in the cockpit.

The console looked like a murder weapon. Cassian shot her a pinched glare that he’d had focussed on Bodhi, whose eyes were wide and wilder than she’d ever seen them, his face streaked with blood and his skin pale and clammy. She probably swore, descending the ladder unsteadily on a leg that she started to realise was rapidly becoming unusable. Cassian probably swore too, began a sequel to the tirade she’d partially heard from the hold. Bodhi shrugged and waved his hands and she saw then that one of them was the reason for the blood on the console and the smell in the hold. She swore again and grabbed the mangled limb, pulling against him to keep it raised above his head and adding her voice to Cassian’s. A med kit was found in a panel behind the pilot’s seat, her quivering fingers were not gentle when she tore what pieces of his sleeve remained from him and wound bacta bandages around it the shrapnel-studded skin and meat. The pain was overcoming his adrenaline now that they were settled into the blue lullaby of hyperspace, she saw doubt entering Bodhi’s eyes, saw him start to remember whatever it was he’d done.

There were no more med kits on board and they needed to save the stim patches for landing. She focussed on the rising and falling of her chest, and on Baze’s steady, eloquent stare. Chirrut’s head and shoulders were in his lap, his body freshly bandaged so that the sickly smell of bacta now mingled with the hold’s memory of the explosion that had ruined Bodhi’s arm. Baze held one of Chirrut’s hands, his other vast paw stroking the guardian’s short-cropped hair. It was the first time she had seen Baze without his gun pack attached. Neither of them spoke, but by keeping their eyes on each other their wills were joined together, one silent voice driving the ship forward, praying for speed and for mercy from the base they’d absconded from only hours before.

Stims could only do so much, but Bodhi’s legs were working and the medics at the top of the hatch were reaching out for his good arm. She supported his back for as long as she could and felt his body shaking as he made one boot find a rung and then another. Cassian tried to stand when he thought she was still focussed on Bodhi, but she heard his breath hitch and gasp, saw the distinctive quiver of unwilling muscles as he tried to push himself up. He didn’t attempt to hide the gratitude in his face when she moved back to his side, bent and brought him to a skidding, ungainly stance. Her own muscles felt like the agonised metal that had fallen from the sky around them on Scarif, but his sudden weight was a call to arms that rallied her, let her push past the pain in her leg once more. His hair tickled her skin and his forehead buried itself in her neck momentarily as he tried to shift his stance. She grimaced at the way his ankles buckled disobediently and half-carried him to the ladder, letting her own back jar on the metal and watching his fingers unfold stiffly from the fists they’d formed in the material of her clothes. His face orbited close to hers as he swayed his grip to the ladder and she suddenly felt thirsty, cold, oddly incomplete as his bodyweight left her and he started once more to climb.

She doubted she’d been this clean in years. The scent of bacta was deep in her very skin, and her hair felt feathery and insubstantial. Her clothes had been washed and patched, and the cleaning product complemented the bacta in a way that made her nose itch. Her customary bun would not form as she wanted, and exasperated her stiff fingers. She was surrounded by a phalanx of impatient med droids; and she knew she wasn’t projecting this emotion, because they had repeatedly made it clear to her that their resources were needed elsewhere, the bed was also needed, and she should have left several minutes ago. She’d tried asking about the other survivors, but the droids were programmed for efficiency rather than empathy, and the longer she tried to reason with their cold white optical sensors, the more she found herself missing Kaytoo.

                Still dazzled by the brightness and the smell of the place, Jyn let them lead her away from the ward, the walls reforming from white plast and curtains into the greenish stone she remembered from her previous visits to Base One. Satisfied that they were rid of her, the droids backed away, and her eyes were free to fall on a stack of datapads stored precariously at a desk that she supposed must function as an occasional reception area. Trying to revive her wilted hair with one hand, she didn’t hesitate before grabbing a datapad with the other. As hoped, it was a list of patients, and she couldn’t decide whether to roll her eyes or smile at the trust displayed in the insular world of the hidden base.

                She scanned the aurebesh quickly, lips moving as she murmured encouragement at the records.

                “Ms Erso?”

                The voice hid a trepidation that made her frown, but she looked up at the private that had appeared in the doorway of the med bay. He seemed flustered, and she guessed he knew he was late, given the med droids’ insistence that she should have left sooner.

                “You are to accompany me to General Draven’s office.”

                Jyn surveyed him coolly, letting the silence worm its way between them. As he opened his mouth to ask again, she shrugged and gestured to him to lead on. He was by now so on edge that she wasn’t even sure he noticed her bring the datapad with her. He certainly didn’t challenge her on it.