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as the fates unwind

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She knows she shouldn’t, even as she leaves her daughter behind and finds the blaster she’d hidden from Galen. She has every reason not to—the Empire’s suffocating grip, Krennic’s obsession with her husband, her beautiful green-eyed girl who looks at her with her father’s eyes and laughs as if there is still good on the galaxy—but she will never forgive herself if she doesn’t. Not if there’s the slightest chance she can keep Galen, her Galen, from being taken by those bastards.

She has to try. Because she knows, she knows what they will do to him, how they will use his gentle heart as a club until they’ve wrung what they want out of him. And she knows what he’s capable of, even if he doesn’t. He sees the beauty in everything, sees the potential, but she’s always been a realist. He’ll get so lost in the challenge that he won’t see what they’re making him do, not while he has a puzzle in front of him. He’ll accept the puzzle, lose himself in it, and then someday, he will see what he has created, and it will break him. And it’s more than that.

His mind could break the universe.

She tries to steel herself as she confronts Krennic, that odious, leering man, the one who has never forgiven her husband for loving someone else. She tries to tell herself it’s the right thing to do.

You know what he’s capable of, Lyra. His mind is the greatest weapon the Empire could ever hope to get its hands on.

She knows what she should do. It’s the right thing for everyone. Her blaster comes up, but it’s not pointed at her husband.

She can’t, no matter how much she should. She accepts her failure, and finds it in herself to enjoy the fear in Krennic’s eyes as she levels it at him.

She could never harm Galen, no matter how much havoc he can wreak with that beautiful mind of his. There’s a moment, a moment when she almost thinks she can do this, and then Krennic gestures to the Death Troopers as he collapses from her shot and her world is fire.

I’m sorry, my daughter, she thinks as she crumples into the grass, as the white-hot pain lances through her as cruelly as Galen’s terrified shouts. He races to her, holds her in his arms, and as she looks in his eyes, eyes so like their daughter’s, she knows what to do. Forgive me, my love , she thinks, and lets herself go limp, lets her eyes go blank and holds her breath.

It’s a gamble, and a desperate one. He’s shaking as he holds her, begging her to hold on, and she wants so badly to respond to him, but she can’t. Not if she’s going to pull this off. Not if any of them are going to be free.

They grab him, drag him away from her. Her heart races as she listens to his screams, and she lets her tears mix with the rain of Lah’mu.

They blast away in their shuttle and she takes in a gasping breath, forces herself to remain still. She has to wait. Krennic might be gone, and she hopes to hell he doesn’t survive her shot. His men will still be combing over the planet, looking for their daughter, their brilliant little stardust. Galen won’t do what they want, not without leverage.

She could regret it, how vulnerable having a child makes her, makes both of them. But she can’t. Not when her funny, clever, beautiful little girl waits for her. And she will go to her. There is no other option. She will find her daughter, and she will save her husband. She doesn’t know how, but she will. The certainty hums in her bones like kyber.

The rain drips onto her skin, soaks her clothes, pitter-patters off the body armor under her jacket. She holds herself still, and waits.

-=-

Night comes to Lah’mu, and she finally stirs. Her body is both chilled and on fire, and she can’t stop the groan that rips itself out of her throat when she tries to move. It takes herculean effort to roll herself over, to push herself up on her knees, but her daughter’s face and the thought of her terror flashes before her eyes and she is able to crawl forward.

I’m sorry , she whispers to her daughter, I’m sorry, I’m sorry . It becomes her mantra as she pushes herself out of the grass, slides down the rocky slopes. She can barely tell where the cave is anymore, the cave that holds her whole life. She can’t let herself think of Galen. Not right now. Not while their daughter waits, alone and afraid.

She is almost at the cave when a shuttle roars overhead, and she almost whimpers until she hears the tell-tale sputter of the engines. No Imperial craft would be allowed in space with such a noticeable fault.

It’s Saw. He’s come for them. He must have been watching, must have had his people observing Lah’mu. He must have seen them take Galen away.

She can’t let herself think of Galen.

She crawls into the cave, reaches the rock that hides her future. And she can’t get up. Her face is against the window in the rock, and she hears her daughter’s breathing down below, hears the shakiness she tries to hide. So young, and yet so brave. Lyra is so terribly proud of her. “Jyn? Jyn. I’m here, mama’s here.”

The breathing down below changes, turns rapid and gasping. There is a noise in the tunnel, the sound of awkward young limbs scrambling up the steel ladder. Her daughter erupts out the top, all wild eyes and hope. “ Mama!

She can barely raise her arms, but she catches her daughter as Jyn throws herself at her. “Shh, little one. I’m here, mama’s here.”

There is a noise at the entrance to the cave, and Lyra catches a glimpse of Saw’s figure in the starlight. He can wait. The whole damn universe can wait. She holds her daughter close, and lets her tears fall.

Saw moves closer. She can hear his steps, heavy and unsteady, the creaking of his metal joints. He lifts a lantern and she closes her eyes against the glare, against the hiss of his breath against his teeth.

“Force, Lyra, what did they do to you?”

Jyn pulls away at that, turns to Saw, and Lyra is grateful that her daughter has already decided Saw is one of her favorite people. “Saw! Did you find papa?”

“I’m sorry, little one. You papa had to go away.” He steps closer and raises his voice, calls outside. “Jeera! Get the med kit!”

Lyra holds her daughter’s hand and slips into the waiting darkness.