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If someone were to ask Cassian if he knows Jyn Erso well, he'd be pretty comfortable with giving a positive answer.

 

But now, two months into sharing an apartment with her, he's still finding out just how much he's missed over the year-long span of their friendship.

 

For one, Jyn is messy.

 

It's a fucking weird kind of messy, too.

 

Cassian's used to people leaving their stuff all around, letting piles and piles of endless things build up in the most random spaces of their abodes. Usually, it's just because people are sentimental. They're still attached to their things, but they either can't or won't find a way to store them properly. All of this leads to an organised sort of clutter that's still loosely tied to some type of unspoken, unwritten system.

 

But with Jyn, once an object becomes unnecessary or irrelevant, it somehow completely ceases to exist at all. It's like she just silently decides that it, whatever it is — a book, a phone bill, an old laptop charger — just becomes invisible. She doesn't look at it, she doesn't touch it — not even to put it aside or throw it away. It just drops from her radar entirely.

 

She doesn't even seem to notice if Cassian puts it aside. Or throws it away. Or starts using it for himself.

 

Just last week, he'd poked at a plain black sweater that had spent the last five days lying over the back of the couch. "Is this supposed to go into the laundry, or what?"

 

Jyn hadn't even looked up from her laptop. "Don't know."

 

He'd raised a brow at her. "Did you wear it?"

 

She'd glanced up then. It was no more than a second or two, but still. "Don't think so," she'd reported, eyes already back on her computer screen.

 

Cassian had blinked, one hand on his hip. "Should I just toss it, then?"

 

A shrug. "Whatever you want."

 

He'd ended up putting it in a small box stashed in the hall closet, along with a few other items of clothing that Jyn had apparently and abruptly decided didn't belong to her anymore over the last couple of months.

 

(He's decided that when the box gets full, he's taking it down to the Salvation Army. Someone might as well get some use out of Jyn's perfectly wearable, inexplicably discarded garments.)

 

So, yeah. That's one thing.

 

For another, Jyn is efficient.

 

Well, that's not exactly news. He's always known that. But he hadn't realised just how efficient she was until they'd moved in together.

 

She's scary quick at chores. Whenever it's his night for doing the dishes, he usually takes long enough that his hands start to go pruny before he's done.

 

Whenever it's Jyn's turn for washing up, he usually gets back from taking out the trash to find all their dishes already drying on the rack, as she sprays Windex on the kitchen counter with a disturbingly disproportionate amount of aggression. (Not that it's intentional. 'Aggressive' is just kind of Jyn's default M.O.)

 

She has a habit of marathoning complete movie trilogies and whole seasons of TV shows within a single day , armed with no more than her college sweater and a single pot of tea. Sometimes, he'll join her — but after three or four hours, even he has to admit defeat and take a break, even if it's just to rest his dry eyes.

 

She barely even takes bathroom breaks. It's so intimidating.

 

She does it with work, too. She'll plant herself on the couch, or at the kitchen table, and fucking just go on what Cassian can only describe as a 'bender'. It usually lasts anywhere between twenty minutes to twenty hours.

 

It's like whenever Jyn starts doing a thing, thoughts of everything else just fly right out of her head. She doesn't eat, she doesn't shower, she doesn't check for texts or answer calls. She just keeps doing the thing, charging through it with single-minded laser focus until it's well and truly done.

 

If Cassian didn't make sure to bring her food and water three times a day, he's pretty sure she'd be dead by now.

 

The last thing he hadn't quite expected is Jyn's ability to fall asleep anywhere.

 

Seriously. Anywhere.

 

On the couch. At the coffee table. On the armchair. At the kitchen table. In the laundry room, in a pile of freshly washed clothes.

 

He'd even come home one night to catch her curled up on the living room floor one night, right underneath the window that leads to their fire escape.

 

"I wanted to go outside," she'd mumbled in explanation when he had gently shaken her awake, "but I couldn't get the damn thing open."

 

He'd had to clamp down on a smile then. Their window tends to get stuck shut, and, for some reason, Jyn's never been able to work out just how to wrangle it open. The look on her face whenever she appears in front of him to announce that it's stuck again has always privately amused him. She hates having to ask for help, even with something as inconsequential as a stubborn jam jar.

 

"Okay, Jyn," he'd said instead, helping her up from the floor as she'd rubbed at her still-closed eyes with one small hand. "Off to bed, now."

 

She'd swatted at him unsteadily with her free hand — in that special brand of grudging affection that only Jyn seems to be capable of pulling off — before padding off towards her bedroom, yawning behind a fist.

 

After the first couple of weeks, Cassian had arrived at the conclusion that Jyn's body clock has no concept of morning, afternoon, or night. It could be two P.M. or two A.M., and he would still be equally likely to walk in on her slumped over or curled up in some corner of the apartment, fast asleep.

 

It's not like she does it on purpose, either. It's like her body is an iPhone, and she constantly ignores the low battery warnings whenever they pop up, until at some point, it just shuts off altogether on its own.

 

Cassian knows full well that it's not exactly a healthy system. Even so, Jyn seems to have found a way to make her body adapt somehow.

 

It's kind of unfair, really. No matter how much he tries to catch up on all the sleep he's lost during the workweek, he can never really make the bags under his eyes go away. On the other hand, there's Jyn, who appears to be in complete command of her body — under-eye bags included.

 

At least, until she passes out.

 

It's probably sheer stubbornness, Cassian thinks wryly.

 

Even so, it doesn't mean he's just going to leave her like that.

 

"Mm," Jyn mumbles, body wriggling as her eyelids struggle to prise themselves open. "Whasshapp'nin'."

 

"Shh," he advises, making his way carefully down the hall. He keeps his arms steady under her weight, careful to measure his steps so she's not jostled about by his stride. "Just putting you back in your bed. Before you get another neck ache from that couch."

 

"'m fine," she grumbles, her face turning into his shoulder despite her vaguely annoyed tone.

 

He allows himself a small smile as he gently pushes her door open with his foot. "Okay, Jyn. You're fine."

 

She mumbles something else, but it's muffled against his shirt, and he doesn't think it would be a good idea to ask her for a repeat and possibly drag her out of slumber in the process.

 

"Yep," he says instead, laying her down on her unmade bed. "Got it."

 

He makes sure to position her head properly on her pillow, drawing her blanket up over her lax form before withdrawing. She's already curling up on her side, the blanket tucked under her arm.

 

"Night, Jyn," he says quietly, flicking the light off on his way out.

 

 

 

The next morning, Jyn pads into the kitchen and stops, frowning slightly at him.

 

"That looks familiar," she says, nodding at the blue mug full of coffee in his hand.

 

He shrugs. "You left it on top of the TV a week ago. Still in the bubble wrap."

 

She squints. "Huh."

 

He raises a brow. "Why, do you want it back?"

 

She appears to consider it.

 

"No," she decides, moving towards the coffeemaker.

 

I know, he thinks, resisting the urge to snicker aloud.

 

"Okay," he says instead, bringing the mug to his lips for another sip. "Great."

 

 


 

 

He carries Jyn back to her bed twice more throughout the week.

 

He's not exactly sure if Jyn's aware of both these times, though. She doesn't open her eyes, or say (read: incoherently mumble) anything. Instead, she just sighs a little, in a way that makes him think she might be half annoyed and half contented, and turns to bury her face in his shoulder or chest.

 

She doesn't ever say anything about it the next day, either.

 

To be fair, neither does he.

 

 


 

 

 About a week later, he comes home to Jyn fast asleep at the kitchen table, her laptop having long slipped into hibernation mode.

 

"Oh, fuck," he mutters to himself, hands on his hips as he surveys her slumped over form. It's one thing to pick her up when she's already mostly horizontal. It's another thing entirely to try and manoeuvre her from what is basically a sitting position.

 

"Okay," he says, more for his benefit than anything else.

 

Bending at the knees, he rests one palm between her shoulder blades to steady her, before crouching to slide the other arm under her knees.

 

"Come on, now," he tells her in a hushed whisper, the hand on her back moving to curl around the side of her rib cage.

 

Jyn makes a muffled sound, but she seems content to let her torso lurch into him, her shoulder pressed up against his chest.

 

"Up we go," he grunts, as quietly as he can manage, before gathering his strength and lifting her up.

 

Not for the first time, he sends up a silent thank you to whatever god out there in the universe that might be responsible for Jyn's diminutive size. It would have been much harder to manage if she'd been closer to his height.

 

Her head lolls against his shoulder, and he winces a little at how much he's forced to bump her about just so he can scoop her up properly.

 

"Sorry," he tells her with a grimace, keeping his voice low as he starts towards her bedroom. "Please don't wake up."

 

Her only response is a wordless sigh, barely inaudible.

 

"Good," he says, equal parts dry and amused. Laying her down in her bed, he pulls the blanket over her, pausing to tuck it securely around her form. Jyn likes being covered, he's learned, after numerous occasions of watching her tug the blanket tighter around herself, whether or not it's actually cold out.

 

"That's a milestone, isn't it?" he asks softly, drawing back to glance over her one last time.

 

He decides to take her slumbering silence as agreement.

 

"I think so, too," he murmurs as he turns the light out.

 

 

 

"What's another word for well-meaning, but insulting?" Jyn demands one night, computer perched in her lap.

 

He doesn't even take his eyes off the TV. "Kay."

 

She snorts, reaching out to clink her beer bottle to his.

 

 


 

  

Two weeks later, he's not sure what exactly it is that changes for Jyn at work, but she starts spiralling pretty badly.

 

She works all through the weekend, not even pausing to change out of the same overlarge green sweatshirt and black leggings. It takes him at least three repetitions of her name before she even blinks, let alone looks up from her work. She barely even leaves her laptop to go to the bathroom.

 

He ends up having to carry her back to bed every day of the week.

 

By Thursday, he's starting to get slightly frustrated.

 

Not with having to carry her to her bed. That's never an issue for him.

 

He finds himself constantly worrying that she's not taking care of herself. After all, she can't just go through life beating her body into gruelling submission. She has to listen to her own physical needs sometime.

 

Which is why he can't help the annoyed huff that escapes his lips when he tucks her blanket around her, for the sixth night in a row.

 

"Damn it, Jyn," he mutters under his breath. On sheer impulse, he lifts his hand to brush aside the stray lock of brown hair resting over her closed eyes.

 

He definitely doesn't let his hand linger longer than strictly necessary.

 

With a small sigh, he starts to pull back.

 

And then stops when her hand curls around his wrist.

 

"Mm," Jyn mumbles insistently, fingers tightening around his wrist, brows furrowing as if in disapproval. She tugs blindly on his hand, like she's giving him some silent, imperious command.

 

He pauses, a rapid-fire debate raging in his head.

 

After a few moments, Jyn makes the decision for him, tugging decisively on his wrist yet again, this time accompanied with a disgruntled hum.

 

Before he can think about it, he lowers himself down to the bed, turning his body and laying down so he's fitted behind her, still fully clothed.

 

She sighs, pulling at his wrist again so that his arm is wrapped firmly around her middle.

 

He closes his eyes, trying very hard not to think about how what they're currently doing could definitely be categorised as cuddling. Or, more specifically, spooning.

 

He lies there with Jyn, his chest pressed to her back, letting the gentle rise and fall of her breathing guide his own. After a few minutes, her grip on his wrist relaxes completely, the rhythm of her breathing now completely evened out.

 

Once he's convinced that she's slipped back into the depths of slumber, he carefully extricates himself from her grasp, lifts himself away from her and out of her bed, and — as quietly as he can manage — leaves.

 

 

 

It happens again the next day.

 

This time, his hesitation barely lasts two seconds.

 

"This is going to become a problem," he informs Jyn in a low whisper once he's tucked around her curled-up frame.

 

She merely sighs in contentment, and pulls his arm to wrap tighter around her.

 

 


  

 

After a few more days, it starts to feel kind of weird.

 

Like he's having some sort of secret affair.

 

A secret affair with Jyn.

 

A secret affair with Jyn, that he's keeping secret from Jyn herself.

 

It's fucking ridiculous, because it's not like they ever do anything inappropriate. He doesn't ever let his hands wander. He curls around her, sure, but he still tries to be a gentleman and maintain a respectful distance between their — ahem — important parts.

 

Although, that doesn't always work. As it turns out, Jyn's a burrower. Even in slumber, she seeks out the nearest source of warmth, and she burrows into it.

 

And it just so happens that, as of late, the nearest source of warmth in her bed is him.

 

All the same, he always makes sure to leave once he's completely and absolutely convinced that she's well and truly asleep.

 

Well. He accidentally falls asleep himself one time. Just the once. Not for long, though — only for an hour or two.

 

So, there. Perfectly innocent.

 

Even so, it still feels like something strangely sinful whenever the memory of it resurfaces in his mind — which is a lot more often than he thinks should be happening.

 

Go fucking figure.

 

"What," Jyn snaps when she notices him staring at her out of the corner of his eye one evening.

 

He knows full well that she's not mad. Like aggression, snapping is just sort of Jyn's default speech setting. It's kind of a miracle that she and Bodhi ever even became friends, considering the way the guy all but wilts whenever anyone so much as glares at him.

 

All the same, an inexplicable flash of guilt streaks through Cassian.

 

"Nothing," he says quickly, turning back to the TV.

 

She's got to know what's been happening. She has to. She's the one that's been initiating it all week. It would be ridiculous, the thought that she might not even have a clue.

 

He waits with bated breath, pretending to be completely absorbed by Andy Samberg and company prancing about onscreen, cracking jokes and catching bad guys.

 

Instead, he hears a small scoff.

 

"Weirdo," Jyn mutters, her tone uncharacteristically warm as she turns back to her laptop — almost affectionate, even.

 

Affectionate. Jyn Erso, affectionate.

 

And he's the weirdo.

 

The entire world has been turned inside out, he concludes as he quickly raises his mug of tea to his lips, turning away slightly to further hide his flabbergasted expression from Jyn's view.

 

Wouldn't do for her to catch that look on his face. She might start asking questions.

 

She might even wonder if his (alleged) staring has anything to do with him wheedling her into bringing her work over to the couch, instead of leaving her sitting at the kitchen table like she'd been doing all evening.

 

(All jokes aside, he's genuinely not sure if he'll be able to pull off scooping her up from a chair like that again — not without risking jerking her awake.)

 

She manages barely half an hour more before she's slumped over sideways, head pillowed on the arm of the couch.

 

"Weirdo," he murmurs softly when he settles in behind her five minutes later, his breath gently rustling the dark strands of hair strewn over her pillow.

 

 


 

 

One morning, he slowly drifts into consciousness, and becomes vaguely aware of a comfortable weight on his chest and something tickling at his nose.

 

Something that turns out to be hair.

 

Hair the colour of deep mahogany, soft and silky.

 

Hair attached to a familiar head, a head that is currently resting on his chest.

 

Along with a small arm, splayed out across his middle.

 

And a slender leg, draped over his.

 

All of a sudden, he's wide awake.

 

"Oh," he rasps, his voice no more than a hoarse whisper. "Shit."

 

How the fuck did he let himself fall asleep in Jyn Erso's bed again?

 

How the fuck did he let himself stay asleep in Jyn Erso's bed, all the way till the fucking sun came up?

 

How the fuck did he go from being carefully curled over on his side, with a pseudo-respectable distance between him and his roommate, to ending up flat on his back, with a sleeping Jyn Erso practically on top of him?!

 

Get out, his brain screams at him. It's about a thousand times more effective than any alarm tone he's ever found on his iPhone.

 

He gingerly lifts his arm from where it's wrapped all the way around Jyn.

 

And then she stirs.

 

Ah, fuck it all.

 

"Jyn?" he tries quietly, desperately ignoring the way his heart appears to be trying to jump right out of his rib cage and into her head. "Jyn? Are you up?"

 

She mumbles something incoherent and vaguely annoyed, her face turning into his chest.

 

He tries not to take note of the way his brain melts into a puddle of mush at the sight.

 

He takes a tentative breath. "Gonna get up now, okay?"

 

She makes another muffled sound when he shifts under her, but her head lifts to let him slip out.

 

"What time is it," she mumbles, burrowing into the warm spot he's just left on her pillow.

 

Failing to spot her phone anywhere in the chaos of her room, he scrambles to dig his phone out from the back pocket of his jeans instead. Thank God the screen isn't cracked from him sleeping on it like that.

 

"Almost seven," he reads off, glancing down at her. "You can sleep a little more."

 

She doesn't even look up. "Mm'kay," she says, already turning over onto her belly, her face completely buried in his— in her pillow.

 

He doesn't even bother going back to his own bed again, even though he could afford to grab at least thirty more minutes of sleep.

 

He already knows that there's no chance in hell that he's going to be able to fall asleep right now — not with his heart still trying to punch a hole in his chest.

 

The three cups of scalding hot coffee he throws back in a row fail to help, either. He's not exactly surprised.

 

For some reason, though, he still feels resentful that they don't.

 

 


 

 

Cassian doesn't think he's ever had a longer, more terrible day in his life.

 

He's completely useless at work. All he can do is tell himself over and over to stop thinking about the gentle weight of Jyn's head on his chest, the pleasant warmth of her leg thrown over his, the soft strands of her hair tickling his nose, their earthy, vanilla scent filling his—

 

There. He hasn't even begun, and he's already failed.

 

By the end of day, he's about as close to a nervous wreck as he's been in a very, very long time.

 

Don't be stupid, he scolds himself as he stops outside their apartment, fumbling for his keys. It's not like you SLEPT with her or anything.

 

Well. Technically, he did 'sleep' with her.

 

Not like that, he snaps at himself, finally managing to slot the key in on his third try. He makes a mental note to ask Kay about inventing some kind of technology that will allow him to physically disappear into the floor.

 

He pauses to peel his shoes off in the hallway, frowning at the sound of rustling coming from the kitchen.

 

"Jyn?" he calls cautiously, padding down the hallway.

 

"In here!"

 

Odd, he thinks. She sounds almost… cheerful.

 

She even looks cheerful, he realises bemusedly when he enters the kitchen.

 

"Good, you're back!" she exclaims when she sees him. She pulls a bottle of wine out from a grocery bag sitting on the table. "Something to go along with dinner," she says, gesturing to the two bags of takeout sitting next to the groceries. "And something for dessert!" she adds, pulling a large tub of ice cream out as well.

 

"Oh," she says, catching sight of his gaze stuck on the assortment of bags. "I couldn't decide between Thai or Chinese, so we're having both!"

 

"Are we… celebrating something?" Cassian asks slowly, now thoroughly confused.

 

"My project's done!" Jyn announces, grinning breathlessly at him. "The one I've been working on the past couple of weeks? I submitted it four hours ago. It's really, truly done!"

 

Cassian stares at her, too distracted with how radiant she looks, his brain taking a minute to catch up.

 

"Congratulations," he says, after a beat.

 

Her face falls a little.

 

"Are you okay?" she asks, brows furrowed. "I mean, we can skip the green curry if you're not feeling—"

 

"No, I'm— it's fine," he says hurriedly, hands held in front of him. "I'm really glad for you. Well done!"

 

Jyn doesn't seem the slightest bit convinced.

 

"Come on, spill," she says, one hand propped on her hip. "What is it?"

 

"It's nothing, Jyn," he says quickly, moving over to help with their food. "Mm, it all smells great. Can't wait to dig in."

 

Jyn's mouth falls open. "'Can't wait to' — okay, no, stop," she orders, arms crossing over her middle. "You've been off all day, avoiding my eye, running out the door without even saying goodbye. What the fuck's the matter?"

 

He swallows, but the lump in his throat only gets bigger. "Uh."

 

The frown melts slightly from Jyn's face. She clears her throat, and shifts her weight from one foot to the other, as if bracing herself.

 

"Is it— is this about this morning?"

 

He feels a little bit like he's just been dunked into a vat of ice cold water.

 

"This morning?" he repeats, trying to recall what his normal indoor voice sounds like. "What— what do you—"

 

Jyn huffs impatiently, yanking her arms free from where they're wrapped around her middle. "I know we spent the whole night in my bed, Cassian. I was there, too. In case you missed it."

 

He gapes at her silently.

 

"Right," he says, when his voice returns to him. He casts around desperately for something else to say.

 

"Right," he says again.

 

Jyn shrugs roughly. "So, what — are you embarrassed by it, or something? Ashamed? It doesn't have to be a big deal, you know. We're all adults here."

 

It suddenly dawns on Cassian that now, she's the one unable to meet his gaze. She's pretending to be busy with the food, fingers dancing around the bags and containers, but her face is definitely flushed a noticeable shade of pink. Hell, considering how taciturn Jyn usually is, what she's doing now is practically rambling.

 

He takes a deep breath, and makes a split second decision to change tacks.

 

"Actually," he says, keeping his tone light and his eyes on her face, "I didn't mind it at all."

 

She freezes, her hands deep in the Thai takeout bag. "You didn't?"

 

He shrugs, taking a step closer. "In fact, if I'm being honest… I kind of liked it."

 

She looks up at him, jaw slack.

 

"Although," he says, taking another step closer to her, "maybe next time, you could just— you know. Put yourself to bed."

 

Jyn's lips press together, still curving upwards like she's fighting a smile. "Why? Tired of carrying me all the time?"

 

His face breaks into a wide grin. "So you do know!"

 

She pretends to scoff, pulling her hands out of the bag. "Of course I do! How could I not, when you're so bumpy about—"

 

The rest of her sentence is swallowed up by the press of his lips to hers, both of them smiling into the kiss.  

 

She hums contentedly when he pulls away, leaning comfortably into his chest, her arms linked around his neck.

 

"Maybe later tonight," she says, eyes dancing with amusement, "you could carry me to your bed, instead,"

 

He grins, his arms tightening around her waist, his heart on the verge of bursting. "Only if you promise not to leave in the morning."