It should be illegal to be this tired. Every time Cassian blinks, he’s pretty sure there’s a 60% chance his eyes will just stay closed. It may have already happened a few times without him noticing. His eyes feel sticky and cold and he has to rub them every few seconds as he stares at his computer, trying desperately to make some progress on the article he promised Draven by tonight.
A stupid, empty promise, even with three cups of coffee in him. He’s been useless at work for the past few weeks– but he doesn’t want to complain about it, because if it’s bad for him, he can’t imagine what it must be like for Jyn.
He hears Melshi begin to pack up one cubicle over and glances at the time. Perhaps he should just give up. He sighs and imagines the journey home. A ten minute walk, then a twenty minute subway ride, then another ten minute walk. He contemplates the merit of a quick nap at his desk. He can probably manage it. It wouldn’t do any harm…
Except there’s a chance it will make him late getting home, and if he gets home after six, Jyn will kill him. (And he’d deserve it.)
So he does his best to clear his vision and begins packing his messenger bag. He thinks almost wistfully of the days when he was meticulous about it, making sure his pens and post-it notes went in specific pockets, his phone charger neatly wound and secured with a twist-tie.
Now he just kind of tosses everything in there and hopes for the best.
He walks in a daze to the elevator, trying to think of a way to wake himself up more dignified than slapping himself in the face.
He jumps a mile high and nearly has a heart attack when Kes comes up behind him.
“How’s the seventh month treating you, Andor?” he says, far too energetically for 4:50 on a Thursday. “The little angel sleeping through the night?”
Cassian rubs his eyes and tries to get his heart rate back to normal. “What do you think?”
Kes shakes his head. “The baby books are wrong, man. I don’t know who came up with the six-month thing, but as far as I can tell it’s bullshit. God only knows the next time you’ll get a solid seven hours.”
They step into the elevator and Cassian leans against a wall. “I don’t know what happened, Kes. She was doing so well at 26 weeks, then at 28 suddenly we’re back to waking up every night to feed her or change her or something.” The elevator dings and Cassian adjusts his scarf as they walk through the lobby, bracing for the February chill. “Plus, she’s crawling now–”
“Hey, that’s great!”
Cassian snorts. “Don’t let Jyn hear you say that. We did all the baby-proofing stuff the internet told us to and apparently it’s still a full-time job to keep her alive.”
“Well… with her genes I don’t know what you expected–”
Kes laughs. “Ahh, the joys of parenthood.” He smiles and taps Cassian’s shoulder as they part ways at the subway station. “Stay strong, my friend. Let me and Shara know if you ever need anything.”
“Thanks.” Cassian nods. “I will.”
He has to pinch himself three times to keep from falling asleep on the subway, and in a fit of desperation stops at a coffee shop on the walk home to get a fourth cup. He still has to make dinner and give Jyn as much of a break as he can.
The walls of their building are (unfortunately) rather thin, but the stairwell is quiet when he steps inside, which gives him hope. Then he reaches their door and sees the sign taped crookedly under the peephole.
Baby asleep. if you make one sound expect physical retribution by her sleep-deprived and extremely cranky maternal unit.
Jyn at her best is not the most detail-oriented person he knows, but the note is written on crumpled notebook paper in marker that’s running out of ink, which is bad even for her. He opens the door slowly, steps carefully inside and winces. The living room is a mess to put it very lightly– Mira’s toys are scattered all over the floor and furniture, the playpen is only half put-together, and it looks like most of the books have been pulled off one of the lower shelves of the bookshelf in the corner.
He’s in the process of lowering his keys into the bowl by the door when Jyn emerges from the hall, in one of his college sweatshirts with what looks like mashed carrots drying on the Y in ‘university.’ Her hair is falling in shiny strings onto her shoulders from her bun and she looks about as tired as he feels.
But it only seems to make her glare more terrifying when she points at him and whispers, “If you make one sound, you’re dead.”
Afraid to speak, Cassian nods and goes about shedding his winter layers in the quietest way he can. Jyn starts padding around the living room, tossing toys into various baskets. He finishes his coffee and joins her at the playpen. They contemplate it for a minute, wondering how to take it apart completely without making any noise.
If he were smart, Cassian probably wouldn’t ask, but curiosity gets the better of him. “What happened?”
She glares again, but her shoulders slump and he can see her trying not to sulk. “I was in the middle of taking it apart when I got… distracted.” She glances at the bookshelf behind him.
“In rare form today, wasn’t she?”
“I'll say,” Jyn mutters, struggling with another joint in the playpen. It comes apart with a loud crack and both of them freeze, listening.
Selfishly, part of Cassian almost wants her to wake up so he can spend some time with her, but he can tell that if Mira makes a fuss at this point in the day, Jyn might have a meltdown.
So after thirty seconds of silence, they both let out a slow sigh of relief and finish taking apart the playpen. Cassian props the pieces up against the wall while Jyn starts putting the books back.
“It’s the crawling,” she says when he kneels down to help her. “And eventually it’s going to be climbing, too. I can just tell.”
Cassian looks up at her. Her face is even paler up close, dark circles under her eyes he’s sure mirror his own. Her mouth is oddly pinched, and her eyes red.
“Hey.” He puts a hand lightly on her elbow. “Why don’t you go lie down. Or take a shower or something. I’ve got it from here.”
To his mild surprise, she just nods and whispers, “Okay.”
He watches her retreat to the hall and finishes re-shelving the books. They were once in alphabetical order by author’s last name, but he doesn’t bother with it this time. They’ll probably be doing this again in a few days, anyway.
He’s in the kitchen, trying to think of something to fix for dinner that’ll make Jyn feel better when he hears something in the back of the apartment. At first he thinks it’s Mira, but then he realizes it’s too quiet and it’s coming from the bathroom.
The door isn’t completely closed, and he pushes it open to Jyn standing in front of the sink, cheeks wet and crying in soft, whimpering sobs.
His heart constricts and pulls her into his chest. “Oh no, hey, what’s wrong? It’s okay, Jyn, it’s okay. You’re doing so well. So, so well.”
“She wouldn’t– stop– crawling away,” Jyn says between breaths into his shirt. “Or– throwing her toys.” Sniff. “And when– I tried to put– her in– her playpen she just cried until– I let– her out. And she wouldn’t– nap, so now– she’s asleep and it’s way– too late and she’ll be up– half the night but I don’t want to wake her up because I’mjustsotired, Cass. And I feel like– I feel like I can’t do this–”
“Shh, shh.” Her words are becoming unintelligible and Cassian holds her tighter, rocking gently from side to side and stroking her back. “It’s okay. It’s okay, Jyn. It’s okay.”
She pulls away, and gestures in the mirror. “And I found a clump in my hair,” she says, pulling at a greasy knot that must’ve fallen out with her bun. “And I’m trying to brush it but it won’t come out because I haven’t showered because I’ve been so tired–”
“Okay, okay.” Cassian gently pulls her fingers away and begins rubbing at the tangle. It feels slippery and solid at once and she winces when he tugs at it with his fingers. “I think we should just cut it out, Jyn.”
Her face pinches and fresh tears spill onto her cheeks. “But it’ll look so ugly. And I’m already a mess.”
“It won’t be that bad.” Cassian tries to assure her as he ducks back to the kitchen for the scissors. He cuts off as little as possible, but when he steps back he will admit that when down, her hair looks just a touch uneven.
Jyn starts whimpering again. “Oh my God it looks terrible, I can see it in your face. I look terrible.”
“No, no you don’t. You really don’t.” He puts the scissors aside and grips her shoulders. “Listen to me.”
She looks up under her brows, mouth turned down in a stubborn pout and lower lip stuck out.
“I’m also incredibly sleep-deprived, and I’ve had so much coffee that I might be smelling colors, but hot damn, you’re beautiful.” She is– it never mattered what she looked like or what she was wearing, Jyn will always be the most beautiful person he's ever seen.
The corners of her lips twitch, and he feels hope bubble in his chest. “Did you just say, ‘hot damn?’” she says.
“I did. And I never will again.” He ducks in to kiss her, then leans back and squares her shoulders. “Now, I want you to take a ridiculously long hot shower while I make dinner. Okay?”
“Okay.” She looks up at him, eyes still exhausted and red.
He kisses her again for good measure then leaves her in the bathroom, cell phone already in his hand. “Hey, Kes,” he says as soon as he hears the shower start. “I need to ask you a favor…”
At 10 o'clock the next morning, Cassian’s sitting in the living room bouncing Mira on his knee when Jyn charges in, wild-eyed and panicked. “Why did you let me sleep this long? Why aren’t you at work?”
Cassian shrugs and makes a funny face at Mira, who giggles and drools onto her bib. “I took the day off.”
“I took the day off. I don’t think I’m getting enough time with her.” He turns Mira around and pulls her to his chest, then glances at his watch. “Plus, Shara’s going to be here in thirty minutes, so you have to go.”
“I have to go where?”
“The mall.” He shifts Mira to his hip and stands up, then leans over to kiss Jyn’s perfect, confused face. “You and Shara are going to her favorite salon, where you are going to get your hair cut properly, and then I believe she’s going to force you to get a massage.”
Jyn gapes at him.
Mira babbles and Cassian bounces her a few times. “I know, mija. It’s very exciting.” He looks at Jyn and nods towards the bedroom. “You’d better get dressed.”
She doesn’t move, and he wonders if he’s messed up somehow, if she doesn’t want this, but then she throws her arms around him so suddenly he has to take a step back.
“I love you,” she says into his sweater.
He grins. “I know.”
She pulls her head away and looks up, eyes narrow.
He laughs. “Sorry. I love you, too.”