Shrapnel flies in every direction- Cassian dives for cover, Jyn right behind him. He scrambles back to his feet, shooting before the Stormtroopers can and downs three of them.
Ducking down again, three huge crates cover them, and he glances at Jyn.
Before he can stop her, she yanks a chunk of glass out of her upper thigh. It’s long and thick, and must have been embedded at least two inches deep in her leg. She stares at the shard of glass, eyes glazed over. Cassian knocks it out of her hand. Her combat trousers are already sodden with blood, and it’s gushing out of the wound.
Spitting out a curse, he turns back to the fight on the open air hangar and speaks into his comms. “Bodhi?”
Three, huge explosions fire off, and Cassian chances pre-emptive shooting, catching two stunned Stormtroopers off guard. Their bodies smack into the tarmac. Bodhi sprints through the smoke of the detonators, jumping over the dead Stormtroopers and stopping next to Cassian, grinning.
“That worked better than I-”
“New plan,” Cassian says, reloading his gun and shoving a data chip at Bodhi, “take this. If we’re not on the ship when you’re ready to leave, go.”
Bodhi doesn’t take the data chip, staring down at Jyn. “I can’t-”
“Rook, that’s an order-“
Jyn’s managed to focus, pulling out her blaster and nodding at Cassian’s words. “Both of you go, I can’t walk,” she says through gritted teeth.
Cassian starts to argue with her, but Bodhi ignores them both. Self-sacrificing morons. He shoves the unfamiliar data chip in his pocket- he had no idea that’s even what they were coming for- and snatches Jyn’s blaster off her, hauling her to her feet. Before she can argue he throws her over his shoulder, squaring up to Jyn’s weight.
“Cover us,” he tells Cassian, who takes in what he’s doing, nods, and glances over the crates.
Bodhi doesn’t look, just runs, blasters firing from all directions. Running alongside their ship, he punches in the code and throws open the door, dumping Jyn in the cargo bay on the way to the cockpit. He starts the ship up and flicks on his comms. “Cap, get your ass on board.”
Cassian doesn’t respond, but it’s only a minute later Jyn’s weak voice reaches him.
“He’s here, Bodhi.”
He seals the doors and throttles the accelerator on. Releasing the brake shoots the ship into the air- he hears someone spit out a long stream of expletives, but once they steady out Cassian yells at Bodhi.
“Do you need a co-pilot? Jyn-”
“Look after her, I’ve got this!” Bodhi says. The Empire’s ships are smoother, steadier, and faster, but Bodhi’s mostly glad they used a stolen S-Class transport because when they’re in the sky, they blend in. He spots at least three others as they leave the atmosphere. Once they’re out, though, he eases off the acceleration, slowing down.
In the back of the ship, Cassian’s keeping Jyn talking as he fumbles through their med kit. He waves bandages in her face. “So he tells me to pack more of these. He doesn’t say, ‘oh, the Force spoke to me and Jyn’s going to get caught up in an explosion that’ll shove some glass in her leg’, no, he says ‘you’ll need more bandages’.”
“Chirrut’s like that,” she says, smiling, but blood’s bubbling between her fingers. She presses her lips together to hold back a whimper when Cassian wraps his belt around the top of her thigh, and wrenches it tight until the blood visibly thins out. There’s a pool of blood next to her, and he pulls it a notch tighter, just in case.
Tourniquet in place, he gestures and she peels her hands away.
“Lie back, trying to keep your breathing even,” he says, spraying anti-bac over the wound. She slumps back, wiping her hands off on her shirt, and he nods. “I’ve got this.”
The blood’s still trickling down the side of her leg, but they don’t have anything to stitch her up with and he’s not sure what internal damage’s been done, anyway. Pressing a wad of cotton over it, he tries not to think how quickly it soaks through and speaks over her hiss of pain.
“Shh,” he says, layering over another sheet of cotton. “Try to relax, focus on your breathing…”
“Easy for you to say,” she says.
“The more stressed you are,” he says, trying to stick the cotton in place on blood-drenched skin, “the more elevated your heart rate. The more elevated your heart rate, the faster you bleed out. It doesn’t help your system’s already flooded with adrenaline and we’d been running.”
Her next exhale is forcibly slow. “Great.”
Cassian coaxes her leg up and she plants her foot flat on the ground, bent at the knee. He winds bandages around the cotton, but the blood’s still soaking through, and he realises the floor underneath them is barely humming with movement.
“Bodhi, get us into lightspeed, Jyn’s lost a lot of blood.”
“’m fine,” Jyn says, but Cassian ignores her, pulling the bandages taut and wrapping again.
“Can’t,” Bodhi says, not even glancing back at them.
“What do you mean, ‘can’t’? Jyn-”
“I mean, there’s a Star Destroyer hovering over the planet and if we don’t go as slow as everyone else they’re going to single us out and we’re all going to die,” Bodhi says, and Cassian hears the panic he’s swallowing.
Cassian takes a deep breath, steadies himself, and wraps slightly faster. When she stops bleeding through, he picks up her wrist and presses his fingers to her pulse. Jyn’s still struggling to slow her breathing, and her heart rate’s picked up. He presses a kiss to the corner of her lips. “We will be fine.”
In the cockpit, Bodhi has an air of forced calm, hands fixed on the controls. Cassian stares at the Star Destroyer they’re gliding past.
“I want to jump, but they’ll be able to follow and then we’ll give away the whole base,” Bodhi says, wiping sweat off his brow with his sleeve. He grips the controls again.
“How long until we’re far enough away that they can’t track us?”
“Probably about fifteen minutes. Star Destroyers have an incredible amount of tech on board, and they’ve probably updated since I was around. I’ll do it as soon as I’m sure we safe to,” Bodhi says, and Cassian glances back at Jyn.
“Stay on course. Call me when we’re nearly there.”
Bodhi nods, and Cassian pats him on the back but leaves to stay at Jyn’s side.
The next seventeen minutes are possibly the longest of Cassian’s life. He holds Jyn’s bloodied hand and breathes with her, giving her a meter to measure herself against, but she struggles to fight against her own bodies’ instincts. Leg elevated on the med kit box, she’s barely bleeding, but he knows she lost too much already. He cards his fingers through her hair to keep her calm when she starts to slide in and out of confusion.
“I’m here, Jyn,” he murmurs, their intertwined hands resting on her chest so she doesn’t move. “I’m here, you’re going to be fine.”
“Cass?” she says, staring at him, and he smiles.
“I’m here, just keep breathing,” he says, and she nods.
“Cap, I’m going to go for it,” Bodh says, kicking a switch on the co-pilot’s side. “Hold onto something.”
Cassian presses himself into the floor, still clinging Jyn’s hand, and the ship lurches as it jumps forward. She whimpers, and he shuffles closer, the lines of their bodies pressed against each other. His breath must be hot on her ear as he mutters into it.
“Shh, we’re going, we’ll be back soon, I promise, we’re nearly there, they’ll look after you-”
The ship shudders as it falls out of lightspeed, but they’re by no means stopped, and Cassian hears Bodhi’s voice chatting into the radio. “This is Rogue One, we need a med team on the ground, I repeat, we need a med team on the ground, we have one severe injury. She’s lost a lot of blood.”
The response echoes around the ship. “Rogue One, report to docking bay three, med team en route.”
Bodhi lands them as fast as he can. Cassian shoves the door open, beckoning the med team inside and they hurry to Jyn’s side. One of them checks her pulse, linking her up to a monitor, and Cassian tells one of them what happened and what he did.
He’s recovered from worse in twenty minutes under their care. Cassian breathes.
The engine switches off, and Bodhi leans against the doorway of the cockpit, watching them work. Jyn’s blood is drying in stains down the front of Bodhi’s shirt where he carried her to the ship. There’s probably more on him than Cassian.
“She’ll be fine,” one of the medics nods.
Bodhi sighs, and pulls out the data chip. He puts it in Cassian’s hand. “Did we get- well, whatever we went for?”
“Yes.” Cassian slips the data chip into the inside pocket on his jacket.
Two of the medics sit Jyn up, but she struggles to keep herself upright, and Cassian jerks himself out of staring at her. He’s still not completed the mission, and Jyn’s in safe hands. Bodhi will stay with her.
He starts towards the door, but five soldiers shove him back in the ship, their blasters raised at him.
The medics completely ignore the soldiers’ barked orders to keep hands where they can see them, and Cassian bats one of the blasters away from him.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
When the blasters find Bodhi, they stay there. He freezes.
“We have orders to arrest the pilot Bodhi Rook,” one of them says, finger on the trigger.
Twisting around, Jyn struggles against the medics, trying to get to her feet. “Hey-”
Thinking is too hard- Cassian steps sideways and back, staring down the barrels of the blasters himself. He’s completely blocking any shot they had of him. “Arrest?”
Another person steps on board- Draven, half hidden behind the soldiers. “Andor, let them do their job. They’re doing this on my orders.”
“Why?” Cassian shifts his glare to Draven. “This is my ship, they are my crew, he is my pilot. I will not move until you give me good reason.”
Everyone ignores Bodhi. Draven gestures to Jyn, who’s only still because a medic threatened to sedate her. “That mission should have been clean. What happened?”
Teeth grinding together, Cassian speaks fast. “We must have done something wrong. We were leaving hangar and suddenly there were Stormtroopers swarming the area. Jyn threw a detonator and some of the shrapnel hit her.”
Shaking his head, Draven sighs. “You didn’t do anything wrong. You were betrayed.”
A beat. It settles.
Jyn elbows one medic, kicks another, and throws herself upwards, stumbling into Cassian’s side. She’s got a needle sticking out of her arm, but now she’s between the blasters and Bodhi as well. “No.”
Cassian wraps an arm around her, holding her close.
“Bodhi saved my life,” Jyn says, weak but fierce.
“He left the ship to put explosives down and detonate them to cover us. I didn’t tell him to do it, but it got us all out of there alive,” Cassian says. “He could have left without us, I told him to leave without us-”
“As inspiring as your faith is in your crew,” Draven says, impatient, “the commander knows he betrayed you.”
That stuns them, but they don’t move. Their faith doesn’t waver so easily.
“How?” Jyn says, and Cassian realises she hasn’t had a drop of a blood transfusion yet. Her legs are shaking.
“A signal was sent from this ship to the Empire three hours ago. It was sent seven minutes after I gave you the briefing, Andor, and we intercepted it and decrypted it. It told them an important mission was coming and to stop it at all costs.”
“Your evidence is that a message was sent from this ship? That could have been any one of us,” Cassian says. “Or whoever had access to this ship, I don’t even know how many times this ship’s been used before us.”
“He’s a spy for the Empire.”
“Because he’s a defector? Are you really that stupid, Draven?”
Jyn blinks hard, trying to speak through her dizziness. “You- you, cannot actually believe- that.”
It isn’t Cassian who gives in, in the end. He doesn’t guide Jyn back to the medics, pressing a kiss to her forehead and telling her it’s going to be fine in a lie he can’t possibly know will be true. He doesn’t help the medics lower her to the ground, immediately a flurry of movement to get more blood in her veins.
It isn’t Cassian, it’s Bodhi.
Draven’s soldiers grab Bodhi before Cassian can get in the way, and they hold him back as they slap cuffs on Bodhi’s wrists.
As though getting a measure of him, Draven steps forwards, face inches from Bodhi, but Bodhi doesn’t hesitate.
“I’m the pilot,” Bodhi says, chin up. “I didn’t send that message.”
“I want to see my pilot.” Cassian raises his eyebrows, but the guard’s not paying him too much attention.
Jyn’s fingers are resting on her blaster, lips pursed. She’s still pale after the blood transfusion and she didn’t give them enough time to so much as redress her leg, let alone stitch her up, so she can walk but she’s bloody and dirty and Cassian wouldn’t want her looking at him like that either. Even so, he snaps his fingers in front of the guard’s face.
The guard jumps, glaring at Cassian. “Look, he can’t see anyone, he’s not allowed-”
“I’m his captain, I’m not anyone.”
“He’s probably not even processed-”
“Like you process people here,” Jyn says, rolling her eyes, “you throw the person in a cell and leave them there until someone says otherwise. C’mon.”
It takes Cassian a few seconds to realise her fingers are wrapped around his wrist, leading him into a nearby empty interview room. The guard shouts after them, telling them they can't go in there. Jyn slamming the door on his voice.
Cassian waits, but she walks straight past him. "What?"
"I want to talk to him," she says, sitting at the desk and prying her comms out of her ear.
"...that's what we were doing? Jyn, cells have signal jammers, comms don't work."
Popping the dull end of a hairpin off, she runs the jagged edge along the seal of the comms, and levers it open. "Criminals have tricks, and I taught Bodhi mine."
Sitting opposite her, Cassian watches. She sees his face, and grins.
"I was going to teach you at some point. It's a nifty trick. But you're in a lot of important meetings we're not and we're easily bored. What else are we supposed to do? He taught me how to hotwire a freighter."
He huffs a laugh. "Well, there's a conversation for another time."
Jyn scoops all the wires out of the comms with her pin. There are more than Cassian thought possible, but she seems unperturbed, picking them apart. "Basically, there are frequencies that most cells don't jam. Two of them are monitored heavily, because there's one that the guards are all using, the emergency channel, and-" she hisses, sparks flying "-and an 'in case' channel, should the others get blocked. Most guards don't even know they have that channel, now, it's an outdated system, but I figured out the Alliance 'in case' frequency months ago. I've just got to change it."
"And you taught Bodhi all this?"
"We had some time in Outer Rim space." She sticks her tongue out in concentration, disconnecting one of the wires. "I was thinking the easiest way to get Bodhi out is to prove he wasn't on that ship. It's impossible to send written messages remotely, he rigs all our ships up that way, says it's safer."
Cassian exhales, leaning across the table and watching her work. He doesn't know another way to say it. "Jyn... how do we know he wasn't on that ship?"
Her fingers pause over the comms, and she swallows, looking at him,
Leaving the ship, setting down the explosives, saving their lives... if a person's undercover too long, loyalty can be an instinct. Before Scarif, he didn't think anything of saving the life of a spy for the Empire at the expense of three rebels because loyalty was a learned behaviour. Lies are dangerous. They become as real as the truth
There's something sure in Jyn's eyes, and she takes his hand across the desk. "He's the pilot, Cass."
"The captain gives the orders. The foot soldier obeys them. The spy does whatever is necessary to fulfil their objective- murder, theft, bullying.
"The pilot keeps everyone safe. He gets everyone home."
Pressing his palm against his chest, the data chip digs into his skin through his jacket pocket. He tests the idea on his tongue. Bodhi could've kept or destroyed or pretended to lose the data chip and they wouldn't have known any better. Instead, he gave it back.
Cassian thinks of Bodhi's steady hands connected to a shaking body. Jyn's blood stained his shirt because he saved her; he walked into Draven's handcuffs because they would hurt themselves protecting him.
He's the pilot.
On meeting her eyes, he nods, and she turns back to her work. It takes a few tries, but her signal finally gets through and Bodhi's waiting.
"I haven't got long, the charge is running out," he whispers. "I didn't do it."
"We know," Jyn tells him, pressing the comms deeper in her ear. "We know, we're going to prove you're innocent. Where were you this morning, right before we left for the mission?"
"The rec. I was eating, and Cassian found me there."
Jyn repeats that to Cassian, who runs his hand through his hair. "Of course- I went there straight after the briefing; he was with me when that message got sent out."
"This is bullshit and we'll clear it up, okay?" Jyn says, and Bodhi snorts.
"You better, I'm not-"
"Bodhi?" Jyn's pressing her comms in so hard it hurts. "Bodhi? ...shit."
Cassian straightens up, trying not to imagine what Bodhi must be feeling. "Right, let's-"
The door opens, Draven slipping in and shutting it behind him. They both stand, Cassian snagging Jyn by the collar and yanks her into his arms before she can leap at Draven.
"You have no evidence-"
Draven puts his hands in the air, and the glare he throws Jyn's way is familiar to Cassian, having been on the receiving end of it too many times. It's exasperation and irritation. "I know there's no evidence, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't him."
Jyn stops struggling against Cassian. They both stare at him.
"There's a leak and he's the perfect scapegoat. A defector from the Empire? You only have to say that and he sounds guilty."
Simultaneously, Cassian breathes out and resists the urge to punch Draven. "He's a decoy? At least tell us about a plan like that, I thought-"
Draven interrupts. "No, he's not a decoy, he's a scapegoat. Someone else is pointing everything at him, even if it's nothing concrete. I haven't seen any of it, either- it's out of my hands, I'm just the arresting officer."
Jyn's thought of something Cassian hasn't. "What's going to happen to Bodhi?"
"Look, your mission was the fifth one compromised by a message like that, but it's the first one that's had any clear connections to any one person. You're the first crew to come back after being betrayed, all the other missions failed and we lost everyone on them... he's probably down for execution."
Starting pacing around the room, Cassian runs both hands through his hair, racing through possibilities. "If I claim I did it, they'll have to review and prove me not guilty. That might buy some time."
"Andor, if I'm right about the ranking of the person arranging this, it goes up higher in command than me. If you claim you did it they'll say you conspired together and shoot the both of you."
Cassian pauses, staring at him. "They'd kill me without another word on it?"
"If he's being framed by the person who is actually sending those messages, which I highly suspect he is, I can almost guarantee it."
The room goes quiet. Cassian leans against the wall, forehead resting against his arm, and he listens to Jyn's line of questioning. Her voice is subdued.
"Who do you think's doing this?"
"I don't know who. I believe Rook's innocence, and there's not enough against him for it to be anyone except someone who can manipulate our systems from the inside."
"Why did you tell us?"
"I suspect you're both fool enough to want to save your friend or die trying." He sighs, turning to the door. "And I need people like that, people I trust, to try and figure out who is actually spilling Alliance secrets."
Standing up straight, Cassian nods at Draven and he leaves.
Jyn turns to Cassian. "Let's prove him innocent, and then we'll think about stepping on some toes."
Security systems bedeck every room in the base. The hangar’s got several; all they need is the footage proving he wasn’t on the ship seven minutes after Cassian received his briefing.
'All they need', at least, is how Jyn describes it. If either of them had a keycard to the command centre the footage would be easy enough to access. Cassian memorised Draven's login a long time ago to get into the system should he ever need it, so Jyn shrugs and tells him to leave the keycard to her. They split off, Cassian waiting in the ship while she wanders off the to rec. He's not quite sure what she's going to do, but he busies himself with checking the data log.
She flicks Commander Ro-Tahn's keycard at him as she slams the ship's door shut behind her. "Ro-Tahn's looking for you. You haven't handed over that data chip and the higher-ups want it." Apparently, she's a skilled pickpocket on top of everything else.
"I can't risk giving it away," he says, sliding the keycard in the same pocket.
After a moment of deliberation with herself, Jyn looks at him. "I know I'm not supposed to ask, but what's on it?"
Most of Cassian's missions involve keeping something from the crew, but this time it was the specifics of what they were going for. Now, it's different, and he trusts her. "It's a list of the people the Empire suspect are spies for the rebellion. If there are any of our operatives on that list, they're in serious danger. They need extracting before the Empire arrests them."
Jyn nods. "Can't hand that out when you don't know who to trust."
Cursing at the data log, Cassian finds confirmation that the message was sent from their ship. That, at least, wasn't faked.
"I asked about Baze and Chirrut, but apparently they're offworld. Took a ship yesterday, apparently. Chirrut said something about the Force and- well, you know what he's like. We're on our own on this one."
"Are you alright with getting caught?"
"I've pretty much resigned myself to it. As long as we get the evidence first, it's fine. Trespassing is a better charge than treason." Leg up on the seat, she unpicks the knot of her bandages and reties them tighter.
"You really need stitches."
"I really need a three day nap," she says, checking her blaster's set to stun. "Maybe when Bodhi's out."
They skip past other captains and pilots, who're busy on the way to or from the main command centre. Cassian's familiar enough that no one questions his presence, and Jyn spots a vacant suite, steering him towards it.
She turns to him, pulling the keycard out of his pocket and straightening his jacket. "Once we swipe this, we might have five minutes or fifty. I'll try to give you warning if someone comes, but I can't guarantee it."
He presses his lips softly against hers, more of a promise than his words. "I'll find it."
Leaning against the wall, she swipes the card for him and pockets it. The light blinks green, and he's in.
Getting into the server's more difficult than he thought- it takes a couple of attempts to remember the right sequence of code, he didn't remember it as well as he wants to- but Draven's passcode is imprinted in his mind and that takes no time at all. He navigates the system as best he can, the storage hidden behind a bland heading and it's got more surveillance footage than Cassian expected. He skips through the cameras, landing on the rec which is streaming live, and searches for the right time.
The briefing was only ten minutes long, and whizzing through it, Bodhi's sat in the rec room the entire time. He watches a tiny version of himself walk into view and call him over, and they disappear offscreen together.
Cassian lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding, copying the file and saving it to Draven's drive. Curiosity overwhelms him once Bodhi's evidence is safe, going back into the system and clicking through, trying to find the hangar camera. He might see who actually sent the message-
Knuckles rap on the door. Time's up.
Cassian closes the storage, and the door opens with a smack against the wall. He turns.
A soldier shoves Jyn into the room, and unthinking, she tries to kick him. He catches her wound with a downward smack of the blaster. She crumples, smacking into the floor, and the soldier trains his blaster on her.
Cassian starts towards them but five more soldiers are already in the room, blasters trained on him and ordering him to raise his hands. He swallows, watching Jyn curl up around her leg.
Commander Ro-Tahn follows the soldiers, but pauses by Jyn. "You stole my keycard."
She's sweating from the effort of holding back whimpers of pain, but she still finds a smile when she looks up to him. "You made it easy."
Choosing not to respond, Ro-Tahn sweeps past her and stands in front of Cassian, who doesn't wait for encouragement to start speaking.
"Commander, I have evidence that Bodhi Rook is wrongly being accused of betraying secrets to the Empire," he says, jerking his thumb at the screen behind him. "I've found a video proving he was with me at the time of the transmission of the message that betrayed my mission. There's no way he could've sent it from the S-Class transport."
Ro-Tahn raises his eyebrows. "Show me."
When the clip ends, so does Cassian's narration of the video explaining the timing of the message with the video. Ro-Tahn looks at Cassian.
"Is that all your evidence?"
Fingers hovering over the screen, Cassian pauses. "That ship can't transmit messages remotely. That's all I need."
With a flick of his wrist, Ro-Than has his soldiers wrestle Cassian's hands behind his back and drag him aside, taking over the console. Ro-Tahn uses the system with far more precision than Cassian, finding a view of the hangar and rewinding to the time the message was sent. Bodhi steps on to the ship alone- Cassian's jaw drops.
"I understand your loyalty to your crew, captain, but I have to wonder why you would fake evidence."
"That- that's not possible, I was with him-"
"Please," Ro-Tahn says, waving him away. "We'll discuss this later. First, you need to complete the mission you were sent to do. I need that data chip."
He holds out his hand, expectant.
The door's open and Draven marches straight through it, ignoring the soldiers. "What the hell is going on-?" He sees Ro-Tahn, and stops.
Ro-Tahn starts explaining to Draven what he found Cassian doing, but Cassian focusses on Draven. He stares around, at Jyn on the ground and Cassian restrained by the soldiers. Draven licks his lips, eyes tight, as he listens to Ro-Tahn.
This goes up higher in command than me.
Cassian's gaze meets Jyn's, and he know they've thought the same thing.
"I'd suggest that Andor here was just trying to protect his pilot, I doubt he faked that video," Draven says, careful, but Ro-Tahn turns back to Cassian, hand outstretched.
"That's not what I'm currently interested in. I want that data chip."
Cassian swallows. Jyn's hands are pressed on her leg, but her bandages aren't holding anymore, leaking blood. The hit must have reopened the wound. Almost imperceptibly, she shakes her head.
"Stormtroopers started shooting at us before we even got inside," Cassian says, shrugging. Behind Ro-Tahn, Draven closes his eyes in relief. "We turned back. We never got it."
Hovering between them for a few more seconds, Ro-Tahn’s hand seems to accept his words as little as the man himself. Ro-Tahn rounds on Draven. “That’s not what he told you, is it?"
"I was under the impression the mission had been successful, but he never explicitly said it," Draven says. "I must have been mistaken."
Ro-Tahn's back straightens. Smoothing his clothes, he turns to Cassian. "You break in here, fake evidence to free a guilty traitor, and now you're lying to me. There's no other conclusion than you and this pilot are both Imperial spies."
Taking a deep, slow breath, Cassian steadies himself. That accusation can't be undone, and he kept the data chip in his pocket. He should've hidden it. "I'm not lying, and Bodhi is innocent."
Pointing at the door, Ro-Tahn orders Draven out of the room, and when he refuses, two soldiers escort him out. He throws a glance at Cassian, and it says everything he already knows- there's nothing more he can do. They're on their own.
Planting himself directly in front of Cassian, Ro-Tahn waits for Cassian to change his answer. Cassian shrugs, and Ro-Tahn punches him so hard the soldiers drop him, his knees slamming into the ground.
"Tell me what happened on that mission."
"I have told you," Cassian says, the soldiers dragging him back to standing. Tongue pressing against his lip, he tastes blood.
Ro-Tahn orders a search. Cassian lurches against the soldiers' grip, kicking out and throwing his weight around, and it takes three of them to hold him down. The last soldier with his blaster trained on Jyn shoves it in his belt and searches Cassian, patting him down and methodically turning out his pockets. Cassian tries not to react when the soldier pulls his jacket's inside pocket out.
Cassian stares down at the lining of his jacket, exposed to the air, but it's like the data chip never existed. It's not there. Ro-Tahn catches Cassian's shock and they rip the jacket off him, running a detector over it, but it pulls up nothing. Did he drop it? Was he really as truly stupid and lucky as that?
Hands curling into fists, Ro-Tahn seems to want to punch Cassian again, but he chooses to stare him down.
Cassian nods, as if he knew that would be the result all along. "I did tell you I don't have it."
The commander's eyes narrow, shift, unnerving joy there now. "I wonder if your Erso will be more cooperative."
Flinching, Cassian feels bile rise in his throat at Ro-Tahn 's smirk.
Ro-Tahn turns, and the whole room stops to look at the spot where Jyn dropped. The soldiers left her unguarded when they searched Cassian; no one watched her next to the open door. All she's left behind is a smear of blood.
Cassian outright laughs- he thinks of her hand slipping into his pocket, taking out the keycard. She's got the data chip too. He doesn't know why, perhaps counting on being expendable compared to him, and he can't pinpoint where the relief comes from, but he knows it's true. Chirrut's blind faith must be rubbing off on him.
Ro-Tahn turns back to Cassian, who can't stop grinning. "Don't feel too bad about the keycard. She's a really good criminal."
Grabbing Cassian by the hair, Ro-Tahn slams his head against the console.
turning your back on Jyn is Dangerous and Dumb 0/10 terrible idea
final part in the next few days! I don't have my laptop so everything's a bit up in the air atm
Cassian's head throbs. The only conclusion he can come to, vaguely aware he's being marched somewhere, is that he's concussed. Fingers pressed to his temple come away with blood, black spots expand and retract at the edges of his vision, and he can't focus on anything, blinking heavily. An attempt to struggle is more of a stagger, he doesn't know how many soldiers even have hold of him.
A cell door slams shut behind him and he's pretty sure he only stays upright because Bodhi catches him.
His hands guide Cassian to sitting, helping him sip water, and the pain eases with time. His head settles into a dull ache, the blurriness fading with it, and he's not sure how long he's been sat on the edge of the cot when he can take in their surroundings. He tells Bodhi what's happening. He keeps his voice flat and neutral when he reports Ro-Tahn's promise to have their execution at dawn, no more than eight hours away. It mostly seems to make Bodhi tired.
Treason, he says. Well, isn't that an irony.
Mostly to give Bodhi something to think about, Cassian hands over his comms and watches him fiddle with the wiring the way Jyn had. The hours creep past, though, and the static hisses at them uninterrupted. Neither of them quite fall asleep, listening, and Cassian's not sure if he wants her voice to cut through it or not.
Bodhi, early in the morning, hopes out loud she got off the planet. Hot-wired a freighter, maybe, and took the data chip to another base somewhere, made sure the right hands were given the names of those operative. Ro-Tahn would be stopped. They might even get a posthumous pardon.
At that, Cassian smiles. He can see the rebellion admiring Bodhi for generations to come; Bodhi Rook, pilot and defector, braver and kinder than he ever should have been.
They're taken out of their cell at dawn, as promised. Stood on the grass at the edge of the base's landing strip, they face the line of executioners and a few spectators. There are pilots around, a couple of mechanics, but not nearly as many as executions normally pull. There's a general understanding on base that if they're going to fight for the rebellion, they have to understand what that means- and it means murder, sometimes. The killing of a traitorous pilot and his captain should have drawn people in.
Sunlight reaches out to them and Cassian shivers under its warmth.
It's Draven's job to state the charges. He shakes his head at Cassian's name, knows his decisions put his name there as much as Cassian's, but keeps reading. Stood a little aside from the line of six executioners, Ro-Tahn smile at them.
"Guilty of treason, first degree. Sentence: execution by firing squad. Have you any last words?"
Cassian raises his voice, looking straight at Draven. "I want to confess that I sent those messages to the Empire. Bodhi Rook is innocent, he had nothing to do with any of this." A last-ditch attempt is better than no attempt at all.
Almost looking impressed, Draven opens his mouth to speak, but Ro-Tahn cuts across him. "Your courage is noted, but trying to save your friend will do no good now."
Draven clears his throat. "Rook?"
Bodhi shakes his head, body tilted towards Cassian, as though they're about to start walking and he'll follow.
The executioners point their blasters.
"I'm sorry," Cassian murmurs, breathing steadily.
The air's clear of fumes in a way the ventilation inside the base can never quite achieve. It's sweet with flowers, and Cassian wonders if Jyn thinks of the same afternoon as he does when it smells like this. Covered in blossom, sat under a tree, looking at him through her eyelashes, she was ethereal. He hopes, whatever memory she chooses to remember him by, she finds happiness like that again.
"I can't believe you tried that," Bodhi says, taking Cassian's offered hand and gripping tight.
Cassian smiles, a little weak. "Close your eyes." Bodhi does.
Cassian moves a little closer to Bodhi's side. If he moves at the right moment, if his body covers Bodhi, he might be able to take all of their fire... Bodhi left standing after a firing squad, the image of it alone is powerful enough, it might send a message, the witnesses might pay attention, Bodhi's guilt might be called into question at Cassian's move, Bodhi might live...
The call to fire doesn't come. Cassian looks up.
Jyn, gait slow because of her heavy limp, stops in front of the line of executioners. She addresses Ro-Tahn, holding the broken pieces of the snapped data chip out in front of her. "I passed the information you're searching for on. As I understand it, commander, it will be taken directly to Mon Mothma, who will be dealing with it herself. I hope you'll be satisfied the information's in good hands."
Cassian's shaking with the pressure of doing nothing, his eyes shifting between her and Ro-Tahn and Draven so fast he makes himself dizzy. Doesn't she understand she's outnumbered and there isn't a play she can make that'll outmanoeuvre him?
Ro-Tahn directs a soldier to retrieve the pieces- Jyn tosses them across and watches them transfer into Ro-Tahn's greedy hands.
"You probably won't be able to recover anything, I wiped it after I sent its contents on- I thought it wise, what with there being a traitor amongst us."
Horror twists Ro-Tahn's face. "You had no authority-"
"I had my captain's orders. That was good enough for me."
"Your captain is a traitor!"
Jyn's next words reach everyone. She speaks them softly, almost to herself, as though she doesn't intend anyone to hear, but Cassian knows her. It's the best lie she tells. "I wonder what that makes me."
Cassian wants to scream.
Ro-Tahn sneers. "A traitor too."
Turning her head, Jyn looks thoughtfully at him. "Yes, I- yes, I suppose it does."
She lay the foundations for Ro-Tahn and his expression is as though he can't quite believe his luck when he points at her. "For your crimes, you are also sentenced to death."
The crowd's filled out a little more, now, and there's frowns, muttering. Draven turns to Ro-Tahn as though he's completely mad, but Cassian staggers towards Jyn.
She turns, waiting for him, and when his hands cup her face she holds his forearms to keep herself steady, looking up at him with something like triumph in her eyes. "I sent it to Baze and Chirrut, I wouldn't trust anyone else."
Cassian doesn't understand, can't understand. She should've run.
A voice in the crowd sounds confused. "Aren't you supposed to put her on trial?"
"None of us have had trials," Cassian says over Jyn's head as a soldier calls for them to fall in line. Jyn under his arm because she can barely stand with shaking, bleeding thick and sluggish through her saturated bandages, but she's still smiling when they reach Bodhi because the crowd are shouting at Ro-Tahn now, arguing they're not the Empire and even traitors deserve a fair trial. His ears are deaf to their shouts.
She rises onto her toes, pressing a kiss Bodhi's forehead. "I'm sorry."
Bodhi is as without words as Cassian, and they share a look that says they wish she wasn’t here.
"You could've run," Cassian whispers, and the grief swells in his throat. He can't take his eyes off her as she stands on Cassian's other side, holding her kyber crystal necklace.
She shakes her head, her other hand threading its fingers through his. Holding his gaze, something settles in her smile- a fire that's only embers. "I tried, but... no."
They both look up. Draven's shouting.
"-if you expect me to give the order that'll kill three-fifths of the remaining members of Rogue One when they haven't even had trials-" like he didn't know "-you're mad. Guilty or not."
The crowd shifts. They suddenly looks angry.
Another ripple of dissent through the pilots watching, their voices louder now. Some of them look shocked.
Cassian realises the crowd hasn’t grown the way it should because the execution wasn’t announced, there has been no public show or ceremony put forward. Ro-Tahn wanted to neatly point at some shallow graves marked ‘here lies a traitor’ and be done with it.
“That’s the Captain Cassian Andor?” someone in the crowd shouts. “But he’s a hero!”
“Wait, that’s Jyn Erso!”
Ro-Tahn shouts over everyone. "Ready!"
Half the executioners raise their blasters. It's still enough to kill them. The spectators start shouting, stepping forwards, but Ro-Tahn’s already told the soldiers to take aim.
Cassian turns back to Jyn, but he untangles his hand from hers and tightens his grip on Bodhi. He maintained Bodhi's innocence, it's the strongest message, and Cassian can't choose this for Jyn. He can't force her to watch him die, he wouldn't want that from her even though she might have as much chance as Bodhi to live.
She doesn't try to take his hand back, only clutches her crystal with both. Cassian drinks her in; the way her eyelashes brush against her eyelids, the curve of her bottom lip, the slight furrow of her brow.
If I could’ve saved anyone, it would have been-
Leaves rustle in a breeze. A bird twitters nearby.
Cassian opens his eyes, nose to nose with Bodhi, who stares at him. Their bodies are aligned perfectly. Cassian would have saved him.
Except, no one’s pulled their trigger.
Ro-Tahn shouts the order again. Glancing over his shoulder, Cassian sees the last of the executioners slowly lower their weapons, none of them quite willing to do it.
Bodhi stumbles backwards, dazed as though he can't quite believe they're alive, and Cassian catches him by the shoulders to balance him, but he looks for Jyn. Her eyes are burning bright with pride; she's realised what he was going to do, and she takes a step towards, glancing up at Ro-Tahn's disbelief.
"What are they- you have your orders!"
“I believe they think a trial’s in order too, commander,” Draven says. “I, for one, would love to see all the evidence you claim to have against Rook, I’m quite fond of him when he’s not attempting to kill me with various ships.”
Jyn grins, calling over. “That was once, it was a freighter, and it was me.”
“I'm suddenly all the more fond of him and less of you, Erso,” Draven drawls, rolling his eyes and turning away from Ro-Tahn, who pulls out a blaster from under his cloak.
He turns it on the three of them.
A shot cracks through the air and smacks the blaster out of Ro-Tahn’s hand. He howls, clutching burnt fingers to his chest, but Jyn doesn’t lower her blaster. Trembles shudder up her entire body and Cassian’s not sure how she even made that shot, but some of the shaking might be fury.
"The Empire never did believe in justice." Raising her voice isn’t necessary. Everyone hears her.
"By the way, all those messages you sent last night," she says, ignoring him, "I blocked them. Recorded them, and blocked them. Your general- Veris?- has no idea you want out. They still don't know where this base is. The Empire will not come to save you."
The words sink in. Ro-Tahn opens and closes his mouth, staring around, and a pilot and two soldiers seize him as he turns to run. Barking orders, Draven snaps handcuffs onto his wrists, ordering he be taken to the cells so her allegations can be 'investigated'.
Blaster dropping to her side, Jyn leans into Cassian's embrace. She's warm and tired and rests her head on his chest, sighing. He can only hold her tighter, assure himself she's real.
“I think I’ll have those stitches now,” Jyn breathes into his neck.
“Jyn,” he says, pressing kisses to whatever skin he can reach. “Why-?”
“I really did try to leave,” she says, voice choked like she can’t say anymore about it. He’ll find out later she sat in the cockpit of their transport, staring at the controls, not quite able to turn it on. "But I thought- if there was a chance of saving you, I had to take it. And even if there wasn't... I couldn't go."
He pets her hair, and sighs, and knows he would've done the same thing with the information safe.
A hand taps him on the shoulder, and when they part Bodhi launches himself at both of them, yanking them both into a hug. Jyn laughs and clings on.
Eventually, the soldiers take Jyn to the medical wing while Cassian and Bodhi twiddle their thumbs in the same cell as minutes before. She joins them when her leg’s seen to, the guard actually apologizing to them when he helps Jyn into the cell. Draven’s ordered everyone involved in the incident to be secured until the internal investigation’s reached a conclusion, and Cassian rolls his eyes, settling her in his arms.
“He can’t just say ‘you nearly died, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt’?”
“You said you did it, and I stole the data chip and sent its information without authorization,” Jyn points out.
Bodhi helps her arrange her feet on his lap, raising his eyebrows. “I didn’t do anything against the rules… yet, somehow, I am still here.”
“Guilt by association,” Jyn says, closing her eyes.
Resting against the wall, Bodhi follows suit. “I want to take a week off. I'm suffering from emotional trauma. Cap, I’m unfit for duty.”
“We’re all unfit for duty, stuck in this cell. But I promise I'll give you at least an hour's rest once we’re out of here.”
Bodhi raises a fist in the air, giving out a halfhearted cheer. Jyn smiles, unable to keep her eyes open, but mentally catalogs them. Her pilot, her captain. Safe.
Pretty soon, they're all asleep.
thanks for all your views and comments and kudos! I really appreciate it, and I hope you like this last chapter :)