“You know,” Jyn says thoughtfully, letting her chin rest on her hand, sitting on the closed cockpit, watching Cassian elbow deep in the guts of the new ship the Rebellion’s requisitioned for him, “my mother warned me about men like you.”
He looks up at her, usual leather jacket abandoned on the ground nearby, the plain off-white shirt smudged and smeared with grease, the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. The sunlight makes the thin fabric glow and the outline of his shoulders shine through it. Jyn allows herself to appreciate the sight of it, him in this all-too rare state of relaxation and ease. “Did she?” he says, lazy and a little thoughtful. “What did she say?”
“Well,” Jyn admits, “maybe she didn’t warn me, exactly. But I bet she would’ve, if she’d ever gotten around to it.”
(It’s easier now strangely, to speak of Lyra and Galen, and the childhood she’d had, split as they were. Old ghosts don’t bleed quite as much.)
“She would’ve said,” Jyn goes on, adopting what she assumes is the mother voice of wisdom, “‘Jyn, watch out for rebels with nice smiles’ or ‘Jyn, never trust a man who doesn’t eat the darveen patties–’”
“No one likes those patties,” Cassian protests, “except you, you feral partisan–”
“And above all,” Jyn continues, ignoring him grandly, “she would’ve said, ‘look out for spies with pretty eyes–’”
“You think my eyes are pretty?” Cassian says, sounding hugely entertained, as well as disbelieving (she loves bringing out that tone in him, he never does it with anyone else).
Jyn tosses her head. “She would’ve thought so. They’re alright, if you ask me.”
(If she’s being honest, in the few moments she can spare, Jyn finds herself imagining what her parents would’ve said, in another place, in another galaxy, if she’d brought Cassian home to their farm, sat him at their table, watch her mother fuss over him, pile more food on his plate, her father ask him about where he’d studied and his family, what he wanted to do–)
“My mother would’ve warned me about you too,” says Cassian dryly, bringing Jyn back to the present.
“Would she?” Jyn asks, highly entertained and apprehensive at the prospect. “What would’ve she had said?”
Cassian raises his eyebrows, moves something in the ship’s engine out of the way. “She would’ve said, ‘mijo, watch out for girls with eyes like stardust, they’ll steal your wits quick as anything–’”
“Me?” Jyn says, somewhere between flattery and indignation. “Like you could’ve ever let yourself be distracted–”
“And she definitely would’ve warned me to stay away from partisans and rebels,” Cassian adds. “Most definitely.”
Jyn lets herself lean back on her hands, one leg swinging off the ship. “Would you have listened to her?”
He uses a wrench to adjust something. “Probably not. You?”
Jyn considers. The life where her parents meet Cassian. The life where they don’t.
“No,” she admits, a rueful smile tugging at her mouth, “I probably wouldn’t have either.”
He pauses now, to wipe his grease slick hands on a spare rag. Strong, competent, clever hands, a fighting man’s hands. She knows what they feel like though fabric, leather and on skin.
“We would’ve been terrible children,” he says wryly. “Ignoring our parents so.”
Jyn shrugs. “Or maybe they would’ve trusted our choices.” Wishful thinking maybe, but since she’s the one who brought this up, she’ll indulge in as many wishes as she damn well likes.
Cassian slams the engine hatch closed, levers himself up on the cockpit next to her. The sun is warm on her shoulders, the back of her head. He looks glowing, golden, alive, a man wrought out of fire and light.
He studies her thoughtfully, eyes dark and brown like the good brandy her father might’ve drunk once. “My mother definitely would’ve warned me about you. And I don’t think I would’ve listened at all, once I laid eyes on you.”
Warmth pools in Jyn’s belly, pleasant and heavy. “My father might’ve liked you,” she admits, testing the weight of it on her tongue. It feels true. “He would’ve liked that I landed myself a man of integrity.”
Cassian smiles, so affectionate and wry and rueful it nearly breaks Jyn’s heart. He reaches out and lays his hand ever so lightly on the side of her cheek, so the oil doesn’t get in her hair. “You think that I am?” he says. “Gods bless you for that then.” He tugs her close enough to kiss the place between her eyebrows, and then the very corner of her mouth.
Jyn reaches out, bunches a hand in the front of his shirt, pulls him closer. With her free hand, she takes his chin and guides his mouth firmly to hers.
It is warm and golden and full, and when she lets him go, he looks dazed and wondering. “Integrity,” she repeats firmly, “he would’ve liked you.”
The breeze picks up around them and just for a split second, Jyn could swear she hears someone whisper, your mother and I like him, Stardust.