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let's give 'em something to talk about

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let's give 'em something to talk about

they think we're lovers, kept undercover
i just ignore it, but they keep saying we
laugh just a little too loud
stand just a little too close
we stare just a little too long

— bonnie raitt, something to talk about

-:-

The whispers don’t bother him, at first.

It’s only natural that the rumor mill would follow the five of them around after their rescue and return from Scarif. The Council offers them medals (all of them refuse). There’s talk of them being heroes, gossip turning them from men to myths. It’s a twisted version of the true tale that goes around the base.

Cassian grits his teeth and bears it. He has more important things to worry about. 

-:- 

His first night at home is spent entirely in the med bay, half unconscious most of the time, and only awake to be fussed over and given bacta patches, medicine, stitches, what have you. He hates hospitals, but it’s not like he can get up and walk out.

Jyn comes by his makeshift room – really just a curtain, separating him from Bodhi – late that night when he’s lying in bed struggling to breathe for the nightmares and the injuries.

She looks smaller, silhouetted in the moonlight. Almost fragile, like a dream. Like if he touches her, she’ll shatter.

Still, she’s in better shape than him. She presses a warm hand to his forehead, strokes his hair out of the way. Cassian can’t breathe for an entirely different reason when she kneels down at his bedside.

“Hey,” she murmurs. Her voice is softer than he’s ever heard it before. There’s a world of something else in that hey, something flickering at the edges of her touch, but he can’t think about that right now. Can’t think about anything, really, not now.

“Couldn’t sleep?” he asks her, a wry smile twisting his lips. Jyn ducks her head. “Nightmares or the medicine?”

It’s meant to be an easy conversation, but she says, “I was worried about you,” and his heart stutters to a staccato instead.

“I’ll be fine.” It’s an old, practiced lie, one he’s told himself a million times to get through the night. Jyn doesn’t buy it, he knows, but she doesn’t question it either. Her fingers trail down his face, passing like ghosts over his cheekbone, his jaw.

Cassian gulps. Jyn’s hand goes still.

“I should go,” she says. It occurs to him now that she’d come in here to make sure he was alive.

Mindful of his injuries, he lifts his good arm to wrap a hand around her wrist, keeping her tethered to him. She hadn’t made any move to leave, despite her words, but she looks surprised at his motion, like she’d expected him to just let her leave, or push her away.

Even the thought is impossible. “You can stay,” he says, struggling not to sound too hopeful. Jyn’s hand flutters down his neck and presses soft over his breastbone, measuring his heartbeat. The hospital shirt he’s in is just open enough for her to touch bare skin.

“Okay,” she whispers, tracing a scar near his collarbone. It’s an old one, from before Scarif, not even visible anymore, but her touch makes it feel like it’s on fire.

With some effort, Cassian manages to let go of her hand and move over in his bed, just enough for her to climb in next to him. His body protests every movement, but it doesn’t matter when she curls up into his side, tucking her head into his neck, her hair haloing out on the pillow.

She’s shaking, just a little, her breaths coming shuddery over his skin. He can’t quite wrap an arm around her, so he leans his head on top of hers and listens for her heartbeat, steadying his breathing for her.

Eventually, her body goes quiet at his side.

-:-

When he wakes up, she’s gone, but he’d expected that. The beds aren’t built for two people, and the medical droids are constantly checking on them. Even if she hadn’t left herself, they would have moved her.

What he doesn’t expect are the looks.

He gets well-wishers, more than any of the other four, all the people who wanted to thank him, congratulate him, mourn the dead with him. Other spies and soldiers, sometimes children, drifting in and out of his bedside whenever he’s awake. After a few days, he gets used to it.

It’s one of the kids who cracks the glass wall they’ve been hiding him behind. “You and Jyn Erso,” begins the boy, barely fifteen and so much like Cassian already, but he and his sister exchange conspiratorial glances that hint at the childhood they’ve yet to have stolen from them.

His sister elbows him, giggling, and he doesn’t finish the sentence. Cassian stares at him, somewhere between amused and annoyed.

“Me and Jyn Erso what?”

The girl shifts from foot to foot and shrugs. “Isn’t she – like – your girlfriend?”

Cassian coughs, hard. The idea of applying a word as mundane as girlfriend to Jyn – Jyn, who he had thought he would die with, Jyn, who he would die for – is as ridiculous as the idea that he and Jyn are some sort of grand rebel romance to these kids. He doesn’t laugh in their faces, but he can’t take it seriously enough to answer.

Luckily, a medical droid comes by and shoos them away to run diagonistics on him. He would like to say he doesn’t keep thinking about it long after everyone leaves, but he kind of does.

-:-

Jyn ends up in his room more often than he might admit when he finally gets to move out of the med bay.

She leans against the wall his first day back, watching as he settles in, everything untouched from before Scarif. Her eyes are keen; he might feel embarrassed if his room had any personal touches whatsoever.

“Where have you been staying?” he asks her, tossing her a glance over his shoulder.

She looks like she’s being swallowed by the sunlight, filtering in through the window. Her hair is up in a ponytail, strands still falling in her face. He looks away too fast.

“They gave me a room.”

Her voice is dismissive, bored. She doesn’t seem to care for the actual mundane reality of the Rebellion any more now than she had before Scarif. He wonders whose room they gave her, if he’d known them. How she sleeps in it.

Cassian drifts closer to her, tired of rearranging his pillows, pretending he doesn’t want to be near her. Jyn watches him, her lips parting, green eyes bright and catlike as she catalogues his movements. He reaches a hand up and brushes his fingers over her cheek, so soft she almost melts into his arms.

He opens his mouth to say something, when the door opens.

This, he thinks with a certain amount of disgruntlement, looks like it’s going to be a problem.

-:-

Whoever keeps spreading rumors of him and Jyn sleeping together every time she so much as stops by his room is going to get decked if Cassian ever finds them.

“I mean, we’re not,” he complains to Bodhi one afternoon, the two of them wiling the time away by upgrading a ship. Neither of them are healed enough to be on proper missions yet, so they make themselves useful in whatever ways they can. “Sleeping together, I mean.”

Bodhi doesn’t say anything, but he raises an eyebrow at him. Skeptical. Cassian wills the flush on his cheeks to cool.

“She – she has nightmares,” he explains, knowing he sounds too defensive and unable to do anything about it. “That’s it.”

“But you are, ah, sleeping together,” Bodhi points out, not looking away from the roof of the ship as he fiddles with the machinery instead. “In the most innocent sense of the word.”

Cassian grumbles, but can’t argue. Bodhi doesn’t press him, but he does seem a little smug about it.

-:-

He’s gotten too used to having Jyn in his bed to stop just because of a few rumors. At this point, he’s not sure he can fall asleep without her.

She always waits until the base is more or less quiet, buzzing instead of bustling with activity, before she slips into his room in the night, arms wrapped around herself, eyes too wide in the darkness. He doesn’t think he even knows how to say no to her anymore; he keeps a space in his bed carved out for her on instinct these days.

“Did I wake you?” she asks the second night, the words warm against his neck. She sounds only the slightest bit apologetic, doesn’t seem to regret it much at all.

“No.” Cassian lifts one arm – the good one, still careful with it – and manages to drape it over her waist. “I couldn’t sleep either.”

Jyn huffs out a breath that sounds like it could become a laugh if she weren’t so tired. An involuntary shiver sneaks down his spine. She pretends not to notice.

“My room is so cold,” she mutters. Her hand is splayed over his chest, hot through the thin fabric of his nightshirt. He doesn’t see how that’s possible, given her body heat, but her teeth are chattering so he presses his lips to her forehead until she relaxes.

“I don’t think it’s the room temperature,” he muses, right on the edge of sleep when all his filters are down. “I think it’s the nightmares.”

Jyn makes a soft noise in the back of her throat and presses closer to him, tangling her arm around him. “You’re warm,” she murmurs, her body shifting against his, touching at too many points to count, in too many ways that make him feel –

Cassian swallows. He certainly feels warm. Sleep is a welcome respite from the emotions she evokes.

-:-

She’s assigned a mission off-base before he’s cleared for active duty again, and he can’t pretend it doesn’t bother him.

He doesn’t blame her for going. She feels useless sitting around on her injuries, as they all do, and she hates the base. Hates the banal reality of the rebellion. Hates the way people look at her, half in awe and half terrified. Jyn Erso, equal parts the daughter of an Imperial scientist, and the rebel who stole the Death Star plans.

Of course she wants to leave. He just hadn’t thought how empty it would feel with her gone.

“You’re moping,” Baze informs him. Cassian looks up from reconfiguring a sniper to frown at him.

“I am not,” he says, although he’s aware the petulance in his tone doesn’t help his case. “I’m just trying to keep busy.”

Chirrut nudges his foot with his staff. “You miss her.”

Cassian turns his scowl on Chirrut. “Of course I miss her. That’s not the point.”

Except, that’s kind of every point. Baze and Chirrut exchange looks that make him grind his teeth. What would they know? Him and Jyn, whatever they are, it belongs to them. The fact that everyone on the base seems to think it’s their business is salt in the wound. Surely, after Scarif, they deserved some privacy?

-:-

 Privacy, he surmises, is a myth on Yavin 4. Even Mon Mothma seems to have heard the tales.

“Jyn will be returning tonight, if all goes well,” she tells him, drops it casual into a conversation they’d been having about the situation on Tatooine. Cassian stops and stares at her, unable to disguise the emotions flickering across his face fast enough.

“I thought you would like to know,” she says after a beat of silence. “Since she is your…”

Cassian’s eyes narrow.

“Partner,” Mon Mothma amends. A diplomatic save, but still a switch from whatever she’d meant to say.

Cassian sighs. “Does nobody on this base have better things to do than gossip?”

Mon Mothma smiles, amused. “Certainly, but you must admit you and your gang of rebels are a very worthy subject of discussion. Everyone wants a piece of the heroes, Captain Andor.”

“But my love life?” he protests, and only realizes too late what he’s said.

To her credit, Mon Mothma doesn’t point it out. He’s sure the heat on his cheeks is answer enough.

-:-

She comes back more or less in one piece, although she doesn’t go find him first. It annoys him more than he wants to admit, but he manages to track her down in the cargo bay, conversing in hushed tones with Bodhi as she wraps a bandage around her hand.

Bodhi takes one look at him and scampers off. He doesn’t know what his face looks like, but he’s sure it’s not pretty.

“Stop that,” Jyn says before he even gets a chance to open his mouth. Her voice is light, her tone bored. She barely glances up from her bandage.

His brow furrows. “Stop what?”

Jyn’s eyes flick up to his face and she waves her good hand in a vague gesture. “Being all moody. I thought we’d moved past this.”

“I’m not moody,” he says, wounded.

She raises an eyebrow at him. “Aren’t you? Bodhi says you’ve been grumpy ever since – ”

Ever since I left.

Jyn pauses, licks her lips. Cassian’s a little gratified to see the topic is just as uncomfortable for her as it is for him. Feelings are neither of their strong suits, which is unfortunate for the rest of the rebels.

He decides to save her the trouble. “Well, you’d be moody too if I’d gone and left you alone to deal with all these giggling gossipmongers.”

The way his lip curls in a sneer over the last two words is enough to tease a smile out of her. Cassian finds himself returning it, helpless to do anything else. It’s been so long since he saw her smile.

“Are they still at it?” Jyn looks around the bay, notes the people sneaking glances at the two of them, and rolls her eyes. “What’s the big deal? We’re just sleeping together.”

She says this loud enough to be overheard. Cassian jumps and shoots her a glare. She seems more amused by the flush crawling up his neck than anything else.

“Can you – just once – make my life easier?” he asks her.

Jyn grins and hops up on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his cheek. “No.”

At least one of them is getting some enjoyment out of this mess.

-:-

He doesn’t complain when she’s constantly over at his room; his quarters are much nicer than hers, perks of being a captain and all, and he enjoys her company. She doesn’t look so haunted anymore, a month after Scarif, and he thinks that he doesn’t either, at least not around her. It’s not an unwelcome feeling.

He does complain when she does things like opening his bedroom door while he’s in the shower, as if she doesn’t very well know what’s going to happen.

“Oh, sorry!” says the teenage girl standing on the other side when he steps out of the refresher and levels a glare at Jyn. He’s in a towel, for crying out loud. “I just needed – Captain Andor’s signature for the – you know what, I’ll come back.”

She scurries off, no doubt to go tell her friends what she’s seen. Cassian heaves a sigh, runs a hand through his soaking wet hair, and pretends not to notice the laughter Jyn is hiding behind her smile.

“I’m pretty sure they’re writing a gossip column on our torrid affair,” she informs him with an easy smirk, leaning back on his bed and watching him sort through his clothes. Cassian sends her a dirty look. “If the Alliance had a newspaper, what would it be called? Rebellion Weekly?”

“Turn around,” is all he says. She doesn’t, of course, but it’s worth a shot. “You know, I had a reputation before you came along.”

“Oh?” Jyn trails her gaze up his body as he pulls on his jeans. He struggles not to blush. “What was it? Emotionally stunted rebel spy, too frigid for a good lay?”

“Shut up.” But he’s laughing, which he thinks is the point. She makes him feel light again, no matter how much darkness they both carry within themselves. He doesn’t have to worry about her taking things the wrong way, or even the right way. They’ve gone through too much not to understand each other.

Besides which, he likes this game. He’s pretty sure it’s the only aspect of life on a rebel base that she enjoys.

“I’ll have you know, I was a perfect gentleman before I started sleeping around with girls who would rather steal a ship and run away than listen to the Council’s orders,” he tells her, only half joking, his shirt forgotten on the chair. “That’s why they’re so shocked, you know. You’re not my type.”

“Good thing you’re not actually sleeping with me, then,” she retorts, but something’s changed in her eyes. Something beyond just amusement. Cassian feels a spark of heat sizzle up his spine; the room feels crowded all of a sudden, full of nothing but him and her and the space between.

There is very little space between.

He looks down at her, still perched on the edge of his bed like she belongs there. She lifts her chin to meet his gaze, defiant as ever, but with a tenderness to the set of her mouth that hadn’t always been there when he looked at her.

Cassian lifts one hand and strokes it down her cheek, her jaw, lingering right alongside her mouth. Jyn wets her lips, a hungry sort of expectancy in her gaze. The ferocity of his wanting, her wanting, crashes through him, tugging him downwards, and he understands, then, why everyone thinks this is already happening.

Jyn meets him halfway and it is exactly as glorious as he’d been imagining. She clutches at his shoulders, drawing him in until their noses bump and their foreheads touch, her palms hot over his bare skin. Cassian tumbles onto the bed, partly her fault, partly his, and her weight is warm and delicious beneath him in a way it hadn’t been when they had just been sleeping together.

This is something new, something real. Something free of nightmares and the ghost of the war hanging over them.

He kisses her full of desperation, a longing he hadn’t realized he needed to satisfy burning on the tip of his tongue. Jyn curls her fingers into his hair and pulls him in until there is no point where their bodies aren’t touching. All his nerves seem to end in fire as she kisses him, messy and hot and hungry, barely pausing for breath.

“Cassian,” she whispers when they part for breath, trailing one hand down his back and inciting shivers everywhere she touches.

“Mm?”

“We have a meeting in half an hour.”

Cassian groans and drops his head into the crook of her neck, listening to her shake with silent laughter with no small amount of resentment. He has a brief vision of the two of them stumbling into a meeting with the Council, hair in disarray and smelling of sex, and the thought is mortifying enough to cool his desire to get her clothes off, just a little.

Not enough to stop him, though.

“We can be late,” he dismisses, pressing a kiss to her collarbone that has her sucking in a sharp breath. “We’re heroes. They’ll live.”

Jyn breathes out a laugh of delighted surprise. “I didn’t know you had that in you, Captain Andor,” she teases, looking impressed when he draws his head up to drink in the sight of her again. “And all this for a girl?”

Cassian grins. “Don’t flatter yourself,” he says, even though she’s right. Jyn smiles up at him, brilliant and hopeful, and it’s hard to even think about anything outside the walls of his bedroom when she’s looking at him like that.

So, he doesn’t.

-:-

The whispers don’t stop, of course, but at least now there’s some truth to them.

And if maybe he lets them get caught kissing in the corridors once or twice just for fun, well, nobody else needs to know that they do it on purpose.