Title: For the Rebellion Author: mavjade Characters: Cassian, Luke, Wedge Timeline: During Rogue One, and during A New Hope Status: Complete Summary: War means sacrifice. Sometimes it's worth the sacrifice, but for those that are left behind, it's a difficult idea and we all need ways to honor that sacrifice. Notes: It took me a bit but this is for the Celtic Song Challenge. The song I received was The Parting Glass. I listened to quite a few versions of the song, but the below video by The Wailin’ Jennys was the version I used for the inspiration for this story. Take a listen before you read, it’s quite beautiful. I did not originally intend to post this on Memorial Day (in the US), but as I was giving it a read through, I realized what day it was and thought it appropriate to post. I’m thankful for those who have given their lives in service to my country, and while I know this doesn’t honor their sacrifice, I hope it instils the feelings of gratitude I feel for them. (If that makes any sense at all.) > And all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me And all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all Cassian was looking down at the Churban brandy in his hand, swirling the dark liquid in the glass, feeling so alone in a room that was packed full of people. He had watched as Jyn tried to convince the council to chase after the Death Star plans and the trap her father had laid. When they first ‘rescued’ Jyn, he hadn’t trusted her. She was a loose cannon and only out for herself, she'd double cross them for her own gain, of that he was sure. He’d spent most of his life putting his all into the fight for others so that they may be free. He didn’t understand someone who didn’t want to do everything in their power to right the wrongs they saw every day. But as time went on, he saw the same fire ignite in Jyn that had once burned in him. The fire was a passion to help, a burning desire to do what is right and damn the personal cost. The fire that was only flamed by doing what should be done. He, of course, still fought and would continue to do so, but some of that fire had left him. He’d seen too much. Done too much. He’d crossed the line in the name of righteousness and goodness, and it ate at his soul every day. The beings he’d killed in the name of the Rebellion haunted him. Those beings never had time to beg for their lives, they were dead before they had a chance, but their voices yelled out to him in agony none the less. And yet, the voices of those who were being oppressed, tortured, and killed were louder. For now. He worried that the day would come when the voices of those he'd killed would overtake the voices of the oppressed, he had no clue who he'd be then. Cassian knew he’d done what he must to do in order to further the cause that would end the suffering. If he had to sacrifice what was left of him in order to put it all to an end, then that was his burden to shoulder. But when he listened to the council debate the merits of doing something that could potentially put a stop to the Empire’s stranglehold on the galaxy, he began to wonder, for the first time, if he was truly on the right side. Not that the Empire was the correct one, no, he’d never contemplate such a thought. But was the Rebellion going in the correct direction? Did there need only to be two sides to the fight? Saw Gerrera’s group was trying to further the fight but wasn’t the right direction for him. If anything, they were closer to the Empire than they were to what the Rebellion was trying to accomplish. They used any means necessary and did not consider the cost. And now that Saw was most assuredly dead, there wasn’t much if anything left of his side anyway. The answer didn't lie that way, but he felt it was in a direction he wasn't currently following. Cassian looked up from his drink and saw so many faces that mirrored his own. The desperate need to do something. The horror of things that had been done. The pain of lost friends and family, loved ones and compatriots, the look of lost innocence. It was painful to see, painful to wonder if they were doing the right thing. “What if we go?” he said unsure of where the idea had suddenly come from. He wasn’t entirely certain he’d said it out loud, but several heads turned his direction. “We could take a group and get the plans ourselves. We don’t need the entire Rebellion.” Another human man stood up and walked with his drink over to Cassian. “If that information is going to stop this fight, count me in.” There were a few more rumblings of “me too,” “I’m in.” A few others got up and left, but most of the beings who were hanging around seemed to agree to the mission, even if it was unsanctioned. “This isn’t going to be easy,” Cassian said. “It’s unsanctioned, and we may not come back. If we do come back, it might not be to the Rebellion.” The first man who had agreed was still standing beside Cassian, he looked into Cassian's eyes as though he was searching for something? Conviction? Truth? Cassian didn't know. Seeming satisfied with what he saw, the man raised his glass, “For Jedha!” Most of the others raised their glasses as well and yelled, “For Jedha.” “For Jelucan” someone else yelled. “For Jelucan,” everyone in the room repeated. Now, everyone in the room was standing with their glasses raised. Cassian could see the same feelings he had right now reflected back in every eye that he could see. It was hope that what they had done and were about to do would not be in vain. Cassian jumped on the chair so everyone in the room could see him. He raised his glass and looked at as many of his fellow soldiers as he could. “For the future.” “For the future.” ~*~*~ But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not I'll gently rise, and I'll softly call good night and joy be with you all Luke sat in the big open room of the temple that they’d been using as a mess hall. Just a day before it had been full of people, full of life. He’d walked past when he first got to Yavin and saw what looked a little like cantina in Mos Eisley, minus the violence and the band. Now, it was empty, and the jovial atmosphere was gone and replaced by a thick blanket of despair. Yes, they'd won the battle, and it was something to celebrate, but so many lives had been lost in the process. He sat alone trying not to think about all the people who had died that day. He barely knew anyone, but the grief of their deaths still covered him. When he arrived at the Yavin base, they had welcomed an unknown kid from a backwater planet like he was an old friend. Biggs. He and Biggs used to be great friends. It was hard growing up in the harsh environment of Tatooine where friends were few and far between. He and Biggs had been inseparable when they were young, always dreaming of joining the Imperial Academy and flying together. When Biggs left for the Academy, Luke felt alone with his dream. He begged and begged to be allowed to go, but his Uncle Owen would never allow it, sometimes giving a reason, but often just leaving the discussion at the word no. Luke thought about just leaving, under the galactic law he was an adult, and therefore there wasn't anything they could if he had decided to leave, but Luke couldn’t do that to his Aunt. She was the only mother than he’d ever known and he loved her. He loved his Uncle as well, but the idea of losing a relationship with his Aunt is what held him back. Of course, now they were dead too. Luke wasn’t quite sure he wanted this adventure any longer, and he found himself almost wishing for the long, hot days on the moisture farm under the twin suns of his home. Wedge walked into the mess and saw his new friend Luke sitting alone. He could tell by the slump of his shoulders that his friend was struggling with all that had happened to him in such a short time. Wedge had experienced friends and even just acquaintances dying in combat, but this had been quite the blow, even for him. He and Luke were the only ones left of their squadron, but he continued to see the faces of his fallen friends in the hallways and in the few empty fighters that remained. Wanting to celebrate their lives and honor their sacrifice, he walked over to Luke and sat beside him, setting the on the table a bottle of Whyren’s Reserve and two cups he had picked up on his way into the hall. He’d had the small bottle of Cornelian whiskey in his kit for quite some time, lugging it around from base to base, waiting for the right time to use it. It was given to him by a very close friend when he joined the Rebellion. He couldn't think of a better time than the celebration of so many lives. “There’s a tradition on Corella where you drink to your fallen friends,” Wedge said as he poured a small amount of the amber colored liquor into the glasses. “The tradition says that you drink something that was made in their home city, or at least in the general area. Then you take three drinks, one for the fallen, one for you, the mourner, and one for their friends and family. Your entire group does so, and then you send what’s left to their family. If empty bottles are sent to the family, they know their loved one was cared for and loved a great deal.” Wedge pushed the glass over to Luke, “We can’t really do that here. One, we don’t have access to all that liquor and two, we’d be so drunk we’d have to go to the med bay long before we were finished. But we can drink to our friends. I think they deserve that, at least.” Luke picked up the glass and looked into it as though the all the answers he was looking for were there. He then looked up at Wedge and nodded. “To Ben,” he said wanting to have some way to acknowledge how much the old Jedi had done for him. Luke raised his glass and took a big swig of the drink, he immediately started coughing, the strength of the whiskey taking him by surprise. Wedge patted him on the back and smiled, but said nothing. “To Dreis,” he said as he raised his glass and then took a drink. He knew they couldn’t name everyone who had died, but he thought the leader of his squadron deserved a special mention. “To Red Squadron,” Luke added and they both drank. Wedge poured another small amount into their glasses. “For all those who give the ultimate sacrifice for the idea of a better galaxy.” “For the rebellion."