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Saga - OT Stardust (Jyn, Cassian) - angst

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by divapilot, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Title: Stardust
    Author: Divapilot
    Characters: Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, mentions of other Rogue One characters (Orson Krennic, Chirrut Imwe)
    Genre: Angst
    Summary: In the end, everything is dust.

    Author’s Note: Thank you, @Findswoman, for your very helpful beta.


    ***

    “To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.”


    -William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”


    ***

    Cassian Andor roused himself from his prone, stunned position on the floor of the Scarif archive vault and realized that he was dying.

    Probably. Most likely.

    He’d seen it enough before in others; he recognized the signs in himself. The agonizing pain in his back and side where he was sure there were broken bones. The general feeling of misalignment, as if his body--bones, muscles, nerves, flesh--had been shaken, slammed, and then dropped back into the casing of his skin. Which was not unlike what had actually happened to him. He tasted blood in his mouth and was unsure if he had bitten his tongue, or if there was a tooth knocked loose, or if he had been bringing it up from a gash in his lungs.

    But it didn’t matter now. What mattered was above him, on the platform where the transmitter was. That’s where Jyn would have brought the Death Star plans, in a desperate attempt to send them to the rebel fleet. And what mattered now to Cassian, now that he was probably most likely dying, was not the Death Star plans, nor the transmission, nor the rebel fleet.

    He pulled himself up with a heroic effort, feeling the grinding of bone against bone, gasping at the wreckage that the nicking of the blaster shot and the subsequent fall had made of him. Pain blurred his vision. Only his training and his stubborn determination got him standing. He staggered across the archive vault into the main room and made his way to the lift. The room was unguarded; the stormtroopers, understandably, had left him for dead. The doors opened and he pulled himself inside, leaning against the wall for support as the vehicle ascended. Eventually the lift slowed and the door opened onto the platform.

    He saw the man in white, standing with his back to him. Beyond him was Jyn. Neither had heard the lift open nor had they seen him. The man was familiar, Cassian thought, then he realized with a start why: the man had been present on the platform at Eadu. At the time Cassian’s thoughts had been occupied with fear for Jyn’s safety and he had paid little attention to the man in white. But here he was again, pointing his blaster at her. The man taunted Jyn. She was shaking, although she probably didn’t realize it. Cassian had only known her for a short while but he could already read her emotions. She wasn’t afraid. She was enraged.

    Cassian lurched toward them, then nearly collapsed against a support pillar. He pulled back into the shadow for a moment to gather his strength, then he withdrew his weapon. This might be, he thought, the last thing he did. He would make it count. He turned around the pillar again.

    The man in white raised his weapon at her, mocking her, reveling in her impending death. Cassian aimed his blaster and fired, and the man fell. Jyn stared uncomprehendingly at the man’s crumpled form, the edges of the white cape fluttering in the breeze. Then she looked up at Cassian. She smiled. She was bruised, exhausted, beautiful.

    A new strength seemed to course through her. She limped over to the transmitter and pulled the lever down, sending the message to the rebel fleet. Then she came back to him.

    She turned again to look back at the man who lay motionless on the catwalk, and Cassian felt her fury reignite. Cassian knew her mercurial rage, her desire to punish this man for the wicked life he must have led. But Cassian grabbed her arm, summoning the strength to hold her back. The effort drew more precious life away from him. More precious time gone. “Leave it,” he whispered. He looked past her, into the horizon where the Death Star was beginning to emerge from behind the clouds. “Leave it,” he repeated wearily. Jyn followed his skyward gaze, understood, and stopped fighting. She turned away from the man and faced Cassian.

    They were silent on the lift as it made its way down. They stood close and stared at each other. He memorized the way the strands of dark hair framed her face, the way her eyes seemed to know so much more than one expected. He thought of touching that face but he lacked the energy to move. There was little point in saying the words.

    Besides, he thought, she already knew.

    The lift slowed, then stopped. She put her arm around him and supported him as they staggered out of the lift. He leaned into her. She was small but she was strong, and he was not surprised by that. He had learned that Jyn was far more than she appeared.

    Cassian felt his own strength drain away, as if it were bleeding out of him. If she took away her arm, he wouldn’t be able to walk on his own. So he clung to her, let her carry him as far as they could go.

    Above them loomed the enormous form of the Death Star. There would be no rebel ship to save them. Bodhi wasn’t coming with the shuttle to bring them home. They had no one anymore except each other.

    They passed the bodies of rebel soldiers, friends alive just a few hours ago, their blood mingling with the blood of the stormtroopers. Jyn was beginning to falter, and she stumbled on the uneven sand before regaining her balance.

    They made it to the edge of the water before his legs gave way and they both fell to the ground. This is where he would die. But he had expected this; he had accrued too many sins in his wicked life to have deserved a death without violence. He looked at her sadly. You should have lived, he thought. I have done things…I have my sins to pay. But not you.

    Jyn knelt before him and raised her head, meeting his eyes. There were no promises to make, no point in wondering what might have been between them. There was no tomorrow for them. All they had was this moment, and time was winding down quickly. All of their future was now. This moment was eternity.

    She grasped his hand and he squeezed her hand gently. He felt such gratitude that he would not be alone when the end came. What could he give her in return? What would she want, in this last of moments, with this last of breaths?

    “Your father would have been proud of you,” he said softly. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears.

    They leaned into an embrace, and Cassian buried his head against her, resting his forehead against the softness of her neck. She pulled him closer to her, trembling, and pressed against him. Her fingers dug into his back, pulling at the thin fabric of his shirt, and he tightened his embrace, letting her gain strength from him. He closed his eyes.

    A blinding light seared across the sky and the ground shook. Cassian breathed in and breathed out. He pulled her as tightly as he could, their bodies pressed together as they awaited the inevitable. Chirrut’s words came to him.

    We are one with the Force and the Force is with us.

    The explosion covered the face of the water and rose skyward.

    We are one with the Force

    The blast roared toward them and enveloped them.

    We are one

    Then their flesh turned to cinder, the bones turned to ash, and the ash blew away, that much more stardust in the galaxy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    Kahara, darth_treyvah, Anedon and 7 others like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Spectacular but no duh, considering the source. =D= Beautiful and poignant. I knew from the title this would be gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.


    [:D] @};-
     
  3. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2012
    I felt almost every bit of Cassian’s pain. Excellent work! Felt like time slowed down even though the end was near. I also appreciated that you kept the romance as subtle as it was in the movie. Lovely story @divapilot, thank you for posting.
     
  4. Ridley Solo

    Ridley Solo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2010
    :_| Beautifully heartbreaking. =(( Your writing is amazing, turning such a sad moment into poetry. A+
     
  5. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Brilliant form start to end. I think that Cassian's endurance was one of his defining characteristics and you certainly portrayed him who will keep going, putting aside pain and fear to save his friends and complete the mission. Bravo! As @Master_Lok says, the romance was perfect.
     
  6. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Absolutely beautiful, diva! =D=

    I love seeing this scene from Cassian's point of view. He must have been in so much pain, but he had more to do and couldn't just lay there and die. And without that drive, Jyn would have never managed to transmit the plans and they would have all died in vain.

    There were so many beautiful parts, but this was what really got to me. That he felt like he deserved this death. :( Heartbreaking but so beautifully written.

    Fantastic job! @};-
     
  7. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
  8. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
  9. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Love the deep insight into Cassian's feelings in his last moments. Beautiful.
     
  10. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2004
  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    This would make me cry, but I'm still not 100% myself, so I'm not crying. Anything that reminds me, even a tiny wee bit, of the Ultravox music video for Dancing With Tears in My Eyes has that effect. And this does. Sure, it doesn't run backwards, but the overall mood is precisely that.

    Cassian's life is flashing before his eyes - and all of that seems to be QUITE selective.

    He certainly...knows a lot about this, given that he used to be a hitman before that moment with Jyn's reflection in her dad's eyes (Or was it the other way round? I'm listening to all the music I missed and I don't want to lose my playlist to watch a video! :p) It's almost like an open heart surgery performed on oneself. Brutal, poignant. And I didn't realise that it had been already happening at this point in time. It makes perfect sense.

    The bolded part...just WOW.

    ...and it's the first time that she smiles in the entire story. WOW.

    That last glimmer of hope and then it's all lost. A perfect little symbol here.

    ...because in the end, they're all people, dragged into a horrible, horrible war. And wars are useless. Futile.

    Okay...I did break down in the end. :_| They never got to know each other further, they didn't get to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour and their sacrifice. They were the hope and they died for everybody else...

    ...plus, they dragged their biggest enemy with them...and they didn't even have to move a finger...

    ...not knowing that he had been framed too, by somebody who is yet to pay for his arrogance.

    So, yeah, there's a glimmer of hope, even with them turning to stardust (which is golden...).
     
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Thank you! I loved Rogue One, and the idea of almost - this close - to something special between Jyn and Cassian is a tragedy within a tragedy. There is so much beautiful irony in this film.

    Thank you for commenting! Cassian was in horrible pain after that fall, but he was so stubborn, so determined that if he was going to die here, he would be sure it wasn't in vain. And I also think he really cared about Jyn and worried about her. I agree with you about the subtlety of the romance. They almost had it. If they had more time, I am sure they would have been lovers, but instead all they had was a few precious moments to try to love for a lifetime.

    Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it.

    Thank you! Cassian was very focused on the mission, and it was what made him get off the floor. I think he felt he owed it to everyone who he knew was dying on the battlefields below to do his best to make sure the transmission was sent to the fleet. As for the romance, I appreciate that comment. There was attraction between them but not time enough to express it. If I had done differently it wouldn't have been true to either Cassian or Jyn's characters.

    Thanks! Now, of course, thanks to you I can't think of Cassian without the scene with the Parting Glass. (Or the Hamilton song about the story of tonight...:p) It's true, they were at a point where they gained strength from each other. Thinking of Jyn up in that tower motivated Cassian to get up to the platform, and had he not been there Krennic (after he was done monologuing, of course) would have shot Jyn. The rebellion would have died right there.

    Cassian (according to the novelization) had this defense mechanism of thinking of the people he killed as "righteous kills." Their deaths were necessary to advance a greater cause. That didn't mean he felt no guilt over the lives he ended; the deaths bothered him. I would think a person like Cassian would believe that he had a pretty long list of sins to be reckoned with. He probably believed that he had traded his soul for the cause of the fight, and this is what becomes of a man who lives by the sword. It's sad but it fits him.

    Thank you for reading and commenting! I'm glad you liked it.

    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 - thank you for stopping in!

    Thank you! The idea for this story actually came about a few months ago with a reply to one of the drabbles I wrote. I'm glad I was finally able to get the story right and post it. Cassian lived a dangerous life and he probably expected to go out in some kind of a violent end, but he never expected to have someone like Jyn at his side. He must have felt so conflicted, so sad, and yet so grateful for that.

    Thank you! I am glad you liked this.

    Thank you for this wonderful and thoughtful review. I really appreciate it!
    And thanks for the link to that song, which I had forgotten (old brain much forget). Cassian knows his time is up. The fall alone is slowly killing him. But then the sight of the Death Star makes him realize that ALL their times are up. (I assumed since Krennic saw the Death Star emerge in the sky, Cassian and Jyn probably saw it too.)

    Cassian has seen death too many times, and a lot of it close up and due to his actions. He killed the informant in the beginning of the film, he knows what it looks like for a man to die. He must know that his injuries are not survivable, and when the Death Star appears, that's it for them for sure. He knows K2SO is dead and there will be no rescue for him. He accepts his fate.

    The whole mission was a gamble and the odds were never in their favor. But they knew that going in. It would have been unrealistic for them to have lived in the movie. I'd like to think, though, that their death had meaning. Everyone dies, and in a war it's even more common, but not everyone dies for a cause that will help millions of others. Cassian can accept that; he'd rather have a death that mattered.
    And we are all stardust, just as they were all Stardust, keeping the hope alive. :_|@};-

    Thank you to everyone who stopped in to read and/or review. It is so very appreciated!
     
  13. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    What a gem! This one got me in the feels and was excellently written. Very well done!
     
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Kessel Run Champion star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Absolutely gorgeous from stem to stern, though I would expect no less from a divapilot Rogue One story. @};- Your words not only add a dimension of poignancy to Cassian and Jyn's last few moments that film visuals alone (however splendidly done) cannot equal, but they also expand that moment into a beautiful miniature eternity. The Blake epigraph is so fitting: that one moment together on the beach becomes eternity for these two. It's not the only one that does, though, as you show us: I would say that Jyn's "bruised, exhausted, beautiful" moment, right after Krennic ("he who shall not be named" in this story, and very effectively so!) crumples to the floor, is a moment like that too. What a beautiful way to describe her in that scene: she really is at her most beautiful right about then. They both are, really. @};-

    I'm noticing that there are only very few direct quotations in this story, and those there are really hit hard. Cassian's "Leave it" is a big deal coming from someone who has long lived by the ethic of the "righteous kill," from the man who killed Tivik. Indeed, this whole vignette is a fantastic character study of Cassian, and in it we get to witness a transformative moment for his character. Later, when he says "Your father would have been proud of you," it's a very straightforward and ordinary thing for him to say—and yet it is all the more of a gutpunch. Why? Because, in a way, it adds a third person to that wrenching final tableau on the beach. Is Galen's spirit there too, blessing his daughter's final union?

    Finally, I love the transformation of Chirrut's "I am one with the Force" mantra at the very end. It's no longer just some mystic's "woo-woo" mantra (not that I thought it was just that when Chirrut was saying it :p ): Cassian and Jyn's own final oneness is tantamount to the mystical unity of the Force (and not just in that they're "becoming one with the Force," i.e., dying); physical and spiritual unities meld into each other. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. :p

    Bravissima on another stunningly beautiful story, in true diva fashion. You, ma'am, never cease to astound! =D=
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  15. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    We are one

    Then their flesh turned to cinder, the bones turned to ash, and the ash blew away, that much more stardust in the galaxy.

    To read a story from you is never a waste of time. One dives into a world of wonder and beauty, even though the end can be sad. But you clearly give us the message that THE LAST JEDI movie tries to give us. Death is not the end. The Force is everywhere.
     
    Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    You know how my previous comment was just a bunch of "Waaahh!" Emojis? That was because by the time I got to the end of the story, I was crying so hard I could barely read it, and I just had no words.
     
  17. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Nice story
    As with the Rouge One drabbles I enjoyed the deeper view we got into Cassians mind here. His determination, his feeling for Jyn, his aceptance of his fate. That scene at the beach, where Jyn and Cassian embrace is probably my favourite one in Rouge One and your words capture it perfectly. Thanks for writing this. :)