What do you think it'd be like if one of the Rogue One members had survived? How would that effect the original trilogy and how would they cope with everything?
Cassian didn’t talk, at first. There didn’t seem anything else to say.
Mothma came at some point. Cassian woke up and she was at his bedside, sitting ramrod-straight, so very tall and white, even moreso washed out by the lights of the medbay. (She made him think of the columns on Imenthe—natural salt deposits like spires, like teeth ringing the great and violent sea. He killed a man there, got blood on all that white, white salt. And afterward he had sat in the sand, watched the tide come in and wash it all away.
Mon Mothma always made him think of Imenthe.)
She was studying his face now, and Cassian raised his eyebrows at her. She smiled a little. “Ah, Captain. I—have spent the last half-hour trying to decide what I would say.”
She was quiet a moment, then the smile turned rueful. “I’m still not certain whether there is anything I could say.”
Cassian snorted, shut his eyes again. After a moment, he felt a very cool hand pressed to his forehead. “Cassian,” Mothma said, and there was something almost human in her voice, a thing like kindness. “Cassian, you saved us. How will we ever repay you?”
The meddroid had been very clear, he wasn’t supposed to move unassisted. Cassian risked it to turn his head away, screwing his eyes so tightly shut that he could see those little floating stars flare to life behind his eyelids.
Mothma drew her hand away.
He heard her stand, the chair scraping a little as she did. “Bodhi Rook was released from bacta suspension last night,” she said, and her voice was cool again, impersonal. “He is expected to make a full recovery. The technicians are still working to fully recover K-2SO’s backup, but…I believe this means you were more than just successful in your mission, Captain. You brought everyone home.
“I thought you might be interested to know,” Mothma added after a moment. Her boots made a sharp, clipped noise on the stone floor, and then she was gone.
Cassian went back to sleep.
(He only vaguely remembers what happened after Scarif. The adrenaline wore away quickly after Krennic was dead, and in its place came a rising pain, pain like the firestorm that engulfed Jedha. By the time they stumbled from the lifttube, Jyn was the only thing holding him upright; Jyn was telling him, cassian cassian c’mon, just a little farther, okay? just a little—it’ll be over soon, you can rest, I’ll let you rest, just—just—
But the rest is a scattered succession of images, half-memories: the sound of a ship’s engine overhead, and Jyn shouting here, we’re here!, a heavy weight on Cassian’s chest and screams he couldn’t make out (was that him screaming?) too much pain—he thinks he passed out once or twice; someone asking for his medical history and Cassian slurring, ask kaytoo, he keeps my records, before remembering—
I can’t feel my legs, he said at one point, he remembers that. Jyn’s face swimming into his vision, the red of blood streaked across her cheek. I can’t…that’s not good, is it, if I can’t…
Flickering lights, medical jargon he couldn’t understand. Someone saying spine, and spine again. (Every time he shut his eyes he could feel himself falling again, the whip-bang of the metal landing—) His spine again. Jyn’s voice, high and tight, saying yes, okay, yes. do whatever you have to.
When he woke up in the medbay on Yavin, he was alone.)
Cassian’s dreams were confused, a muddled haze of dead sentients clawing at his skin and his mother’s face—out of focus, distant and cold as a moon; he barely remembered enough of her to dream it anymore—and then suddenly, a cool pressure on his mind, rippling outwards. He was standing at the edge of a vast ocean, breathing in the cold tang of salt and the water.
It was quiet.
He exhaled, and then he was lying in the medbay, and the sound of waves beating against the shore was just the thrum of blood in his ears.