Jyn Erso Appreciation Week
↳ day 2: luxury
Once, when she was Tanith Ponta, Jyn had been invited to a feast by smugglers and weapons traders, people she planned on ripping off before they could recover from their hangovers. There’d be so much wine that the hosts ran out of glasses with which to fill, and the room was warm with the smell of roasts of rare birds and beasts. At the center of the event was a sculpture of ice and a cake decorated with enough gold that the cost would have been enough to feed her for a standard year on the run. She’d procured a black shimmersilk dress adorned in pearls and had attended, gathering intel for herself on easy targets, on easy-to-exploit weaknesses. She’d eaten some of the food, but it had all tasted like ash in her mouth as she ran bleeding to her escape ship the next day.
The luxury of the rich and heartless–-she wanted none of it.
“What’s the most delicious or luxurious thing that you’ve ever eaten?”
Downtime on base, and especially on Hoth, was often filled with these sorts of questions: lists of things different rebels missed; the experiences they wanted to relive; the life they wanted after war if they were lucky enough to survive it.
“I tasted bantha milk ice cream once,” a boy–and he was little more than that, a boy–said, rubbing his hand on his head. “It was blue and sour and sweet, and it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever had.”
“You’re from a desert planet?” Cassian asked.
“Yes, so it was a real treat.”
Jyn didn’t offer up her answer and no one asked, not at least until the party broke up.
“What about you?” Cassian asked, his hand on the small of her back as they walked down the hallways back to his upcoming briefing with Draven. She didn’t know if he even realized that he was doing it, the unconscious way he touched her all the time even though whatever they were when it’s just the two of them seemed to exist in a place state of limbo, but she wasn’t going to call him out on him because she didn’t want him to stop. “What’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten.”
She thought of her mother’s meals, of citrus cakes on Coruscant, and of stolen bites of stew, but what came to mind is something altogether different.
Jyn stopped and leaned against the wall, the metal smooth on her back. “Saw brought me to the rebel base once.” She looked at him, felt her anxieties wash away when she saw the softness in the eyes, the focused attention that said to her that he really wanted to know and that this wasn’t just small talk to pass the time. “I was a little girl, still in braids, and we were here to meet Bail Organa.”
Cassian raised an eyebrow in interest, but stayed silent and listening.
“The Partisans weren’t great with their cuisine, if you can imagine, so when we arrived, the rebel food smelled amazing.”
He gave a little knowing chuckle, and she continued.
“As I was walking by the mess, I smelled this fresh bread, and this boy saw me and gave me a slice. I can still taste it now. That was the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.” When she looked up at him, Cassian’s face was an odd mix of memory and confusion. She touched his arm, her thumb rubbing his wrist. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
He blinked twice, slow and thoughtful. “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.”
“Then what is it?”
He bit his thumbnail, and gave a little smile. “I think maybe we’ve met before, Jyn, a long, long time ago.”
“How long will you be gone?”
Bodhi’s firing up the ship and Cassian’s pulling off his blue parka and putting on his leather jacket. He’s going somewhere, somewhere she’s not going.
“The mission should only take a few days. Bodhi and I will be back before you know it.”
“And what if you’re not?”
“I’ll be back, Jyn.”
She’d heard the rumors that spread about her around the base–that she was a runner, that she’d take the first chance she had and disappear from the Echo Base and the rebellion like a mynock out of hell. But none of those people knew the first thing about Jyn Erso: she never ran unless she was being chased; she never left because she was always the one left behind.
But Cassian understood. He walked down the ramp and she held out her arms to take his coat, but he walked around her instead, and placed the heavy parka on her shoulders. It smelled like him, and she could still feel the warmth of his body clinging to he fabric.
“I will be home before you know it,” he said as he circled around her to look at her, eye to eye. “I promise.” She nodded, feeling sudden tears sting her eyes.
He did not kiss her or embrace her as he said goodbye–they weren’t there yet–but they touched hands, fingers lingering longer than necessary, and she bid him and Bodhi goodbye and walked back to her quarters with Baze, who had been waiting in the shadows.
The luxury of having a home, of having friends, of tears of gladness instead of anger of fear. Who needed gold or jewels or silk or the finest things to eat when there was this to be had? Not her. Not Jyn Erso.