The first things that come to Cassian’s mind when he opens his eyes in the bright white of the medbay are his children. He’d pushed them out of his mind — he had to — back on Scarif, when the light was drawing nearer and nearer and he thought that was it. Clutching Jyn tight to his chest, Cassian thought he was leaving behind two orphans on Yavin IV. Orphans with a chance to live free of the Empire, he told himself. They will understand, when they’re older.
But now, he’s not dead. Cassian is very much alive and very much aware that he nearly orphaned his two young children. They lost their mother three years ago — when Ailla was four and Daye was only six months past a year.
(He tries not to dwell to hard on Ru if he can help it. They were only married four years when she died, but she’d been the first pilot to volunteer for his missions. She’d been the first person he considered family after losing his mother and father.)
Cassian sits up quickly, suddenly overwhelmed with the need to make sure his children are alright. It makes him dizzy, so he presses the button beside his bed and med droid turns to check on him. “Captain,” he starts, “you really shouldn’t be up yet. The effects of the medication you’re on could be — “
“I need to see my children,” Cassian says, hoarse. “Now.”
“I will see what can be done about that.” The droid scurries off and Cassian has half a mind to follow it. Or he would, if the lightheadedness would subside. Instead, he leans back, willing the stars dancing behind his eyes to go away.
That’s when he notices Jyn in the bed across from him. She looks to be in worse shape than he feels, if that’s even possible, with various wires and tubes entering her arms. Her chest rises and falls rhythmically, if not mechanically. Something in his chest hurts at the sight of her lying in bed like that.
She should be sitting up with him, smiling and laughing and living. He should be introducing her to his —
Cassian catches himself. Where did that come from? Jyn doesn’t even know about Ailla and Daye; there weren’t given an abundance of time to speak about their personal lives, after all. Still, he wants to introduce them, wants to tell Jyn about Ru and the life he tried to lead before the Empire stole it all away, again.
More than that, though, Cassian wants to see Jyn open her eyes.
The door to the medbay slides open, forcing his gaze from Jyn’s unconscious form, and he can hardly breathe. Walking behind a droid, Cassian sees his children, looking tired — he wonders what time it is, absently — and scared at the same time.
“Mijos,” he breathes, barely able to think. Ailla breaks away from the droid first (always his brave little girl) and all but runs to his side.
“Papá!” she says, eyes lighting up like her mothers, and it’s the sweetest sound he’s heard in his life. “You’re okay!”
“I am,” Cassian starts, “now that I’m seeing your faces.”
Daye follows her, eyes wide and tired. Cassian knows how his son sleeps — like the dead — so it must’ve taken Ailla to wake him. Hot tears spring to his eyes when he thinks about Ailla and Daye alone, waiting for him to come back, Waiting for his arms to wrap around them again, or for Draven to deliver the worst news in the galaxy.
Cassian does just that, wraps his kids in a warm hug, and breathes in. They smell like home and love and hope. Before he knows it, the three of them are giggling and laughing together like no time’s passed at all — like the Empire isn’t a threat and they don’t live on a military base.
Like they aren’t missing a wife and mother.
As if on cue, just as Cassian thinks the words, Ailla pulls away and asks, motioning to Jyn, “Who’s that?”
He isn’t sure what to tell them. “Someone who will love to meet you,” Cassian says finally, pulling the two squirming bodies up to sit with him. His head spins with effort, but it’s worth it to have Ailla and Daye so near.
After a few minutes of sitting together in comfortable, blissful silence, Daye speaks for the first time since they’ve been reunited. He’s always been quiet, more pensive than his sister, so the next words really shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Papá?” he asks in his tiny voice, “Is she like mamá?”
“I…I don’t know,” Cassian answers, honestly. He watches the way Daye’s eyes follow the rise and fall of Jyn’s chest and the way Ailla studies her — for once — peaceful face. “Perhaps,” he settles on, then pulls the two of them closer.
When (he refuses to let it be an if) Jyn wakes up, things will become clearer. For now, the blurred line between the two of them is fine. For now, Cassian tries to ignore the feeling of an old, patched wound throbbing in his chest.