Din sat in the pilot’s chair of the Razor Crest and stared out at the stars all around him. Him and the kid had just escaped from a close call during a resupply mission, and he had a lot of thoughts floating around in his mind.
The kid was sleeping in his hammock below, and the Mandalorian was sorely tempted to climb down that ladder and stand guard next to the kid all night. He let out a sigh that was picked up by his helmet’s audio and leaned back in the chair.
They were safe, he reminded himself. They had made the jump to hyperspace and had found a deserted sector to rest. There weren’t any viable planets or moons to land on nearby, and that meant the risk of being found was even more minimal.
Din leaned forward and flicked the lights off on the control panel before standing up from the chair and beginning to pace around the cockpit. The landing on that moon was intended to be easy. They were supposed to be close enough to a small trading post to pick up food and medical equipment, and the Razor Crest would be far enough away that they wouldn’t be immediately recognizable as a possible target, Mandalorian and small green child or not.
It was just his luck that someone with a tracking fob on the kid had been there on a job and saw the device light up in excitement the minute they showed up. Karga had taken care of the guild members and their pursuit of him, but Gideon had hired many more who weren’t necessarily connected to the guild.
They had managed just fine through the trading post. Gotten food supplies to last long enough to make it to the next safe location and maybe more, a pile of bandages and bacta for emergencies, a blanket that the kid had gestured at and stared at Din with his big eyes until the Mandalorian had bought it for him, and some candy a store owner had given to the kid with a smile and a wink.
Due to the amount of supplies he had to carry, his ad’ika had been gently evicted from his bag and toddled alongside Din as they made their slow way back to the Crest. They had just made it to the ship when Din picked up on the sound of a branch snapping in the forested area where they had landed. Sliding the supplies onto the ground and stepping in front of the kid, he was greeted with the sight of multiple bounty hunters standing with their weapons drawn and pointed.
He had spent hours a few weeks prior working with the kid on hand signals, and he hoped that the lesson had stuck. In the still of the stand off, he moved his left hand in the signal for the kid to run and hide. A small “beh” greeted him when the kid saw it, and Din tilted his head slightly and repeated the signal. It only took a moment more before the small green figure was running off, and, with the sudden movement of the child, Din took the other bounty hunters by surprise. He whipped his blaster out of it’s holster and shot them all with no problem.
That didn’t stop him from agonizing over what had gone wrong in the first place. A search of the bodies informed him about the tracking fob, and he took great pleasure in grounding that thing into dust with his foot.
After checking for heat signatures and being satisfied that there weren’t any other surprises waiting for them, he picked up the supplies and found his ad’ika hiding behind a log. The kid reached his hands up and Din found a way to carry all of the supplies and the child. He wouldn’t be comfortable with the kid out of his grasp until they were far away.
They were far away now, he thought, but he still wasn’t comfortable.
All there was were stars around them, but he couldn’t shake the fear he had about his kid’s possible capture.
“Haar’chak!” He said, pausing in his pacing to grip the pilot’s seat.
He was supposed to give this child up to the jetii ? How?
The mere thought of something happening to the kid was enough to send him spiralling. He had faced so much danger in his life, yet this small green kid was all it took to destroy his composure. The Armourer had sent him on the mission to return his ad’ika to his kind, but for the first time in his life, he didn’t know if he would be able to fulfill such a command.
He cared too much. That was a weakness.
But was it a weakness he was willing to have? Absolutely.
When he found the jetii, if he found the jetii , he would find a way to take care of the kid. Surely the sorcerers would need some sort of protection? Besides, with the covert gone and bounty hunting not looking so appealing anymore, it was an amenable line of thought. He would have to consider it some more.
But there was something he would need to do first.
Mind made up, he left the cockpit after ensuring that the autopilot would take care of the ship, and quietly made his way down the ladder to where the kid was sleeping.
He stood in front of the storage block where the kid’s hammock was swaying back and forth, and a smile crept onto his face as a small green head peeked up and a chirping noise was made. He slid himself into the compartment and lifted the kid out of the hammock as his hands gestured to be picked up.
Setting the child onto his lap, he took a deep breath, the child tilting its head at him as if knowing that something important was about to happen.
“Ad’ika,” he started before feeling like something was lodged in his throat. Words, that was what was stuck there. He took another deep breath.
“Ad’ika, the Armorer named us a clan of two, but I have come to the realization that I have not treated you as aliit as much as I should have. We are in this together, and together we must be.”
The kid reached forward and batted a hand against his chestplate, small little tings echoing around the room as his nails clicked against the beskar.
“That’s right, we are aliit.” He leaned down and gently tapped his helmet against the little one’s head. “It’s time that I make it official.”
With the child’s big eyes staring at him, he said the words that had been waiting in the back of his head for too long.
“Ni kar'tayl gai sa'ad.”
The words having been spoken, he lifted his hand slowly to his helmet as the kid made a small little noise in his surprise. His hands trembled slightly as he unlatched it and pulled the helmet off of his head, hair catching on it as he bared his face to the first person since he was a foundling.
The child froze for a moment, and Din paused as well. Did the kid recognize him? Was there something wrong in the way he looked? He never bothered to take much care of his appearance so he wouldn’t be surprised if he looked absolutely hideous. What could the kid be thinking?
In his anxiety, a small hand had reached forward towards his face and slowly patted it. His breath caught in his throat as the child made a trilling noise and laughed.
Din’s mouth turned up as the small hand explored the relatively untouched skin. “That’s right ad’ika , it’s your buir.”
The child looked up at him. “Beh?”
He let out a fond sigh and closed his eyes as the exploring hand neared them.