The Way in the Sky
The man, the Jedi, the individual who had been so calm and detached just moments ago now tripped back out of the elevator, cloak tangling around his feet, with a panicked look on his young face, “I forgot to tell you where we’re going!”
He was met by a few brief seconds of surprised and awkward silence from the group.
Din blinked slowly, his emotions frazzled out and his soul sick, “What?”
“Our coordinates. Where I’ll be taking the little one.” The Jedi bristled. “Many apologies. My head has been…” He looked at Din a moment before he looked away, “light as of late. Distracted. I had something to say, thought I said it, until Artoo called me a…” he looked down at the Child, Grogu, who looked to be giddy over the stupidity, “well nothing a youngling should hear.”
Behind him, as if exasperated, the blue droid whirred about.
“Seriously, you have to watch your language.” The young man groaned, sighing, his face flushed. “I do apologize, to you and your group for my…ah…lack of manners.”
Again, a moment of studying silence before Cara Dune let out a bemused noise of acknowledgement.
“Yep.” Cara grunted as she shouldered her blaster. “That’s ‘im.”
“What does that mean?” Fennec, still keeping her eyes on the figure…the man who had just dissimilated an entire squadron of droids that all five of them were about to get killed, easily, by. She was in no way eager to drop her blaster, though she had little doubt it would actually do anything to the monster before her.
“That,” Cara pointed, “is the infamous Luke Skywalker. Hero of the rebellion, defeater of the Emperor, supposed drop of sunshine, and dumbass extraordinaire.”
“Ah, you have heard of me.” Luke tried for a smile.
“Most everyone knows of you. And your ability for falling into dangerous situations, doing stupid things, coming out alive…who can do that,” she motioned behind him at the mass of electronic bodies, “and still walk straight into a wall in front of thousands during ceremonies.”
Luke winced, “Yeah, not my finest moment. I had hoped that wasn’t so well known.”
“It is, I am happy to say. It was hysterical.”
“I noticed many thought the same.” He rubbed the back of his head.
“Skywalker?” Fennec looked the young man up and down, disbelief on her face. The other women had similar expressions as they eyed the formerly unknown man before them. “This brat?”
“I’m twenty-eight.” The blond man grumbled.
Fennec snorted and looked back at Cara, “Seriously?”
Cara shrugged, “Hey it was war. Loads of kids trying to be heroes. This one just happened to make it.” She gave him another look, “This is a surprise to say the least.”
Luke sighed and looked down at the baby who gave him a pat on the face, as if in comfort for the teasing. “I am here just as a Jedi answering his call. This is not New Republic business.”
Artoo hummed, his head whirring around, and clearly beeped out something quite unpleasant as the Jedi’s face went red.
Luke gave a small kick to his droid, giving him an embarrassed glare, “Stop it.”
Grogu made some gurgles, appearing very pleased with things.
“Oh,” Cara’s lips could not hold back a smirk, “So that’s what's happening?”
Face redder than before, Luke lifted his hand waved it behind him, sending the droid screeching back into the elevator and the doors closed.
“Well, that thing does have a mouth.” Cara’s eyebrows rose in approval but then turned and gave an amused look to the Jedi before she made a deliberate stare to the back of the unmasked man, “Don’t worry. Plenty here do not understand droid.”
“It will just be easier to talk without his cursing and to have him get the X-Wing ready.” Luke said as nonchalantly as possible.
“I…don’t understand.” Din said, his voice low. “You’re telling me where you’re taking him?”
“Of course.” Luke stood straight and nodded. “Well, of sorts. I’d give you a contact and meet-up spot. I’ll need to ensure we’re not followed fist and you won’t be able to fit in my ship. I’m sorry to say you can’t follow with any Imperial cruiser. Tracking and all.”
“R-Right. Yeah. But,” he still needed to make sure, “you’re going to let me see him?”
“Yes.” Luke nodded again. “I will not take a child from his father.”
“Oh.” Din breathed out softly and for a moment he worried his legs would not be able to support his body from the intense sense of relief that washed over him.
Luke winced, “I apologize, again, for making you think that.”
Seeing the child and knowing it would be sooner than later when they’d be reunited, unlike the years he had been prepared for, Din found it easy enough to forgive the man. He can say he had done (plenty) stupid things before as well in a panic.
“I appreciate that.” Din finally said, something heavy being lifted from his chest. He blinked his tears away as quickly as he could.
The Jedi smiled. It was a pleasant sort of expression. “I believe I may just need a couple of days.”
“Good…good.” The older man nodded slowly, his eyes keeping firm on the child’s face. His lips twitched, as if he was trying to not smile or even frown. The expression, that had been so soft and vulnerable, grimaced briefly before it fell back into something passive and controlled. Or he attempted to. Luke could feel so much intense warmth coming from the man before him. It rolled off of him in waves. It felt like the nights on Tatooine, when it wasn’t blistering with intense heat and skin biting winds, but calm and controlled and peaceful. Gentle but powerful. Flourishing with more life than people give a desert credit for.
It really made Luke feel of home.
Something eager and desperate, something that reminded him of being a teen without much care as he drove wildly through the dunes, that left him breathless and full of want for a future.
He tried not to swallow hard at the emotion.
“If I could have your code, I will reach out to you shortly.” At his side, Grogu started to climb on his shoulder to play with his hair, apparently very interested in the color. He started to pull at it and put the longer locks in his mouth to test out the flavor.
“Kid,” Din groaned. “That’s not edible.”
Luke smiled, letting the child do what he wanted. At his expression he laughed a little, “I think he just found that out.”
Of course, being Grogu, he still tugged and inspected the hair closely. “Bhua,” he said as if he made an amazing discovery and tried to hold it up for his father to see.
“I see it…please stop pulling at his hair.” Din begged.
“He’s fine.” Luke said pleasantly. “Apparently you have not run into many with this color. He’s quite fascinated.”
Din’s face was tight and uncomfortable but he nodded back into the main topic, “My ship has been destroyed. You’ll want to call Greef Karga on Nevarro.”
“You can also use my New Republic call sign.” Cara assisted. “I can get connected with him whenever you’re ready to meet up again. I’m presently stationed on Nevarro as well.”
“That will make it easier.” Luke had a small regret he sent Artoo away, that always made handling codes easier, but he managed with the tools he had on his person, pleased he carried more on his belt than just his saber. With everything in he gave a respectable nod to the group, trying for a non-awkward smile to the father, and with a promise, “I will be in contact with you shortly.”
Din’s lips twitched again, for a smile or something in pain was unknown, a little but nodded back.
With his own nod, that did not feel as controlled and composed as the man’s, Luke provided one more look to the warrior and then spun around, heading for the elevator. He gave a smile to the group as the door closed. Only once the dinging noise started, signaling he was leaving the situation, did he finally relax.
“Well,” Luke whooshed out some air and looked at the child who continued to coo pleasantly, now excited about the new change in his life. “That went as disastrous as a Skywalker introduction as I expected.”
“Well, that went far better than expected.” Cara huffed out a disbelieving laugh as the Jedi disappeared.
Fennec looked around at the mess, “Yeah. We’re not dead.”
“Good on that.” Cara gave a side-glance to the other women around her. “So…now what?”
“I contact Boba to come pick us up. Then we all go about our business. Simple as that.” Fennec retorted, as if it were obvious.
“Ah yes, simple.” Cara hummed to herself
Din quickly put his helmet back on. He was positive only the Jedi and the child saw his face. The others had remained back and behind and did not make any move towards him until there was a whoosh of air to signal the helmet was locked on. He had to say he appreciated the respect, even though one particular redhead looked close to considering murder.
Probably towards him.
At the very least towards the unconscious Imp at their feet.
“He planned it.” Bo-Katan hissed, glaring hotly at the limp figure. “He couldn’t have won against either of us. He decided to select who was to take the Darksaber.”
Din, unfortunately, had that feeling too based on Gideon’s sickly joyful expression from before. “We’ll figure out something so you can get the blade back so that we do not need to fight.”
Bo-Katan made a sound that was probably a growl; “I took the blade once without a battle. The wielder did not take it from battle herself so she was able to select who received it next. Even so…without the story,” her steps were heavy as she took the stairs down, “my rule will be seen as weak. I need to ensure there are no cracks in my foundation in order to unite our home-world again.”
That didn’t make much sense to Din, nor did it matter, but he was a man of tradition as well and if that is what she must follow he could understand it. “We’ll figure something out.” He promised again. “I do not want, nor deserve, the title that comes with the blade when I was simply fighting a man for my child.”
Her lips were thinned and her expression grim but she nodded in agreement nonetheless. “I will provide you the contact code for this cruiser. When a bright idea is reached we can make contact.”
At least she wasn’t planning on attempting to kick his ass right now.
Din had some confidence in his abilities, he had survived till now after all, but fighting an enraged princess who would give him a hard battle on any standard day, let alone one as physically and emotionally taxing as this one, meant she would probably tear him to pieces.
Apparently there was some decency she hid under that harsh attitude.
Of course, what sort of story would she have if she said she fought a man who was in his state? Maybe that had more to do with it than anything else.
There were no other parting words after the codes were exchanged and Din was more than fine by that. Fennec, Cara, and himself left (with an unconscious Gideon), a sense of unease between the three of them as they crossed over the carcasses of the Dark Troopers.
“Holy,” Cara whistled. “What a mess.” They entered the elevator, the one the Jedi and his son had used a bit before and Din pushed back a sense of longing that briefly overwhelmed him. As they entered, Cara made sure the Moff’s head bonked into the side of the elevator as they entered in.
“I thought you need him in tact.”
“A concussion will be fine. I already probably broke his jaw.”
Fennec made a face of agreement.
The hanger was empty of the X-Wing and Din tried not to feel too upset about the fact. It was probably easier this way. His hands still itched to grab the child and pull him back into his arms for safety and never let him go again.
For a few seconds he had allowed himself to think there would be no Jedi and he would just live a life with a foundling. And he had been happy over that thought.
He wondered if he could feel that sense of happiness again.
‘I can still see him.’ He comforted himself. ‘The Jedi is not taking him away. He’s still…he’s still my kid.’
Cara tossed Gideon to the ground as they waited for the Slave 1 to dock. Fennec gave Cara another look, one to be in good humor for her passive face, and then walked over to see about guiding Boba in. Accidentally, of course, stepping on the unconscious man’s chest as she went.
Hell, the women in his life were brutal.
“So, what are you going to do with the fact that he clearly liked ya?” Cara asked, throwing an arm around her friend’s shoulders.
Din oomphed, seriously this woman was a tank, and gave her a peak from his visor. “What do you mean?”
“Oh come on, Din, seriously?” She tilted a brow, “That Jedi, THE Jedi, was fawning over you.”
Din scoffed and tried to buck her arm off of him.
“Seriously. You didn’t notice? It’s what that droid was bad-mouthing him about.” She snorted. “He was apparently love-struck by you that he went stupid. You know, even more dumbass than he is.” Her lips split into a grin to show she had no hatred for the apparent hero. “I’d thought you at least be flattered on some level. He’s cute. Which is saying a lot coming from me.”
Din fell silent for a moment, “I actually did not pay any attention to his face.”
“Huh.” Cara huffed, still looking amused. “Really?”
“I was a little preoccupied.”
“Guess that is fair. But, really? No glance?”
“It wasn’t important.” Of course that had been foolish. He should’ve paid more attention to the man who had taken his son. Din knew, instinct or something else, he would recognize Luke if they happened upon each other but just trying to think about him? Nothing really came up. “Guess the guy just wasn’t very attention grabbing.”
“Wasn't…” She began in disbelief and then snorted over some laughter, “Ok, yeah. Sure.” She had that cruel smirk on his face that told him he was in trouble on some level.
He heard the hum of the Slave 1 docking and could not get on the ship quick enough, Cara snickering about something as she dragged her prisoner in after him.
Very brutal women indeed.
The Jedi reached out within twelve hours.
It was a lot quicker than expected but not unwelcomed.
It was a simple message, one with coordinates of a planet that was on the outskirts of deep New Republic territory. It made Din itch uncomfortably but he accepted the meet-up and time eagerly.
“Do you want to call Fett and Fennec?” Cara asked as they sat over the table, swirling her beverage in her hand, with Greef. Behind them, pouring over his work while making a whine here or there, the Mythrol did not hide his displeasure he had not been invited to drink. He shuts up once Greef gives him a warning glare.
“No.” Din curtly shook his head. “They are doing something for themselves right now. I do not wish to interrupt them.”
Still, knowing the offer was there, that Fett had provided him contact, was important and positive. It was a sign they were on his good side, which was not done easily for any Mandalorian let alone one with his background, and were accepted as part of a group.
Cara hadn’t understood at the time. She had just given some flirty remark and wink to Fennec who had scoffed in some amusement. But Din understood it explicitly and appreciated it. While not as close as a clan, it was something similar enough to the covert he had recently lost. They were, in a way, now a family and are there for one another for support.
It helped him fill something in him he hadn’t given time to ponder over since he found his own convert gone.
“So, just us then?” Cara noted, already looking eager for another bout of adventure.
Din tried to give a nonchalant shrug. His body ached and something in him still felt broken and lost. And still. He had not felt still, at least, since the kid came into his life. He just wasn’t sure what to move or where to go…or even how to do, well, almost anything.
“Yeah,” he agreed in with a tired tone, “Just us.”
“No need to be all bummed on us, Mando. Your Jedi is working with you so you can keep your kid.”
Din grunted, “He’s not my Jedi.”
“Sure he is. He is taking care of your kid, ergo, your Jedi.” She grinned. “He is also showing those lovey-dovey signs I told you about. He likes you. I mean, he already contacted you! That didn’t last long.” She gave him an unfavorable wiggle of her brows.
“He was a bit…flaky. Maybe he overestimated how much time it would take?”
“A little awkward or clumsy, yeah. That’s Skywalker. Flaky? Nah. He got antsy and wanted to let you know about another meet-up time.” She laughed, “You got a date.”
Din was close to letting out a crass insult but knew he’d be body-slammed by the woman and twisted into terrible positions out of revenge. He was exhausted and she was still on a battle high and would take him down easily. He’d rather avoid more pain.
Greef provided a ship for them to use to get to the meet-up point; in return he gets to babysit the kid once Din has him back. A rather easy trade, but Din understood the man had taken a grandfather-like role to the child and wanted any and every excuse to hold him.
Din decided to not let him know there was a lot of uncertainty when the child would be back under Din’s protection. He did not want the older man and friend to feel as empty as Din did.
Cara left him alone in the ship for all of twenty minutes before, once again, she had to prod at him to get a reaction.
“So, are you going to get to know your Jedi a bit more?” She hummed very not nonchalantly.
“He’s the kid’s teacher.” Din stressed.
“And your Jedi.”
He let out a displeased noise, his voice modulator making it shakier than he was. Maybe. “He is not my Jedi.”
“Uh-huh.” She was amused. He hated that she was amused in this situation.
He tried to change the topic a little, “So he really is important to the New Republic?”
Cara turned to stare at him as if he was stupid.
“My covert and I did not pay much attention to that war. We were busy trying to not go extinct and save children who were left behind by both Empire and Rebellion.” He snapped back.
“Yes,” Cara stressed. “He’s incredibly important. He blew up the first Death Star and then defeated the Emperor and helped blow up that second Death Star.”
“Ah.” Ok, yes, the younger man did seem a bit important then. Far more important than what Din had originally expected. Well then. “Many in the Outer Rim don’t pay attention or care unless they get invaded.”
“You saw what he did to those droids.” Cara reminded him. “You weren’t impressed or thought he was important when he could do that?”
“I was.” How could he not be? He was nearly destroyed by one of those bastards. That man, a brat as Fennec said, took what was potentially forty down without breaking a sweat. But almost all his attention was on his kid and nothing else had really mattered.
“But you didn’t really notice him.” She finished, understanding. "You and that kid really got attached.”
“Yeah.” He could freely admit it now. It slipped past his lips easy. Grogu was his kid. His family. His clan. His. He just hoped it wasn't lost to him.
“Alright, we’re pulling up.” Cara flicked some buttons. “Here’s hoping your Jedi’s codes will keep us out of trouble like he said.”
What the hell, Din just gave up. Sure, Skywalker was his Jedi. Fine. Just get the ship landed so this could be over with.
The location was beautiful. Different from most every place Din had visited. Bounties rarely nestled themselves in nice New Republic holes like this one. Nevarro was slowly following after the footsteps of this join but still had a long way to go.
It smelled rich.
He could not figure out why the Jedi would want to meet them here.
“Huh.” Cara hummed to herself, looking around. “I think we’re close to an Alderaan settlement.”
“Majority was killed. But Alderaan had such a high trade and political standing that there were a few thousand off world when it happened. Not to mention armed forces. Senator Organa and our Queen were rallying troops for the rebellion so some of them were off world too.”
Din nodded slowly. It had not clicked with them that they might have been more survivors from Cara’s home than he believed. He did not know much about Alderaan but he knew enough. Such as, after Jeddah, it was the catalyst that eared the necessary bump in volunteer forces for the rebellion.
Disinterest or not...everyone heard of the destruction of an entire planet that cost millions of innocent lives.
She looked around, “Some of the architect looks similar to what I grew up with. Some of the trade too.” Her fingers twitched over a quilt made with exquisite material that shimmered beautiful white and gold. “I heard there were some settlements here and there…I haven’t visited one yet.”
“Did Skywalker know?”
“Don’t see how he could. This is probably a coincidence. Appreciated one though.” She did not look like she was about to cry, but her expression was more open than he had seen in a while.
“Well, I am glad for that.” A voice piped up out of nowhere between them.
The two jumped back, reaching for their weapons but the young man just held up his hands to show no harm. “Apologies. I forget I can be a bit silent.”
“Kriffin’…Skywalker, you’re a wraith.” Cara groaned and released her weapon.
“I had been behind you for a few moments. I thought you might had been aware.” He laughed a little. “Sorry about that. I actually now need to concentrate on making noise when I move so I don’t startle people.”
“Quite a talent. I know Mando can appreciate that type of stealth.” She knocked at her friend.
The Mando friend in question was silent as he gazed over the Jedi now. He did not have the black cloak on as before, but was still decked in black from his boots, tight pants, a top with the collar slightly opened, to a black glove covered his right hand. It was an odd sight. The face and eyes were so open and bright and full of life and gentleness…it was sort of a contradiction.
It felt like his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth.
The Jedi certainly looked pleasant in the color, he couldn’t lie about that.
“If you’d come with me to my ship, I’ll take you to where your son is currently residing.”
“Ah…yes…” Din cleared his throat and his fingers curled and uncurled as his vision, thankfully hidden behind his helmet, honed in on the younger man’s waist. It was a gorgeous sight.
“Ma’am?" He turned to the other in the group, "Were you hoping to join us?”
Cara scoffed, “Call me ma’am again and I’ll box your ears, shortstuff. And nah. I think I’ll become familiar with this place here.” She nodded to Din. “Just give me and Greef a call when you need us.”
“Then I,” Luke between the two, unsure, “I can leave you both alone for a moment if you wish? Before you part?”
“Nothing like that between us, sunspot. No worries.” She laughed rather evilly when Luke’s face went red and Din gave her a warning grunt.
“Oh, ok…good, then. Would you like to head out then?” Luke asked pleasantly.
“Yes.” Din swallowed thickly. “That…I would appreciate it.”
The blonde man nodded, looking excited, almost childish, at the idea of taking Din to this new experience. “Please follow me.”
He turned and started down the path and then Din’s eyes were focused on something else and he quickly needed to look away, trying not to wheeze.
“That’s Skywalker?” Din choked.
“Yes.” Cara smirked, “Why? Isn’t his face very non-attention grabbing?”
He made a noise caught between being angry and being miserable. Why the hell did he have friends again?
“Oh wait, have you really looked at the face? You seem to be focused on something else…something round and lower. It was a cute, bouncy little ass wasn't it?” She huffed a laugh when he elbowed her. “Have fun with your kid and your Jedi!”
Din hated life.
He hated everything and everyone. Especially cute, lithe blondes that, yes, unfortunately, looked liked sunshine.
Luke paused to allow Din to catch up as he took him to the ship. It was different from the X-Wing from before, to no surprise as it was a single unit, but a large disk that had to be decades old.
“This belongs to my friend. To ensure safety we agreed it was best to use the Falcon. It’s pre-Empire so it can fly under a lot of radars. And is familiar in this parts and with the New Republic.” He explained as he brought Din into the hunk of junk.
Surprisingly it was clean enough. It smelled of animal though. Din couldn’t place it, especially with the air filter in helmet, but it was clear enough that something with a lot of hair resided in the ship. They made their way to the cockpit and Luke took the front as Din sat behind him.
“Please forgive me if it’s rough. I am more familiar with smaller units.” Luke confessed as he began to start up the craft.
“Wait, Grogu is not with you?”
“No, I left him back on the planet. I figured it was safer that way.” Luke confessed. “These parts are monitored tightly but…I feel like I can never be too cautious with a youngling who has already gone through so much.”
“You’re supposed to be protecting him.” Din bit out.
“No worries. He is with the most fearsome force in the galaxy. Nothing is getting to him.” Luke comforted.
“And who is that?”
Luke grinned and something very, unfortunately, pleasant hit Din in his lower stomach, “My sister.”
“Well…” Din grunted, trying not to sound impressed. “She certainly puts off a more intimidating presences than yourself.”
In the middle of a large conference space, filled with soldiers and pilots, was a very tiny woman, Grogu on her hip, chewing out everyone without raising her voice and had everyone’s (fearful) attention.
“They didn’t make her a General for nothing.” Luke hummed to himself.
“She’s higher ranked than you?”
“Oh most definitely. I did get the title of General, apparently that was common in the Clone Wars for Jedi, but it is just a title. She,” he nodded to her as she pointed to a commanding officer who went back-straight and saluted, “she earned the rank and wears it well. Apparently, I try to make friends with everyone in my squadron and do not act like that enough.”
Yes, Din could see that. When Luke dropped his Jedi persona he was soft smiles and greetings to almost everyone he passed. If he kept to himself barely anyone would notice him. Din got the feeling that when General Organa walked everyone parted with salutes of respect.
“Dismissed.” She said with a nod and with a final salute and “Sir!” the group filed out of the room as quickly as they could.
“Well,” Leia approached them, not looking surprised to find her brother there with a Mandalorian. “I apologize for the delay. We needed a meeting about the handling of Imperial leftovers.”
Luke smiled and took Grogu from her before he handed him off to Din. “I’ll leave you two alone for a moment.”
Din, looking fondly at the child, nodded, holding him close.
Luke led Leia to the other side of the room, their voices low as they talked about something.
“Hey kid, they treating you well?”
Grogu gurgled pleasantly and Din took that as a positive sign.
“This…Jedi…is he…” Din tried to form the words, unsure what he was trying to say. Grogu already confirmed that he was fine and happy. Din had already seen the younger man was kind. “Is he…ok?”
“Bwa!” Grogu cooed in obvious agreement.
“Ok. Good.” He reached up and gently pressed his finger over Grogu’s ear. The child just giggled and reached for his hand. He lifted the child up and tenderly tapped their foreheads together. “Good.”
Grogu purred, his little hands tapping over the helmet, little tics echoed in Din’s helmets and he smiled. It had just been a few days but he had missed his little womp rat terribly.
“I almost thought we wouldn’t see each other again.”
“Bah!” Grogu almost sounded insulted.
“Right, of course you wouldn’t have that.” Din held the child close to his chest and took a peek over to the siblings, watching the one decked in black primarily. Something, apparently (though it did not look like their mouths moved) was said and Leia smacked her brother upside the head, which only made the blonde laugh.
A Jedi who could take out forty Dark Troopers and his sister, the leader of the rebellion and New Republic.
It struck Din that it was possible he was watching the two most powerful individuals in this galaxy acting like, well, like a family. Soft, especially Luke, with laughter and witty snarks thrown back and forth. He gave her a pat on the head, which earned him a kick to the shin. He just laughed some more.
“I guess you are pretty safe here.” He had to admit, his eyes trailing from Luke’s profile to his waist, his quite tiny waist that made his fingers burn, where the laser sword resided.
Feeling watched, Luke turned to look at Din and smiled, “Would you like me to show you around?”
“Isn’t this supposed to be a secret base?” Din asked.
“Ah, good point. Leia, can I show my new friend, father of my padawan, this secret base?” He went on to bat his lashes at her.
“I’m going to send you your least favorite tune when you’re trying to sleep.” She threatened. “The one that haunted you from the cantina.”
“Well, that’s nasty of you.” But the threat, however the hell that was a threat, seemed to work and Luke stopped his teasing.
“Then don’t be a brat.” She turned and smiled back at Din, “Please enjoy your stay with us and your son. You will need to go through some protocols and training, but you are welcome to stay at my base as long as you want.”
“I appreciate that, General.”
“Oh good, a man with respect.” She turned to her brother. “You and Han can learn something from him.”
“I am always an eager student.” The grin Luke threw to Din could only be read as mischievous and flirty. Cute. “We’ll leave you alone to threaten more insolent followers. I’ll have Han bring you a drink in a bit.”
“Keep throwing princess lingo at me and I’ll throw you in the brig.”
Leading Din out, Luke called back, “Would love to see it try to hold me!”
“You can’t use the excuse of the child to keep me from cursing you out, Skywalker!” She called out.
Luke just chuckled to himself and looked up at Din, “Sorry about that. We never really had an opportunity to be siblings and we’ve been making up for lost time.”
“It’s fine.” Din noted, though found the information odd. “You seem close.”
“Are…” Din struggled a moment to find words. “Are these attachments allowed?”
“Hmm? Yes?” Luke paused a moment and blinked in realization, “Oh, you have heard about the old ways.”
“I met someone with similar abilities to you. She never claimed herself as a Jedi…but she had your abilities and your blades.”
Luke’s eyebrows rose with interest. “Oh?”
“She’s older. I think older than yourself by a few years.” He shrugged, not the best at guessing ages. “Togruta.”
“Ah, I’ve heard whispers of her. I have yet to meet up with her myself. I do hope to soon.” He then shrugged. “I have heard of this. How attachment were seen to the Dark side of the Force. The side that uses emotions, primarily negative ones, to fuel power to hurt.”
“You don’t believe that?”
“No. I am sure others in the old Order agreed...but things just happened at the end.” He looked openly at Din. “I am not surprised if your Togruta friend does not define herself as Jedi, especially if she is older than me. She probably dealt with unfortunate thinking before and walked away from that path. I heard that became a bit more common towards the end of the Jedi’s days.”
“So, you want me to be involved with Grogu.”
“Yes.” Luke nodded. “We need to be careful. The emotions from the attachment need to be trained…but that seems to be like what most children go through. It is just a little different because he has dangerous powers.” Luke gave a smile to Grogu who cooed back.
Apparently the kid had bestowed his approval on the Jedi.
“And we haven’t even discussed the idea of him becoming a Jedi.” Luke noted. “Just to train him so he can protect himself and not lose control.”
“You…weren’t thinking of training him to be a Jedi? Why? There are potentially no more of you left…why wouldn’t--”
“It’s a creed.” Luke smiled knowingly at Din. “Everyone who has this power must be trained, yes. But they do not have to take the creed.”
“It could mean the end of your kind.” Din stressed.
“Or the start of a new one.” Luke countered. “And even if I am the last…yes, it…it feels lonely but then it just means it wasn’t suppose to survive in this new time. Something Jedi need to do is be able to let go. I’ll work hard to make things healthy and thrive…but if it needs to pass…then that’s what will happen.”
“That…that is a very selfless way to be.”
“You seem to be the same.” Luke said, his voice tender. “You let your son go, selflessly, to get him to safety without knowing, originally, when you would see him again.”
“I am surprised at myself, to be honest.” Din clarified as Luke took him down a more quiet and empty hall.
“How do you mean?”
“Mandalorian…my kind…or my creed,” Din tried, “We love hard. Brutally at times. A bond that creates a clan can be tended over possessively. Not necessarily controlling but we don’t want to lose it.”
“We are very well known for our thirst for revenge and other negative emotions. Anyone who comes after one of our own is met with a very unfortunate fate.”
Luke looked thoughtful, “I see.”
“That is probably not a very Jedi way of thinking.”
“Not really. But I understand the desire.” There was no judgment in his voice. He was just stating a fact with no heat and still with that gentle tone. “But not going after revenge is probably not a Mandalorian way of thinking. Different culture and histories.”
“Yes. You're correct with that.” Din didn’t know what else to say. There was no pushing for answers or lectures of taking a certain high road. Pushing against Din’s belief. Luke had yet to even ask about his helmet. It was just…normalcy. Acceptance. That same sense of gentleness.
‘Oh…kriff.’ He swallowed thickly.
“I appreciate you letting Grogu choose.” He finally said, struggling to keep up with what his mind was dealing with. His thoughts were in a miserable swirl and his body felt a bit overheated.
He had met a few with kindness but this, whatever was coming from Luke, was different. It left Din wanting, desperate and…he did not allow himself to think any more.
While a little more soft than others in his creed, he still had their history and raising in his blood. Protecting, possessing, and hunting…these were rather normal in his culture when they found someone they liked. Luke’s sensation was something else entirely and Din tried to not hunger for it.
That would not happen.
“I’m sorry to say but I don’t think I got your name.” Luke stopped their walking to look at him. “If you don’t want to, that is fine. But what would you like me to call you?”
He was tempted to offer Mando, what everyone else called him, but…he groaned internally.
The idea of Luke saying his name, his real name? That sounded too tempting for the man, who already had so much taken from him in life and had little to no goodness provided to him.
“Din.” He said, softer than he had intended. “Din Djarin.”
The Jedi looked flustered at the tone but gave him a smile. “Wonderful to meet you, officially, Din. I’m Luke Skywalker.”
“It is an odd pleasure.”
“Because I didn’t steal your kid.” Luke gave him that toothy grin and Din really needed to try not to let out a very inappropriate noise.
“That does give you positive points.” He tried to play back. Gods, he hadn’t flirted in some time. It used to be something he could do as easy as blinking. The past seven years of aging made him feel a little lackluster in the field.
Then again, there was no proof in Cara’s ridiculous notion that this man liked Din in such a way.
“Well, then, in hopes of more positive points…please follow me. I have something for you.” Luke gave him a comforting smile as he led Din and the child into one of the hangers, filled with old Imperial ships that looked to be getting picked over before sent off to a scrapyard, like where they found Mayfeld. There were a few here and there in tact, on some level, but most all were there to be used to build New Republic cruisers.
“Here,” Luke motioned to one, one of the few without holes, in front of them. “Ye-4 Gunship. A bit picked over and needs a quite a bit of maintenance but it’s transport and, if it’s not to your taste, you are welcome to sell it and purchase one that works for you.”
Din was silent for a moment.
“Not pretty. Sorry about that. But I think it will work out for you.” Luke continued, finishing lamely. He had that bashful look that also had something mischievous to it. Like he knew what he was doing but was still a little shy about it.
“You’re giving me a ship?”
“Me? No. I have no authority to. General Leia Organa is.” Luke smiled. “You’re not allowed to deny a gift from her.”
“You can’t give me a ship.” Din stressed.
“Fine.” The Jedi shrugged, unperturbed, “It’s for Grogu then.”
The kid squealed, throwing his hands up in glee.
“Oh good, you are a speed demon.” Luke ruffled up the kid’s head, earning a bright glow from the little one. “You fit in so well.”
“You can’t deny a gift for someone else.” Luke said with a smirk, “Very rude.’
“Luke.” He corrected. “You need a ship. You need someplace for Grogu to stay and be protected when he visits. It was remnants of the Empire that destroyed your ship, something the New Republic should’ve been on top on. Something I should’ve done more about.” His voiced carried an unfair amount of guilt, something Dine knew he didn’t deserve to shoulder. “We’re not going to use it except for parts. It belongs to Leia, technically. If we get this out of here she can bring in more confiscated Imperial ships to refurbish. Things more to her royal style. As you can tell…this thing is horrible.”
Din approached the ship without any disagreement. It was ugly and clunky. Clearly once owned by Imperial, who had some poor taste on their small ships in Din’s opinion. He hated the shape and the color. It looked too big than hat he was used to and probably did not drive as smooth as he wanted. It made him miss the Razor Crest desperately. But he could potentially sell it and take on a few more jobs to replace the one he lost.
And it was something, which was more than what he had just a short time ago.
“If you give this to me I will be selling it.” Din warned. “I will not be in this any longer than I have to be.”
Luke grinned, “You can do whatever the hell you want with it.”
“It’s hideous.” Din tried, hoping Luke’s eyes will stop shining at him.
“Good, we agree on that. Grogu shared images of your other ship, the Crest I think? I can admit, that ship is more,” he looked Din up and down but without anything unpleasant or judging in his eyes, “you.”
“I think that was a compliment.”
“It was.” Luke confirmed.
Din looked back at the ship and felt something warm spread in his chest. “Thank you.”
“Well you deserved something. Maybe not this,” Luke’s nose scrunched up, “but it was the best we could do at the moment.”
Din let out a soft chuckle, “It is appreciated.”
Luke’s face went red. What a sweet expression.
Maybe…maybe Cara was right and he did fancy Din.
It didn’t seem to out of the realm of possibility with how often those cheeks went red, those shifty eyes, and the fact he was providing Din a gift. And wasn’t that a pleasant sucker punch?
Din was a bit oblivious at times but he was more aware than most probably expected in sexual encounters and seduction. He was far more invested in stealth and guns but he had to use charm on some occasions and it was always successful. He found himself enjoying the challenge of it when he was a teen and in his twenties. He felt it was mostly the armor but he could feel mildly confident enough that he wore it well enough even back with his old, beat-up suit.
He also knew there was something about him, either himself or the suit, that caught certain people’s attention. Like Omera or Cobb Vanth or even Xi’an…or her brother…which, yes, had been very wild and pleasant experiences but one he would not be bragging about any time soon.
But to gain attention of a Jedi? This man? It was not something he expected by any means but not something he was perturbed by. Not in the least. Luke was beautiful, kind, soft, powerful and the kid clearly adored him. He hit a lot of notes that caught Din’s attention.
But what would come from it? And would it be worth any more drama? A man can only deal with so much emotional stress and change in a year and he was not sure he was ready to add anything else.
Looking at Luke who was still smiling at him, Din felt like he was, possibly, lying to himself.
He was offered a place at the base. He could stay as long or as little as he wanted while Luke trained Grogu and worked to find his own space to set up a temple.
Din only managed to stay still for two days before he had to get back into space, where he could disappear and not feel the inquisitive stares of the entire base on his back.
Both Luke and Grogu looked upset that he was leaving but neither complained. Apparently, Luke was already being a great influence on Grogu’s lack of manners.
And, apparently, they already had plans on sending him a holo only an hour after he left.
“Bwha!” Grogu giggled in the message, pointing now at Din.
“Hello Din. We thought sending you a holo message would be nice to hold you over until you come back for a visit.” He heard Luke explain from off the screen. “We can maybe try to figure out how to record you without your helmet so only Grogu can see.”
Din wanted to note that Luke had seen his face but he appreciated the thought. A lot.
Grogu huffed and picked himself up, walking up to whatever was filming him. There as a few beeps and Din figured it must be the blue-droid. It did sound like the thing had an attitude with the tone it carried. He may need to tell Luke to keep the already attitude-filled child away from that thing.
Besides, he still was not thrilled on droids as a whole.
“I hope you don’t mind us sending these to you on occasion.” Luke continued, still refusing to stop into sight. “We will try not to overwhelm you with them with five a day as Grogu wants.”
“Da!” Grogu whined.
“Hope your travels treats you well. We look forward in seeing you soon. May the Force be with you, Din.” And with that soft parting and Grogu’s happy face the message ended.
Putting his head in his hands, Din let out a groan.
“Oh, kriff…he’s perfect.”
And that was the worst news he could ever imagine learning.
“So, frogs.” Luke laughed at Din’s helmet covered face.
“Yes.” Din nodded. “I guess that forest planet has plenty?”
“Apparently. The kid can sniff them out. I know he can eat vegetables and I swear I will get some in him one of these days.”
“Good luck. All he wants is meat and dessert.” Din grunted, crossing his arms over his chest.
“How often did you press for him to eat something else?” Luke inquired, smirking.
“Don’t lecture me on how I raised the kid.” Din grumped, fighting a smile.
“You have him spoiled rotten.” Luke grinned brightly. “His tantrums are a sight to behold.”
“He hasn’t hurt anyone has he?”
“No. I’m always around. I can handle it. Leia is getting pretty good too. One firm look and Grogu tends to settle down.”
“She seems to have that power over everyone.”
“Yeah, she does.” Luke laughed. “For the most part, he is a very good kid. He’s learning to share and if he uses the Force too much he get exhausted and a bit on the cranky side. Really, the big thing for him is food and wanting you.”
“I’m sorry for not being there.” And Din truly was. But he did not know how to settle in one place. And he needed some more jobs to get the new ship he was eyeing to pick up in the next weeks' cycle.
“You’ll be back.” Luke promised. “You love him too much. And he understands. Besides, you need to live and feel comfortable too. No apologies necessary.”
Luke rarely let anyone apologize to him.
Well, he rarely let Din apologize to him. He wasn’t sure if anyone else even tried.
This man, this pure gentle soul, seemed like the sort who was easy to take advantage of. And he had doubts that all in the New Republic were better than any other army or culture. Having a weapon like Luke in their arsenal would be too tempting for power-hungry politicians to not use till he was broken.
Din tried not to let a growl escape his throat at that.
Although he had hid it well from the kid for the past year, he still had a sharp temper that cut finer than any vibroblade. He did not care for people he deemed under his watch, who was his, being hurt and used.
And Luke, on some level, was his.
“So, you about to be rid of that hunk of junk?” Luke asked, pleasant, as if he was not aware of Din’s anger. Or maybe he was and was distracting him. Din still did not understand the reach Luke had in feeling a person’s emotions.
“Close. I picked up a few more fobs. Once I have the new ship I’ll stop by again.”
“I look forward in seeing you in something besides a Ye-4.”
“I’m looking forward in getting out of it.”
Luke chuckled, “I still have not heard anything about one of your former class. Even with my contacts.”
“The replacement I told you about is close enough. I’ve found the model in the Outer Rim. Beat up piece of shit.” He paused to make sure no child heard and was ready to repeat, as of course that would be their luck for Grogu’s first Basic word. “But salvageable. Already have some credits on it and work is being done. It won’t look exactly like the Crest, but it will be good enough. Better than this.”
“How much more do you lack?”
“Not much. Just going to finish these jobs and give this ship to the builder.”
“I don’t own much, but if you need anything, I am happy to help.”
“No.” Din grunted. “You’ve already provided enough for me. You’ve helped more than what should be allowed.”
“I want to.” Luke stressed, frowning. “Leia does too.”
“I have some pride in me in that I want to make this work and have it for my son.” He nearly started to say and but stopped himself. He was not going down that road at the moment.
Luke sighed, “Ok, if you’re sure.”
“I’m positive. But, thank you. For all that you have done for Grogu and myself.”
Luke looked as if he wanted to say something as well but instead said, “I’ll call you again when Grogu has rested.”
“I would appreciate that.”
“Good luck and be careful on your jobs.” Luke urged, his voice with a soft layer of worry.
“Always am.” Din lied. “I will keep you both posted.”
They said their goodbyes and disconnected the call and Din fell back against the seat. “Dank farrick.”
“She is beautiful.” Luke said in awe as he walked around the new ship.
Din huffed in some pride, enjoying the pleased expressions both Luke and Grogu carried. “Almost as good as new from the credits earned from your ship.”
“Glad that mess went to something good.” Luke’s fingers danced over the hull.
It had a very similar outline to the Razor Crest, and the same silver hue, on Din’s request, but she was a bit bigger with a wider sleeping area, with a second smaller one a few feet away. It had a sleek appearance to it, a little like the older models used for Naboo politicians and forces.
It wasn’t the Razor Crest. But it was something he could make a home out of.
“What’s her name?” Luke asked.
There was no way he could admit that was the first name that popped into his head when he first saw the ship completed.
“I am still getting to know it. Part of me is tempted to just rename it the Razor Crest but I have heard of enough legends to not rename a ship after it has been destroyed.”
“Hmm.” Luke nodded. “Well, she is perfect. A far better fit for yourself.”
Din chuckled, “Yeah, it feels better inside. Want to check it out, kid? I think you will find it very familiar looking.”
Grogu nodded, reaching for the ship that looked so much like the home he was used to. Din smiled and let him down to walk up the ramp. The little one pointed to everything, looking to his father with a giddy expression. “Yes, that is back. No, we lost that. We can build a new one. No, no droid.”
Luke watched with that same gentle expression that made Din feel a little less than gentle. Gods, the man made something feral in him purr. “You are good in listening to him.”
“He can make it a bit obvious.” Din walked after Grogu protectively, ensuring he did not make it to the controls again or fall down a shaft and get stuck.
“Mhm, he is very vocal.” Luke stayed at the entry, not intruding on the home meant for the Mandalorian and his son.
“That he is.” Din looked at him and nodded his head, becoming Luke over, “You can come in.”
“It seems like this is something for the two of you. Your clan’s new ship.” He smiled without any insult.
“You can come in.” Din repeated, tone firm to show it may not be a request.
“Ok, ok.” Luke said, possibly not getting it. “So,” he put his hands on his hips and looked at the near empty hull. “Show me around?”
“Yeah.” Din nodded. “I’d like to.”
Luke called him up a month later with a smile that looked strained.
“Can you come stay at the Yavin base for bit?”
“Is Grogu ok?” Din instantly asked, worried.
“He’s doing amazing. Healthy, happy and well.” His smile fell, “There are some…issues in the Outer Rim that I need to see to. And while there are plenty of good people around here to look after him, I thought his father would be the best to ask. If you are available.”
“I am.” He was always available. Luke offered him Yavin 4 as a home base whenever he was between jobs. Din had meant to come in more that month, but the base was too bustling and he stood out in a way that made him uncomfortable. He also wanted to ensure that Grogu could do fine without Din always being around.
“Are you…” Din tried, “Are you ok?”
“Yes.” It was a lie. “Just some business I need to tend to. I had hoped for a little less stress when the war officially ended but this stuff takes time and all. I feel bad about asking you to come in when I promised to take care of him.”
Din had the feeling that was not the reason of the worried eyes.
He was at Yavin 4 as quickly as he could make it.
There was almost no talking, barely any greeting, as Luke handed Grogu over to him, squeezed his arm in thanks, and hurried to his X-Wing where his R2-unit was on standby. And then he was gone.
“Mandalorian.” Leia greeted, approaching him from where he brother had said his goodbyes, also with a worried look. “Luke said you were coming to check on your son.”
“Yeah…ah…” He looked back at the sky where the Jedi disappeared. “Is everything ok?”
Her lips thinned, “If you would follow me.”
Something uncomfortable pinched his stomach but he ignored it and followed after the General. As he suspected, everyone made room for her as she walked in the hall. It was an impressive sight. “This is my office here.”
He really did not like the need for secrecy.
As soon as the door closed, she rounded on him, “My brother trusts you.”
“Yes?” He thought so at least. There was something unspoken between them but he was not quite sure what it was as of yet.
“He trusts very easily. He has a lot of faith in people.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t want to see him hurt.”
“He is taking care of my son. I owe him.” Din swore, keeping his stare level at her through his helmet. “I would not betray that.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, just giving him an even stare that felt like a warning. “He is not foolish to think the fighting was over but I know he had hoped for it. He wants to create a new Jedi school and begin to rebuild his culture. He wants peaceful times.”
“Skywalker seems to be working hard to achieve that.”
“He has the whole galaxy on his shoulders.” She said. “Apparently we were both destined to be like this…but I had training in the politics and cruelty. He was just a kid from Tatooine that was told he needed to become a hero.”
Din wondered why Luke was raised differently if they were siblings but did not comment on it.
“He’s lost a lot.” Leia continued.
“So have you.” Din pointed out, remembering where she was from.
“It appears to be a curse on our bloodline. We are trying to shake it off but the sins of our father shadows us constantly.”
That was a horribly foreboding thing to say.
“My brother likes you, a lot.” She tilted her head and he was sure she made many a politician and solider think she was just a pretty girl to use. He wondered how many people she had fooled and crushed. “You know that, correct?”
“I…have been told he may have some…feelings for me.” Din bit out, finding it awkward to say aloud. “Though I am unsure why…”
“Luke can feel people. He can find a core understanding to them if they are open enough. Yes, he needs to get to know them to learn more details but with you…I guess when you first met you were very open at that moment and Luke felt it. Something about you called to him. Now he has been getting to know the details of you and, well,” she shrugged, “he’s a bit infatuated. Probably in love with you.”
“Are you sure you should be telling me this?”
“I’m his sister. I’m supposed to make him squirm.”
“But that’s not why you’re telling me this.”
Her smile was sad, “You know he and I are twins? Apparently, he’s older than me by about ten minutes…but he just feels so young. He sacrifices a lot for others. I just want to make sure he gets some happiness.”
“Are you going to threaten me to court your brother?”
“No,” she waved off that concern, “if you two get together I do want it natural and real. You’re also smart enough to know if you got together and you cruelly broke his heart I would threaten you with my army.”
And that was a terrifying promise.
“I just want to know if you are considering it. If you’re not, that is more than fine. I can also help Luke to let go of the feelings so no one can be hurt. He’s very understanding and has little shame. If he confessed to you and you rejected him he’d need like a day of feeling glum and then he’s going to try and be your best friend. He’s learned to let a lot of negative feelings go.”
“But…if I was…” He guessed her next statement.
“If it is something you are interested in…please tell him.” She placed her backside against her desk. “I know this is selfish. I know you understand how the world works and how everyday can be your last but…but I am terrified Luke is one day not coming back. That this curse will get him too and he’d die without hearing words of love for him.”
Behind his helmet Din tried not to let out a rough choke. He really hated what she alluded to. “Mandalorians usually pursue what they want with hunter precision and aggression.”
She rolled her eyes, “Yeah, but you actually seem to be respectful and soft. “
Din hmphed at that.
“So you’re telling me you’re not interested in my brother?”
“No, not that.” Din finally admitted after a moment of pause. “It’s felt like I’ve had no energy to spare at the moment.”
“Trauma.” Leia agreed. “I cannot understand your child like Luke can but I have heard some stories. It’s been a rough time for you.”
She sounded understanding but Din felt sick.
“Why are you asking me this?”
Leia looked grim faced again.
“General,” he tried not to sound like he was begging. “Where did Skywalker go?”
It looked like she was weighing her options before she finally said, “To potentially fight a Sith.”
The general only took about three minutes explaining to him what a Sith was. She then spent the next fifteen refusing to tell Din the coordinates so he could follow after the foolish warrior.
It was cruel of them both, her refusing to tell him and he demanding an answer, but Din didn’t care.
He knew Luke was powerful. He saw it himself. But Din did not know how powerful Luke was in comparison to others like him, as few as there might be.
There would always be someone more powerful out there. Someone who could best you. Din knew this. He had experienced it but he didn’t know if Luke Skywalker was out there experiencing it himself. And that broke something inside of him.
No backup. No contact. Just a lone soldier out fighting for a cause that would only continue to use him, and his sister, dry.
He was tempted to try and hack into their system and find out but knew that was foolish and pointless. He could not get away with that inside the base with something that classified, no matter how he was able to do it with Mayfeld before. He also had a sickening feeling these coordinates weren’t in the system but something only a few people knew.
And he wasn’t one of them.
“Dank farrik,” he hissed as he paced around his room. He tried not to get too anxious or angry, he knew Grogu could sense it, but unlike the troublesome blonde who was causing all of this, Din did not let go of negative feelings well. No Mandalorian truly did. They held grudges and could go for days of fighting fueled on spite and anger alone.
Case and point, Mandalore’s current destruction.
Din glared at the saber currently resting with his armor, cursing it and all that it represented. Thanks to it, that forsaken planet was now his.
He was close to spewing harsh curses in all the languages he knew.
“Mrwah?” The kid chirped.
“Sorry, sorry.” He dragged his hands over his face. “I’m worried.”
Grogu gave him uppy-arms and Din instantly scooped him up, holding him close. “This teacher of yours is going to drive me mad.”
“Bah.” Grogu muttered.
Din grunted in agreement, collapsing on the bed. “I won’t let him go alone next time.” He promised, his hand patting the back of his child.
He tried to rest. He tried to not worry. He did his best to keep Grogu occupied and become familiar with the base. But at night, whenever he could sleep, his dreams were of sky blue drowning in red and hearing painful screams from a familiar voice.
Grogu struggled sleeping as well. Perhaps they shared the same nightmares.
The kid had really grown attached to the Jedi. Perhaps the child was like Luke in that he could feel the core of a person and knew who was truly good in this broken down galaxy. Grogu saw that delicate, true goodness and latched on to it in desperate greed to not have it stolen.
Something Din understood very, very much.
Luke would smile and it felt like Din had swallowed sunshine. It filled up his body and made him feel powerful but protected, worthwhile and important. Special. And not simply because of the kid, being part of a struggling creed, or even his Darksaber…but because he was Din Djarn.
The Mandalorian was not sure what he would do if he lost that.
And each passing hour he grew more and more frantic over the idea that maybe he was about to find out.
Luke was four days late.
Han Solo was fine.
Din had dealt with a lot of people of similar disposition. He reeked of smuggler. So it was easy enough to communicate with the man. Din dealt with hotheaded arrogance on the daily; especially back when he was deep into his work. He could get a read on the man easily.
He was a bit obnoxious but he was also familiar and blunt. There was not a political bone in his body.
Din appreciated that.
“So, when you are gonna sweep Luke off his feet?” Han asked, not seeming too worried about his best friend.
“I don’t suppose anything I say will make you think I won’t?”
He laughed and threw Din a crooked grin, “Good one. Look, you and are I different but we come from the same…side of the galaxy, we can say. The harsher side. Each twin we have are tough, yeah, no argument for that, but they’re softer. Sorta…built different from you and me.” He shrugged and poured some liquid in a glass for Din, although he probably knew Din would not be drinking, and then some for himself. “I don’t even need that helmet off of ya to know you look at the kid the way I look at the princess.”
The bounty hunter kept any response to himself.
“Whenever you’re here no one can keep the two of you ten feet away. He talks about you non-stop. He gushes over you.” He rolled his eyes as if annoyed. “Kid has it bad. And you,” he pointed, “don’t let him out of your sight. It’s like you have to physically restrain yourself from touching him.”
“Touching is not always appreciated in my culture.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Han waved the excuse off. “That doesn’t seem to really matter at this point. For either of you. You’re both dancing around each other, testing the waters, or something equally boring.”
“And your courting went a lot better, did it?”
“Hey, who in this room is married to a princess?” Han stated smugly only to glare at Chewie who popped in with his own input. “It was not that long.”
Din lounged back, taking up the space and power in the room easily. Han was not going to win this game, “I do believe he is saying it took a few years.”
“We were in a war and I was stuck in carbonite for a chunk. Which, no,” he glared at his friend, “doesn’t count. And she told me her feelings first.”
Behind his helmet, Din rolled his eyes to the sky. “Is this your round-about way to try and give me advice?”
“I am the master here. It makes sense for me to provide guidance to a novice.”
Chewie made another statement, which made Din smirk, “According to your friend you have only had three lovers.”
“If you don’t wanna be a fur carpet, you’ll keep your jaws shut.” Han hissed. “And I’ve had three because they don’t want to part from me.”
“Sure.” Din noted.
“What about you then, buckethead?”
Din shrugged, “I was a little more wild when I was younger. Quite angry at the world and full of energy. Seduction comes into play with bounty-hunting on occasion. So I’ve had a few.”
Han huffed and drank some more, “Yeah, that’s what everyone says when they really don’t wanna kiss and tell.”
“Very little kissing done on my part.”
“Sure you received a lot. Not on your face, of course.”
“Of course.” Din agreed, playing along.
“What are you going to do for Luke?”
Din paused. “What do you mean?”
“When you get around all of this,” he motioned around to nothing, “flustered business. You’ll be taking that thing off?”
“If he becomes part of my clan I would remove it.” Din shrugged nonchalantly, now feeling he was in a test.
“Oh-ho. Marriage. You gonna ask Leia for Luke’s hand? That power-hungry brat would appreciate that move.”
“I am not considering marriage to a man I have yet to even court.” Din warned.
“Now that is a lie bigger than a Hutt’s ass. Again, you and me, same cloth. I thought of marrying said brat pretty early on after meeting her. You’re the same.” He provided a smug grin, “Aren’t ya?”
Din refused to say anything back to that. He would not amuse this man with any answer.
Because, no, he had not been thinking of the Jedi as the perfect spouse.
He had not.
Even with Grogu’s obvious pulling for it.
“Well, when you guys do get hitched, make sure you watch the kid.” Han warned. “Gives too much. It’s like he can’t stop. You give him any space and he’ll find someone in need and ready to give them a hand. Well his good one.”
Din was a bit taken aback, “His good one?”
“The one under the glove.” Han lifted his right one to show what he meant. “Fake. Lost it in the war. Some high-tech stuff so he can still feel with it: nerves and such connected. Of course with his sis he would be getting the best.” He downed some brown drink that Din had no interest in trying.
“I didn’t know.”
“Not surprised. Give the kid a moment and he’ll be chatting up anyone and everyone. Master Friendship.” Han snorted, “But you have to ask to know more about him. It’s like it doesn’t click that he may actually be interesting.”
That was actually good information to know.
At least he got something out of this besides goading to talk about his sex life.
“Look, I already know you love him. I also know that this isn’t exactly fun for you right now.”
“Guess that is one way to put it.” Din grumbled.
“He’ll be back. He’s too good.” Han made it sound like an insult. “He wouldn’t get killed off so easy.”
“I get that he is a good fighter--”
“I meant that he just is someone who wants to do the right thing.” Han stopped him. “Dying would hurt people. He wouldn’t want that. It’ll make his guilt complex itch something fierce that he’d have to rise from the dead to apologize. Which would be too much work.”
“This is not a comfort.”
“Just trying to give you something to grab on to. You’re new to this group and how the kid works.”
“Which is why you’re not worried.” Din guessed.
“Life is too short for that. And I’ve seen the craziness he can do. There is not much out there that can give him a good fight.”
Din glared, “There are always people who are stronger.”
“He’ll be back.” Han promised. “He always comes back.”
It did not give Din much comfort. No matter how often he allowed it to roll over his mind as he found himself staring up at a dark ceiling, something internal screaming at him to move, to do something. To go and find that sunshine and bring it back home and to safety.
Because what if this was the time he didn't come back?
On his chest, grumbling, Grogu shifted. He couldn’t sleep. Neither of them could.
“How about his voice?”
“Ma.” Grogu sniffled.
Din gave him a gently rub on his back and started to replay some of the holo messages of Luke filling Din in on Grogu’s teachings. Most all messages were of Grogu with Luke narrating but the voice was enough for now.
The child made a little whine and buried his face in his father’s chest.
“It’s ok. It’ll be ok. He’ll be back.”
“As you can see,” Luke on the message said with a laugh, “Grogu is doing great. He’s working hard."
“He tried to lift a ship and got sick. He has been told to not try that again. I told him you will have words to share with him on pushing too hard too fast.”
“Well, you’re right. He found a way to locate the snacks and ate all of them. Hope you don’t mind but he is very grounded.”
“He had a nightmare last night. Hope you don’t mind that I allowed him to sleep with me. He does not like being alone.”
“I…don’t know how this happened…I mean,” Luke snorted over his laughter, “I’ll fill you in on the story on why this is funny but…Grogu used the Force to pick up a stick and began to beat Artoo with it. Grogu! Stop it or he’ll….oh shit, I need to go.”
“He misses you. We both do. You’re a wonderful presence around here. He also listens to you best.”
With the soft voice filling up the room, both father and son found it slightly easier to fall asleep
Din still had nightmares of gentle blue drowning in red and he had to be very careful when he woke up in a terror and panic to not startle his son.
He usually did not fall back asleep after one of those nightmares.
The Jedi returned seven days after his predicted time and by the time his X-Wing hit the hanger ground Din was furious.
He knew it was not his place to lecture the man. He really didn’t care.
People had been terrified for three weeks now and had received no contact up till just a few moments ago when Leia had rushed to the hanger, followed by her husband and their Wookie friend, before there was an announcement to make room for an incoming X-Wing.
Din was sure his Beskar was melting from the intense, angry heat from his eyes as he watched the top open and a familiar blonde limp out. The younger man handled himself well but to a trained eye it was obvious he was hurt.
Din’s anger grew tenfold.
Others familiar with Skywalker gave him pats on the back, happy to see his return, and the General’s smuggler gave him a rough fluff of his hair, providing him a stern warning to not worry them again. Leia looked a little grimmer as her twin looked at her and, again without saying anything, they nodded and began to make their way over to him and Grogu.
Luke approached and winced, “You’re angry.”
“And you’re hurt.”
“I’m sorry that it took longer than I told you.”
“I’m sorry you think that I’m pissed because I had to stay with my son.” Din growled.
Luke’s lips parted in surprise and confusion and, yeah, Din was going to kill him. At least his sister looked to be in full support of Din’s twitch of murder.
“You can debrief us in the medical ward.” She noted, leading her brother down the hall, clearly inviting the bounty hunter to join them. Good thing he was invited, otherwise he’d be forcing his way through with all consequences damned. He was pleased when he looked down and saw Grogu trying to imitate all of their displeased glares. Although he was clearly about to start squirming to be held by his teacher.
“I’m fine.” Luke swore as Leia bumped him into the ward.
“Great. You won’t mind shedding your cloak and top so we can confirm this.”
“Yes.” Din agreed. “Now.”
“Bah!” Grogu pointed, sounding quite grumpy.
Behind them, about to lose his mind, Han was nearly turning red from trying to hold in his laughter. “You heard ‘em, kid. Get to strippin.”
Chewie just barked, apparently not trying to hold his laughter in.
“You know what? I think your Mandalorian friend deserves a rank too. One higher than yours.” Leia warned. “Going to be very damning to your reputation if you do not follow the orders of two people who are your superior.”
Luke gave them all a weak glare; “I break orders all the time.”
“Not from your dear enraged little sister and your equally furious Mandalorian you don’t. Nor will you start. All of it off. Now. Or I will order this guy,” she used the back of her hand to tap against the silver colored chest-plate next to her, “to do it for you.”
Din was already handing Grogu over to her when Luke held his hands up. “Ok, Ok. I get it. It’s coming off.”
“It’s just cause we care, squirt.” Han snickered; far too pleased it was someone else (and golden boy at that!) who was in trouble. Nice to see justice worked.
Luke looked ready to make something fly at the man’s head but he held himself back and took off his cloak and top as requested.
It was silent for a moment before Leia inhaled sharply, pressing her fingers to her head. “Really, Luke? This is fine?”
A painful, red scar, still fresh and blistering, curved on the lower left of Luke’s side and trailed up towards his right chest. Clearly when it was first made it must’ve been agony as it was at least two inches wide and potentially an inch deep.
“New one for the collection I see.” Han whistled.
“I had bacta spray.” Luke promised. “Artoo helped and with my abilities I was able to keep bleeding and internal damage under control. I’m fine.”
“It is a saber wound?”
“Yes.” Luke confirmed as his sister nodded to the nearby droid to start looking the man over and tending to the wound properly. “Acolytes. Remnants of the Sisters and Brothers. Not quite Sith but close enough that it warranted a look.”
“And they got the jump on you, kid?” Han asked.
“Many of them have trained since they were younger than me. I can admit,” he stopped to wince when his wound was gently probed, “I may be known as level of Master but there are still plenty who can wield the saber with far more experience.”
“Kriff,” Din hissed. “So you just decided to go out and handle it on your own?”
“It’s part of my duty.” Luke stressed.
“Your main focus is finding and teaching foundlings like my son. You had your time being this grand war hero.” Din snapped, cold and harsh. "You're supposed to be safe now."
“Din,” Luke said lowly, clearly trying to ease the anger but found no such luck at the moment. Din was in a foul mood and was not ready to show any type of mercy.
“No, no.” Leia shushed her brother, “He’s got a point.”
“Leia,” Luke begged, hoping for some mercy somewhere. “Ow!” He glared at the droid when it poked him again with a numbing agent and layered the welt with a bacta-patch to assist in cooling the intense burning sensation Luke felt.
“He will be fine in the morning.” The droid informed, cutting through the tension.
“Fine. I’ll be back in the morning to collect him then.” Din promised and then spun around and stormed out.
Luke’s shoulder’s slumped, “That did not go well.”
Han snorted and Leia rolled her eyes and smacked her brother upside the head.
“It wasn’t anything to be worried about.” Luke begged to his sister and to Din, he supposed Grogu as well since the child was attempting to copy his father’s grumpy face.
“Does he seriously not understand the issue here?” Din snapped.
“Nope. He’s an idiot.”
“I’m a Jedi. I have to go and do things like this on occasion.” Luke groaned, rubbing his face in frustration. “Just like you go and bounty-hunt.”
Too bad Din was not in the mood to be fair.
“You were stabbed.”
“And you’ve been shot at.” Luke countered smoothly, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I have nearly unbreakable armor.” Din hissed back. “You have nothing.”
“I can block most all of it.”
“Except for this,” Din motioned to Luke’s side.
“It happens, Din. Much like how it may happen to you. I hate the idea of you being out there without support but I know you have to do it. I need to do things like this.” He huffed more to himself than the others, “Besides…I was slashed not stabbed.”
Din’s eyes narrowed dangerously behind his helmet and Leia slapped her hand over her face, groaning. “Your need to be a brat is going to get you in so much trouble one day.”
“I’m fine.” Luke stressed, still struggling to see the issue.
“And I’m at my limit.” Din grabbed the now healed man’s arm and turned to Leia, “Please watch the kid for a bit.”
She smiled and held Grogu happily, “Take your time. Lecture him till his ears bleed.”
Luke winced, “That’s really not necessary--”
“Shut up.” Din growled and yanked him out of the medical-ward and down the hall.
“Din, seriously. We can talk here?” Luke gulped feeling a lot of emotions rolling off the much bigger man. It was a lot to detangle. Most of it was anger. Plenty of it was worry. And then there was a layer of…Luke felt his ears grow hot as he found himself feeling a surge of what had to be desire seeping out of the warrior.
“I’m sorry if--”
“Yes, I think you will be.” Din interrupted as he brought them to the door he was going for, opening it up. “In.”
“This does--” Luke yelped as he was shoved back into Din’s temporary room with the Mandalorian stalking in after him.
“Well,” Luke panted as Din lounged on top of him, his lips trailing over the pale neck absent-mindedly, his blue eyes blinking at the ceiling in surprise. Luke reached up and gently pressed his fingers into his dark hair, unable to resist. “That is one way to lecture.”
“Mhm,” Din grunted, nuzzling in against Luke’s neck.
“I can admit,” Luke groaned slightly as he moved, feeling Din still inside of him. “That was not what I expected.”
“I still plan on telling you off.” Din warned. “You’re in such trouble.”
“I really am sorry.” Luke muttered. “I couldn’t make contact.”
“I don’t care. You had us worried sick. The kid struggled sleeping.”
Din’s muscular arms wrapped around the man tight, “He adores you. You’re someone he cares about.”
“I guess after this,” Luke signaled to their intertwined, naked bodies, “It means you also care?”
“Gods, you are stupid.” Din grunted, keeping his face hidden.
“And that’s not an answer.” Luke said, cheekily.
“I took my helmet off.”
“True. That is something special, isn’t it?” Luke laughed a bit, stroking Din’s back and neck. “I would still appreciate to hear if you do. So, do you?”
“Suppose so.” He muttered.
Luke grinned, “You do need work on your bedside manner.”
Din just gave a little grunt and nip at the neck in retaliation. He then made a very sinful sound when Luke tugged at his hair for the bite. “Stop that,”
“No.” Din smirked against his skin.
Luke closed his eyes, letting Din continue to lather his neck with lazy attention. “Grogu might be a bit pleased. He’s not made it a secret that he would like us together.”
Din huffed out some laughter, “I can’t say I am surprised.”
He then grunted and rolled off of the smaller man and pulled him close, his thumb brushing over Luke’s shoulder, where a bite mark lingered. “I’d prefer if you don’t scare us like that again.”
“There will be times I need to leave.” Luke warned.
“To go fight some Imperial version of you and nearly get killed?”
“That…shouldn’t happen often.” Luke said, cautiously.
“But I gather when you have to leave it will not be something safe and easy.” Din countered, keeping the man close as if he could just disappear if he let him go.
“Well,” Luke coughed, “No. Not usually.”
Din just made a noise of displeasure.
Luke picked himself up to look down at the man fondly, “Is this going to be a problem?”
The Jedi smiled, “What would you do if I staring whining about your work?”
“I am not whining.”
“You are a little.” Luke teased, his voice light and so very happy. “You’re also a bit…”
“Possessive.” Din noted, looking over some of the bite marks he left behind. “It’s a Mandalorian trait.”
“I was going to say overprotective. But, fine, we can go with that.” He folded his arms over Din’s chest to look at him in a more comfortable position. “We will need to work on this. I hope to receive more calls from younglings like Grogu.”
Din knew they would. He knew what Luke needed to do and he would never want to be a partner that chained the other out of jealousy or paranoia. But with everything he had gone through and seen, it was a hard thing to ignore. He just wanted his son and his Jedi to be safe.
Luke smiled again, apparently sensing his agreement and gave him a pat on the chest and a kiss to the forehead. “I do promise to give you more of a head’s up when I do leave. And will try to do better and connect.”
The Mandalorian just huffed.
“That’s as good as you’re going to get it for now.” Luke poked his nose.
“No,” Din growled and then flipped them back over to have Luke beneath him. “I do think we can make this a lot better.”
Luke had no time to agree as heated lips pressed hungrily against his own and knew he was probably going to be quite sore in the morning.
Well, at least he had no complaints.
Grogu munched on his cubed meat wrapped in a leafy green with almost no complaints.
“So, you got him to eat something besides meat.” Din noted, watching his kid eat his food happily. “I’m impressed.”
“I think it helped that he noticed he felt better when he ate something a little lighter after he pushed himself in training and felt nauseous. He still demands it with anything bloody we can find.”
“And dessert.” Din guessed.
“And dessert.” Luke laughed.
“He is a menace.” Din gave a fond pet to Grogu’s head.
“Bwama.” Grogu grinned in some victory, looking between the two men with an open, happy expression. Ever since he had it confirm that his father was with his teacher it was almost impossible to put any damper on his mood. Not like either men had tried.
Din gave another fond pat to his child and looked back to his Jedi who was staring at him expectantly. “I am eating.”
“I don’t see it.” His head cocked to the side. “You need the energy to start the saber training.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“You say that until I knock you flat.”
“Don’t start with that tone. You know where that will lead us.” Din warned. He knew Luke did it on purpose. Mandalorians could not resist strength, challenges, and snarky attitude. It was him basically begging Din to take things to bed as quickly as possible.
“Only after training, love.” Luke taunted, that challenging smirk on his face.
Luke just shrugged, fully aware of his title. “Guess that means you need even more energy.”
“I will seriously kill you tonight.” Din promised.
“Looking forward to it. After,” he clicked his tongue, “training.”
“Skyweaver.” Din said, catching Luke by surprise and confusion. “The name of the ship.”
Luke blinked and then went red, “You cannot start being romantic in revenge.”
“Why on Yavin would you think that?” He drawled slowly, his eyes lighting up with a challenge at Luke’s growing stubborn expression.
“You just wanted to tell me the name of your ship out of nowhere?”
“Why do you think it has anything to do with you?” Din continued.
“I get the feeling it does since you brought it up.”
“Just because it has sky in it? Quite arrogant of you to instantly assume.”
For a brief moment, Luke actually considered he was being arrogant but the look on Din’s showed enough and he rolled his pretty blue eyes. “You’re hilarious.”
He smirked, cruelly, and shrugged. “I warned you about what my kind is like.”
Luke just handed the helmet hover over to him, certainly not thrown at his head despite deep temptation, “You also warned me of your combat skills. Let’s see how that fairs against an actual challenge.
Din slipped on his helmet to cover his eager grin as he picked up his son, something light filling his chest as he once again got another fill of sunshine. Another wave of, what he suspected, might be happiness. “Lead the way, Skywalker.”