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my hands, your hands, tied up like two ships

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As the door to the turbolift shut, Din slid his helmet back in place and gave himself a moment to collect up his scattered emotions and blink the tears out of his eyes, before he turned to the women behind him. Fennec and Cara’s faces were mixes of shock and pity, so much so that he almost couldn’t bear to look at them. Instead, he turned to the two other Mandalorians, whose faces were hidden between their masks. Bo-Katan moved forwards suddenly before stopping immediately, as if changing her mind. She was probably still after the darksaber, something he’d completely forgotten about the moment that X-Wing had appeared. He pulled it off his belt and chucked it at her, growling: "Take it. I don’t care if the story is more important than the actual thing. The story is I’m giving it to you."

"I told you - I cannot take it. I must best you in combat," she replied, catching it. Din groaned loudly. He just wanted to be rid of the kriffing thing. "I will not fight you now: you have just had your child taken from you," she said.

"Grogu is not my child," Din replied evenly, ignoring the tears that sprung into his eyes at the mere thought of the kid.

"I will give you six months to recover from the loss of your child and to learn how to wield the saber. Then I will find you and defeat you so that the darksaber is mine." Bo-Katan threw the saber back to Din, who caught it deftly before it could hit his helmet.

“Wow okay, bit dark,” Cara muttered from somewhere behind Din.

“This is between Mandalorians, no need for you to comment,” Koska shot. Cara raised her hands in mock surrender but stayed quiet, clearly not wanting to start anything.

“If I don’t want the saber, why should I train?”

“Because otherwise the fight will not be true. I can’t fight you if you don’t even know how to use your weapon.”

Pointedly not looking at the female Mandalorians, Cara stepped forward and spoke to Din, “Come on, Mando. You need some rest.”

“Boba’ll be here soon. You can hitch a ride with us,” Fennec said from behind him.

"I'm taking Gideon with me," Cara told the two female Mandalorians and grabbed the unconscious man, grunting as she struggled with dragging him to the battered door. "Mando, Fennec, bit of help here?"

As the three of them carried the man away, Bo-Katan spoke up again, staring so fiercely at Din he briefly wondered if she could see his face behind the helmet, "I will see you again. Be prepared."

---

After half-carrying, half-dragging Gideon onto Slave 1 once Boba Fett had arrived and deciding who would be the one to watch him, the group of 4 left the Imperial cruiser - Boba flying and Cara in the back with their prisoner. Bo-Katan and Koska hadn’t even acknowledged their departure, leaving the last words said as Bo-Katan's warning. The air was awkward in the cockpit - Boba and Fennec both clearly feeling sorry for Din and his sudden loss of Grogu, Fennec unsure of what to say after seeing Din without his helmet, even if it was only the back of his head she’d seen, and Din tense and tired, body shutting down as his rush of adrenaline faded away.

“Go on then. Tell me what happened,” Boba said, glancing behind him at his passengers before focusing ahead of him again. Din, half-asleep, tried to remain present in the conversation but his eyes were too sore to keep open and his mind too foggy for him to say much.

“Almost everything went according to plan. We got in, took down everyone in our path, reached the bridge. Mando ended up defeating Moff Gideon and won some saber Bo-Katan wanted. She said she’s giving him 6 months until she’ll fight him so that it’s rightfully hers or some bantha crap like that,” Fennec explained, her dislike for the two female Mandalorians evident.

“Of course. At least, the princess is taking some pity on our friend,” Boba scoffed.

“I don’t need to be pitied,” Din tried to add, but the two ignored him and carried on with their conversation.

“Gideon’s dark troopers started up before Mando could stop them. He did well to get rid of one and boot the others off the ship, except they survived and boarded while we were all at the bridge. Thought we were all going to die when they started breaking down the door, only Luke Skywalker sh-”

“Luke Skywalker?” both Din and Boba Fett shouted in surprise, cutting through Fennec’s retelling of the recent events and making her roll her eyes. All exhaustion seeped from Din’s body as he shot up: Luke Skywalker was the Name on Din’s wrist, his Cyar’ika, the soul he was fated to be with. The jetii to take his child - not his child, Din tried to remind himself, except now there was a possibility Grogu could be his again - was Luke Skywalker, the name he'd spent years dreaming about as a child. Kriff, there was no way this was happening right now.

“Yes, Skywalker. I know about your history with him, Boba, but, Mando, I thought you had no idea who he was, what with your ‘are you a Jedi?’,” Fennec said, turning around to look curiously at Din. Suddenly glad for his helmet as his cheeks heated up, he fumbled for an excuse. Your Cyar’ika is something private for Mandalorians, the Name on your wrist only ever seen by those in your clan, or your Cyar’ika themself when you found them. The relationship you would have with them, whether platonic, romantic or of another kind, was a precious thing, and to make it known to others before it has even begun is unimaginable, like showing your face to those outside your clan. It made Din wonder if Bo-Katan and other Mandalorians like her, who showed their faces boldly, told everyone of the name on their wrist, or if it was one aspect all Mandalorians stayed true to, no matter what rules they followed. He knew that for many keeping the Name secret was not important - like how in the village he and Cara had protected a while ago, everyone’s wrists were on full display and a lot of them seemed not to care about the letters written on their skin. Din had also seen both Boba and Fennec’s arms briefly, shocked to see their Names were faded, the sign of their Cyar’ikas having passed away.

“I didn’t recognise his face, but I know of him from his name,” Din said when he realised he’d been lost in thought and not yet answered Fennec’s question. “I need to find him.”

“You spoke to the man an hour ago. What’s so urgent?” Boba said, shifting to look at him.

Panicking under their expectant gazes, Din blurted out the first thing he could think of: “I didn’t tell him Grogu likes to eat frogs!”

“Mando, you didn’t even tell him the child’s name,” Fennec said, while Boba shook his head and turned back to looking ahead.

“Yes, that too! And I didn’t warn him about just how much Grogu eats or what he can actually do with his...powers. And I didn’t give Grogu his ball. And-”

“Alright, we get it. Clearly you weren’t ready to say goodbye yet and now you need to go back.”

“Um...yes. How do I find Skywalker?”

“He’s pretty hard to find, I’ve heard. If you find Leia Organa, his sister, I’m sure she’ll tell you where he is, seeing as this is so... important,” Fennec said, still looking skeptical of Din’s need to see Skywalker.

With a hint of poison in his tone, Boba added, “Or if you find Han Solo, Organa’s Soulmate, he’ll give you a way to Skywalker. Or he’ll push you into the Great Pit of Carkoon.”

“I- what?” Din asked, bewildered.

“It’s a long story, Mando, don’t bother asking.” Fennec laughed.

“We’re not taking you on a wild goose chase all over the galaxy for the Jedi. I’ll drop you off at the nearest shipyard,” Boba said. “You got enough money?” Din assured him that he had enough for a decent ship, before moving to the exit so he could talk to Cara. “One more thing, Mando,” Boba said, beckoning him to his side. “If you see Solo, give him this for me.” And with that, Boba punched him square in the helmet.

---

The main body of Slave 1 was quiet, unlike the cockpit, Cara sitting facing Gideon’s unconscious form, deep in thought. As the door shut behind Din, Boba and Fennec’s conversation faded away and the room was left almost silent.

“He’s still not awake?” Din asked when he reached Cara’s side, gesturing lamely at the man.

Cara laughed and said, “No, he woke up a while ago. He was too annoying so I knocked him out again.” She shrugged, “Not very worried about him getting hurt.” Din laughed but it came out weak, his mind distracted. Noticing this, Cara frowned, “What’s up with you?”

“I’m leaving to find Skywalker. I wasn’t prepared to leave the kid and there’s lots I need to tell him,” Din said, feeling slightly guilty he couldn’t give his friend the full truth. “We’re heading to the closest shipyard so I can find him without dragging you all along.”

“I’m needed on Nevarro so I can’t join you unfortunately,” she said.

Din shook his head, saying, “Even if you could, I’d prefer to do this myself.”

“Valid,” Cara smirked, offering her hand to shake. Her Name was visible on her outstretched but he quickly looked away from the spot. Even if she was fine with him seeing it, Din wasn’t, wanting to give her at least a sliver of privacy. As they shook hands, he wondered who Cara’s Cyar’ika was and if she would ever meet them. Many never met their Cyar’ika, though fate often found a way to push them together. Din was tempted to ask her about the Name but instead he let go of her hand and moved away to give her some peace. Besides, he knew he wouldn’t want anyone asking him about Luke, at least not before they’d even talked for a second time. Settling down into a corner seat, Din closed his eyes and tried to get an hour or so of sleep.

---

It wasn’t long before they’d landed on a nearby planet where Boba Fett knew of a shipyard and quick but sincere goodbyes were exchanged. Trying his best to remember Boba’s instructions, Din headed north by foot, all the while stubbornly ignoring the ache in his legs every step brought. He’d survived on barely any sleep in the past and he could do the same now. Thankfully, the shipyard wasn’t too far away and as soon as he approached, the owner hurried over to him, eager to make a sale. Din looked around at the available ships, ignoring the owner’s lengthy explanations of each one. He could make his own decision without someone trying to trick into buying something overpriced.

“We have Prism X, a top of the range ship to your left here. I’ve had many tell me it’s faster than a TIE fighter and as strong as the two Death Stars,” the seller was telling him, making Din scoff. He was sure it was all lies: every ship here looked on the edge of completely falling apart and they all seemed to cost more than they were really worth, looking at the messily hand-painted signs that showed the price of each one. “Or, right in front of us is The Blade, a swift and cunning ship…” Din let the sound of the owner talking fade away to a quiet buzz in his head as his attention wandered to an old, battered ship, covered in mud, in the corner of the shipyard. Immediately drawn to it for some reason he could not explain, he moved towards it, leaving the seller to scurry after him.

“How much is that one?” he asked, pointing to the ship.

"The Mudhorn? 10,000 credits. However may I draw your attention away from that ship and back to our more luxurious and...expensive offers,” the owner said, gesturing vaguely at the other ships behind him.

“It’s called The Mudhorn?” Din questioned, subconsciously touching the symbol on his armour.

“Um yes, we named it that after the previous owner brought it in, looking like it had been attacked by one. But that’s not important, we also have The Hurricane, which comes with-"

"No, I don't care about those ships. I want The Mudhorn. I will pay for any necessary repairs.” Din said. No ship could replace The Razor Crest - it had been his home for years - but a ship that reminded him of his clan came close. As soon as The Mudhorn was ready to go, Din would be one step closer to his ad’ika and Cyar’ika. After paying for the ship and repairs, he headed towards a nearby inn the owner had recommended he stay in while his new ship was fixed up.

From the moment he entered the bar below the inn, Dinn could tell it was a place for bounty hunters. The room fell silent when he entered, heads turning to him and recognising the armour, leaving the only sounds in the bar to be the beeping of trackers and the whirring of the server droids. Hoping he hadn’t become a bounty since he saved Grogu, he moved slowly to the bar to ask for a room to stay in for the night. One by one, people returned to their conversations and Din let out a breath he hadn’t even realised he was holding.

Up in the sanctuary of a room above the bar, Din was pulled off his armour, exhaustion making every bone in his body feel heavy. He double checked that the door and window were locked, closed the ratty curtains, and took off his helmet for the first time since he’d let Grogu go. The tears he’d been holding back finally spilled out and Din lay back on the bed after having hidden his blaster under his pillow, trying to think of how to proceed. Instead, his thoughts drifted to Luke Skywalker, the jetii with the blue eyes, who’d held Grogu like the most precious thing in the galaxy. Almost shyly, he tried saying the Name on his wrist out loud, wondering how it sounded when it came from his lips. He’d said the name before, he knew that, shouting it out in shock in the cockpit of Slave 1, but it felt different in the dark room, mixed in with the rumbling of people shouting and laughing below him. It wasn’t long before he’d fallen asleep, the uncomfortable bed feeling like a luxury despite the stiff mattress and thin pillow.

He dreamt of x-wings and the humming of a lightsaber, of a child cooing and a metal ball rolling away into a dark corner where a faceless man jumped out, asking Din if he was a Jedi. He dreamt of the sound of blasters and beskar hitting beskar and a dozen mudhorns charging at him and the bluest ocean he’d ever seen, feeling he could swim in it for miles. He dreamt of stars and moons and suns, and falling into a void, a black cloak billowing around him.

---

When Din woke up in the morning, his back was sore and his mind muddled from his strange dream, but he immediately felt better than he had the night before, sleep having done him good. He quickly used the ‘fresher in a small room linked to his, before he dressed and collected his small number of possessions.

Downstairs, the bar was still full of bounty hunters, despite it being early in the morning, just as Din had hoped for it to be. He took a moment to scan the room, making quick first judgements of each table.

He approached a table near a window, where two women were talking in hushed voices and said: “Excuse me, do either of you know where I can find Han Solo?” The two gave him annoyed looks, one saying something to the other in a language Din had never heard before and then laughing.

“We do. Why do you want to find him?” one asked him.

“Repaying a favour for a friend,” Din replied smoothly, guessing he may as well stay slightly close to the truth.

“If you’re after the bounty on his head, just say it, armour man,” the same woman drawled. Once again, they exchanged a few short sentences in another language, then switched back to Basic to speak to Din again. “Look, buckethead, we don’t give two bantha ticks about you finding Han Solo. Why should we? Go find someone else.”

“Thanks for your help,” Din said, trying to keep his cool as he walked away, but couldn’t resist spitting, “shabuir,” over his shoulder. Alright, that didn’t work then. He looked around the room again, re-evaluating the situation, before trying again. In the corner of the room, there was, what seemed to be, a parent and their child, both from a species Din did not recognise. Hoping for more luck with the pair than the last, he approached them and sat down at their table.

“Do you know where I can find Han Solo?” Din asked, looking at the parent.

Instead, it was the child who answered, slurring his words together as he said: “I’ll tell you, but you have to buy me and my Fated here a drink first.” Definitely not parent and child then, Din realised, backtracking quickly in his thoughts. While relationships between Cyar’ikas could be platonic, they were never between those who were blood-related. He huffed, not wanting to waste too many of his credits after spending so much on a new ship, but nodded and headed towards the bar.

It didn’t take long for Din to get the instructions on finding Solo, the two who helped him drained their drinks in seconds, despite them being extremely strong drinks, and then told him everything he needed to know. He knew the information could be completely fabricated, but he allowed himself to be foolishly hopeful for a second. Din thanked the couple profusely, immensely grateful for their help compared to the two takisits he’d talked to before, but they seemed to be too drunk to realise what he was saying, the one he’d previously assumed to be the parent burping loudly in his face. He left the planet with high hopes, excited to see Grogu and Luke again.

---

Hanna City was loud, full of life and quite honestly terrifying to Din Djarin. Though most people he passed on the busy streets did not acknowledge the Mandalorian, he earned a few stares - his armour like a neon sign pointing him out to everyone. Din had thought about leaving everything behind in The Mudhorn, even his helmet, but the thought of leaving safety completely unprotected and with his face on full view for everyone to see was something he knew he could not do, and maybe he never would be able to. The situation wasn’t dire, like it had been on Morak, or anything like it had been on Gideon’s ship. Though he didn’t regret taking off his helmet either of those times, Din was still very wary of letting other living creatures see his face and he knew it would be impossible for him to try and live like Bo-Katan, Koska and Axes did.

Following the instructions he’d been given, Din trailed down street after street until he came to the Chandrila Senate house. He’d been told that he’d be able to find Han Solo around here but that was the most the pair knew of his location. Realising just how hard it would be to find Solo, Din tipped his head back and groaned loudly. He knew what the man looked like, seeing glimpses of him on plenty of bounty lists for years, but there was no way Din would be able to pick him out in the crowded street. When he turned to the Senate house, wondering if he could ask about Solo in there, he found a woman at the door watching him. She was much smaller than him, with her hair up in an intricate design and was watching him curiously. Din quickly looked around him, wondering if she was really looking at someone else, but everyone around him was walking past, paying no attention to the woman. It must be the armour, Din thought, sighing internally.

The woman was still staring when Din looked back again, her gaze so intense he had to touch his helmet to check if he really was wearing it. She beckoned to him and Din thought for a moment about making a run for it in case she was connected to Moff Gideon or any of his past targets but made his way over to her after a short internal debate.

“Senator Leia Organa,” she said, holding out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you.” Din could almost laugh, he’d assumed it would be far easier to find Solo and focused so much on him that he’d forgotten entirely about Luke’s vod.

“It’s nice to meet you too, senator,” Din replied, shaking her hand. Was he meant to kiss it instead? He suddenly felt very tense, hating how nervous being social always made him.

“Come inside, away from the noise,” Leia said and led him inside the building. He followed her to a room down a corridor, which he assumed was her office. After sitting behind a desk in the centre of the room and tweaking a few picture frames, she turned her attention to Din once more. “What brings you to Chandrila?”

“I’m looking for your brother and I was told you could help me find him.”

“Oh, I thought you were looking for Han.” How did she know?

“Why did you ask what I was doing here then?” Din asked. Kriff, go back, go back. That was not how he should be talking to a senator, nevermind the vod of his Cyar’ika. Just as he went to apologise, Leia laughed loudly.

“You’ve got me there. And I could feel you hunting for Han miles away, that’s how I knew. You’re strong in the Force, did you know?” she said, without even the slightest hint of offence at Din’s up-front tone. He shook his head at the question, frowning. “That isn't why you were looking for Luke?”

“No, I’m looking for him because he’s training my child. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye and I need to see him again.”

“Are you his Soulmate?” Leia asked bluntly. Unsure of what to say, Din stood in silence. He knew he could trust Leia, as Luke’s vod, but how could he tell her when Luke didn’t even know? And how did she know? Was his excuse for finding him that obvious? Were vods an exception to not telling anyone of your Cyar’ika? The two stayed quiet for a few moments, Leia scrutinising Din while he fretted over what to do, before she talked again, “Okay, I’ll give you his coordinates.” Din stood up straighter, wondering for a second if he’d misheard.

“You will?” he asked, scared she’d change her mind and take it back, but instead Leia winked at him and set to getting them for him.

Only a few minutes later, Din and Leia were once again standing at the doorway of the Senate house. Leia had walked him out after giving him the coordinates, neither of them talking since she agreed to give him them. As Din opened the door to leave, Leia spoke up: “Luke’ll be training my son soon. Let me know if he’s a good teacher or not.” She winked for the second time since they’d met and then she turned and was gone, leaving Din alone and slightly in awe. He began his walk back to where he had landed The Mudhorn, apprehensive but excited for the very last leg of his journey to be over.

---

Yavin 4 was the possibly one of the greenest places Din had ever been. The thick foliage that covered most of the moon had made it ridiculously hard to land his ship but walking through the dense jungle was so refreshing and beautiful that it seemed to balance out. Except after 5 minutes of hiking in the humid heat of Yavin in his armour, Din wasn’t so refreshed any more.

Another 5 minutes passed and he found himself at Luke’s exact coordinates in front of a half-built temple with three small huts to the side.

“Well, you’re here much sooner than I’d expected,” came a voice from one of the huts. Luke appeared at the door, dressed in an all-white outfit and sweeping his sandy blonde hair out of his eyes as he grinned at Din. Mind going completely blank, Din just stared at the other man. He’d made it all the way here and was now standing, sweating buckets, as he fumbled for something to say to his Cyar’ika. Oritsir, he’d imagined this going differently.

“Did Leia not warn you I was on my way?” Din managed after a few moments.

“No, but I’d assumed it was her who told you where I was when I realised you were here,” he laughed slightly. “You’re very strong in the force - I could tell on that Imperial ship and I can tell now. No wonder Grogu was able to form such a strong bond with you so quickly.”

“Grogu,” Din repeated, all thoughts and worries leaving his mind as he thought of his ad’ika.

“I just put him down in his bed to nap. He tired out pretty quickly after I spent the morning seeing what he can do,” Luke explained. “You can go and wake him up if you want.” Din was itching to go and hold the kid, to just see his little, green face again, but he knew what Grogu was like when he was tired, especially if you woke him up from a nap. Torn, the Mandalorian just shrugged helplessly. Everything was suddenly so overwhelming and he still hadn’t even told Luke the reason he was here yet. Should he just go for it and tell the other his name? Or wait till later, when the timing could be better? But then, what even would better timing be? What if he spent weeks waiting for the perfect moment to tell Luke his name only for it to never come?

“Are you okay? You’re a bundle of nerves,” Luke tried to joke but his worried tone seeped through.

“My name is Din Djarin.”

It was as if the entire moon fell silent. Din was sure that if a bird in a faraway tree flapped its wings, they’d both be able to hear it loud and clear from where they were. The temperature seemed to drop in the moment, leaving the Mandalorian almost trembling beneath his armour. Everything in his body screamed for him to run, but Luke seemed to be experiencing the exact opposite: he had frozen in the middle of moving towards Din, mouth gaping open. Oritsir. There may be no perfect time to tell your Cyar’ika your name, but Din seemed to have still chosen wrong.

After what seemed an eternity, Luke finally spoke: “Kriff, you’re my Forcemate!” Din nodded gingerly, sure Luke was horrified at the revelation. “No way, I- Din! This is insane!” Luke was grinning like mad as ran over to the Mandalorian. He wasn’t disappointed? “Does Leia know? She does, doesn’t she? That’s why she gave you my coordinates!”

“I didn’t explicitly tell her…” Din said slowly, blushing furiously.

“Ugh, she knows everything,” Luke said, rolling his eyes fondly. “Can I um… Can I see?” See what? His face? Din knew you were allowed to show your face to your Cyar’ika before marriage and that Luke had already seen his face barely a day or two ago, but he was terrified to show him again. He’d never worried about his appearance before but Luke just seemed to shine like the sun in the sky and Din couldn't help but feel a little insecure.

“Um, see what?” the Mandalorian asked.

“See my name…” Luke said, suddenly seeming shy and nervous, no trace of the cool demeanor he'd had on Gideon's ship present. Wordlessly, Din took off his gloves and the armour on his lower right arm so that he could push up his sleeve and show Luke the inside of his wrist, where Luke Skywalker was written in messy Basic on his skin. Luke gasped softly and grabbed Din’s hands in his, staring down at the name.

“Can I..?” Din trailed off but Luke was already eagerly pushing up his sleeve on his arm and showing his wrist to the other. Timidly, Din brought his hand up and brushed his fingertips over the thin lettering that spelled out Din Djarin in the Mando’a writing system, meaning Luke would have had to put the extra effort of finding out which alphabet the Name was written in and translating it into Basic. As he let his hands drift over Luke’s arm, he noticed a thin, white line just above his Name. “What’s this?”

Luke left out a breathy laugh, saying: “Uh, that’s from when my father cut off my hand.” Din looked up at him sharply, completely shocked. Luke just gave him a small smile, shrugging slightly. “I’d rather not talk about it right now. It’s...a lot.”

“I understand,” Din replied, holding Luke’s hands to try and offer some comfort to the other. As he opened his mouth to say more, there was a loud shriek that cut him off. Spinning round, Din saw Grogu smiling at him from the door to the hut Luke had come out from earlier. “Grogu!” he yelled, running over to his ad’ika and crouching down to hug him tightly. “Hey kid, I missed you.” It had only been a couple of days since they saw each other last, he knew that, but the last time had been tearful goodbyes he never wanted to repeat. When Din had watched Luke walk away with Grogu, he was sure his heart had genuinely shattered in his chest, the pain of it so real. But here was Grogu in his arms, babbling nonsense softly.

Little hands reached up for the helmet and Din hesitated for only a split-second before pulling it off. Insecurities be damned - if his ad’ika wanted to see his face, his ad’ika would see it. Grogu squealed in delight, touching Din’s cheeks like he had last time, eyes round as ever.

“You’re never gonna let me put the thing back on now, are you?” Din chuckled, picking up Grogu as he stood up from his crouching position. The kid gurgled in response, happily patting the Mandalorian’s mustache. Din laughed at that, glad to see he wasn't the only one who liked the 'tache.

“He hasn’t stopped talking about you since we left,” Luke said as we walked over to the father and son, smiling softly at Grogu as he turned to look at Luke. “ ‘Told me lots of stories, like you diving inside a Krayt dragon and blowing it up?” The jedi sounded puzzled, shooting Din a look to check if the story was really true. The Mandalorian could only give a sheepish smile in response, making Luke shake his head in bewilderment. “It’s clear he loves you lots. Even when he first reached out for me through the Force he still found a way to mention his dad.”

Aliit ori’shya tal’din,” Din murmured. “Family is more than blood.” He pressed a quick kiss to Grogu’s head, the little one already looked very sleepy, soothed by Luke stroking one of his pointed ears.

“His crib is in here for now but it can easily be moved if you need,” Luke said, pointing inside the hut behind them. Din made his way inside, bouncing Grogu on his hip like he remembered his own mother doing years ago to him. “Um, it’s not much in here, but it’s home for now.” Luke was saying, as he adjusted the blanket on his bed. The room was very bare, but there were small hints of Luke in the pictures lined up neatly on the bedside table, where Din could now recognise Han and Leia with a child between them, or in the small stack of books on a shelf by the door. "As a Jedi, I can’t own many material things...But, uh, I’m also forbidden from forming attachments and marrying because it can lead me to the dark side, which is a bunch of bantha crap.” He sat down on the bed while Din settled Grogu back down in his crib, the Jedi clearly having lots to say on the subject. “For Jedi, relationships with Forcemates should stay platonic, as if platonic and romantic love aren’t as strong as each other. Surely, being alone and without love is more likely to lead you to evil than being surrounded by friends and family and…” Din tentatively sat down next to Luke as he huffed in frustration. “So much of the rules I follow as a Jedi, I understand and I respect. Most of them clearly had lots of thought put into and are so important to follow but some I just don’t understand.”

Din could strongly sense Luke’s exasperation, which was coming off him in waves, and so he reached out for a way to change the subject: “You said Forcemates? Why do you call them that?”

“The Force is the balance between all things in the universe. You can see this balance between Forcemates - two or more souls made for each other, to balance each other out and create a harmony. When I reach out to the Force, I can sense life and death, love and hate, joy and pain. And these things are mirrored in the relationships between Forcemates. I’ve always found it very beautiful. Of course, we have no explanation for why we are born with another’s name on our wrist, but the link between these relationships and the Force is a strong one.”

“I’ve never seen it that way before - as a balance. I know that most names for Forcemates are similar to that: Forcemate, Soulmate, Destined, Fated, a billion more. But, um, in Mando’a we call them Cyar’ikas. The word has a double meaning, you see: a Cyar’ika is your Forcemate, the one whose soul you are bound to, but cyar’ika is also a term of endearment. It’s along the lines of darling or sweetheart.”

Luke sighed softly and said, “That’s lovely.” Din hummed in agreement, turning his head to look at Luke, blushing to find the jetii already watching him. Luke turned a furious shade of pink, seemingly embarrassed to be caught staring and quickly said, "I should tell you about my father, huh?"

"No, Luke, you already said you didn't want to. Please don't feel pressured."

"I want to."

"You do?"

"I do." Luke said, nodding at Din like he had on Gideon's ship. He inhaled deeply before launching into a long story about Death Stars and lost twins and a father and son who saved each other.

They talked right into the evening, starting off with stories of their childhoods before moving on to talking about random things that crossed their minds. Din listened more than he spoke, having never been much of a talker, but Luke balanced him out, filling in the silences with rambling tales that either he had experienced first hand or had heard passed down. Grogu had woken an hour or two or into their conversation and ending up sitting with Din, listening happily. They only ceased from talking when Grogu's stomach rumbled loudly, interrupting Luke in the middle of his sentence and making him laugh loudly, head thrown back.

“Well, cyar’ika, should we eat?” the Jedi asked Din with a bright smile on his face.

“Your pronunciation is awful,” Din laughed. “I’ll have to teach you how to not butcher my language.”

“Only if I get to teach you how to use the Force with Grogu!” Luke said, jumping up from the bed. “You’re really sensitive to the Force, I can tell. And some training could make you even better in combat. I'm sure as a Mandalorian you're already unbelievable in battle, but you'd be unbeatable if you knew how to harness the force.”

“I’ve already got to learn how to use this darksaber Bo-Katan’s challenged me for,” Din groaned.

“A darksaber? Din, you have to let me see it,” Luke gasped, carefully picking Grogu up, pulling the other to his feet and dragging him outside. "You know how to ignite it right?"

"Copaani mirshmure'cye, cyar'ika?"

"I only understood one word you said there."

"You'll learn with time."

"Well right now it's time to learn how to use the darksaber."

"What happened to eating?"