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Dad and The Dog

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“If it pisses on my floor once, it's gone.”

A tiny gasp escaped the mouth of your son, his already enormous eyes stretching with concern. You round on Din, bringing a protective hand over the mouth of Grogu’s pod.

Din,” you chastise, not at all gentle. “Don’t say that! She’s a puppy, accidents are bound to happen!”

From behind your hand, a fuzzy white head popped out, panting so hard it looked like a smile, and barked in Din’s direction. Grogu gave a little cry and tugged his new pet back into the safety of the pod. 

Your family was heading back to your ship after an eventful and productive trip to the market, all of you - except for one - ecstatic with the results. 

“It’s going to get big you know,” Din pointed out, not even turning around as he stalked forward. 

“The man said she’s an Anooba cross. She’ll be smaller than normal,” you countered, reaching back to rub a pair of perky white ears. Grogu grabbed handfuls of her fur protectively as he eyed Din, face somewhere between an adorable attempt at intimidation and a downright pout. 

You could hear Din grumbling under his breath, pressing a control on his vambrace as you approached the ship. “Sure, crossed with a Massiff for all we know…”

You ignored him to help Grogu and his new puppy climb out of the pod. Two sets of miniature feet took off up the ramp. She immediately set about exploring her new home, nose to the floor as she ran in a zigzag, tiny owner right on her heels. 

“Hey, keep that thing contained,” Din snapped as he followed them, pressing a button to close the hatch. 

You sighed and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Hey,” you tried softly, hoping to diffuse the frustration clearly boiling under that armor. “Why are you being like that? I thought you liked dogs?”

“I do,” he argued. “Just not in a small space full of important things that can be chewed or peed on.” 

“I’m sure your five crates of sonic charges can handle a little puppy teeth,” you said with an eye roll. 

Din tilted his head, and years of reading a blank visor told you of his exasperation. You smiled and reached up to pull his helmet off, revealing the long suffering frown you expected. Setting it aside, you placed soft hands on his cheeks, running your thumbs back and forth. 

“Come on. He needs this. Didn’t you just saw a while back it would be nice for him to have someone his own size to play with?” As you spoke, a chorus of barks and delighted coos rang in the background. 

Din’s shoulders drooped and his brows furrowed. “Yes! But I meant…” he gestured between the two of you, “I meant a sibling.”

“Well, think of this as like…a stepping stone to that. First he gets a puppy. Then a sibling.”

“Why the hell does there need-“ 

A loud crash cut him off, and he spun around to see Grogu and his pup sprawled on the floor, the contents of Din’s tool box scattered around them. The puppy clambered to her feet and pounced on Grogu, lavishing his face with wet kisses which he accepted in pure delight. Din frowned deeply and turned back to you. 

“Why does there need to be a stepping stone? I don’t see how a puppy will prepare him for a sibling.” 

With a gentle sigh and shake of your head, you leaned up to press a kiss to his cheek. “It makes him happy. Isn’t that enough?”

You didn’t wait for a response, instead tapping his face gently with your palm before leaving to help Grogu pick up his mess. Din watched you, confusion and frustration etched into his scowl.  The puppy bounced around your feet as you bent to gather the tools, giving each one an experimental gnaw. 

With the smallest sneer and the slightest huff, Din retreated to the cockpit for what he expected to be his last ounce of peace for a very, very long time. 

~

Code Red. Code. Kriffing. Red.

Or, technically, code yellow. 

Grogu was hysterical. Sucking in enormous breaths faster than his little lungs could handle, cries piercing through the hull as he pointed at the puddle that managed to be directly next to the absorbing pads. You were on your knees in front of him, desperately trying to reach through the panic. 

“Hey, hey, calm down baby it's alright.” You held his face and wiped the little tears away. He continued to sniffle. “Look at me.” You held him more firmly, eyes on his. “Daddy didn’t mean what he said, ok? He’s not going to take your puppy. I promise.”

That managed to break through, barely. With another deep breath, his cries lessened. 

“And even if he did - which he didn’t - all we’d have to do is this…” You reached for the absorbing pad and placed it over the mess, promptly wiping away every ounce of evidence. “See? He’d never even know.” You smiled and winked playfully.

Grogu stared blankly at the pad, then looked at you, mouth turning up in an adorable grin. You laughed and looked around for the offender, who had ducked into hiding the moment her owner started to cry. 

“Verd’ika?” You called. The choice of a Mandoa name was not coincidental. Though you suspected the attempt of endearing her to Din had accomplished very little. 

She appeared hesitantly from behind a cargo box, puffy tail between her legs, back spines laid flat. You gave her a sympathetic, yet stern look. 

“Verd’ika, you know what you did, don’t you?”

She scurried over to Grogu, burying her face in his cloak and refusing to look at you. Grogu hugged her, not contributing at all to your attempt at discipline. With a defeated sigh, you gathered up the soiled pads and tossed them in the incinerator. 

“I suppose you’re beating yourself up enough already.” You bent down and stroked her head. Then looked at Grogu. “Go get the cleaner sweetheart. Let’s make sure the floor is nice and clean before daddy gets home.” 

He nodded urgently and waddled off, his ever-present white shadow following. 

~

Clan Djarin’s newest edition managed to have multiple accidents throughout the day. No matter how many treats you placed on the pads, no matter how highly you praised and encouraged every time she sniffed them, something about cold metal apparently made it the ideal location for relief. The floor was scrubbed spotless by the time Din returned. 

He removed his helmet with narrowed eyes, carbonite chamber still humming with the acquisition of his newest bounty. You appeared from the bunk, all smiles.

“Welcome back dear, how’d it go?”

“Fine...” he answered slowly, eyeing the floor. 

You swept yourself into his arms and kissed him, hoping to redirect that concerning gaze. He kissed you back, absently, and you could tell his eyes were open, still fixed on the floor. You put your hands around his neck and kissed him a little harder.

Unfortunately, it only served to make him more suspicious. He pulled away from you with a frown. 

“It peed on the floor didn’t it?”

“It’s a she,” you corrected. 

“She peed on the floor.”

“I have no idea what you-“

You were spared the completion of your lie by Grogu’s entrance. He waddled to his dad with outstretched arms, smiling. Din bent down to accept him, throwing an uncertain glare at his snow colored companion. 

“Hey buddy,” Din said softly as he lifted his kid. Verd’ika pawed at his boot. “Anything exciting happen today?” 

Grogu drew his lips in and shook his head. Din glanced between both of you, brows raised in an expression of innocence and wonder. “Really? Nothing at all?” 

Two heads shook in confirmation. Din looked down at his feet. “How about you?” He said to Verd’ika, “Anything to confess?” 

Verd’ika barked once, front paws sliding forward as her rump lifted in the air, tail whirring. “Is that so?” Din looked to you in mock surprise. “She says she peed on the floor today.”

You gasped and snatched the puppy up, holding her out in front of you with an accusatory glare. “Verd’ika, how could you? Lying to your father that way!” You turned her around in your arms to face Din. “Tell him the truth Verd’ika, tell him what a good girl you’ve been.” 

She barked once more, squirming as she craned her neck back to nip at your chin. 

“That’s better. See Din?”

Disbelief dripped from his features. Thankfully, instead of pushing the argument, he just rolled his eyes and brushed past you on his way to the cockpit, Grogu still in his arms. 

Before he could take another step, Grogu let out a cry of protest, reaching behind him for Verd’ika. Din sighed and turned around, bringing him close enough to scoop the puppy from your arms. 

You watched with an unabashed grin as your riduur clambered up the ladder, arms full of squirming dog and child. 

~

Nights on the ship were peaceful.

Rather, the artificially timed darkness designed to preserve some semblance of a circadian rhythm while deep in hyperspace, was peaceful. 

Din was a light sleeper, and still not used to extended lengths of inactivity, even with the balance you brought to his life. It wasn’t unusual to find him missing from your bed throughout the night, fiddling with whatever mundane task he picked up in an attempt to quiet his mind. 

After waking up for a second time to find him gone, you decided to go looking for him. When the usual tinkering couldn’t do the trick, more often than not your voice could, a few sweet words of encouragement lulling him back into bed. 

The cockpit was the first place you checked. He found something soothing in the gentle, repetitive nature of flying the ship, even when it wasn’t necessary. Sometimes it was all he needed to relax enough to allow him to sleep. Other times, he needed you. 

You found him there, unsurprisingly. As you crested the ladder you caught sight of his head above the pilots seat, brown locks messy with unsuccessful sleep, shoulders moving with what little effort flying through clear space required. 

What did surprise you, was the white ball of fur at his feet, staring up at him.

Din was speaking. Quietly. You stayed on the ladder, tilting your head to hear him better. 

“I’m not giving you any,” he grumbled, and with a glance to the side you realized he was talking about the package of jerky pieces he was snacking on. “Quit asking.”

Verd’ika let out a small whine, reaching forward to paw his socked foot. Din looked down at her. “What? I said no.”

She didn’t let up. Her head creeped forward, eyes on Din’s face. Her lips quivered with a barely muted bark. 

“Ssh!” He snapped, finger to his lips. “They’re sleeping.” 

You covered your mouth to contain the laugh bubbling in your chest. For someone who claimed to not be interested in this dog, he sure was having quite the conversation with her. 

“Alright, look, here,” He retrieved a piece of jerky and tossed it in her direction. Verd’ika snatched it right out of the air, swallowing it whole.  

“Hey…” Din said, tone just on the edge of impressed. “Good job.” 

She licked her lips and tossed her head up. He shook his head. “Now you’re just pushing it.”

She insisted, once again batting at his feet with a string of quiet whines. Din growled and grabbed the package. “Fine, but you’re gonna have to work for it. I don’t suppose they’ve actually been training you, have they?” He held a piece of jerky up above her head. “Sit.”

She cocked her head at him, ears pricked, and slapped her tongue across her jowls. Din sighed.

“Didn’t think so.” He scooted forward in the pilots chair, setting the package aside but still holding a piece in front of her. He reached forward to place his other hand on her back, at the base of her tail. “Look Verd’ika, sit.” 

He pushed her rump down to the floor as he said the word, her eyes still glued to the jerky. “Good girl!” He gave her the meat and she scarfed it greedily, immediately standing back up. 

“No, you’re not supposed to-“ he started, reaching for another piece. “Alright come here, lets try again…”

With a grin, you turned and headed back down the ladder before he saw you. 

~

You woke up to the sound of Din loudly calling your name. 

“Come here! Bring Grogu!”

Your knee-jerk, sleep soaked reaction was panic. Only when he called you again and you heard the laughter in his voice were you able to calm down, slipping out of bed with a groan. You found Grogu in a similar state, groggy eyed as he rolled out of bed at the sound of his father’s voice. You picked him up and headed for the cockpit just as Din called you for a third time.

“We’re coming!” You answered, trying to keep the irritation from your voice. 

Your steps were heavy up the ladder as sounds of barking and a few low chuckles reached your ears. In the cockpit, you found Din standing with Verd’ika in front of him, a handful of jerky in his palm as she watched him with rapt attention. He smiled at you as you entered.

“Watch this,” he said excitedly, holding up a treat. Verd’ika stood at attention. 

“Sit!” 

Immediately, her behind sunk to the floor. Din glanced at you, looked pleased at your impressed smile, then turned back to the puppy.

“Lay.” 

Her paws slid the rest of the way down until her belly touched the floor. 

“Good girl!” He tossed her the treat, which she inhaled. 

“Did you see that buddy?” Din asked his wide-eyed boy. Grogu smiled with a happy sounding gurgle. Din walked over and took him from your arms, Verd’ika barely a step behind. “She’s pretty clever huh?”

You nodded your agreement, watching as Din placed a treat into Grogu’s palm. “You wanna try? Give it to her when-“

The second the meat touched his hand, Grogu tossed it to Verd’ika. Din stuttered half a movement at grabbing it, stopping short as it disappeared into a set of sharp white fangs, gone. He dropped his head before turning to Grogu. 

“No buddy, after she listens, ok?”

Two dark eyes stared blankly at him, blinking once. Din held up another treat. “You hold it. I’ll tell her what to do. When she listens, give it to her. Ok?” He hesitantly placed the meat into Grogu’s waiting palm.

This time, he held it. Din nodded and looked to Verd’ika. “Sit.”

She sat. Grogu dropped the meat and it promptly disappeared.

“There you go! Good job buddy!” He bent down to pat the puppy’s head, “Good girl Verd’ika!” 

You laughed delightedly and squeezed his shoulder. “Glad you two are finally getting along.”

Din shrugged nonchalantly, not quite meeting your eye. “Well...she’s finally listening.” 

“Suuuure,” you droned, reaching down to pick her up. “And I’m sure her being completely adorable has nothing to do with it, right?” You held her out in presentation, and Verd’ika cocked her head as she looked at Din, as though attempting to contribute to your point. 

He rolled his eyes and fought a smile, then tugged you forward to place a kiss on your forehead. “Well,” he leaned down to kiss Grogu as well, “I suppose it’s no secret I have a weakness for adorable things.” 

~

The grocery bag was heavier than the last time you slung it over your shoulder. 

Your eyes narrowed as you adjusted the strap, immediately knowing who the culprit was. Or rather, culprit s

You turned around in the middle of the dusty market street, eyeing your riduur and son, who stopped short behind you. Any time they came along on shopping trips, they had a habit of ganging up on you, flooding your limited carrying space with useless treats. That’s why you were the only one who got to carry the grocery bag anymore. 

At the sight of your glare, Din tilted his helmet in question. 

“What did you two sneak in here?” You asked, jostling the strap over your shoulder. Grogu’s mouth dropped and he looked to his father. 

“Nothing,” Din said easily. 

“Its heavier than it was a few minutes ago.”

“Aww, then I’ll carry it for you cyare,” he reached for the bag but you took a step back. 

“No no, I’m simply giving you a chance to come clean before I open it up and find out.” 

Din exchanged a look with Grogu, then shrugged at you. You gave them a final warning glare before peering down into the bulging sack at your side. In it, a top your own selections of spices and balanced ration meals, sat two sleeves of cookies and three packages of jerky. You looked back up to see Din peering over, as if he too was curious of the contents. 

“Huh.”

“Huh indeed,” you droned, pure sarcasm. “Wonder where those came from.” Din’s helmet rumbled with a low chuckle and you smiled. “That’s a lot of jerky. I don’t think Verd’ika can eat it all.”

“It’s for me,” Din said immediately. 

You dropped your head incredulously. “Really? Three packages just for you?”

“Yep.” 

“And you’re not gonna give any to her?”

He shrugged. “Well, maybe if she’s good. But it's not for her.”

You made sure he could see every ounce of disbelief on your face before turning and leading the way back home. 

He never did admit it. Just as you never admitted to waking up that night and hearing him in the cockpit, voice scarcely above a whisper through the faint sounds of a crinkling bag, 

“Verd’ika. Look what I got you.”

~

Week three of life with a puppy came, and there was hair on your bed. Short, white, unmistakably canine, and only on Din’s side. You stared at it, smirk growing at the same time your eyes narrowed. You called for Din and he poked his head into your quarters.

“What’s this?” You asked sweetly, gesturing to the fur scattered on the sheets.

He peered at it suspiciously. “What’s what?”

“This dog hair. Did you have Verd’ika on our bed?”

“No,” he said quickly. A little too quickly. 

You placed your hands on your hips. You didn’t mind if she slept in the bed with you, not at all. But the fact that he was being sneaky about it and clearly trying to hide it, made teasing him simply irresistible. “Really? Then how did it get here? Only on your side?”

He shrugged. “She must have snuck up there at some point.”

“Ah. Well then,” you took a step toward the door, “I suppose I should get on to her.”

“No!” He stopped you with a firm hand on your shoulder. You gave him a look of utter bafflement and he retracted, cheeks flushing pink. “I mean...it’s too late now. You have to catch them in the act. She won’t understand.” 

“Ah...I see...” you nodded as though the thought was very wise. “In that case I’ll just keep a better eye on her then.”

He returned your nod, just as serious but no more convincing. “Good. Me too.” 

You didn’t. 

The hair returned most mornings. No matter how many times you settled Verd’ika next to Grogu in his bed, there was almost always a fresh batch of fur waiting for you. It was always less than that first time, and you recognized the signs of an unsuccessful attempt at brushing it away. The stubborn stragglers were his downfall.

Rather than confront him again, you decided to let it slide. He wasn’t going to come clean any time soon. 

~

After over a month of living with a Verd’ika and a Din who insisted his tolerance of her was minimal, he dropped a shocking statement over dinner one night. 

“I was thinking I might start some extra training with Verd’ika.”

You froze. Eyebrows raised, fork halfway in your mouth. You lowered it slowly to answer him. “What kind of training?”

Grogu had also perked up at the mention of his pet’s name, long ears pointed in Din’s direction. Below the table, a shuffle of paws told you Verd’ika had heard it too.

Din swallowed a mouthful of soup, then spoke nonchalant as ever, “Thought she may have the potential to be a good guard dog. For when I’m gone. It’d be nice to know there’s someone looking after you two.” 

Your grin was determined, but you smothered it down, cheeks aching and pulling. It had taken exactly one month for Din to go from “one accident and she’s gone” to, “I would like to leave those I love most in the care of this creature.” The thought was nearly too much for your heart to bear. 

“It’s a good idea love, but do you think she’ll be big enough?”

He nodded. “Anooba’s get big. And I don’t buy what that vendor said for a second. He probably just heard me complain that we wouldn’t have room.” As he spoke, he tore off a piece of his bread and slowly lowered it beneath the table. You heard the smacking of lips below, followed by the reappearance of his empty hand. 

Grogu, ever the imitator, did the same. A set of four eager paws skittered over your feet on their way to the little green hand holding out bread under the table. 

“Keep that up and she’s going to be too fat to guard anything,” you laughed, even as you tore off a piece of your own bread for her. 

Din scowled in offense. “Of course not. She’ll just build muscle.” He tilted his head to look under the table. “Isn’t that right Verd’ika?”

A muffled, bread-filled bark answered him in confirmation.

~

When you were little, you had been certain that a litter of loth cats someone had dropped off outside your home were the most adorable thing you had ever, and would ever, see. Six little bundles of multicolored fur, mewling and crying until you had warmed and fed each one. They held the top spot on your cute rank for years. 

Then you met Din. Six foot with his helmet on, covered in armor, who hunted down criminals for a living. He immediately over took the loth kittens in terms of adorable. Next you met your son, and the two had been neck and neck ever since.

But this. This took the cake. Nothing in the universe would ever be cuter. You’d stake your life on it. 

Din was on his knees, in the middle of a field on some grass planet you couldn’t remember the name of. His arm was wrapped up in one of his shirts, encouraging a confused Verd’ika to bite him while Grogu stood to the side, treats at the ready. Late afternoon breeze whipped through the fur of all three, white, brown, and sparse. 

“Come on sweetheart, just like last time,” Din cooed. “ Edeemir !” Bite. 

Verd’ika dropped down on her front paws and tossed her butt in the air, tail whipping. Din sighed and shook his head with a smile. 

“Your name is little warrior. Act like it.” 

He started at her, arm jerking forward in a mock attack. Verd’ika barked in delight and lunged, chomping down on his padded forearm with all the force her little jaws held. 

“Good girl!” Din praised loudly. On cue, Grogu stepped forward with a treat. “That’s a clever girl, good job sweetheart!” He petted her back and scratched behind her ears as Grogu babbled his own sounds of praise, stumbling forward to pet his puppy.

You shook your head with a laugh. At this rate, your only worry was that Verd’ika would begin biting people randomly in anticipation of her treat and praise parade. 

“Are you sure that’s the best method dear?” You asked. 

Din looked up at you with a bright smile, still petting Verd’ika. “Of course.”

“I’m just worried she’s going to start biting and thinking she’ll be rewarded for it.”

He shook his head. “No no, she’s learning to bite on command. She’ll only be rewarded if she does it when told.”

You grimaced uncertainly. “Alright, if you say so…” 

They practiced and played until the sun fell low in the sky. With the short attention span of both younglings, it didn’t take long for anything resembling training to fade into games of fetch and chase. 

Eventually you found yourself darting through thick grass, Verd’ika at your side. Behind you, Grogu held onto Din’s back as they gave chase, strong arms reaching out as they ran. You laughed and screamed as his fingertips brushed you, pushing harder with a dodge to the left. Verd’ika contributed by running as close to your feet as possible, jumping up to snap your clothes at every opportunity. 

Inevitably, he caught you. Your run came to an abrupt halt in his vice like grip, a strong chest at your back as you screamed in the happiest way. Din pulled all three of you onto the grass in a heap of limbs and laughter. Grogu crawled up to Din’s chest, holding his arms out for Verd’ika as she launched into the fray. Din huffed and groaned dramatically as her heavy paws pounded onto his chest. 

As your laughter faded into uneven breaths, one of your hands reached up to pet Verd’ika, the other sneaking into Din’s hair. He rolled his head to the side and looked at you, face framed by deep green blades, smile the brightest you’d ever seen it, dimpled cheeks flushed with exertion. Above you, your son clung to his puppy, smiling at his parents. 

The sunset warming your body was ice compared to the warmth sprouting from your heart.

~

You stayed awake a little longer that night, hoping to finally catch visual proof of what you already knew was happening once you drifted off to sleep. After kissing Din goodnight, you turned with your back to him, waiting a few minutes before intentionally letting your breaths deepen and slow. 

You expected him to get up, and return with her. Instead you were surprised when, after several long minutes of anticipation, you heard a faint scratch at the door, followed by it sliding open. There were foot taps on metal, then a dip in the mattress. Din murmured a greeting and you covered your mouth with your hand to contain a laugh. 

She was trained alright. Like clockwork. 

Slowly, hoping to catch him unawares, you turned. In the darkness you could make out Din’s back, a pair of snow white ears perking behind his shoulder. 

You reached over carefully until your hand brushed his spine. Din inhaled sharply and stiffened. Caught. With a smile, you closed the distance between you, bringing your chest against him as your hand slipped around his ribcage to pet Verd’ika’s soft head. 

“Softie,” you whispered in his ear. You kissed his cheek and felt him smile. 

“Me?” He mumbled in a sleep-tainted voice, “Never.”

You grinned and kissed him again just as the door slid open for a second time. You looked up to see Grogu in the threshold, no doubt in search of his missing puppy. With a wave, you beckoned him over. 

Din leaned across Verd’ika to lift Grogu on the bed, then rolled to face you, bringing both babies with him. Sheets shuffled as you scooted back to give them room, Grogu settling next to Din as he held onto Verd’ika, her soft back curling against your stomach. Four sets of slow breath filled the air, quiet and content. 

Din’s eyes met yours across the pillows, warmth and love etched across the face you adored, his hand traveling back and forth between his son and his dog before finally settling on his riduur.  

You both reached across the narrow space that separated you, holding onto each other, your universe safe and sleeping in the warmth of your embrace.