Dex was drinking his third cup of caf when he saw the kid - human, very small, with a head of coppery-red fluff, and very much alone. Dex downed the cooling coffee in one go. The space port is bustling with unsavory people - him being one of them, he did have that much self-awareness. A Rodian bounty hunter with a still bleeding arm stumbled on the kid, smearing some dirt and gunk on his hair, and shoved at him harshly. The kid apologized meekly, and got shoved again.
Yeah no. This is most definitely not where kids should be wandering around alone.
“Hey kid, you lost?”
The kid looked up - and upper more. Cute kid. So tiny. Who let the baby out of their sight? Did they lose their mind? Look at his chubby cheeks. He would be eaten alive - and in this particular hangar bay, maybe even literally.
Oh shit, was he crying? His eyes are a bit red - is that wetness in his eyes? Is it normal for human kids? Fuck. He wasn’t that scary was he? He was told he had a very nice smile. It WAS a Keteerian who told him, but still.
“S-sir,” the kid swallowed. “I was looking for The Monument?”
Great. Good. The kid is sensible. He knows to find a landmark and stay put and wait for the adult to find him.
“You know - the ship that’s supposed to leave this afternoon? A nice lady pointed me this way but I still couldn’t find it...”
No. Hold on.
Dex took a closer look at the kid. The grey tunic was simple but clean - maybe half a size too large but not overly much. The hair was recently cut. His fingers clasping nervously on the bag straps - also clean. There are faint bruises on his cheeks and forearms - well taken care of and almost completely healed. Nothing too alarming jumped out.
Maybe someone with the Arcona, then. Honestly, they should keep better track of their people. With their growing conflict with the Offworld, leaving such a junior member on his own was just asking for trouble.
“Oh sure. It’s just a few docks down that way. You want me walk you there?”
“Oh no, I don’t wish to trouble you!” Adorable. Very polite too.
“It’s no trouble at all! Indulge me? It would make me feel better if I can see you safely there. It’s a dangerous place. Here. You really shouldn’t be alone.” He is not fussing. He is not. But how did this kid remain so soft and innocent? Did his supervisor teach him anything at all?
“If… If you are sure? Thank you sir. Thank you so much. You are very kind!”
Sure. Sue him. He was a little protective over this little stranger boy. Who wouldn’t?
“Are you travelling with someone? Are they waiting for you on the ship?” The kid’s hands are - surprisingly not soft. Some kind of manual labour? Do they start this young? No. Some kind of martial art training. Curious. Not too strange, consider the current state of the galaxy.
Still, training or no, a kid shouldn’t be left alone here.
Dex fished out two Choclime Twists from his pocket. He loved those as a kid. Still love them, but he has an image to keep. Nah whatever. Dex unwrapped one and popped the whole thing into his mouth.
“Want some sweets?” Dex held out the other piece to the kid.
The kid was hanging his head. He looked very small and lonely. And miserable. Oh shit.
Tentatively, Dex put a hand on his shoulder. The kid tensed but didn’t protest or move to get his hand off.
“Hey. Hey kid, look. I’m sorry. It’s none of my business. I shouldn't ask and you don’t need to answer. And it’s a good idea to not tell strangers anything about your personal life anyway. Ignore my questions. What if I’m a bad guy right? It’s a dangerous place out here. I could be selling you off to slavers and I could be a wanted criminal. I’m not. But I could be. And I think I will stop talking now.”
He should stop talking. Damnit. He’s usually less bad at this.
“I know you are not a bad guy though. The For - I mean, you feel like a good person.” The kid mumbled. Still not looking up.
He’s going to have words with the kid’s supervisor. Such naivety in this kid is going to be dangerous. He would get himself into very deep shit and he wouldn't even realize it. He would thank his kidnapper for the drugged tea. Who was the genius that decided this kid can be let out on his own? Words. He would have words with them.
“I’m Dex, by the way. Dexter. Dex. My friends call me Dex.”
That. Could have been said a little better. Damnit.
The kid peered up, a faint blush climbed up his ear. Oh look at that, that’s a very nice smile.
“Oh! Where’s my manner! My name is Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan Kenobi. Pleased to meet you. Sorry. It was very kind of you to offer me help, and I know you meant well with your questions. I have been rude.”
The kid - Obi-Wan paused. He tried to keep the smile on his face, but anyone paying the slightest attention can see how strained it is. His shoulders sagged, his eyes went blank. Dex decided he really didn’t like this look on the kid.
“I’m going to Bandomeer. My - my family… I was stupid and disappointed my teacher and my family. I’m - I’m sad - that is, it’s regretful that I won’t see my friends again…”
Right. Not with the Arcona then. Also - what the fuck?
“Mas - My mentor said this is not a punishment though. It’s an honourable job - farming. I should be grateful.”
Farming. Bandomeer. Again - what the fuck?
“I was told the captain had been informed that I will be coming on board - so it’s not like they just aban - ” a choked down sob - “There will be people waiting to pick me up when I get to Bandomeer. You don’t need to worry about me.”
Dex closed his eyes.
There was a loud clang. Some incompetent mechanic dropped some ship parts. There was some indistinct swearing. The air is foul - a mixture of machine fluid, waste, and sweat, with a hint of ozone in the sour breeze. The space port was bustling with unsavoury people. A group of Hutts passed them by, dragging their filthy bodies across the docking bay, laughing about something - something cruel and tasteless for sure.
Dex slowly let out a breath.
The Hutts boarded an ugly and dirty - is that a Corellian freighter? What did they do to that poor ship?
That’s the Monument.
The space port was bustling with unsavoury people - and Dex knew he was one of them. He was suddenly struck by a wave of sharp burning anger. He knew, from past experience, that the galaxy is a rotten place. The Senate turned their back on the desperate pleas for help unless there’s money involved, the rulers cared more about their fashion than the woes of their people. People do terrible things, sometimes out of greed, sometimes out of personal grudges, sometimes for a cause they think is just, and sometimes just because they are fucking assholes.
He was a total stranger to the kid. He knew nothing about Obi-Wan except for his name, that he’s going to Bandomeer, and that his previous caregivers were the worst kind of scums. The kid knew nothing about him - Dex reminded himself. He probably won’t see the kid ever again. It’s a big galaxy, and he’s going to that stars forsaken rock. That hyperlane is infested with pirates, people kept going missing in that area - missing, ha. The Senate just wouldn’t admit there’s still slavery.
The kid went on and rambled about some books he read on the significance of agriculture in colonial economy, and the costs and benefits of terraforming satellites in the event of the collapse of the planetary ecosystem - and why he was not upset at all, even though he’s thrown out and has to abandon his childhood dreams of - being a knight?
Well, the asshole monarchs and their asshole retainers. Figures.
Cynical as he was, Dex still wished that life can be a bit kinder for this sweet boy. A thought tickled at the edge of his mind - he could do something for him. He needed to do something for him. The kid deserved so much better.
“Would you like to come with me?” He wanted to say.
“I will protect you. I will care for you.” He wanted to say.
Dex looked at the crumbled Choclime Twist in his hand. Aw fuck.
“Would you like to try the sweet bread I made?” He said instead.
Dex reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of Keshian spice rolls. They were a little squished, but should still taste fine.
Obi-Wan looked up. His eyes were like those very expensive blue gems he once saw in the museum, the centrepiece on the crowns of the ancient kings and queens. For a brief second, they looked strangely iridescent, illuminated by some brightness that seemed to glow from the inside - no matter how ridiculous that sounds.
And Obi-Wan smiled - shy and sweet and sincere.
“Yes, please. And thank you.”
He made a little sound of delighted surprise when he bit into it. His eyes widened. He got a little powdered sugar on the tip of his nose. Dex decided to pester Grandma Soonya more about the secret recipe of her pyussh berry flatcake. The kid is too thin, he should eat more. He should try the nerf burgers he made. All of his friends loved his nerf burger. He’s sure Obi Wan would love it too.
“Want more? I have plenty.”
Dex saw Obi-Wan licking off the custard filling on his fingers. He got a content smile on his face - a much better look than the sadness and anxiety.
The kid bit his lips, eyeing the bag of Keshian spice rolls.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to eat all your food! It’s very delicious! But I don’t want you to be hungry.”
Dex chuckled. “No need to worry! I had too much free time to waste and made too many of these to eat all by myself.” Looking around, he spotted some abandoned cargo crates.
“Let’s sit down for a bit. That’s the ship you are looking for. Looks like there’s still quite some repair needed before it can take off. You can probably eat some more before you have to board.”
The kid looked at the battered up shape of the Monument, looked at the bag of spice rolls, and looked back up at the ship. And nodded.
Obi-Wan squeaked when Dex picked him up - too light, there’s some muscle but the kid is still too light. He walked to the cargo crates and placed him down on top of a relatively clean one.
The kid scrowled and muttered indignantly under his breath, but lit up once again when he handed him another spice roll. They shared the spice rolls, and Dex managed to convince him to eat some of his smoked nerf meat sandwiches.
They chatted, and Dex told a child-friendly retelling of his recent misadventure. In return, Obi-Wan regaled him with a story of some very elaborate prank war - there was apparently a battle of mouse droids and everyone’s underwear got burned - which ended when he reprogrammed some kid’s datapad to narrate everything in the voice of some comedic villains, and that kid didn’t realize until he tried to cheat in a test.
Maybe he should just ask the kid to take the next flight, so he could accompany the kid to that cursed piece of rock and see him properly taken care of by whoever that would be. And have some polite words with them.
“I should probably go. Thank you so much for sharing your food and company!”
Maybe he could ask Grandma Neekita. She would totally agree to take care of the kid. But she was old and getting sicker by the day. He shouldn’t burden her even more.
Maybe he could ask one of his Mandalorian customers. They always take good care of their “ad’ika”. It would probably be a little awkward since he didn’t know them that well outside of business settings. Still, he would do it for the kid. He did say he wanted to be a knight. The armour at least should cheer him up.
Maybe he should just adopt the kid himself. He didn’t live the safest life. His job meant he often dealt with people killing, intentionally harming or seeking to harm other people for a living. It’s not going to be good for the kid.
The kid knew nothing about him - Dex reminded himself again. He liked the nice stranger who gave him food. Not him. Not the real him. Don’t get so ahead of yourself.
“Aw kid, thank you for your delightful company! And your story. That was totally epic.”
Not enough. He’s not doing enough.
Dex wrapped Obi-Wan in a hug.
“I’m giving you my comm code. Message me when you get there, alright? Let me know that you got there safely.” Reaching into his pocket to fish out a flimsiplast, his fingers found something - oh. Yes. He could do that too.
Pulling out the creased flimsiplast, writing down his comm code. He folded it up and passed it to Obi-Wan. The kid took it, eyes snapped up to him, immediately noticing the hidden object.
“It’s just a little toy. It’s quite fragile but it can get past most scanners.” Dex smiled sharply, flashing all teeth. “It should fit inside your boots. It also has a clip so it doesn’t fall out. Flick it to get the blade out. It’s quite sharp but it’s not sturdy, do aim for the soft places.”
Obi-Wan stared at him with wide eyes.
“There is a hook on the end. Pull it out, and you got a pin coated in one of the deadliest poison. Just dip it in soup or water and give it a good stir, and it should take down whoever’s giving you trouble. You can probably use it three or four times before the potency goes down.”
Obi-Wan stared at the folded flimsiplast in his hand.
Dex’s face softened.
“It’s just a little toy. You can throw it away if you don’t like it. It just makes me feel better if you have something to protect yourself with.”
Obi-Wan stared at him. For a brief moment Dex was worried he really scared the kid. Then the kid smiled a soft little smile, reached down to straighten his boots. And very discreetly slipped the thing into the boot shaft. Even knowing what he had, knowing what he’s doing, he still almost didn’t catch it. Dex smiled - so wide his face hurts. The kid is something else.
He didn’t expect the hug though. Two thin arms wrapping around his middle. He heard a muffled “Thank you” against his chest, he looked down at the coppery-red fluff.
He’s going to finish this job. And he’s going to get rid of his stock. And he’s going to Bandomeer. And he’s going to adopt this kid. And they would open a small cafe on a peaceful planet. And he’s going to feed him Keshian spice rolls and his super good nerf burgers and Granny Soonya’s pyussh berry flatcake and anything the kid wanted. They would plant some fruit trees, and they would have a vegetable garden. And if the kid really really wanted he would contract a Mandalorian to play knight with him. He had collected enough favours to make that happen.
Obi-Wan looked up, eyes shiny but smiling.
“I will comm you when I’m there.”
It would be great.
Dex watched Obi-Wan skipping towards the Monument with a big smile on his face.