Luke was skittish, Din realized, half-crammed under the console panel with wires dripping down onto his shoulders and useless wrench in hand.
He wriggled out from the jungle and started counting on his fingers how long they had been married now.
One, two, three—three months. Yes. Three months of marriage in the eyes of Creed, diaspora, and galaxy. And Din was just realizing that there had yet to be a consummation of said marriage.
That was awkward.
Hm. Maybe he was going to conveniently forget about that for now.
Four months married and no consummation and people were breathing down Din’s neck now, telling off-colored jokes that made him want to defend the ears of anyone younger than 24 nearby (and they were nearby. Din could see it in their giggling shoulders.)
His response now was ‘is that your business?’ which tended to shut down most prying bodies, but this trick did not work on people of Fett’s silhouette.
He asked Din why he and Luke hadn’t done the deed.
Din was honest with him (because being honest with Fett was the only real way to get him to leave you alone). He didn’t feel any particular urgency to fuck pretty much ever, and Luke was skittish. So, so skittish. Even now, four months into their union, he jumped if Din touched him from behind and he wore a campfire smile when he thought that Din wanted something from him. It flickered and twitched and felt like it would go out the first significant gust of wind.
Fett didn’t understand. He drew many lines between Luke’s heroic history and the sass that, Din was told, Luke tended to reserve for only him and very close friends. But Din couldn’t help but point out that all those lines went directly to Yavin and Luke’s school. Not to sex. Not to fucking.
Fett puzzled over this but reluctantly agreed.
But then he asked if something was wrong, and Din decided that maybe he and Luke couldn’t avoid this conversation forever.
He tried talking to Luke about it, but Luke was avoidant. He brought out the campfire smile and joked that Din only wanted him for his body and then made himself entirely too busy for that to become a reality.
He got snippy, too, when Din tried to invite him back to the Anchor to talk, saying that he had this to do or he was in the middle of that.
This was skittish. Anxious, even.
Din let him have his space. He resolved to speak to those who knew Luke best to see if there might be answers on that front.
Luke’s sister was probably more famous than he was and because of that was difficult to reach. Din got Han Solo instead.
Han Solo turned out to be the right person for these questions.
After a few moments of awkwardly trying to figure out how to ask, Solo put together enough pieces to ask Din if this was about sex.
Solo told him that he should’ve just said so. And also, no, he didn’t know Luke to be particularly involved with other people.
Din explained that he hadn’t thought that Luke was cheating—quite the opposite, actually. What he really wanted to know was if Luke was repulsed by the idea of sex. He seemed okay with touching with hands and had taken to coming up out of nowhere to press his forehead against Din’s helmet (which was unfairly knee-weakening), but they had never gone further than that, and Din was worried that there was a less-than-innocent reason for it.
He didn’t mean to pry, it was just that he’d tried talking to Luke about it and had met resistance every time.
Solo thought long and hard about his answer, then crossed his arms and explained that Luke, as far as he was aware, had never shown much romantic interest in everyone—
No, that wasn’t true.
Luke showed romantic interest in a thousand people every day. He fell in love with everyone and everything, from dewdrops to clones to drones to bots. His love was wide reaching, if deeper in some places than other—sort of like an ocean, if Din understood.
Din tried to but found it difficult and convoluted.
Solo told him that that was because his own affection was held within strict boundaries. If Din’s world was, say, a farm with gates and fences, then Luke’s world was a river overflowing its edges.
But for all that a river fed the plants and communities that gathered around its sides, it couldn’t very well just get up and bed the first tributary it saw, now could it? It had to wait until the tributary came to it, and by then, the river was so entrenched in maintaining all of this life around it, that it figured that the tributary would still be there and maybe one day, when things slowed down, it could take the time to get to know that little stream better.
Din took from this that Solo thought of him as an inferior water source.
Solo told him that he knew four things about Din and if Din wanted to be a big water source then one of them needed to buy the other a few drinks.
He decided that what Solo was really trying to say was that Luke erred more towards romantic feelings than sexual ones. That was where he was more comfortable, and Din had to admit that he was kind of relieved.
Relieved and newly agitated.
Perhaps it was silly, but Din had yet to meet someone who was a river before this. He’d spent his life treading water, blocked in on all sides by the pressure of people who fought hard and played hard; any moment could be the last, so people bonded up and then broke apart like molecules.
Migs Mayfield had been one such molecule; after the imperial base—after showing this man his face and being met with nothing but pity and understanding, Din had been a little unstable. Mayfield wrapped an arm around his waist from behind when they were resting in Fett’s sleeping quarters afterwards, while the others had been in the cockpit, arguing over the course back to base.
Din had let the arm stay, and then he’d let it move lower and lower. He’d let Mayfield press into his back from behind and he, himself had arched his spine in reciprocation until Mayfield’s hand stopped and hovered over the front of Din’s pants.
Din had given himself a moment to consider it. His heart was still pounding from the adrenaline of having removed the helmet and escaped the base and he’d found that the heat of the hand was welcome. He’d laid his own hand overtop of it and had pressed it down.
He hadn’t thought about it much more than that, both during the moment and afterwards, until Cara told him later with a laugh that Mayfield asked often about him.
She thought that he’d caught a crush and couldn’t imagine why.
Guilt tasted like bile.
Din hadn’t fucked around like that since.
He didn’t want to, didn’t need to, and possibly wouldn’t have to now, since he was, technically, a married man--unless Luke had other ideas, which it appeared that he might. Din wasn’t sure how additional partners worked, though, and his usual source of information about sexual exploits was a year gone.
Oh, Paz. How Din never thought he’d miss you.
He decide to eat his embarrassment and ask Fett again, this time for advice.
Fett gave him an ‘X’ with his arms and directed him to Fennec. Fennec said that she wasn’t sure either, and suggested, horror of horrors, that Din ask Bo-Katan.
Din decided that even if the entire galaxy was being consumed by a black hole, he would not ask Bo-Katan about such matters.
This left him with few options, so he took a shot in the dark and set a course for Corvus.
Ahsoka Tano allowed him to speak with her, thinking apparently that the matters at hand were perhaps of a slightly different nature.
She was surprised, to say the least, then intrigued, and then gleeful.
She found humor in the whole situation, apparently having known Luke’s father before him. She said that they had opposite problems, and she found it adorable that Anakin Skywalker’s son was not, in her words ‘half a horndog’ as his father.
Din didn’t know what a ‘horndog’ was, but he decided that it was someone who enjoyed sex. Tano told him that Luke and his sister were the product of a marriage that wasn’t supposed to have happened, which Din pointed out sounded very familiar.
Tano said that this was different, and at Din’s only growing confusion, she decided to have mercy. She explained that there was some reluctance on the part of some jedi to invest too deeply in certain kinds of relationships, lest those relationships cause them to stray from the light side of the Force.
Din asked if the Force was like the Darksaber then, since it was light and dark and kind of zappy. Tano told him that she didn’t understand what Luke saw in him, but she was glad that he had finally found someone stupider than his other friends. Din didn’t take offense. He’d been known as the covert moron back on Nevarro, too.
Tano reacted strongly to this information with her eyebrows and got off track, asking highly personal and pointed questions about the covert. Din redirected her towards the issue at hand.
He wanted Luke to understand that he, Din, would never do anything to keep him apart from his religion. And if not engaging in intercourse was part of that, that was totally fine. He just sort of wanted to have an explanation at hand in case people asked about the whole consummation thing—and they would ask.
He asked Tano if she had any advice for how to open this conversation with Luke.
In the end, she told him that he was going to have to figure this all out for himself. His relationship with Luke was exactly that, and as much as she thought it was sweet that he was going through all of this trouble, the best way to approach it was to approach Luke himself.
She was right. Din thanked her. She told him to keep in touch.
Din approached Luke about it for the fourth or fifth time late that week at night when the children were and staff no longer needed him at the school. Luke came out to sit with him on the Anchor’s ramp. He liked to watch the sky. It was cold, however, and he kept shivering. Din offered him his cape and was waved off.
Luke wanted only to gaze up at the stars.
Din watched him and asked him if he wanted to go back out into the larger galaxy. He didn’t answer. Din tried offering to take him to Tatooine soon. Luke was exceedingly fond of the planet and even more fond of banthas, which Din couldn’t quite get his head around.
But Luke wasn’t in a mood to talk about Tatooine that night. He just wanted to sit quietly.
He got like this sometimes, Din was learning. For the most part, he was a happy-go-lucky type of person, but there were moments between those where he was that campfire smile.
Battle did this to people.
Every day Din met more people who had once known Luke Skywalker. They all described him differently, many as sweet, handsome, and brave, but a good handful as reckless, unpredictable, and ferocious.
He bore the weight of the devastation of the Death Star on his shoulders. He’d lost a hand in a conflict that he had yet to reveal to Din. He was bombarded with nightmares and had no family but his sister, and Din couldn’t help but feel that anytime he left him might be the last time, even though he had no evidence that that was even remotely the case.
The fear remained.
Luke Skywalker did not need or want protection from anyone, but Din wanted to offer him shelter anyways.
“A while ago, you asked if I was attracted to you,” he finally said.
“Din,” Luke sighed.
“I am,” Din said. “Now, I am.”
“Don’t be,” Din said.
“It’s not you.”
“It’s alright if it is.”
Luke brought his knees up and leaned his arms on them so that he could cradle his chin.
“If it’s that important to you, we can fuck,” he said.
“It’s not,” Din promised him. “I wanted to make sure that you weren’t traumatized.”
“I’m not traumatized—like that, anyways,” Luke said. “It’s just not something that matters to me like it matters to like, Han or whoever.”
That was understandable.
“But if it matters to you—”
“Are you repulsed?” Din asked.
Luke pulled back a bit and then resettled on his knees.
“Not repulsed,” he said. “Just neutral. I dunno. People talk big about sex and get all riled up and whatever, but it’s just not what I think about first when I think about you.”
“What do you think about?” Din asked.
Luke let his head slip off his arm.
“I think about the galaxy,” he said, returning his gaze to it. “All those stars and all those planets. I think about you out there among them and how you always come back here to Grogu and me.”
No, that wasn’t the full truth. Even Din could tell that.
“No one is making you live out the rest of your life here,” he said. “If you are unhappy then—”
“It doesn’t matter.”
The words on Din’s tongue died quickly and were replaced with a whole new set.
“Who told you that it doesn’t?” he asked a bit harsher than intended.
Luke glanced back. He didn’t bother with the campfire smile. His eyelids seemed to heavy for him to keep up.
“Everyone,” he said quietly. “I am not like you, Din. Freedom isn’t my calling.”
It could be.
Luke huffed and turned away again. There was only about two feet between them, but it felt like a chasm, growing wider and deeper by the second.
Din had said the wrong thing; he could feel it all around him. He reached out to Luke and asked him if he would come closer. Luke did not want to. Din pushed him on it and asked again. Luke still didn’t want to, but he appeared to be resigned to his fate. He came in closer. Close enough that Din could wrap both arms around him and lift ever so carefully.
Luke didn’t generally mind being manhandled (especially if it was borne of him aggravating the shit out of Din) and so didn’t fight when Din rearranged his legs over his lap. Din leaned Luke’s shoulder against his chest plate and curled an arm around his back to keep him balanced.
Luke squirmed a bit and then adjusted so that he was more comfortable. He made a joke about Din being a human heater.
“Do you feel like this because you are not being heard?” Din asked him quietly.
“I’m heard,” Luke told him. “It’s just that I’m not listened to.”
“It’s easier to do things myself,” Luke said, trailing his prosthetic fingers across Din’s chest plate. “I’m in control that way.”
“A novelty,” Luke agreed. He dropped his hand and laid his cheek on the beskar.
Din breathed in a sigh.
“I don’t want you to be unhappy,” he said.
“I’m not unhappy.”
“You feel invisible.”
“Are you afraid to be too close to me, for fear of losing control over the Force?” Din asked.
“Yes,” Luke said simply. “My father killed thousands that way. And it has been my destiny thus far to right the wrongs he has wrought.”
That was a lot of responsibility.
“It is,” Luke said. “Maybe not as much as being Mand’alor, though.”
“I don’t believe in destiny,” Din admitted. “There is only the Way. And it is my choice to live in accordance with that Creed. It is my choice to stay and my choice to leave.”
“It’s not quite the same thing with the Force,” he said, “But I see where you’re coming from.”
“I won’t ask you for anything you don’t want to give, Luke.”
“Tell them I’m frigid, then. Or impotent. Whatever you want,” Luke said, pulling away.
“You’re not, though,” Din said.
“Maybe not. But no one will care,” Luke said as he untangled himself and stood up. “So it won’t matter. And hey, they’ll have a story out of it.”
He smoothed out his clothes and then turned back with a half-smile.
“It’s okay, Din,” he said like he could hear Din’s throbbing heart. “I know my faults.”
Terrible. That was terrible.
“You’re so lonely, even with me here,” Din blurted out.
“I’m not lonely,” he said. “I’m just.”
“I dunno. Broken?”
That was it. Din stood up too.
“Not broken,” he said firmly. “Never broken. Just different.”
He took Luke’s hand and pressed it against the center of his chest-plate.
“Just different,” he repeated, so that Luke really understood what he was trying to say.
Luke’s lashes twitched a little and when he looked up from their linked hands this time, Din thought that his eyes were a little bit glossy.
“Give me some time, Din,” he said. “I need to work up to it. The fucking, I mean. It means something else between us now, so I need to figure out how to--”
“Forget the fucking,” Din told him. “It is more important to me that you share these things. You are no longer alone—as I am no longer alone. And it’s up to us to learn how to talk so that we both truly understand that.”
Luke’s hand pushed through his grip and flattened against the center of his chest. The fingers spread out into a half-sun.
“You’re right,” he said. “And for the record, you’re not broken either.”
“Ahsoka Tano reached out. She said that you think you called yourself stupid.”
Oh. Damnit. That was—that wasn’t.
“Did you really? Do you really think that?”
Ahhhhhhhh. Hm. This was…not about Din. Yes. This was not a conversation about Din.
“You do, don’t you?”
“I don’t think that I am not intelligent,” Din negotiated.
“But?” Luke pressed.
“But I am not the most prepared or methodical Mandalorian that ever was,” Din explained. “I’m not—I’m a foundling, you know? From a backwater corner of a planet that isn’t and never could be Mandalore. I fight clunky. I’m bad at talking to people. And I have bad luck,” he tacked on at the end there.
Luke huffed a tiny laugh.
“That makes two of us. Can I come inside?” he asked, nodded towards the Anchor.
Din felt his spirits catch light.
“Of course,” he said.
Luke wanted to do things slowly, and, he revealed sheepishly, he was worried that he would hurt Din if caught unaware.
He had nightmares, he explained, and he’d frightened his staff before.
Din told him that he already knew this. Luke had had nightmares in this very ship. They sounded painful and Luke often fought and jerked into the sides of the sleeping quarters while unconscious. It had happened a few times now where Grogu had been woken up by Luke slamming his hand into one of the ship walls. He hadn’t woken up and Grogu had become frightened and let out distressed whimpers until Din came and took him to the cockpit for more quiet.
Luke was horrified.
He tried to leave, but Din caught his arm and promised him that it was okay.
“When I was a child, we all slept in barracks,” he explained. “And every night, there would be crying and wailing and some people fighting. When I was first brought in from my village, I was among them. Every time I receive beskar for jobs, I can’t sleep for the memories.”
The tension in Luke’s arm slackened.
“You never told me about your village,” he said.
“Get in bed and I’ll consider it,” Din said.
Step one towards comfortable intimacy: cuddling.
This, Din had managed to accomplish a few times now with Luke, although usually while sitting. Luke liked to sit in Din’s lap. Din thought that perhaps it made him feel secure, but it may also have been for gloating rights.
Luke had all sorts of inside jokes with his staff and they were all constantly teasing and checking hips and making each others’ lives difficult to get a laugh out of someone else. It was warming. It reminded Din of the covert and Jhuvac and Sotra playing jokes on Vok because he was guaranteed to overreact. Vok even told Din once that if they looked like they’d put a lot of effort into it, he tapped into his secret reserve of outrage to give them something to laugh about later when they needed the comfort.
Din stopped himself there.
He couldn’t think of Vok or Sotra or Jhuvac now without his throat threatening to close. He couldn’t remember if any of their helmets had been left behind in the covert, and he didn’t want to know.
Luke. He was focusing on Luke.
Luke who liked to sit in his lap. Luke who refused to admit that he was tickled when Din picked him up. Luke who had on multiple occasions required manual removal from situations in which adversaries had dared to insult Din or the party in his presence.
Those were all safe touching places.
Laying down was something altogether different.
The sleeping quarters’ size did not especially help. Din offered to lay down first on his side so that there would be room for Luke to do the same next to him.
This was the wrong thing to say because now Luke was irritated that Din had called him short. Din didn’t understand the fury attached to this sentiment since it was more or less true. He elected to cut his losses and tell Luke to go ahead and lay down first then. He was going to take off his armor.
This was also the wrong thing to say.
Luke was now interested in the armor. He wanted to wear the armor, which sounded like a bad idea if Din had ever heard one, but sure. Why not?
Luke was furious now about how heavy the armor was and his previous willingness to lay down and be peaceful was rapidly exiting the craft. Din told him to just try the pauldrons. They weren’t so heavy on their own.
He was rejected.
Luke decided that he hated the armor and went to go pout about that in the sleeping quarters.
It appeared that they were now somehow back on track.
Din, feeling naked in only his flightsuit, pulled up the ramp lest someone stomp up and ruin the efforts of the night. Then he took off his boots and felt truly naked.
He glanced up and found Luke already burying himself under the blanket on the short, soft mattress. He was fond of Din’s pillows and had captured one in the last few moments.
“I’m coming,” Din said. “You’re not the only one with reservations.”
Luke popped up from the covers and glared.
“You’re not showing me your tits,” he said. “It’s fine. You can keep the helmet.”
Was he really, really sure?
“Obviously. Get over here.”
Now look who’s giving orders. Fine. Two could play at that game.
Din stopped in front of the compartment and took off the helmet. If he was honest, it was not a great thing to sleep in and if he could avoid it, he generally did, rare as those opportunities were.
Luke went quiet.
“I said you could keep it,” he said.
“It won’t fit in there with the both of us,” Din said, opening Grogu’s compartment next to the sleeping quarters and setting the helmet in it for easy grabbing just in case.
Luke grumbled and then flopped back down. Din climbed in next to him with his front to Luke’s back. There was barely enough room for one grown man in the box; two meant that there was barely inches between them.
Luke’s shoulders looked so small on their side like this.
“Can I touch you?” Din asked him.
He got mumbling in return and waited until it turned into clearer consent. Then he ungracefully wiggled forward and chanced laying his arm over Luke’s ribs. Luke shivered.
“Is this okay?” Din asked him.
Luke said nothing, then shuffled back so that the whole line of his back was fitted against Din’s chest.
Din lost words for a moment. He felt like he’d forgotten how nice it was to have this kind of pressure and heat so close to his chest.
He let his head slowly fall onto his other arm and they just laid there like that for a while. He could feel each of Luke’s breaths rising and falling under his arm, but he couldn’t guess what was going on in the guy’s head.
“Tell me about your village,” Luke said out of nowhere.
Din chanced bringing his forehead a little closer, close enough that his nose almost brushed against the back of Luke’s light-colored hair.
“I don’t remember it well,” he said.
Luke shivered again.
“Where was it?” he asked. “What was your family like?”
“I don’t remember them very well either,” Din admitted. “We were farmers.”
Din was honestly surprised.
“You, too?” he asked.
“I was raised on a farm on Tatooine,” Luke said without turning around. “My aunt and uncle raised me.”
And the father?
“Tell me about your family.”
Din could take a hint.
“My father was gentle,” he said. “I remember my mother telling him time and time again that he was babying me. I was their only child.”
“Was he? Babying you, I mean?”
“I was very small when the Mandalorians found me, perhaps five or six, it wasn’t very clear. So I imagine that he wasn’t babying me more than any other father in our village.”
Luke huffed and seemed to become more languid under Din’s arm.
“You never speak of them,” he said.
Din closed his eyes and let his head loll to the side.
“They were good people. Poor people. They gave their lives to save mine,” he said. “I think of them when I see beskar.”
“They aren’t the only ones I think of.”
“Is that too much?”
Yes. It was.
No, it was okay. Luke was doing something that was equally hard for him in this moment, despite how cool he was playing it now. The least Din could do was join him in that discomfort.
“She who made my armor. I think about her,” he said.
“Your Armorer,” Luke said. “Fett keeps using her as blackmail against you.”
“It’s because it works,” Din growled.
“She’s important to you,” Luke said. His fingers found Din’s. They weren’t the flesh ones, but they still curled around the bottom of his hand and Luke appeared to be watching them.
Din realized now that he wanted to talk so that he didn’t overthink what was happening and panic.
“She didn’t find me,” he clarified for Luke, “But she chose me from the nursery that I was brought to.”
“So she’s your mother.”
It was complicated.
“Mandalorians don’t distinguish mother and father like others do,” Din explained. “We have only one word for those people. And the Armorer is not a man or a woman. In Basic, she uses all pronouns; between her and myself, I call her ‘Armorer,’ ‘goran,’ or ‘buir.’”
“Buir?” Luke asked.
“It means ‘parent.’”
“So she is your mom.”
Din sighed. He felt Luke’s back jiggle a little from a laugh.
“She is my mother when she feels that the title suits her,” Din said, rolling his eyes even though Luke couldn’t see it. “And he is my father when he feels like it. And they are my parent all of the time.”
Luke hummed and the vibrations lit up Din’s arm.
“Fett doesn’t know that does he?” he asked.
“Fett and Kryze believe that they know more about me than they do,” he said. “It is easy to let them form their impressions. Buir has always said that it is best to let people make their own beds.”
“Do you miss her?”
And they were back to throat-closing times.
His eyes were hot.
Luke started to shift as though to turn over, but Din couldn’t let him. He squeezed his elbow in to keep him in place.
“Are you upset? I’m s—”
“Terribly,” Din admitted thickly. “All of them. They are my home. And they are no more. And it is my fault.”
The tears slipped out and down the side of his face and he let them fall. There was no need to draw attention to them. Luke would blame himself for them, and they were finally tucked together in something that felt right.
“Are you crying?”
Or maybe not. Maybe his breathing had given him away.
“A bit,” he said. “It’s grief for their sacrifice.”
“Can you let go?”
Din sighed. He knew it would be too much. He lifted his arm and, to his surprise, Luke squirmed hard and pushed himself up only to drop himself down on his other shoulder.
His eyes were blue. It took Din by surprise every time.
He lifted his hand—the flesh one this time—and brought it close to Din’s face. He waited until Din closed his eyes in assent and pressed his thumb into the water that had collected in the hollow of his socket. He chased it away to the side of Din’s cheekbone.
“What if they aren’t gone?” Luke asked him when he reopened his eyes.
Din didn’t know what to say. They had never been this close, face to face, and it was making a tidal wave rise in his chest.
“What if they got away?” Luke asked.
“I pray for nothing less,” Din said.
Luke’s brow softened.
“I never met my mother,” he said. “She died in childbirth with me and Leia. We were taken away and given to separate families. I didn’t know she was my sister until I was 19.”
Din blinked in shock.
“That’s fucked,” he said and then almost choked at the rudeness. Luke smiled, though.
“Leia said that she’s going to be pissed about it to her grave,” he said. “But I think it was for the best. Our father wasn’t—he wasn’t fit then.”
“I am so happy that your parent found you,” Luke hummed. “It sounds like she loves you.”
Din’s heart was going to burst if this kept on. He’d already shed so many tears.
He caught Luke’s hand and held its back in his palm.
“I hope that she would love you, too,” he said. “She isn’t the type to balk at a difference in culture. Perhaps one day—if all has gone well—then I can introduce you to her. And then you could have another parent.”
“Well, if that’s the case, then I’d have to introduce you to Obi Wan,” Luke said. “He’s a force ghost, too.”
Not another one.
Luke barked out a laugh that made Din wince. He patted at Din’s shoulder and apologized, but not sincerely. It made Din want to grin himself.
This was good. This was comfortable. Luke even came in to lay his head on Din’s arm with a full, real smile.
“Can I kiss you?” Din asked.
Luke’s eyelashes flicked down and then up.
“You may,” he said.
Din hadn’t kissed Mayfield like this. Or Omera. Or any of the ones who had come before those two, and it felt different for that. Perhaps a little too wet, but also nice in a different kind of way. Kissing brought Luke’s hands up to curl around Din’s collar and Din let his own hand press into Luke’s spine through his tunic and when they broke apart, he found that Luke’s expression wasn’t repulsed, but equally not overly excited.
“Too much?” Din asked.
“I think you might be outrageously attractive,” Luke informed him. “Wait, let me ask Han—”
Absolutely not, sir. Hand over the transceiver.
Din appropriated the transceiver and shoved it under the mattress, then spent the next minute or so wrestling the most annoying human on the planet away from it until said annoying human remembered that there was an intimate thing happening and decided to reengage the earlier activity.
He arched his back so that his whole chest, now pinned under Din, was flat with Din’s own and it was.
Din did not fail to notice that the sleeping compartment was getting a tad warm.
When he broke away this time, he pushed Luke back a bit and made an executive decision for both of them.
“Too fast,” he said.
Luke gawked, dropped, and pouted.
Din should have expected as much.
“Baby steps,” Din told him.
“We already have a baby,” Luke snipped.
Rude. Whatever. Din shoved at him until he rolled to the side, then laid back down and suffered the whining until Luke climbed on top of him and laid squarely on Din’s back. He buried himself into Din’s shoulder and moaned, and Din couldn’t help but laugh a little.
He’d been so worried for so long, and all he had to do to get his Jedi somewhere comfortable was to make him mad at him.
That felt right.
“I still hate your face.”
“You just said—” Din started.
“I know what I said. You’re awful. I hate you.”
What was this? Did someone have a crush?
“Oh my GOD, Din, we’re married.”
Fett told him that he looked different when he returned to the Sham Court in the Dune Sea. Din took a moment to take stock of himself. He wasn’t wearing any different clothing. Luke, for all his nattering, hadn’t stolen the cape as he’d threatened to.
Fennec said that it was more of his aura. She believed that something had happened recently.
Din hated the look in her and Fett’s eye.
“I see,” Fett said. “I take there has been progress on the—”
Din wanted to see the reports on the missives that had come in from Mandalorian allies. Please. Thank you.
Fett arched a brow.
Everyone in the Sham Court knew now. Horrible. Terrible. Din hated rumors. And further, he hated that people were talking about Luke like he was some kind of toy. A fuckboy, as Din caught one of the new guards saying.
He asked if that was what they intended to call their future partner.
The hint was received by all present parties and Din resolved to go about his day.
Fett told him later that it wasn’t malicious; people were simply intrigued by a romance between two enemy cultures. It just didn’t seem like it could be real. People had more or less decided that the union had come about through some sort of power imbalance.
Din didn’t care why it was happening, though. The fact remained that he was Mand’alor and what happened outside of this throne room was of no concern to anyone else.
But he did ask. And Din did tell him that yes, he and Luke had spoken. And yes, Luke was now more amenable to a slightly more intimate relationship. But Din was holding firmly onto strict boundaries for the both of them, since he wasn’t convinced that Luke wouldn’t just go along with something because he thought it was making someone else happy.
That was the real and present danger here.
Fett winced and reluctantly agreed that that was probably for the best.
Din maybe wasn’t the smartest guy at the covert, but with almost five months of marriage under his belt, he could finally tell when Luke was doing shit for Din’s benefit and not his own.
The whining was endless.
Din told him time and time again to stop pretending to want to have sex. Luke huffed and finally said that he was confused because this was what everyone had always told him was supposed to happen.
Married people fucked. That was what married people did. And they (certified married people) had yet to fuck even once.
Din asked him if he really wanted to fuck and was met with radio silence.
That was clearly the answer. But Luke had an amazing talent for piling justifications onto the arduous task of doing things that he didn’t want to do. He was an excellent actor, even though his frightened eyes gave him away every time.
Din didn’t know how to explain when Fett asked him why he was so tense that he was spending his free time now trying to avoid having sex.
There was no other way, so he said it just like that and Fett laughed so hard that he wept.
Din told him that this was a serious matter, and one that he hadn’t foreseen happening, and Fett said that he got that, but it was just so aggressively opposite of the original problem that he was suffering with situational irony.
He suggested another serious talk with Luke.
He had never tried to make a serious talk with Luke happen, however. Din stressed to him the difficulty of this task and was informed that he’d been eaten by a Krayt dragon, had obtained the Darksaber, and was the leader of all Mandalorians.
If anyone could conquer this problem, it would be him.
Din decided that they were no longer friends.
Finally, Luke processed his feelings. Din left him for a while and had to cut a meeting with him and Grogu short to go get mauled by a lion with two heads. He ended up with a busted ankle.
He hadn’t been so angry in years. What a mistake. What a disaster.
Bo-Katan had her thumb on him and so did all the people who she’d populated the Sham Court with and now Din couldn’t escape even if he wanted to.
And he did want to. Very much. So he channeled his inner Paz and threw himself out a window.
It was shortly after that that he was escorted by Fett on one side and Bo-Katan on the other, like some kind of prisoner, to Yavin, where he was left in Luke’s arms.
They didn’t even leave him his ship.
Luke told him that he was pretty when he was angry and then locked him in his personal quarters for the rest of the day. Eventually, when he decided that Din wasn’t a flight risk after all, he cracked the door and let Grogu toddle in with his arms up for a hug already.
There was comfort to be found in being pawed at by a child. Din felt somewhat less miserable for the while that he was allowed to spend with his son. When the staff came and took Grogu away for lessons, Din even found it in himself to be bored.
He ended up flopping over on Luke’s bed, glaring at his useless ankle for a good five minutes before he was interrupted.
Luke sat down on the edge of the bed and told him that it freaked him out to be the rational one in their relationship for once. He was smiling.
Din waited for the inevitable, but it didn’t come. Luke just got up and told him that he would bring him someone to talk to and something to read. And that was it. That was that.
After that, and despite sharing a bed for nearly a whole week before Fett and Kryze decided that Din was fit to return to the Dune Sea, Luke didn’t press the issue of sex again.
When it did eventually happen, it was in due course and it wasn’t on Yavin. Grogu certainly wasn’t within earshot. It was on a planet that Din hadn’t heard of prior to landing, after Luke presented him with a transceiver that had a figure on it speaking to Leia.
Luke’s eyes were nearly cyan when he held up the little silver device and it took Din a solid three watches of the message to believe that it was real.
He stared at Luke in silence once it finished for the last time.
“I lost my father,” Luke said in the quiet. “He’s the one who took off this hand. And I know you lost yours too, but if there was a chance that you didn’t have to go through that a second time, I thought it was worth the effort of trying. I spoke to Obi Wan; he thought that it might be inappropriate, and he told Leia the same thing. But.”
“Can I kiss you?” Din asked in a breaking voice that he couldn’t be assed to feel shame for.
“You may,” Luke said.
They took it slow and it was perhaps a little awkward, but Din was on a mission and he only failed missions when lions took his ankles out from under him.
It started with folding back Luke’s tunic, which revealed scars unlike any that Din had ever seen. Han had once described Luke as a river and Din saw now that that wasn’t just a metaphor.
Luke’s torso was covered in curling oxbows that traveled up and down his chest and exploded with tributaries all around. He locked up when he noticed Din noticing them.
The muscles along his abdomen flexed and he started to push his palms into Din’s arms. Din recognized the gesture as a defensive one. Luke hated these scars. He did not want them seen or touched. Din settled instead for tracing the skin between them lower to Luke’s hips.
Luke jerked and squirmed in a different way now, unused to being touched there. He mumbled something about being ticklish. Din asked him if he wanted a hand or a mouth and Luke got even more awkward and said that he didn’t know.
There was really only one way to help him figure it out.
Din followed the paths that his fingers had taken with the bridge of his nose and was then rewarded with nearly have the thing broken when Luke’s hip bone attacked his face.
Luke informed him very clearly that he did not want a mouth down there, thanks, so a hand it was.
Din stuffed his lightly battered (literally) pride into his pocket and came back up to ask again if it was for him to touch the front of Luke’s pants. Luke said it was, but it wasn’t actually okay the first time; the second time was better. When Din used his palm instead of his fingers, it was much more bearable. They had to work up to the fingers, which was helped along by the methodical popping of some buttons. That layer done away with, Luke arched gently up into Din’s hand.
The head of his cock was very soft and very pink, and anytime it brushed Din’s calloused skin, he was rewarded with a little tremble. The trembling made Din settle a knee between Luke’s and lean down to touch lips to his jaw. He resisted the urge to put his weight on Luke’s thigh—not because Luke couldn’t take it (maybe a little bit because he couldn’t take it) but because if he did, the pressure that came with that might prove…distracting.
He tried to keep his attention on the way that his hand was moving and on the intensity of Luke’s hitching breaths.
It wasn’t too long, nor half as awkward as the start, even if it was interrupted by some swearing and scolding about locating some lubrication. Eventually, Luke grabbed at Din’s back with both fists and started making more vocal breathy sounds, so Din leaned forward and pressed their foreheads together. It seemed to help ground Luke a bit; he got a little quieter until he started getting overwhelmed again. His fingers dug hard into Din’s flightsuit, and he starting meeting Din’s hand with his hips.
He hid his face into the side of Din’s neck when he came, and Din found his own pelvis twitching at the sound. They shuddered through until the tension in Luke’s spine gave way. Din held him for a few more moments before letting him down with his back against the blanket of the sleeping quarters. Outside, a storm raged on and rain chattered against the Anchor’s side.
Luke huffed softly for a few beats, then blearily offered to finish Din off, too. Din didn’t need him to. He could handle himself, and he did. When he came back from floating, he found Luke watching him thoughtfully.
Din informed him that this was Weird and Poor Etiquette. Luke said that the last person he’d fucked around with had been a woman and she’d done this to him, so Din could deal and would live.
And just like that, it was normal.
The first in a series of oxbows, ebbs, and flows.
Luke, after all, was a river.
Shortly after the first time, Din set a course for Tatooine, where they would meet up with Solo and his Wookie companion. The person who Leia had spoken to on the transmission talked about a Mandalorian that they’d heard of who was traveling throughout the galaxy, tearing through sand and forest and ice with a spear as their weapon.
This warrior wore a helmet of gold, the informant said.
There was no guarantee that this Mandalorian was the Armorer. There could be others who’d elected gold as their color—who knew how many in total. But Din only knew the one helmet and his heart was telling him, at a shout more than a whisper, that this was them.
This was Buir, hunting like they hadn’t done since Din was a child, small enough to be held in their arms.
Buir was looking for him.
He wouldn’t keep them waiting.