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Let me stand by you, loneliest light

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Din had explained it, after that first time they’d finally acted on this... thing that’s been growing between them. After months spent orbiting around each other like binary stars in a collapsing solar system, the inexorable course of their collision growing more and more obvious as the weeks passed. They’d spent even longer talking about it, once they’d realized what was happening; what it would mean, how it would work, being together; a Mandalorian and a Jedi, each shouldering their own immense responsibilities to their ancient creeds.

Din must have seen Luke’s interest at the reverence and ritual of it, the disarming. Gloves first, then the vambraces and pauldrons. Boots and tassets, followed by the cuirass and cape. The flight suit and then finally, the helmet.

———

“When-“ Luke opened his eyes at the crack in Din’s voice as he pulled back from where his helmet rested on Luke’s forehead. “Whenever we do this,” he started, hesitant, “we can’t ever rush, with the armor.”

“It’s not just the helmet. And it’s not just because it’s beskar,” Din clarified. “The gloves, the boots, even my vibroblade; all of it –” He broke off again, looking away.

Luke brought his hand to the side of the helmet, turning Din’s head back towards him to look directly into his visor. He gently ran his thumb along the upper edge of one concave cheek. “It’s a part of you”

Din leaned into his hand, as if he could feel the soft touch on his face. “Yes.”

“I understand.”

And Luke did understand; knew that it was so much more than armor in the same way his lightsaber was more than just a sword and his black robes were more than just a way to remember his father. It was the control of knowing exactly how the world will see you; the security of being able to not only protect yourself but everyone you love and anyone else who may need it; the connection to the traditions that gave you belonging and purpose, and the honor to be able to pass them on.

———

And Luke understands now, gazing into the dark of Din's visor as he takes one of his hands and gently pulls off the glove, pressing a kiss to his fingertips. He lets that one down and brings up Din’s other hand, removing that glove with the same careful attentiveness and pressing another kiss to his palm. A shuddering exhale comes from behind Din’s helmet and Din moves to cup the side of Luke’s face, running one thumb across Luke’s cheekbone, curling his fingers in Luke’s hair. Heat rises in Luke’s cheeks and he can’t help the soft smile that makes its way across his face.

The vambraces are next, and Luke sets them near to the gloves on the desk. When he gets to the pauldrons he falters, and Din’s hands come up to guide his to the catches. Luke stops for a second once the right one is off and runs his fingers across the mudhorn insignia, a match to the charm Din had given him on a necklace when he’d asked Luke to join his clan, telling Luke the words to the mandalorian marriage vows and laughing when Luke butchered the accent upon repetition.

He gets Din to sit in the desk chair and kneels to undo his boots, setting them precisely next to the leg of the desk, and the vibroblade goes on top, by the gloves. Din stands back up for the thigh plates and Luke feels his face turning red again, can hear Din’s breath coming in quicker at the touch of Luke’s fingers on his inner thigh. Luke rises, a little breathless, and places the plates on the desk. He comes back to face Din and brings his hands to the edge of the cuirass at Din's shoulder. Again, Din helps him with the clasps and every light brush of Din’s fingers against his sends sparks of electricity and heat racing through him.

Luke moves behind Din to take off the back plate and as Din turns to face him once he finishes Luke is struck by how vulnerable he looks. Din in armor is untouchable - shining and regal - a king from the tales of millennia past, when the Mandalorians and the Jedi were bitter, bitter enemies. Now, standing in front of Luke clad in only his faded black flight suit he is just... a man.

Luke steps into his space again and reaches to take off his cape, placing it behind all of the other pieces of the armor. Din reaches back to undo the flight suit and Luke helps him pull it off, holds it for Din to step out of, then folds it neatly and sets it on top of the cape. Finally he stands in front of Din. Din is only in his stained white undershirt and dark pants now, hands flexing compulsively at his sides under the weight of Luke's gaze with something Luke can vaguely sense through the Force as nervousness. Luke brings his hands up to hold either side of his helmet and waits until Din reaches to help Luke guide it off.

Din is handsome enough to take Luke’s breath away and he greedily drinks in every detail he can as if he’s seeing his face for the first time all over again. There's Din’s deep dark eyes with the little lines at the corners, and his beautiful curving nose, and his thick dark hair, slightly flattened from his helmet. His mustache, small and carefully groomed, had somewhat surprised Luke first, but now he can’t imagine it any other way.

Luke grins and runs his fingers through Din’s hair, reveling at the way Din’s eyes flutter shut and the little shudder that runs through him. When he reaches the back of Din’s head he gently pulls Din forward and down to rest their foreheads together.

“Hello again,” Luke says teasingly.

“Hey,” Din says back, low and soft, and suddenly his hand at Luke’s chin - warm and calloused - and he’s tilting Luke’s head up to finally, finally bring their lips together.