They had been quiet, gently sharing each other’s space in the last few days since that moment when the air between them shifted into something distinctly new yet uncertain.
Neither of them complained. If anything, the calm was a welcome relief from the intensity of the last few weeks. Luke had been training with Grogu to unweave the layers of protection the child had placed over his true power. The distance that Luke had found within Grogu’s mind between the surface of his mind and the pain he had experienced at the Temple was cavernous and much too daunting for such a small creature.
When Luke had told Din what he found, Luke’s heart broke at his reaction. A small step back, shoulders dropping, and then a hand coming up to rub at the vulnerable space between chest plate and helmet. Din had nodded, trying to cover a watery sigh that reverberated through the modulator as he turned away. He needed to get to his son. Luke let him leave without a word and silently retreated out to the field surrounding the huts. Before he had settled down to meditate, he felt a warm brush of affection float through the Force. Luke’s mind was tinted a soft blue by it. It had felt so safe, so comforting that he knew instantly that Din had reached Grogu and the child’s emotions had overflowed. Luke smiled to himself before closing his eyes.
They would get there, in time.
A few days after this discovery, Luke goes to Din with an idea. His right hand fiddles with his glove, tugging at then resettling the soft leather. He comes out from the library and stops once he reaches the edge of the courtyard. Din is perched against the stone wall, facing away from Luke with his visor tilted slightly up to the warmth of the sun. The soft gold of the late afternoon glows against his armour. From where Luke stands, the edges of the beskar almost blurred out into the hazy air between them. The Mandalorian a deep, gentle silhouette. Stepping softly from the shadows, Luke clears his throat. He doesn't want to break the peace Din had found too abruptly. As he spoke, his words were chosen carefully.
‘You think this would help him?’ Din asks once Luke has told him the plan. His visor is fixed to Grogu who had tottered out into the courtyard following a small lizard.
‘Well his memories have been darkened,’ Luke pauses. ‘He’s scared to access them. We can’t proceed with his training if we don't address those traumas.’ His jaw clenches against the thought of what the child must have experienced to want to bury them so deep within himself. That unknown sat heavily in the air between them.
Luke continues, ‘I believe he’d be more inclined to go through with the process if he sees his father experience it.’ He looks at Din as he spoke, wanting to convey his belief and determination clearly in his words. ‘He trusts you.’
Din tucks his head down quickly and breathes before nodding. Visor tilted back up towards his son, he agrees, ‘Right. Show him there’s nothing to be scared of.’ The sun shines off the lines of his helmet, gold and shadowed silver contrasting against each other, and Luke sees every inch of the determined warrior that the stories told of. With a quick look towards Luke, Din steps out into the courtyard towards the child.
The air is soft around them as Luke joins father and son on the floor. He pulls out a worn white cloth from his pocket and wraps it over his eyes. With his eyes open under the blindfold, all he can see is honey-colored sunlight. His fingers run along the edges of the cloth to secure it and then he lets his eyes close.
‘Whenever you’re ready.’ Even when Luke speaks softly, it sounds too loud to his own ears against the distant wisp of wind through grass.
The child coos, turning in his father’s lap at the sound of the helmet’s clasp releasing. Din blinks at the sudden burst of light. His eyes jump across the man in front of him. Golden hair made impossibly brighter by the sun. Freckled cheeks standing out against the white blindfold. Chin tilted down slightly in concentration. Din feels his breath catch. Slowly, Luke’s hand rises upwards towards his face. Din briefly guides him, wrapping his hand loosely around Luke’s wrists to help him settle his touch upon Din’s temples and cheekbones.
After a brief moment, Din feels himself pulled through his memories. He breaths out slowly as he watches himself lose his parents, looking up into a square of sunlight that was cut through by blaster fire before a hulking droid blocks out the sky. Blaster fire flashes again, the vision cuts to Din looking up at -
Inky darkness. A blue haze floats through his mind and then suddenly all he can smell and see is smoke.
Din looks at a planet he recognizes, but a home he does not. He doesn't understand. Is this...Luke? He feels his heart constrict in his chest from emotions that are not his own. A deep, sinking loss that is familiar yet new. He can feel the sand picked up by the wind that cuts at his cheek, salt tears stinging.
The vision flashes again, more blaster fire and blinking screens before him as he sits in a cockpit of an x-wing. He feels a moment of surprising serenity right before his finger pull the trigger and watches a blast fire off down into -
The murky blue returns, an empty space in his mind. Then slowly the form of a helmet emerges, barely recognizable in the darkness but Din can feel the hurt, anger, forgiveness, and love that are all tied up with it. He feels like he is being torn in two, he can feel himself being pulled down further into that blue and then -
Din inhales sharply as he opens his eyes. Tears stream down his face. He doesn’t know how long they have sat there but he looks up at Luke to see the sun glinting of tears of his own. He wants to lean forward and brush them away but a small sound from the child in his lap distracts him.
‘I…’ Luke starts, his hands still resting on Din’s face.
Din pulls him away gently, eyes searching Luke for some hint of how he feels. He wants to understand.
‘..I-‘ Din tightens his grip on Luke’s hands before letting them go. He turns his attention down to his child and feels Luke place both hands on his knees. A comforting warmth. He didn’t realise until now that his whole body was shaking.
‘Shh, shhh. I’m okay, Grogu.’ He keeps his voice calm as he brushes a hand over his son’s head. His body is curled over the child and he wraps his arms around him.
Din does not look up as Luke speaks, ‘Grogu. It’s alright.’ His voice is thick, but his tone is sure. Luke breathes deeply before speaking again. ‘He’s okay. We’re here.’
With his blindfold still on, Luke leans further forwards towards the child. His head almost touching Din’s. His grip tightens minutely on Din’s knees. They do not move. The last rays of the sun spill over them all as the child finally calms. Din doesn't wipe the tears from his face, not wanting to pull away from Grogu. Father and son stare at each other, sharing a bond that even the Force is not enough to explain. Tiny hands grip tightly at the edges of beskar.
It is not until the child drifts into sleep that either man moves. Din glances up at Luke. Without a word, he reaches forward with one hand and pulls at the cloth until it falls away.
‘Din-‘ Luke has not opened his eyes.
‘It’s okay. I’m here.’
Blue eyes open, their focus hazy before finally finding Din’s face. Luke stares. The sun is gone completely now, the soft purple of early dusk falling across them. Din’s eyes are deep and dark. Wonderfully so. They stare back into Luke’s, unwavering. Luke’s gaze shifts across Din’s face. He can finally see the strong cheekbones that his hands had just rested upon. He smiles slightly at the dark mustache above Din’s mouth. It suits him. Din is handsome. Of course, he is. Luke had thought that before this moment.
He looks back at Din’s eyes. They are soft, kind, despite all the things that Luke had just seen in Din’s past. Luke can't help himself, he reaches back up to place a hand on Din’s cheek again. It shook ever so slightly as Din turns his face into the touch, his eyes closing and his own hand reaching up to hold Luke there.
Luke tilts forward, closing the small gap between them to rest his forehead against Din’s. The air is cool as the evening breeze drifts across them all. Pink, purple, and a deepening blue streak across the sky. Dots of light start to appear as stars emerge above them.
Eventually, ‘Let’s go, cyar'ika.’
Din shifts his posture and cradles the baby against him before standing up. He leans down to offer Luke a hand and he does not let go even after Luke is stood next to him.
Many afternoons are spent like this, both men gently leading Grogu through the darkness in his memories. Showing him that he was safe now. Completely. Neither Din nor Luke speak directly on what had happened that day. Simply, Din does not wear his helmet as often, allowing instead for moments in which Luke leans across the breakfast table to brush through his hair.
After one lazy day that was too hot for any serious training, they are out walking in the fields having put Grogu down for a nap. Luke chatters on with tales with his sister, excitedly recounting a slightly concerning adventure involving his droid and one too many Imperial soldiers. Din stops. He catches Luke’s hand as he continues onwards, tugging the Jedi back towards himself.
Luke cuts himself off, breathing a quiet ‘..hello’ instead. They were close. Jedi robes floating against strong beskar.
‘Hello’, Din returns. A smile tugs at his lips as he watches Luke’s face. He feels flesh and cybernetic hands flutter across his chest, not knowing quite where to settle.
With a smile still on his face, Din closes the distance between them and kisses Luke. Softly at first, a gentle whisper of a thing. As Luke kisses back, Din reaches up to tangle a hand into golden hair. Luke sighs against him. They kiss, and kiss, and kiss.
Once they pull away to catch their breath, they both beam at each other. Not quite believing any of it. Luke’s smile is brighter than anything Din has ever seen. He glides his hand down to rest upon Luke’s jaw and kisses him again.
Light shines across the Force and compounds with the giddiness Luke himself is feeling. Luke knows that even without the amber light of the sun gilding them both, they would glow.