Din can tell what kind of day his husband’s had the second Luke comes through the door. He’s not Force-sensitive—furthest thing from it, according to Luke—but there’s something in how Luke shuffles around in the entryway to their rooms, before Din can even see him, something about how he exhales and kicks his boots off and greets Grogu with a tired, fond, “Hey, bean,” as the kid toddles out of the nursery to latch onto him that tells Din immediately: Luke’s had a really karking bad day.
If he’d come home five minutes sooner, Din would’ve known to make tato stew, spiced to death like Luke likes it, but as it is he’s already got a pot of tiingilar simmering. Oh well. He’s still got a sleeve of those gross blue cookies stashed up in a high cabinet somewhere, if Grogu hasn’t ferreted them out yet. That should handle both of them, if the noseburn from the tiingilar isn’t spicy enough to calm Luke down.
Luke’s talking to the baby as he comes around the curved hall into the kitchen, the usual nonsense words, “Oh, I see,” as Grogu says bleblebleble, “you’ve got a point there;” he kisses Din absently on the side of the head and leans against the counter next to him, the kid propped in the crook of one arm. “Tiingilar?”
Din hums an affirmative.
“King of an entire planet and you still have time to make dinner,” Luke says, smiling a little, fond. “I don’t know how you do it, I meant to come home for lunch earlier, but I didn’t even have time to think about eating.”
“We make time for the things we care about,” Din says.
A second later he sees the pinched look on Luke’s face and realizes how that sounded. “Aw, hell, I didn’t mean it like that—“
“No, you’re right.” Luke’s frowning at the top of Grogu’s head now, and Din kicks himself. For a second there they’d been on the track to Luke forgetting whatever’s got him so down, but now—back to where they started. “I’ve been working too much, I should be home more.”
“Luke.” Din sets aside his wooden spoon, stepping over to him, penning him in against the counter. He wants to hold Luke’s hands, or his face, but when he reaches for him Grogu intercepts his fingers, and he doesn’t have the heart to pull them away, so he just stands there, his son holding his hands, staring into his husband’s quietly amused eyes as he says, “You know I’ll never say no to you spending more time with us. But that’s going to be hard, because when you’re working I am, too, and when we’re working, Grogu’s at school with the other foundlings. When we’re here, you’re here.”
That seems to do the trick. Luke holds his gaze for another moment, then does that little sigh-shake thing he does when he’s realized he’s being silly and is moving past it, chin dipping. “Okay, yeah. You’re right. Come here.”
He uses his free hand to hold the back of Din’s head and guide him in for a long, chaste kiss. Even after four years of marriage, something inside Din thrills at the feeling of his lips, familiar and beloved here in the homey, over-spiced kiln of their kitchen. Of their home. Their rooms, where Luke’s eclectic collection of clothes are folded up in drawers next to Din’s old armor, where the bed they always neglect to make smells like both of them, where Grogu figured out how to use the Force to scribble on the ceiling. Luke pulls away but Din can’t resist ducking back in for one more kiss, closed-mouth, warm, saying, I know we’ve only been apart for a day, but I missed you.
“Din,” Luke says after a minute, smiling against his mouth. “The tiingilar’s burning.”
Later, after they’ve negotiated Grogu into bed, dealt with a minor political crisis in the form of Koska knocking on their door, and had a brief but satisfying engagement involving their shower and the foyvè oil Luke keeps in their ’fresher, Luke lays between Din’s bent legs with his head pillowed against Din’s chest—his favorite position when he wants to bundle down and forget the outside world for a while, Din’s favorite position when he wants to pretend that there’s nothing in the universe he can’t protect Luke from—and says, “My sister’s getting married.”
Din’s not sure what to say. He’s never met Luke’s sister, just like he’s never met any of Luke’s family. Since Luke left the Order to marry him, they’ve been sort of a sore subject, in that Luke avoids talking about them like the plague. Whenever they threaten to come up in conversation Din always feels a small twinge of panic in his chest, as if addressing the issue directly will remind Luke what he gave up to be here, with Din.
He doesn’t want to talk about them now, not with the possibility, however remote, that Luke might wise up and leave. But Luke brought them up, so after a minute he cards his fingers through his husband’s hair—overlong now, he’s due for a cut—and asks, “She sent you an invitation?”
“She sent us an invitation,” Luke murmurs.
“Oh.” Din’s not sure why he didn’t expect that. He is, after all, king of an entire planet. Luke and Leia are the children of royalty, it’s bound to be a big event. He’d probably get an invite even if he wasn’t married to the senator’s brother. “And that’s…bad?”
Luke sighs. He turns his face in against Din’s chest, and Din wraps him up tighter with his arms and his legs, knowing that’s what he wants. “It’s not bad,” Luke says, after a minute. “It’s just…complicated. I don’t know.”
Luke makes a soft frustrated noise. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen any of them in a long time. Four years is…it’s a long time, to not see your family.”
Din presses a kiss to the top of his head. “We’re your family.”
“I know.” Luke burrows deeper in his arms. “I know, baby.” He drops a kiss on the swell of Din’s pec. “You’ll go with me, right?”
“Of course,” Din murmurs, warm. “Of course I will.”
Din’s had four years to figure out how to hear what Luke’s not saying, so he knows that when Luke says it’s been a long time since he’s seen his family, that’s not all of it. It’s not that Luke’s lying to him, or trying to hide anything from him, either—Luke might be the most emotionally intelligent man Din knows when it comes to resolving interplanetary conflict or figuring out how to defuse a clan war, thanks to the Jedi training, but in terms of putting his own emotions into words, Luke’s got about as much talent as Grogu. Din thinks that’s probably a result of the Jedi training, too, not that he’d ever say that to Luke.
So he’s good at interpreting the spaces between his husband’s words, but he’s also good at interpreting the big flashing neon signs, like the fact that Luke spends the whole ride to Coruscant in their berth meditating.
“Can’t we circle the planet another few times?” he asks, when he climbs into the Crest’s cockpit for landing. “Stay in orbit another twelve hours?”
“Sorry,” Din says. “Port authority tends to give priority to planetary rulers.”
“All the pitfalls of being married to the Mand’alor,” Luke teases. “No one ever warned me.”
He sounds better than he did when they shoved off from Mandalore a day ago, easier, more relaxed, but as Din starts to take the Razor Crest down into Coruscant’s teeming airspace, all the tension returns. It’s subtle, carefully Jedi-hidden, but Din knows his husband. He knows what that faint tightness at the corners of Luke’s eyes means. So once they’re parked on the landing pad, the rest of Din’s travelling contingent guiding their ships in around them—as king, he might have to bring security with him, but he refuses to let them ride in his family’s ship—he spares a moment to pull Luke into his arms and rest his helmet against his forehead.
It’s not everything he wants to do, far from it, but he thinks delaying leaving his ship so he can suck his husband’s cock is probably not the way to go about meeting the family. He’s pretty sure Luke wouldn’t appreciate it, right now, either.
Luke stays in his arms for a long minute, just breathing. Then someone chirps the comm, and he breaks away with a light, affectionate bonk.
He answers. “Yeah?”
“Skywalker,” says Koska. “We’re in place, if you’re done stalling.”
Luke hangs his head, smiling. “They’re onto us,” he tells Din.
“I can still hear you.”
“I know that, Koska,” Luke says, amused. Koska’s not the best at jokes, or sarcasm. She’s a matter-of-fact kind of person. “We’re coming out now.”
They retrieve Grogu from his little cubby, where he’s snoozing in his hammock, and head down the ramp to meet Luke’s family.
Or, Din expects to meet Luke’s family, but when they get outside there’s only one person there, aside from their security team—Obi-Wan Kenobi. He smiles when he sees them, hands tucked serenely into the sleeves of his Jedi robes, and even though Luke smiles back there’s a split second, right when it becomes apparent that none of his family are here, that disappointment crinkles between his eyebrows.
“Master,” he says, going to greet Obi-Wan with a hug.
Obi-Wan hugs him back. “Luke. It’s good to see you.” He pulls back, raising his eyebrows over Luke’s shoulder at Grogu, in Din’s arms. “And you, little one. Still sleepy, are we?”
Din guesses he can feel Grogu’s Force signature, like Luke is always talking about, and if Luke trusts him then Din trusts him, so he lets Obi-Wan get close enough to bow respectfully to the baby—Grogu bowing back quite seriously—and then shake Din’s hand. “Good trip?” he asks. “No pirates?”
Din huffs a little. “No, no pirates.”
“Oh, well,” Obi-Wan says. “Better luck next time.”
“I thought mom and Leia were meeting us?” Luke says, voice casual. Too casual, in Din’s opinion, but he knows no one else here will notice—except maybe Luke’s old master, who looks at him with a kind, sad smile.
“I understand there was a last-minute problem with the caterer. Your mother took the bride along to scare them into compliance.”
“Well, we can always get Dex to pinch-hit.”
Obi-Wan laughs. “Yes, your father would be quite happy with that, but somehow I don’t think it would go over all that well with the foreign dignitaries.”
“It’s alright with this foreign dignitary,” Luke quips, falling into step with Obi-Wan as they head inside.
They’re staying in Luke’s parents’ residence, which as Din understands it encompasses four or five floors of an ultra-high-rise near the senate building. They talked about getting their own place, using the diplomatic quarters available to all visiting dignitaries, but since this wasn’t, strictly speaking, a diplomatic mission, Din’s advisors decided that staying with Luke’s family was the best bet. Plus, Din sort of got the sense this was where Luke wanted to be. Even if there’s already some distance between him and his family, he’d rather not invite more of it by staying somewhere else.
It’s strange, walking a half-pace behind Luke and Obi-Wan, Grogu cooing in recognition at the view out the windows, to think that Luke grew up here. Not here here, at least not all of the time, but here on Coruscant—the same place their baby spent the first twenty-odd years of his life. It doesn’t seem like the sort of place that would make a man like Luke, all these austere hallways and clean carpets, but then again he’s not sure what sort of planet would make a man like Luke—somewhere with a lot of sun, probably. Flowers. Nice little ponds.
“I’ll leave you to get settled,” Obi-Wan says, when they’re outside their rooms. Apparently the man knows his way around the Skywalker-Amidala household. “I expect Han will attempt to hide here at some point in the next few hours. If he does, please make sure he makes it to dinner at your parents’, six o’clock.”
“Will do,” Luke says, laughing.
The rooms they’ve been given are spacious—everything is spacious on Coruscant, when you get up high enough, although Din saw enough of the lower levels before his coronation to know that you have to get up pretty darn high. He won the fight with Koska about having security stay downstairs in some rented rooms—It’ll take you two minutes to get up in the elevator, me and Luke can take care of ourselves for two karking minutes—so for the moment they’re blissfully alone. Or at least they are just long enough for them to put Grogu down to finish his nap, and for Din to get ideas about taking his helmet off, before someone pounds on the door and a man shouts, “Luke! Luke, you gotta let me in, they’ve got fabric swatches!”
Luke sighs and keys the door open. “Hello to you too, Han.”
The man—Han Solo, Din gathers, Leia’s husband-to-be—looks a little crazed, but he still smiles at Luke. “Hey, kid, been a while.”
“Yeah, well,” Luke says sardonically, as Han ruffles his hair and pushes past him into the room, “I guess some things never change.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Han asks, offended.
Luke just gives him a look.
“Aw, come on,” Han says, “Leia sent a whole team of people with needles to torture me—“
“I thought you were getting fitted for a suit,” Luke interrupts.
Han looks confused. “Yeah, exactly. That’s what I said.”
Luke rolls his eyes.
Din’s starting to feel a little out of place, standing unacknowledged in the pit of the sitting area, and Luke must sense it, because he waves Han over and says, “Come on, come meet my husband.”
“Ah, the mighty Mand’alor,” Han drawls. “Do I bow? Curtsey?”
“A handshake’s fine,” Din says, holding out his hand. Han shakes. “Din Djarin.”
“Han Solo. About time the kid brought you home to meet the family.”
“You could’ve visited,” Din says stiffly. He’s not sure why he’s decided to be confrontational this early in the game, but it seems to have been decided for him by some sort of bristling instinct. Han rubs him the wrong way, that’s all. Maybe it was how he ruffled Luke’s hair. Maybe it’s how they seem to be able to talk to each other without words. Either way, when he sees Luke’s quelling look he makes an effort to push the twinge of jealousy down. This isn’t about him. He’s here to support Luke, not the other way around.
But Han doesn’t rise to the bait. “Yeah, I could’ve,” he says, sheepish. “I should’ve.”
Luke smiles, and this time it looks a little more genuine. A little sadder around the edges. “That’s okay,” he says. “We’re here now. Come on, tell me about wedding planning.”
Koska comms Din about something on Mandalore that needs his attention, and by the time he gets back from dealing with that, Han is gone. “The people with the needles found him,” Luke explains, reclining on the couch, feet up. “Come over here.”
Din crosses to him, stepping down into the seating pit. Luke locks the front door with a flick of the Force, and Din pulls his helmet off, letting it fall from his hands, knowing Luke will float it down to rest on the caf table.
“Hey there,” Luke says, as Din settles in on top of him.
“Hey,” Din rumbles.
Luke runs his fingers over Din’s head, fluffing out his helmet hair. Din can feel Luke’s thighs around his waist, twitching slightly as they spread to accomodate Din’s weight. He sinks a little lower, rubbing his cheek against Luke’s. Suddenly there are way too many clothes between them. “Do we have time?” he asks.
Luke floats the chrono from the side table over to them. “Half an hour.”
Din hums. “I can work with that.”
Twenty-five minutes later, closed in their palatial ’fresher, Luke breathes hard with his mouth open against the marble countertop, hands braced above him against the mirror, and says, “Din—Din, we have to hurry up.”
Din’s taking it as a personal offense that he can still form a coherent sentence, and also that the chrono he floated in here after them hasn’t smashed to the floor yet, but he figures there will be time to remind Luke of his sexual prowess later.
“Don’t need reminding,” Luke gasps, pressing back against Din’s mouth. He’s not so good with the no mind reading thing when he’s close to orgasm.
Good—he’s close. Din turns his grip around Luke’s cock into something tighter, something he can fuck. His glove’s still on, most of his clothes are still on even though Luke’s fully naked, but he knows Luke likes the texture of the leather, so he just pumps him and licks into him as deep as he can, knees aching and jaw aching until Luke says, “Din—Din, I’m gonna—“
The chrono crashes against the floor. Luke’s cock twitches in Din’s hand, and he comes all over the glove.
Din stands up and drapes himself over Luke’s naked back. While Luke’s still shaking in the aftershocks he pulls his own cock out of his pants and uses Luke’s come on his glove to jerk himself, mouth open against Luke’s shoulder. It only takes a few pumps—Luke reaches back and grabs a fistful of the back of his hair, pressing his bare ass back against the head of Din’s cock, and says, “Yeah, baby, come on me,” and that’s it.
“We’re going to be late,” Luke remarks, as Din collapses on top of him, panting.
Din presses a kiss to the red mark he just sucked on the back of Luke’s shoulder, then another one to the back of his head, longer, lingering. “That’s okay. We’ll blame the kid.”
Luke huffs a laugh. “You need a fresh pair of gloves.”
“I brought extra.”
“Ah. You anticipated this series of events.”
Din peels himself away from Luke’s back, pausing to kiss the center of his spine. “Maybe a little.”
For a few minutes, Din thinks he’s found the answer to Luke’s tension. But aside from the unsustainability of pulling his husband aside for a quick fuck every time a family member threatens to appear, there’s also the fact that the effect only seems to last a few minutes. By the time they’re standing on Luke’s parents’ doorstep the Jedi-straight spine is back. So is the tightness around Luke’s eyes.
On a whim, Din dumps Grogu into Luke’s arms. It must be a good instinct, because Luke’s gaze softens immediately. “Hey, bean,” he says, as Grogu settles in. “Ready to meet your grandparents?”
Aboo, Grogu agrees, gazing into Luke’s eyes.
Din’s heart gives a fond tug, but before he can reach out and touch them, the door opens.
“Luke,” says the woman on the other side. Din recognizes her from the political holos his advisors make him watch—she’s going gray now, a few more lines around her eyes, but Padmé Amidala has changed very little from when she was senator for Naboo.
“Mom,” Luke returns. Din can’t put his finger on what it is, but there’s something in Luke’s voice that breaks his heart. “This is my husband, Din, and my son, Grogu.”
“Of course, of course.” Padmé smiles, shaking Din’s hand. “It’s good to finally meet you.”
“Senator Amidala,” Din says.
“Please, call me Padmé. We’re family, after all.”
She smiles at him, then turns her gaze on Grogu, who’s watching with interest from the shelter of Luke’s arms. “Hello, Grogu. It’s nice to meet you. I’m your very young and still quite spry grandma.”
Bleblebleble, Grogu says, and when he reaches out she gives him her finger to latch onto.
“Come in, come in,” she says, when she realizes they’re still on the threshold. “Everyone else is in the kitchen. Dinner’s almost done.”
Din doesn’t know why he expected that even this family dinner would be a catered event, but the kitchen is full of the smell of cooking food, and a man who must be Luke’s father is dancing around in front of the stove, fanning a steaming pot of what Din’s nose tells him must be spiced-to-death tato stew. “Luke!” the man exclaims, when he spots them, “Luke, buddy, get over here. Let me look at you.”
Luke hands Grogu off to Din and goes to be jostled into a rough hug by his father, while Obi-Wan, Han and a wookiee watch with drinks from the other end of the counter.
“You must be the Mand’alor,” someone says behind Din.
He turns to see Leia, the current senator for Naboo, looking up at him with a friendly smile. “I’m Leia,” she says, holding out a hand.
He shakes it. “Din Djarin.”
“Nice to meet you, Din Djarin. I’m glad it’s here, and not at some stuffy political gala.”
“Me too,” Din agrees. “Those aren’t really my speed.”
“I’ve noticed,” Leia says, smiling slightly. “Many people have noticed. They’re clamoring to meet you. When it leaked that you were on the guest list we got swamped with senators who were suddenly very offended they weren’t invited.”
“Oh,” Din says. “Sorry?”
“Don’t be. I’m using wedding invitations to leverage the Outer Rim into passing anti-slavery legislation, it’s been a real windfall.”
“Well then, you’re welcome.”
“Yeah,” Leia laughs, “thanks for being my brother’s plus-one. Have you met everybody?”
She introduces him to her and Luke’s father, Anakin, who seems genuinely happy to see his son but for some reason very suspicious of Grogu, and the wookiee, Chewie, Han’s best man, and Bail and Breha Organa, Leia’s godparents, who also seem to be somehow involved with Obi-Wan.
Once some significant eye contact across the kitchen from Luke promises him it’s safe, Din lets Grogu toddle off to play with Anakin’s astromech droid. Almost immediately, before he can even think of retreating to Luke’s side, he’s roped into helping Bail and Padmé set the table—which he guesses is probably a ruse so they can grill him about the state of his planet’s foreign affairs, judging by the sort of questions they’re asking him, which aren’t really getting to know you ones. By the time they’ve settled down to dinner he thinks he mostly has the lay of the land, which is good, because the first step to winning a battle is understanding the battlefield.
Luke must have already done the awkward song and dance of explaining that Din can’t take his helmet off and that Luke will eat with him later, either that or he sent word ahead, because no one offers them anything when they sit down, apart from the bright green drink Luke’s been nursing since Han shoved it into his hand earlier. Juma juice, Din thinks it is, or at least something with juma juice in it, unless his nose is lying to him, which would explain why Luke isn’t drinking very much. He never really mastered the art of Force-sobriety.
It’s a nice dinner—not that Din’s been to a lot of family dinners, beyond just him, Luke and Grogu. He spends most of the first half of it waiting on the edge of his seat for something bad to happen, for one of them to say something unkind to Luke or bring up their marriage or start asking pointed questions, but no one does. It takes him a while, then, to realize what is happening.
They’re treating them like guests. Not just Din and Grogu, but Luke.
In between talk of wedding planning and senate business and stories about Leia’s childhood—told mostly for Han’s benefit—they ask Luke politely about what he’s been up to, about Grogu, about life in Sundari and the weather on Mandalore. (“We live in biodomes,” Din says, when Luke doesn’t seem to know how to answer. “The weather’s very nice. Every day.”) They don’t tease him, or offer Din any embarrassing anecdotes from his childhood, or tell him it’s good to have him home. If Din didn’t know any better, listening to them he’d say they were old acquaintances who bumped into each other on the street and decided to grab a bite to eat, not Luke’s family.
At first he thinks Luke doesn’t notice it. Then he steals a moment to look at him, turning his helmet all the way to the left to do it, and he can see the tightness in the line of Luke’s shoulders, how he’s wearing that artificial smile he puts on for the rare political function that requires the attendance of the Mand’alor and his husband, not just a representative. Luke catches him looking and presses his knee against Din’s thigh under the table. The point of contact is reassuring, though it doesn’t make Din feel any better about what’s going on here.
He distracts himself by cutting Grogu’s food for him, and then by watching the wookiee eat—it comes in handy in more than just fights that no one can tell what he’s looking at under the helmet. That gets him nearly to the end of dinner, and then Breha leans against her husband, laughing, and says, “So, tell us, Han, how did you propose?”
Han blinks out of a juma juice coma at the other end of the table. “Aw, hell, don’t get her started—“
“I proposed,” Leia says, like she’s been waiting for her cue. “Well, I say proposed, but really the holos were showing vids of us that were ruining my approval rating, I told him that if he wanted to keep having sex, we were getting married.”
Anakin drops his head in his hands. “Oh Force, please don’t—“
“Leia,” says Padmé, “please, you’re going to give your father a heart attack.”
“It was very romantic,” Leia insists.
“Oh, sure,” Han drawls, “you were yelling, I was bullied into signing papers, it was very romantic—“
“You weren’t bullied,” Leia says, but they’re both laughing, everyone’s laughing. Even Luke, though it looks like he’s forcing it a little.
Now would be the perfect time for someone to ask Luke and Din how they decided to get married, but no one does.
Din finds himself thinking about it anyways, in the privacy of his own head. And then Luke reaches over to hold his hand under the table, probably thinking about the same thing, and the memory seeps into Din like the first sip of a hot cup of tea. Luke pacing the confines of Din’s diplomatic quarters in the middle of the night, looking out over the streaking lights of Coruscant, Din sitting naked on the edge of the bed while Luke ranted through all the reasons the world was crashing down around his ears—the Order wouldn’t let him be with Din, they couldn’t do long distance between Coruscant and Mandalore, the Mand’alor could hardly sustain having a Jedi consort—until Din, slightly distracted by the way the blue light shone on Luke’s bare skin, said, “I love you.”
Luke stopped, turned. Stared at him. Neither of them had ever said it before. There was no reason they would’ve—they’d only known each other for a month, only (secretly) together for half that. But Din couldn’t keep it in anymore, not when Luke was saying all that stuff like it mattered, like anything mattered except the bedrock truth of it: that they loved each other.
“I love you too,” Luke said. He sounded hollow, wrecked, like he’d been emptied of everything except that. Everything except his love for Din.
“So marry me.” Din stood from the bed, walking to the window. It was one-way glass, but he still felt overexposed, with traffic zipping past mere meters away, so he folded himself around Luke, tilting their foreheads together, letting the warmth of their naked skin coalesce into a cloud of heat. Luke made a soft needy sound and threw his arms around him, holding onto him like someone was trying to take him away. And they were—their whole lives were trying to pull them away from each other, so Din asked again, “Marry me, just marry me.”
“Okay,” Luke said, pulling back just far enough to look in his eyes. “Okay, yes, okay.”
“Okay,” Din remembers he said back, smiling so hard it turned into a laugh. And then there was a lot of kissing, against the window and on the bed and then on the floor when they got a little too excited, and then there was some other stuff that Din probably shouldn’t think about while he’s at his in-laws’ dinner table.
They’d been married before they left Coruscant, married that same night, in the privacy of Din’s rooms. Bo-Katan was thrilled about that one, when Din told her the next morning. They were married when Luke went before the Jedi Council and renounced his membership in the Order, when Luke went to tell his family—without Din, not even telling Din he was going, or else Din would’ve offered to go with him. It was a whirlwind, and Din worries sometimes—rarely, but sometimes—that the fact that it happened so fast makes their marriage less stable, that Luke’s more likely to look back and realize it was a mistake. Of course he never will, there’s nothing in either of their lives they’re more sure about than each other, but Din’s human. There are things that eat at him late at night. And that’s the main one.
Grogu gives them an excuse to duck out of dinner a good while before everyone else. Realistically, his bedtime is either whenever he gives up fighting or whenever he passes out floating in midair and Din has to dive to catch him, but no one except Luke and Din know that, so they tell everyone else his bedtime is ‘seven’ and make their escape.
It takes some time after they get back to their rooms for Luke to turn back into himself. Din didn’t realize how deep under he was until he starts watching him try to climb out, fake smiles loosening up into real ones as he gets Grogu ready for bed. Din leans in the open door to the ’fresher, still holding his helmet, while Luke helps Grogu with the sonic toothbrush, Grogu looking up at him in delight while it zummmmms in his mouth.
“Yeah, feels weird, doesn’t it?” Luke laughs, and Grogu says bleblebleble in agreement. “You’ve got clean teeth, though. Cleeeeeeeeeeeeean teeth.”
Eeeeeeee, Grogu mimics.
Din’s heart tugs. He puts his helmet down on the counter and kneels to Grogu’s height, giving him his finger to grab onto. “You ready for bed, buddy?”
Boo, Grogu says, which historically could really go either way.
Tonight it goes their way. It only takes them ten minutes to get Grogu down, probably because he’s tuckered out after such a long day, and then ten minutes after that they’re alone, spreading out like starfish on the enormous bed and then swimming their way to meet in the middle.
“I feel like I’m being ridiculous,” Luke confesses. He sounds fully himself again now that they’re alone in bed together, even though it’s not their bed, and something in Din’s chest unclenches to hear it.
“Why?” he asks, keeping his voice low.
Luke huffs softly. Not a laugh, just an exhalation of air. “I don’t know,” he says. “Nothing went wrong. No one’s…I mean, you were there, you saw. They’re nice. Everyone’s nice. Nothing…hurtful happened.”
“But you still feel hurt,” Din murmurs, eyes trained on him in the dark.
Luke rolls onto his back with a blustery sigh. “No, not really. Maybe. I don’t know.”
Din props himself up on his elbows. “Luke. It’s me.”
Luke meets his eyes, and something inside him seems to melt. “Yeah,” he says faintly, and then, “I think they used to love me more. When I was little. Before I…”
Din’s heart breaks for the second time today. He puts a hand on Luke’s stomach, not for any particular reason, jus because he can’t stand to not be touching him anymore. “Before you what?”
“Before I turned into a real person, I guess. Back when they could still imagine me as whoever they wanted.” Luke grabs Din’s hand with both of his, like he’s holding on. “I spent so many years trying to figure out who they expected me to be, trying to be that person. It shouldn’t hurt anymore that I never got it right. That I didn’t…that I’m not right.”
“Hey,” Din breathes, and then he doesn’t really know what to say after that, so he just leans down and kisses his husband.
Luke makes a soft sound and grapples his legs around Din’s waist, hauling him in. “You’re right for me,” he murmurs, when they separate for air. He leans their foreheads together, so they’re pressed close from head to toe. “You’re right for me, and you’re right for our son. That’s all that matters.”
Luke lets out a long exhale, eyes closed, and nods.
Din nuzzles gently past his nose and kisses him again.
Leia breezes through in the morning for caf and Jedi gossip, then browbeats Luke into going out with her to pick up her wedding dress. This means that half of Din’s security team also has to go out, which means that Din can’t leave the building, but that’s okay with him. He’s never been a big fan of Coruscant. Too much activity. Too much noise. And too many bad memories for the two other members of his clan.
He does talk Koska into letting him go down one level to the open air garden, which seems like a fun idea until he realizes they’re not alone.
Padmé and Anakin’s astromech droid are taking a meandering walk around the fishpond, picking flowers. Luke’s mother smiles and waves him over when she sees him, and at that point Din is in plain sight so there’s not really anything he can do except walk over.
“Padmé,” he says. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” she returns, slightly teasing. “I hope you all had a nice night.”
“Yes. Very nice, thank you.”
There’s a little bit of an awkward pause, but Padmé smiles through it. “There are frogs in the pond, you know.”
When he still doesn’t say anything, she raises her eyebrows expectantly. “Frogs? Last night you said Grogu liked them?”
“Oh,” Din says, unsticking. “Yeah. He does. Thanks.” He sets Grogu down in the grass at his feet and watches him toddle toward the edge of the pond.
When he straightens up again Padmé is standing next to him, arm tucked through the handle of her flower basket, the picture of serenity. “You love my son,” she says. “Am I right?”
Din bristles. He tries not to show it, but he’s not sure he manages, even under his helmet. “All due respect, ma’am,” he says, “but the time to do this was four years ago.”
“Do what?” Padmé asks, genuinely baffled.
“This thing where you check me out,” Din says. “You know, make sure I’m good enough for him. It’s too late for that. You don’t have any say anymore.”
“Oh?” Padmé says. “Why don’t I?”
“Because your son is my whole world, and you never call him. I won’t defer to you just because you were here first.”
Once the words are out of his mouth he realizes how harsh they sound, so he adds a tense, “Ma’am,” as if that will soften it.
“I thought I told you to call me Padmé,” she admonishes.
Din’s surprised by the sound of her voice. She doesn’t sound angry, or upset. She sounds kind, and warm, and maybe a little sad. And she must register his surprise, because she says, “I know you’re right. I know I haven’t been the best mother. I should’ve kept in touch when he left, but I thought it might…interrupt whatever peace he had found, with you. To hear from me.”
Din doesn’t say anything.
For a minute they both watch Grogu, chasing after slippery, colorful frogs in the shallow end of the pond. Then Padmé continues, “I know that’s a flimsy excuse. But he was always more his father’s son, and then there were all those years in the Order, and—oh, hell.”
It’s sort of startling to hear her swear, startling enough that Din looks over at her. She gives him a wry smile. “I handled him leaving so badly,” she says. “We all did. I just didn’t know how to fix that. And I didn’t think he’d want me to try.”
“He did,” Din says, voice thick. “He does.”
Padmé squeezes his arm, teary-eyed. “Let me tell you something. Grogu is going to be hard for Leia and Han to beat, adorable-grandkids-wise.”
In spite of himself, Din chuckles. “I won’t tell them you said that.”
“Good,” Padmé says, “you better not. We’d have a civil war on our hands.”
Din’s heating up some leftover tato stew on the stove when Luke gets back from his day out with Leia. It’s late, Grogu’s already in bed, and the wedding festivities start at noon tomorrow, but Din can tell as soon as Luke comes through the door that neither of them are going to sleep tonight. At least, not much.
Luke must know he’s in the kitchen—the room’s open-concept and Din’s not being all that quiet about the stew—but he still goes down the hall to check on Grogu first. Din doesn’t know what that means. The last time Luke did it was right after an assassination attempt, but Din likes to think that if there’d been an attempt on his husband’s life today his security people at least would’ve sent him a ping. Luke doesn’t seem to be any worse for wear than when he left this morning, either—no wounds, at least. Maybe a little tired. Maybe a lot of tired.
“Hey,” he says, draping himself over Din’s back. “You didn’t have to wait for me to eat.”
“I wanted to,” Din says.
Luke makes a soft sound and tucks his face against the back of Din’s shoulder, hiding. That’s Din’s cue to turn the stove off and turn to face him, gathering his husband up in his arms.
“Cyar’ika,” he murmurs.
That does the trick—it’s the quickest, most sure-fire way to turn Luke into a clingy pile of goo. He drags Din down for a long, close-mouthed kiss, and then another, like he’s asking for something with his lips. Not sex, though. That’s not what these are for.
But Din doesn’t know exactly what they are for, what Luke needs. These are uncharted waters. So as soon as they break for air, he asks, “Tell me.”
“Can we go somewhere?” Luke’s eyelashes sweep his cheek, eyes downcast. “There’s somewhere I want to take you. Please.”
“Sure,” Din says, “just give me a minute.”
He comms a very irate Koska and informs her once she arrives for babysitting duty that he and Luke are going out, and no they don’t need bodyguards, they’re the Mand’alor and a Jedi knight, and no they aren’t going to tell her where they’re going. Din knows it’s a little irresponsible, and he knows she’ll probably have people tail them anyways, but right now he thinks he’d hijack the whole damn planet if it would make Luke smile.
They take one of the building’s complimentary speeders, because walking onto public transit in full beskar would kind of defeat the point of stealth, and Luke drives, navigating Coruscant’s twenty-four hour traffic with a deftness and lack of attention that reminds Din that he grew up here, that he’s a native. He tries to imagine Luke at five, at ten, at fifteen, the wind in his hair and the cool night air in his lungs, and it’s not as hard as he would’ve guessed. Luke would’ve had the same bright blue eyes, the same sandy hair, the same mile-wide competitive streak that only really comes out when he’s behind the wheel of a vehicle, dodging in and out behind a slow-moving hoverbus, narrowly missing a speeder coming from the opposite direction.
Not even that gets a smile out of him, when normally it would’ve gotten a full-on whoop of joy, and Din’s so distracted worrying about him that he doesn’t realize where they’re heading until Luke sets them down on the Temple’s landing pad.
“My friend said she’d let us in,” Luke says, hopping out of the speeder. “Come on, this way.”
When Din met Luke, he was living here, at the Temple, twenty-six and enjoying his third year of knighthood. He’d been assigned to Din’s protective detail while he was on the planet to speak to the senate, a move that had enraged Koska and Bo-Katan but only made Din a little bemused, that the Jedi thought they could protect him better than his own people. Turns out they could—Luke thwarted two assassination attempts to Koska’s one, the second of which brought him into Din’s bedroom at night, blindfolded because he wanted to be considerate, slicing kouhuns with his lightsaber that Din’s people, one floor down, would never have even known were there.
He laughed, afterwards, when Din had his helmet on and they were standing there looking at the worms’ halved bodies. “My dad is gonna love this story,” he said in explanation. “Force. Talk about history repeating itself.”
Din, who hadn’t been under the impression that Jedi had fathers, couldn’t help but ask. And that led to a meandering conversation about the Order’s reformation and Luke’s very special circumstances that carried them into the next morning and then, after a joint session of the senate, into lunch, at a restaurant run by a species that communicated with the world by taste alone which catered primarily to those who couldn’t see or didn’t want to be seen. It was nice, once Din had gotten over the pitch darkness and the strange sensation of their waiter’s tonguelike tentacles on his clothes. All the nicer because Luke was sitting across from him, talking and laughing.
That trip, Din never got the chance to visit the Temple—probably the old Jedi-Mandalorian feud would have made him uneasy about going and them uneasy about having him, anyways. But now he follows Luke silently through the halls, cape pulled closed around his front to hide the Darksaber on his belt, just in case, and marvels at the feeling of the place. It doesn’t feel like Coruscant at all, with the noise far away and the halls huge and extensive enough that they never encounter another living being. Luke’s told him enough about how the Force feels that he suspects his husband can still feel the crowdedness of the planet, but Luke has always enjoyed being surrounded by people. Maybe this is why.
Luke takes him on a winding route through the Temple, and then abruptly they’re in a colonnaded courtyard, and then a garden.
“The Room of a Thousand Fountains,” Luke says, voice hushed. He’s walking slower now, beside Din, and on instinct Din reaches for his hand. Luke squeezes back. “My Master used to bring me here when I was a kid, after I had family visits. This was after Leia left.”
He leads Din forward into the room, past greenery from a thousand different planets, until it no longer just feels like they’re not on Coruscant—it feels like they’re not even in a building. Luke sits on the edge of a trickling stream, on grass wet with dew that shines like moondrops, and tugs Din down after him. Din, because he knows his husband, pulls Luke back between his legs so that he can lean against his chest as they look out over the water, breathing in tandem. Din doesn’t say anything. He knows he doesn’t need to. Luke brought him here for a reason, he’ll talk when he’s ready to talk.
And he does.
“Family visits were always hard,” he says, after a minute. “Sometimes I used to think—you know, I understood why the old Order didn’t let the knights have families. Because it hurt more to see them and have to leave than to not see them at all. Master Kenobi would bring me here and tell me about my lineage. It helped. It really did.”
“Yeah. Master Kenobi’s teacher, Master Jinn, and his teacher Master Dooku, and his teacher Master Yoda…Jedi have never been without families, not really. Hundreds of generations live in each of us, through our teachings, through what we pass down.”
“But it’s not really the same,” Din intuits.
“No,” Luke admits, voice low. “No, it’s not really the same.”
Din wishes he could kiss the top of his head, but with his helmet on he has to talk with the rest of his body, instead. So he holds Luke tighter.
“How was your day with Leia?” he asks, as gently as he can.
Luke lets out a long breath. “Her dress is beautiful,” he says. “It’s going to be a beautiful wedding. She took me to this tearoom that serves little cakes, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much sugar in one sitting. I should take Grogu back, he’d like it.”
“You really think he needs more energy?”
“Point,” Luke says, with a soft laugh.
Din lets him have a moment of reprieve, then says, “That’s not really what I meant, though.”
Luke knows that already. Of course he does. But he still sighs like he’s been caught. “I forgot what it was like, having to…put on a happy face for so long. It’s easier when I have to do it for politics. Doing it for my family is…”
Din wants very badly to be able to rest the side of his face against Luke's. They must be on the same wavelength, because Luke twists and buries his face in Din’s neck, the only spot with the armor on where he can get to skin.
“It’s harder, because they’re supposed to be able to see through it,” he says, like a confession. “She used to be able to see through it, when we were both in the crèche. We were inseparable. It was like me and Leia against the world. And then she left, she went out to live with my parents, and they became this family that I wasn’t a part of. Not really. And she couldn’t see through me anymore.”
Din knows what it’s like, not having anyone know what you’re really thinking, how you really feel. As much as it’s a kind of armor, it’s also intensely alienating. Intensely lonely.
But now he has Luke, who can read him like an open book even with the helmet on. And Luke has him.
“We’ll be home soon,” he says, because he doesn’t know what else to say. Because he hopes that’s what Luke wants to hear.
“Yeah,” Luke says, “yeah, home soon.”
They wake early the next morning, having barely gone to bed and not gone to sleep at all. The light of dawn is pale gray, cool on their skin, and Din bites out, “Luke,” as Luke kisses down his spine and over the curve of his bare ass, hands kneading his thighs. “Yeah baby,” Luke murmurs, “I’ve got you,” lips ghosting over his skin, and then there are fingers slick with foyvè oil slipping into him, breaching and driving with a persistent inward motion, and Din would be embarrassed how fast he comes except that this is Luke, who’s always trying to break what he calls the ‘bed speed record,’ who’s turned on by Din falling apart no matter how it happens, but sometimes especially when it happens in ten seconds from just his fingers.
“Force,” Luke swears, as Din swims back to awareness. “I wish I could last long enough to fuck you, but I’m gonna come in like, two seconds.”
Din thinks he whited out for a second there, but he’s good now. He rolls over underneath Luke and drags him down into a kiss, letting Luke fuck down into the wet mess on his stomach, reaching down with one hand to grab Luke’s ass and help him grind down harder, harder, until Luke is coming with a hitched gasp and a huge, full-body shudder.
Din holds him through it, something in him stirring valiantly at the sensation of Luke’s come pulsing hot over his stomach, one hand in Luke’s hair and one on his ass. “Wedding doesn’t start until noon,” he says conversationally, when they can both breathe again. “We have plenty of time…”
“I told Han I’d help him get ready,” Luke says, apologetic.
“Tonight, then,” says Din.
Luke huffs a laugh against the pillow. “You just want me to spend all day thinking of fucking you.”
“Maybe,” Din allows, with a lazy, self-satisfied grin. “Something to look forward to.”
Luke shoves his face into the pillow on the way out of bed.
Din doesn’t mind. It gives him an excuse to hang back as Luke crosses the room into the ’fresher, admiring the view.
Hours later he finds himself admiring a different view. Luke, sometime over the course of the morning, must have gotten hoodwinked into joining the wedding party, because he’s up there on the dias next to his sister, flowers threaded through his hair, in a cream white suit with accents the color of early morning sunshine.
He looks at Din over the crowd—Din, by nature of his status, has been seated close to the dias in the fifth row—a begrudging smile on his face, a smile that says, I don’t know how this happened, sorry. Grogu, tucked into the crook of Din’s arm, seems delighted by the whole thing, and Din’s so distracted by his son’s happiness and by the weight of his husband’s gaze that he hardly hears the ceremony. All he knows is Luke staring at him, heavy and significant, and just this once Din hopes Luke is reading his mind. I love you, he thinks, as strong as he can. I love you, I love you.
Just for him, eyes locked only on him, Luke mouths, I love you, too.
Neither of them end up getting the chance to cash in on the morning’s promises, because in the middle of the reception a war breaks out between two clans on Concordia. Paz has sent an urgent comm asking them to come back as soon as possible. Din offers to go ahead himself, but Luke just shoots him a look like he’s suggested they let Grogu have free reign of the buffet table—like he’s being a total idiot—and goes to make his excuses to Leia.
Din watches from a distance, supervising Grogu while he plows through a huge slice of cake. If this were a diplomatic visit, he’d have to go over there and talk to Leia himself, but as it is he thinks it’s best if Luke does it alone. Din still doesn’t really feel like he’s been inducted into the Skywalker-Amidala family, and he doesn’t want to shoehorn himself in where he isn’t wanted.
So he’s a little surprised when Anakin sidles up next to him and says, “I hear you’ve got a civil war to go see to.”
Din turns to him. Anakin has a juma juice in his hand and red circles around his eyes, but it doesn’t look like he’s drunk. Just teary.
“Not quite a civil war yet,” he says.
Anakin nods sagely. “Good luck heading it off at the pass, then.”
“Dad?” Luke comes up behind them.
“Luke,” Anakin says, with something like relief. “Hey. I wanted to talk to you before you jet out.”
“Okay,” Luke says, slightly apprehensive. “Do you want to go somewhere, or…?”
“No,” Anakin says, putting his drink down on a table. “No, I think you both should hear this.”
Din tenses. He’s let his guard down over the past few days, figuring that if nothing bad had happened yet it wouldn’t, but now it comes back up all at once—the fear that Anakin is about to say something that will hurt Luke, something that will turn the warm light of this rooftop tent and the warm memory of his sister’s wedding into something Luke can’t bear to think about. And Din wants to interrupt, to pull Luke out of there and shield him, but he knows that he can’t. This is Luke’s family. It’s Luke’s decision.
And Luke says, softly, “Okay.”
Anakin looks miserable. “I was a shitty dad,” he says. “When you left the Order, I thought…I don’t know what I thought, but I made it about me. In my head, I wanted you to be the Jedi that I never got to be, and I forgot that it was supposed to be about you.”
“What was supposed to be about me?” Luke asks.
“Everything,” says Anakin, with a tired laugh. “You’re my son. Everything is supposed to be about you. And I got so tangled up in myself that I forgot that. It shouldn’t have been about you being what I expected you to be, it should’ve been about you being happy. Whatever that looks like.” He puts on a tremulous smile—one that makes him look, shockingly, like Luke when he’s being genuine, sad around the edges, but earnest. “So I guess I just want to say, I’m glad that you’re happy. I’m so glad that you’re happy, and I’m sorry if I made it harder for you to be that way. I’m so, so sorry.”
“Dad,” Luke says, watery. He takes a stilted step forward, and then they’re hugging.
Anakin looks more affected by it than Luke is, like his son is the only thing holding him up, and for the first time since they got here Din thinks that maybe they really did miss Luke as much as Luke missed them. When they break apart they’re both red-eyed, and they say words to each other that Din doesn’t think it’s his business to hear, and then Anakin goes back to his wife at the head table and Luke comes back to Din, unsteady on his feet.
“My parents are going to visit for Life Day, if that’s okay,” he says, sounding a little shell-shocked.
“That’s great, Luke,” Din says. “Of course it’s okay.”
Luke nods, mouth twisting like it does when he’s trying not to cry. Din wants to reach out to him, but he can tell that Luke’s struggling to hold it together, clinging to his composure by the fingernails, so he keeps his hands to himself as their security team escorts them back to the Crest, where Koska’s already transferred all their luggage and pinged port authority for take-off clearance. He keeps his hands to himself while they get Grogu settled in his cubby and navigate up out of the city’s airspace, until the comms are quiet and they’re alone in the cockpit, Luke in his cream white suit, most of the flowers gone but a few tiny petals still clinging to his hair.
Then he can’t keep his hands to himself anymore. He takes off his helmet, his gloves, his chestplate, his pauldrons, all the armor on his upper body, because he wants to be able to hold Luke like they’re in bed, in their bed, in their home. It takes some time, all those straps, but Luke just waits patiently, watching him, with an affectionate almost-smile that wavers and falters when Din steps forward and pulls him into a tight hug.
Luke melts in his arms, clinging to him. And for the first time since they left Mandalore, since they got the invitation from his sister, Luke lets himself cry. He’s quiet about it, like he always is, and for the millionth time Din curses the way of life that made Luke feel like he had to hide this from everyone, even from his own husband. But at least they’re here now, at a place where Luke knows that whatever he feels, whatever he needs to let out, Din will be there, with him, always. He presses a kiss to Luke’s hair and doesn’t say anything, letting Luke cry and cry until he’s all out of tears, his breathing thick and watery against Din’s shoulder, his grip crushing.
“Blurgh,” he says, after a minute. “I guess I really needed that.”
Din chuckles softly. “I guess so.”
They untangle themselves and settle down in the pilot’s chairs, still holding hands. All the ugly emotional tension of the past few days seems to have dissolved. It might be uncharitable of him, but Din’s happy to be off Coruscant, to have left Luke’s family behind, at least for the moment. He feels lighter, somehow. Freer, less anxious. He’s alone again with his clan, with the two people he doesn’t have to pretend around. The two people who see right through him. And they’re on their way home.
“Home soon,” Luke murmurs beside him, like he can read Din’s mind. And he can, but that’s not why he knows what Din’s thinking. He just knows because he knows Din. He knows his husband.
“Yeah,” Din says, a warm feeling spreading through his chest. “Home soon.”