I Will Listen (Across the Universe)
Luke shifted his weight, the presence of Ahsoka behind him all together still comforting. His fingers twist together, uncertainty present in the jedi master’s demeanor. It’s unlike the man. An image carved out of composed peace, the very will of the force that was almost always shown to those around him. This image of Luke was a little more familiar to Ahsoka. It reminded her of her own adolescence, Anakin’s nervousness each time he knew Senator Amidala would pass by him. The giddy happiness at being noticed. It set a smile on Ahsoka’s own lips.
“He’s late,” Luke sighs.
“He’ll be here.” Ahsoka assures. Grogu babbles softly in Ahsoka’s arm. A reassuringly warm smile given to the child as she rocks them forth in her arms. “Especially to see the little one.”
“I know… I know,” Luke’s shoulders slacken a little bit. “I just feel so overwhelmed. I can’t believe I’m even doing this. It’s completely insane.”
“He’ll take care of you,” Ahsoka says in that mock-enlightened tone she’s taken on in her adulthood. “He’s an honorable man.”
“I’m sure.” Luke nods. “I know he is, but it’s been insanity trying to get this to feel any semblance of stability. The more time I spend on Coruscant, the more I worry some Senator will stab me in the back. The order needs space away from the republic if it’s going to grow.”
“It’ll be fine,” Ahsoka rests a reassuring hand on Luke’s shoulder. “You’ll find somewhere perfect for the new jedi order. You’re not alone.”
With those words, a ship begins to pull forward within the cluttered atmosphere of speeders and cargo ships. It’s a familiar sight to Luke by now, a large metallic ship that glints in the setting sun. A slightly larger Kom’rk-class ship with swampy green stripes painted along the ship as an accent. Luke let’s out a relieved sigh.
“See?” Ahsoka takes her hand back to bring Grogu closer to her chest.
The ship begins to make a slow descent towards the ruins of the Jedi temple. The former main temple of the Old Jedi Order only a temporary home for the handful of Jedi that have since gathered here. A gradual project to collect what can be scavenged of the old Jedi then leave the core to find a home suited for the new jedi order. What was slowly excavated, painstakingly, was the hangar they group has begun to use for their personal missions to find more acolytes. Most of the Temple left destroyed, deteriorating under disuse and destruction. The hundreds of ghosts of Jedi past still wander these falls, calling out to find peace. Sometimes Luke can’t even sleep in the temple without the heavy weight of sadness and mourning of Jedi wishing to be free.
The mandalorian’s ship begins to pull forward into the makeshift hangar, landing slowly. Luke can’t see the man, but he can feel the nervous energy of him through the force. A gentle pulling of him to reach and soothe this stressed creature.
Exhaust flushed through the room, the ship stabilizing on the ground it’s currently calling home. The ship’s landing pad dropped down. Only a few more moments and Luke is seeing the familiar Beskar glint of metal as he steps into the room.
He fills out the space easily. Shoulders wide and imposing, posturing strong. The metal shines under the Coruscant evening light. Feet sure as they step forward to the pair, finally standing before Luke once more.
“He-hello, Mando,” Luke straightens out his shoulders to stand up more. He doesn’t reach the same height, an obvious difference between the two. Yet, he tries nonetheless to appear as ever the grandmaster of the new jedi order.
He only nods. His head then turning to look at Ahsoka, the same nod given to her. His attention remains on Ahsoka yet clear he’s focused instead on Grogu.
“I figured you’d want to see Grogu. Spend a little time with them before we headed out.” Luke says softly.
“Thank you,” Din gruffly says. His hand rises up, index and middle outstretched for Grogu to hold onto. The child easily takes the hint, happy gurgles at seeing the chosen-father in so long.
Ahsoka clears her throat after a few moments. Silence having settled between them as Din watches the child and Luke watches Din. “Why don’t you take him. I do still have business to do. Ezra, and thrawn, aren’t gonna be found without looking. I’ll see you again, master.”
Ahsoka hands Grogu over to Luke. Wide eyes on Grogu of the sudden shift match the surprised expression of Luke. Ahsoka only offers a small smile, perhaps more of a smirk. She then bows, heading off to her own preparations in finding Ezra Bridger. Din didn’t seem fazed by this change of position, his helmet simply and silently following Grogu to the new position in Luke’s arms.
“It’s nice seeing you again,” Din says. The sound of his voice echoed behind the mask, but still soft regardless.
Luke doesn’t answer, believing he’s speaking to Grogu for a moment. The child looking up at him with huge eyes. One hand is still wrapped around Don’s finger. Looking up, Luke finds the mandalorian is instead watching Luke now. The question, now obviously, was posed to him.
“I… um, agree. It’s nice seeing you again as well. Grogu is happy as well.” Luke stammers over his words.
Grogu offers another gurgle, reaffirming his happiness to see Din. The Mandalorian hums in agreement. A simple sound Luke has heard often. That doesn’t stop a warm flush rushing through his chest.
A moment of silence resumes between them until Luke breaks it, “why don’t I get someone to stock your ship with some supplies and we can settle for the evening?”
Din gives another affirming hum. His finger pulled slowly away from Grogu, but stopping short of leaving entirely. The index finger flexes, dropping low to run a ghostly touch across Luke’s arm around Grogu. Then, just like that, it’s gone.
Luke turns his head. There’s no wish to move away from Din. Even behind all that armor, the imposing force built up before him, Luke can sense the gentle heat of the Mandalorian close by. Nearby is Artoo, just watching the events.
“Artoo, can you get Cal and some Temple Security to help stock the ship?” Luke asks, a heavy gulp caught in his throat.
Artoo gives a series of whirring noises, turning on his tail, and heading off to find Cal. Luke has spent enough time with the spunky droid to parse out the meaning behind his chirps. Harmless jabs at Luke’s hopelessness. Luke couldn’t agree more, however.
Luke begins to turn away, lifting Grogu up slightly to look over his shoulder. The Jedi chances his own glance back to the mando. The view isn’t all that shocking, but still one he didn’t expect of the man. Din obediently following behind, shoulders drawn down a little more with a nearly modest energy to him.
They walk down the long, ruined hallways of the temple. Rubble still left strewn about even after years of abandonment and desolation. At night, the halls seem to awaken with the call of the spirits. The silent steps of children, watching around the corner. Within the temple, the small group has made a small home in one of the alcoves of the temple. Practically it’s own living community space with common spaces and rooms perfect for the group to live in. Luke winds his way through the area under muscle memory alone. A practiced dance to ignore dangerous corridors and dead ends. The mandalorian’s heavy footfalls soothing in their consistency.
The room was mostly bare, save for a few personal keepsakes brought in by the ragtag new order. Suddenly it feels more messy than it truly is. Luke sets Grogu down. Then he watches the child waddle over to Din, excitedly cooing to the man. Din kneels down, hand stretching out to the youngling. Luke watches the exchange. His fingers find good hold together once more. Skin twisting under skin. Din seems to catch this, or he was watching all along.
“Something the matter?” Din says softly.
Luke hums for a moment, tilting his head to the side. The visor of his helmet watches him. Luke wants to crawl, placed on display with his emotions so present for Din to see without anything in return.
“I don’t… no,” Luke lies.
Din stands up to his full height. Luke gulping at the sight of the man. Grogu looks up at Din’s movement, mouth open and eyes wide. The man looks down to him.
“What’s wrong?” Luke doesn’t notice the hand rising to meet his face before it’s already there.
The cold leather presses against his face. Luke quickly gulps. The ever expressionless mask stares back at him. Luke can nearly swear he sees Din’s eyes through the visor, watching him for an answer.
“Just a little nervous,” Luke sighs. His eyes flutter close for a moment, head tilting slightly into Din’s hand.
“Why?” The gravelly voice echoes towards him. A pit in Luke’s stomach forms.
“You do that to me.”
The hand nearly retracts and Luke’s eyes widen. For a moment he worries it’ll leave. Then, it doesn’t. It remains still pressed against his jaw. Luke’s own hand cradling Din’s to stop him from moving away.
Din hums once more. A gentle understanding settling between the pair. The air seems to clear. The anxiety spiking between them through the force now a mellow wave lapping gently. The nervousness is gone, now they just have to talk to each other.
“Why don’t we settle down,” Din offers quietly. He doesn’t immediately pull away from the contact with Luke. A moment of watching him then Din finally steps away. Luke blinks once, twice to clear his mind of foggy ideas. He doesn’t remember giving a nod to the man, but regardless he’s guided to a table between them.
Much of the initial evening remains like that. Luke makes up the conversation. Din lies back in the cushioned seats. He seems more content to listen than offer more words than necessary. A hum or grunt tossed out for Luke to catch. Grogu got to spend time with their chosen-father for once in a while. It seemed like an evening that would keep itself uneventful the rest of the time.
By the Force, Luke was incredibly wrong.