I've decided to make this a multi-chapter story. Otherwise, I wouldn't be publishing this until next year because it's ending up a lot longer than I thought it would. And a 10-15K one-shot might be hard for a lot of people to get through understandably, I hope this is fine :')
This story follows the events of a Debt, but it should be okay not to read the other if you wish. Just know they kinda make their first relationship move in that story.
Boba did not expect to see Din again so soon.
It wasn't like he had been keeping track of the days or anything. The last he'd seen of the beroya had been back on the forgettable little industrial planet they had picked Kryze up from. Boba had dropped off Din, Dune, the Moff, and the Terrible Two, practically herding the latter three off the ramp with his gaderffii.
Dune had said they were headed to the nearest New Republic-controlled base with superiors that would know how to deal with the Moff. That had been Boba's cue to wave his arm, and head on his separate way. He hadn't exactly been in good standing the last he saw of the Rebel Alliance. And now that they are the victors that loom over half the damn galaxy...well, Boba's got enough self-preservation to know he should steer clear of that mess for now.
Their goodbye had been relatively succinct; Boba could practically feel Kryze's impatient glare boring into the back of his neck. He stood in Din's way at the hatch of the Slave I.
"So." Boba said, doing his best to keep from shifting his weight from one leg to the other in a sudden bout of nerves. Din hadn't even bothered, freely shuffling his boots while moving to rest his uninjured arm against a hip.
"So," Din said back, head tilted towards the ground as if the scuffs of dirty shoe prints were suddenly the most interesting thing in the galaxy, "I guess this is goodbye?"
He had phrased it like a question, and somehow that made Boba hopeful enough to do something brave.
"Doesn't have to be." Boba tentatively held out a hand for a shake and smiled when Din reached out to clasp it without even a full second of hesitation. "Said I'd find that be'jetii whereabouts for you, didn't I?"
Din squeezed at his hand, and Boba wished that there hadn't been two layers of gloves separating their bare skin.
"Vor entye, Boba. For everything. I don't know how to repay you." Hearing Din say his given name aloud for the first time...it made Boba's breath catch somewhere between his throat and chest. He swallowed and spoke honestly.
"Just make sure this won't be the last we all see of you." Boba couldn't think of anything else he could have wanted from the beroya at that moment. "Whether that be for your ad'ika …" Or for me, he indulged himself with the thought.
"I will see him again." Din confirmed solemnly, chest puffing out. Then he seemed to soften as he squeezed Boba's hand again with a tilt of his helmeted head.
"And I...would like to see you again as well." He sounded almost shy. "After I figure out this whole sword thing." He gestured to the Darksaber still sitting comfortably at his hip. Boba thought it at least looked better there than anywhere near another Kryze or Vizsla.
He wants to see me again. Me.
"Know that you will always be welcomed here with me, ner vod ." Boba whispered, reaching his other hand up to hold the beroya at the back of his neck, fingers trailing up until he finds just a wisp of curls.
They both took a collective breath, frozen in that moment. Just the two of them.
Boba pulled down on Din's neck, and Din lowered his head with the movement.
Their buy'cese touched gently, and Boba could feel Din's hand tremble from where it's still held tightly in Boba's grip. They stayed close, matching each other's echoing breaths through their modulators.
"Ret'urcye mhi, Boba." Din murmured, putting more pressure into the mirshmure'cya and Boba returned it with the same fervor.
"Ret'urcye mhi, Din ." Boba replied with a hum.
They had pulled away when Fennec pointedly coughed as she walked past them back onto the ship. Din squeezed his hand once more before letting go and heading down the ramp.
Boba watched the beroya speak to Dune, then watched the little group head towards Kryze's ship.
He sensed Fennec's steady presence beside him as they walked further and further away.
"You really just let... all that go on his merry way?" Fennec's voice was light, and Boba rolled his eyes.
"I'm not his keeper." He scoffed, turning to shut the hatch. "He's got his own things to sort through right now." They both watched the ramp pull in before the doors sealed shut.
"And after?" Fennec asked quietly after a moment of staring at the closed entrance. Boba had stood very still, feeling something in his chest tighten. After ...
"And if he thinks we are worth coming back to after that...well, I wouldn't object to it." Boba swallowed hard and started for the cockpit.
"Of course you wouldn't." She followed after him, and Boba could hear the grin in her voice without looking back. "Mando's got you wrapped around his finger, and he doesn't even know it."
Boba let out a laugh, sliding into his seat, "Oh really? Just like you, ain't that right?"
"Just like me. Except I know it." He could see her grin now that she's slid into the co-pilot chair beside him.
"You're a cheeky one, ner vod. Almost wish I didn't fish you out of the damn sand." He shook his head fondly, reaching for the controls. Having someone to genuinely banter with and rib at...it's been a long time for Boba.
"You don't mean that." She snorted with good nature, pulling her seatbelt on.
"Quiet before I just might." He laughed again, fiddling with the navigation system. It had been a good choice, to save her back on Tatooine. She rolled her eyes, reaching over to lightly punch him on the pauldron.
"Where we headed, boss?"
"The Doran system." He sobered quickly, pulling off his buy'ce to squint at the holomap before him.
"Now that we've lost the distractions, I think it's time we've made a dent in this." He rubbed at his chin, ideas beginning to form.
"Sounds like a plan. Think they cut some corners on a few of my old deals with them. Damn slugs have had it coming for a long time." Fennec growled, leaning back in her seat.
"It won't just be the Hutts." Boba frowned, "the power vacuum left by Jabba only brought out more vermin from their hiding holes."
"Good, I've been going out of practice lately." Fennec cracked her knuckles, and Boba couldn't help but grin.
"Then let's get to it, shall we?"
For the next month, Boba's mind was fully occupied with strategies. It wasn't as simple as storming Jabba's old palace back on Tatooine. Taking a dusty building occupied by useless hut'uune would mean nothing if Boba doesn't plan his takeover with the precision it required. He had to make sure no one would come to the defense of whoever currently sat on the Hutt Throne. He had to make sure no one would have the power to come challenge his claim. Because losing the throne before he'd even have the chance to warm the seat would be really embarrassing.
Many nights were spent up in the small kitchenette, the room filled with the smell of cheap caf as the two poured over datapads and holomaps. An old holotransmitter sat on the table, rigged to listen in on radio chatter across their targeted syndicates.
Some required a fight. With just the two of them, those assaults had to be planned down to their very last blaster shot. Stolen blueprints helped bring the element of stealth, and Fennec was the most skilled assassin in the parsec. They had several smaller territories yield within the first week.
Others required some negotiations and quick talking. Handling these organizations this way saved them on both arsenal and unnecessary risks. Not exactly Boba's favorite thing in the galaxy, but he's managed to handle a few situations over the years with a quick word or two. Sometimes, the smarmy words would remind him of that damn smuggler, and it would take everything to stop himself from gagging audibly in the middle of some high-stake back and forth quipping.
Some only needed to hear that Boba Fett was back to scramble their way into his comlink queue, begging for his mercy or possible partnership. It's nice to know his name still had some weight in these circles, though the constant groveling in his ears was not welcomed, and often left him with headaches.
Finally, after a month of fighting, talking, bluffing, and some very close calls, they have enough ground to make their claim over the Hutt throne a legitimate and defendable one.
All that's left now, is to take Tatooine.
"A wupiupi for your thoughts?" Boba winces as Fennec slaps a bacta patch over a cut near his shoulder. They had honestly gotten out of this hell month fairly easy with only light wounds.
"Wupiupi? In this economy?" Fennec pokes the patch with a laugh, earning a 'watch it!', "as if you can afford even a single thought with that."
"Shebs'palo一 hEY!" His muttered curse is abruptly cut off by her flicking his ear.
"I've heard you say that enough times under your breath while talking to that Gungan last week to know, that shit isn't nice." She saunters past him with a smirk, putting the medical box back in the supply cabinet, locking it shut. Boba scowls, rubbing at the patch gingerly. At this rate, Fennec will end up with every Mando'a curse under her belt.
"You've been quiet, just wanted to know what's on your mind." And Boba truly is curious. He had known Fennec Shand to be a notorious assassin for hire in his bounty hunting days. The woman he found in the desert held the same danger, even more so in her half-dead state. She had been wary, panicked, and delirious from blood-loss, yet had still managed to nick Boba with a concealed knife before collapsing again. She had also been very afraid. After he had fixed her wounds, and slowly nursed her back to health, he noticed the subtle change. Fennec had always been one for a few words. But the words she did use are as sharp as her blades, used only to manipulate things in her favor.
Over time, their year of travel had mellowed her shell, but never dulled her poison. She smiles easily and speaks freely now, eyes able to spark with harmless mischief and murderous focus at the flip of a switch. Boba is glad to finally have someone that is both competent and good company to call a comrade.
He turns his attention back to Fennec, who is staring at him from her perch on the medbay bunk opposite of him.
"I'm just surprised we were able to pull it off. Just the two of us...without dying." She doesn't sound very surprised, just contemplative.
"I never doubted your skill."
"We did well, Boba. I never doubted your leadership." She nods with a genuine smile. Then it turns into something sly. "Although, would've gone a lot faster if you'd called Mando."
Boba sucks a breath in and stays quiet.
"You know he would've helped if you ask 一"
"Not the point." Boba frowns, picking at the dirt stuck on his gloves. "You know what he's been up to. It wouldn't have been a good time."
And Din has been very busy indeed.
It came up multiple times during their little conquests. Many of their new allies had been looking for any kind of small talk to ease the tension. The new Mand'alor happened to be their go-to conversation topic, given Boba's own background.
Somehow, news of the Moff's capture spread far and wide, even to the far reaches of the Outer Rim. Along with news of the one who had done the deed.
A Mandalorian wearing pure beskar, armed from head to toe.
One who wields both a spear and a rumored ancient weapon.
Stolen by the Empire, and won back through a ferocious battle.
Rumors of the possible revival of Mandalore under his rule.
The last one sounds a bit far-fetch to Boba. The rumors do not indicate Kryze as the hero of the story. That means Din might still have the Darksaber. As to why...the answer is beyond Boba. Something must've happened for Din to still hold his claim to the thing. Or maybe things are more complicated than simply tossing it to the Jawas as they had pondered before.
" 一 hear your brain frying from here. You know you could've just called him for an update. Not like you two have each other's comlinks or anything." He blinks, barely catching on to Fennec's words. He clasps his hands together, tapping his fingers against his knuckles.
"I think we were both a little too busy for that."
"Uh-huh." Fennec raises an eyebrow, and Boba wants to be anywhere but here at the moment.
She sighs, leaning back to pick up a datapad. "Well, you're going to have to call him now anyway, don't you?" She holds out the device to him.
He takes it without speaking, staring at the chain of numbers in front of him.
Skywalker's transmission code.
It had always been a side note with each of his takeovers and meetings. After a surrender or a deal, he'd ask the leaders for Skywalker's information. Most had been clueless or only offered dead leads. They all assumed that Boba's looking for Skywalker to deal his vengeance, and didn't want to incur the wrath of either when it came to blows. So all Boba had gotten was useless noise. Until finally, one source held some truth to it. They spent two day chasing it, and the long line of numbers became their prize. It's a thought that still pops into his mind every now and then. What he would do to Skywalker if he ever saw him again. What he'd do to Han Solo. Boba remembers how his hands had automatically gone for the weapons panel of the Slave I when he had seen that X-wing back on the cruiser.
"Mando left the baby in the Jedi's care."
He loosens his death grip on the datapad with a deep exhale.
Except this has become something more than him and his Skywalker problem. There is now a kid in the mix. A kid who is under Skywalker's tutelage and protection.
A kid who is also Din's ad'ika.
Fuck, when had he gotten so damn soft?
"I'm calling him." He announces, pulling out his comlink. The statement rings in the air, so shit, now he's got to do it.
"A miracle." Fennec deadpans, throwing her hands up in the air.
"Slana'pir ." Boba scowls, staring at the datapad again. He hears shifting.
He looks back up to see Fennec stretching, leaning back against the bunk.
"That means 'piss off', by the way." He adds helpfully.
"Mm, good to know." Fennec smiles sweetly, and Boba rubs at the bridge of his nose with a groan.
"Ka'ra, just go away." He waves his arm in a shoo-ing motion.
"Fine." She rolls her eyes with a dramatic sigh, jumping to her feet with silent grace. "You're not the only one missing Mando."
"I don't mis 一 "
"Let him know I said hello. Don't get too mushy." She waves without turning around to look at the rude gesture he gives her.
Boba shakes his head when she's finally gone. He pulls up the familiar comm code, going still as he stares at it. The actions are a routine one; he's done the same thing for many nights before. Always a small pressure away from pressing the call button, before he lifts his finger and places the comlink away, heading to sleep.
This time, he presses down.
He can hear his blood rushing through his ears in time with the static of a transmitting signal, and with his thudding heartbeat.
There is a click, and Boba's breath catches in his throat.
"...Boba?" Din's smooth and modulated voice filters through the communicator. He sounds tired but also surprised. Maybe even a hint of something else that Boba dares not try to prematurely identify as happy.
Boba lets out the breath in one go, his grip on the comlink shakes a bit before steadying. He allows a small smile to grace his lips.
Beroya- Bounty Hunter
Gaderffii - Gaffi Stick
Be'jetti - Jedi's (possessive form)
Vor entye - Thank you
Ner vod - my brother/sister
Buy'ce(se) - Mandalorian helmet(s)
Ret'urcye mhi - Goodbye/Until we meet again
Mirshmure'cya - Keldabe Kiss/ Headbutt
Hut'unn(e) - Coward(s)
Shebs'palon - Asshole
Slana'pir- Piss off
Ka'ra - Stars
Su'cuy - Hello (informal/familiar)
Boba: Wow I wished I knew wtf Din was up to but he'd only want me to call him if it's about his son surely :/
Fennec:...You could just...call him and ask?
Boba: :/ :/
Next Time: Boba to Luke and Han on Space Zoom call: I lived, bitches. Also, Boba sees Din interact with Grogu for the first time and gets feelings™.
Hope we're off to a good start :D
Reviews always loved and appreciated. Thanks for reading :)