* I plan for this to be a series of short stories, mostly about things in between episodes or scenes. Full disclosure, my knowledge of the Star Wars fandom is limited, but I have seen all three seasons of The Mandalorian and most of Book of Boba Fett. Constructive criticism is welcomed.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Mandalorian.
Genres and warnings: Angst, drama, action, swearing, blood
Edited By: PrintingPisces
A lonely wisp of dust floated serenely through the air. Large eyes followed it closely. Afraid it would vanish, and having finally found something to do, tiny green claws reached out to grasp it.
The creature slowly opened his palms, hoping to get a better look at it, but it wasn't there. Restlessly, he wriggled his body, trying to see where the speck had landed.
He gasped sharply and winced. One of his long ears snagged painfully on a piece of rust, and he had to shake his head rapidly to free it. He whimpered quietly, so as not to disturb the people near him. He tried to reach for his ear in order to soothe it, but to no avail with how short his limbs were.
His ear throbbed, and the speck of dust had disappeared completely. So, he settled down, staring up at the ceiling of his pram. Still needing something to do before he took his next nap, his eyes traced over the metal surrounding him for millionth time, over every dent, rust, and imperfection.
The pram wasn't necessarily falling apart, but it had seen better years. There was once a time when he knew how to control it, or at the very least how to open it from the inside. But he had long since forgotten how or why he would ever need to do so.
From within, he could hear them, the people that were always close by. Sandy boots scuffed against the stone floor, and indistinct voices chattered all around. The creature, still just an infant, never quite understood why he was with these people. He also still struggled to grasp language. However, he understood names and titles well enough. These people called themselves Niktos.
Day in and day out, the Niktos milled around him, going about their business. For the most part, they ignored him, only opening the pram when necessary. And when they did open it, during those times…
Fresh air would fill his tiny lungs.
Fractals of sunlight would peer through the windows.
The drafty desert warmed his scratchy blanket.
Emphatic and clear conversations reached his ears.
"That thing is a chore to take care of," some of the Niktos often griped. "The Empire wants it, and the bounty is good."
Others would agree, but… "Quit complaining. This job pays better."
"Does it? Where's our credits, then?"
Every time the Niktos spoke, his long green ears would droop cautiously. Truthfully, he didn't always know what the Niktos were talking about. He assumed they were neither good nor bad, but his instincts told him to keep his distance when possible. Hard to do when he wasn't allowed to go anywhere else but here. Still, despite the uneasy atmosphere every time he was allowed out, these moments were far too rare, and he would always savor them.
But it wouldn't be long at all before the Niktos would shut him in the cold darkness of his pram again.
Years…And years. That was how long he'd been sequestered away from the galaxy. From anyone.
During those first few years, he would cry. Calling, whimpering, and begging to be let out. If only for a second. If only to see, hear, or experience something. For a long time, no one seemed to hear his requests.
Eventually, a response did come. A shout of annoyed profanity would echo, and a fist or toe would collide against the pram. Every time this happened, he shrank under the covers and grew quiet, until it became a habit to flinch and tuck his blanket closer.
After a while, he stopped crying altogether, and so did the harsh responses. His world became quiet and subdued.
Perhaps that was a good thing to have practiced, for it wasn't long until blasters were heard. Much like Coruscant. Too much like it, if not a little quieter, but no less jarring. From inside the pram, he would hear dust and debris spraying into the air, fighters screaming and plunging against walls, and the foundations of the settlement shaking.
As soon as the fighters would arrive, they would stop just as quickly. And the Niktos would cheer and celebrate another victory…And another, and another. The fighters kept coming, to cut down, to find something, determined to get inside the settlement. And the Niktos would always thwart them.
Though his blanket itched, and the metal was always cold, the more the fighting went on, the more he wondered what these fighters wanted. He always remained silent, and he slowly learned that isolation was a small price to pay for safety and security.
And so, over the years, he forgot. Many things. Like how to operate the pram from the inside.
He twitched an ear, the one still hurting him. Decidedly, he tucked them both uncomfortably behind his head to conserve warmth. He closed his eyes and struggled to nap.
He also forgot how to call out to someone. To anyone.
Although, what good would it do?
No one ever seemed to hear him.
Heavy booms shook the ground just outside the settlement's walls. Fighters grunted and shouted as they perished.
The familiar sounds of blasters interrupted his sleep. A small grunt escaped him as he fisted his hands over his tired eyes. Blinking a few times to awaken completely, he decided he would fall asleep once the fighting was over.
He tilted his head when he realized that it was lasting longer than usual. Even more curious when things would fall silent, and then start up again. Whoever these fighters were, they were stubborn and probably numerous.
After what felt like ages, all fell quiet again. Very quiet. He was used to silence, but none like this, akin to a grave. His ears strained, and he realized that he couldn't hear the Niktos anymore. Perhaps they were gone. Perhaps…now he was truly alone? That thought didn't comfort him. His pram suddenly felt even colder, and he shivered.
He flinched sharply, not expecting a blaster to be fired near the front doors. Its metal was crunching and creaking and groaning. Something large and heavy fell to the floor. Some dust managed to work its way through the weak cracks of the pram, and he scrunched his nose and eyes against the stinging it brought.
A droid clanked and echoed as it stepped through the building. Another set of footsteps, boot-clad, accompanied. The boots were feather-light, stealthy and controlled, but his acute hearing picked up on it nonetheless. He tilted his head again, curiosity winning out over uncertainty. He wondered who these strangers were.
There was a beeping noise, and the boots came closer, in the direction of the pram.
Straight for him.
He fidgeted with his blanket, staring in the sound's direction. For all these years, he had done his absolute best to stay silent. Is that not what the universe wanted? What more could anyone want from him?
A button was pressed, and the pram hissed and whirred. Light flooded his vision. He squinted against the brightness. The sun was almost blinding as it reflected off of brilliant silver metal.
A black visor stared down at him.
The wearer of the intimidating helmet stiffened in astonishment, and turned to address the droid that also approached. The conversation was a clipped one, with the droid being the most insistent. Their words were swift, and he couldn't keep up with any of it. His curiosity never faltered, and he straightened up to get a better look at the strangers.
The droid kept wanting to raise its blaster, but the man blocked each time. All the while, the man's visor continued to stare down at him, and he never looked away.
Quicker than most eyes could ever keep up with, a blast was finally fired. And the droid fell lifelessly to the ground.
He never stopped clutching the blanket, and he didn't utter a sound. The swift death of the droid didn't shake him, as he had seen far worse over the years. But it was because he had no idea what was going to happen next.
He held his ground as the man's arm rose. A fist stretched towards the pram, slowly and not stopping…
…Until a gloved finger was pointed in his direction.
The finger waggled at him.
He stilled, almost unable to believe it.
This was not a demand, and he wasn't being ripped from the pram like so many others had done. The man was actually asking for interaction. For once, after so many years, he was being given…a choice.
His ears perked up ecstatically, and his previously wide eyes relaxed. Although he still made a questioning and cautious burble under his breath, he couldn't stop himself. He reached out towards the finger, desperately longing for a shred of kindness, of hope. If only for a second.
Which he accomplished. Sort of.
As soon as his claws made contact with the glove, the man dropped his arm. It wasn't an act of disgust, but one of detachment.
His ears drooped once more and he suppressed a slight whine. He was disappointed, but not offended. Any minute now, the pram would close in his face once more, just as it always did.
He was sure of it.
And with a bounty on its head, no less!
What the hell was wrong with this part of the galaxy? What was this entire universe coming to?
Din shook his head stiffly, glancing back at the following creature.
With some crude modifications to one of his gauntlets, he programmed it to control the pram from a distance, allowing for the child to follow without slowing him down. The child peered over the edge, his wide eyes sometimes staring wondrously at the vast desert. More often than not though, he stared straight ahead, and his attention was almost always on the Mandalorian.
Din looked away. He shook his head again, this time slower. At least the child was quiet, allowing him to concentrate and reflect. He was a bounty hunter, an occasional bodyguard, sometimes even soldier. He was many things, but not once would he ever consider a child to be a target. His jaw clenched at the very thought.
However, he was here to do a job.
He was not hired to harm the child, unlike that barbaric droid. No. Unfortunately, he was hired to bring the child in, in exchange for beskar. He exhaled harshly. A job was a job, and he was a man of his word. Although, he did make a mental note to ask the guild or the Client what they were going to do with the child.
Once he collected the reward.
These days, there were two main things of importance to all Mandalorians. The training and well-being of the foundlings, and a supply of beskar. The latter was what was promised for bringing in this bounty.
They had been travelling by foot for some time, the better part of a day and almost into the night.
From inside his pram, the child stared up at the sky. He was very much hoping to see the stars and planets above, but he didn't think he would. It was overcast, and by the time it would be dark enough, he would probably be fast asleep.
He had no complaints about this day whatsoever.
The fall of the settlement and all those bodies didn't faze him. The ambush midday in the canyon almost didn't scare him. And the gruffness of his traveling companion couldn't even dampen his spirits.
He was outside. With the pram wide open. He could see the sky, smell the air, and feel the dusty wind.
He had forgotten what all of this felt like. And he only now realized just how stuffy and claustrophobic that settlement had been in comparison to this. He forced his eyes to stay open as long as possible, not wanting to miss a thing, even if nothing was currently going on. He also didn't want to chance waking up to the darkness of the pram yet again. But he was so tired, despite having not walked a single step today. His senses were almost overloaded by this point, and he needed to rest.
The man also needed to rest. Currently, he was busying himself by running sparks along his arm. The child watched the sparks with rapt attention, its flashing light stark and brilliant against the night. Whatever the device was, the noise from the sparkler was sharp and crackly, but it wasn't enough to drown out the man's grunts of pain.
The sparkler illuminated against a crimson part of the sleeve.
The child tilted his head confusedly. Though they were ambushed earlier, he had watched every moment from his pram, and not once did he see the man become injured from the fight. But he was somehow hurt nonetheless.
The child almost whimpered with concern. Almost. He didn't know if the man would take kindly to his wordless sentences. Most people didn't. Still, he felt helpless.
He had been helpless during the ambush. The man had known this, and had instantly shoved the pram clear out of the way to take care of the danger. The child tilted his head again as he thought of this. The man hadn't given it a second thought to keep him safe.
But there was no danger now, so he clambered out of the pram. His feet were silent as he landed on the ground. The sand here felt rocky and coarse, but he made no noise of protest as he shuffled towards the sparkler.
He couldn't remember much of the past couple of decades. However, he knew he could help. Somehow he had to. He remembered…some sort of hand motion or gesture? He had to try.
He approached the man, stopping next to the side of his leg. He raised his hand, bringing his claws towards the injured arm. Oh, wait. He had to close his eyes, too, for some reason, but he knew it was a necessary step. He had to help. Infuriatingly, nothing was happening.
The man gasped, a startled noise. Suddenly, a gloved hand covered his own, and he was being lifted off the ground. He almost squeaked with indignation, not appreciating the interruption one little bit, especially when he was put back in his pram. But while the man had been abrupt, especially when his hand was grabbed, he wasn't harsh. When he was deposited into the pram, the man took a moment to situate him and make sure he was securely in there before walking away and sitting back down.
This was new to the child. Such care was…unheard of.
He grumbled and shook his head, almost scowling. He didn't dwell on this in order to focus on the task at hand. He once again jumped down from the pram.
The man was now busy applying the sparkler to a piece of his armor. He was sitting more upright, making it difficult for the child to reach the injured arm, but not impossible. The child didn't mean to make a noise and did his best to stifle it, but he was straining uncomfortably on his tiptoes in that moment.
Just like moments ago, the man scooped him up, and tucked him into the pram, even adjusting him so his legs wouldn't be squashed against the sides. The child stared up at him curiously, resigned to the fact that he couldn't help even if he wanted to. Still, as he stared at the black visor, his ears were perked up and relaxed, and he tilted his head to the side. A soft coo escaped him, a contented one.
He felt happiness for once. Happy to be outside. Happy that the darkness surrounding them was that of comfort and not confinement. Happy that the man seemed okay despite the deep wound.
The man stared back at him. His posture wasn't as stiff as it was at the settlement, but he still conveyed uncertainty. He exhaled, a troubled sound that moved his shoulders.
Then, the man pressed a button on his gauntlet.
The pram shut.
Though the child was now surrounded by complete darkness, he didn't feel disappointed or anxious at all. For even the way the man had pressed the button wasn't harsh.
The child slowly ducked under the covers, a wave of drowsiness coming over him. From outside the pram, he could hear the scuffing of boots, right next to him, of which he was determined to commit to memory. The contentment refused to leave him as he closed his eyes.
He slept soundly, all the way until daybreak.
That night, Din had to focus on his armor and the blurrg bite, both of which had received enough damage. He couldn't do any of that with the distraction of an errant child. And he sure as hell didn't want said child to get hurt while he worked. And so he put him in the pram, safe and out of the way. Din didn't want to lock him up like that. No child deserved such treatment. But he had to prioritize.
He stayed up that night, doing his best to make repairs and tend to his wound. He only ever got up to stretch his legs. While he was mainly focused on the tasks at hand, he couldn't help but glance at the pram every so often. He expected the child to make a fuss and cry from being put to bed, as most children did, but no such sounds ever came.
The pram hovered there silently, as if abandoned.
Something constricted in Din's chest, but he didn't know why. Perhaps a side effect of the blurrg bite? He shook his head rapidly to brush off the sudden symptom, and got back to work.
Over the next few hours, he often contemplated opening up the pram, just to check on the child. But wasn't there a saying about waking a sleeping baby? Din decided not to, knowing that the child was fine where her was and didn't need him to interfere.
Right on time, the sun peaked over the horizon.
Din thought about getting an hour of shut eye, but he could always catch up on sleep back at the Razor Crest. The light allowed him to get a much better look at himself now. The wound would heal, so he didn't worry too much about that at this point. It was the compromised beskar that worried him most.
As he inspected his chest plate, he realized the repairs he'd been attempting to make through the night were all but futile. He had known for a long time now that his armor needed replacing, but he had always hoped it would be later rather than sooner.
He exhaled, having yet another task to add to his growing pile. After he fixed his armor back into place – with what little he could do about it – he stood up, and made his way over to the pram. His finger hovered over his gauntlet.
Perhaps he ought to let the child wake up on his own? But didn't all children follow a sleeping schedule of some sort? Going with his gut, he opened the pram.
He almost took a surprised step backwards.
The child was already awake, and now blinking against the rising sun. Upon seeing Din, he did something odd. His mouth stretched a little, revealing miniscule white teeth, and he managed a soft and tired coo.
Din assumed it was a smile, but he didn't even know what species he was.
"You wanna stretch your legs for a second," Din asked him, waving towards the ground. "We still have a few more miles to go yet."
The child's ears perked up when he saw the hand gesture. That's when Din noticed something. A small cut just along the edge of an ear. It wasn't a terrible wound, and was already scabbing over, but Din did wonder how he received it. As if he had been waiting for the invitation, the child crawled out of the pram and landed on the ground. Before wandering around, he rubbed a fist over his eyes and gave a wide, almost inaudible, yawn.
Din raised a brow, and observed from a distance. The child stumbled around, as most infants did, but he did so quietly, and with measured steps. Every few moments, he would look around, until his eyes landed on Din, and then he would go back to wandering. All of this was done completely silently.
There was something…not right about any of this.
Obviously, the Empire posting a bounty for a child was deplorable enough. However, it was the child himself that was a bit of an enigma. Where were his parents? His home?
Why did he not act like a normal child?
He hardly ever made a sound, and when placed in the pram he stayed there almost obediently. He clearly had curiosity, and was not afraid to go at his own pace like he was doing now, but those instances seemed to be very rare.
As Din crouched down slowly to be at the child's level, he remembered something. When he had found the pram tucked away in a corner of the settlement with a bunch of cargo, there had been a tattered strip of netting draped carelessly over it, not to mention a layer of sand.
It begged the question… "How often did the Niktos let you out?"
The child stopped wandering to stare at him, tilting his head, clearly attempting to analyze the question.
Din obviously didn't expect a response, but he couldn't help but ask something else. "Why are you even here?"
The child glanced at the ground. After a few seconds, he looked back up at Din and made his way towards him. Din gradually straightened up to stand. Once the child approached, he picked him up and set him back in the pram.
The child leaned over the edge, and pointed at Din's gauntlet. He whimpered slightly, something deeply troubled in his eyes.
The constricting feeling in Din's chest returned, and he almost hated how much he understood the child in that moment. "No," he told him, and turned around to continue their trek through the desert. "I won't close it right now."
Din all too quickly realized that he should've gotten rest when he had the chance. It was one thing after the other. First it started with his ship being treated like a scrap heap and stripped for parts. He had raced after the Jawas who took all of it, but that got him nowhere. His ship was in shambles.
With the help of a farmer – Kuiil was his name, if Din recalled – they managed an absolutely aggravating negotiation. The Jawas refused to cooperate…unless he brought them an egg. Of all things!
Damn it all, he didn't question it. Just another job, as if one wasn't enough. He just wanted to get this over with and leave. Oh, but he couldn't do that until he repaired his own ship. Which still. Required. An egg.
Fine! So be it.
…The egg was being guarded by a mudhorn. Because of course it was.
Din prided himself on being prepared for any situation, no matter how spontaneous. However, the mudhorn had the upper hand from the very beginning. None of his gadgets, weapons, or armor proved useful at all.
After being shoved around like a ragdoll, the mudhorn launched him into the air. He landed square on his back. His vision blurred. Still, he had to keep fighting, so he drew his knife. The child was close by, and he would protect them both with whatever strength he had left. After all, Mandalorians never really knew when to give up.
The mudhorn charged one last time, but it never got the chance to finish them off.
Din was slumped in the back of the wagon, of which was hauling him and the parts to the Razor Crest. His lungs practically screamed with every breath he took, and his body felt like it had been battered to pieces. He was alive, but just barely.
He looked to his left, where the pram was keeping pace.
From on top of the blurrg that was pulling the wagon, Kuiil asked, "Is it still sleeping?"
Though he could see the child clearly from where he sat, Din still felt the need to place his hand on the edge of the pram. "Yes."
There was a pause. "Was it injured?"
"I don't think so," Din responded. "Not physically."
"Explain it to me again," Kuiil requested. "I still don't understand what happened."
The child was lying in the pram, flat on his back, eyes closed. He was so still, completely unmoving, and could've easily passed for dead if not for his fatigued breathing.
Din responded to Kuiil again. "Neither do I."
He was at a complete loss. Everything had happened so slowly and quickly all at once. The mudhorn charged, but something had stopped it, something…not visible. The beast was raised clear off the ground in front of Din's eyes. Just like Kuiil, he also didn't understand what had happened, because he didn't even know if he believed his own eyes. While the mudhorn had hovered through the air, he could've sworn he had seen the child raise its little hand, and…
But he couldn't have…there was no way he should've been…But there was no other explanation.
They should've been dead by now. Somehow, someway, the child had saved them, and he seemed to be paying the price for it.
Din slid off the toolbox he'd been sitting on, and shuffled to lean his back against a large metal panel that belonged to his ship. He had a gut feeling that the child would live, but that didn't do anything to quell his unease. Dank farrik, he hated feeling helpless, but he didn't know what to do. He didn't know if there was anything he could do.
After a while, Kuiil spoke up again. "It'll be another hour or so before we arrive at your ship. You'll need rest if you are to make any progress repairing it."
"I can't," Din grumbled.
"I'll keep a weather eye out for danger."
"I don't doubt that. And that's not what I'm worried about," he said, not taking his eyes off the child. "But I can't." If the child awoke for even a second, he wanted to know. He needed to know. He owed the child that much, if not more.
"Suit yourself," Kuiil said.
Exactly an hour later, they arrived at the Razor Crest. Din exhaled. His ship was his home, and he hated seeing it in such a state.
The next few days were spent on repairs. Kuiil helped, no questions asked, which Din was grateful for. Kuiil was a hard worker by nature, and if a job needed doing, then it simply needed to be done. No time like the present. Din was similar in that regard, and he dove into their work instantly. However, his attention was divided.
Whenever he needed a short break from the repairs, he would do so standing directly next to the pram. It actually made no difference as to whether he was working or not. Din always made sure that the pram was in view somehow, or at the very least in his peripheral.
If Kuiil was bothered by all this stop-starting, he had the tact to not voice it. Din knew he would watch these instances with fascination. Kuiil was aware that the child was a bounty target, and was probably confused by the bounty hunter's sentinel-like behavior.
When the repairs were finally done, Din bade farewell to Kuiil.
"And good luck with the child," Kuiil told him. "May it survive and bring you a handsome reward."
The Razor Crest creaked and hummed steadily as they glided through the stars.
Once autopilot was engaged, Din sank backwards in his seat with a painful exhale. Days. It had been days since he'd last slept. He was tempted to go down into his bunk to finally rest. Afterwards, he would move on to the next job. But first, he needed to finish this one. Although, it currently wasn't going successfully.
He swiveled in his chair to face the pram that hovered over one of the passenger seats. The child hadn't moved a single inch and had yet to awaken. He grasped the edge of the pram and gave it a little jostle. And then another, and another.
From within his glove, his knuckles turned white with apprehension. Then, he stopped. He let his hand slide away, and he turned back around to face the controls. It was time to go back to Nevarro.
The Razor Crest wasn't the loudest ship in the galaxy, but it certainly wasn't the quietest. Din never really minded, almost finding comfort in the white noise. Sometimes, if he was in a busy spaceport, he would let the ship idle just to drown everyone else out.
He almost didn't hear the drowsy murmur just behind him.
He instantly put the ship back in autopilot and reeled around.
The child was sitting upright, eyes squinty and blinking, but awake all the same. He and Din stared at each other.
He was awake. He was unharmed. He would be alright.
Din finally exhaled, as if he hadn't been able to breathe in days. "How're you feeling," he eventually asked. For a second the child didn't do anything. Then, he tipped his head back, and yawned. Din shrugged. "I'll take that as an 'alright'."
Even though hyperdrive would take them to Nevarro faster, Din kept his ship at a steady pace. Now, he could rest for a bit.
He leaned back in his seat as far as it would go, eyes closed, and listening. Listening for the child. While he was now reassured of the child's well-being, he didn't want to fall asleep completely, needing to maintain vigilance so that the child wouldn't get into any mischief.
And he now knew that this child was capable of mischief. Obviously there was the incredible outcome of the mudhorn incident. However, something interesting happened prior to that.
They had visited Kuiil's farm not long after his ship had been ripped apart, hoping that he might have a solution to deal with the Jawas. While there, the child was outside of the pram for once, and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.
Ha had found entertainment in the form of a small frog, and chased after it. As the child stumbled about, he made cooing noises under his breath. The noises started off almost silent, and gradually grew louder. It fascinated Din that he was suddenly acting like a normal child. Fascination turned to being impressed when the child swiftly caught the frog. Which quickly turned to disgust when the frog was eaten in a single gulp.
Eyes still closed, Din shook his head slowly at the recent memory. Right now, within the ship, the child was once again back to being silent. Whenever Din would open one of his eyes, he would find that the child was still in his pram, glancing curiously around at the cockpit.
After an hour or so, Din opened his eyes completely, and tilted his head ever-so-slightly. In his experience, children were often loud and curious, constantly and boisterously moving about their environment. This one, though, most of the time, was almost mute. Almost subdued.
Din wanted to make a sarcastic comment to the child, something along the lines of 'you can't fool me, kid,' but he refrained. After all, the child was probably too exhausted from his ordeal.
Sitting up a little, Din turned back to the control console, once again contemplating hyperdrive, but with not much motivation to do so. He made up some sort of vague excuse for himself, like the possibility of giving himself more rest, or giving the child time to rest. Whichever.
However, it wasn't much longer until they were approaching the atmosphere of Nevarro. Din suddenly saw movement out the corner of his eye.
The child was no longer in the pram, and was now wide awake. He stood on a flat section of the console, chewing on a little silver sphere that he'd managed to detach from a gear shift. Fearing he would choke on it, Din snatched it away.
"It's not a toy," he scolded halfheartedly, and placed the child back in the pram. He needed to focus on piloting, and the pram was probably the safest place anyway.
After only a moment or two, he couldn't help but look back at the child, who was staring confusedly at him. Not wanting to give in, he put his attention back on Nevarro. How the child managed to sneak up beside him like that and get into some minor antics, he had no idea.
Still, Din almost felt a smile tugging at his face.
As promised, as his profession required of him, he delivered the bounty target to the client. And he hated every moment of it. The child had only been under his protection for a few days, but he wasn't used to letting him out of his sight. However, the need to finish a job and the need for beskar muddled things.
Before he knew it, the child was slowly being taken away, the pram now reprogrammed to follow a doctor of some sort. Even now, Din still refused to let the child out of his sight, and he watched him go. The child's eyes were wider than they'd ever been, and his ears were flattened apprehensively against his blanket.
The child opened his mouth, and the room nearly echoed when he called out.
His cry was a question, a fear, a loud note that lanced its way through Din's chest.
When the child was gone, Din's voice was tight. "What're your plans for it?"
The Client seemed both shocked and annoyed by this question, and never gave him a satisfactory answer.
Din left when more stormtroopers joined the meeting, his reward in hand and knowing that he was outnumbered. This beskar was needed to replace his armor, and what remained would go to the foundlings.
Hours passed. Hours of tense uncertainty, not knowing whether the child was safe or not. Unfortunately, it also took him that many hours to realize something so painfully obvious.
When the child had cried out, it was so loud and so gut-wrenching. And directed at him.
The child had called out to him.
And he abandoned him.
Now that he had his new armor, and now that he was ready to leave the planet, he realized what he was doing. He realized what he had done.
Din was a foundling once, too. And this child was no different. He didn't know what the Empire wanted with him, and he would figure that out later. Being outnumbered never bothered him before, and he needed to fix his mistake.
The Child had called out to him.
He already let him down once.
It wouldn't happen again.