maybe a little more oh the things we left behind epilogue fluff??? ;u; i know the entire epilogue was fluff but i am insatiable
yes very good thinking anon and sorry for the long wait my brain is just a heap of goo right now but here we go - some ottwlb fluff set between the Mandalorian war and the very last scene of the fic, a small compilation of how Din found the rest of their family:
oh the things we found
small TW for mentions of blood and trauma
Din doesn't in any way plan on becoming a magnet for Force-sensitive children, he really doesn't, but it happens regardless, something about his unique combination of Force-null beskar, Force-conduit darksaber, and Force-bond husband drawing them in like moths to a flame.
He finds Rey first, on a recon mission out to Jakku, casing a distress signal from a lost covert. She can't be any older than Ben, who is seven now and an absolute terror, but in comparison to him, she doesn't listen to Din one bit, her whole life just a series of defying the authority figures around her. She dangles from a rope above him, in the hollowed-out remains of an Imperial Star Destroyer, sticking out her tongue at him. "I'm not coming with you!" she declares while Din tries to position himself in a way that will allow him to catch her if she slips. "I'm waiting for my family. They're coming to get me!"
He doesn't have the heart to tell her no one in their right mind would ever willingly come back to a place like Jakku. He places all his rations, most of his credits, and, just for good measure, some bacta spray on the ground below her like he's making some offering to an ancient feral god and leaves with an ache in his chest.
"She won't come with me," he complains to Luke later, pacing up and down in the living area of the Mudhorn while Luke brews tea. They don't technically live in the Mudhorn anymore, have their own quarters in the ruins of Yavin's temple, but they always end up here regardless, whenever one of them comes back from a mission, whenever they need it to be just the two of them, away from everyone's worries.
Luke hands him a steaming cup and places a soft kiss on his temple. "Don't worry," he says, in that cryptic tone of his, the one he uses to tease Din when he's being daft about something that's impossible for him to know. "She will." And that's that.
Din goes back. Once, twice, three times, until the sparse crowd of locals looks at him with pity in their eyes. She does come with him eventually, after his eighths visit, when he draws the darksaber on a dune beast and turns around to find her looking at him with the type of recognition in her eyes that he's only ever seen in the way Luke looks at Ben and Grogu.
"She's like you," he accuses when Luke greets them at the bottom of the Mudhorn's ramp, Rey perched high on his shoulders, her arms wrapped around his helmet so tight it's hard for him to see. Luke just smiles and reaches out so Rey can tentatively take his hand. The change is instant - as soon as their palms touch her whole body relaxes as if something in her is finally at peace and Din has to reach up to keep her from sliding off his shoulders. And well. That's that.
Finn is next, standing tall in front of a group of terrified kids, in a backroom of the imperial laboratory they just raided, his eyes ablaze and lips turned up into a snarl. "I'll fight you," he snaps even as Din can see his hands shaking around the mop he fished out of the supply closet as a makeshift weapon. "I'm not scared, I'll fight you!" And really all Din can do in response is pull his helmet off and fall to his knees with his hands raised above his head.
It seems to work because he gets all of them into the Mudhorn eventually, Finn curled up on the copilot's seat, staring out in wonder at the endless expanse of space while the rest of the kids are rolled up into every available blanket in the captain's quarter. It's a bit of a rough start - where Rey felt turmoil because of the things swirling inside her without guidance, all Finn has ever known is supervision and people telling him to be something he's not, his connection to the Force tempered down in all the wrong places, too silent and too loud all at the same time, and in the first weeks, Din spends a lot of time hugging him close to the beskar plating of his chest, taking strolls under the quietness of Yavin's trees like he used to do with Ben. Finn quiets eventually, just as Rey did, the two of them getting on like a house on fire.
Shara is the one who brings Paige and Rose Tico, two sisters left stranded and alone by the still raging unrest of the remnants of war, and there is barely a discussion before she decides to take them in herself, the two of them glued to Poe the second they step off Shara's ship.
He finds Armitage last, standing over the dead body of an Imperial officer, blood on his hands and all across his face, just a sliver of yellow in the green of his eyes. Din has bruises on his arms for a week from how hard the kid strains against him as he tries to drag him out of the Star Destroyer before it self-destructs, but he figures, all things considered, they'll be able to handle that too.
He turns out to be a menace, of course, too smart for his own good, and way too stubborn to let Ben get away with his teasing, which always seems to end up Luke and Din having to physically drag them away from each other. Din tries to do for him what he did for everyone else, to hold him close and comfort him, but he only ever succeeds in the quiet of the night when he finds him at the very top of the temple wrapped up tightly in Luke's arms, both of them holding onto each other for dear life, eyes red-rimmed and cheeks tear-stained, darkness hanging around them like rain clouds.
Armitage takes a shine to Bo-Katan though, amidst all of his defiance, a fact that seems to confuse her as much as it does Din, and he knows that that will probably spell disaster in the future given how fast and feral Armitage takes to swinging a lightsaber, but to his relieve the Armorer steps up to pull him to her workshop by the back of his neck and balances the murder in his eyes with ever-evolving engineering challenges.
And so it takes a bit, quite a while in fact, but they find their balance eventually, their weird ever-growing family, all of them slotting into each other in a way that sometimes makes Din wonder if this was their doing too, Luke's and his, if in bending the universe around them, and in becoming one in the Force they somehow became a beacon for all those who are lost.
He wonders about it on the nights when, even after Han settles down on Yavin more or less permanently to be closer to Ben, and even after Paz bashfully asks to officially adopt Rey who's been glued to his shoulders for months, and even after Armitage makes it very clear that he doesn't plan to ever be adopted by anyone, Luke comes back from an excursion to find Din pilled into their bed with a bunch of wayward Foundlings.
"Sorry," Din mumbles sleepily as Luke steps over a snoring Paz who's taken up guard in the hallway, "It just happened."
"Is there room for one more?"
"Unlikely," Din sighs as he always does, but Luke finds a spot anyways, shuffling the kids around until they are just awake enough to demand a story from him.
"It's late," Luke smiles as Din pulls him closer to lean their foreheads together in greeting, Grogu climbing up from where he was tucked beneath Ben's chin to settle in between his dads. "I'll tell you all about it tomorrow."
"Just one!" Rey pleads from her spot at Din's side, Finn's head popping up behind her in a show of support and Luke raises a warning eyebrow as Poe and Rose scoot closer from where they were sprawled over Din's legs. "You always say we need to be curious about the world around us!"
"It will help us sleep," Armitage argues from his spot at the end of the bed, the one he takes to pretend he doesn't care about any of this, and starts scooting close too, shoving at Ben to make space.
"They make a good point," Din interjects gently and pulls Armitage out of the way and between them before Ben can get up enough to headbutt him with Din's helmet, which is a constant on his head on those nights where they all feel pulled towards each other.
"Traitor," Luke laughs, letting Armitage nestle in closer to him, but he'll tell them about his travels anyways until they are all knocked out and snoring peacefully and Din can press a quick kiss to Luke's lips without having to listen to a cascade of "ew" and "gross".
And so, in the end, he always drifts asleep knowing he doesn't fully understand it, not really, how they all manage to fit so perfectly into each other's lives, how he managed to find this, this place that is domestic in a way nothing in his life has ever been, but he figures he doesn't have to understand it, not when he also knows with absolute certainty that they are all exactly where they are supposed to be.
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