The Nomad - Chapter Eighteen (Din Djarin/The Mandalorian x F!Reader)
Summary: Time flits by as you race across Nevarro. The Imperials have converged on the city, trapping the Mandalorian within as the child is hunted beyond the walls. As a desperate situation arises, a selfless choice is made.
Enemies to Lovers. Slow Burn. Eventual Smut. Morally Grey MC. Established Star Wars Character as Parent.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Explicit Language. Graphic Violence and Injury. Imprisonment. Familial Abuse (Non-S*xual). Childhood Trauma. Parental Death.
THE NOMAD - TUMBLR MASTERLIST
CLINTS-LUCKY-ARROW MAIN MASTERLIST
READ ON ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN
Ko-Fi: Buy Me a Coffee
A/N: I know that sometimes posts appear in my dash for a later chapter of a series, and I’ll just decide to read it to see if I like it. If anyone is about to do this, let me warn you that this chapter contains one of the stories big reveals. I’d advise you to pick another chapter to test out, because in all honesty, I do think that this build is satisfying and worth the wait.
A reminder to everyone else that Nomad’s father is an established Star Wars character, as listed in the tags above. I also mentioned previously that she has a given name. One that she doesn’t go by. Just a reminder, so I don’t get anyone pointing it out later in an annoyed manner!
Thanks to everyone for their patience. And, without further ado, may I present to you...
The ship falls through the clouds, rushing across the surface of the planet. Your hands are tight around the throttle, leaning forward as your eyes scour the land passing underneath. No sign of the Mandalorian, and the Crest is likely cloaked. All that you can do is blindly check the scanners for any shape that appears out of the ordinary on the ground ahead.
It’ll take a stroke of blind luck, but you want to at least give it a chance before stopping in the middle of nowhere to head to the city on foot. You know that it’s where they are headed, and the hope is to intercept them before they get there. Sure, they’ve had a decent headstart. Getting here wasn’t the easiest.
You’d had to planet-hop back to Kessel. It is as if the universe had some bizarre sense of humour, working as hard as it could to bring things full circle. Thankfully, this time you’d managed to avoid being shot. Small blessings, but you’ll still appreciate these little things.
Something blasts overhead, streaking past the rested New Republic ship that you stole with ease. A TIE Outland. A fucking Outland. It’s headed straight for the town. It doesn’t falter, or stop to throw a single blast in your direction. The fact that it is so unbothered with your vessel can only mean one thing.
And it isn’t good.
Cursing, you bank slightly, decreasing the speed so that you can watch it head straight towards the town. It's dark exterior glints in the thin light of the Nevarran sun, sleek and dangerous. From what you know, there are few officers left who are important enough to operate within such a vessel, and so the pool of who it could contain is shallow. None of the options are much better than the others. All bring a rising sense of apprehension to prickle the back of your neck.
It grows smaller, streaming towards the tiny rise of distant buildings that are almost imperceivable against the shifting desert sands. As you watch, it drops down, straight to earth. Your fingers anxiously shift against the throttle, unsure of what to do. Whether to continue searching the sands, or to gun it for the town.
A jump of static hitches in the board before you. It’s picking up another transmission. Frequencies overlaying and blurring together. Ice spreads through your veins as it starts.
That voice - the Mandalorian’s distorted, familiar rasp rings out - hitched in a mixture of fear and panic. “Kuiil. Are you back to the ship yet? Are you there? Do you copy?”
Another rougher voice answers, jolting through the speakers breathlessly. “Yes!”
“Are you back at the ship yet?” Mando all but demands again, that edge still present in his voice. One that makes the hairs prickle upon your arms as your gaze distractedly darts between the ground below and the dotted circle on the control panel that the jagged sounds are spitting from. “Get back to the ship and bail. We’re pinned down.”
One hand leaves the controls, desperately scrabbling along the panel as you try to track the transmission. That’s when something flares on screen. The ship has picked up a shape to the north west. Something large and hulking, and too oddly proportioned to be rockface. That institution tugs in the back of your mind, whispering urgently.
It’s the Crest.
Your hand jerks the control to the left. The ship veers, sharp enough to cause your body to pitch if the belt was not strapping you into the seat. Underneath the floors, the engines of the ship scream in protest as the throttle shoves forth, the burst of speed sending the vessel straight into lightspeed. Warning lights begin to flare around, flashing through the cockpit.
This speed is dangerous. So much faster than anyone should be travelling on land.
Not that you care. Not right now.
This Kuiil - someone who Mando obviously trusts - has Bug. You need to get to them and ensure that he gets out. Direct him to some planet nearby where you can find them later, and then head for the city to try and get to recover the Mandalorian too.
Sounds easy. Not.
Blood pulses through your veins, moving with the resounding hammer of your heart in your chest. The beat stutters, jarring like the torn fragments of Mando’s desperate voice filling the rapidly blinking cockpit.
“Kuiil? Are you back to the ship yet? They’re onto us.” There is no response crackling over the channel. Mando sounds again, frantic and agitated. “Come in, Kuiil.”
Your finger jams into the transmitter. “Mando?!”
There’s no reaction to your words. He can’t hear you. All that answers is his continued pleas for Kuiil to answer. The ally does not, and so you jam the controls as far forward as they can go, and watch the ground zip underneath you. Landscape blurs faster than your eyes and mind can register. Panic gnaws at the back of your throat.
The ship hitches as a peak of rock catches the underbelly. Metal shrieks as it tears a line in the base. Another loud swear spits from your lips as you jerk the craft back on track. You are unwilling to lose this speed. Even if it means tearing the ship apart in the process.
It just needs to hold out a little longer.
Each second is agony as the ship screams over Nevarro. Your palms are damp within the squeaky fabric of your gloves. Tense with fear and worry, both for yourself and for the others. The deserrt is too long. This planet is too fucking big. You can’t search it all. Not as quickly as needed. A tickling fear starts to rise, unstoppable as it eclipses the forefront of your mind.
You may not get there in time.
The thought is a waking nightmare.
But then, the monitor flares an alert once again. Your hands yank the throttle back, and the ship jars with a resounding crackle as the breaks engage. Another loud protest tears from the engine as it shudders through the floor, spluttering and on the brink of collapse. It drifts through the sky, emitting a screech that sets your teeth on edge, before slowing to a painful, drifting halt. Grey tendrils of fumes are rising around the sides, flickering up past the clear pane of the viewport in-front, but you can still see that familiar, irregular outline through the smoke.
The Razor Crest lies below, situated against the bleached sands of the desert.
Your eyes drink in the sight immediately. Passing over the body of a blurg lying in the dirt, and another, smaller form nearby. Humanoid. An ugnaught, perhaps. Dressed in ordinary clothes, and visibly deceased.
Kuiil. It must be.
If he is here - and in the condition that he is - it means that they got to him first. The Imperials. That they’ve taken the child. Your mouth flattens into a taut, hard line. There’s only a single direction that they will be headed in. Back towards the city, and whoever lies within that damn Outland.
Another beep echoes from the panel before you. Two heat dim heat signatures, moving further away. They are not quick enough to be in a ship. Speeders, likely. A chance still exists that you can catch up. But… That depends on how long this own vessel can hold out. Already, it is starting to fail. Clunking brokenly, the failing engine emitting loud chugs.
It isn’t the highest calibre of craft, but all that remained in the dimly lit transport bay. Beggars could not afford to be choosers, and you had needed to get back to Nevarro quickly.
The craft groans in protests as you urge it onwards. Warning lights still glint on crimson repeat above, and the panel beeps loudly, cautioning of an overheating core. You ignore it, shoulders set in tense determination. Everything within stands on high alert, painfully aware that the vessel is slowly falling apart around you. It just needs to hold for a few more minutes.
The ship flits over the ground, in an unsteady yet earnest pursuit of the duo of distant forms displayed on the monitor. Eyes remaining fixed on the land in-front, you fight to ignore each jolt of the craft. How it shudders and trembles. Suddenly, you catch sight of them. Two white shapes - almost specks in the desert ahead - blitzing over the ground. There’s no mistaking those thick white uniforms, and how they glint with an almost plastic sheen against the desert light. Stormtroopers.
A resounding bang echoes as a strip of twisted, dangling metal breaks free of the ship’s underbelly and clatters roughly onto the desert ground. That little voice - the prickle of instinct in the depths of your mind - inside leans in again, whispering as the hilt of your father’s weapon grows noticeably warmer upon your thigh. This ship is going to break. Given the rising wreaths of smoke lifting from either side of the ship, that seems like a safe assumption to take as truth. You’ve run out of time.
Fingers scramble across the control panel, smashing against the button to engage autopilot. It takes three frantic tries before it listens. Another change ripples over the vessel as it does, veering into a ramrod straight line in pursuit of the path that you have slammed into the system. The ship shudders unsteadily under your feet as you push yourself up and away, staggering back towards the hangar. Cold air billows into your face as you approach, eyes immediately drawn to the gaping line scraped into the floor that the breezes gusts from. Underneath, the ground passes in a sickening blur.
You’re not one for fear. Not usually. But something clamours within, twisting in terror, as the vessel groans, the hold shuddering as the crack spikes a little more. It inches towards the valuable cargo behind, and you step quicker to reach said precious escape vehicle. The glinting form of a landspeeder becomes the focused point of your nervous attention, purposefully positioned over the hatch on the trembling floor below. A red button glows upon the wall just beside, flickering and inviting.
The side of the speeder is cold as you throw your leg over. Something underneath gives at the moment that you do, and the entire craft lets out a momentous groan. Deep and vibrating, and signalling that it’s now or never. Either get the fuck off this thing, or become part of its wreckage. There’s only one choice, really.
Leaning over the handlebars, your eyes narrow, face morphing into an unwavering show of resolve. The fingers of your left hand curl around the handlebar, clamping down until your knuckles are strained. A deep breath draws jagged into your chest, though it doesn’t feel like enough air. Not when adrenaline and fear are pumping through your veins, filling your head and making it spin. The craft shudders again, lights overhead flickering wildly, signalling one final chance.
Your right hand - clenched into a fist - slams into that button on the wall. Immediately, the floor drops from underneath you. Wind flits upwards as the speeder falls, kicking to life to catch itself before it can thud into the sands below. The jerk as it rights itself is jarring, almost serving to fling you from the seat itself. You barely manage to hang on, laboriously pulling yourself back upright with a snarl of effort as the ship streams past overhead.
It roars through the sky, wild and uncontrollable as it shoots by the stormtroopers. A flare of brilliant orange lights the sky as it bursts into flames. While you watch, still gunning straight for the two Imperial soldiers, it loses that streamlined momentum, crashing into the desert with the force of a small missile. The sound of the collision is almost deafening, and the sheer heat of it is palpable even from where you are, hundreds of steps away.
Shouts of alarm are just about audible over the echoing roar as the stormtroopers break harshly, staring at the wreckage blocking their path in confusion. Warring with the sound, your ears pick up the faintest sound of a child’s cry. It stirs something within. You double down, drawing even closer, gaze fixed upon them, searching desperately for that wrinkled little head. It is at that moment when one of the men, arm hunched in annoyance, leans back to pummel a familiar satchel that hangs from the side of his speeder.
The rage that wells in response is inexplicable. Insurmountable, and nearly all consuming. A furious, fierce brand that has you hurling yourself from the approaching speeder. Landing on the ground in one brief step as the bracer’s burst to life from your wrists. The next moment, you are upon him. He manages to send one single blaster shot in your direction, but you react on instinct, knocking it away with a perfectly timed swing of your blades. There’s no time to be impressed with the fluid ease of the motion. How your body had reacted without thinking, instinct prickling as if you knew that it were coming. Nothing fills your thoughts except the vicious satisfaction of his screams, ringing against your ears as you spin and slash the blade down onto his arm.
A thud billows dirt up from the ground below as his blaster drops. It’s accompanied by the upper part of his wrist, and the very hand that struck so harshly into that pouch. Agony is clear through the gargle in his throat, but it distorts further as the end of your opposite blade pierces straight through his neck. His body grows limp instantly, and you rip it free with a low snarl of fury.
The other stormtrooper fires. His shots are messy. Panicked and uncoordinated, and leaving you with enough confidence to let out a dark laugh as you approach steadily. While he cannot truly see the expression underneath the mask adorning your mouth, it is clearly visible blazing within the depths of your hard eyes. It’s malicious enough to make him quail in fear, fumbling further until the blaster jars in his hands.
A shout of frustration and fear leaves his lips as he hurls it at you wildly. Your head dips to the side to avoid it as it sails past the side of your face. He attempts to ward you off. To push you back. The feeble efforts are batted aside with ease as you knock his guard away. One hand reaches out, snagging tightly on the straps of his chest plate. With a harsh jerk, he guts himself upon the blades, the tip sliding in right underneath where the cuirass ends.
You can see your face reflected in the visor of his helmet. Mask covering the lower parts of your face, hood lifted to cast shadow across your burning eyes. Clad in all black, like a picture of death itself. Like the shadow that they had once made you become.
He falls without another sound.
And then there is quiet.
The absence of somewhere to direct your rage leaves you feeling almost unsteady. Caught between a vague satisfaction of your victory, and the trembling need to offset this agitation towards another outlet. However, there is nothing else to direct this adrenaline towards. No more suffering to inflict. Something fizzes inside of you, sparking like electricity, and a faint prickle runs across the skin of your palms.
Tightening them into fists, your eyes squeeze closed. Attempting to centre yourself. To get rid of this pulsing anger as you slowly turn back to the speeder, and the satchel that hangs from its side. A familiar face watches you from within its depths, those large, dark eyes settled silently upon your face. Something about the way that he is watching you - how he doesn’t move or speak, nearly as if afraid to - has you release a slow, shaky exhale, and approach.
Your hands are shaking as they reach into the pouch. His small body is warm against the grip of your gloves as you slowly lift him out. He remains utterly quiet, just looking as your eyes scan desperately over his face, searching for any visible sign of a wound. Maybe a bump or bruise that resulted from that earlier hit. Thankfully, there's nothing there, but the image of that punch to his little face burns at the back of your throat and stings your eyes.
Adrenaline continues to pound thickly through your veins as you wait for something. For him to react. For him to reach out. He doesn't. Just stares into your face from where you clasp him against your chest, his gaze cautious. As if he's unsure of this moment.
And you understand. Stars, do you understand.
"Are you okay, bug?" you whisper, voice cracking as your pleading eyes rest on his. "He's gone now. They both are. And I'm… I'm not going to let anything hurt you."
He still doesn't react. Wanting more. Needing more.
Despite whatever age he may be, he is still a child. One who has been left and abandoned time and time again. And you know exactly what that feels like. Far better than most.
Your tongue darts over your cracked lips as the promise falls from your lips. A swear that you mean, deeply and truly. One that you'll uphold even if it means the end of you.
"I'm so sorry, bug. So damn sorry. I… I shouldn't have left. And I swear that I'm not leaving you again." It’s the reassurance that he so desperately needs before he can relax. Before he can feel safe and sure around you once again.
It hits home. Something brushes across the back of your mind. A touch as light as a feather. Emotions pulse within it. Warm, hopeful, and loving. A flare of happiness against every other stress. Part of you wonders if you’re just imagining it. However, all coherent thought washes away when the child leans forward, eyes fluttering closed, and curls his head into the spot under your chin. Those small arms lift, fingers tightly gripping the straps that hold your cape in place. Pulling you into another one of those gentle, loving hugs.
This time, your arms tighten around him, clutching him closer to your heaving chest. It’s hard to stop the feelings washing through you. Relief and gratitude are thick in the back of your throat, stinging your eyes until they blur. He’s here. He’s safe. You’ve got him.
And he forgives you. Even after it all, he fucking forgives you. Something inside, that crack that has existed for so long, slowly begins to pull together. All of a sudden, there are tears on your cheek. Rolling down your face, and stinging against your tongue.
You’re crying, and there’s no holding back anymore.
The words slip from your lips without realising, choked with a rare tenderness. “I love you.”
His small frame stiffens, as if in disbelief. That swimming gaze lifts to your face, mouth open in something close to astonishment. It draws a rough laugh to bark from your throat, one hand disentangling to wipe some of the moisture away. “I know. Shocker, right? You made me soft, kid. But don’t tell anyone that.”
There is no answer from the child. Just a wide, toothy grin splitting his face. You drink it in with another smile - a little embarrassed from the show of emotion - but that quickly changes when another voice rings through the air.
“My apologies for the intrusion, but who are you?”
The blaster tears free of your hip as you half-spin, levelling upon the newcomer in an instant. Bug remains clutched against your chest, your torso twisted to shield him from this new potential threat. Your stomach drops when you see an IG-11 only steps away, watching you with its mechanical head tilted to the side in a manufactured show of curiosity. That thing could kill you in an instant... Except, it has made no move to do so. That in itself is more than slightly unnatural.
You pause just long enough to utter a wary retort. "Who are you?"
"I am the child's nurse droid," it answers simply, as if this is a perfectly rational thing to say. Confusion wells in your chest. The muzzle of the blaster dips slightly as you drink in the response thoughtfully. That’s not something that an Imperial droid would say. Not even if it had been programmed to lie. It’s just too out there. They wouldn’t have that much imagination. However, you need to be certain, and so you carefully proceed once again.
"And your allegiance is to…?"
"The Mandalorian and his companions,” the droid replies in his even, emotionless tone, “for they fight for the infant's safety."
There’s no whisper at the back of your mind. No internal nudge to hint that you shouldn’t trust him. Still a little hesitant, a calculating nod dips your head as you respond with lingering caution. “As do I. I’m the Mandalorian’s… I’m Mando’s partner. Kept the child safe alongside him for months. I’m here to help.”
That thin head inclines. "Then we are allies. It is likely that more Imperials are already on their way to seek out the ship. My calculations show that it is in our best interest to return to Nevarro and turn the tide there. Do you have any objections?”
You hesitate, shifting on your heels for a moment as your gaze falls to the child. A protest threatens to fall from your lips. ‘The Mandalorian said to get him out of here.’ But even as you move to utter the words, something within rebels keenly against the idea of leaving.
Heeding that prickle of instinct - one that hasn’t quite led you astray so far - your head dips into an uneasy nod. “Okay. Let’s go.”
Get to the town and get the Mandalorian out. Simple. Not really. But in a way, that insufferable partner of yours was right. Sooner or later, everyone has to make a stand for what they believe in. For what they wish to keep safe. This is your moment, come at last, to properly pay the Empire back for all that they did to you. All that they took from you.
The IG-11 speaks again, tone calm and bathed in its eternal patience. “Will you please hand me the infant?"
Your head shakes, arms lowering to carefully place the child securely back into the satchel. The landspeeder gleams behind, ready and waiting. In the distance, the outlines of the city are clearer now. Smoke lifts from the centre, from the spot where you know that you will likely find Mando and his friends trapped, surrounded by a legion of remaining Imperials.
With the child secured, your hand falls further, brushing over that hilt clipped to your waist as one leg swings over the saddle. The lightsaber is cold and reassuring, crystal within softly pulsing with intensity and anticipation.
"When we get nearer the town,” you tell the droid, smiling at the infant as one of your legs swings easily over the speeder’s saddle. “He's riding with me for now."
The droid accepts this wordlessly, climbing atop the speeder of it’s own. A vibration runs through your body as the vehicle stirs once more to life underneath you. Down in the pack held tightly around your body, the child looks up with a shining gaze. You pause momentarily, before readjusting the strap so that he sits level with your chest. Another sound of happiness leaves his small mouth when you shoot him a wink. Despite everything, there is something giddying about being reunited, and that feeling stretches between you both.
In a flare of dust, the speeders take off. Wind whips past your face , threatening to tug down your hood. The sturdy fabric remains upright, in-place, and the mask shields the molecules of sand from flitting into your mouth. Against your chest, the infant’s body is a warm and reassuring weight, and you can feel the slight repetitive flickers of his trailing ears brushing against your chest.
Nevarro looms in the distance as you grow closer. Each second brings another jolt of worry through your chest, but the adrenaline couples with it, forcing it into an intense determination. There’s no going back. You can’t lose.
Off to the side, the built-in comms link to the IG-11 crackles. It’s Mando, calling out for Kuiil once again. Trying to see if he has made it back to the ship. A beat of relief floods through your veins at the realisation that he’s still alive.
“Kuiil has been terminated,” the droid replies, voice scattered as the whipping air distorts it.
“What did you do?” comes the demand, low and angered.
The town gates pull into view. You steer a little closer to the droid, realising that now is the time to place the child into his protection. While you’d wanted to keep him close for as long as possible, the IG-11 has a quicker response time than you do. It’s better equipped to keep him from harm. Besides, if the need arises to wield your father’s weapon, it is better to do so unencumbered.
The droid’s response registers in your mind as you lift one hand from the bars.
“Fulfilled my base function.” As robotic as all of the others that you’ve encountered over the years, he does not answer more than he is asked.
“Which is?” Mando presses through obviously gritted teeth.
“To nurse and protect,” the IG-11 replies simply, reaching out to accept the satchel from you with practised ease. “Although, I must add that your companion was also of some use on the latter front.”
A slight pause follows as the Mandalorian digests this comment.
There’s no time to respond.
The white figures who guard the gates notice your rapid arrival. Red beams fill the air as they give fire, aware that such a quick pursuit cannot mean anything good. The shots heat the air as they fly past your face. A faint memory arises, of the burning in your side from that one lucky hit back on Kessel. How much it had fucking hurt, and all the trouble that had come with it.
Yeah. You’re not about to let that happen again.
The blaster recoils harshly in your hands as you return fire with rapid precision. Dust scatters as the three fall - two struck by you, and one by the accompanying droid. A smug remark almost falls from your lips, but then the speeders fly though the entrance of Nevarro city. That confident grin dies almost instantly as the droid twists and spins, arms almost acting independent of its own body as it fires this way and that. You can barely keep up.
It’s… impressive, to say the least. But also a little annoying as you had wanted to be the one to zoom in save the day.
Your speeder dogs at the heels of the IG-11’s, zipping obediently behind as you both veer down the streets. The blaster grows hot in your hands, humming as bolt after bolt fires it. Everything is a blur, just flashes of clarity amidst the adrenaline fuelled haze. Years of training roil inside of you, reaching up to pull you under, into that practised furiosity.
Screams ring out. Nearby, a canister explodes into a surge of flame. Shrapnel rains, spearing the slow-reacting trooper that still linger around it. The droid guns down two of the soldiers standing at a Jawa’s trading stall. They fall before even properly noting your arrival, as you zoom passed their fallen forms.
More blasts ripple out as the IG turns to firing smaller rockets. Strong shots burst the walls of nearby buildings. Flame and smoke spurt into the air at your wake as you follow right on his tail, blasting any shape of shining white that your eyes catch upon. They’re increasing in number, a sure sign that you are approaching where the bulk of them surround your companions.
“Get ready,” the droid calls over his shoulder. “My scanners detect multiple life forms ahead.”
Your grip tightens around the blaster, shoulders straining as your speeder takes the last harsh turn down the narrow streets. Even above the whine of the engine, the sound of many trooping footsteps fill the air. Something glints just around the bend. A shape, alabaster pale. It’s accompanied by another, lost in a sea. Your vehicle locks in a turn, and then they are all there, spanning out from the IG-11 before you, kneeling with their weapons raising.
A shout of alarm bursts from your lips. Your speeder veers behind the droid for cover as his body twists. The child’s eyes lock on yours from where he remains strapped to the IG’s rotating chest. A garble of laughter bursts from his lips, and it nearly makes you chuckle in response. The amusement is cut off by a curse as blaster shots blitz through the air around you, ricocheting off the glinting droid.
One singes by, burning the side of your face. Skimming the skin, but close enough to leave a mark. A roar of pain and anger bursts from your lips, at the same moment that the droid in-front hurls himself off of his speeder, weapons blazing as he shears through the first line of Imperial defense. His loose vehicle shoots past, slamming into the second wave behind and igniting with a sharp flare. They dive for cover, scattering around.
Not one to be outdone by a mere droid, your legs lift, finding a hold before leaping off your own in a sharp vault. The blades scream out of their hold with a screech of metal, just in time to impale through the neck of the nearest stormtrooper as you come down upon his chest. Another surges forth, but a rapid series of shots from your blaster sends his body spasming onto the ground.
There are many of them.
Quickly, you fall into position with the droid. Flashes of a little green face embed themselves in your mind as you twist back and forth, shooting and slashing with a snarl curving your hidden lips. Dirt kicks around the hem of your cape, lifting the blood speckled sand as the fray wraps around you. Your eyes flash through the throng of vying Imperials, searching for a familiar silver clad form. He’s not here.
Overhead, heavy beats of fire rings out, stemming in a pounding beat from within the shadowed depths of the building behind. Your darting eyes fix on the shots, before flitting to the door as it slides open.
A familiar form strides from the depths, knocking down the awaiting stormtroopers with ease. His motions are harsh, yet familiar. Maybe a little comforting. A second surge of relief floods your veins as you catch the sight of clouded sunlight glinting off beskar, and for once, the sight of him makes you smile. It’s the Mandalorian. He’s alive.
Greef emerges behind him, ducking into the light with two small blasters raised.
Your mouth opens to shout - to call out to them - but something else happens. Two deathtroopers loom out of the smoke. One knocks him back with a powerful blow, into the waiting grip of the other. Struggling, Mando manages to raise his blaster to get a shot off at the first, but the second uses the distraction to seize him - twisting his arm painfully - before slamming him to the ground. You’re out from behind the IG-11 in a second, thundering across the ground to launch yourself at the black-clad trooper. The hard heels of your boots connect with his chest, knocking him back from your friend. Spinning to avoid the glistening beam of his gun, the ends of the blades on your wrist slice across his throat, deep into that small crevasse unprotected by thick plates of armour. His body slumps to the ground, and you spin back around.
On the ground at your feet, Mando is staring up. Even with his face obscured, the shock that he feels is obvious. Suddenly, you are all too aware of the rapid pace of your chest, the burn on your cheek, and the dirt smearing the exposed parts of your skin. How filthy you are after days of travelling back to Nevarro, and just how much that shows. What else is insinuates. Your arm lowers, one blade retracting as you offer the Mandalorian an awkward hand. All the same, that usual brand of dry sarcasm cannot help but fall from your lips.
He just continues to stare for a split second, gunshots blasting overhead, before the warm, rough palm of his glove slams into yours. “Like a hole in the head.”
Chuckling, you pull him to his feet with a groan of strain. He’s heavy. All that damn beskar. But then, as his hand jerks you into his chest to spin you away, shielding your body with his as a blaster shot ripples through the armour, you have to be a little glad that he’s a walking tin can. From under his arm, you lean out, blaster angled awkwardly as you fire back on the encroaching trooper. The soldier falls, and it gives you enough time to slip free of one another and back into the fray.
“Cover me!” Mando shouts, already starting forward for a mounted canon.
You follow at his heels, firing determinedly as he rips it from the stand. Deep, pulsing beats of fire ring out as he begins to use the weapon. The sheer force of it shakes his arms, nearly skidding his feet in the dirt, but he remains upright. Bolts of pure red slam through the remaining stormtroopers. Lifting them off their feet, hurling them back, singing holes in the square chest-plates of their armour. You stand just behind the Mandalorian as he continues to fire, helping by picking off those that the harsh blasts miss.
His grunts of strain are audible. Appreciation wells as your eyes flicker to him. The bastard can handle himself in a fight. That’s for damn sure.
But then, something else happens. There’s a ripple from behind. A resounding boom that captures both of your attention.
Mando turns, as do you, gazes fixing on the door of the building that he had emerged from. The place that had previously been the Imperial Remnants headquarters. Smoke is lifting from the broken door on the exterior, and the dark forms of deathtroopers steps menacingly over the threshold. Converging on whoever it is covering you both from inside.
“Go help Cara!” Mando orders. You turn to protest, but he is having none of it. “Go!”
And so you do, tearing back over the square - through the stormtroopers who attempt to rush you - until another sound draws you to a halt. A yelp of pain from behind. The Mandalorian. Sand skids underfoot as you stop, whirling just in time to see a uniformed man standing across from him, blaster raised. You recognise him instantly.
A Moff. Not just any Moff. Moff Gideon.
The Mandalorian turns, levelling his weapon to fire back. To shoot a bolt that the Imperial officer will not be able to survive. That’s when you see Gideon’s gaze fall, landing on something just before Mando’s feet.
“No!” you roar, surging forward.
Face twisting in a savage grin, he fires. The explosion rips through the air. Hurled back, your body tumbles painfully across the ground, kicking up dirt and gravel all around you. Heat flares across your skin, aggravating the already irritated wound on the rise of your cheek. Your chest heaves as you try to draw breath, oxygen having escaped your lungs with the impact. Fingers clawing into the ground, you pull yourself up onto your hands and knees, smoke-stung eyes desperately searching the town square.
The Mandalorian lies on the ground. And he is not moving.
Before you, the remaining stormtroopers rush to reassemble around their commander. There are many of them. IG-11 still gives fire, but their own bolts smash into him, knocking him back. Muscles screaming in bruised agony, your arms tremble as you fight to push yourself off the ground, struggling to do so. Your attention is fixed on Mando. Willing him to get up. To fight. To just shift and show that he’s alright.
Cara Dune, face streaked in dirt and sweat, rushes out of the building and towards his side. Karga’s weapon fires as he leans against the building wall, trying to provide the shocktrooper some cover. Metres away, you can only groan weakly, trying to summon the strength to stand. She grabs hold of him, pulling him off the ground and into her arms, trying to drag him back as a small flurry disorganised blaster shots zip through the air around them.
The Moff calmly lifts a gloved hand. The stormtroopers gathered around him - the ones who remain silent and obedient, waiting for his command - raise their weapons in a single, smooth motion. A line of glinting black muzzles settle upon your companions. Cara grits her teeth, dragging the Mandalorian as quickly as she can. Fear surges within as you realise what's about to happen. She is trying to retreat, trying to pull Mando away, but it may not be enough. A sharp whine fills the air as the blasters prepare to fire, buttons lighting up.
Your heart pounds in your chest. Blood pumps through your veins. That little voice pipes up, whispering and urging. They are going to shoot them, and everyone will die.
All of them. Even the Mandalorian. Until all that remains is the child, and then they will take him. And you cannot let that happen.
There's only one act that will give you such a chance.
Almost in slow motion, the Moff's mouth opens to issue the order. You can see his lips forming the words, at desperation surges at the sight. Dirt scrapes against your palms as the strength floods your body, enough to rise and hurl yourself forward. Cara screams from over your shoulder, roaring at you to follow them into the safety of the building. But you do not.
Wind whips, cracking the cape at your heels as you throw yourself between them - in the clear strip that separates your retreating companions from the Imperial legion - and in one desperate motion, your hand closes around your mask. It rips it clean from the lower half your face in one smooth motion, and your hood thuds back with it.
Baring yourself for all to see.
The reaction is instant. Just as you'd hoped. Just as you'd feared.
Gideon starts, face contorting in an initial flash of surprise and disbelief. An order bellows from the back of his throat, loud and crackling through the air like thunder.
Cara roars at you again, voice cracked with confusion and panic. Twisting, you meet her eyes but do not move from where you have planted yourself between them and the Imperials. Your desperate gaze falls on the Mandalorian lolling listlessly in her arms, and the wide-eyed child strapped to the IG-11’s chest, as a decree just as powerful as the Moff’s bursts from your throat. “Go!”
Gritting her teeth, she does. Her form disappears into the doorframe. The others follow, fleeing into the safety of the darkness, until all that remains is you. Hands outstretched at your side, intent on blocking every inch of them with your own body. The child is last to lose sight of you. His fearful eyes send a rush of ice through your veins, but the smile that you muster before he vanishes is reassuring.
I’m doing this for you.
Nothing within can regret it. Not even when you know that this act has almost certainly spelled your doom. A sense of pride flares inside of you, even as your chest heaves in panicked breaths. You’re keeping them safe. That’s what matters. Summoning all of your courage, you draw yourself up to your full height, and slowly turn back to face the Moff with cold eyes.
He is watching you carefully, brow ever so slightly lifted. A wry, dangerous smile curls the edge of his lips. Silence passes between you, stirring the already agitated sands of the square, before a disbelieving, half-amused chuckle emerges from the back of his throat. His head shakes, as if almost in admonishment.
“Well, this is unexpected,” he remarks evenly, a tone of smug entertainment filling the words. “I did wonder who this ‘Nomad’ was. Never did I suspect... Not with what they told me of you. Fools, the lot of them. A shame to the ranks.”
Around him, the stormtroopers shift. Uneasy floods the air. You can sense their confusion. Their bewilderment at why the Moff has not ordered you to strike them down yet. At why he is speaking to you so conspiratorially, as if old friends. You know the reason, but you utter the question aloud all the same, tone rough with apprehension and fear.
“You know who I am?”
Of course he does. He wouldn’t have stopped them otherwise. It was what you’d counted on. What you had known would happen.
“Yes, my dear. I do.” Moff Gideon smiles. The expression is almost predatory, though his reply is lowered into a dark caress. It prickles against your skin, pulsing in time to the hum of the hidden lightsaber upon your hip. That grin - cold and deadly, sends a chill through you as he speaks the next words, voice filled with a smooth satisfaction. “You are Lady Sheevra of Serenno. Daughter of the late Count Dooku.”
There is no other reply to utter. Just one.
“Yes.” The confirmation stings your lips bitterly as it emerges.
Gideon’s smirk grows wider. Around him, stormtroopers shift. Whispering fills the air. You remain firm against it all, letting their judgements fall upon you. Letting the realisation of who you are wash through the watching throng of Imperials. Allowing it to sink into your own skin, whispering against the back of your thoughts. It all flits across your mind - those many memories that you have tried to keep at bay, and an identity that you have fought so hard to separate from - and they brush away the identity of a nomad from nowhere that has dogged your heels for so long. In the place of that unimportant bounty hunter stands someone else.
Dooku’s precious girl. The Emperor’s ‘beloved’ godchild. A lady of noble blood. The potential heir to a disputed throne. A merciless Imperial assassin. The hunter. The hunted.
Sheevra of Serenno.
“I fucking hate that name,” you mutter under your breath, hands closing into fists.
Moff Gideon pays no heed to your agitated murmur. Instead, his head tilts to the side as a new thought occurs. A light fills his eyes - tongue darting out to wet his lips. Something about it makes you nervous. More so than before. There is something nefarious filling his expression. A delighted wickedness that has your stomach twist uncomfortably, warning that you will not like what else he has to say. His mouth opens, tone bridling with a dark, barely contained excitement.
“Tell me, dear, does the Mandalorian know about the droids?”
Your eyes narrow cautiously, that unholy light to his expression making you inexplicably wary. “What are you talking about?” The words are growled, defensive.
They only seem to please him more. His lips twist further into that malicious grin, and each word that falls from his mouth hammers like pointed nails into your gut.
“Aq Ventina. A settlement attacked by a legion of Separatist droids. That is where the Mandalorian lost his family. To the very weapons that assembled on the grand lawns on your home.”
Your head shakes, almost snarling as cold dread wells within you. “You’re lying.”
And yet, something within the back of your mind sorrowfully whispers that he is not.
The Moff’s head inclines again in a show of mock patience, hands spreading placatingly before him. “I assure you, I am not. Your father approved that attack to make a statement to the Republic. And what a grand statement it was, the mass slaughter of innocent civilians.”
You cannot speak. Cannot think. All that you can do is stand there as a slow horror spreads through your veins. Upon your hip, the lightsaber pulses almost sadly. You can’t stand to look at it.
Sensing that he has rendered you absolutely mute, Gideon chuckles before continuing. “I have to wonder what he'll say when he finds out who you really are... If he’ll hate you. And you know, I truly wouldn’t blame him if he did.”
A/N: ... Your Countess.
Some of you guessed that Dooku was her father, but none of you guessed the bigger reveal. What that truly means for the two of them. I’m rather proud of myself for that.
This chapter was a little nerve wracking, to say the least! The second image that I had when I imagined the story was a girl with a red lightsaber facing down a legion of stormtroopers in Nevarro, so this is also a pretty big moment. It was kind of when Nomad became Nomad in my mind.
Let me know if you enjoyed!
Also! I got more incredible pieces for ‘The Nomad!’ Honestly, I don’t know what I’ve done to have such amazing readers. Y’all are a pleasure to see in my inbox and notifications. Please check these amazing works out and show some love!
Chapter Seventeen: Nomad Alone in the Desert (Warning: Spoilers) - Created by @light-yaers (check out her own Star Wars fic masterlist here)
Chapter Seventeen: Her Father’s Daughter (Warning: Spoilers) - Created again by @light-yaers (check out her own Star Wars fic masterlist here)
An Ex-Imperial Assassin: The Nomad - Created by @cigarettesandunderwear
Nomad & Grogu: If Anything Happened to Him... - Created by @read-and-rec
Welcome to The Nomad: Synopsis - Created by @rattlethe-stars
Chapter Fifteen Grogu Eating The Lizard - Created by @rattlethe-stars
Chapter Sixteen: “Get Off My Ship” - Created by @rattlethe-stars
Chapter Eighteen Prediction: Nomad Showing Up in Nevarro - Created by @rattlethe-stars
Chapter Eighteen Prediction: Grogu Laughing At Moff Gideon - Created by @rattlethe-stars
Chapter Eighteen Prediction: Moff Gideon meets Nomad - Created by @pedrosgirlx
Happy Mother’s Day to Nomad - Ask by @leias-rebelion and meme by @read-and-rec
I love all of these. You guys make me smile each and every day. We do have fun, and if you’re new here, never be afraid to get involved in the jokes! :)
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