“Know what today is, Dath?” Havren patted the chair next to hers–not a chair, really, but a short little crate bolted to the floor, just right for a six-year-old’s height.
Dathen walked slowly towards it as if still learning, scuffing his shoes along the floor and trailing one hand along the wall in case he tripped. But the look on his face was as bright and eager as any other kid his age as he flopped onto his chair. "What day?“ he asked, kicking the back of his heels against the crate.
Havren leaned back, tossing a lekku over her shoulder and crossing her arms behind her head. "You’re gonna to start learning how to fly. Soon you’ll be able to steer the ship; won’t that be great?” Her grin widened as she said it. She knew his oculars weren’t advanced enough to pick up facial expressions, but it was in her voice, loud and clear. One day she could afford better implants for his eyes, and upgrade the flight board technology enough to accommodate him, and he’d be able to fly just as well as she ever did–
Dathen nodded solemnly. “Okay.”
She blinked, then quirked a brow at him. "Just ‘okay?’“ That wasn’t the reaction she expected. "Come on, kid, you can do better than that. I mean…this is flying we’re talking about.” He might as well have told her he wasn’t all that interested in breathing.
“Oh, no, I want to!” he said quickly, straightening in the makeshift chair. "But– But you see, my deffel tree’s getting too tall for me to reach and if I don’t water the top leaves it’ll wilt.“ For a moment he looked stricken.
The smuggler made a face, but kept her voice bright and cheerful. "Well why didn’t you say so in the first place! Can’t get a thing done with a wilting deffel tree, kid.” She slid out of the chair and grabbed his hand, and he beamed as he fell into stride beside her, with the same shuffle-scrape, shuffle-scrape as usual. "Maybe rig something so it’ll water itself, eh?“
He shook his head. "That ruins the point. It won’t be me taking care of it.” His face turned up to look at her, half-hidden behind the machinery over his eyes. "It’ll know the difference.“
"Right, right, 'course.” Havren bit back another sigh. Maybe he’d be more interested in flying the ship if she lined the dash with potted plants.
Cyrus always knew what to get Dathen, but even so Havren wouldn’t have expected this one to go over so well. The kid lived in a ship, and a damn good one; how exciting could a little toy model be? But it was exciting enough for him to careen around the corridors for two days straight now, humming the most enthusiastic engine sounds possible and shouting to an imaginary astromech copilot. Havren still winced whenever she heard him run into something, even though the sharp edges had been carefully padded long ago. He still managed to break a bone every now and then and damned if she knew how.
Usually when he passed through the cockpit it was with a bellowed, “Oh no an Imperial frigate! Fire the decoys! Jump to light speed!” before rushing off again, sometimes throwing a handful of paper in his wake in case the “Imperial frigate” launched proton torpedoes at him. But apparently he’d (finally) worn himself out, this time making the toy crash on the control panel (though not without a dramatic pshhhkkkhhhghkkhhghgh) before climbing into her lap.
Havren kissed the top of his head. “Having fun?”
“I’m gonna have my own ship someday,” answered Dathen instead.
Well. You can’t be a good smuggler unless you dream big. “Yeah? I bet you will, too.”
She blinked and looked down at him. “What?”
“How loooonnng? Until I get my own ship?”
“Well, I got this one when I was twenty-sev–”
The toy clattered to the floor as he threw up both hands to cover his face. “Ugh, that’s FOREVER.”
Havren just laughed and ruffled his hair. “Dath, you’re five years old. Might want to wait until you know how to fly a ship first?”
Dramatics forgotten, he suddenly turned towards the control panel with renewed zeal. “Teach me!”
She bit back a sigh, but they were on a steady path for a while and the next hyperspace beacon was a ways off, so it couldn’t hurt. “Okay, sure, but you’re gonna have to be patient, alright? Keep rushing things and you’re gonna end up like that.” She pointed to the toy ship on the floor of the cockpit.
“I’m always patient,” he assured her.
Dathen couldn’t look up as he took the offered datapad. “The ship’s in your name, now, kid.” The man said. “…My condolences.”
He didn’t have the spirit to correct the “kid,” just mumbled a thanks and turned to leave. He should be glad that Havren really had owned the ship, or all of this would be a lot more hassle, and that was the last thing he wanted to deal with right now. Instead he was left alone to wander back home.
He couldn’t remember the last time the ship was so quiet. Each footstep seemed to echo half a dozen times before finally dying away as he made his way to the cockpit. One of her jackets was still flung carelessly over the back of the pilot’s seat. He didn’t move it, didn’t even touch it as he sat in the chair and stared blankly at the controls. Dathen swallowed. One minute dragged by after another before he reached back and tugged the jacket off the chair, tucking his knees up to his chin before draping it over himself.
She’d always promised him that he’d have a ship of his own if he were patient.