Thinking through his dilemma, how to reach his hunter, teach her that she was beautiful to him. Her scars, clawmarks raking half her face, a badge of honor, not shame. That was Mandalorian; maybe not part of the Resol’nare, but part of his culture, ingrained. Now there was a thought. Start at the beginning, with the basics. She had four of six tenets down; maybe he could help her with the other two.
Torian grinned a little; getting way ahead of himself he was, thinking that, since the last one was raising kids. Still, he’d mentioned the Resol’nare to her before, and she’d been interested. He didn’t want her to be dar’manda. Death would be better.
Heading back to the ship, target a gray statue on a float pallet. Never a better time.
“Listen, about those lessons in Mando’a. You want to do that? Or just keep on being a play-Mandalorian?” She stopped short and whipped around to face him. That stung, Torian could tell. Good, he’d meant it to.
She glared at him. “After practice.” He nodded, and that was that.
He took in the tall, intense woman sitting opposite, her whole focus on his face. Literally, he was pretty sure; the whirring lenses that served her for eyes were focused in for near-sight. She never did anything by halves. It was one of the things that made her so compelling, when you got right down to it.
“Mando’a’s a warrior’s language. So. Easy to learn, easy to speak. Clear. You can sing in it too, but that’s different. Older, fancier. That can wait.”
“Why would I want to sing in Mandalorian?” she asked, low voice rough, like short spiky fur against the skin. He was looking forward to hearing home words in that accent, he had to admit.
“Some things you can’t say any other way.” He grinned at her. “And, first lesson. Mando’a; Mandalorian is what outsiders say.”
“Mando’a,” she repeated. “Your… our language.”
“Gar serim, yes,” he said, touched by the ‘our’.
Language lessons went like everything else she did, fast and accurate. Practice was entirely in Mando’a now, that and the dadita, the warrior’s hand language he was teaching her. Fair trade for her lessons in marksmanship.
It was nice, relaxing. For him anyway. They’d shower away the sweat of practice and meet in the galley after, spend a little time doing vocabulary. She was a fast learner. Had to be, in their line of work. Had to be able to blend in, get out after.
They were drilling verbs, call and response. He’d throw out a phrase; she’d repeat it, back and forth.
Her accent was good, now. He thought she was learning more than just the language, learning, maybe, to trust he meant what he said. Only one way to tell. Torian took a deep breath. Battles were easier.
“Ni copaani gar.” He closed his eyes, listening.
“Ni copaani gar.” Ah, that was nice. He could get used to hearing her say that. Once more for luck.
“Ni copaani gar…” “Ni copaani… gar?” This time with the lilt at the end which made it a question in Basic, as she parsed the sentence slowly.
He opened his eyes to see her looking at him quizzically. No anger though, that was good. She hadn’t pushed away from him either, likewise good.
“I… want you?”
“Haat. Ni copaani gar. Ni kar’tayl, beroya-ner.” He reached out slowly, careful of her temper, and stroked the scarred side of her face. “Truth. I want you. I know you, heart-knowing, hunter-mine.”