Xion had spent so many months close to Pera that his sudden absence felt like he was missing part of himself instead.
Sure, he had spent the same number of months near the rest of the Godlings, and sure, when Dorro and gang had disappeared to Port Bliss it had felt strange to not have the tiny halfling popping in and out of reality, but it hadn’t felt like this. This felt like someone had ripped him him in two. Xion buried his head between his knees and tried to comfort himself by counting the creaks of the boat: one, two, three…
“Hey lad, how are you holding up?” A gruff voice came from above him as Torrvic climbed down the ladder into the hold and sat down next to him. Six, seven eight… “Ah, that was a dumb question.” Eleven, twelve, thirteen. The two boys sat in silence for several moments while Torrvic struggled for something to say.
“We’ll get him back, y’know. LeFlure can’t have gotten too far, and besides, he doesn’t seem keen on killing any of us.” Torrvic’s voice betrayed his uncertainty, and he tried to cover it up by taking a swig from his flask.
“I know, I just-” Xion’s voice cracked and he stopped, pressing his palms into his eyes to stop the tears instead. Seventeen, eighteen… Torrvic offered him the flask and to both of their surprise, Xion took it and drank. The ale burned its way down his throat.
It wasn’t the first time Xion had had alcohol. There was one time with his brothers… Xion took another sip of the ale to stop that memory in his tracks. Then he handed the flask back to a wide-eyed Torrvic.
After only a couple of minutes passing the flask back and forth, Xion found he could no longer count the rocking of the ship. After a few more minutes, the warmth from the alcohol suddenly reminded him of Pera and he began to sob, drawing more of the team down into the hold, where Rina, Dorro, and Caitlin all hugged him tightly until he quieted and accepted more of the ale from Torrvic.
Several minutes after that, all five of them were sharing the ale (although Sirena soon came down and refused to let them give Caitlin any more). Caitlin managed to create music out of thin air, and while it was slightly haunting to the more sober of the party, Xion pulled anyone in reach into dance, tripping over his own feet as the boat seemed to sway much more than it had a mere half an hour ago. He tried to solve this by making himself float, but somehow ended up on the floor, giggles bubbling out of him.
Joshra and Sirena joined in dancing, their feet moving so quickly and so in sync that it hurt Xion’s eyes to try and watch. Instead, he turned to Rina, who wincing a bit as he trod on her toes.
“Y’know? Pera is socute,” he said to her. “His hair does that springything? Springy thing… it’s sooo cute.” He giggled.
“You are incredibly drunk.”
“I know!” Xion half shouted. Then, in a loud whisper, “I know, I miss Pera, ya know, my boyfriend? Did you know he’s my boyfriend?”
“Yes I did know.”
“I miss him.”
“We all do, Xion,” Dorro said gently. Xion wasn’t sure where he came from, but he was pretty sure it was because he was so short that he missed him. “We’ll get him back, don’t worry.”
“We’ll get him back,” Xion repeated. He was glad that the pain of Pera being gone had faded- either from the alcohol or the presence friends.
The impromptu dance party finally ended when Xion tripped over Oinkers and caused a domino effect in the tiny ship hold, and Sirena announced that they all should get to sleep. Xion quite literally fell into bed, snoring as soon as he hit the pillow.
The first ray of sunlight spilled over the ocean. Somewhere, miles away, an ironwood ship exploded in a burst of pure light. A relieved smile broke over Xion’s sleeping face.