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The War Outside Our Door Keeps Raging On

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The despondent, nearly oppressive air in the Order of Heroes is really starting to get to Kiran. And truthfully, it wasn't exactly hard to see why.

King Gustav, Ruler of the land of Askr, Alfonse and Sharena's father, just sacrificed himself to Hel, Queen of the Dead, so that Alfonse didn't end up dead instead after getting cursed.

And Alfonse was taking this really, really hard.

There is a part of Kiran that's angry. Furious even. They had always tried to stay neutral to the King of Askr since they hadn't the privilege of meeting him before, but there was a small part of them that they burried, not for their sake, but for Alfonse, that resented the King for just how strict he was with Alfonse. And then he went and did this and now their emotions towards the King are in a knot.

But they can't focus on themself right now.

Alfonse hasn't let his room in almost a week.

Initially, everyone thought it was better to leave Alfonse alone. Give him time to grieve. But now, both Sharena and Queen Henriette had tried to get Alfonse to come out, or even just respond to them through the door.

And so far, neither had much success.

Now, they begged Kiran to try to get him to respond.

So, here they were, standing awkwardly in front of Alfonse's door, trying to figure out what to say.

'At least we know he's still eating. Somewhat.' They thought, eyeing the tray of partially eaten dinner.

They don't really know how to approach this without causing Alfonse more unnecessary hurt. And Sharena and the Queen tried a softer approach and got nowhere. So, Kiran guesses that the only thing left is to be blunt. Or as blunt as Kiran is willing to be while still being sensitive to the prince.

So, they take a steadying breath and knock on the door.

"Alfonse? It's Kiran." They call hesitantly through the door, "I'm not here to ask you to come out, or even open the door. But, I'd like it if you could listen to me for a bit, ok?"

Kiran presses their ear against the door, and thinks they hear the vague sound of movement. They straighten up, and hopefully sound a little more confident.

"I don't... really have any idea what it is you're feeling. Sadness, anger, regret, even nothing at all. And maybe it looks like things are spiraling out of control, and you don't know if things will ever go back to being ok. Truthfully? Things aren't ok. And things probably won't be ok for a long time. But, you know what?"

Kiran leans forward to press their forehead to the door and closes their eyes, trying to shoo off painful memories.

"It's ok to not be ok. You just lost your father, someone you loved despite everything. You've been thrust into a position you don't feel ready for. You're stressed and grieving. That can shut even the strongest of people down. And that's ok. Because when you're ready to face the day, not because you've stopped grieving, not because you feel ready for the responsibilities, not because anyone told you to, but because it's what you've decided, on your own,"

Kiran presses their forehead a little harder to the door, hopping that Alfonse is listening.

"There will be people here, who will help you bare your burdens. Your mother, your sister, the heroes. And you know that I'd never leave you, right? Not without telling you, of course. But also so long as you will have me. I will stay here and help you, in whatever capacity I can, in whatever way you need, so long as you want me to."

Finally, Kiran stepped back. Their little speech has gone on long enough.

"So, when you finally feel like you can come out, we'll be waiting. It will be hard, it might never really stop. But, I know, that one day, you will be able to say you are ok again. And I hope that you will allow me to be there to see that day."

Kiran waited a few seconds, to see if there is a response. Predictably, there is none, but Kiran can't help but wilt a little. Slowly, they turn and begin to head back to the main hall.

Until they hear a faint click of a door opening, and a quiet "Kiran...?"

They pause, not sure they heard right, until they hear the clearing of a throat.

"Kiran?" Is asked a little more confidently. Alfonse voice is hoarse and weak, from a number of things, but still recognizable. Kiran turns back to face the prince and tries not to look too shocked.

Alfonse looks like absolute shit. An almost sickly paleness has taken him over, emphasizing the dark bags under his eyes. His hair in going every which way, and his clothes' wrinkles have wrinkles.

"Yes, Alfonse?" Kiran replies neutrally, not moving any closer. They don't want to scare him back into his room by rushing up to him, no matter how much they wish to. Alfonse, thinking better of speaking again, motions Kiran to come to him. Head tipping in curiousity, Kiran does as asked, making it back to the door in a few quick strides.

"Yes, Alfonse?" They repeat softly. Alfonse looks down, as if in thought, as Kiran waits patiently. They got this far, best not ruin it now. Instead of anymore words, Alfonse carefully takes Kiran's hand and gives a gentle tug.

"You... want me to come inside?"

Alfonse nods. Kiran blinks at the turn of events, but is both relieved and surprised. They allow the prince to pull them into his room, quietly closing the door behind them.

Then, all at once, Kiran has an arm full of trembling Askran prince. Alfonse has wrapped his arms around their waist and burried his head in their shoulder. It's an automatic instinct to complete the hug, wrapping their own arms around the prince's shoulders and pulling him closer, but Kiran is still startled. They try to peek at Alfonse face, but the prince simply hides further into Kiran's shoulder. So, they sigh and relax, one hand gently smoothing Alfonse hair, while the other rubs small circles between his shoulder with their thumb.

"I'm sor-... I ca-... Don't- Don't go. Please don't leave me."

"Shhh.... I'm right here. I'll always come back, so long as you wish it."

It went like that for a bit. Alfonse's quiet sobs being the only sound as Kiran gently rocks the two of them side to side, pressing a kiss to the prince's hair.


(Later, Kiran will insist that the kiss too, was instinct.)