It was the day after Kris and Susie had left, and Ralsei was cold. Oh so very, very cold.
Ralsei figured out that he had gotten sick for the first time in his life. Infections were rare in the dark world, being caused by the few amount of bacteria or viruses that were present. Ralsei’s healing magic did nothing to fight them, only being good against wounds, and his undeveloped immune system lead to him being hit hard by the infection.
Shivering in what was normally his warm and cozy room, the layers of blankets around him weren’t nearly enough enough to stop his intense shivering. He could swear he saw his breath fog up in the air at one point, though that was obviously just a delusional vision.
Delusional. Oh how delusional Ralsei had felt; he served his purpose and that is all he could do or deserved. He guided Kris and Susie to their destiny as the prophecy foretold and now was himself destined to once again, be alone.
Ralsei felt idiotic for believing that they’d stay, that he wouldn’t have to spend his time reading the same books and walking the same morning walk he always did. He lived his entire life aside from yesterday alone and clearly was destined to continue being alone forever until his death.
After all, the prophecy never had any hint of him having someone to talk to, someone to hold or cherish or relieve him from the suffering that was eternal loneliness-
Ralsei was crying. He didn’t realize it until now, but he was definitely crying. He had temporarily forgotten how cold he was, the only positive effect of the negative thoughts that came just moments prior.
His wet fur began to send chills to his face. He wiped off his tears then covered his head with the now damp blanket. His thoughts drifted back to his situation. Loneliness was something that had gripped Ralsei for as long as he could remember, the only exceptions being Kris and Susie. His mind cherished every second of the previous day, desperately wishing that it had lasted longer.
Kris was so nice and compassionate and caring, a perfect first friend for Ralsei. Their hugs were warm and Ralsei remembered the multiple times he had to cover up his blush with his scarf due to their embrace.
Susie definitely was nice to meet as well, and while he is glad to have met her, and there was nothing he saw as wrong with her, he just couldn’t get Kris off his mind.
When it came time for Kris to leave back to their world, he wanted so badly to ask them to stay. He barely refrained from pathetically dropping down to his knees and begging for them to not abandon him, or to at least promise to visit, if that was even a possibility.
But he didn’t, he knew that they’d say no, that they wouldn’t care about him enough to abandon their life. Why would they, when they only knew him as a guide to fulfill their destiny for a day? And moments later, when the flash of light emanating from the exit to the overworld illuminated Ralsei’s face, his eyes welled up with tears. Wishing that his only true friend would come back. Wishing to not be alone.
His eyes began to have trouble staying open. Ralsei drifted off to sleep, his body tired from the sobbing. His arms were wrapped around a pillow in the same way Kris had hugged him the day before, grateful and still remembering for the lessons Kris gave him in hugging during the tutorial.
Unsure of how much time had passed, Ralsei slowly came back into consciousness. Though his eyes hadn’t opened yet, he could feel that something was wrong. Or rather, that something was out of place or different than usual, and panic and fear began to build up inside of him as a result.
He was ready to jump up and use what tiny levels of energy he had to address whatever potential danger might be in the room, but all his body could produce was the energy to just barely open his eyes. Taking what he could get, he cracked open his eyes and saw that something in front of him was blue, and it was at this point that he realized just how numb his senses were.
Just as the rising fear in him made him feel like he was about to burst, his thoughts were interrupted by a single word.
He calmed down immediately for a reason that he couldn’t pinpoint just yet. That voice was so perfect, music to his ears, low and soft. Realizing how much time he was taking to answer, he opened his mouth, but unsure of what to say or to who he was even addressing his response to, the only noise that came out was a weak croak.
A hand came to his cheek and caressed it with care and concern as the voice rang out again.
“Ralsei, are you okay? You feel really cold.”
Could that be Kris? The blue and the voice-
Ralsei hurriedly opened his eyes fully to see Kris sitting on a chair to his left, a worried expression upon their face. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Or his ears, as Kris rarely talked, their voice a gift every time he heard it. He felt his heart begin to bubble up as he immediately leaned forward to hug Kris’ arm.
“I’m okay Kris, I’m just a little sick,” he said, muffled slightly by the arm his face was hurried in. “What are you doing here though? I thought you would, um,”
Leave me forever. He couldn’t bring himself to say it but those were the words ingrained in his mind, yet Kris was right there in front of him to disprove them.
“Of course I came back Ralsei, did you really think I could leave you?” Kris slowly moved their free hand to the back of Ralsei’s head and began to scratch it, feeling his soft fur move around their fingers. Kris could feel tension being relieved from Ralsei’s body with every scratch.
“Y-yeah…” Ralsei quietly said, as if he didn’t want Kris to hear.
Ralsei felt Kris’ hold on him tighten. “I hope you know that you mean a lot to me, Ralsei. I know I’ve only known you for a day but I honestly value you more than any of my other friends.”
A while passed before either of the two spoke another word. Ralsei, while grateful to hear what Kris said, had a burning question that he wanted answered. “Kris, can you please promise me something?”
Ralsei lifted his head to bring himself to eye level with Kris.
“Of course, what is it?”
He took a moment to prepare his plea, during which Kris moved his hand from Ralsei’s cheek to instead be wrapped around his shoulder.
“Please promise to stay with me when you can.”
Ralsei found himself unable to look at Kris in the eyes. His head rushed with memories of waking up to no one every single day of his life, hopeful that someone would show up and be his friend. He didn’t want that to happen again. He wanted Kris with him.
Kris brought their head to his, raised their chin, and gave a swift, tiny peck against the fur on his forehead.
Ralsei instantly felt his face begin to flare up, but for once he didn’t care enough to hide it, too busy with elation from Kris’ promise.
“Thank you, Kris.” He opened his mouth to speak again. “Can I ask why and how you’re here?”
Kris, with their forehead now pressed against Ralsei’s, nodded subtly. “I decided to check on you since I couldn’t bear the thought of you being alone. I knocked on your door but, without an answer I got concerned. I knocked again and again but ended up opening the door for myself and looking for you.”
Kris tightened their grip yet again.
“After finding you in your room I came over next to you after you didn’t respond to me calling out your name.” Kris shifted slightly, dispelling thankfully expired concerns from their head. “I brought a chair over and pet you a little while I tried to figure out what to do. I touched you and felt your really alarming body temperature…and halfway through my thought process you woke up.”
Ralsei unintentionally shuddered in the best way at the thought of being pet by Kris, which they noticed and interpreted as a sign of Ralsei being cold again, thankfully.
Kris piped up with a suggestion for Ralsei. “I have some medicine I always keep in my pocket, can I go to your kitchen and get some water for you to drink it down? I really want you to get better.”
Ralsei nodded and Kris began to stand up to make for the kitchen before being stopped by Ralsei’s voice and a soft squeeze of their arm. “Thank you, Kris. For everything. I really like you and appreciate everything you do!”
The fluffy goat had the most adorable and genuine smile plastered on his face that Kris had ever seen, and Kris couldn’t help but return one of their own. They let out a quick “Of course.” before finally leaving to get the water.
Ralsei couldn’t believe how lucky he was. Former thoughts of loneliness and despair quickly drained and replaced with yet-to-come memories with Kris. With his only true friend, the one that he could forever be happy with.
Kris returned with a glass filled with two small capsules floating around in water. They once again sat down next to him and brought the glass near his lips. “Drink it quickly, okay?”
He nodded and let Kris tilt the glass for him, gulping down the medicine and proceeding to stare at Kris, their eyes locked for seconds that felt like minutes. He inched himself closer to Kris, ready to open his mouth again, yet was interrupted by them.
“Oh, hey, I brought something for you!” Kris said as if they forgot someone’s birthday. Ralsei, while mildly irked that his attempted romantic moment was ruined, was much more curious as to what Kris got him.
“Oh? Can I know what it is?”
Kris reached into their pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper, then placed it into Ralsei’s hands. “See for yourself.”
Ralsei unfolded the paper and his eyes were met with an alcohol marker drawing of him and Kris walking through the vibrant red forests like they had the day before, holding hands while Kris was speaking to him.
Ralsei’s eyes were drawn back to Kris. “Did you make this?”
A simple “Mhm” rang out from Kris, all he needed to once again overflow with joy. His mind raced with ideas on what to make as gifts for Kris to repay the drawing: plushies, cakes, hats, all things he suddenly wanted to do and made a mental note to do as soon as possible after recovering.
“Thank you so much, Kris. Again, I really appreciate everything you do for me.”
His words came out slower than his usual pace and it was clear to both of them that his sickness had caught up to him once again. He laid back into his bed and opened his mouth for one last request before his inevitable sleep.
“Kris, can you please lay with me? It would really help with my coldness. I-if you want to, of course.” Ralsei said, with a newfound confidence that he hasn’t experienced before in his life.
Kris let another smile creep upon their face and decided that everyone on the surface could wait for their return for another day. They slowly crawled into the bed next to Ralsei and took hold of his arm.
Ralsei rolled over as far as he could to face Kris and with his last drops of energy repaid both pecks that Kris had given him earlier, both to the forehead. This time though, both of them were blushing hard from it.
Kris helped to pull blankets over the two of them as Ralsei’s eyes drifted closed.
“I like you a lot.”
A tired giggle escaped Ralsei. “I love you too, Kris.”
Before Kris could reply, Ralsei was fast asleep.