Midnight barrels past us faster than I could have ever imagined. By this point, I’m getting sleepy, but Tor and Krystoff are still at it. Calisto’s clocked out—he’d been working since morning to help prepare for the reopening—and now he’s full of drinks and loud, funny stories. Cassius rejoined us briefly after his set was done but had to go home a bit ago since he has homework to catch up on.
CALISTO: So I look this guy in the eyes, right? And I’m just like, “you messin’ with me, mate? I’m an anglerfish, not a clownfish!” An’ he just takes off with his tail between his legs.
TOR: Hahahahaha!!!! Ohhhh, boy! Bet he felt real dumb after that one.
Krystoff snickers quietly behind a hand but is clearly starting to transition from silly to solemn. I decide it’s time for us to cut and run while the spirits are still high.
JUN: Hey, guys, hate to break the party up, but I’m pretty tired. I think I’m gonna head out now.
TOR: Aw, okay, bye, Jun!
CALISTO: All good! You safe to walk home alone, Jun?
KRYSTOFF: …I’ll go with them… Ugh, siof sahvic.
CALISTO: Hahaha, ed’chuhe po? Are you safe to walk home, Krystoff? Lookin’ a little green around the gills.
KRYSTOFF: Whose godforsaken fault is that, you foul sailor.
CALISTO: Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome, you prissy headache.
The edge to their bickering is softened considerably by the alcohol. I’d even say it comes across as amicable, compared to the earlier glaring and avoidance. I scoot out past Calisto and walk around to the other side of the booth to help Krystoff float clumsily out of his seat. His balance is so unsteady that I end up just taking his hand and leading him out.
CALISTO: Lady is in the back right now, but I’ll let her know you left. Be safe, you two!
JUN: Thanks for everything, guys!
Krystoff follows my guidance without protest, and the fact that his feet are dangling a few inches off the ground like he forgot how to walk actually makes towing him a simpler task. So it works out well enough.
Outside, it is most certainly past midnight. The sky is stark and oppressive above us, but the glowing lights of the few establishments that are still open this late help to ease us into the darkness. Normally I’d catch the bus from downtown to the residential area to cut the walk down a little, but I don’t think any buses are running at this hour. And Krystoff looks like he could benefit from some fresh air, anyway.
KRYSTOFF: Th’eciv. E’nep’ku cebt.
JUN: English, Krystoff, or I can’t reply.
KRYSTOFF: Sorry. Keep forgetting english. I feel sick.
JUN: Ah, boy. Think maybe you overdid it with the drinks?
KRYSTOFF: No. Shouldn’t have eaten food.
JUN: Oh. You goof, you didn’t even look like you enjoyed it. Why’d you eat it?
KRYSTOFF: You looked like you were enjoying it… Wanted to join you.
Drunk, woefully honest Krystoff is so cute. I’m just gonna say it. It’s really funny to hear him just… say things without the carefully constructed wall he puts between himself and others. Not to say I prefer him this way, but it’s definitely a rare side of him that I don’t know if I’d ever see under any other circumstances.
He teeters a little, so I readjust my grip on him, and he laughs.
KRYSTOFF: Jun… s’zhep’ku luf.
JUN: C’mon. English. You can do it.
KRYSTOFF: You smell good.
JUN: Uh. Huh?
He hooks an arm around my shoulders and leans close enough for me to feel his tepid breath on my neck. I freeze in my tracks.
KRYSTOFF: You smell good. Your energy. Your human spirit. Smells good.
I’m totally lost as to whether this is a confusing, alcohol-addled joke, some kind of apparition thing, or his bizarre attempt at flirting. Regardless, I remain composed, even though I can feel my pulse start thrumming violently.
JUN: Thanks, I guess? I don’t really know if that’s a compliment, though. Haha…
KRYSTOFF: It is. Th’eciv. I love you so much, Jun, you don’t even know. I’m going to vomit now.
He lets go of me and, true to his word, leans over the street to puke in the street gutter like a model citizen. I’d hold his hair back for him, but somehow, he’s aware enough to have that handled himself. I wince, sympathetic, but mostly preoccupied by the bomb he just casually dropped on me. He probably didn’t mean it, right? There’s no way he did. He’s just drunk and emotional. Right? Does Krystoff even get emotional about anything? God.
He spits and wipes his mouth and floats back to my side, looking a little worse for wear.
KRYSTOFF: Okay. Strawberry is gone.
JUN: Not quite as elegant as dematerializing it, but I guess it works, right? Do you feel better now?
JUN: Wait, Krystoff! You can’t fall asleep here!!