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I’m not sure how long I had been staring blankly at the computer screen before I finally was jerked out of my daydream. I don't even know what pulled me out of my half-awake daze, since the  runes on the screen still pulsed an unchanging, hypnotic blue in front of me.
A few of the rows had been translated into something at least readable, but the rest sat stagnant as ever.

 

I rubbed my eyes with the heel of my palms, my head was beginning to throb--if that was any sign of how long I was zoned out--as the drone of machinery behind me filled my hearing.

I should be working, translating at the very least, and I had been doing that, I think.


Why couldn’t I just focus today? It felt like I was moving through a thick soup instead of air, my head full of sludge and--

--not that I had nothing to think about. I had plenty on my mind, I assured myself, and a full mind is never the best thing to work with.

The sprawling screen in front of me contributed nothing, as per usual.

 

All throughout the Lor, the lights had been dimmed to just a soft glow, the softly pulsing control panels on the wall contributing most of the light. The ceiling, which I had recently repurposed to reflect the nearest constellations, shimmered above my head in a rotating display.

There was a bowl of...something...on the console next to me that had long since gotten cold. I think it was noodles, but it had kinda congealed into a shapeless, colorless blob.

 

I let a dejected sigh, turning away from the Lor’s screen as my mind threatened to wander away again.

Maybe a walk would help clear my head.

Fresh air always made me feel better, and I could check in on my shoppe. Taranza was still new to running it--he could always use an extra set of hands.

Plus, he was always good company. Once he got talking, it seemed like that spider would never stop.

 

“I’m going out for a walk, ok Lor?” I announced, gliding towards the door as I spoke. “So uhm...goodbye. Stay safe.”

Great awkward finish, Magolor. If I had legs I would have kicked myself.

 

The door opened silently, which I assumed was the only recognition I was going to get.

It was better than nothing, I guess.

A cool breeze blew inside the moment the hatch cracked, carrying with it the smell of flowers and greenery and some kind of chocolatey dessert.
It was a strange but not unpleasant combination that I had gotten used to after a while of staying in Dreamland; apparently the entire planet smelled like some kind of food.

“Try...not to get stolen or anything.” I said after a moment, patting the wall in what I hoped seemed like a kind gesture.

 

The Lor didn’t respond, not that I had expected it to, but at least I didn’t feel like I had embarrassed myself in front of a boat.
Or, at least, a little less.

 

***

 

It was nighttime outside.

 

The cool breeze buffeted me softly as the door closed behind me with a pointed thud, leaving me in the near-silence of darkness.
A few creatures looked at me with glowing eyes as I drifted away from the Lor, but they didn’t so much as blink as I passed by them. Silently watching until I was too far away for them to pay attention to anymore.

I hadn’t expected it to be so late, I wasn’t complaining. The stars always looked beautiful here, and no one bothered me at night.
The shoppe was long since closed; Taranza was probably back in Floralia by now.

 

The fluffy grass and delicate wildflowers were bending in the breeze and reaching towards the dark sky, a few of the blooms glowing like dying embers and even fewer seeming to blink at the stars every few heartbeats.

The real thing I was focusing on was the sky though. And more specifically, the stars that were glowing softly inside it.
The blankets upon blankets of rainbow-colored stars, sparkling and twinkling, ever-changing, constellations laid overtop of constellations in patterns I had never seen in my life and very well might never see again.

Looking up at the sky now made my heart race all over again, thinking about all the stars that had died out that I hadn’t even noticed, about the formations that only I had seen for the moment that they existed.

I hadn’t looked at the stars like this, on my own, in so long that it felt like welcoming an old friend. The times that I left the Lor seemed farther and farther apart nowadays. Even fewer times that I was outside at night, alone and free to look up at the sky for as long as I pleased.

I settled on the grass as I gazed upwards, eyes wide and unblinking so I could take in as much of it as possible.

I could point out the individual constellations even from here. Some of them I knew by heart; starry patterns that told the stories of the Ancients, those few that my parents had whispered to me when I was little.
Most of them I couldn’t recognize though. They were just meaningless, terribly beautiful, pinpricks of light on a dark background.

But it took only a few moments to remember the other reason why I hadn't stargazed in a while, it only took a few heartbeats for my mind to wander once again to memories I had tried to bury.

Memories of--

--someone I had been thinking about a lot lately.

 

It was bad to dwell in the past, and I knew that better than most, of course.

 

But sometimes I couldn’t help but think about him, as I fell asleep, even though I knew, logically and realistically, our paths would never cross again.

The knight with golden horns and a lance that could cut through whole planets, clad in magenta and gold, wings like an angel’s. Surprisingly quiet and considerate, with a gentle touch despite his armor and weapon saying otherwise.
...the one who kept me alive and helped me regain the confidence to come back here…


Who refused to come with me, insisting he was fine being alone on Halcandra, that he was the wandering sort that would move on soon anyway.

 

Had he even thought about how maybe I might not be fine being alone when he said that? Had he thought about how I might get lonely, being alone again?

 

My face was hot with anger and--something else--when I eventually realized I was digging my fingers into the palms of my hands. My claws had dug through the thick fabric covering them and into my other hand without me even noticing.
When I loosened my grip, a few drops of crimson blood dripped to the ground and stained the grass below.

My ears flattened against my head as I watched them fall.

 

It was fine. I’d never see him again. I could forget about him and move on. I didn’t have to think about him anymore.

I didn’t have to have my heart speed up at the very thought of him. I didn’t have to have to think about him for hours on end. And I certainly didn’t have to imagine him holding me close and telling me he lo--

I could stop.

Because those things would never happen. Ever.

Galacta Knight would roam the multiverse for eternity, and I would be perfectly happy here.

Forever.

On the horizon, the sun was just barely starting to peak up over the grassy hills, setting the whole landscape ablaze with reds and yellows. Creatures stirred in their burrows and the shadows and their silent glowing eyes ever so slowly were burnt away. The stars had faded to pale dots in the increasingly warm sky. I hovered there, just a few inches above the ground, for a few minutes before turning back towards the Lor.

 

I had had enough of the outdoors for a while.

 

---

 

It had been so nice on Halcandra.


Galacta and I, alone…

Getting there, though, was my worst nightmare come to life.

 

I had been wounded, terrified, almost--no, actually dead. My mind had been fragmented and hazy as I wandered through Another Dimension hardly knowing who I was.

All I had been thinking about, then, was about how I had been defeated and of course the crown.

 

Though I like to pretend it doesn't still allure me, it doesn’t tug at my heart and soul as much anymore. My thoughts aren’t consumed with plans and ideas to get it, to hold it in my hands, to wear it and gain its power.
...well, not always.

But back then...I couldn't think about anything else.

The crown was me and I had lost it. I had lost a part of myself and I needed it back. I needed to make people suffer for taking it away from me, and the memory of the pain and torture it had caused seemed conveniently gone. All that was left was a need to get it back.

Time felt irrelevant and hunger didn’t exist, only the crown and my enemies, as I searched frantically in a wasteland of nothingness.

...and that was how Galacta found me.

 

He appeared in a flash of blinding light, seemingly out of the black-blue abyss itself.

 

Shards of glass and crystal swirling around him in a swirl of pinkish-silver reflections. He didn’t show any surprise over my presence, only drawing his magenta lance and turning to me with bright crimson eyes.

 

Now, even in that state, I felt a bit of awe seeing such a powerful being in front of me. It would take a fool not to cower a bit upon seeing him, as the air around him crackled with energy. His small stature did nothing to retract his menacing demeanor at all.
His lance, a weapon that had destroyed whole planets in one fell swoop, aimed straight at my head and his eyes narrowed.

 

Which is a great way to start a conversation, if you want to scare the shit out of the other person.

Somewhere deep inside my mind, I marveled that the knight looked like an angel, with his feathery wings arched above him in a soft purple halo.

 

"You shall go no further, lost soul. This is no place for your kind." he said calmly, lightning sparking along his blade, blue and red and gold. It would have been a beautiful sight if it wasn't directed at me. "Return to whence you came or suffer the price."

 

"I need the crown. I need it!" I cried, backing up instinctively. My muddled brain only saw someone with power and power meant crown. It made my heart ache and my head spin. "Give it to me! I'll do anything!"
I held out my hands out expectantly, like he was just going to hand me one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe.

 

The knight glanced at my burnt and damaged hands and then at me in disgust, lavender wings flapping a steady beat to keep him aloft. "...you would rather beg for riches than save your own life." his voice was dangerously quiet and edged with a layer of pity. "You are nothing more than a shell."

 

"I need the crown! The Master Crown! Please! I can't be without it! I'm...it...I can't! Give it to me, please!" I don't know if it was real tears or not that started to well up in my eyes. "You know where it is, right?"

 

His expression flickered through a few different emotions at the mention of the Master Crown, before finally settling on anger. He pointed his lance closer to my body, and I felt the pull of its power grow to an almost unbearable amount. "How did you get your hands on the Master Crown, Halcadran?"

 

"It's mine! I put it on so it belongs to me now! I heard it say that I...it...it belongs to me! I'm the ruler of the multiverse! I lost my crown and I need it back! Give it to me so I can be powerful again give it back so I can--"

 

I was jolted out of my tyrade by Galacta grabbing my hands, the armored plates on their backsides digging through my gloves and into my own hands. His lance was sheathed by his side, I noted hazily, as he stared into my eyes with his own pulsing crimson ones.

 

"What is your name."

 

I blinked a few times, my heart beginning to slow from the frantic beat I hadn't realize had been pounding in my chest. His tone was so much more gentle, he sounded like a different person.

 

"My...name?..."

 

"Tell me your name, Halcandran."

 

"My name...was...is...it's...my name is Magolor." I had to force every word out of my mouth. It suddenly felt unnatural to talk. "But I--"

 

"Very good. Magolor. You, somehow, came into possession of one of the strongest objects in this universe. Yes?"

 

"The Master Crown...I...need it..."

 

His hands were still holding my own, a bit tighter than was comfortable now. But it warmed me to my core and almost soothed the ache in my chest.

 

"How did you acquire it."

 

My head hurt so much, just trying to think about anything other than...it...made me want to buckle over in pain. The crown was me. There was nothing but the crown. Only having it and using its power to shape the world to fit my needs. It was me. It was me. It was--

 

"Tricked...someone...defeated Landia...and I took...the ... myself... "

 

"And you put it on? You used its power as your own?"

 

His eyes were easy to get lost in. It looked like there were galaxies swirling within them. A sea of reds and pinks, infinite.

"Yes…I...used its power as my own. But I couldn’t...keep it. It…it’s gone.”

 

His expression softened a tad.

"Very good. Then, I have only one more question to ask you.”

 

“...question." I echoed, mind going blank for a moment. Question. Maybe it would be about the crown.

 

"Who was it that you tricked into getting that artifact? Who was the victim of this scheme of yours?"

 

It felt like someone had suddenly thrown me against a wall.
My head stung, but even it couldn't stop the memories that suddenly washed over me.

I remembered fighting Landia. Failing. Crashing on Popstar. Kirby coming to help me, someone he didn't even know. I remembered feeling excitement as my plan came back together.
Regret. It was all going to end soon.
The Lor being fixed and going back home. Watching the fight with Landia play out from afar. The crown fell to the ground and it was mine. Laughing and watching as horror dawned on their faces. Losing myself to the crown's power. I wanted to destroy everyone and everything.

Everything would be MINE.


And then...I lost. I lost and it was over.

 

"I...it was someone from Popstar. A...stranger" I choked out. My body suddenly felt like it was filled with lead. I couldn’t say that it was a child. I couldn’t say that it wasn’t just them. It was-- “I tried...tried to kill them.”

"You tried to kill someone?"

 

"I couldn't stop myself! I didn't...I hope I didn't want--I couldn'tve wanted that! That can't be it!" The feeling of overwhelming desire that I had felt just a moment ago was tainted by the dread and shame I suddenly felt."He's alright though, right? He must've won! I...he's fine!"

 

Galacta just stared at me silently, but I could tell he was regretting his decision not to run me through. His hands were wrapped tightly around mine and no longer seemed like a gentle gesture.

 

"I'm not a murderer! I just wanted the crown so I wouldn't be so weak, right? I could make Halcandra habitable again with the power! It would've been green and beautiful and we could've torn that factory down! The crown it...we...I couldn’t control..."

 

"Slow down. You are speaking too quickly."

 

"I...want the crown back...it told me everything was okay...it wouldn't...if I had it right now everything would be okay..."

 

"You need to rest. If you have been awake since this event you speak of, then you must be exhausted. We can speak more then.”

He pulled me close before I could say another word, close enough that my ears rested against his mask and horns and I could feel the electricity flowing through him. I felt a slight shock go through me as he held me closer, and I had to bite back a yelp. Almost sickly warmth radiated from him.

I wanted to say something more. Maybe apologize?
But I stayed silent.

The magenta knight spread his wings wider--to their full, magnificently long extent--as he unsheathed his lance and pointed it towards the sky. Electricity immediately crackled to life at the tip, red and yellow and blue striking at thin air.
And soon, a rather familiar portal had formed, star-shaped and oozing a blackish-blue liquid.

“Hold on.”

 

Galacta warned, and we plunged through.
The usual cold didn’t envelop me as we passed through the portal, though.

It was a comforting warmth.


...

.

---

 

I don’t know when I...started having feelings for him.


Maybe it was when he was nursing me back to health, keeping me from collapsing in on myself. His patience and unexpected kindness, or the way he looked at me with his beautiful scarlet eyes--


I frustratedly typed at the Lor’s console, typing in letters and symbols with the intensity of someone in the heat of battle. I hated that my face was warm despite the cool interior of the ship.

Maybe it was the moment I saw him. The way it sparked a sudden jolt of emotions inside me. A mixture of awe and admiration and…

I just couldn’t stop thinking about him.

My hands slowly came to a stop on the keys as I realized my heart was beating faster.
Which was silly, since nothing was happening and the thoughts racing through my head would never reach reality.

It felt like my heart was being stabbed with several blades at once.

“Lor? Can you display...can you display your logs on ‘Galacta Knight’?”

His name caught in my throat. Dread mixed with a jolt of frustrating excitement toiled in my stomach.

I had looked at it all so many times before, combing meticulously over every little detail. Footnotes, half-written entries, scrawled notes that were half burnt, all of it.


The Lor’s screen shifted to a soft blue static before displaying the requested information with a quiet chime. It made my heart race even faster.

There were only a few pictures attached to his file, much to my continued agony.
They were blurry or distorted, from a distance, or taken with shaky hands.
Almost every single one of them only showed pink blurs darting across the sky, sparks of golden light barely visible arcing around his form.

I tapped the keyboard absently, enlarging one of the pictures to take up the whole surface.

It was the only image with any sort of clarity.
Though the hastily taken picture was slightly out of focus, you could make out the curve of his horns and his crimson eyes burning under his mask. He was facing towards the camera, weapon drawn and armor shining in the reddish light. Around him, you could see the energy crackling in the air, ready to burst at any moment.

Slowly, I pressed my hand up against the hologram.
The screen crackled around my hand, distorting the colors ever so slightly as my glove passed through it.

He was never coming back.

I pulled my hand back after a few moments, sighing quietly.

“...do you think he thinks about me too, Lor?”

The Lor didn’t respond, but the picture of Galacta slowly faded into darkness.

“Probably not, right? I’m just being silly.”

I ran my hands anxiously over my ears, floating absentmindedly away from the console to look at the gibberish readings on the panels on the walls. The constantly-changing dials and charts were a strange sort of soothing to stare at.

In the back of my mind, I scolded myself for having hardly gotten anything done today. Nothing at the shoppe, hardly anything on the translations--I hadn’t even left the ship today to talk to the locals.


My stomach was tied in knots.

 

I was a mess and I knew it.

“>INTRUDER ALERT. UNKNOWN ENTITY APPROACHING AT HIGH SPEEDS. INTRUDER ALERT.”

The mechanical voice jerked me rudely back into reality, making me blink hesitantly before the words registered in my mind and I leapt into action.

“Lor, display the intruder.”

I ordered, quickly turning back to the keyboard and resting my hands in their usual position. The screen flickered back to life within a few moments, displaying a foggy view of the night sky and the array of colorful stars up above.

For a few heartbeats, I couldn’t tell what was wrong.
It just looked like the sky.
Dark clouds swirled high up above.

And then I saw it.

My heart skipped a beat.

“Lor, open the door.”

I muttered, already moving towards the hatch and away from the glowing control panel.
The Lor, of course, obliged instantly. The whirr of machinery got louder as the door slid open so much slower than I wish it did.

I darted out the door the moment it was open, the warmth in my face growing hotter.

I didn’t pause to take in the once again pleasant night.
I didn’t stop and look at the beautiful blooms hidden in the grass that had only gotten more vibrant since the other night.
I didn’t appreciate the way the trees in the distance swayed and the way the water reflected the stars up above.

No, my eyes were locked firmly on the sky, and the pink speck that was slowly gaining more and more shape as it got closer until I could just barely make out lavender wings.

I flew up higher into the air, not thinking.
My mind felt completely empty and yet so full as the figure and I got ever closer.

I could see his mask, his horns.
His armor gleaming even under the fiery energy that was surrounding him.

He looked...beautiful.

I opened my arms as he got closer, hundreds of thoughts racing through my head but none of them made sense. He was so close.
He was here.

He was here.

And then, of course, he hit me straight on.

The two of us careened into the ground with a loud thud, leaving a dent in the ground with the force of our impact.
My lungs felt empty as I gasped for air, but I hardly cared.

Galacta was here, in a heap of feathers and armor resting right by my side.
If I wasn’t too stunned to get up I would’ve recoiled at just the notion of being so close to him.
But right now, with my side pressed up against his, I felt like the luckiest person alive.

“G...gala...I’m so...” I smiled weakly, “...happy to see you...”

Galacta let out a small laugh, slowly propping himself up first on his hands and then getting to his feet. His armor made a few clanking sounds as he straightened himself up.

The knight’s wings were a bit tattered and missing a few feathers, but he still made a beautiful silhouette on the dark sky, standing there,the lavender plumes that remained catching the starlight in what seemed like the most unimaginably elegant way possible.

The strongest warrior in the galaxy turned to look at me, red eyes shining an ethereal red. I could see the smile under his mask, however small it was.

As I felt a blush come over my face I was suddenly glad I was wearing my full hood.


Hesitantly, I pushed myself back into the air. I bobbed a bit in place, still a bit unsteady from the impact, but I was able to keep my balance at least.
My clothing was burnt and torn, but it didn’t matter. Not right now, anyway.

“Magolor. It is so good to see you again.” Galacta murmured. His voice was low and quiet. Comforting. It felt like I had to keep myself from melting into a puddle. “Though, I had not expected you to greet me so eagerly.”

A smile crossed my face underneath my scarf, and I hardly suppressed a giggle.
Oh Nova, I was pathetic.

He paused, waiting for me to speak, but I couldn’t seem to squeeze even a single word out. So he continued in an amused tone. “...I see your Lor has been repaired since last I saw it.”

I glanced back at the Lor, clenching my hands into fists a few times. Oh why couldn’t I think of anything intelligent to say? Anything that would make him impressed? Or at least not embarrass myself?

 

“Haha...yeah...it took a while to get her fixed again! Especially doing it alone! But I...uhm--she’s better than ever before now! I’ve gotten rid of the p-problem where the uh…uhm…the...it...”

I wanted to rip out my own vocal chords.

“B-but I’m sure you’ve been doing much more interesting things than I have! My life’s pretty boring haha!”

 

Galacta tilted his head.

“...I have been imprisoned in a crystal for the past few months as punishment for my escape. When I eventually broke free, I was possessed by an ancient deity of the underworld.” Galacta’s tone hardly changed as he spoke, keeping an even but quiet quality to it despite his words. “I would have visited sooner, but as you can tell, I have been occupied. I came as soon as I could.”

 

“O-oh.” I stuttered, my ears flattening against my head. Something seemed vaguely familiar about that statement, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. “...exciting?”

 

He nodded sagely, as if that had been the exact response he had been expecting.

The warrior tucked his lavender wings back behind his back a few moments later, letting out a quiet sigh.

 

I wished for a heartbeat that he would unfurl them again, just so I could stare at his beautiful lavender feathers catching the light. But I immediately pushed away the thought, scolding myself silently for even thinking about it.

 

“It is truly great to see you again, Magolor. I wondered if you would still be intact.”

 

“Intact?” I managed to say in a mostly normal tone.

 

“Well, I know this is the homeland of the warrior you spoke of. I had assumed the worst.” Gala explained, taking a few steps closer.

I could see the slightest bit of his face behind his mask, and the miniscule curves on his horns. I could reach out and touch him.

 

I totally remained cool though.

 

“Wh...Kirby? M-me and him are cool. We talk. Sometimes. He comes over and eats noodles with me. I helped him stop the end of the w-world one time. It was really cool you should’ve seen me. I mean it. The cool stuff, not the end of the world. And I’ve been translating the writings of the Ancients to this planet’s language so that others can read about their wisdom...and...uh...”

 

Galacta chuckled, a smile flashing underneath his mask.

“And you said your life was boring. It sounds like you have quite a busy schedule.”

 

Would he think running a business was cool? I could show him my wares but he would probably only like the swords--maybe the armors too--oh who was I kidding he would love it all because he’s interesting and cool like th--

 

“If I’m hindering your endeavors I can leave. I did not mean to be a bother. It was selfish of me to assume you had nothing to take care of…” The warrior unfurled his wings once again, taking a step back as he spoke. His face was cast into shadow.

 

“WHAT? NO! YOU’RE FINE! IT’S FINE--” I said a little too loudly, rushing forward and grabbing his hand.

 

Oh no I grabbed his hand.

 

Galacta Knight glanced down at his hand, then at me, then at his hand again. An unreadable expression masked his face.

 

My whole face had turned scarlet. Even my hood couldn’t have obscured the blush that covered my face. I was frozen to the spot, holding Galacta’s hand in my own.

His hand was unnaturally warm, almost feverish, even through the fabric of his glove. It was strange knowing what it felt like to hold his hand now that I could fully focus, fully pay attention, to his hand in my own...

 

He didn’t pull away.

 

“...I see. I did not mean to distress you. My apologies.”

 

I didn’t--no, couldn’t --say anything, so I settled for nodding. Did he even notice me blushing? Was he just being polite?

 

“I will need to use my hand again though.”

 

Was I making a big deal out of nothing? He was acting like nothing had happened and I felt like a starship had been crashed straight into me. Was this normal? Just holding hands? Was I overthinking this? Dear Nova--

 

I let go of his hand before quickly spinning around.

 

“If you w-want to come inside the Lor, I can get you something to eat. I don’t h-have a lot, but it’s enough for the two of us.” Good, words were working again. “Kirby left s-s-ome sweets for me to try, if you want some of those.”

 

“I see. I do suppose I should eat. I haven’t had anything since leaving Halcandra.” Galacta said, dipping his head. “I accept your offer.”

 

The last rays of the sun had long since disappeared, replaced by the cool tones of the night sky and the stars up above. The light from the inside of the Lor cast long shadows along the ground where we stood.


I thought, for just a heartbeat, that I would be content to sit here forever. To just stand close to him as darkness fell over the planet.

But since that was a ridiculous thought, we both walked inside.

***

He looked both out of place and right at home, standing inside the Lor.
It was a bit surreal, to be honest.

Galacta was finally here, in my ship, standing in front of me and waiting expectantly for me to speak. I could go over there and sweep him up in my arms, telling him about how much I’ve thought about him, about how I missed him with all my heart and more…

But instead, I glided over to the compartment I kept my food in and reached inside. Even though the only thing I wanted to was press my face against Galacta’s and bask in his warmth, I opened the paper bag in my shaking hands and produced a handful of assorted lolipops.

“Would you...like one?” I asked, managing to make my voice hardly shake. “I’ve got lots.”

He looked at me curiously before shaking his head softly.

“No, thank you. I prefer not to eat around others.”

Galacta said carefully.

“You said you wanted to try some of my food though?”

It was supposed to sound like a statement, but came out more like a child asking why someone didn’t want to play with them.

The knight froze.

“Ah. Yes. That is correct. Well.”

That was apparently the end of his statement, because he immediately went silent and plunged the Lor into the most awkward silence I’ve ever had the grace of being a part of. The two of us stared at each other blankly, waiting for the other to break the quiet.

Silently, I put the candy back on its shelf.

“Right.”

I said into the empty space.
Galacta made a noise of agreement, but didn’t say anything. He was avoiding looking at me.

I actually wanted to scream.

The Lor was probably getting an absolute kick out of this and silently laughing at my expense. I could feel it.

“So…you were inside a crystal, huh? Again?”

Galacta looked relieved that the conversation had started up again, immediately brightening up a bit.

“Yes, but thankfully my stasis lasted only a short time. My last imprisonment lasted several thousand years.”

He explained, in the same sort of tone someone would say what they had eaten that day.

“The NOVA seems to not know what to do with me now. I was given the grace of a deity of death, and yet here I stand, alive and breathing. Is it because I was given as second chance? I may never know. But my wings have never been free from crystal for this long.”

“So...you’re free? Permanently?”

I said hesitantly. Was that what it all meant? Could Galacta...live a normal life with someone--no, with me?...
He could stay here, he could live on the Lor with me, we could live together and share the same home without fear that he would be whisked away. We could explore the cosmos together, side by side, until the end of time and longer, we could…

It was possible.

The knight just shrugged, a pleasant sort of confusion in his eyes. I wondered for a moment if he too had thought about the lifetime we could spend together, if he stayed. Did he think about these sorts of things as well??

“I suppose I am.”

He hummed absently, looking up at the stars swirling along the ceiling.

“Finally free, after all this time...it is nothing short of a miracle.”

I was half-aware of floating closer to Galacta as he spoke, but it wasn’t until I was sitting down next to him that it hit me how spellbound I was.

He looked at me in surprise as I settled down next to him, especially since it was simply on the cold metal floor of the Lor, but after a few heartbeats he joined me and sat down so close to me I could smell the warm dusty smell clinging to him.

Now that he was so close though, I was starting to notice that he seemed...tense? No, that wasn’t it. He was clasping and unclasping his hands and refusing to look at me. And his wings looked so tense I wondered for a moment if he was in pain.
If it had been anyone else, I would’ve said he looked nervous .
But Galacta had never acted like that before. He wasn’t the kind of person that got nervous over talking to people. There was nothing that swayed his calm attitude.

“I’ve...missed you.”

I said quietly, looking down at my own nervously clasped hands and then back at him.

Galacta Knight, the strongest warrior in the galaxy and destroyer of worlds, looked at me with the most startled expression I had ever seen on another person.

“Really?”

He said, voice rising a few octaves with that single word.

“...y-yeah. It’s been a while.”

“...it has.”

“I thought I’d never see you again.”

“Not even entire galaxies could keep me from seeing you again, I can promise you.”

He said it with so much conviction that it made my heart ache to hear it said out loud.

“But...you didn’t want to come with me. You wanted to stay alone, you didn’t want to stay in the same ship as me or come back to Dreamland you wanted to wander the multiverse for eternity and nothing could keep you from that! The moment I left Halcandra I thought that never in my life could I ever see your face again but you’re right here in front of me and...and...I...and I’ve never been more happy to see another person….
I’ve thought about you every day, I haven’t been able to focus because my thoughts have been on you and what...we...we could’ve...and now you’re here. You’re sitting right next to me, on my ship, talking to me like nothing ever changed. And it’s weird and crazy and I don’t know...”

I said, finally trailing off as I ran out of words to say or the power to say them. Words that I was already regretting saying out loud, to Galacta, to the person that I loved--

He smiled softly below his mask, lifting the white porcelain ever so slightly.

“What are you--”

I started, before he pulled me into a gentle kiss.

For just a moment, it felt like I was experiencing every emotion at once.
My heart was beating so fast I thought I might pass out.

Never in a thousand years had I ever dreamed of this moment, but suddenly I was experiencing it. Suddenly, it felt like everything had changed because it wasn’t just all in my head.

It was real.

And then it was over.

He pulled away, and for the first time I could see a scarlet blush covering his whole face. But he was smiling too, a grin that seemed to brighten the room with its glow.

“I understand how you feel.”

He whispered.

It felt like I couldn’t speak. He had stolen every word I had ever thought of straight out of my mouth and replaced it with a gentle warmth.
When I was finally able to speak, my words came out slowly.

“I thought...you had forgotten me…”

“Magolor, how could I forget you? I could never forget someone I loved.”

His words felt like a slap in the face even though they were said so kindly, too kindly.

No.

No he would never say that.

This couldn’t be real.
This wasn’t real.

Because of course this couldn’t be reality, none of this could possibly happen.

So I just looked at Galacta, at his mask and his armor and his wings and his eyes that were looking at me and expecting me to say something. He looked so real, and I wanted so badly to believe it was him, really him.

His hand in my own wasn’t real, and I could suddenly feel the wrongness of how it didn’t feel quite solid, wasn’t quite there .

All I could do was watch the world around me fade to black, taking Galacta along with it.

---

It was more soul-crushing than I want to admit to wake up.

When I opened my eyes and could remember so vividly what had just happened but had never and would never .

I didn’t care if the Lor could hear me as I let out an anguished cry, ripping my pillow to shreds with my claws until nothing remained but mangled bits of fluff and fabric, stuck to my claws and the sheets that I suddenly despised with my whole being.
Tears stung at the corners of my eyes as I flung the debris of my now-ruined pillow to the floor.

It felt like I was dying all over again.

But Galacta wasn’t coming to save me this time.