Jun 26, 2019 4:28 PM
Small Shay brings home a small Nova
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A child in a puffy shirt and boots walks into a bar.

As he goes, he mutters to himself. "I've made it aboard. Lots of brown tables and chairs, and there seems to be a malfunction in the lighting, possibly due to the state of the nearby star system? Approaching the large - oh! Hi!"

After a few minutes of talking to Bar, he accepts a brightly colored hot drink with a lid, and continues investigating the room. He determines that there's nobody else at the seats by the star window, or at any of the seats, then starts looking below the tables.

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There's another child, curled in a small ball under one of the booth tables, tucked away into the corner, and apparently trying to make himself smaller.

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"Oh! I found someone else!" he whispers to himself, walking over.

He sits on the floor near the table and waves. "Hi!"

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The boy peaks over his knees at him, somewhat warily. "Hi?" he says quietly, voice obviously not used very often.

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"Hi! Oh," he copies the person's sitting position and continues in a quieter voice, "hi! I'm Shay! What's the situation?"

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The boy blinks at him. "Nova?" he supplies after a second, not entirely sure of it. "I- my door was...to here? Instead of the room?" He hunches back in on himself a little. "They're gonna be so mad."

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"Hi Nova! Like a star? Cool!" He frowns. "Maybe the transporter got confused? Who is? Can I help?"

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"...transporter? Was. Just a door?" Nova blinks, and then looks around, a little wildly. "The...the elders. They. Don't like it when I. hide."

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"The kind you walk through and don't dissolve? I don't know how that would happen." Shay turns to follow Nova's gaze, then wobbles over looking behind himself and turns back to face Nova on his stomach. "Well that's not fair. So you're just stuck on this ship now?"

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Nova shrugs. "I guess? If this is a ship?" He looks around. "Is-" He blinks and seems to curl further in on himself. "Is this yours? I'm sorry. I didn't know?!"

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He bites his lip and looks around again. "It's- probably a ship? Not mine though! It was supposed to be the ship Friendship Circle, but it's way bigger than normal and darker and I'd never met you or Bar before and I haven't seen the crew. But there's space out the window?"

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Nova gives a small shrug. "Saw windows. Figured it was...not sure." He pauses, looking cautiously at Shay. "...Friendship Circle?"

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He nods, and takes a sip of his drink. "It's the ship my Yarn Pals live on, except when they're somewhere else. They were having a problem with their water or something so I was supposed to go rescue them."

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He looks down, and then looks at Shay out of the corner of his eyes. "Must be nice," he says quietly.

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Another nod, slightly more subdued. "Yeah. They're my friends and we do things."

"Oh! Oh oh oh! You could meet them if you want? Probably?"

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Nova ducks his head again, pressing his forehead into his knees. "Should go back," he says, shaking. "Dangerous for me to be around people."

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"Huh? Why?"

He watches the kid in concern. "Do you want a hug?"

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Nova manages to get even smaller. "Sometimes I burn things," he mumbles into his knees.

There's a pause after the second question, and then Nova's eyes reappear. "What's that?"

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"Like steam or fires?" (He sounds like he might think this is cool.)

"It's um. A hug is like the thing you're doing to you're legs, only it'd be my arms or whoever's and you? And then you feel happier?" He puts down his cup to demonstrate a tight, floppy-sleeved hug around his own torso.

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"Fire," he admits quietly - seeming a little confused that anyone would find that cool rather than terrifying.

"Oh," he looks back at his knees. "I've never had one." (He doesn't know how he's supposed to decide whether he wants one.)

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"You haven't? Oh no! I - when my friends are sad I hug them and you seem sad? I like hugs and my yarn pals like hugs but Gary doesn't because he doesn't like how it feels to hold people. And it's okay if you don't want a hug, but hugs are nice?"

Everything else might just be weird, but this is sad. He curls up to hug his own knees.

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Nova flinches when Shay curls up. "Sorrysorrysorry," he babbles (flames flicker over his skin, quickly suppressed). "I just don't...know? If I want one. Don't want to hurt you."

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He uncurls and leans in a little to see the flames. "Oh that's pretty! Uh- it's okay? It's just sad if you haven't gotten a hug and want one? I'd probably be fine?"

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"...you think it's pretty too?" Nova asks, half-cautious, half-eager. "No-one...Everyone thinks it's...a curse?"

He looks down again, and then looks focused for a second, and the flames nearly completely vanish. (A couple linger around his ear.) "I- can we. Try? I. Want to know? How it feels?"

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Emphatic nod. "It's all glowy and bright! My mom's sorta on fire but in a different shape."

He scoots a little closer and reaches out for a gentle hug.

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That seems to reassure him some.

Nova is a little stiff, and doesn't seem entirely clear on what he's supposed to do, but he does his best to move into the hug, and respond. It'll take a moment before he'll relax a little.

"I. S'nice?" he doesn't sound entirely sure, but it seems more like he's confused by it being nice than anything else.

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