Bad Bedside Manners

“What is wrong with you all?” Arkadin asked as he sat up straight. He currently had no real place of his own and was currently living in a tiny house on the top of a hill on some of Yisini’s reclaimed land. The Goddess of Life had basically taken over all of Arkadin’s territories ever since his last rampage and he hadn’t had time to get them back from his sister. His three massive siblings were all outside, peering in through the windows.

“Nothing!” Yisini almost sang with glee. “Just happy to see you!”

“We brought gifts!” Kairos smiled, holding something in one of his winged claws.

“And food. You like food, yes? I’m not imagining that, am I?” Epani added.

Arkadin rolled his eyes, not sure what to say. So instead he just repeated what he’d said earlier. “What is up with you three? Five days ago, you hated my guts and wanted me dead and now suddenly you’re all wanting to be friends! You in particular, Epani!”

Epani shifted her weight as she floated effortlessly in the air. “Yes, well. Things change. The idea of one of us taking over your duties…” The Space Serpent sighed. “That is not something we like. Let you stick to what you are good at.”

Kairos nodded awkwardly in agreement. “That and we kinda missed you. Because you’re family and all of that!”

“And I care. I genuinely care!” Yisini continued to smile. “I mean, I’m nothing without you.”

“You’re everything without me…” Arkadin grunted, wiping his face. “Can I have like five minutes to tidy myself up? I’m supposed to be resting.”

Epani glanced at Kairos and mouthed something.

“Well of course he’s going to be tired after destroying a Corruption-ridden universe, right?” Kairos exclaimed, glancing at his younger brother. “That is what happened, right?”

That was exactly what Arkadin expected one of them to say. They weren’t interested in him. They just wanted to know what to expect in the future, when Arkadin was ready to take his blade to the neck this universe.

“Yes, that is what happened…” Arkadin sighed. “I really don’t want to talk about it. Yes that universe was pretty much dead when I got there in the first place, but what happened was horrible and I don’t want to have to think about it for a while.”

“But what about the details?” Epani sneered. “You sound like you are missing out a lot of them.”

Arkadin hissed back, climbing out of bed and stomping outside. “What part of not wanting to talk about it do you not understand Epani? Because trust me, you really don’t want to know how the Corruption broke in, raped their version of Yisini to death then used her body as a puppet to take over the mind of their equivalent of you, after which it proceeded to eat the universe from the inside out!”

Epani blinked in shock, then flapped her fins and took off, disappearing into the clouds above.

Kairos and Yisini sat where they were, unable to form sentences, their mouths somewhat hanging open.

“That’s… pretty horrible…” Yisini finally managed to stutter.

“Exactly…” Arkadin growled. “Why did you think I didn’t want to talk about it?”

Kairos shrugged, but didn’t say anything. Yisini twiddled her delicate, clawed thumbs. Arkadin sighed, sat down next to them and stared at the sky for a while.

“Uh, little brother?” Yisini finally spoke.

“Yes, sister?” the Thantophor grunted.

“What about their versions of you and Kairos?”

Arkadin rolled his eyes. “There was no version of me. Their version of you also controlled Death. Their version of Kairos… well, Thassalin was the only thing that made it out in one piece. I’m thankful he made it here, even if Kenon just put him to sleep. At least he’ll get a peaceful last thousand years or so…”

Yisini hummed to herself. “So… is he available?”

“What do you mean?”

“Can I, like, take him to my place and keep him as a guardian and potential mate?”

Kairos’s jaw dropped further. Arkadin just rolled his eyes again. For some reason, he both didn’t expect those words to come from Yisini’s mouth but expected them anyway.

“You should ask him yourself…” Arkadin grunted. “See what he thinks.”

Yisini smiled, then hugged Arkadin tightly, before letting go and disappearing in a puff of smoke. “Thank you!”

Arkadin sighed once more, feeling vaguely annoyed. Suddenly, he felt a gentle wing wrap around him.

“I’m sorry…” Kairos smiled ever so weakly. “If it makes you feel better, I’m genuinely glad you’re back. I’m sure Yisini is as well, but you know how… scatterbrained she is…”

“I know…” Arkadin smiled. “And I appreciate you saying that.”

Kairos patted Arkadin on the back. “You want to go out for dinner or something? I know a good place, if you don’t have a problem shifting into a Temthan form.”

“That would be nice…”