Welcome to Kepler's corner

artist, writer, streamer, recipe developer...


Xen anxiously paced his room, starting to flatten the carpet when he walked over it. He had been to Schip's a lot, mostly for commerce. He had also developed a huge crush over the many times he visited, and he wanted to do something about it this time.

He had picked out one of the nicer outfits in his wardrobe, one that wasn't worn every day and full of dirt and sweat and blood. It was a pair of slightly decrepit overalls, and Xen felt like he looked decent in them. He didn't fix up his hair, because he never did. It didn't look right if he tried to brush it or tie it up.

Xen's plan was to go to Schip and cough up to him that he had an awful crush. It felt embarassing, telling someone about a crush like kid. But what other word was there? "Feelings" felt too vague and detached. Crush was what it was: the fluttery feeling, the walking on clouds, the saying dumb shit because you were too distracted looking at them instead of thinking about what you were saying, the thinking about them late at night and not being able to sleep.

Xen felt completely ridiculous, a grown ass man in his mid-20s, with a crush.

A crush that he was going to admit to.

He sat down on his bed and put his head in his hands. Should I even be dressing different for this? Is that too much? Am I overthinking this? Why am I doing this? Xen's mind kept going, racing through thoughts.

Eventually he stood up and took a breath. It didn't happen often, but when it came to dealing with people, he found himself holding his breath with anxiety more often than not. He had a hard time knowing what was right and what was too much, and he always hated being too much.

He didn't want to be too much for Michael Schip.

He needed to calm down. It was completely normal for people to wear different clothes. There were some things Xen needed to buy from Schip, and he planned on trying to strike up conversation after.

Xen started to shuffle through his bag one more time, to make sure he had everything he wanted to sell and the money he needed to buy things. Just as the last five times, everything was still in order.

I really have no excuse to keep putting this off, Xen thought to himself. With a sigh, he picked up the bag and left his room.

Being directly connected to the teleporter room, he did not have to walk far at all. He stepped onto the platform, anxiety bubbling in his stomach as he selected 'Schip's Lab' on the teleporter terminal.

The weird, indescribable noise of the teleporter went off, and the teleporter room faded into a painfully bright white. As Xen squinted through it, it faded out to the cold and sterile teleporter room of Schip's ship. The door was open, as it always was, and Schip was sitting back at the far end of the ship terminal, as he always was.

The green-haired [???] waved at Xen as he walked through the doorway.

"Long time, no see," he said as he sat up.

Xen gave him one of his typical dumb grins. It had actually been a couple of weeks since he last visited.

"I'm sure you missed me so bad," Xen joked back.

"I certainly did, my only customer." Schip replied with a wink. "What can I help you with now?"

Xen slung his bag down onto the ground and started pulling things out. "I've got plenty of stuff to sell. I've hoarded a lot the past couple of weeks."

The two men spent a few minutes exchanging items and shards. Xen had a huge haul from the mining he and Ammar had done while searching for silver, as well as tons of byproduct of caring for the animals in the back yard. Schip was always grateful for more metals, and he could use it with other excess to make some outfits. In exchange, Xen cleared Schip out of Rifter stones and circuit boards, and picked up a couple of the outfits he hadn't seen before.

After they closed up the transaction, Xen picked up his newly-heavy bag and put it on his back. With his stomach starting to flutter with anxiety again, he walked over to the far side of the terminal where Schip was once again sitting. He leaned on the side, and with pink just barely starting to touch his face, said, "So, Michael..."

Schip gave him a weird look, raising an eyebrow and giving him a half-smile. "My name isn't Michael?" He said, puzzled.

That pushed Xen to beet-red blushing. Out of everything he could've messed up, that had to be the most embarrassing. He couldn't stop himself from hiding his face in his hands.

"My name is Matthew," Matthew Schip continued. There was an obvious tone of entertainment in his voice.

"I'm so sorry, Matthew," Xen choked out, barely able to talk.

Schip laughed. "Have you thought my name is Michael this entire time?" He asked.

Xen stuffed his face into his hands harder. He felt so, so bad for remembering the wrong name. "Yes," he squeezed out.

Schip couldn't help but keep laughing. "I'm sorry, I really don't want to be mean for laughing, it's just really funny," he managed to get out between laughs.

Xen felt like he was going to keel over and die from how hot his face was. No doubt every inch of him was red at this point, and he was completely powerless to stop blushing in his embarrassment.

Schip struggled to stifle his laughter, slowly getting quieter and eventually stopping. He let out a huff, sore from laughing.

Xen peeked up from his hands to see that Matthew had also turned pink, not having been able to breathe well between his bouts. And Xen was mad that he thought Matthew looked incredibly cute with the flush on him. It didn't help his own flustered state.

Oh, god, I just need to go for it - I'm not going to get anywhere if I get hung up on this, Xen thought, half-berating himself. He was flustered and embarrassed but he came here with an intention and he needed to follow through.

Xen rubbed his face before finally putting his hands down. He was still blushing but dammit, he was going to get this done.

"Matthew," he started emphatically. Matthew still had a smirk but the sudden change had him raise his eyebrows, and he was looking at Xen expectantly. It caught him a little off guard. "Can I - um - could I invite you to have dinner together? Sometime?" he stammered out. Very smooth.

Matthew took a moment to deliberate on it, looking away from Xen and towards the ground.