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Jar of Stars

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Moonjumper got stressed easily.

 

 

You could almost calm him fragile, even.

 

 

Little things could cause his anxiety to spike without warning, made then lash out in fear or anger, made him scared and angry and full of desperation. And it wasn't their fault, not really.

 

 

Being trapped, alone in the Horizen for eons after such a traumatic event as their death, it was bound to make anyone break, in a way.

 

 

Moonjumper could be incredibly clingy, making up any reason they could possibly think of to make you stay close to him. To stay with him.

 

 

They had even tried to force you before, which quickly led to a big scuffle between him and their other half.

 

 

Thankfully, the ghostly corpse has since worked to keep himself in check.

 

 

(Was it because of Snatchers angry, dangerous warning to behave, or that terrified look you gave them when they tried to take you 'home'? Either way, Moonjumper swore he wouldn't try it again. To both you, and themself..)

 

But still, he was clingy. He knew it, you knew it, everyone knew it.

Nearly everytime you entered the forest they'd stick to you like glue, happy to just follow you around like a lost puppy.

 

You calmed them, he had said once, after you asked about it.

"Im not as... Anxious, with you nearby. You bring me comfort."

 

You couldn't muster up any annoyance about him practically being your shadow after that.

Because, after all he's been through, how could you possibly shoo them away? When they did his best to fix their behavior for you? To change and control such a big part of them, just so you'll call them a friend?

You couldn't, no matter how many times you had to remind him not to step right on your heel at every stop.

 

Still though, despite your presence, sometimes Moon's anxiety would get the better of him.

He's gradually learned to open up and let you know when its starting, after months of you reminding him that its okay if he needs a break and to talk about it. That you don't mind listening if they need it, that you don't mind being there for him.

 

And if he doesn't want to talk, that's fine too. Instead, you sit on the ground next to them, and wait for the storm to pass.

Most the time, its just the two of you next to each other in the silence, only occasionally interrupted by the game you're playing on your phone.

Sometimes, you'll talk to them, let them curl up on your lap as you talk about anything and everything that comes to mind, carrying out full length one sided conversations as you wait.

And on a few occasions, you'll start crafting while you wait.

Its always simple things, little silly stuff you can make almost absent mindedly. Bracelets made out of knotted together grass blades, little rings of grass or flowers, and, if you can get ahold of one of Moon's red strings, string figures.

All simple things, really, but it kept you busy and, a couple times, helped slowly bring the corpse back from his fogged panic.

 

This, apparently, was one of the times.

 

"What are you making?"

You blinked out of concentration, looking up to meet the tired yet curious gave of you friend, blinking for a moment.

After a long second of staring, you remembered the paper in your hands, and turning back towards it to see exactly where you were at.

"A Lucky Star," you replied, remembering your spot and folding the paper once more.

 

"I'll be done in a moment, if you wanna watch."

He's already been watching, you knew, but acknowledging their stare made him sit up straighter and lean in closer, curious as ever to learn something new.

 

Three more folds of the paper, and you tucked the final flap in, securing the little star in place.

You tilted it, carefully pinching the points and inflating the paper, rotating it as you went along, until finally, a perfect little paper star was held in your fingers.

 

Your small grin of smugness changed into a pleased smile once you caught sight of Moonjumper's face, though.

They looked in awe, staring practically starry eyed (ha) at the little shape in your hand.

Silently, you passed it over to him, fighting back a laugh at their excitement over such a small paper star.

 

Moon looked it over curiously, holding it delicately pinched in his fingers, like it might run away or fall apart if he wasn't careful.

"What did you say it was called? A Lucky Star?"

 

"Mhm... I take it you haven't seen one of them before?"

They shook their head a little, looking beyond fascinated at the little shape.

"Its so cute... What's it for?"

"For luck, of course! And just, positivity, really."

 

He looked back up at you, tilting his head slightly to the side.

"Normally, before you start folding the star, you write something on the inside of the paper. A little note of some kind, containing something kind and positive. Wether it be wishing the receiver luck, giving them motivation, or something else... This ones blank cause I just started making it absent mindedly."

Moonjumper nodded, smiling a little and going back to admiring the star.

 

And, while you could just let him bask in its paper greatness, the little info dumping part of you claimed hold of your voice, as you began pulling out more strips of colorful paper and a pen.

"They do have another meaning that's rather sweet. Most people fill jars with with them, and give them to people they love once they're filled to a certain amount."

Moon's attention shifted as you leaned down to write on the paper, purposefully blocking his view while writing.

 

"A certain amount?"

"Yep! I cant remember all of them right off hand, but I know some of the bigger ones. When you give someone a jar of fifty five stars, it means that you love them without any regrets. At ninety nine, You're saying you hope you're relationship lasts forever."

You began the process of making a star once again, making sure to keep the the words were they would be folded inwards.

"At five hundred and twenty, you're saying you love them. The last one i remember is at nine hundred and ninety nine, where you're calling it endless love." 

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, and fold. A relatively simple pattern to follow once you got the hang of it, though you went slower than usual this time so they could watch you work.

"If you fold and give someone a hundred or a thousand stars, however, that recipient is allowed to make a wish. Its not guaranteed to come true, of course, but its still a lovely thing to do for someone."

'And rough to do', you thought. You'd tried it only once before, and that had been... Heck.

Your hands and wrist cramped for a week afterwards....

 

But glancing back at your ghostly friend, he looked in awe of the meanings, watching you pinch your current stars points.

"Could you teach me?"

Placing the completed star in his palm, you nodded, already reaching for more colorful paper and passing the pen over to him.

 

______________________________________

 

Moonjumper was, unsurprisingly, a fast learner at making lucky stars. The first few came out wonky, as to be expected. But around his twenty fourth star, they started coming out perfect almost every time, and he beamed when you told him such.

By now you and him where side to side, a little group of paper stars in front of you, full of all different colors and all different meanings. You wouldn't let Moon read what you wrote, and in turn they wouldn't let you read what they wrote, so it was all jumbled and mixed. But it was pretty.

Looking at it made the both of you smile, slumping against each other tiredly and relaxing.

"Thank you, Starlight,"

 

You felt a light weight settle on your head, and chuckled a bit.

"This was fun..."

"Hey! Don't go falling asleep on me Moony, come on now!"

The only answer you got were quiet snores in response.

 

__________________________________

 

 

The next time you made stars together, Moonjumper was on the verge of... Something, again.

He growled at anyone who got too close, but seethed if you or Snatcher went too far away (too far being out of direct eyeshot, unfortunately).

He wasn't really angry, you realized that quickly. His body was too hunched in, like they were trying to curl in on themself, and he constantly trembled like he was dying of hypothermia.

 

No, you've been with them long enough to know he wasn't really angry, just... Anxious. Scared.

Suffering.

 

So, after a quick silent conversation with Snatcher, you scooted up closer to the ghostly corpse, and began fishing things out of your backpack to do. Snatcher magic'd a book into his hands, and he lounged back in the air as he read.

 

No one would harm Moonjumper while you two were there, he knew that. And you wouldn't leave, not until either he was better, or there was a emergency.. And even then one would stick with him through it.

So slowly, very slowly, they began to uncurl themself from their ball, still shaking like a leaf but scooting closer to be pressed against you.

 

Warmth,

Your warmth helped stable them, his hands silently sneaking into the backpack to search for something, anything, that could help distract and calm him down-

He found the hundreds of colored strips, and began working automatically.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.

 

It was a rhythm, gradually letting Moonjumper lose themself in your comforting warmth and the pattern.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold-

 

"Moon?"

He stopped, blinking and looking at you, mind clouded still for another moment or two.

But then they grinned a little, sheepishly showing you the paper in his hands. (Its  not the first time they had taken something of yours to distract themselves, but they suddenly remembered your request that they ask first, and felt a bit embarrassed...)

You smiled back, opening your arms in invite, and Moon waisted no time in falling onto your lap and into your arms.

You were so warm compared to them... Compared to...

They shook their head, relaxing into your hold. It was fine. He was safe here.

(She couldn't touch him, not here.)

 

"Any idea how many stars you made? I didn't wanna' stop you at first, you were so focused on 'em."

He hummed, bringing the one he had paused in making up to finish it.

"I wasn't counting, unfortunately."

 

You adjusted him, leaning up a bit to, presumably, count them put for him.

 

"Did it help? Making all those?"

"..yes," they slowly started finishing the unfinished star, listening intently as you counted under your breath.

"The... Pattern, and rhythm of making them helped a lot."

 

You didn't respond, and he didn't really expect an answer, as you kept counting.

It kept getting higher....

 

"That mean I'm free to go now?"

Moonjumper startled a tad, flinching back instinctively, but quickly relaxing afterwards. Snatcher was watching you both, and though he looked over it, Moon knew he was secretly relieved they were better now.

You didn't spend centuries comforting someone if you didn't care, after all.

 

"Yes, thank you, Snatcher,"

The shade waved him off and began floating away, leaving them be for now.

 

"Ninety four, ninety five, ninety six..."

You stopped a after a couple more, raising a brow but smiling down at him.

"You're only two away from a hundred, Mr.No hand muscles," Moon stopped as you laughed a little (what did you say ninety nine stood for again? A hundred was a wish, but ninety nine...), "im a little jealous, honestly. I've only every gotten to forty in one sitting, and even that hurt my hand far more than it was worth."

 

"...What where the the jar amounts for again? If you don't mind reminding me, that is,"

"The jar amounts? You mean what their meanings are? Well, fifty five means that you love them without any regrets, and ninety nine says you hope you're relationship lasts forever-"

That was it. He only half listened to the rest, finally finishing the star in his hands.

 

"Do they have to be given in a jar?"

"Traditionally, yeah. Couldn't exactly be called 'A jar of stars' without the jar, now could it?"

Moonjumper rolled their eye as you snickered, pushing himself up so they could begin picking up all the stars, red strings already out and on the search.

 

"What'cha doin Moony?"

He just hummed, still too 'on your lap' for you to be able to get up, but making sure to block your view while he scooped all the stars up. Not too long after, a jar was discreetly placed in front of them by his strings.

(It was probably from Snatchers house, he'd owe the ghost something later...)

 

Carefully dropping all the stars inside it, Moon was pleased to see they sit perfectly, a older looking cork being handed to him quickly after.

Before their nerves could begin building up, Moonjumper turned back and presented it to you, eagerly pushing it towards you.

 

"Moon-?"

 

"Ninety nine stars," he purred, fighting back the welling anxiety in their nonexistent stomach.

 

...except you don't take the jar right away, just stare blinking at them in surprise for a moment that feels like a hour, and no, this was a mistake, no no no-

 

And then you smiled so bright and happy that Moonjumper feels like he's staring at the sun, and he wonders briefly if he could somehow go blind from it. Then the jar's out of his hands and instead hugged close to you, and he's being pulled into a hug too, and-

Moonjumper slumps against you in the hug, basking in your warmth and happiness, any anxiety from before melting away instantly.

 

A few minutes later, you slumped back, grinning wide and holding the jar like a teddy bear.

"Guess this means I gotta get to work on one for you in return, huh?"

 

He flushed, swelling with happiness at that.

 

"As long as you let me help, I don't want you're hands in pain from it.."

You hummed, carefully setting the jar next to you and reaching out towards your backpack for more paper.

 

Ten minutes later, and the two of you were lost in the pattern, cuddled up together happily.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.

 

Knot, flatten, tuck, fold, tuck, pinch, repeat.....

 

 

Moonjumper couldn't wait for his own Jar of Stars, created by you both, the greatest gift he could ever receive.