windsnocturne: (Celica)
[personal profile] windsnocturne
Title: Forever Love (Forever Dream)
Game: Echoes
Characters/Pairings: Alm/Celica
Rating: PG
Summary: He came this close to losing someone else dear to him. The most important one.
Word Count: 600
Author's Note: Takes place immediately after the final battle.

Any (& or /) Any – Hold me tight and don't let go.



An empty space where Duma once stood, Mila's light fading from the Falchion's blade as it lies flat on the cold ground. Alm walks slowly as he goes to retrieve it, but the moment his hand touches the hilt his knees weaken and he feels about to fall over.

"Alm." Celica's at his side in an instant, wrapping an arm around his waist, her other hand stroking his own. Her hands are warm, Celica is warm, she's right here, alive and well even after...he shivers, wishing he still didn't remember that moment so vividly. He'll never forget it, though, just like he'll never forget his father's dying words or Rinea's spirit taking Berkut into the next world with her.

They make their way out of the tower slowly. It's not as late as he thought it would be, the sun's just starting to set. Everyone's either exhausted or cheering for their victory, but Alm's head is swimming. The gods are dead, everyone's safe and alive but this isn't over. Rigel, Zofia...no, Valentia. A single kingdom whose future is in his and Celica's hands.

In our hands. He feels Celica's hand against his own, her breath against his neck, and suddenly he's stumbling again, against her, Celica's arms bracing him before he falls.

"It's okay."

"Celica," he whispers. I almost lost you. He presses his face against her shoulder, his eyes burning with unshed tears. He hears a sniffle, feels her tighten her embrace, her fingers carding through his hair. He should have never let them be separated after they'd finally found each other again. Even getting to talk to her wasn't enough, he should have been by her side the whole time. "If I'd been with you-"

"No, Alm...I was wrong." She hugs him even tighter, sniffling again. "I was so set on throwing my life away. I thought I was doing the best for everyone, saving Mila, but..." She sighs. "The age of the gods is over, Alm. It's only us now."

"I know..." He grasps her hand, she laces their fingers together and he squeezes tightly. "And we'll do our best to protect the continent, and everyone we care about. We'll fulfill Duma's dying wish."

An entire continent, in their hands. Months of reconstruction ahead, so many tasks, orders, new laws, innocents to be accounted for. So much ahead of them and he can't think about it, all he wants right now is to be in her arms, to hold her, to bask in the feeling that they're both alive and they'll never be separated again.

He shifts to take off his armor, wanting as little as possible between them. His arms encircle her, and Celica buries her face against his chest, one hand clutching the fabric of his tunic.

"I know we have to go back to the castle," she murmurs, "but for now, Alm...can we just stay like this? Just a little longer? I...I'm not ready for you to let go yet. Please..." Her arm locks around his chest and he tightens his hold. I almost lost you. Never again, Celica.

"I'll never be ready to let you go." He presses a kiss into her hair. "Celica, I-"

"I love you too, Alm." She sniffles, her voice breaks a little. He's not sure whose tears start falling first, but he doesn't care.

They stand there, holding onto one another as tightly as possible. The last traces of light are soon fading over the horizon, and with any luck there will be stars tonight. But even if there aren't, it's the most beautiful night of his life.

She's warm in his arms, they're both safe and alive. That's all he needs.

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