“When did things get so difficult?” Callum’s voice is quiet, hardly above a whisper, but she hears him. She hears him from where she lays across from him, their legs tangled to keep the contact they found they crave almost constantly. They both face the open sky, watching as stars continue to litter the dark blanket, as if they hadn’t only fought in a terrible war hours before.
How they love the stars. Constant. Comforting. Bright . They bring comfort to the pair, and reminds them of each other.
His question earns a little snicker from his girlfriend - his girlfriend. He still gets butterflies thinking about it - and a small cock of her head. “Hm. Probably sometime between me being ordered to assassinate Ez to yer royal pain in the ass mage stealing Zym.”
“I mean, yeah, obviously . I just… thought it would stop when we returned Zym. But we still don’t know where Claudia is, and we never found Viren’s body-”
His rant was cut off with a brush against his hand, where her hand now rests. She scrunched her nose at him, giving his fingers a gentle squeeze.
“At least we’re alive . And together,” she turns her gaze back to the stars above them. She still wasn’t the best at looking him in the eye when she spoke all mushy to him. It was embarrassing. And she still has no idea how he manages to do it. “At least we have that.”
He hums in agreement, brushing his finger across her thumb appreciatively. Though she can see the stars reflecting in his eyes. He looks thoughtful. Tired. Her smile falters the slightest bit as her fingers lace with his, a look of worry on her face.
“Hey, sad prince,” she pushed herself up so that she was sitting, and gently pulled him up with her. They now sat across from each other, their foreheads resting against the others. “Talk to me. I’m here for you.”
“I know you are,” he finally smiles, and her lips twitch a bit at the corners, though her worry made it hard to fully commit. “I just have a lot on my mind. It’s… been a long past few months. I haven’t not worried about something since the day we met.”
“Ah, yeah - that makes sense.” She cringes a bit at that. A part of her believes - a part of her knows - that this whole thing was partially her fault. She was the one who dragged them into it. She should have delivered the egg herself and let the princes be just that; princes. Not heroes. But she hadn’t been lying to Sol Regen when she said she wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.
His eyes finally flicker up to hers, and his expression turns to one guilt. “I’m not saying it’s your fault. It isn’t. It’s just been a lot. I’m… tired.” He turns his head away from hers, his eyes set on the surface beneath them. She let her forehead slide down to his shoulder, where she stayed, listening to his heartbeat and his deep breathing. She can tell he’s trying not to cry, and it only makes her eyes sting, too.
“I think… I think the weirdest part for me to comprehend is that… despite everything that has happened - everything I’ve lost and everything I’ve seen change - I wouldn’t take any of it back. I couldn’t. Because… I never would have met you. We would be on completely different ends of the earth, unaware of each other's existence. Or we would have hated each other. And I don’t… I don’t like that.” His fist curls at his side, and his shoulders grow tense. “And it feels wrong to say that I might not take it all back. Because it wasn’t only me who lost shit - Ez did, too. His - our dad. Claudia and Soren lost theirs, too. Even if he is out there somehow, they’ve lost him. You lost things! Runaan, your town - so much. And yet, if I had the choice-”
Her lips press firmly against his, her eyes shut tight and her hand shaking in his. “Shut up.” Her voice was hoarse. Fighting back tears. Fighting back feelings of guilt, exhaustion, pain - feelings only memories could so vividly resurface. “Shut up, shut up, shut up. You don’t have the choice to change things. None of us do. We didn’t have a choice with any of this! We were thrown into shit that we weren’t ready to handle and we made do. That’s all anyone can do. All of this happened for a reason, Callum. Because… because I lost Runaan, I was able to return Zym to his mother. I was able to meet you . It’s not selfish to treasure the good of bad situations.” She plants a second kiss on his lips, this one softer; not meant to interrupt, but to reassure.
He returns it slow, at first, his hand gripping hers tighter to help her shaking. She smiles into the kiss, pushing herself closer to him so that she sat at his side. She rests her head on his shoulder, their hands sitting on her lap and their eyes gazing at the stars.
“We’re going t’be okay.”
“You aren’t going to lose anythin’ else.”
She turns to look up at him, and her returns her gaze, his expression soft and loving. An expression she grew to love. She brings her hand to his cheek, her thumb softly brushing against his warm cheeks. “I love you.”
His expression, even through his pain, grew playful. “I know.”
“Not even gonna say it back, huh?” She gently smacks his cheek with her hand before squeezing it far too roughly, laughing as she moved to sit on his lap and push his head around. “C’mon, romeo. Not even a pity one?” She smushes his cheeks with another little laugh, her nose bumping against his as she kisses his smushed, completely unprepared and adorable lips.
“Okay, okay, I submit! You win! I llll…..look over there!” He grabs her head, turning her so that her eyes could find… nothing.
He takes her confusion to grab her wrists and turn her onto her back, his laughter dying down when he saw her beneath him, a little bit annoyed and a little bit in love. He smiles at her, releasing her wrist so he could cup her cheek in his hand, which she immediately nuzzles into. “I love you, too. I really do appreciate having you. You’re… amazing, for lack of better words.”
“Mm.” She sighs softly, placing a tender kiss on the palm of his hand. “And you’re sweet. But foolish.”
Before he could ask, she uses her free hand to push him away and roll out from underneath him, now on her knees with her arms wrapped around his neck from behind. “Aha!” She tackles him down, earning a very muffled fuck you through the ground she had shoved him into. They were both yelling and giggling with the newfound adrenaline rush had taken over the both of them.
And, even though he was still a little tired and she was still a little sad, they continued to mess around until they fell asleep, her head on his shoulder and his cheek resting upon the top of her head, limbs tangled and breathing steady. Because the world was unpredictable. And they were just along for the ride. And there were things they wish they could change, and some that they wouldn’t. And it was a constant, dangerous mess - at least they had each other, in this moment, on top of the Storm Spire. At least they could bathe in the light of the stars, safe from harm for the night, and maybe that night only. At least they were here , in each other’s embrace.
Yes, the world is unpredictable. And dangerous. And painful. But at least they have this night.