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Cottage on the beach

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Robbie's breathing labored as laid on his back. The concrete was cold, the floor was filthy. He was currently in a bunker with Nettle, one of his brothers- in-arms. Though Robbie could hear the bombs and mayhem that was occurring outside, but he didn't care. His mind was not worrying about the war at that moment. All he could think about was Cee.

Cecilia Tallis, the woman he had fallen in love with. If the circumstances had been different from his current predicament, if he would have gone with Cee after the twins instead of going off alone, there could have been no way that Briony could have blamed him for her cousin's rape.

Briony…Just thinking about her made bile come up his throat. He had to swallow deeply to keep himself from puking his guts out again. How he loathed that girl. He couldn't believe he had once cared for that repugnant child. Robbie remembered that day by the river when Briony threw herself to the lake so he could he save her. She had been precarious and troublesome. She had almost killed them both. It seemed like even back then she didn't think about the consequences of her actions.

Robbie had loved Briony so much, like a little sister and that was another reason why her betrayal stung so badly. Not only that, but the fact that Briony knew she was lying. She hadn't seen him assaulting her cousin, Lola, like she claimed she had. But of course it had been his word against hers. Briony came from a wealthy and influential family, and where did he come from, the poor housekeeper of said family.

He was a nobody; no matter how much he studied. How much he excelled in his classes; no matter how much he tried to propel himself forward and forget about his upbringing. He would always be a servant's son. The charity case.

That was all he was for the Tallis family. All except one of course…Cecilia, she was the only one who believed in his innocence. She had been the only one who had defended him from Briony's venomous lies. He had been so angry at Cee when she hadn't gone to see him in prison. But all that anger disappeared when he saw her in the café that fateful day. She looked the same. She was as beautiful as ever, if anything her beauty had grown over the years. He felt filthy and ashamed. In prison he had been constantly abused by the other prisoners. Robbie had been humiliated because not only was he seen as a pretty boy, but he was also educated and well mannered. The other prisoner saw these qualities as something which they could exploit.

He had almost run out when he saw her sitting there, the light from the windows reflecting on her and making her look like an angel. He didn't want to sully her with his filth.

But then he thought of their encounter in the library that crucial night. The way her body felt against his. The way he felt when he was inside of her. He loved her. He had to see her again. If anything were to happen to him during the war he would regret not seeing her that day. He just knew it. He had to see her, even if this was their last meeting.

After an awkward greeting they both sat down and made small talk, but the awkwardness stayed until finally he exploded when she told him she had to leave early for work. He didn't want to think about not seeing her again. After all that time apart and now they had to be apart again. Fate was cruel. It seemed like they were destined to be far from each other for ever.

Robbie remembered saying goodbye to Cecilia that day as she boarded her bus.

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"A friend of mine has a cottage by the coast; said we can borrow it when you're next on leave. White clapboard with blue painted window frames." Cee said excitedly as they crossed the street.

They stopped once they reached the bus stop. Robbie sighed looking directly at Cecilia's eyes as she turned around to face him. She was going to say goodbye any minute now, and he didn't want those words to come out of her mouth. He didn't want to see her leave with the uncertainty that he might never see her again.

"I hope this bus never comes." He told her truthfully. Perhaps it would never come, but that was an idiotic and foolishly hopeful idea even for someone as optimistic as him.

Robbie could see the sadness in Cecilia's eyes and he knew that she was feelings the same as he was.

"Here." She said handing him a postcard.

"Something to think of while you're away." She continued her hands brushing against his own as he held the postcard in his hands.

The postcard was more like a photograph of the cottage that Cecilia had described a couple of minutes earlier. It looked serene and beautiful, and Robbie could see himself and Cee running around the beach together.

He looked back at her, his face holding a dejected expression. This was the part he had been dreading all afternoon. She sighed exasperated and kissed him. Her hands caressing his face before moving to his back as she pulled him closer to her body.

He gasped into her mouth and kissed her back with all the passion he had been holding back all those years while they were apart. They separated briefly before kissing again. The second kiss was brief and filled with sadness and melancholy. Her hands caressed his face as they broke off their second and last kiss. She glanced at him briefly before jumping onto the double-decker bus that pulled up beside them.

He looked watching the bus drive away as he whispered "I love you." into the air.

As he watched the bus drive off with the woman he loved he felt the air leave his lungs, and so he ran and followed it down the street. He saw Cecilia smile sadly at him before the double-decker bus turned the corner and drove out of sight. He stopped running. He knew his attempts to hold onto her were worthless so he stopped in the middle of the street catching his breath.

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"Cecilia." He gasped out trying not to sob uncontrollably. He didn't want to wake Nettle or any of the other soldiers again. They were all tired, they were all hurt and they all had loved ones back home they wanted to see again.

He remembered Nettle telling him briefly when they had first met that he was going to live and defeat the Germans, and that he couldn't afford to die because he had a wife back home who was expecting their first child, and that she depended on him. "I'm all she has." He remembered the other man saying, his thick accent stretching the words out.

He smiled. Robbie knew Nettle would make it out of this war fine. The other soldier was stronger than he was, more experienced and he wasn't injured. Nettle would go back home to a wife and a newborn child. He laughed quietly knowing Nettle; he would probably make love to his wife first and see his newborn baby later.

Nevertheless, Robbie knew he wasn't going to make it out of this war alive despite being incredibly optimistic. His optimist was failing him at this moment because the reality of things was finally beginning to sink in. He was going to die. He had been sick for some time now after his chest wound began to get infected. He wasn't stupid. He had septicemia, his symptoms fit the bill. It was too late now for him to get treatment and he was sure he wouldn't survive the night. He was going to die.

Robbie swallowed lighting up a match and staring at the postcard Cee had given him in the bus stop that day they had that fateful meeting at the café.

He smiled thinking of the way the waves would feel on his bare feet as he ran through the wet sand chasing after Cecilia. They would laugh and joke and kiss. It would have been perfect. And in his last moments of life, he didn't regret anything. Though he wished he had spend more time with Cecilia. That was all he would have changed if he could go back and live out his life again. But he had no regrets.

He felt the corner of his eyes leaking with unshed tears as the life left his body. He died at that moment one word on his mind and lips.

Cecilia

"Cecilia."

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Plz review after reading. This is my first one-shot in general, and my first Atonement fanfic so I'm sorry if I sucked.