Fiona jerked awaked and stared unseeingly around her darkened bedroom. Her eyes finally lit on her husband's sleeping form and she let out a small sob, pushing herself forward to wrap her arms around him. Shrek awoke with a start at this and after realizing what had roused him, rolled over to return his wife's embrace. She only clung tighter to him, burying her face into his chest.
"Hey, hey," Shrek murmured softly, rubbing Fiona's back. "What's this? What is it?"
Fiona shook her head, moving to better wrap her arms around his chest. She pushed her leg over his to pull herself closer still. She finally managed to steady her breathing enough to mumble "dream" against his warm skin.
Shrek, though not opposed to having his wife drape herself around him, was taken aback by the ferocity with which she held onto him. "Was it all that bad, love?"
Fiona took another steadying breath against his chest before raising her head just enough to speak clearly. Her voice still shook. "It's just—I was—I was back in the tower. That's all."
"That's all?" he repeated, continuing to stroke her back. "Are you sure?"
Fiona nodded against him. "That's all. Could you—could you hold me tighter please?" Her breathing was still unsteady, and her voice strained as if she was holding back tears.
Shrek obliged but frowned into the darkness. "Fiona, love. What is it? I've never seen you like this before.
Now tears were falling from Fiona's eyes. "I was still in the tower. And—and you weren't there. It was so much worse because I thought I had found you, but in the dream you weren't real. You were a dream. And then I woke up to that empty tower and it was so much worse, it was so much worse because you weren't there, you weren't there, you…" sobbing breaths overtook her words, and she suddenly pushed out of his arms and jumped out of bed before Shrek could react.
"Fiona!" he called after her as he struggled to untangle himself from the bed sheets, but was only answered by the sound of the front door closing.
By the time he made his way outside, Fiona was sitting on a small bench in their clearing, seemingly much calmer for the night air, eyes dry and breathing back to normal. She was staring up at the sky, but she smiled weakly at him as he approached with caution and concern. She reached out, took his hand and pulled him down onto the bench next to her. Shrek sat silently, trying to think of what to say
Fiona sighed shakily. "Sorry," she said with a watery chuckle. "I just forget sometimes. That I'm not… stuck there anymore. That you really did find me. That I live in this wonderful home, and I'm… free."
Shrek nodded, finally beginning to understand. "You were there for a long time," he said, at a loss for how to comfort her.
Fiona nodded, leaning
her head against his shoulder. "I guess…" she hesitated, "I
guess it left more of a mark on me than I thought. I guess I'm
weaker than I thought."
Shrek angled his head to look at her, though her face was downcast. "I think you're stronger than you thought." Fiona only gave a soft, watery laugh. "No, Fiona. Look at me." He gently tilted her head up so she met his eyes. "You are the strongest person I've ever met. You were trapped in that tower for years, alone. And yet you're the kindest, most caring person. In all the time I spent here alone, I could come and go as I pleased, but you had no choice, no escape. And yet everyday you celebrate, and love, and open my eyes to everything that is wonderful in life. It takes a truly strong person to take a horrible experience like the one you lived through and still be so positive. In fact," he said turning to look more fully into her eyes, "you're so strong that the only time your bad memories of the past can bother you are when you're asleep."
Fiona blinked up at him, the light of the moon shining in her eyes. She smiled, more fully. "And you think you're not good with words."
Shrek opened his mouth to reply, but got no further than that. Fiona turned and kissed him fully. As they communicated unspoken fears and reassurances with their lips, Fiona wrapped her arms around him again, but there was no frenzy this time. The moon rose higher, observing the pair as Shrek stood and swept Fiona into his arms, carrying her back into their house, and back to bed