Title: but steady me now, for I am weak and starving for mercy
Author's note: Yuletide, for miss_prince. Title comes from "Stupid" - Sarah Mclachlan. Thanks to Joss for a quick proofread.
Elincia stretches out her hands in an arc towards Lucia's body until they are wrapped up in each other. Lucia is here. She almost cannot bear to believe it. She buries herself against Lucia, repeating her name over and over.
Lucia, oh Lucia.
It's as if she can keep Lucia near her merely by this repetition, like a spell woven into the air.
She has seen her death in her mind every time she closed her eyes. She's woken from dreams of Lucia hanging from a scaffolding, her lifeless body swaying in the wind more times than she could count. And yet as a queen she was forced to sacrifice those closest to her heart to save her kingdom, even as her entire being called out to do anything, anything to save those she loved.
"I was so worried," Elincia says. Her voice cracks from emotion as she holds on tight, as if Lucia might slip from her grasp yet again.
"I'm sorry to worry you," Lucia whispers. "I'm sorry to have let you down."
"You've never let me down, not even once," Elincia says.
She leans her head against Lucia, curls into her chest like a child. She doesn't want to be a queen right now, doesn't want to be strong. Lucia strokes her hair. She understands; she always has. She won't judge her for this momentary weakness, she'll forgive her for choosing the country over her, and she won't hold grudges at all.
There are so many things she wants to say, but they only come out as sharp intakes of breath. She isn't crying–she's too numb to cry.
"Stay with me?" she manages. It comes out husky and weak, no fitting words for a queen.
"I'll stay as long as you need... I'll stay as long as I live," Lucia says.
Elincia allows herself to be held as they crumble to the floor. It's cold. hard, and very uncomfortable, but she barely notices. All she can feel is relief, release. She doesn't have to be strong right now.
Lucia will love her all the same.