A/N: This fic was written in response to Fuyu no Sora's fluff challenge at "Exiled to the Couch" at AnimeSuki.
~X X X~
Sunlight was streaming through the windows, the pale hues of pre-dawn just starting to yield to daylit gold. Amoretta Virgine blinked as her eyes adjusted to the brightness, then pushed herself back and up in the bed to a sitting position.
Coming awake in the morning was never a slow and gradual thing for Amoretta; generally it felt as if a lever or catch was turned inside her. There was asleep, and then there was awake.
From what she'd observed, this was not a particularly normal experience for most humans, but then again, Amoretta was not human. She was a homunculus, an artificial life created by magic, so in some ways it was the similarity to a human that was more remarkable than the differences.
There was a soft rustling of cloth from the other side of the bed, and the still-asleep Lillet Blan adjusted herself to her bedmate's changed position, curling up to Amoretta's hip like a child would her favorite stuffed animal. Amoretta smiled down at her.
"You'd better watch out, Lillet; you're learning my bad habits," she said softly, barely louder than a whisper so as not to wake the sleeping magician. A warmth swelled in her chest, the feeling very similar to the warmth of Lillet's cheek pressed up against her skin, and she reached down, letting her fingertips graze along a lock of the Royal Magician's honey-gold hair that had escaped her nightcap and spilled over her face. Amoretta herself was often an enthusiastic snuggler in her sleep, to the point that she burrowed up to Lillet so energetically that more than once she'd pushed her right out of bed!
Last night she'd apparently been able to confine herself to just cuddling up close. Which was good, since being able to feel Lillet against her each night was one of the things she always looked forward to during the day.
It was different for her than it was for a normal person, she knew. As a homunculus, receiving love—Lillet's love—was a necessity for her to survive. She'd gone without that love for over a hundred days after her creation, and the emptiness in her heart, perhaps her soul, had been awful. Lillet was the antidote to that, but she was, after all, only one person, in one place. While the knowledge of her love, the connection between them, would sustain Amoretta, it was far weaker than being in Lillet's presence, or best of all to actually touch her.
I'm so happy that I was able to love her back, she thought. She hadn't had to—no mystical force compelled her to mirror the emotion directed at her. It could have begun and ended with simple gratitude, but it had not.
Lillet's feelings, all on their own, were what filled that awful coldness, the dull gray space that seemed to hedge round Amoretta and set her apart from the world, with warmth and light. But they couldn't make her heart sing. They couldn't make her dwell on how cute it was when Lillet went rambling on about some piece of magical minutiae that she'd become excited over. They didn't make her want to rush across the room to soothe the pain with a kiss when Lillet banged her hand on the corner of the desk. They didn't make her give the sharp side of her tongue to a senior alchemy apprentice who'd made a snide remark about Lillet's magical skills. They didn't make her want to stare into two deep violet eyes and lose herself in the way they shone.
Lillet's feelings couldn't create that.
Her mind, her heart, her soul, those could. Her personality, her giving nature, her kindness, her honor. Intelligence that let her capture Amoretta's interest in long conversations. Perception to see when something was bothering her, or when she was happy or had taken in interest in something. A kind and generous spirit that was forgiving of others. A playful sense of humor that never failed to make Amoretta laugh.
Sometimes, Amoretta wondered what was the point of being alive. As a created thing, it seemed to her that there should be some purpose to her existence, to why she was there. Dr. Chartreuse and Lillet both never seemed to agree with that. To her creator, the homunculus's reason for being had been fulfilled with her creation. There was no greater meaning to it. The great experiment was complete, and even if he had not been able to pierce the secrets of God via the angel within her, he still considered it a success.
Amoretta glanced down at the sleeping girl, seeing the faint smile on her lips. Maybe Lillet was having a good dream. She hoped so. Maybe it's a little vain, but I hope I'm in it.
Like Dr. Chartreuse, Lillet didn't think Amoretta needed any particular purpose for existing, some task to dedicate herself to. But there was a difference.
"You should just do what makes you happy, little love. You don't need a specific purpose to justify your creation; just being able to see your smile makes every day better." She could still feel the heat of Lillet's skin from when the human girl had held her hands while saying these things. "So you should have the right to pursue whatever makes that smile shine."
To Chartreuse, Amoretta didn't need a purpose because what came after her creation didn't matter. But to Lillet, it wasn't necessary because she saw value in each day of Amoretta's life. Not value in her creation, but value in her ongoing existence.
Lillet had done amazing things in her short (by one measure) life. She'd wrought the Archmage's final destruction, banished a demon, and saved the lives of everyone at the Silver Star Tower, including Amoretta herself. And none of that compares. She was really a remarkable person, was her Lillet.
That, she felt, was the most amazing thing of all.
She's waking up soon, Amoretta thought, then smiled as an idea came to her. She'd found that she had an ability to follow the natural rhythm of Lillet's sleep, whether it be from a subconscious perception of her breathing, her pulse, and other cues, or whether something less tangible. For whatever reason, she could tell (barring some sudden alarm that woke her early), where in the cycle Lillet was and how long it would be before she awoke. That came in handy sometimes, such as when they planned to eat in she could ring Gaff to start breakfast so that it was ready to greet Lillet in bed.
Amoretta shifted her position, moving slowly so that she didn't wake her lover. She waited patiently for about three minutes, watching as the soft rush of breath from Lillet's nostrils made the loose strands of hair vibrate against her skin.
Then, just as Lillet crossed the border between waking and sleep, Amoretta bent over and pressed her lips to her beloved's. She felt Lillet shiver in surprise, then lean into the kiss as she realized what was happening. When their lips parted, the magician's eyes opened and she smiled, happiness shining through the haze of sleep.
"Good morning, little love."
Amoretta reached out and gently brushed the back of her fingers down the side of Lillet's face.
"Yes," she affirmed, "it is."