((Author's notes: As the M rating suggests, there's slightly more steamy content scattered about this story than usual. I had a craving for something hurt-comfort flavored after considering what the game said about Robin having dreams of her previous actions, and found myself writing this. Thank you for reading, and hope you enjoy.))
The feel of a thunder spell slicing through flesh was a knife in her gut. The metallic, crackling echo as the spell-formed spear embedded in ribs was a ceaseless attack on her ears. And that smell of scorched flesh left her with a sick feeling seeped into her stomach and throat.
"This is not your fault," a set of lips mouthed the words more than actually spoke them. There was scarcely breath left in him to do more. And she wanted to scream at him that it WAS her fault; that she should have been stronger, should have done something different. But her mouth didn't belong to her anymore, and she remained voiceless as she watched him crumble towards the ground. Her hand still crackled with power, no matter how she wanted to shut the spell off. If she could have stilled and stopped her heart, she would have, but it was all out of her control.
Save for her eyes. Her husband's body shimmered from the tears filling them, and they burned painful trails along her cheeks as they fell. When he collapsed she wanted to shriek and howl her grief to the skies, but still no sound came. The air around them, muddied from dark spells and stale air, was a silent crypt.
Save for a harsh mocking laughter building in her head, scornful of her, her husband, and their bonds. The world turned red again.
Her eyes jolted open and pulled the rest of Robin awake, to stare at a world that was bathed in a nighttime blue so deep, it was almost black. They must have been in the middle of a thunderstorm, from the constant pounding in her ears. It was only as she lay in bed shaking that Robin realized it was her own heartbeat, throbbing in her ears. Not that knowing it dissipated any of her panic; her limbs still wouldn't answer her, and the terror in her mind wouldn't grasp that her paralysis was from drowsiness and sleep fog. A jump start of panic made her fingers shake and her legs kick out like a startled deer. They bumped against something solid, and she became aware of another something warm that pressed against her back...And wrapped around her arms and chest. It pinned her down, and she thrashed in panic until she was released with a startled grunt.
"Robin? Robin!" A voice blurted into her ear, and as she strained for breath Robin finally grasped what she was pressed against. She twisted around to see her husband staring at her, eyes wide in a way that sent her stomach back into a lurch. Before her heart could jump back to pounding its way out of her chest, he'd grabbed both of her hands at the wrists and palms and clasped them tight.
His grip anchored her, gave Robin space to breathe and focus on his touch instead of the panic still thrashing inside of her. Her knowledge of her surroundings slowly began to sink in past the sweat coating her body. The roof overhead was made of familiar carved pale stone, and thin gauzy bed canopy. The bedposts on either side of them acted as a framework that Robin's mind latched onto.
'Home.' Their bedroom; not some ancient, choking, half crumbled ruin. When she breathed in, there wasn't any dust or taint of dark magic on her tongue...Though the air had a damp and almost ionized taste to it. She could pick out more of the furnishings of their bedchamber, and feel the warmth of a blanket over them both as her body sank back into the mattress. The bedding rustled as she shifted her legs again, this time without any sudden starts or jolts as she looked back at Chrom.
The worry hadn't gone out of his face, but Chrom kept his voice hushed as he slowly relaxed his fingers one by one, freeing her hands. Between his remaining fingers, she could pick out a dark stain from the mark on her skin. Something about it made her sides pulse for breath; maybe just that she was still remembering the feeling of a spell jolting from her hand and thudding into his side.
"What's wrong?" Chrom's voice brought her back, before she was tangled up in the images again.
"Nightmare..." She managed one word around a shaking voice. He heard how each of the syllables trembled, and traced his hands from her arms to around her shoulders. His fingers moved in circles on her back, doing what they could to ease the fear out.
"Y-yeah. The same one." She knew the question before he even finished, and nodded into Chrom's arm. Having that same nightmare before did nothing to diminish the terror whenever it visited. Robin couldn't determine WHEN it was she'd started having it; in some ways, the images felt like they'd always been hanging over her head, waiting for the right moment to sink into her sleep.
Her heartbeat settled so that outside she could finally hear rain drumming against the windows, and a distant rumble of thunder. The could have been what had brought the dream back, that there really was a storm just outside. Her own subconscious might have just filled in the gaps and connections.
'But even so...' She couldn't chase the unease out of her heart. Fear still kept her throat tight, her mouth like sand.
And outside, the storm opted just then to send down a crackling fork of lightning near the palace, painting the inside of their room a stark white and drowning her startled gasp out in an explosion of thunder. She forced herself to breathe deep as the sound faded away, telling herself again and again that the lightning hadn't come from her fingertips. It was fine.
Not that she had an easy time meeting Chrom's eyes, even with those thoughts in place.
"It's okay, love." His hands moved up and cupped either side of her face, keeping their gazes connected. "Look, I'm still here. We both are." He kissed her on the forehead to prove that point, his lips a warm brush against her skin.
Robin traced her fingers down his chest, resting them over his belly and spreading them out until her hand was splayed open palmed across Chrom's stomach and ribs. She absorbed the feel of his skin, observing for herself that he was right; his skin was unmarked, undamaged. There wasn't any blood under her touch, though she kept moving her fingers to make sure.
They skimmed Chrom's lower ribs and waist, making him shudder and part his lips in a low moan. The sky rumbled with more strands of lightning, and between the pulses her eyes found his again...Then their lips also found each other's. Robin murmured into his mouth, meaningless words that still somehow managed to be reassuring to her as they echoed in his mouth and her ears. He was solid underneath her, a rock to anchor herself to so the storm wouldn't sweep her away.
"It was a dream, Robin. It wasn't real." He whispered some comfort of his own. Or at least, an attempt at comfort.
She'd never fully confided in him, and even so snug against him and wrapped in his warmth, her words froze and halted. There was a chill working its way back into her skin, one that watching him didn't banish. Robin could imagine his face twisted into that same confused, lost look that haunted her dreams.
'He should know.' She told herself, fighting against the knots forming all along her body. 'He's my other half, my husband; he deserves to know all of it.'
The thunder rumbled again as her hand curled into a fist against his collarbone, and Robin forced herself to speak as she stared at the painted eyes on her hand. "It...It isn't just your death I dream about, Chrom." 'Be strong' she thought, swallowing to keep her throat open. "In my nightmares I...I'm the killer. I hurt you. I'M why you die."
More rain pattered on their windows, as the storm raged outside and Robin spoke through it. "I don't know what does it, in that dream. It's a fight we're in, and once it's won...Something happens to me." Battered from the nightmare, she let the full events of her dream slip out. Her throat rasped when she described the spell, and the awful betrayal that lanced through her afterwards, just as vicious as the spell jammed into him. "I want to do anything I can to undo it...But it doesn't matter how much I try to cry, beg, or scream...You're still gone. It's still because of me..." Those six eyes stared at her, unblinking. Robin had half the mind to take her own hand off; maybe it was mutilation, but it seemed a small price to pay, in exchange for Chrom not dying by her hand.
Chrom might have followed her thoughts, as his fingers closed around hers, obscuring the eyes. "Robin, look." His voice was almost too close to the one in her dreams, pleading for her focus to stay with him. The roar of her heartbeat half drowning out his voice didn't help that comparison, either. When she kept her eyes on their fingers, he dipped his head in close and repeated. "Please, look at me." It wasn't an order, but her head lifted itself up anyway.
He didn't look scared, betrayed, or any of what she was half afraid of. What he was instead was concerned, eyes narrowed as he brushed her hair free from where it had fallen across her face. His fingers were soft with their touches, like he was afraid pressing too hard would break her.
Given how fragile she felt, that might have been true.
"Robin...I don't know a lot about dreams. But I'd like to think I know you. You're greater than whatever it is your nightmares tell you; you ARE my other half, my better half." She burned from the words, starting to duck her head before catching herself and holding still. "I'll never believe you can be anything other than that."
She held up long enough to listen to his words, before falling into his chest with something that might have been a laugh, or possibly was a sob. She couldn't really tell, with how much was crashing through her. Her face was burning; eyes, throat, even her nose, and she pressed herself into his neck to stall that feeling.
Chrom didn't say anymore; instead he traced fingers through her hair, until they were woven well in and could hold her head steady. In another breath, he drew her head close to his, and the rest of her body shifted so they lay flush together. The close contact muffled the rumble of thunder, and his heartbeat in her ear dwarfed whatever sound was left.
"We leave for Plegia in a sennight." Robin found herself speaking. "I almost want to just wish you well and remain here, to keep anything from happening. But as much as going scares me...Leaving you unguarded and staying behind is worse. I wouldn't want to see you face this alone-"
"I won't. I know you could never hurt me." And she wanted so much to believe that. The warmth in his voice chased the doubts from her heart, at least for the moment.
Neither wore much to bed, which Robin was abruptly aware of as their skin touched. She could feel Chrom's pulse from where they met. It hadn't worked its way up to a full spike, but it was a far cry from anything sluggish that she associated with sleep. The heat from his skin soaked in past her own thin nightshirt, and Robin curled against it.
Their legs weaved together, and she could feel the press from his leg through her night clothes. She shifted so her own inner thigh touched his, earning a sharp breath from him and a sigh from her own lips. She kissed him again, this time as long as they could manage as she absorbed all she could of his warmth. He was alive, crackling with energy under her lips and her fingers, shifting so their hips were snug as well.
Chrom kept his eyes on Robin, once she pulled out of the kiss for air. He was breathing hard as well, tasting the moisture that seeped into the bedchamber from the night air. Outside their windows the storm picked up from the lull it had been in, and from the way she stayed curled into Chrom's chest, Robin was well aware of the weather.
"Strange, isn't it?" She spoke into his shoulder, not moving as thunder rumbled outside again. "Something I don't mind when it's during the day, or even in the battlefield, is so worrying after dark."
"I don't think it's strange." Chrom answered, tracing the skin of her bare shoulder. "Things look and feel different, once the sun goes down." He shook his head at the words. "Trust me on that. I can usually handle thinking about Emm, but..." But his wife had already seen him at his lowest, with the curtains drawn and the lights out. She stirred in his arms at the memory, and gave a soft "Yes. I guess so."
"Not guessing." He tapped her forehead with the fingers of his other hand. "You're smart enough that you KNOW so." Outside the storm kicked back into full strength. A stray gust shifted around, bringing a curtain of rainwater to smack against the windows and rattle them in the panes.
"Remind me to give commendations to whoever fitted those windows and latches," Chrom turned back to Robin when he was sure the storm wouldn't tear the windows open. In the pause her hand had moved up to his chest, her palm resting over his heart. Her thumb rubbed at his skin in rhythm to his heartbeat, tracing lines back and forth as she listened.
"You're not the only one who has nightmares about losing the person you love." Chrom told the top of her head. "I...Sometimes it's not Emm I see in my dreams. Sometimes..." Sometimes he saw his wife standing on the precipice of something dark and yawning, and he ran to save her from something he couldn't see but lashed at him with urgency. Or at least he tried. In his nightmares he was never fast enough, feeling like he was struggling through sand in an attempt to reach her. He found himself whispering all of that to Robin, a part of him scared that if he spoke too loud, those phantoms might find a way to become real.
"Sometimes my nightmares remind me what else I'm afraid of. Maybe it's the same with you...Because I know I don't want to imagine facing things without you." He stared at her, trying to find the words that would keep her calm and close. "Robin...Please stay with me?" Her expression softened as she listened, and she didn't look like she was about to cry, this time.
"Chrom..." Her voice was silk skimming against his ear. And a far cry from the worried, shaking thing he'd woken up to. The same was true for her body, finally resting easy against his. He moved his hand along her spine, one bump at a time, and was rewarded with Robin sighing his name again as she nuzzled at him. Her eyes were half shut from his ministrations, and she turned her head so their foreheads touched and she could watch him. "...How do you do it?" She spoke again, giving him a careful look through her eyelashes. "How do you make things so much better?"
"Learning from example." He tugged at her back as he spoke, wrapping her up in a hug. "You and Emm, both. You were there to help me." And maybe he wasn't the perfect Exalt like his sister, but he could at least heal and help his wife. The same as Robin had done for him.
"And I know you, Robin. I've had two years to know you, learn from you and about you. And gods, I know that you could never hurt me. Not anymore than I could...And you trust me, don't you?" At her nod, he brushed their cheeks together. "Then I can only do the same and trust you, love."
Robin sighed as the last of the tension drained out of her, and freed up something in her as she scattered kisses along one cheek, before switching to the other. Her breath came out in pants between them, and left Chrom breathing fast as well. When her legs shifted against his, something in him broke, and he wrapped his arms hard around her, pulling her down against his own mouth as he groaned. His blood was rushing fast through him, and his skin felt like it was on fire. Robin mewled against his lips, an almost desperate sound...Which pulled him back to reality.
"I..." He broke away when he realized what he was doing. "I'm sorry. That's probably not the best way to recover from a nightmare."
"It reminds me that you're here." Robin pointed out, not sounding embarrassed or flustered at all. Just breathless, as she traced her hands over his bare chest and straddled his hips. "And I haven't asked you to stop." Another kiss, before she added "I don't think I'll be asking you to stop anytime soon."
The rain continued to patter over the castle, threading through the hair thin gaps of the windows to put a cool note in the air. With how flushed they both were, still with a layer of sweat, Robin found herself grateful for the coolness.
Their legs remained twined together, a comforting reminder of what they'd just shared, while their bodies rested side by side. She curled against Chrom, picking out the spot between his shoulder and neck that she'd long since claimed as hers.
HE was hers, Robin reminded herself, and she'd never let anything hurt him. Not even herself. "Love you," she touched her lips to his ear as she said that, earning a hand stroking her neck in return. "I love you so much..."
"And I you." He nuzzled her before asking "Better, Robin?" She nodded into his neck, listening to his breath and feeling his pulse. It was strong, still beating hard.
"Much better, thank you." Her nightmare was a distant memory, and she felt glutted from the care he'd lavished on her; so much so that it filled all of her and left little room for anything else. The only thing she really could feel was a satisfied, exhausted calm settling along her shoulders and eyes. Chrom must have felt the same, as it wasn't long before his eyes drifted shut and his breathing leveled out.
"My love," she whispered as her fingers touched his bangs. She kept every motion, every word gentle so as not to stir him. He was peaceful as he slept, the rise and fall of his sides and the sigh of his breath a gentle lull for her. Robin snuggled up against him, breathing in out at the same time he did.
Now that she was at rest, she could feel a plan simmering in the back of her head. Robin let it continue to spark, not putting her full attention on it for the time being, to give it time to grow into something stronger.
'This isn't your fault.' The phantasm whispered in her head, in a strained voice that still made her eyes sting. But she kept her tears in check, looking at the real Chrom's sleeping face. 'Promise me...Promise me you'll escape from this place. Please, go...'
"I'm sorry, Chrom." She kissed his forehead with a gentle murmur. "I don't know if I can uphold a promise like that...Not when I have a different one to keep." He stirred against her, stilling only when she rested her hand on his shoulder and traced over his neck. "But I swear, I'll keep this oath...And I promise I'll keep you safe." From herself, if she had to. And from their enemies, certainly. "I'll make sure you survive whatever we face, beloved." She went to sleep with that promise still in her head. And when she drifted off, any nightmares still waiting for her were dimmed.
Hours before dawn she woke again. Her promise and the beginning of a plan stayed with her, far more vivid then any lingering nightmares.
His wife was strength; sometimes he didn't think there was room for any weakness in her with how staunch and steadfast she was. She certainly never showed it out on the field, or even in camp where others could see. Around them, she was immovable, unable to bend or break.
Behind closed doors and the thin shield of a tent flap it was a different story. Chrom knew that when he pulled the opening of their tent open, and finally found Robin after hours of searching.
She was a cold weight in their bed, back turned to him and head dipped so he couldn't catch a glimpse of her. When he sat down, his weight causing the bed to dip, her shoulders bunched tighter. Robin was a knot of ill feeling that stabbed straight into his chest as he looked at her. And as she refused to turn over to glance at him.
"You should go somewhere else." Her voice was hoarse, rubbed raw from so much stress and fear. Her right hand came up to clench against her chest, the mark stretched tight across her skin as her hand balled into a fist. That was the only strength he could still find in her, etched into her grip as if she could strangle the mark from her skin. The rest of her looked so tired, like she would shatter if she had to survive another blow.
He handled her like glass, as he pulled off his gloves and put his hands on her. With the motion, Chrom felt strangely fragile as well; there was still an unnerving lightness to his arm with the absence of the Emblem, as if someone had sheared off the muscle that formed the weight of his limb and leaving him off balance.
That didn't compare to hollow space in his chest, which only filled as Robin's warmth seeped into his skin. "I've been somewhere else for the bulk of the day," Chrom reminded her. "The same as you." Robin had been avoiding him, and with how she tried to stay strong around the others Chrom wasn't certain he blamed her. With how severe the situation was, it was only around him that she to showed something more raw. More emotional and vulnerable; more human. Neither of them could always afford to be that, out in a war. Sometimes not even around camp.
"It's okay." He assured her; they were in a safe spot to let it all out now, even if she needed to be reminded of that. His hands moved up her side, before brushing at her neck and moving to the base of her head. "We're both going to be okay. We'll get the Emblem back, and Validar-"
"Validar remains unfought, and we'll- You will have to face him eventually." Her back remained a tense knot that her voice flowed around, still refusing to look at him. "Why would you want me going into battle with you? I could become a liability if he gets his claws back into my head-"
"IF." Chrom pointed out, stroking her hair with one hand while the other rested at her back and between her shoulders. "It's not a certainty; you fought him before, and you can do it again."
"But is it really worth weakening your chances, just to have me there?" He let his breath out in a snort at that, which left Robin starting from the sound and becoming something other than a heavy weight under his hands.
"You keep acting like I have a chance alone...I don't." Chrom didn't give her a chance to fold back up again, still speaking. "That's because I'm not much alone, or without you...I'm strongest when my other half is with me."
She was so still for a moment, listening to his words and then dwelling on them in the silence. When it was broken, it was in a soft whimper that was half muffled by the pillows.
Her shoulders changed under his hand, going from a tight knot to something fragile and shaking as her breath rushed in and out in ragged sobs. From what he could glimpse of Robin's face, her lips had twisted to show her teeth, and there were tears burning hot trails down her cheeks. Robin hadn't cried herself completely dry, after all.
Chrom ran his fingers through Robin's hair, tracing the strands and brushing them back into place. When she twisted and rolled onto her back to face him, his work was undone and he found his fingers tangled in her hair. But compared to the look on her face, torn between stricken and desperate as her eyes locked with his, that somehow felt like a minor detail.
"Aren't you afraid I could-"
"You already hold my life in your hands." He knew it was an echo of what she'd told Lucina on the cliffs, but she needed to hear it for herself. To drive the point home, he untangled his fingers and rested his hand against hers. His fingers brushed at hers, a loose weave as he fell backwards onto the bed, resting close to Robin...Though not right next to her. Their hands were the only thing touching for the moment, a small link in the gap between them. But she was finally looking at him, through red-shot and misty eyes. That and their slight touch was enough, just then.
"You're Robin," he reminded her, speaking in that same hushed voice she'd used for him so many years ago when he was at HIS breaking point. "Before you're any man's daughter, you are your own person. You're so much more than his thrall." He traced his other hand to her face, as Chrom spoke each word. "Wife, mother, tactician, warrior...My heart and my life." She didn't close the remaining distance, instead leaning into his touch when his hand rested on her cheek. The gap between them remained, and there were still hot tears on her face that bit at his fingers. Chrom kept his hand in place, and let the sensation wash over him until Robin cried herself out.
"Please..." He whispered, cupping her chin with his hand. His eyes were stretched wide, imploring as Chrom ran his hand along her shoulder to keep Robin from drifting further away. "Please don't ask me to stand aside and do nothing. I love you; I want to be there for you...So we can both be strong. You helped me survive losing Emm; let me be strong for you now." It was only the smallest nod she gave him, but it was enough, along with how her hand reached for his.
The first time their hands fully met and clasped together, it was cautious as they felt out the other. Robin making sure they hadn't accidentally bumped together, and Chrom ensuring she wouldn't break or hurt from their longer contact and his tight grip.
Her eyes were half closed, her breath coming out just as fast and stuttering as before...But with a different edge to it, which wasn't so damaged or pained as before.
"Chrom," she was so hushed as she spoke his name, just the tiniest brush of sound in his ear. For a second he was afraid she'd slipped further into that fragile state...Until she continued. "Chrom...There's something you should know, about what might happen next. I-I've tried to keep it quiet from nearly everyone. But you should know, if worst comes to worse."
Shivering under his touch, his wife and tactician laid out her last gambit in a secretive whisper meant only for him.
Chrom had an easier time finding sleep than she did. Robin didn't know what weighed more on her and kept her awake; the worry of what might be waiting for them on the next day, or the fear of what would be waiting for her in her dreams. She had to bring her own hand up to stare at it, and see that the skin was clean with no trace of his blood.
"I'm terrified, love." She kept her voice at a murmur, to keep him from stirring and to minimize the window for anymore tears or sobs to sneak in. "I feel like all my plans, all the things I prepare...They're little more than paper, easy to turn to shreds and not much of a shield against Validar."
He'd already ripped apart the first of her plans, and made her doubt the success of her others. What good was her mind when it was just plaything he could easily override?
"I don't know if I can manage a victory for us...Though gods know I'd do whatever it takes to save you." She was ready for that when her own daughter raised a sword to her. She still felt ready for it, if Validar tried to push her into another crime.
A glance at his arm reminded her of where the Emblem had been, before she'd torn it away from him...The memory still made her want to curl away from the world. It was his warmth, a sharp contrast to those cold phantom fingers that had been in her thoughts, that kept her from falling into that past event completely.
It also reminded her of the next plan she had. The one that she prayed would be a success, and that Validar couldn't anticipate. 'He doesn't have the power he thinks he does,' Robin told herself, though she didn't dare speak the words out loud. 'Love...Please, just stay safe. Make it so I can fight beside you without any fear...And carry out the rest of this plan.'
She rested her head against the pillows, and stretched her hand out so it lay across his wrist. It was a small connection, but with it Robin listened to his pulse and breathing in time to it until sleep finally claimed her.
The ache in his side had dulled out, with healing and time. There were still twinges of hurt, but nowhere near the bolt of agony that had been driven into him. That pain when Robin had attacked him with...And turned the blow aside at the last second, leaving him with just another scar instead of a wound that could never be healed or staunched in time.
Once there was room to think and relax without worrying about a sword against their throats, Chrom found Robin inside their tent, curled up in the shared cot. She wasn't quite at the breaking point, just then; not like the aftermath of Plegia's Castle...But she was battered and he could pick out the cracks. Her back was again placed to the entrance, and when he sat down next to her he could hear the sob in her breaths. A hand on her side, and Chrom felt her sides fluttering as she bunched and almost tried to curl away from him...But she froze mid motion, her body fighting on what it wanted.
"Robin," His voice helped solve that, and coaxed Robin to follow it and shyly meet his eyes. "It's alright." Chrom put his hand to her cheek, a thumb running under her jaw so their eyes stayed locked. "You made sure it would be alright." His other hand went down to hers, grasping them. From the flash of pale skin in the corner of his vision, and a blot of almost black purple, he knew that she already had her gloves off. And he could guess what she'd been staring at as well.
"I'm not Grima." Her hands clutched at his as she spoke, her eyes still fixed on the mark. There was a hollowness to her words, and he could see how drained she was from the slump of her shoulders and the dip of her head. "I could have been, but..."
"You chose us instead." Chrom weaved his fingers around her hands so they framed and wove over the mark, pulling her eyes back up to look at her.
"That's what I keep telling myself...And I pray that it's true." Robin answered. "Do you think-"
"That it's true? Of course I do; I trust you." He whispered their conversation from the bedchamber again. "I know you're my other half...And that you'd never want to willingly do any of that."
"N-no, I wouldn't...You're-" Her words came out in broken fragments, and he could hear how hard she worked for each breath instead of crying. "You're my h-husband. My h-h-heart. And I couldn't live by myself if something happened to you. Maybe that's why I-" A moment to breathe again, before she continued in a hushed voice. If their foreheads weren't almost touching, he might have never heard any of her words.
"If that's why that...Other me gave into Grima, then-" Then it would make a certain amount of sense. He could see that thought waver in her eyes, feel it seep into her arms and make them tight.
"But we're both still here." He had to point that out, to try and steady her.
When he took her into his arms, she didn't resist. And with a tug, he pulled her tight against him. Their faces were close, his lips moving over hers as he whispered against her mouth. "Stay with me, Robin. I can't survive without you, either."
Robin's answer was tilting her head so their lips fully touched. She went limp with the contact, resting full against him and giving out a whisper of a sigh when he released her lips.
The leaves outside sighed from the rain falling on them, a gentle patter. It was strange how the arrival of the Fell Dragon hadn't yet spread out into the weather...But in a way Chrom was glad for it. The calm and mild weather gave them room to breath, before the next battle. And Robin was also finally taking deeper, steadier breaths as well.
Chrom felt her fingers brushing at his shirt, lingering over the fastenings. But they didn't move to undo any of them. Not until Robin looked him in the eye, almost shy from what they were doing. "Let me see you?" Her voice was as cautious as her fingers were, until he gave a nod. Then she moved with purpose, undoing them all and tugging his shirt open. The buttons were undone along his tunic, leaving his skin open to the evening air and Robin's eyes. He saw how her gaze lingered at his ribs, and the new scar splashed in lighter colored skin across them.
"Are you sure you're fine? Your scar..."
"Isn't killing me." Her fingers skimmed along his skin, not fully convinced by his words. Her touch was light, shivering and fearful that she might hurt him again. What he felt instead was a low shudder moving through him, not painful at all...Even though it left him with a groan in his lungs that he had to fight down. He didn't want Robin to take that as a sign to stop, and even guided her wrist as he closed his eyes.
A second later Chrom opened them, as Robin eased herself fully flush against him. Maybe he hadn't been as quiet as he'd hoped for, from how she was looking at him. Her legs wrapped around him, pushing their hips together as Robin gazed up at him. He could feel a slow burn spreading through him from the close contact, and he stared down at Robin to make sure he wasn't misreading her. She met his gaze easily, a hungry, almost needing look in her face as she nodded and whispered "Please..."
They had to break apart so he could work at her clothing. His hands were quick enough, drawing her shirt and shift over her shoulders, and Robin helped by twisting out of it. When he let it fall from the bedside, she caught his wrists long enough to peel off both of his gloves. Chrom put his hands on her shoulders, turning Robin so she was spooned against him.
Her back was snug against his chest, and her hands guided his arms so they wrapped around her waist. Robin gave a low, relieved sigh when he hugged her, murmuring something he couldn't pick out the words to. But he could easily hear the gratitude and peace moving into her voice, as he matched his breath up to hers so they moved together.
She shifted against his leg, her thighs quivering from the touch of skin against skin. He kept one hand wrapped around her, stroking the line between her hip and ribs. The other, he moved down, skimming over her belly and slipping into her underclothes. Her breathing tightened at his first touch, before coming out in a long shuddering sigh as she rolled her hips against his hand and urged it further down.
"Ch-Chrom," her voice was pleading, and her fingers wrapped over his arm as he brushed his hand between her legs. It was the easiest thing to fall into rhythm with her breathing, pick out those little squeaks that told him to go gentle or hard with his touch. Her neck was stretched back to better breathe, and as he continued she twisted to face him and capture his lips. When he opened his mouth to her, she slipped her tongue in and made his throat echo with her moans. His own words couldn't form, with his breath starting to come fast and his mouth occupied. He couldn't talk back to her, couldn't reassure her that it would all be okay...At least, not in words.
There was another sound building in her throat, as Chrom fully covered Robin's lips to swallow it. And to keep it between just them, instead of the entire camp. Robin gave a near wail as she bucked her hips, straining against him and tearing her lips away from his as she panted for breath. Her voice was hushed, fluttering as her sides moved and pulled to get more air.
"G-gods...Gods, Chrom..." When she finished, he was sure she was going to collapse boneless against him...But instead she whirled fully around and clapped her hands over his shoulders, shoving him back into the cot. "You are here," she breathed against his cheek as she held him tight. "You really are here...Alive and with me." Her hands were shaky as they moved along his shoulders and wedged themselves under his back, taking in the weight and feel of him. One stayed there, while the others moved down to the fastenings of his pants to work them loose. Chrom kissed her on the forehead in response, tasting her sweat and feeling her bangs tickle at his nose. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." He whispered as they tugged the rest of their clothes off.
He groaned as her hands skimmed over his breeches before tugging them down to his knees so he could kick them loose. By the time he'd gotten free of them, she'd already slipped herself loose from her buckles and had lost all the belts and cloth wrapped around her waist. His hands went to her skin, but she stopped them with a light grip on his wrists, instead guiding them up to his remaining clothing. Robin helped him with the few clasps and buttons left, giving a satisfied nod when his coat and shirt fell somewhere off the edge of the bed sheets, leaving him exposed. Then, she drew his hands back to her and let them rest on her hips, where her pants remained.
His fingers traced patterns along Robin's hips as she murmured encouragement. She lifted herself up from the mattress when he pulled at her clothing, guiding them down and past her feet before shoving them aside as well. When he looked back, they were a match for each other, both of their eyes taking the other in.
He dipped in close, touching her sides and rolled, lifting her up with his hands so she straddled his hips. Her eyes shined as she looked down at him, so full of life and love, with little sign of the pain that had been so heavy in her for weeks. She looked alive, a match for how he felt. Robin braced her hands on him to help her balance and adjust, carefully spreading them across his stomach-
"Are you sure?" She asked again, her voice coming out in a short breathed whisper. When Chrom glanced to where her hands rested, he saw how her fingers were carefully spread over the new skin forming his scar. She looked between him and it, caution taking root in her features and washing out some of the fire in her. Chrom's answer to that and her question was to take her hand in his, and prop himself up just enough on their pillows. He put a kiss on each of her fingers, before trailing down to her knuckles. When he reached her mark he placed a kiss between the eyes and lines there as well, feeling a shiver move up her arm from the touch and a wavering "Oh-" come out from Robin's lips.
She was blushing, and not from their lack of covering, he knew. Her eyes were downcast and shy from the care he gave her mark. "I love you," he told her again, releasing her hand so she could act.
Robin didn't pull away from him, instead moving forward so they were flush and centered together. He could feel her hips and pelvis shift, before she took her other hand to guide him into her with a long moan that hitched into a whimper as they joined.
Chrom felt her freeze, adjusting to him and waiting for the sensation to register as pleasure before finally breathing through it and taking him in the rest of the way. Chrom lost track of her sighs as he gave a low moan in the back of his throat and his eyelids fluttered shut on their own. For an instant he floated, until her hands grasped him by the shoulders and pulled him back, her signal that she was ready to continue. When he opened his eyes, she met his gaze easily as she leaned over him, coaxing him to move with her.
Their hips rocked together, bodies joined in a common rhythm they both found on their own, and each gasp she made put a bolt of fire through his blood. When her back arched, it was in time to the electricity burning and building through his body, and she pitched forward so her arms rested on either side of him. Robin found his mouth with hers, touching her tongue to his as she stammered something; a cry, his name, Chrom wasn't sure what. He was the same with the bliss flooding through him and blinding his thoughts of everything save for how good she felt. It exploded into euphoria as he wrenched his mouth free to arch into and against her, chin tilted back and eyes shut as her name slipped off his tongue in a long prayer, to hold onto the moment as long as possible.
His other half dropped to his chest as he fell backwards into the bed, her arms giving out as what was left of their high jolted through them both. Her hand was shaking when it found his and meshed their fingers together, a match for the shiver that was still traveling up and down her back. His free arm wrapped around her waist to hold her close as he panted in her ear and scattered kisses on her cheek.
"I don't want to be anywhere else," he murmured again as they lay curled together. "than with you. Only you."
Robin's body hummed in content, from the shiver thrumming through her skin and blood, to the low belly-deep quiver still firing through her. From the way Chrom was sighing as he shifted against her, the same must have been true for him. They both stretched across their shared travel bed, needing to breathe.
Their clothes were kicked to a tangled heap at the bottom of the bed, along with the sheets so they could both feel something cool where their skin wasn't touching. Chrom let his breath out slow, rolling over and drawing his arms around Robin to pull her close against him. She turned easily enough, his hug slow and relaxed, a certain lethargy settling over both of them as they curled together, front to back.
Robin could feel each bump in her spine resting against Chrom's chest, while his hands trailed over her body. His motions were shaky, still soaked in the afterglow, but she didn't care that his touch wasn't smooth. With her shoulder so close, he touched his tongue and lips to it, mirroring the kisses she'd scattered on his own, and tracing a phantom Brand over her skin. She shivered, and could feel a blush spreading from her face down to her breasts as his lips moved upwards.
When she was in their bed like this, she didn't feel like anathema, or fell blooded, or anything other than human. Not with those arms wrapped around her, Chrom's breath in her ear and tickling at her skin, and a warm glow in her belly when his fingers skimmed over her chest. Robin somehow doubted it was possible for a god to feel anything close to this.
"Let me see you," Robin was still breathless, her words faint as she turned against his grip. "Let go of me, Chrom...Let me see you face to face again." When she repeated the demand, he eased his grip on her waist and shoulder, helping to turn her around so they fit snug into the other's chest. Her arms wove around him, one on his shoulder and the other working at his hair. Her fingers tried to brush his bangs out of his eyes and into a rough sort of order; they were always a little on the rough side, and being mussed from sex did little help with that.
"Chrom...I," She sighed out, cupping his face in both her hands. "I'm glad you're with me. That you're still with me, even after-" When her eyes turned down to look at the scar, he interrupted the motion by kissing her forehead, keeping her eyes up.
"There's no way I could've have survived without your mind and planning." A pair of fingers touched and traced along her eyebrow, before lingering at her temple. "I guess in a way I should be thankful for your dreams...Though not the pain you had from them." She could see the conflict stirring in his eyes as he looked at her, measuring the benefit compared to her hurt. From the way his eyes narrowed, it was clear he was struggling to find a clear solution.
"If it saved you..." She offered, turning to touch her lips to his hand. "Then I'll shoulder a few nightmares." As long as he was still there when she woke up, a second heartbeat to keep her own steady.
Chrom twisted his hand around, tucking it behind her head to pull her forward until they were curled so tight together they could have shared the same heartbeat.
"I wouldn't be here without you." He repeated against her mouth. "And I'd never have gotten this far without you, Robin." She just managed a murmur of "me too," before kissing him.
That evening, she was the one who fell into sleep first, Chrom tracing a hand through her hair to lull her to sleep. Her dreams were silent that night, just the barest hint of a warm presence beside her that seeped into her sleep. It kept her dreams quiet, and any memories of red or dying breaths were banished from her mind.
And when she woke, it was with Chrom still at her side.