She sat there smiling. And despite the crowd, despite everything that was happening, he was glad to see her again. Mave. When was the last time he had seen her? A year? Two? Her grin grew wider and she gave a little wave and as always, Alerio felt his heart skip a beat. He felt like a young boy again, free from any real responsibility, free from any weight of duty.
Despite being a tomboy and always keeping her hair in a stylised bobcut, she was beautiful. Her eyes shone with life and happiness and she radiated an aura that sung to his soul – that calmed him and told him that everything would be alright. Her smile, as always, stole his breath and stunned him speechless. He could feel his cheeks going red a bit.
Despite the war, despite his past failures and inadequacies, here stood not Alerio, the one-liner spouting, wise-cracking sellsword but a lovestruck and clueless kid who was entranced by his childhood flame. At this perfect moment, Alerio was not a jaded rogue but a wide-eyed, shy and nervous boy who was enraptured by his childhood flame.
He felt like he wanted to run away and hide. He had been with many women but few had ever truly stolen the thief’s heart. Fewer still could calm the fury that burned in his soul and make him forget everything that was transpiring throughout the lands. He didn’t want this moment to end. Alerio knew that it would end. He knew that she would probably get up and walk to him (and also probably smack him to standing there like a fool with his mouth open). He knew that he would probably have to walk over to her to say – in as calm and cool a way as possible so as not to appear a dud – and say “hi”.
If there was ever a truly perfect moment, this was it. Everything seemed brighter; only the two of them existed despite the crowd. Heck – if he dropped and died now he wouldn’t have cared because he was pretty sure this was heaven. He didn’t want to blink, for he knew that if he shut his eyes even for a heartbeat, this scene of perfection, of Mave, of the one person who could make him feel human would disappear.
Don’t blink. Don’t blink.
His eyes closed.
Don’t disappear. Please don’t disappear.
His eyes snapped open.
And the dull, wooden interior of the airship known as the Zero Gravity greeted him. It was a dream. He sat up in the small cot slowly and stared numbly at the floor. The dull ache in his right shoulder returned, as if a gentle reminder from the powers that be that he was alive, very much awake and this time he wasn’t dreaming.
Screw dreams. He had work to do, bills to pay, mouths to feed and that was all that mattered.