He felt Alyxandra’s gentle hand upon his back, and began to cry, the stored sadness of three years pouring out over his face, his hands, his robes, and over Alyxandra too, as she dried her eyes and gently rubbed his back, telling him wordlessly to release that pain as he had help her to release hers the week before. Her face, although saddened by Alceren’s words, appeared much healthier than it had done the week before, her face still pale, but her cheeks had now a flush of colour, the dark circles beneath her eyes had disappeared and her eyes, the amber irises glowing in the firelight, were no longer filled with that pain. As she knelt beside him, she lowered her voice to a gentle ‘shush’, as the S and H were paired again once more.
Alceren smiled as he heard this, and turned to face her, drying his eyes.
“You feel better for releasing that pain, don’t you?” Alyxandra asked. Alceren nodded, before his freed tongue ran away with itself.
“Just as I released yours, as I placed my hand upon your sleeping forehead.” A look of simultaneous confusion and understanding crossed Alyxandra’s face. “I heard you struggle, so I came into your room and saw you shaking in the darkness. I wanted to help you, just as you have helped me, so I tried to bring a cool balm to your laboured, heated struggle with sleep, the very thing that should have granted you peace. You stilled, became calm, and I gently laid you upon your back, your face now serene.” Alceren smiled, recalling its image in his mind’s eye as he relayed it to Alyxandra. The smile then vanished, as he feared that she might think him strange.
Instead, she looped her arms around his chest and leant her head upon his shoulder.
“Thank you, Alceren - you are my dearest friend.” Alceren smiled, his soul freed, placing a hand on Alyxandra’s shoulder. He uttered a short, warm reply.
“And you are mine.”