Devourer of Delightful Dreams
Relationships: Albedo & Klee, Albedo & Durin
Word count: 1200
Even the sweetest of dreams can be fouled by spirits that linger and cling to their kin.
In which Albedo and Klee spend a day together that’s perfect... until it’s not.
When Albedo opens his eyes, a lush meadow unfolds and blankets the world before him with colorful wildflowers and vibrant grass glowing with life. He tilts his head and feels the caress of a refreshing spring breeze against his cheek, the wind playfully running through his hair. The skies are clear and blue with not a single cloud in sight, and the temperature is just right in its warmth: idyllic, perfect for a day as fine as this.
Among all this is a familiar weight in his lap, and when the figure in his arms shifts and turns her head to look up at him, Albedo cannot help but return the smile Klee beams at him. She is pure joy in the smallest of packages, her enthusiasm brighter than the sun. Albedo holds her closer as she returns to the half formed flower crown in her hands. Her face is surely scrunched up in concentration, her tongue probably sticking out while she puts in her best efforts to tie the stems together. She is precious, a treasure meaning more than Mondstadt itself.
Albedo would do anything to protect her. Even the unthinkable.
He brushes the thought aside. For now, there is no need to ponder such things. Instead, he watches with mild amusement as Klee huffs and kicks out her feet in frustration, the flowers of her failed attempt reduced to a heap in her lap. As expected, her lips are turned downward in a firm pout when Albedo leans forward to look at her face. His own mouth curls upward into a doting smile in response.
Klee, unhappy? No, that simply won’t do.
Calling forth his alchemical abilities, his hand glows with the ancient power of Khemia. He holds his palm out in front of her, and, just like that, a glittering crystalfly bursts forth.
It is a being conjured from nothing, life at his fingertips. By all means, it is against the laws of nature. This is the forbidden art that led to the fall of the people Albedo was created to avenge so many centuries ago.
Klee, not knowing any of this, does not pay it any mind at all.
As the crystalfly spreads its wings, she stares at it with eyes wide open, big and round in her curiosity. She grins and claps when it gives them an experimental flap, outright cheering when the little creature finally leaves Albedo’s palm and takes off into the air. Seeing Klee happy again puts Albedo’s heart at ease, and he relaxes his hold on her for a moment.
That proves to be a mistake.
In her excitement and his momentary gap in attention, Klee manages to wriggle out of Albedo’s arms and back onto her feet, giving chase to the little gift of alchemy. Something ugly inside him seizes with cold and dread the moment she leaves his side, and he’s scrambling to his feet in no time to catch up to her rapidly retreating form, the flowers trampled and forgotten in his wake. He cries out her name as he sprints after her, but she offers him no response apart from gleeful giggles that ring in his ears like a death knell. Somehow, despite his longer legs and superior endurance, she eludes him. She grows farther and farther away from him despite all logic saying it shouldn’t be possible, following the artificial glow of an equally false creation of alchemy.
He doesn’t know why he’s so stricken with fear at the thought of Klee not safely in his grasp. He doesn’t know why it fills him with such despair that his hand, reaching out desperately to a Klee who only becomes smaller and smaller in his vision, comes up empty every time. He doesn’t know why protectiveness so suddenly surges and burns within his chest, screaming at him to shelter her from the incoming danger, the looming threat, the rapidly approaching shadow that blots out the sky, oh Archons, it’s coming, it’s coming for—
Klee jumps into the air like a spring, a triumphant cry bursting from her lips as her tiny fist finally closes around the winged bait.
Then the enormous shadow dives down and opens its gaping maw, and little Klee disappears with a resounding snap of the black dragon’s jaws.
He wakes with a ragged gasp clawing out of his throat, his body shaking, tears in his eyes and all over his face. Gripping the sheets as he sits up, he counts from one to ten and back down again to steady his heavy and uneven breathing. With a shaking sigh, he buries his head in his hands and assesses the situation.
It is currently the dead of the night. He is at home, in bed, back from his lengthy trip in Dragonspine and settled in Mondstadt for the first time in weeks. In strong contrast to his emotional state, nothing is wrong with his vitals. Whatever it is he has in place of a heart beats calmer now, and he is not covered in sweat from his panic because his body does not normally produce it. For all intents and purposes, Albedo is fine. Klee is sleeping peacefully a few doors down in her own room, and she is fine as well. Everything is good and right in the world. It was just a dream, a nightmare. Nothing to worry about.
Resolving to forget the matter and go back to sleep, he lies down again. The weight of the covers is a comforting one, and the combined efforts of his bed and the cool nighttimes of spring serve well to soothe him back to the brink of sleep.
However, before he can drift off, he feels something unsettling coil in his stomach and knows he’s forgotten something. The realization leaves him gasping again when he remembers he had planned on going to Windrise with Klee first thing in the morning.
The image of Klee being devoured by the dragon is too fresh in Albedo’s mind. Come morning light, he and Klee will spend the day indoors.
Decision made, Albedo pulls the covers tighter around himself and wills the uneasy feelings festering within him to leave. As he closes his eyes, he tries very hard not to think of wings large enough to turn the sky black, of a pulsing heart hidden away in a valley of bones and snow, of the voice in Dragonspine that often creeps into the back of his head and rasps, like a ghost, in his ears: Brother...
Durin haunts him, Albedo knows this. He knows he cannot escape his fate, that he is destined someday to sprout his own dark wings and fangs and follow in his deceased brother’s wingbeats.
But he still has time before he succumbs, and he will spend that time as best as he can with the members of his family who still walk the earth. He will spend his waking moments with his friends, with acquaintances, and with enemies all the same.
For now, he still has time.
Durin will never take Klee, not as long as Albedo still lives.
And for Klee, Albedo would do anything.
Even and especially the unthinkable.
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