When Morgana first arrived in Camelot Arthur was instructed to treat her like a sister. He'd never had a sister before, and his only example was the way the squires and pages treated their sisters. So he pulled her hair and pushed her to the ground.
He didn't think it was fair that Morgana kicked him in the shin and called him a filthy name. He thought it was even less fair that he was sent to find her and apologise instead of playing with his friends.
"Morgana?" Arthur ambled round the castle grounds, where could the stupid girl have got to? "Morgana?"
The first clue to her presence came when an apple struck him on the head. It hurt.
"Girls aren't supposed to climb trees," he informed her with all the princely authority he could muster with bits of apple in his hair.
"You should stay down there," she told him with an air of bossiness he already hated. "You're too little to be climbing trees."
Arthur snorted and clambered up next to her. Then, because he was prince and Morgana was going to have to learn the way of things, he climbed up to the branch above her.
Morgana looked at him disdainfully, then climbed up to the next branch.
Later, and Arthur and Morgana were both completely unconcerned by the way the wind was picking up and the tree was swaying treacherously.
"I'm not stuck," said Arthur.
"Me neither," added Morgana. "And I'm not talking to you."
Sometime later, the same tree.
"I'm sorry," said Arthur, "about your father."
Morgana sniffed and looked away. Oh Gods, though Arthur, was she going to cry?
"But at least you're in Camelot now, and my father--"
"I hate it here," Morgana said, fiercely. "It's horrible, and it's nothing like Cornwall. Uther's only keeping me here out of pity, and as soon as I'm old enough he'll marry me off to some awful knight or lord..." she hiccuped.
Suddenly, more than he'd wanted anything in his entire life, more than he wanted his own stallion or to train with the knights, Arthur wanted this girl to stop crying.
"I know," he said, "you can marry me."
Instantly Morgana stopped crying, she turned to Arthur with scornful - and still somewhat bloodshot – eyes and burst out laughing. Arthur wished she wouldn't, it was embarrassing, and it was making the tree shake in a very alarming manner.
"You?" Morgana managed to squeak out between giggles.
"What's so funny?" said Arthur, feeling himself go red and hating it. "I'm prince of Camelot, and the servants say I'm really handsome."
With that Morgana started laughing so hard that she lost her grip on the branch and tumbled to the ground.
Arthur was halfway down when Morgana scrambled to her feet and brushed herself off.
"I told you girls couldn't climb trees," Arthur called down to her. Happy, for the moment, to be out of reach.
Morgana wasn't sulking, no doubt her teachers would say that sulking was unladylike, she was just displaying her displeasure in a non-verbal fashion.
Stupid Uther, for stopping her swordsmanship lessons. And stupid Arthur, for not standing up for her.
If they said she had to learn embroidery then so be it, but she wasn't about to sit inside the stuffy castle on this glorious day. And tyrant though he was, Uther was yet to declare that she wasn't allowed to watch sword practice.
She began to regret coming outside as soon as she saw Arthur swaggering over to her from the training field.
He threw himself down on the grass next to her, and said, "What's that you're doing?"
"Embroidery," said Morgana, stabbing herself in the thumb with her needle.
"Hmm," said Arthur, looking over at her work. "You're really bad at it."
"No, honestly, you're awful. What's that even meant to be?"
"It's meant to be a scene of you being stabbed fatally through the heart."
"Well, if I have to wait to die until you're able to accurately render the scene, then I'll have you to thank for my immortality."
"Sir Kai let you win," snapped Morgana.
"He did not."
"He did. You don't keep your shield up, your footwork is sloppy and you're swinging from the shoulder. Still."
"You absolute cow." Arthur turned bright red, snatched up his sword and shield and stormed away.
Morgana breathed out, she felt better for that.
The next morning Arthur cornered her outside her chambers.
"What are you doing today?"
"Plotting to take over Albion." Arthur glared, Morgana sighed. "Sewing, why?"
Arthur stared intently at the floor. "I wondered if you might like to take your sewing outside and watch me train with the knights?"
Morgana looked out the nearest window. "It's raining."
"Morgana," Arthur hissed through gritted teeth.
Sometimes, just sometimes, she really did like Arthur rather a lot, even if he did have sloppy footwork. She took his arm and said, "Who are you up against first?"
"Owen's fast, but he has a weak ankle, so what you'll have to do is--"
In her life Morgana had done many things that Arthur deemed ridiculously unfair, but he did believe that her turning out to be rather pretty was the worst.
She was Morgana. She wasn't meant to be pretty, she was meant to be all knees and elbows and stupid hair. And just when Arthur's father had finally put him in charge of the knights she'd suddenly decided to turn into something that...well, that wasn't knees and elbows.
So just when Arthur had more important things to do and worry about, he had to spend his days punching the front teeth out of squires who made remarks about her.
Not just that, but he'd have to make up a reason for why he'd punched that boy. The last thing he wanted was it getting back to Morgana that he even cared about her honour.
"Arthur! Did you just punch Gregory?"
Unfairly Morgana had found him while his fist was still swollen and bloody, even more unfairly Morgana was trailed by her new maid, Guinevere. Arthur didn't like Guinevere, Morgana doted on her and couldn't stop talking about how wonderful she was.
Plus, she made Arthur's adam apple feel too big for his throat.
"He made a poor job of polishing my armour."
"I don't know when you turned into such a horrible little thug, Arthur Pendragon."
And with that she turned and stormed away.
Morgana tried to steal away from Camelot under the cover of darkness. Like many things in her life, Arthur ruined it for her. He was casually leaning against the wall by south gate with his arms folded across his chest.
"I prefer to think of it as a strategic retreat."
"Just because you're a dangerously unstable sorceress, that's no reason to leave."
"Subtle as ever, Arthur."
"I mean it. Merlin stays."
"There are days when I think Merlin wants his head chopped off."
"I could stop you going, you know."
"Guard!" Arthur called, sharply.
For a moment Morgana thought that she'd misjudged Arthur, then a single guard appeared leading a horse, Arthur's own steed. "Ride to the north," he told her. "I'll set two of my most rubbish knights to tracking you in the morning, they'll be convinced you've gone south."
Morgana mounted. "Arthur, I-- Look after Gwen and Merlin for me."
"Will you return?" Arthur asked.
Morgana kicked the horse into motion and galloped away.
It was the one year anniversary of Arthur's coronation. Morgana had missed the original, so Merlin and Gwen mimed it for her in the royal bedchamber, with Gwen wearing Arthur's crown and Merlin wrapped in a sheet.
At that point Arthur cut them off and confiscated the rest of the wine for himself and Morgana.
"Are you leaving again?" he asked her.
"What, and miss the rest of the show?" The crown had fallen down Gwen's brow and now covered her eyes.
"Look," Arthur took a long sip of wine, retrieved his crown from Gwen and placed it carefully on his head. Where it was snatched away by Merlin and dropped jauntily on Morgana's head. "If you three could stop playing pass the bloody crown for five minutes, I'm trying to ask a question!"
"Sorry. Sire," that was Merlin.
"Thank you. Now, Morgana, I know you have lots of plotting to take over Albion and raising armies against me to be getting on with--"
"But as you can see my Court Sorcerer is an idiot-" Merlin was trying and failing to disentangle himself from the sheet he was wrapped in "-and I am much in need of a sensible magical advisor, if you would like to stay in Camelot?"
"Arthur, I would like very much to stay."
"Good. Now that's all sorted," Arthur made a mad lunge for Morgana, "give me back my crown you horrible witch!"