Morgana's bare feet struck the cold stone, sending a shiver through her. She crept along quiet as a mouse, her feet barely touching the ground. The castle was hauntingly silent and she could almost see ghosts flit past. Camelot was filled with them.
She loved the dead of night, when none wandered the halls and she could be alone. Shatteringly alone. She passed a window and the moonlight hit her face, painting an eerie picture of a girl who barely existed in that night. Her nightgown clung to her and her raven hair shone, and any surveyor would have taken her for one of the ghosts.
She continued on, eyes glinting in the dark, searching for her destination. She reached it soon, pale hands resting on an oak door, staring as if she could see through it.
Her red lips sucked in air and seconds later she pushed on the door, producing an ominous squeak of wood. Morgana tiptoed into the room, towards a bed filled with a slumbering figure, snoring softly.
Her lips curved up as she surveyed the figure, slowly approaching it. Arthur lay on his back, left hand draped on the bed, the right splayed across his face.
Morgana felt a prick as she stared at his sleeping face, suddenly so innocent and vulnerable. She remembered this boy from when she was younger, and he would plead with her to play with him. There was such openness to him, wearing every emotion on his face.
That boy was still hidden inside, protected by a wall of 'can dos' and responsibility. She doubted she would ever see Arthur ask her for help again or admit that he even needed any. Morgana's days of protecting him had ended years ago.
She watched him breathe for several seconds, taking in every movement of his chest, the slight fluttering of his nostrils as he inhaled.
After a few moments she stretched out her hand, brushing his shoulder lightly before shaking it firmly.
She studied every motion, the fluttering of his eyes, the clenching of his palm, the way his mouth opened just an inch.
Arthur's eyes opened slowly and he saw her. A vision before him, dark hair tussled and eyes bright. Staring down at him with an expression he couldn't place. He wondered if this was a dream and then decided he didn't care. He was still groggy, a grey cloud of sleep enveloping him, pleasant and warm.
He was jerked awake more firmly when the hand that was gripping his shoulder reached down and tugged his hair, more than lightly.
"Urggggg." He mumbled articulately, swatting at the hand. Morgana ignored his protest, shoving his chest, indicating he ought to scoot over.
He complied, moving to the right side of his bed not bothering to complain. Morgana slid gracefully into his bed; pulling her knees to her chin, head tilting to survey him.
He said nothing for several seconds, captivated by the nymph next to him. He'd seen her dressed in every beautiful creation of silk and bows and patterns he could imagine, looking more beautiful than any mortal ought to. However, there was something about this Morgana, dressed in her flimsy nightgown, hair in disarray, which stunned him. He caught glimpses of the wild girl he'd once known, behind the façade of a courtly lady.
He finally broke the silence. "Morgana, what are you doing in my room in the middle of the night?"
Morgana glanced over, eyes wide. "I can't come say hello?"
Arthur stared her down, and she grinned. "We used to do this all the time. I didn't think it was a problem."
"I think it was a little more appropriate when we were twelve." He replied stiffly, trying not to stare at her.
"Arthur, surely you aren't afraid to be in a room alone with me? I thought Camelot's brave Prince would be able to withstand me."
"Morgana, what do you want?" Arthur asked, brushing aside her teasing.
Morgana stared down at the bed for several seconds and then said, "I couldn't sleep. I thought you of all people would understand."
Arthur inhaled, finally raising his gaze to meet her. He'd gone through a long patch when he was eleven where he couldn't sleep at night. He'd attended an execution and it had shaken him severely.
After being plagued by the images for several nights, he snuck into Morgana's room and she'd kept him company every night for the next couple of days until he was able to sleep again.
"I see." He stood up, briskly walking to a chair that had his shirt draped over it. He bent swiftly and pulled it over his head. Morgana watched him silently, enjoying the sight of his back muscles rippling.
She leaned back into his pillows and settled in more comfortably, surveying him with a smirk. Arthur averted his gaze from the raven-haired beauty and sat in the chair, breathing deeply through his nose. "Would you like to talk about it?"
Morgana blinked and tossed her head, curls bouncing. "No. Uther's quite taken with the Lady Catrina, is he not?"
Arthur nodded, glad of the safe subject. "He is. It really is peculiar." Now that he stopped to think about it, it honestly was odd. "I don't believe I've ever seen him be so interested in another woman."
Morgana ran a hand through her hair absently, "Well, he deserves to be happy. I think he's more…. no less actually, less surly. She's good for him."
Arthur nodded distractedly, a frown appearing on his face. "I suppose. It's still rather odd though, isn't it?"
Morgana shifted to lie on her stomach, looking up at him. "What do you mean?"
Arthur glanced at her, and then looked away quickly. Her green orbs were shining and her lips were distractingly red in the moonlight. "It's just, well my father's not the type of person to show much affection…ever. It's unusual after such a short amount of time for him to act so smitten."
Morgana shrugged, pursing her lips. "Perhaps he's lonely. Even kings get lonely."
Arthur bit his lip, pondering her words. "Yes, you're probably right."
Morgana studied the Prince as he sat in silence, a shadow in the dark. A swell of longing flooded through her, the desire to really talk to Arthur overwhelming her. She wished she could tell him about her, to strip away any secrets they had between them.
But she couldn't. The possibility that he would reject her, would be disgusted by the truth was too much to risk. She couldn't destroy what little they had left between them. Whatever it was.
Arthur glanced at her, curious at her unusual silence. She was staring at him unabashedly, a small wrinkle creasing her forehead. An unexpected smile crossed his face as he looked at her. He was very familiar with the little wrinkle; it appeared whenever she was thinking hard. He found it unbelievably adorable.
Morgana raised an eyebrow at his smile, but didn't speak, simply looking at him for an extended period of time. They locked eyes and said nothing for several minutes, a current of unspoken thoughts seeming to flow between them.
"It's late." Morgana said, not really paying attention to what came out of her mouth.
Arthur nodded sluggishly, "Mmm."
Morgana slid out of the bed, boldly crossing over to him. She stopped once she was right next to him and brushed his shoulder gingerly. "You always know what not to say." She said in a half-whisper.
Arthur smiled. "I'm glad my silence helped." Her hand slipped from his shoulder and they shared a brief look before Morgana left, wandering to her chambers in a dreamy silence.