Soli Deo gloria

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Brave.

It was a dark and stormy night. Literally. The halls of the castle of the royal family of DunBroch were lit with torches, but even then they seemed to pale at the face of darkness.

The King and Queen, Fergus and Elinor, slept snugly in their bed. The triplets too, probably. Merida knew them enough that they could sleep through anything. Even through a huge rainstorm, filled with bolts of lightning and rolls of thunder.

Merida was not asleep, though. She was tucked away in her bed, which was, unfortunately, in a room with a window. At the age of fourteen, Merida told her mum that she did not need to be tucked in and she did not need a candle by her bedside. The triplets did (the light was on the wall where their two-year-old chubby fingers couldn't touch it). Merida didn't.

But . . . maybe she did. The window was open, for it was supposed to be a light shower, and Merida, feeling a bit annoyed after a horrendous day of playing music and sewing, opened the window up. The fresh air that she wanted was definitely coming in. So was the rain.

A bolt of lightning filled the dark bedroom and Merida shuddered under her covers, twisting an end of her pillow between her fingers nervously. "No, no, no, now calm down. It's just a wee bit of lightnin'. Perfectly fine," Merida said, and then a roll of loud, chilling thunder played across the sky. Merida gulped and whispered, "Well, that was a bit scary, but nothin' I can't handle."

She was not scared of storms. No, course not. Being afraid of things was for bairns. Merida wasn't a bairn. She was going to be perfectly fine without having to go hurrying to her mother, telling her how the storms were bothering her. Which they weren't. They weren't bothering her. . .

Another bolt of lightning and rumble of thunder later, Merida tore out of bed. Wearing nothing but her cream-colored nightgown, she grabbed a pillow and squeezed it tight. Maybe squeezing it tighter would make her stop shaking. Picking her feet up, she hurried out of her room.

Down the dimly it halls she hurried, the voice of the storm echoing in the hall, shaking the torches. It almost felt like since she was away from the window, the storm was chasing her. She hastened to her parents' bedroom and knocked on the wood door. "Mum?" she whispered, leaning her ear against it.

"Merida?" she heard, and she opened the door a crack, making it creak.

"Can I come in?" Merida asked.

"Yes, dear," Elinor said, and Merida quietly but quickly hurried through the crack in the door. Her pillow became stuck, and she had to tug it out before she hurried over to the bed.

The room was much larger than her own, and had a large master bed, a dresser with a mirror, and a large window that let in the sounds of the rain and thunder and lightning that were disturbing Merida.

Upon coming along to her parents' bed, Merida cocked her head quizzically. On the right side of the bed was her father, snoring like a bear and sleeping soundly on his stomach. On his back, however, Merida could see in the dim darkness three little lumps.

"That the boys, then?" she said, for the moment forgetting her fear and instead watched the little bumps yawn and twist under the blanket.

"Yup," Elinor said, yawning as she tiredly sat up. "Came skippin' in a lil' while ago."

"Guess they couldn't sleep at all," Merida said.

"Apparently you couldn't either," Elinor said. "What is it?"

"Wellllllllll," Merida said, slowly making her way around the bed. "I couldn't fall asleep, and the window in my room was open and the rain was gettin' in and. . ." She sat on the edge of the bed and slowly pulled up the covers. "And so, it was gettin' chilly and—" A bolt of lightning struck and Merida immediately pulled the covers over her so that only her nose and eyes were visible along with a few tangled, bouncy strands of hair. "So can I stay here?"

Elinor gave her a perceived look and said, "Oh, it was gettin' chilly?"

Merida nodded, shaking the blankets about as Elinor lay back down, now sandwiched between her boys and her bonny lass.

"Gettin' wet in there?" Elinor asked. "I'll see it gets cleaned in the mornin'."

"Aye, a'ight," Merida said quickly.

Elinor gave her a quirky smile and sitting up, said, "How about I go close the window right now?"

"No, no, no," Merida said, quickly sitting up. The blankets slipped off her head, letting her bedraggled hair bounce up into the air. "No, no, it's fine. Probably stuck or somethin'. Just leave it 'til mornin'."

"Oh, I'm sure your ol' mum can shut a window," Elinor said as she pulled off the covers and made her way to the edge of the bed. "Now, where're my slippers?"

Merida sat on her pillow, which she had set at the head of the bed. She watched frantically for a second before she scurried off and said, "Mum, Mum, there's no need! You don't have to!"

"But I want to, Merida!" Elinor said, getting ready to stand up. "I don't want your room to get all wet."

"Mum!" Merida said as loud as she dared.

Elinor turned to her and said quietly, "Yes, Merida?"

Merida sighed and said resignedly, "The reason I don't want to you to go close the window is because I don't want to go back to my room."

"And why's that?" Elinor asked.

"Because—because it's rainin' out. And the lightnin' and thunder are—are scary," Merida said quietly. She sighed and edged closer to her mum and said, "They—they're loud, and they scare me. And I want to stay here for the night, if—if that's all right."

"'Course it's all right, Merida," Elinor said. She beckoned to her and said, "C'mere." Merida scooted over and Elinor put an arm around her and said, "It's fine that you're afraid of lightnin' and thunder, Merida. But, you know, you could just have come in and tell me that the storm was botherin' ya."

"Mum, I couldn't do that! I'm practically an adult. Being afraid of storms is for bairns," Merida said quickly.

"Bein' fourteen is practically an adult?" Elinor said teasingly.

"You seem to think so. Wantin' me to know my music, and my sewin', and my eloquence, and my tea pourin' lessons and everythin'," Merida said. "I must be gettin' to be an adult if you're teachin' me that stuff."

"Merida, I'm teachin' you the things you need to know for when you're a queen. There are certain things that are needed in order to run a country," Elinor said. Merida sighed and sandwiched her head between her fists. "Merida, be serious."

"I am tryin'," Merida said.

"Merida, there are certain things that you have to be when you grow older. You are going to be a queen, a ruler of a land. The oldest of the DunBroch clan. There are certain expectations you have to live up to," Elinor said gently, running a few fingers through Merida's tangled hair.

"Ow! Mum!" Merida said. She sighed and let Elinor continue as she said, "But Mum, having to practice everythin' every single day? I barely get to do anythin' I want to do!"

"Like what?" Elinor asked.

"Well, like archery," Merida said. She groaned when she heard her mother instantly sigh and putting her hands up in defense, added, "It isn't that bad, Mum. I'm gettin' to be good when I can practice. Thing is, I want to be able to go and practice more."

"Where? Out in the woods?" Elinor scoffed, "There is Mor'du out there, Merida, and he could be at any corner, waiting to pounce on ya. What would I do if—"

"Mum! I've got my bow. I could take Angus. He could go with me and we could go ridin' through the glen," Merida said quickly. Another fit of lightning and thunder came about, and she let out a squeal.

"Oh, Merida," Elinor said, rubbing at her forehead.

"Please, Mum?" Merida said. "I want to get out of the castle and spend some time by myself for once. Just for a wee bit, when I can. I don't have to go out every day. Just when I 'ave free time." Elinor looked toward the window and Merida pleaded, "Please?"

Elinor said after a moment very, very slowly, "Well, I suppose so. . ."

"Yes!" Merida said, bouncing the bed and making the boys and Fergus let out very loud snores.

". . . but you must take Angus with you. And tell me when you're goin'; a'ight, Merida?" Elinor said firmly. Merida nodded eagerly and Elinor said quietly, "A'ight."

Filled with delight and excitement, Merida reached out and wrapped her arms around her mother and squeezed her tightly. "Thanks, Mum."

"You're welcome, Merida," Elinor said, and Merida drew back. Elinor smiled and gently pushed some of Merida's wild ginger hair out of her face. "Just be careful, a'ight, darlin'?"

Merida nodded eagerly and Elinor nodded. There was another bolt of lightning and rumble of thunder and Merida said after a moment, "Can I still sleep here tonight?"

"'Course, darlin'," Elinor said, and she leaned forward and kissed Merida's forehead. They smiled and settled under the covers.

Merida snuggled next to her mother as she twisted one end of her pillow. The rainstorm outside was loud, but she knew that she was with her mother, and with her mother, no harm would come to her.

AHHHHHHHHHH. I hope you liked it, and thanks for reading!