Author's notes: Thank you Percabeth17 for being my beta!
It was midnight. The heat of the day had not yet vanished, leaving the air pleasantly warm; only a chilly breeze softly stirred it from time to time. No sounds could be heard anymore, not even the cicadas disturbing the serene cocoon of silence as the night wrapped the desert country in a velvet veil of darkness. The only lights to illuminate that nocturnal scenery were the stars, their bright and warm shine reminiscent of fireflies resting after a long flight. Everyone and everything was fast asleep, fulfilling their sacred duty of resting their bodies, the temples of God, after another day filled with heavy labor.
The calm of that sleepy oriental night would have remained intact had soft footsteps not echoed in the stone palace corridors. However, the presence of a trespasser among the dark quiet remained unbeknown to all but one man. Hidden from the eyes of spectators, the Sultan's daughter was slipping away to meet her lover. Nighttime the only moment she could see him, the shadows were her allies and the silence – greatest enemy.
As she was slowly proceeding through the maze of passages, strong arms emerged from behind a column to drag her into royal gardens. The unanticipated movement made her heart skip a beat, mouth opening to scream in horror; it was only after she inhaled the intruders scent that the princess let her muscles relax and her body immerse into the steady embrace. She was alone no more.
Slowly turning in the direction of her lover she closed her eyes. A barely audible sigh escaped her lips as the man laid the softest of kisses on her temple. Finally in the place she belonged and felt safe, the princess held onto her lover as if her life depended on it.
"I missed you."
The words that possibly could not express all the loneliness and longing she experienced every day rang across the silence. She knew, though, he understood; his feelings were exactly the same, after all.
It seemed like just a minute had passed when their time was over. The guards would soon start patrolling the garden and neither of them could risk being caught. For a royal princess to be involved with a mere fisherman was unimaginable. Had the king known, they would both pay the highest price. As she turned to leave, her head hung low, a warm hand grabbed her wrist.
"Wait, Judal." the man reached to caress her face one last time. "Will I be able to see you again tomorrow?"
She looked into his eyes, her own lightening up if just a little bit, already keen to meet him again.
"Yes" Judal whispered." Yes, tomorrow at midnight, as usual. Will you be waiting here, Sinbad?"
His gaze determined and voice steady, he replied: "I will always be waiting for you. For all of eternity."
As the princess rushed back to the palace, Sinbad watched her leave, a single tear streaking down his cheek. Even though she would never be free to choose her life path, kept in a golden cage bound by social status and protocol, he would silently support her from the shadows, offering her his whole heart; and when the sun would go down, he would hope to meet her once more. The darkness his friend, the treacherous silence deadliest enemy, he would wait impatiently for midnight to come; for at midnight only could the star-crossed lovers be united again.