Title: In Love and War
Pairing/s: Implied potential of Arthur/Morgana, if you really, really squint
Character/s: Arthur, Morgana
Summary: Young Morgana and Arthur team up for a common righteous cause.
Word Count: 550
Prompt: 331 - Random first line
Author's Notes: This is a pre-canon inset scene.
She kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder. Breathing in, breathing out, waiting silently, sword in hand.
Soon, he was passing right outside her hiding-place. His even pace betrayed no suspicion of her presence. She let a single heartbeat more go by before flipping the heavy tapestry aside. Stepping out into the castle corridor, she reached out with a steady hand, pricking his back gently with her sword's sharp point.
"Yield, and admit defeat!"
He stood still, didn't turn around, no surprise or fear evident in his stance. He really was too good at this.
"An ambush, Morgana? Isn't that unfair, and therefore beneath you?"
She stepped closer, her sword still at his back. "All is fair in love and war, Arthur. Haven't you heard?"
"Is this war, then?"
"No. At least not yet."
She sensed the smirk on his face, even if she couldn't see it.
"So, you're finally proclaiming your love for me?" he asked, mock-sweetly.
She spluttered, indignant. "You stuck-up royal prat! You are a pest, and you know it, Arthur Pendragon. I'm proclaiming my love, yes. My love for sword-training."
"Strange way of doing it."
"It's the only way. I'm so tired of these endless hours of needlework, I could scream! They won't let me train with you and the knights, no matter what I say or do. Apparently it's unseemly." She snorted derisively. "Arthur, Uther might listen to you. Tell him you want me to train with you. Point out how much I may need the skill to defend myself from marauders, abductors and villains."
"You don't. I myself and the knights of Camelot will always protect you."
Finally she withdrew her sword, raising it in an exasperated gesture. She groaned. "Maybe so, but my line of arguing might nevertheless win Uther's favour, if you voice it. Don't be so dreadfully dense!"
Arthur turned around to look at her at last. He was growing into manhood nicely, but still displayed some traits of the gangly boy he'd been, not very long ago.
"Does it really mean that much to you?"
Morgana looked away, fighting to keep her composure. For a brief moment, her lips trembled. "Truly, it does. Father gave me this sword as soon as I was old enough to fit my fingers around the hilt. He promised me - he promised me he'd teach me swordfighting, and give me armour, and see me ride as fast as the wind. I wanted nothing more. And now, instead..."
"Now you're stuck as the king's orphaned ward, being taught all the dreary niceties of being a lady," Arthur finished.
She looked him in the eye, shuddering. "Yes, and I hate it. It's so boring!"
"You're only fifteen, Morgana. You might change your mind."
She snorted, affronted. "I thought you knew me, at least a little, after these last few years."
"I do know you." Arthur blushed faintly as he extended his hand to her. "Morgana, I promise you that I will do my best. Duke Gorlois' promises to you should be kept. And if father still says no, I'll train you myself in secret."
Their eyes met, a message passing between them that would never, ever, be put into plain words.
Morgana inclined her head, accepting his promise gracefully. "Thank you, Arthur. It's no more than fair."
"In love - and in war," he agreed. "Well then, shall we go talk to the king immediately? Let's go win this battle together!"