Character/s: Morgana, Uther, Arthur
Summary: He was at her mercy, yet Morgana found herself hesitating.
Word Count: 1000
Author's Notes: None really.
“You can’t have a sword!”
“Why not?” Morgana glared at the twelve year old, drawing herself up to her full height and grinning at the fact that made her taller than him. Arthur instantly pouted and trying to crane upwards, determined to beat her.
“Because you’re a girl.”
“That’s not a reason.”
“Is!” He was getting upset now and Morgana knew that victory was hers. Part of her knew it was unfair seeing how many times a day she could upset Arthur. But she didn’t want to be here, she just wanted to go home. Maybe if she didn’t relent in her bullying of the young prince, then the king would feel like he had no choice but to send her back again.
“Is not! How else am I supposed to defend myself?”
“You don’t need to, you have to stay inside and let the knights do the fighting.”
Already she could see the pride in his voice for the knight he would one day become. Looking at him now, she knew that was some time off. At only twelve, Arthur had yet to hit his first real growth spurt and he hadn’t developed any of the leanness or muscles he would need in order to be a knight. But she knew it was just a matter of when, not if. Not only because it was his duty, but because she could see by the glint in his eye that it was everything he ever wanted.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t recognise the same glint in her eye for what it was.
“And what if the bad men break in and get past the knights?” She retorted, crossing her arms. She hated the way the sleeves flapped, it was such a hindrance to her movement. But she had been told the King had commissioned it especially for her and it was her duty as his ward to wear it whether she liked it or not. She would much rather be dressed the way the prince was.
“But say they do. Wouldn’t you want someone on the inside who knew how to use a sword and could keep them at bay until the knights got back up again?” She had forgotten about her plan simply to upset Arthur. Now she just wanted him to back down and let her practice with him. A look of interest had suddenly flickered across his face and he sat down cross-legged on the grass. Morgana followed suit.
“But you’d have to have the weapons hidden inside as well,” he said. It seemed that he too had forgotten that this was about Morgana wanting a sword. Both children forgot their squabble as they began to plan out what would happen if someone bad did make it into the castle.
Several hours later, the maids had to drag them in to dine with the king, and their conversation continued. When Uther realised what they were talking about, he seemed relieved that they had finally stopped fighting. But when the talk continued the next day and he caught Morgana with Arthur’s wooden sword in her hand and the prince rubbing a sore point on his arm, the king had instructed that Morgana was not to be allowed near the training grounds without an escort and Arthur’s training should be intensified immediately.
From then on, Morgana had only been able to watch from her window as Arthur nearly collapsed in exhaustion in a vain effort to make the king proud.
And he still tried to do that even now. Morgana glanced down at the crumble figure by her feet. Her men were still holding off the knights, but she knew it wouldn’t last long. Their loyalty to Arthur was greater than even her own had once been. Merlin was nowhere to be seen, but she knew that wouldn’t stay that way either. Whenever the prince was in danger, Merlin was there.
Unable to resist, she crouched next to him and ran a hand down his cheek. The blackness of her glove stood out in stark contrast to the paleness of his skin. He hadn’t even seen her until her spell had knocked him unconscious. Morgana had no idea where the memory of their early days had come from, but she was cursing it. She had been prepared to kill him. Arthur had never done anything to her other than be in line for her throne. But now… Now she could only remember the boy who had put aside what he believed he thought he knew about girls and swords and spent hours discussing tactics with her.
“I can defend myself without a sword now, brother,” she murmured, her voice lacking its usual hatred. He had grown into himself as he grew older, although that glint in his eye had never left and Morgana knew that he had earned his position more than the king had given him credit for. He still fought for what was right, regardless of what it cost him. Straightening up, she prepared to cast the spell that would change her fate forever and found that she could not. He still looked just as innocent as back then, despite everything they had been through.
Morgana found herself wishing that she was still the same girl as well. Not because she wanted to be overlooked, far from it. But because life had been easier back then. Despite her arguments with both father and son, she had been happy.
So rather than casting the curse, she instead melted back into the shadows. Merlin didn’t notice her as he came charging in and dropped to Arthur’s side. She could do it, kill them both without them knowing.
But her hand stayed by her side and memories of times long gone remained in her mind even as Arthur stirred, his hand going instinctively for the sword she had once tried to make him give up.
Silently promising that next time she wouldn’t be so lenient, Morgana disappeared into the shadows.