can you hear heaven cry - " />
can you hear heaven cry

Quietly and without fanfare, Ciara closed the door to her suites as soon as Arthur stepped across the threshold. It was not for any thought about what might happen later between herself and the king, nor did that thought cross her mind. It didn’t even dawn on her how the guards who might have been in the hallway at the time might have taken the closure, although they ought to know better than to judge the king if that were their thought process. She was concerned that any conversation that might happen between them, particularly following the last few days of radio silence and the actions that preceded them, might be delicate and would certainly be private. Thick wood made for lovely soundproofing.

Still her eyes drifted away from him, out of the twinges of hurt and loneliness she’d been through, until he mentioned the apology. For all that she wanted to be angry with him, she knew him too well to think he might be covering his bases. He was sincere, and that meant looking him in the eyes as he spoke. Even if she hadn’t known him well enough to know he wouldn’t be the type to smear pretty words over ugly actions, she could hear the apology in his voice, the pauses and pitch changes. She had also spent the better part of the last few days reminding herself that he was bound to be busy. He had been busy before; he would be busy after. He was the king.

She smiled as he reminded her what could have been that morning. Of what should have been, would have been in a perfect world. She wanted that just as much as he did. She tried to keep the color from her cheeks, but the words pulled images out of the depths of her imagination and occasional dreams into the daylight. The smile faltered as he continued, and twisted into a scowl that didn’t come anywhere close to reaching her eyes, still sparkling at the thought of waking up.

“Of course. For the silence, I have to. A king’s duty to the people has to come first…” she said, wishing it didn’t have to be so complicated. Her tone shifted as she continued. “I’m not sure I can get over your continued insistence that we’re old, though.”

The smile remained as the king confirmed what the guards had gossiped about, but as the tone shifted, Ciara found her own emotions dropping too. There was a lot on Arthur’s plate, and she hadn’t been making it easier on him at all. Part of her subconscious also pointed out that technically, the root of the problem now was family. She’d never had anything to do with the father, never had much desire to interact with him after growing up in the Labyrinth with enough of a family, slipshod and imperfect as it was. She wondered idly if her own disinterest in either parent had damaged what short relationships she’d had with her own children, but slammed the door on those emotions until it was jammed tightly against its frame.

She stepped away as the king began to pace, worry creasing her forehead. She had no idea what to say. There was no guide for how to be the best friend of the king, or how to deal with a situation like this. Even if there had been, she had no practice or experience with matters of law and politics. So she let him walk and fret until it was out, and she listened to the problem as it unfolded. The gods seemed to all be in a mess always.

When finally the pacing stopped and Ciara’s neck could stop darting from one end of her room to the other, she sighed, and stepped forward quickly. Unsure whether to take his hands or wrap her arms around his shoulders, she opted for the less familiar one, despite what she truly wanted to do. She didn’t manage to overcome the urge to lay her head on his shoulder however, as she sat beside him.

“If it weren’t Mallos’s pirate, what would you do? A pirate who saved the crown prince and your son, but is a pirate nonetheless…” she paused to twist her face to look at him. “Would that gain her any clemency?”

The question lingered as she shifted again, trying to get more comfortable as she alternated between looking at her face, worn by the last several days, and their hands, entwined like two teenagers’ might be.

“It wasn’t fair of him to put you in this situation, Arthur,” she said, sitting up. “But we don’t have to linger there if you’d rather think of something less troublesome.”

photographs by mariaamanda on dA


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