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and all my walls stood tall, painted blue

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The sun crept over the horizon painfully slowly, just enough to torture those who had dreaded waking up early. Fortunately, though, for the young Queen of Mewni, she was naturally an early riser. Or she would have been.

Had she not been pinned by her bedmate.

Bedmate.

Just the notion of that made her blush.

It wasn’t even intimately so. It was pure innocence.

A furious thunderstorm causing everyone to stay inside the Castle… even the guests. One particular guest just so happened to be stuck bunking with Queen Moon herself.

Only because all of the other guest rooms had been filled, of course. And she was so tired to think about using a spell to make a second bed. It had been around one in the morning when the party was done and over with, after all.

Light blonde hairs tickled her, soft snores were keeping Moon from fluttering her eyes closed and dozing off again, and while she wasn’t exactly pinned, having a strong arm draped over her torso was enough to keep her still― and in awe of the moment. She hadn’t felt this at peace, this safe, in a very, very long time. And so she was grateful.

For the security.

The serene nature of this moment.

For always, always having River Johansen by her side.

Moon wearily smiled, sliding her crown off of her head and placing it on the bedside table. She had gone to bed in her royal attire, far too tired to even make an attempt to change. Then, carefully, she unweaved the smaller golden crown from River’s soft blonde locks, and she placed the royal accessory next to her own.

Why did it look, and feel, so right?

She softly sighed, looking back at River, who still remained fast asleep. He wasn’t snoring anymore, though, so that was a bit of a plus.

She was so close to him. How did that happen?

That wasn’t how they had fallen asleep.

Last night, he had actually volunteered to sleep on the floor.

She bit back at a grin, remembering how she had laughed at him. He was so kind, so gracious.

Her bed had been big enough for them to create a small barrier with pillows― those pillows seem to be on the floor now. And she was on his side.

When that occurred, she wasn’t sure. And she wasn’t sure if it even mattered. She was pretty content in River’s arms, strong and soft, resting her head on his chest, listening to his slow heartbeat. She had never been this close to him.

Hugs were one thing but they were fleeting, sudden, gone almost as soon as they began.

This was something else. Last night was something else.

Her 16th birthday ball. The castle crowded. The first good time Moon had genuinely experienced since becoming Queen. And most of that good time was all thanks to River…

...who had been her escort for the night.

Whatever she was doing, she wasn’t exactly sure. But she wasn’t going to stop it.

River let out a soft groan in his sleep, causing Moon to catch her breath and lose her train of thought. She nearly froze, looking up at him, and then falling into a content smile when everything else seemed calm. A hand, just slightly trembling, rose up to stroke his jawline― she noticed he hadn’t shaved in a while. It suited him.

Again, she had to ask herself, what was she doing? She felt her breath hitch, her smile twitch, when she looked at him. Something was wrong. She was Queen of Mewni. She didn’t have time for this sort of thing.

But at the same time, she was just a teenage girl. She deserved this. And after all of her hardships…

She deserved one good thing and River was more than just good.

Her train of thought was broken by a quick rap on the door, causing her to sit up. She stole a glance at River, who only rolled over and groaned.

He was a heavy sleeper, thank Mewni.

If anyone saw this, they would immediately think scandal. Moon hoped it was just Manfred giving a wake-up call, or Glossaryck with another hare-brained idea. She carefully tread across the floor, and opening the door just a crack.

“Count Mildrew,” Moon mumbled, hoping her disdain didn’t seep through in her tone of voice.

“Your Majesty, I came to wish you a good morning and―” The arrogant Count paused, then frowned heavily. And stepped forward. “You don’t look well, Queen Moon. Are you ill?”

“No,” Moon said, shaking her head. “I’m just tired.”

That wasn’t a complete lie. She could have used another hour or two of sleep.

Count Mildrew faltered. “Yes, of course, you had a long night,” he said. “You know, I never got a dance with you last night. You were far too busy in the arms of your ‘date’ and I was wondering you could perhaps compensate.”

Releasing a heavy sigh, Moon opened the door only a few inches more― to let herself leave the room. Unfortunately, the Count misread the signs and began to step forward. Just enough to notice the guest. Moon shoved Mildrew out of her room the second the gasp left his lips and shut the door behind her once they were both out in the hallway.

“A-and to think I was going to invite you to see my medal collection,” Mildrew pouted.

“As lovely as that sounds, I would have to pass,” Moon replied. “Now, Mildrew, if that was all you needed―”

“You―” Mildrew spluttered out, still in shock. “My Queen, you did not.”

Moon paused, before her face fell in an unamused expression. “You must not be as smart as you are brave because does it look like I’ve done anything?” she huffed, while gesturing to her wrinkled ball gown and hair still tied in the tight braid from last night. “Listen to me. I am not interested. Nothing you can say or do will make me like you. You cannot force anyone to have feelings for you.”

“But―”

“But nothing,” Moon stressed. “You’re a gentleman,” Most of the time. But she bit that part back. “You really are. But… you aren’t what I want.”

“And you want him?” Mildrew sneered.

Moon gave a simple shrug. “I can’t say,” she said. “But I do enjoy River’s company more than I enjoy yours.”

Mildrew glared at the young Queen, beginning to pout. “Well, if you deny my request for a simple date, I will tell all of Mewni that you let a Johansen into your bedroom chambers,” he declared.

A threat.

Unfortunately, Moon was not a stranger to those. Fortunately, this was one of the petty sort. She shook her head for a moment, feigning defeat, and causing Count Mildrew to grin from ear-to-ear… only for that grin to fall the second Moon opened her mouth.

“And if you say that, I will tell all of Mewni that your gorgeous flowing locks are a wig,” she said simply. “I could also try you for harassment and slander of the queen.”

“You wouldn’t,” Mildrew hissed, protectively stroking his curly blonde locks.

Moon could only shrug as she turned on her heel and headed back into her bedroom, gently closing the door behind her.

And she was quite surprised to see an empty room, her bed made and a note on the pillow. Her hands trembled as she picked up the note, unfolding it.

But a smile made it’s way across her face once she began to read.

I left through the window. Thank you for letting me stay the night. sincerely yours, River.
p.s. ― I hope you had a lovely birthday. Happy 16th.
p.p.s ― Perhaps you could spend a night in my kingdom. For dinner or something.
p.p.p.s ― You were a lovely dancer. Okay. I’m done.
(And because I didn’t get the chance last night, xx.)

Moon’s fingers gently traced the two x’s at the end of the note, and she read it again, and re-read it, and one more, she skimmed the words until she felt the diamonds on her cheeks glowing. She was blushing. And smiling like a fool.

River Johansen had wanted to kiss her last night.

They had danced together, endlessly and wonderfully.

They had slept together. In a completely innocent manner, but somehow so magical.

The looming thought of love struck Moon and she bit her lip, folding the note in half and holding it over her heart.

She was doomed. And she was perfectly okay with that.