Elincia woke up tired. It was the sort of unexplained weariness that came with overcast days, with a heaviness in her bones, and a magnetic pull to the bed she couldn't resist. A light rain had been falling all the gray morning, and the stone castle only made the chill of the day all that more pronounced. Elincia stretched, the duvet so comfortable and warm about her. It was a desultory day, one best survived under a lot of covers.
Lucia stole in. Elincia didn't look to her feigning sleep for the first time since they were children.
"I know you're awake," Lucia said. She traced her fingers down a hint of exposed arm peeking from under the duvet.
"Maybe I'm dreaming," Elincia said, a giggle welling up in her throat.
"Not hardly," Lucia said. "I've brought you your breakfast."
Elincia stretched and pushed the duvet down just a bit. Lucia carried an ornate silver tray with a filigree of vines etched into it. Balanced upon it was a tea cup, some freshly made pastries that smelled of apples, and cut pieces of fruit. Elincia sat up, propping herself up with pillows, and Lucia carefully set the tray in her lap.
"Ah, thank you, this looks delicious," Elincia said. She plucked up a delicacy, her fingers growing sticky in the process. She could smell the aroma of mist wafting from the cup. The first bite was wonderful, so warm and flaky and sweet. She hadn't even realized how hungry she was.
"I suppose queens don't get to sleep in," Elincia said.
"They do if I have any say in it," Lucia said.
"Don't worry, it's nothing too drastic, not like a coup on the nobles to keep you in bed a little longer—though I'd do that to keep you here," Lucia said wryly. "I'll just tell them you're suffering from a delicate female ailment. The male nobles will be suitably embarrassed, and the female ones will be understanding and sympathetic."
Elincia couldn't help but giggle. "Oh, Lucia, you're terrible— terribly wonderful. But I couldn't, really. I have duties—"
Lucia bent down and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. "You've given so much for the kingdom. You deserve one morning off at the very least."
Lucia rose up to leave, the clack of her white boots loud on the stone floor.
"Lucia–you'll come back, won't you?" Elincia said.
Lucia turned back a moment, and smiled. "Of course I will."
Elincia looked down at her food and smiled. "Thank you..."
But Lucia had already left to address the issue of her morning.
Elincia finished off the pastries and fruit, savoring every bite, and then moved on to the tea, which had cooled enough to not be scalding. It wasn't very ladylike, but Elincia liked to drink down her tea in one tepid gulp. She and Lucia used to laugh about it during tea parties, while Geoffrey tried to keep his composure. Back then he was so worried about manners, considering it a part of being a knight. Lucia used to use her salad fork for her entree just to annoy him.
She felt warm and full up, and so very sleepy. Setting the tray aside, Elincia curled back under the covers. Just as she felt herself drifting off towards sleep, she heard the clack of boots on stone, the sound of clothing rustling, and soon after, the duvet being pushed aside ever so much until Lucia was fitted beside her.
"Lucia?" She murmured.
"Mission accomplished," Lucia said.
She nestled near her, curled together with her arm resting over her waist. Lucia smelled faintly of mint, and the heat of her body was very welcome to this cold day.
"Let's sleep in," Lucia said.
The rain outside was a gentle pitter-patter, a soothing song to her nerves. Lucia's nearness, the even sound of her breath, the faint scent of mint, this was her comfort. For a rainy morning, the cares of the world could be pushed away and outside her warm duvet.