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'Til You Make It

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In the end, the hardest part for Morgana is to step back. Step back, and let Gwen go it alone, when this is the moment that Morgana most wants to lend her support. But it's Gwen's audition, Gwen's opportunity, and this time she's got to do it herself.

She's got the chops, Morgana knows this. She's got the raw power of her voice that brought her to Morgana's attention in the first place, and she's got hundreds of hours of work to hone that skill into something sharp and refined. She's got the technique, and she's put in the work, and she can do this. Morgana knows she can do this.

Standing there in front of the microphone, dwarfed by the empty stage behind her, Gwen looks for a moment like she's not so sure. But this is a performance, and Morgana taught her well -- she shakes her hair back off her face with a gesture that would look like self-assurance to anyone who didn't know her as well as Morgana did.

Fake it 'til you make it, kid. Morgana can hear her own voice echoing in her ears, and if the quick look Gwen shoots her where she stands in the wings is anything to judge by, Gwen can hear it too. She throws her shoulders back, grabs the mic off the stand, and introduces herself to the panel of people sitting down in the front row, waiting to appraise her.

And then she begins to sing, and Morgana forgets to breathe. She's a powerhouse, and she's putting it all on the line, now, when it really counts. Her voice soars, and her audience of five leans forward in their seats as though drawn by it, and Morgana knows. She knows.

When the song ends, Gwen's voice trailing off on the last, trembling note, there's a moment of silence, a pause while everyone catches their breath. The woman at the center of the pack of five leans forward, clears her throat into the microphone, and says, "Thank you, Miss Smith. We'll let you know."

Gwen knows not to expect anything better than that. Morgana made sure she was prepared, made sure she knew that they wouldn't give anything away at this audition. Morgana knows she must be worried all the same, though, must be searching their faces and their reactions for any sign of what to expect. Despite all that, though, she handles it like a pro. She smiles and nods and thanks them all, and when she nearly walks off with the mic and then has to trot back across the stage to return it to the stand, it's adorable and endearing, and they smile indulgently.

And then she's walking into the wings, straight to Morgana, and now that she's off-stage and the performance is over, her nerves are showing. Her eyes are wide and bright and she twists her fingers together over her stomach. "How was it?" she asks, and doesn't stop coming until they're standing close, shoes touching, chests nearly so. She looks up at Morgana, breathless with nerves and the high of performance, her cheeks flushed with it. "How'd I do?"

"Babe," Morgana says, "you fucking nailed it," and before she can say another word, Gwen's whole face lights up and she throws herself at Morgana, wraps her arms around Morgana's neck and kisses her, fierce and sharp and giddy.

Morgana frames Gwen's face in her hands and kisses her back, kisses her until they're both out of breath and listing against each other and laughing deliriously.

"Was that okay?" Gwen whispers when Morgana tucks her head in against her chest so she can catch her breath, at least long enough for the stage to stop spinning and her knees to remember how to work again. Morgana knows she doesn't mean the song, this time.

"It was perfect," Morgana whispers against her hair, and pulls her into a fierce embrace.