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[not!fic] we can burn brighter (than the sun)

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So they hook up, right, and it's awesome but Mithian has to leave pretty soon after because Gwaine and Elena come looking for her. Morgana thinks Mithian's probably embarrassed, especially since she blushes something fierce when Morgana pulls her down for a filthy kiss goodbye. And Morgana's basically expecting that to be it, honestly. People don't even usually stick around long enough to reciprocate; this was way more than she was expecting.

Except that sort of isn't it. Because the next time Arthur has a party, Morgana's actually in the mood for it, the itchy restlessness under her skin clawing for human contact and not isolation. She feels like dancing and dancing and finding someone to grind against and maybe take upstairs after, so she wanders downstairs just as the party's starting to kick off, some song she hates playing on the speakers, and she sees that Elena girl from her form across the room. Where Elena goes, Mithian isn't usually too far behind, and sure enough Morgana spots her holding up the wall next to Gwaine. She looks basically the same as she always does, a smudge of black across her eyes and her hair falling around her face, except her skirt is at LEAST three inches shorter than usual. Morgana's eyebrows go up; she doesn't think she's ever seen Mithian's knees before. Honestly, they're just as daintily pretty as the rest of her, and Morgana kind of wants to bite them all over and then maybe also her thighs.

When she edges closer, she hears Elena make a protesting noise over the music and say, "Oh no you don't, you're not running off on us this time. I didn't lend you this outfit so you could hide in the bathroom, okay."

"I wasn't hiding," Mithian protests, and Morgana can't see her face but she can imagine the way it flushes pink.

"You were so hiding," Gwaine drawls, and while they start arguing about that Morgana slinks up to them and says hi.

Mithian's reaction is... well, it's pretty hilarious, actually. She turns a shade of pink Morgana has no earthly idea how to describe and she's telegraphing ABORT ABORT so loudly it may as well be written on her face.

"Hello," Gwaine replies immediately, darting a quick glance between Mithian and Morgana. (They had a thing for a while, ages ago, before Morgana realised she really really really wasn't into dick. He didn't take it personally or anything, and they're even still friends, sort of. She didn't know he was friends with Mithian, though.) "Not like you to lower yourself to spend time with mere mortals."

And then Gwaine and Morgana end up trading good-natured barbs back and forth, Mithian getting progressively less pink as she apparently realises Morgana isn't here to out her to her friends or whatever the fuck she was worried about. Whatever, seriously, Morgana doesn't kiss and tell. (She knows everyone thinks she's a slut and she thinks they're sexist judgemental arseholes, but she doesn't like to add to her reputation unnecessarily. Unless of course she's angling for a fight, which, yes, but mostly she's just too tired.)

ANYWAY. The song changes to something Morgana actually likes and apparently the others do as well because Elena grabs Gwaine immediately and drags him onto the makeshift dance floor despite his – admittedly very half-hearted – protests, which Morgana files away to ask Arthur about later.

Mithian's barely even looked at Morgana since she wandered over, but when Morgana says, irritatingly shyer than she means to be for some reason, "Fancy a dance?" Mithian looks up at her like she's shocked somehow. Morgana just shrugs, defiantly unflustered.

"Okay," Mithian says hesitantly, and takes Morgana by the hand to walk out with her. A couple of people give them odd looks but mostly they're ignored and Morgana tries not to be disappointed. (She'd kind of been angling for a fight tonight, at the very least a heated argument, but she resolves to be happy with the press of Mithian's body against hers, which, yeah, really isn't that difficult.)

So they dance for a bit and it's great, but just when it starts getting good the song changes and Mithian steps away, looking embarrassed, says she should go find Gwaine and Elena and all but runs off.

And Morgana's just like FINE THEN and stomps off to find some alcohol and get trashed. Which really isn't her thing, honestly, I mean, she likes a drink as much as the next person but she'd much rather get high than get drunk. She's in the mood for it today, though, and when one of Arthur's friends hands her a drink (Leon, she's pretty sure, because he's blushing and pretending he's not staring at her chest and she knows Leon used to fancy her, and she finds herself actually considering dragging him into a corner to make out, which is when she knows she's getting desperate) she downs it in one gulp before reaching her hand out for another.

The rest of the night is kind of a blur, and when she wakes up in the morning she has several important gaps in her memory, the hangover from hell and a girl tangled up in bed with her. She lets out a groan, wondering what on earth she even drank last night, and hears Mithian say, groggily, "Morgana?"

Morgana freezes. No. Oh god no. She didn't.

"Morgana?" Mithian tries again, sounding more awake, and Morgana lies very still, trying to keep her breathing even. After a minute Mithian exhales slowly and starts moving, and Morgana's pretty sure what she's doing and wouldn't open her eyes to check even if it would make it pretty obvious she isn't still asleep. People run out on her all the time, that's just how it works, but it feels somehow different this time, makes something in her chest twist.

She gets up eventually in search of paracetamol or something and it doesn't hit her until she's pouring herself a glass of orange juice to take the pills with that she properly that she slept with Mithian. And Morgana's a bit like o_________________O because it's not like she never hooks up with the same person twice, but this is MITHIAN, head girl, president of their school's debating society, general polite, kind, well-functioning member of society. It's such a cliché, but people like Mithian aren't interested in people like Morgana. They just AREN'T.

But, whatever, Morgana consoles herself, it was mostly an accident and you should always try something twice, right?

Except it happens AGAIN. And then it just keeps happening, and not just at parties, either. They bump into each other in town a few times and and end up making out in one of the less dodgy alleys behind the shops, and there's that memorable time when Morgana eats Mithian out in an empty classroom in a shared free period. And it makes SENSE, okay, because Mithian is hot and a surprisingly good kisser for someone so, well, virginal, and Morgana generally likes getting off with hot people who know what to do with their mouth. It's not like it's a hardship, whatever this thing is that they're doing.

It doesn't hurt, either, that Mithian is funny and sort of genuinely sweet in a way that still takes Morgana off-guard, sometimes, and she has great taste in music and films and, sometimes, when Morgana goes over to hers, they'll just sit and listen to records for hours or put on the newest indie flick Morgana can't watch with her friends because they'll mock how unbearably hipster she is, and sometimes they'll even just talk, about politics and feminism and history and different flavours of ice cream or whatever, seriously, because talking to Mithian is easy in a way Morgana never would've expected, and she genuinely enjoys her company even when nobody's getting off. It's kind of an odd experience for her.

And then it's, like, six months after they first met and Morgana's with Isolde because she's been kind of terrible about spending time with people who aren't Mithian recently and she's starting to feel guilty about it, even though Isolde's ditched her for Tristan more times than she can count.

They're lying on Morgana's bed, smoking and just catching up, and then Isolde is like sooooooo are you doing anything for your anniversary? *wink wink* And Morgana is just like ... and Isolde rolls her eyes all, with your GIRLFRIEND, I mean, I know you haven't had much experience in this department but people generally like to celebrate getting this far in a relationship, and Morgana is just like, what, what are you talking about, has Tristan completely fucked your brains out or something?

Isolde sighs really, really hard and says, slowly, "Your girlfriend. Whom you are dating. She's about five-four, dark hair, generally hangs around with a tallish blonde girl who may or may not be dating your ex boyfriend. Ring any bells?"

Morgana's eyes nearly pop out of her skull. "Mithian?" she repeats, her voice at least an octave higher than usual.

Isolde looks pained. "What would you call her, then?"

"Someone I hook up with sometimes," Morgana says, still kind of high-pitched and indignant. "I- fuck buddy, friend with benefits, I don't- where the fuck did you get GIRLFRIEND from?"

"Morgana," Isolde says, very patiently, "I don't know if you've noticed, but you don't hook up with Mithian sometimes. You HAVE SEX with her MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK. Sometimes, on occasions I will one day manage to wipe from my brain, multiple times a DAY. You haven't had sex with someone who wasn't her in nearly five months. You've had dinner with her, you've been to the cinema with her, you've been to her HOUSE for Christ's sake, you've MET her PARENTS." Isolde pauses, either for dramatic effect or to let Morgana process this onslaught of information. Probably both. "I'm going to spell it out for you, since you are apparently even more oblivious than your brother: you are dating Mithian."

Morgana gapes at her for a long, long time. And then she says, weakly, "Oh my god."

"Yes," Isolde agrees.

"Oh my god," Morgana says, burying her head in her hands. "I'm dating Mithian."

"Well done," Isolde says, and Morgana can't even muster a retort about condescending best friends because oh my god.

"Has anyone else noticed?" Morgana asks desperately. Maybe it's just Isolde being weirdly perceptive and Morgana can survive this with her dignity intact. Well, um. Mostly intact.

Isolde gives her an incredulous look. "Morgana," she says slowly, and Morgana's really starting to hate hearing her name in that tone of voice, "EVERYONE'S noticed. Gwen wanted to throw you both a surprise party in the common room. Most of our year have bets on when you're going to break up. Ms Annis said, and I quote, 'I'm very happy that they're managing to have a relationship despite everything about our wretched excuse for a society but I would really be much obliged if they would keep the public displays of affection strictly off school grounds, or at least where I can't stumble upon it.'"

Morgana's face must be especially horrified, because Isolde just cracks up.

"It was very traumatising," she assures Morgana. "Worse even than the Year Eights I accidentally overheard speculating on your sex life."

"Oh, ew," Morgana says, making a face, momentarily disgusted instead of just horrified.

"Seriously, though," Isolde says when she's calmed down, "everyone knows. I was SURE you knew. You've been so much happier, recently, I thought-"

"Wait," Morgana says, a truly terrible thought occurring to her. "Does MITHIAN know?" Isolde just looks at her. Morgana gapes. "But she never SAID anything," she manages eventually. "She should've, she should've at least MENTIONED it, oh my god this is terrible."

Isolde just sort of pats her sympathetically. "I know," she says, even though she's been dating Tristan since for fucking ever and she can't have the faintest idea.

"What do I do?" Morgana moans, dropping her head to Isolde's shoulder.

"Hide in your room for the rest of the weekend and avoid Mithian until she forgets you exist," Isolde says matter-of-factly.

Morgana lifts her head. She's not an expert or anything but that doesn't exactly sound like stellar advice. "Really?" she asks dubiously.

"No," Isolde says, "but it's what you want to do, isn't it?"

"No," Morgana says immediately.

Isolde rolls her eyes. "Talk to her," she says, "tell her you want to be girlfriends and then have lots of filthy sex you aren't allowed to talk to me about."

"That really doesn't sound like a better idea," Morgana says, and Isolde narrows her eyes.

"Do it or I'll do it for you," she orders, "minus the filthy sex. Or maybe not, Mithian is pretty hot."

"You wouldn't DARE," Morgana says instantly.

Isolde smirks, says, "And it really took you this long, oh sweetheart," and then she all but shoves her out the door.

Morgana's courage runs out basically as soon as she ends up on Mithian's doorstep. Morgana isn't under any illusions about her appearance or anything, she knows she's hot and she knows Mithian thinks she's very hot but, seriously, Morgana's so out of her league it isn't even funny. Maybe Mithian never brought up the fact that they've sort of been dating because she had no idea how it happened and was too nice to break it off. Maybe she's just been waiting for Morgana to bring it up so she could do it gently, naturally. Maybe-

"Hello," Mithian says suddenly, beaming at her, because apparently she'd noticed Morgana hovering in front of her house and opened the door while she was busy fretting. "I thought you were hanging out with Isolde today."

"I was," Morgana says, biting her lip. Mithian's face goes all soft and concerned almost instantly.

"Did something happen?" she asks, because Morgana does that sometimes, goes over to Mithian's after a particularly awful fight with Uther or when Arthur's being a dick or just when she doesn't want to be around people for a while and, seriously, how the fuck did she not notice before, this is so pathetic she can't even.

"No," Morgana says quietly, rubbing a hand over her face. "No, I just- I just wanted to say, um, we can stop doing this now."

And Morgana thinks she should probably clarify what she means by that since they apparently had very different ideas about what this was but Mithian's face closes down almost instantly in a way Morgana's never seen before and she says, blankly, "Oh. Okay."

"Yeah," Morgana says, uncharacteristically awkward, and oh god she HATES this. "I mean, um, you don't have to keep feeling bad for me or whatever, you can, you can date someone you actually want to, now, I mean, not that you couldn't before or anything, I wouldn't have minded, I just, oh fuck I should just go, sorry."

Mithian's delicate face creases. "Sorry, what?" she asks, sounding confused.

"Isolde told me about us kind of, uh, being in a relationship," Morgana says, because she really can't say girlfriend right now without feeling ridiculous. Well. More ridiculous. "I, yeah, I'm really sorry I didn't notice. You should've said, I wouldn't have- I wouldn't have minded if you told me to fuck off."

"Right," Mithian says, after a minute. "That kind of makes- no, actually, I still don't get it. What? What are you sorry for, exactly?"

"Well, accidentally tricking you into being my girlfriend, for a start," Morgana mumbles, entirely certain her face is on fire.

Mithian's face softens immediately and her voice when she says, "Oh Morgana," is so fond Morgana can't stand it.

"Yeah," she says tiredly, dredging up a smile from... somewhere, she doesn't even know. "I should go, leave you in peace. Sorry. Again."

She turns away, ducking her head so she can't see the pity on Mithian's face, which is why she's caught off-guard by Mithian catching her by the wrist and pulling her back in.

"Morgana," she says, very seriously, "you are a really incredibly intelligent person but you can be so stupid sometimes."

And then she kisses Morgana, fierce and tender all at once, cradling Morgana's face in her hands like Morgana had done to her the first time, when she still thought it would be the only time. Morgana doesn't cling to her, exactly, because Morgana does not cling, but she holds on very, very tightly and chases Mithian's mouth when she tries to pull away.

"I should probably do this properly, just so there's no more misunderstandings," Mithian says when they finally separate, her face serious but something hitching at the corners of her mouth like she can't help it. "Morgana le Fay, will you be my girlfriend?"

"Yes," Morgana says fervently, tugging her back in AND THEN THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER THE END \o/

...except obviously they don't because they're going off to different unis halfway across the country from each other in a few months and long-distance relationships are hard, not that normal relationships aren't and it's not like either of them really have much practice at it, but even when they yell at each other over Skype and don't talk for days they still love each other (and god, that was an unexpectedly easy hurdle to get over after everything) and they work at it, and keep working at it, and somehow they make it through years and years together and they're the sickeningly adorable couple still going strong at their school reunion when even Gwen and Arthur and Tristan and Isolde have all long since broken up.

(Honestly, precisely no one is surprised.)