A.N- I don't own these characters. This story is set some time during Magician's Gambit, in case anyone wasn't sure.
Princess Ce'Nedra couldn't sleep. She had tried several times, but the pattering of the rain on the tent roof made it very difficult. The rain wasn't very heavy, but it was still distracting. The sound was still unfamiliar to her. It would have been better if they'd gone to an inn, but apparently the horses wouldn't make it that far. She was just about to try and get to sleep again when the door of the tent opened. Glancing up, she could make out the Lady Polgara standing in the doorway. She remembered hearing her say she'd gone to check on Garion, which Ce'Nedra had been too tired to question, despite how ridiculous it sounded. They were safe here, weren't they? There was no need to be so protective. She frowned and sat up.
"Is everything alright?" she couldn't quite make out Polgara's expression, it was too dark to see that. She could hear the worry in her voice, though.
"I can't find Garion. I've checked his tent, but he wasn't there. I've called, but there was no response," Ce'Nedra remembered quite clearly the last time something like this had happened, and couldn't help the worry that rose up inside her. Suddenly, an idea came to her.
"Perhaps he's gone out for some fresh air?" that seemed reasonable.
"Perhaps," there was a pause. "Perhaps you could go and fetch him? It is far too late for this sort of thing," Ce'Nedra sighed and got to her feet. She pulled on her boots and cloak, then quickly brushed her hair. Opening the tent door, she headed out into the darkness.
Eventually she found him, sitting away from the tents. He seemed lost in thought, though what he could be thinking of she didn't know. What sorts of things did kitchen boys normally worry about? In Garion's case, she couldn't say. However, it would probably soon have something to do with the fact he'd let his hair get wet by leaving his hood down. Lady Polgara wasn't going to be pleased with that, especially not if it led to him getting sick. Maybe she should attempt to snap him out of his daydream before the issue became serious.
"If you're going to sit out here in the rain, the very least you can do is put your hood up." He turned to face her, confusion clear on his face.
"Ce'Nedra? What are you doing out here?"
"I could ask you the same," she considered sitting down next to him, then dismissed the idea almost immediately. She couldn't have him getting the wrong idea.
"I couldn't sleep," he paused, looking up at her. "Do you want to sit down? You look tired." She couldn't really deny that. It was annoying, of course, how he could see that. He didn't even know her that well. Of course, that was how she liked things. They didn't need to change. Nevertheless, it would be nice to sit down.
"You're not the only one who couldn't sleep," she sat down, using her cloak to protect her from the wet ground.
"Still not used to sleeping on the ground?" his tone was light, almost teasing. That didn't stop her rolling her eyes at him, though.
"Don't be silly, that's not the problem."
"What is, then?"
"It's the rain," she said, like it was obvious. "I'm not used to hearing it this loudly. It was never this heavy at home."
"That makes sense, I suppose," she turned to look at him then, wishing she could see his face, wishing is hood wasn't in the way. His response had been so... normal. Briefly, she was reminded of the time they'd sat by the pool in the Dryad Forest. That had felt almost normal too, despite what had happened just before it. She smiled, thinking that maybe there was a chance they could be friends after all. After a moment, she spoke again.
"What's bothering you, if you don't mind me asking?" she knew his reasons were probably personal, but she felt like she should ask nevertheless. At first, she didn't think he was going to reply, but after a moment he did.
"It's nothing serious. I just... a lot's been happening recently. So much has changed in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I just need a few minutes alone to think about it at all," she wished she could see his expression. Part of her wanted to reach out and touch his arm, but that wouldn't be allowed. It wouldn't do for him to get the wrong idea, after all. Instead, she turned her attention back to the ground. The night air was cold, and despite her cloak, Ce'Nedra was shivering. She tried to ignore it, though.
"You should've told someone that's what you were doing. Your aunt was worried about you. I could say something, but I doubt you want that, do you?" she didn't really want to fight about it either, if she was being honest.
"You're right, I don't want that. Look, I'll apologise to Aunt Pol in the morning, alright?" he turned to look at her and noticed her shaking shoulders. "Hey, you're shivering. Are you alright?" she nodded quickly. He rested a hand on her shoulder, which made her heart beat a little quicker. Is it alright if I put my arm around you for a little bit to warm you up?" she frowned, not quite sure whether or not to give him permission to hold her. After a moment, she nodded, thinking it couldn't hurt. It was just a practical thing, after all. He slipped an arm around her shoulders, not pulling her close as she'd expected. She felt him stroking her forearm, presumably trying to rub some warmth into her arm. They didn't talk for a few minutes. Ce'Nedra was worried that if she spoke, Garion would realise that she was affected by this. There was already a risk that he could see her blush from where he was, or hear her rapid heartbeat. She knew that she was just being paranoid, but she couldn't help it. If she knew the effect he was having on her, she'd never hear the end of it.
After a few more minutes of silence,Garion got to his feet. He held out a hand to Ce'Nedra and helped her up.
"We should go back to the tents now," he said, looking down at her. She nodded, and they made their way back to the tents. Just before they parted ways, Ce'Nedra turned to face Garion one more time. As she looked up at him, she was taken aback by how much she wanted to kiss him.
"Good night," she said, impressed by her level voice.
"Good night," he replied, and walked back into his tent. After taking a moment to calm herself back down, she went into her own tent. Taking off her boots and cloak, she lay down, hoping that Garion hadn't noticed anything off about her. She was really going to have to work on hiding her emotions around him, or better still, getting herself to a point where she didn't feel anything towards him anymore. It hurt, but that was the way it had to be.