He called it annoying, made it sound like his girlfriend’s clinginess was the height of irritation. Secretly, he loved it. She was tiny, standing at only five-foot-two, and he was starting to get his growth, already close to five-foot-ten, and just starting to fill out, losing the awkwardness of adolescence. Having her cling to him made him feel like he was the center of her world, it made him feel masculine, like the hero he’d always been convinced that he wasn’t. If Bro teased him about it, he cited the irony of allowing it, though that was a lie. There was nothing ironic about loving the way they were constantly attached at the hip, about the way the she clung to him fiercely, even in sleep on the occasion that she slept over. There wasn’t a trace of irony in the way he held her against his body, reveling in her physical presence, solid and undeniable. Still, he was a human being, so sometimes he woke up in the night because Mother Nature called. It was always a challenge to carefully disentangle himself without waking her, but he somehow always managed and then he would flashstep to the bathroom to take care of business before returning to his room at the same pace, eager to be back in her arms, asleep or not.
Slipping back into bed was the first challenge, coaxing her back into his embrace a second, drawing her close enough to revel in the heat of her body and love the way she fit against him a third. He found her so utterly perfect, and he would lay his cheek against her hair and close his eyes, feeling her heartbeat against his chest while he stroked the back of her neck with lazy fingers. He would roll onto his back, pulling her with him so that she was half on top of him, a sweeter blanket than the one that would have, inevitably at this point, drifted down her back. Not that either of them needed that blanket: the body heat that they shared was more than enough, but the cool air on her back would eventually make her shiver and curl closer to him. Unable to help himself, he would pull the blanket back up to her shoulders, smooth hair away from her eyes to tuck it tenderly behind her ear.
The darkness of his room in the middle of the night allowed him to be softer, more affectionate than he felt he was allowed to be during the daylight hours, free to pamper his girlfriend with little gestures that she would have loved had she been awake. It was a bit tragic that he felt like he couldn’t even let her see it, didn’t want to seem too soft, but that didn’t stop him from indulging himself in the dark, moonlight peeking through the gap between his blackout curtains. The sliver of light mimicked the blade of a sword, cool and bright, and he would take comfort in it as much as her, secure in the knowledge that no one was more eminently suited to protect her from the world than himself. He would vow, silently, to be not just a knight, but her knight. To protect her not just from the world, but from herself too, even if she never saw the extent to which he went to secure that.