Stay 1/1

Jan. 8th, 2010 05:24 pm
syllic: ([merlin] morgana leaf)
[personal profile] syllic
Title: Stay

Pairing(s)/Character(s): Gwen/Morgana, Gwen/Lancelot/Arthur/Merlin, Lancelot/Gwen/Morgana/Arthur/Merlin

Rating: NC-17

Word Count: ~6300

Summary: Gwen was fairly certain it was Wednesday, four days after the fever had taken hold, but she couldn’t be entirely sure.

Written for [livejournal.com profile] vicky_v for [livejournal.com profile] camelotsolstice. This was inspired by her first (Gwen/Morgana: “Gift”) and third (Lancelot/Gwen/Morgana/Arthur/Merlin: “You don’t have to fight alone”) prompts. Happy Solstice!

Thank you to SF for the incredibly quick beta work, and thank you to the amazing Solstice mods for organising the challenge.





Stay

Gwen was awake when Merlin brought her in.

She had lost track of the day by that point. She was fairly certain it was Wednesday, four days after the fever had taken hold, but she couldn't be entirely sure.

They'd moved her at some point. She had stopped opening clouded eyes to the sight of her father's house, and had been gazing blearily at what she was almost sure were the walls of a castle room for some time.

There were women there. They dabbed at her forehead with cloths, and they'd wiped her entire body down more than once. She hadn't always felt their hands, but Arthur had always made such a racket in his haste to get out that she knew by the sound of the clattering door that they were stripping her of another sweat-soaked tunic.

Gaius spent the days with her. At night, Merlin held her hand, muttering what sounded like gibberish to her, leaning down to speak next to her ear. Lancelot and Arthur came when they were able to—or at least she thought so. She thought she could hear their voices as they spoke in low, anxious mutters.








Gwen thinks she is going to die. It's been days and she feels as if she's burning from the inside out, from the outside in. Gaius has been doing what he can, but he has stopped drawing blood out through small wounds in the crook of her arms. When she has been able to focus on his face, it has always looked weary. Weary, but not defeated: after all, she hasn't died yet.

When Merlin brings her in, the room is dark save for the light of the candles burning next to her bed. In the early days, Gaius had insisted that Gwen must watch for signs of blackening around her mouth. She is no longer able to do that, but she supposes the candles are for her watchers' benefit.

Gwen is feeling slightly better, but that only makes her more suspicious. She's felt better before now, and Arthur has come in to dine with her. She has been in the middle of biting into some sweet fruit that he has passed her across the table when she has felt the bite of someone gripping her arms, vice-tight. Lancelot. Merlin has been shouting, shouting nonsense.

She feels better now, and Morgana is drawing back her hood from her face. She wonders when the shouting will begin.

Gwen does not quite believe she is there, but she drinks in the sight of her nonetheless. The graceful slope of her neck into her shoulder, the line of her jaw. Her lips, chapped and pale and not rouged. Gwen thinks of the way her fingers always felt against Morgana's lips, the slight give of them against the tackiness of the paste as she helped her prepare for some feast, some meeting.

"How long has it been?" she hears, and it sounds like bells. At first it is like tinkling, but then it turns into the awful reverberations that you can hear inside the bell tower, which set your teeth on edge and rattle your bones.

She and Morgana always hid from Arthur in the bell tower, as children. He did not like bats, and Morgana had convinced him the tower was full of them.

"Six days," she hears, like the sound of wood being dragged over stone, like the Yule log being brought in.

It's Merlin.

"Can do you something for her?"

She thinks it's Merlin again. She can't be sure. Maybe it's both of them, asking at the same time.

"No."

There is a long silence. Perhaps she has fallen asleep.

"They would not come," she hears. She drags her eyes open. It is like lifting an ewer filled to the brim with boiling water: a heavy and dangerous task.

Morgana is still there. She is standing by the window, face turned towards the door. Gwen cannot turn her head, but she imagines someone is there, listening to her. Merlin, if it is night-time.

"It is enough that you came," comes the voice from the door.

Morgana's hands are clenched into fists. That's the way she shows her true anger. It's never in her face—Gwen saw her cry for many months after she was brought to Camelot, but Morgana has never shown anything truly meaningful on her face since.

It is a rule she has for herself.

"They said that all who served Uther deserved death," she says. Gwen cannot see her lips move, but perhaps that is because she is too far away. She has heard voices in the night sometimes, when she has thought she was alone, but even as the fear that the fever was boiling her mind formed, she has felt cool hands slip into hers.

Arthur's, Gaius', Lancelot's, Merlin's. Even, once, Uther's. He had sobbed at her bedside as if Morgana herself were there. Perhaps he had sobbed because she hadn't been there. Maybe Gwen had only been dreaming.

"Morgana—"

It is definitely Merlin's voice.

"They have healing magic. A woman that lives in the camp where we are now, Dilwen, she can draw poison from any wound. But they would not come. I told them. I told them that Gwen had held my hand when I had had no friends here. I told them that she was good and kind, that she had lost a father to Uther. I told them she smiled when she saw others smile. They would not come."

"You came."

There is a shuffling, like many rats scurrying across a floor. Gwen can see the places where Morgana's skirts are brushing dust aside. This has happened before, this strangely sharp sight. Two days ago, she thinks, she saw a spider scuttling across the windowpane farthest from her bed.

Two hands clasp one of hers. She can smell Morgana. Not the familiar scent of her oils and perfumes, but Morgana before a bath, as Gwen unwound her undergarments from her body.

"Morgana," she hears, and she can tell by the tug on her hand that Morgana is turning to face the door. Merlin is calling her.

"I have magic," he says.

Gwen thinks her lips curve up into a smile.

"I know. Morgause told me."

"I am so sorry."

"I don't blame you. We were all scared."

"And I'm sorry for what I did. I am so sorry for that. She used you first, Morgana. She made Arthur ill. I didn't feel I had a choice. But there is always a choice."

"I don't blame you for that, either."

"I miss you. We all miss you. Some days Arthur will not speak at all. He pretends something is bothering him—he complains about his horse or his dinner. But he's thinking of you, I know. He and Gwen spend so many hours alone in the garden behind your rooms, sometimes I have to remind them it's suppertime."

"I'm happy for them."

"It's not about them, Morgana. It's about you. We miss you. Listen to me."

A pause.

"I'm glad you're here. Don't worry—we'll make sure Uther doesn't come near. Gaius has told him Gwen's fever is catching, now."

"I don't care if he comes."

"I care."

Gwen twitches. It feels as if her skin is crawling with spiders. She hates spiders. The itch is terrible behind her left shoulder blade, but she cannot possibly lift her arm to scratch.

Morgana grips her by the shoulder and hip and turns her. She lifts the damp cloth of the tunic from Gwen's back and presses a cold, wet linen to her shoulder, right where the feeling is worst.

Gwen sighs. She can feel Merlin come closer to the bed. She blinks at him, and she can see how drawn and thin he looks. Poor Merlin: bound into service with Arthur and with Lancelot beholden to him, wracked by guilt for Morgana and so afraid that Gwen will ever be hurt. Trapped between all of them.

"Gwen?" he asks, and Morgana comes around to look at her. Gwen's cheek is pressed against the pillow; she cannot lift it.

She tries to speak. They smile at her, and Morgana grips her hand again.

"I'll leave you with her," Merlin says, heading for the door. "Call me if you need anything."

Morgana nods, but her eyes do not leave Gwen's face.

"Merlin!" she says, right before he leaves.

When he stops in the doorway, she turns away from Gwen, and she says, clearly and carefully,

"I forgive you."

It sounds like a question, and Gwen does not understand why until Merlin takes a shaky breath and says,

"I forgive you."

"Don't tell Arthur I'm here."

"I won't," he says, hurrying out the door.

"He's lying," Morgana says, turning to Gwen and smoothing one hand over Gwen's sweaty brow.

Gwen smiles at her, because she's right.








The door slams open, banging against the wall, and Gwen jumps even though she's lying down. Morgana has stripped her down again, and she has been running a cool cloth over every part of Gwen's body. She begins by curving the towel around Gwen's heel, and she slides it roughly to her knee before pressing down hard with both hands as she moves up Gwen's thigh.

She cups Gwen's hips, and slides the cloth around her waist like an embrace. She sprinkles cool water on her back and rubs it into Gwen's shoulders with her hands. The touch is familiar and unfamiliar: Morgana's hands are well known to her, but the new roughness at her fingertips is utterly foreign.

"Morgana," comes an uneven whisper from the door, and then, perhaps as Arthur peeks around Morgana's back, there's suddenly a bumbling, "Good heavens. I— I'll come back. I'll just … I'll wait behind the door."

At this point, Arthur usually knocks something over as he flails his way out of the room. Gwen smiles in anticipation of the bang, but all she hears is Morgana's voice.

"Arthur. Don't be ridiculous. Shut the door, you're letting a draught in. Quickly, Arthur, for crying out loud."

The door snicks shut quietly, nothing like Arthur's usual performance.

"Turn around. For pity's sake, Arthur, pull yourself together. She's awake."

There's something very strange about the way Morgana says She's awake. Gwen thinks it's because Morgana isn't saying, And she might not wake up again, so don't waste your chance.

All three of them are thinking it.

"Gwen," says Arthur, crouching by the bed and reaching a tentative hand to push a curl away from Gwen's cheek. He looks like a boy that's been given permission to handle something of great value, who has been threatened with dire consequences if he harms it.

Gwen tries to smile at him, and he knots his fingers in her hair and presses a hard kiss to her temple. Gwen closes her eyes.

"I'm so happy you're here," Arthur says, and Gwen tries to open her eyes for him, until he realises he's not talking to her.

"Where else would I be?" Morgana asks. Her voice is high the way it is when she's hiding something.

"Well, thank you for coming anyway," Arthur replies, a little formal. He's hiding something, too.

"Morgana, come back," he hisses suddenly, almost savagely.

Morgana laughs, but it is not a happy sound.

"And do what?"

"And build this court with me. Define it the way you always have. Council me for the better, drive me insane. Just— Be here."

"Arthur," Morgana says. Her hand is gentle as it combs back through Gwen's hair. "I know you've developed a complex over the years, no doubt aided by your considerable ego, that tells you you have to protect everyone. Well, I am not your responsibility. You don't have to worry about me. I assure you I am perfectly fine where I am."

"Well, I'm not fine with you where you are."

Morgana draws in a little hiccupping breath. Gwen feels it in the tremble of Morgana's fingertips against her scalp. It's what Morgana does to swallow back tears, and she is excellent at it.

"Arthur, get it through your thick head. I'm fine. You're going to be fine. You did not fail me, or whatever other rubbish you're telling yourself. Just wait for your father to die already, and then make this kingdom a better place."

Morgana's bravado is faked. Gwen knows this down to her bones. She has never told Morgana, however, that Arthur, for all his emotional clumsiness, is fairly attuned to Morgana, too.

Poor Arthur. Trapped under his father, who has finally allowed Lancelot to be re-inducted into the knights but who still sees Gwen and Merlin as little more than castle furnishings. Their value is in offsetting the worth of his own children by protecting them and making them happier, though of course Arthur grows more miserable every day.

And Morgana is no longer there, so there's no real value for Gwen, anymore.

Morgana's hand is ripped from Gwen's hair, and Gwen moans lowly as some of her hair breaks with the motion. She forces herself to open one eye, and what she sees makes her grin into her pillow. She suspects she looks very frightening.

Arthur is wrapped around Morgana, clutching her as if he cannot bear to let her go. His face is crooked into her neck and Gwen can see his lips moving, saying everything he won't say with his face exposed.

The minute he finishes he draws Morgana close again, and drops a kiss on her cheek before drawing the back of his hand down Gwen's cheek and stalking from the room.

"Well," Morgana says, smoothing her dress down and sitting next to the bed again. "That was different."

Her voice is high and tremulous. Gwen cannot say, Go ahead and cry, Morgana, so she lifts the smallest finger of her left hand and caresses the side of Morgana's hand gently.

Morgana cries.








Gwen loses track of time again.

Gaius is spooning something into her mouth. Merlin is pressing hot glass against her spine, and her skin is rising, rising, feeling like it will burst. Morgana is sprinkling powder on her breasts, on her thighs, drawing something with her fingers. Arthur is breathing harshly, grinding the bones in Gwen's hand together where he's holding it. Lancelot is shouting, and Gaius is—

Gaius is crying.

"Stop it," Gwen says. "Stop it, all of you."

Her lips move, but all that comes out is a terrifying, rattling breath.








When she opens her eyes again, Morgana presses a hand to her mouth and throws herself forward onto the bed. Her eyes are only slightly less wild than her hair, which looks like something has nested in it. Her face is so pale that her eyes look black.

The door snicks open.

"Oh! Excuse me, my lady," says Lancelot, turning on his heel to walk out again.

Morgana laughs.

The sound is happy.

"I am not a lady of this court any longer, Lancelot. And you should come in. Gwen is awake again."

Lancelot almost trips in his haste to get to the bed. When Gwen smiles as best she can at him, he drops to his knees beside her and Morgana and kisses Gwen's hand, then her cheeks, then her lips.

He pulls back, clearly embarrassed, and looks doubtfully towards Morgana. She waves a hand at him, unworried.

"I'm fairly certain you're only the first to follow through on that very same impulse," she says, and Lancelot's eyes darken, ever so slightly.

Poor Lancelot, trapped between duty and love and friendship, and the differing amounts of each that he feels for the rest of them.

"Thank you for coming to her, my lady," he says, and when Morgana looks set to correct him again, he raises a hand, forestalling her.

The action is so at odds with the respectful address that Gwen laughs a little, though it sounds like brittle stone crumbling in her throat.

Morgana looks at her in amusement.

"I didn't do anything, Lancelot," she says, finally, and he looks at her for a long moment before he replies.

"On the contrary," he says. "You risked the king's wrath and very possibly your life to come here for a friend. You sat by her bedside and helped Gaius and Merlin to work—they told me. You gave Arthur strength, and you gave Merlin peace of mind. I believe you have made Gwen very happy. I am very grateful, my lady, and I am indebted to you."

Morgana laughs, a little it was nothing laugh, but Lancelot does not look away from her.

Suddenly he smiles, like a jester that has finished the tragic forerunner to a joke.

"My first evening as a knight in Camelot," he says, "I remember how awestruck Arthur was by your beauty. I will admit at the time I had little attention to spare."

His eyes flick to Gwen, and Morgana smiles with him.

"I have watched you tend to Gwen at the risk of your own health. I have heard you sing to her when no-one else could find the voice. And I find suddenly that I see you, and I can only agree with Arthur: you are a very beautiful woman, my lady."

Lancelot shuffles out, blushing, and Morgana looks at Gwen and laughs, loudly and joyfully.

"He's like something from a children's story, that one."

Gwen blinks slowly in agreement.

"Tell me about it," she says.

Her voice is raspy and barely audible, but there.








The first day that Gwen opens her eyes with a clear head, she squints painfully at the sun coming in through the window but refuses to shut her eyes against it. Her eyes have been shut long enough.

They're all crowded in the room with her: Gaius, taking away a vial with a green liquid that does not bear thinking about. Lancelot and Arthur, lounging together on a bench by the door. Merlin, hurrying to draw some cloth across the window from where the offending light is coming.

Morgana, wrapped up in her cloak again.

Gwen feels a jagged spike of alarm in her chest. Morgana can't possibly be allowed to leave, but it's hardly as if Gwen is in any state to stop her. She can feel each of her ribs through the thin tunic that she is wearing, and her arms feels weak, bordering on useless. She looks at Merlin in a panic, but he slants her a slow look from where he's crouching by the window, clearly urging her to stay calm. When Gwen takes a deep breath, Merlin slants his eyes towards Lancelot and Arthur, whose seat by the door suddenly takes on a new meaning.

"Lancelot, Merlin," says Arthur, standing up and brushing his hands against the front of his breeches. "Let's leave Morgana to say goodbye to Gwen. Morgana, we'll be just outside."

He looks at Gwen, and she sees her panic mirrored in his eyes. But there's something else, too: he's urging her to fix this, and if she had any idea where to begin, she might feel slightly better about that.

Lancelot and Merlin and Arthur walk out slowly, and Arthur turns to look at Morgana as if drinking her in one final time.

The gesture doesn't make Gwen feel particularly confident.

"Thank you," she says when the door clicks shut behind them, because that's what she feels the most. Gratitude—at having Morgana there, at being able to see the red of her hood and the green of her dress.

She had heard Gaius telling Merlin that the fever might leave her alive but weakened—that she might not be able to see when it was all over, or speak. She can do both, and Morgana is here. That is enough.

"What were you thinking?" Morgana asks, clearly outraged, and Gwen smiles as she says,

"What, getting the fever? Well, I suppose at first I thought it might be fun."

Morgana snorts, the way she only ever did in private.

"You came, Morgana," says Gwen, taking a small sip of water from the cup next to the bed. "And there is nothing I wouldn't have given to see you again."

Morgana firms her jaw. It's what she does to prepare herself for doing something difficult, and Gwen suddenly feels as if there is nothing she can say that will keep Morgana there. The things that drove her away are bigger than Gwen: magic, which she knows nothing of, and court dealings, in which she does not have a voice.

"It's funny," Morgana says. "I actually didn't know you were ill, when I came."

Gwen furrows her eyebrows at her.

"I thought Merlin sent for you."

Morgana laughs a little.

"I think at this point, Merlin thinks Merlin sent for me. I think he was on his way to tell me what was happening, when I ran into him in the woods. But I was actually coming to give you a gift. After everything that has happened, after this week, I don't think he remembers that."

"You came, Morgana," says Gwen. "That is gift enough."

Morgana clucks her tongue at her, as if Gwen is saying something silly. Then she holds Gwen's hand between both of hers, and the feeling is so familiar from the past few days that Gwen looks down in surprise, able to see the gesture clearly for the first time.

"I have dreams," Morgana says, and Gwen feels her heart clench.

Please, no.

"Not like that," Morgana says. "Other dreams. About Uther. About Arthur. Mostly about you. The past three months, I have dreamt of you almost constantly. I can see your worry mounting. I can feel you growing desperate. I thought Lancelot's return would make it better, but it only made it worse."

Gwen swallows. It is not untrue.

"But I also have other dreams," Morgana says, and her voice sounds unfamiliar and breathy. "I have dreams in which Arthur wears the crown on his head. I have dreams in which Merlin brings us together, Albion's people. And dreams about you—"

She cuts herself off, as if she doesn't think she ought to say anything else.

"I wanted to show you," she says. "Aneurin, one of our men, has taught me how to share what I see. I believe seeing what I have seen would make you feel better, and I wanted to bring the vision to you. As a gift. That is why I was coming. May I?"

Her hands are outstretched. Gwen has no knowledge of these things, but she knows Morgana's hands perfectly. She nods.

Morgana smiles at her, and says,

"I want you to be happy, Gwen. So happy."

Gwen knows that.

Morgana places her hands on either side of Gwen's face, and then she closes her eyes.








Gwen is happy.

She sees herself in the garden behind Morgana's rooms—they are not Morgana's rooms any longer, she thinks—and Lancelot is kissing her, drawing his lips slowly behind her ear and smiling against her skin when Gwen laughs.

Arthur and Merlin are away, but when they return they will greet them both. Arthur will jump off his horse and run to her, take her up in his arms and kiss her gladly on both cheeks.

"Well met," he'll say, teasing her with his formality, and that evening he will say a dozen inappropriate things as he presses fingers and mouth to her, into her.

Merlin will finish his duties and crawl into bed with them, a warm weight at Arthur's back until the morning sunlight wakes the three of them and Gwen reaches over to touch him, draw him to her. He will smile at her with golden eyes and lift her with a thought, and Gwen will raise herself on her knees and lower herself slowly onto his cock, and she will love him fiercely and know the same is true for him, towards her.

Arthur will sit behind her, cupping her breasts and mouthing at the faint marks Lancelot will have left on her neck, and as he sees them he will laugh and holler,

"Send for Sir Lancelot!" and there will be the sound of feet hurrying away from the door, gone to fetch Lancelot without knowing what they fetch him for.

He will know better than to throw the door wide open when he comes into the room. He will squeeze through a tiny space, obscuring the view of what lies beyond the door, and then he'll slither in through the door to the privy chamber and laugh at the sight of them, laugh lines crinkling at the corners of his eyes.

"Guinevere," he'll breathe, always greeting a lady before the men, but his mouth will land on Arthur's, first, and Arthur will turn to him and twine with him as Merlin grips Gwen by the hips and strains upwards, touching her lips, then her clit, with his fingers.

She will curve her back, and Lancelot and Arthur will be a warm presence behind her, and when she trembles above Merlin, around Merlin, he will turn her over onto her back, and Arthur will come into her, smooth and confident and knowing—knowing her.

She'll gasp little breaths into his neck as Merlin takes Lancelot into his mouth, and Lancelot will run his fingers lovingly through Merlin's hair, shuffling the two of them so that he can lie next to Gwen and take her hand in his.

She will be able to see scars on Lancelot's arm. They will be the result of standing at Arthur's side, and Merlin will flick his eyes towards her to reassure her that he will look out for the two of them better, next time. Gwen will disentangle her hand from Lancelot's and squeeze Merlin's fingers, telling him she can think of no-one better to protect them, and when they are done they will curl together, and Gwen will draw Lancelot towards her, pillowing his head against her breasts, and she will watch as Merlin and Arthur touch him, the four of them reassuring each other that they are there, that they love each other.

Gwen is happy.









Gwen snaps her eyes open with a gasp.

Beside her, Morgana is re-clasping her cloak at her neck with one hand. The other is resting over Gwen's pounding heart, and through it Morgana seems to be drawing all of Gwen's anxiety from the last few months.

Anxiety that guilt and misconceived duty would drive Lancelot away again. Anxiety that Arthur would continue to feel torn between his father and the people he loves, between his desires and his kingdom, between Gwen and Merlin. Anxiety that Merlin would sacrifice his own happiness so that the rest of them could be well, not knowing how much they would wish that he were there to love them, every day.

The things Morgana has shown her seem to be fading already, but the certainty that Gwen feels is only growing. She feels calm and ready for whatever comes next, though already she is forgetting what that might be.

"Be happy, Gwen," Morgana is saying, whispering against Gwen's hair, and only then does Gwen realise that Morgana is saying goodbye.

"No, wait," she says around a mouth that will not move for her. At first she thinks it is the aftermath of the fever, but Morgana's knowing look says it is something she is doing.

Gwen has woken up to find Morgana gone once. She will not have that happen again.

Morgana is turning towards the door, but Gwen pushes herself up on her elbows, forcing her body to cooperate with her.

"Morgana," she says.

There is something in her voice. Gwen knows it's fear, but she thinks it must sound like a command to Morgana—that's certainly the way she's responding.

In all her years of serving Morgana, Gwen never heard a command from her. Morgana requested, and shared, and asked for help with, but she never ordered. Gwen is the first to issue an order between them, but she does not regret it.

"Morgana, come here," she repeats, and Morgana turns to her.

Her eyes are anguished and she is clamping her jaw so tightly it's a wonder she can bear it. Gwen knows that she is trying to keep her lip from trembling, and that she will succeed, because this is an art that Morgana has practiced for years.

Morgana comes forward, her face like stone, and Gwen draws her down by her tangled hair and kisses her, kisses her with all the desperation she has felt the past three months, with all the anguish that Lancelot brought with him when he arrived, with all the guilt that Merlin has carried around since her departure, with all the grief Arthur felt at her loss.

She kisses her, driving her tongue into her mouth with no finesse, with no artistry. Before Morgana left, she had not had any lovers, but she had not lacked for suitors ever since she had first arrived in the castle, as a child. Gwen knows of the kisses that she and Bors snuck under the curve of the kitchen courtyard archway, and of the flowers that Hrothgar, Geoffrey's assistant, brought her, which Morgana pressed under a heavy book.

She doesn't think her kiss can compare favourably to any of the things Morgana has known before, but Morgana doesn't seem to agree, because she surges towards Gwen's lips with a desperation that matches Gwen's, and the two of them twine their hands around each other's shoulders and gasp into each other's mouths.

"Do not leave," Gwen says, and though her voice still sounds the same, like an order, Morgana trembles in her arms, and Gwen knows she will not obey this second command as she did the first.

She might not be able to stop Morgana from leaving, but she will not let her leave without showing her how she is loved. She unclasps Morgana's cloak with clumsy hands, and draws her dress down at the shoulders.

Morgana is thin, too, her collarbones peeking sharply through her skin. The result of worry and exile, perhaps, rather than fever.

Gwen can barely get her fingers to undo the simple lacings of her own tunic, let alone the fastenings of Morgana's dress, but Morgana carries on where Gwen left off and tugs at the ribbons at her back, loosening her bodice and her skirts. She flings her travelling boots off with a huff, and crawls onto the bed with Gwen, her fine-boned fingers tracing up Gwen's belly uncertainly.

Gwen places her hands on top of Morgana's, draws them decisively towards her breasts, and she pushes her nose towards Morgana's hair and smells the forest and the rain in it.

"We have hardly known what to do without you," she says, and though that might not seem true to the average courtier, anyone who has looked below the surface of things has seen the deep lines carved into all of their faces, the heaviness of their steps.

She grasps at what Morgana showed her, at the sight of the easy affection with which the four of them had lain tangled together in Morgana's dreams, and wonders what it is that will change in order to allow them to get there.

Not her, carrying her pain for Morgana's second departure. Not Lancelot, whose loyalty will have only cleaved itself tighter as the result of Gwen's illness. Not Arthur, who will try to protect them, and will not allow himself to do or feel anything else. Not Merlin, who will blame himself again.

"Show me again," she says, lowering her mouth to Morgana's breast, flicking her tongue against her nipple. "And this time," she says, as she slides her hand down Morgana's chest, "Show me the truth."

Gwen is happy.

She sees herself in the garden behind Morgana's rooms and Lancelot is kissing her, drawing his lips slowly behind her ear and smiling against her skin when Gwen laughs. Morgana looks out of her window and sees the two of them, and she shakes her head at them fondly before disappearing from view.

She is coming down.

"You know, Lancelot," she says as she walks under the trellis, heavy with summer roses, "When I said you could love us all and be untrue to none of us, I did not mean 'love us all in plain sight of everyone else.'"

Lancelot laughs.


Morgana gasps under her, and Gwen crooks her fingers curiously, loving how wet and warm Morgana is, how pliant. She moves her hand upwards towards Morgana's clit and flicks it once, twice. When Morgana begins to breathe more shallowly, Gwen smiles and moves her mouth downwards, kissing the dip between Morgana's breasts and the lines of her ribs, licking contentedly at her bellybutton.

Arthur and Merlin are away, but when they return they will not wait to greet the rest of them. Arthur will jump off his horse and run to Gwen, take her up in his arms and kiss her gladly on both cheeks, and he will bow low over Morgana's hand, teasing her.

He will look up at them both, covetous and loving, and they will hold hands and curtsy demurely, teasing him back.


"You smell the same," Gwen says, nosing at Morgana's thighs, crawling quickly up the bed to smell the place behind her ear again. "After all this time away, you smell the same."

Morgana sobs, joyous and terribly sad, and Gwen smiles at her, understanding.

Merlin will finish his duties eventually and crawl into bed with them, wrapping an arm tightly around Morgana's waist until the morning sunlight wakes the four of them and Gwen reaches over to touch him, draw him to her. He will smile at her with golden eyes and lift her with a thought, and Gwen will raise herself on her knees and lower herself slowly onto his cock, and she will love him fiercely and know the same is true for him, towards her.

Morgana will watch them with a smile, and her eyes will also be like the sun.


"We all love you, Morgana. Please," Gwen whispers against her skin.

She lowers her mouth. Morgana tastes sweet and a little salty, and wonderfully familiar despite how new this all is, for both of them. Gwen flicks her tongue against her, and Morgana moans sweetly.

Arthur will sit behind Gwen, cupping her breasts and mouthing at the faint marks Lancelot and Morgana will have left on her neck, and as he sees them he will laugh and holler,

"Send for Sir Lancelot!" and there will be the sound of feet hurrying away from the door, gone to fetch Lancelot without knowing what they fetch him for.

When he comes in, he will look at Morgana, and say,

"Woman, do you never stop?"

She will laugh. Her laughter will have allowed them all to grow into this, to fall into each other, together as they wanted.


"We need you, Morgana," Gwen says. "We can't do this without you. You say you want me to be happy. You're what allows that to happen. You're what makes me happy. What makes us happy. Please."

Morgana is crying, shaking her head. Gwen licks into her, sure and loving, and Morgana arches her spine off the bed, and says Gwen's name over and over and over again.

Gwen will be able to see scars on Lancelot's arm. They will be the result of standing at Arthur's side, and Merlin will flick his eyes towards her to reassure her that he will look out for the two of them better, next time. Gwen will disentangle her hand from Lancelot's and squeeze Merlin's fingers, telling him she can think of no-one better.

"You three be more careful next time," Morgana will say. "Or we will be forced to come with you to make sure you don't get hurt."

Arthur will scoff, and Morgana will raise an elegant eyebrow at him.

"You didn't precisely come out on the winning end last time we matched swords, Arthur, if I recall correctly."

He will hide his blush between her thighs, and then he will draw his cheek lovingly against one of her breasts, mouthing at her carefully.

When they are done they will curl together, and Gwen will draw Lancelot towards her, pillowing his head against her breasts, and she will watch as Merlin and Morgana touch each other and as they and Arthur touch Lancelot, the five of them reassuring each other that they are there, that they love each other.

Gwen is happy.


Morgana comes with a single huff of breath, tensing her arms and legs and curling her toes. Her feet are pointed like a dancer's. Gwen breathes evenly against her skin, and she moves up and kisses all the places she has already kissed: Morgana's ribs, her neck, her eyelids.

"You did not leave me to be alone," she says into the shell of Morgana's ear. "You were here when I needed you. Let me be there for you. Let us be there for you."

Morgana smiles at her, and she bunches her hands in Gwen's curls, fisting them tightly enough that it stings, a little.

"You don't have to fight alone," Gwen whispers. "Please stay."

The hinges of the door creak, and Arthur walks in. His eyes are desperate, and they widen a little at the sight of them, but he does not move, or try to exit the room. He only motions behind him, and Merlin creeps in, followed by Lancelot, whose face goes slack with some unnamed emotion when he sees them. Then his eyes smile, though his mouth does not.

Arthur and Merlin look the same.

"Yes, Morgana," says Arthur, drawing forward with clear effort. "Please stay."

The four of them watch her, holding their breath, and then Morgana says, her chest rising against Gwen's hands,

"I will."







This was interesting (and difficult, in some ways) to write, because I'd never written polyamoury before and didn't want to make a hash of it. Thank you for the opportunity, [livejournal.com profile] vicky_v!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-24 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agenttrojie.livejournal.com
That was absolutely lovely. I think my favourite bit was seeing how the inclusion of Morgana changed the vision. And Gwen's POV was just perfect.

<3

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-25 02:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snottygrrl.livejournal.com
i didn't read this in the com, because it five seemed a bit much to me, but when i saw it was you i had to give it a go.

the way you relay gwen's illness from her point of view is amazing, we get so much information despite how ill she is. and i adore the fact that morgana tries to cut herself out of the vision even though it is she that can bring them all together (cause of course she doesn't think that).

and you didn't make a hash of it, not at all. it's quite compelling. well done, you. ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-25 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aissi.livejournal.com
This was so amazing! I absolutely adored it!
Thank you so much for writing and sharing it!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-27 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cellophane_ria.livejournal.com
Oh, [livejournal.com profile] syllic, I believe I have not commented on this yet, have I? I'm so sorry.
Your stories have that kind of atmosphere that I really can't describe, but which makes me think about magic and holiday (holiday, because holiday is when I had time to just immerse myself in the book and never resurface until I finish, living in a daze where the real world was kind of hazy, and at least half an hour behind--and that is the feeling I always get reading what you wrote, down to the smell of salt in the air). Er, you asked how I guessed it's yours...? :)
Gwen's illness seen through her eyes is fantastically done, when I'm speaking about atmosphere. And I believe I mentioned how wonderful your Morgana is, always? I'm glad she decided to stay. Canon may go drink itself into the stupor, as far as I'm concerned (yes, I'm looking at you, legends).

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-28 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captanddeastar.livejournal.com
This fic is extremely awesome - I was really moved by how Gwen's voice is full of so much affection for and insight into the other characters. This is a great tribute to her, and to her relationship with Morgana - thank you for sharing it!

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