A Sideways Search
Merlin ; Gwen/Morgana ; PG ; 700 words ; for prettyquotable
Lady Gertrude has been talking at Morgana about wheat taxation in the outlying villages for a period that probably amounts to the entirety of time. Uther is kingly and impassive beside her, Arthur is drunk and making a fool of himself, and Morgana has had enough.
"You must excuse me," she says to Lady Gertrude, "I'm not feeling at all well."
Lady Gertrude says, "Oh, you poor dear!" with such sincerity that Morgana feels a slight pang of guilt as she gets up. She presumes that Uther is staring at her disapprovingly, but she doesn't care. She feels so tightly wound and constricted in here that the walls themselves make her want to scream.
When she gets out into the merciful quiet of the corridor, she pauses and takes a breath. Now that she's effected her escape, she's not sure what to do. She knows what she wants to do, but that's not to say it's a sensible course of action.
She drifts back to her chambers, assuming that Gwen is elsewhere: at home, or perhaps down in the kitchen with her friends. That proves not to be the case as she reaches the third floor corridors and catches Gwen at the other end.
"Morgana?" Gwen asks. "Do you need something?"
Morgana stares at Gwen for a moment, then she opens a door to one of the small, disused storerooms that pepper this part of the castle. Gwen follows her inside.
"The feast wasn't to your taste, I take it?" Gwen asks.
Morgana laughs. "Not as such, no. The food was dry, the conversation more so. All the time I was sat there, I was only thinking --" She breaks off, smiling. "Never mind. How are you, Gwen?"
Gwen looks discomfited by the question, and she bows her head slightly. "I am well, my lady."
Morgana frowns. "No, that's not what I -- Gwen. I spent all of tonight wishing I was somewhere, anywhere but there. You know how I hate the formality of the court. And all the while, I was making idle conversation but trying to come up with escape plans, and all I could really think about was -- well."
Morgana swallows, because she hasn't thought any of this through -- she hadn't even meant to find Gwen, not tonight, but here they are, and Morgana will be damned if she lets this slip away from her again.
"Morgana?" Gwen asks quietly.
Morgana reaches for Gwen's hand, wraps her fingers around Gwen's wrist. "You're the only thing, the only person that I --" She shakes her head, holds Gwen a little tighter, steps in a little closer.
She brushes a quick, rough kiss against Gwen's temple, and it's so much more than she's permitted but so much less than she wants. She steps away again, turning her head in a pretence of brushing back her hair.
Gwen makes a soft sort of sound, and Morgana looks up. "Is that -- is that all right?"
Gwen considers her for a long moment, and then she moves to take Morgana's hand in hers, cool and firm. "Morgana," Gwen says, laughing. "Do you really think I have any answer but yes?"
Morgana stares, but Gwen's a step ahead, and she slots her hand against the small of Morgana's back as though it's meant to be there.
Morgana is so used to Gwen's hands, their callused patches and deft movements, but now Gwen's hands linger, not like work. Morgana takes a quick and unexpected breath.
"Is this really still a question?" Gwen asks. "I thought you always knew."
"Always knew what?" Morgana asks.
Gwen shakes her head at that, as though Morgana is being impossibly obtuse, and then she kisses her, swiftly opening up Morgana's mouth and making her utterly malleable to Gwen's touch with just a few short, sure presses of her fingers.
Morgana could lose herself in this, the hot rush of happiness that curls around her spine, the safe and grounding feel of Gwen's body right next to hers, and the thrum of Gwen's heartbeat quickening in her chest.
"Hmm," Gwen says thoughtfully, and quickly kisses Morgana's cheek. "Are you going back to the feast?"
"Good," Gwen says. She steps towards the door, drawing Morgana along with her. "Come with me?"
Morgana nods. "Is there any other answer?"
Gwen smiles broadly at that, and then she leads Morgana away.