Merlin ; Morgana/Gwen ; PG-13 ; 1400 words ; amnesia!fic
In an open field, under a morning sky, two women sleep.
title from the Explosions in the Sky song of the same name.
You wake up to fields, and silence, and boundless sky.
The landscape is a soft grey, tinged with the blue and pink of approaching dawn. You stand up and curl your bare feet in the morning's cold and dew dropped grass. You tilt your head back as wind whips across your ankles and wrists and throat, making your skin feel new and alive. You're wearing a cloak that you pull tight around yourself, and the fabric is rough and warm against your arms.
There is a woman lying in the grass. As the sun creeps over the horizon, as you watch her, she stirs, and her eyes open to catch your gaze. She also gets to her feet, and the two of you stand in the middle of vast, rolling countryside, looking all around you.
"Where are we?" she asks.
"I don't know."
She nods thoughtfully. "Who are you?"
You shake your head.
"I --" She looks at her hands, considers the ground. She turns to you again, searching your face for answers you don't have. "I don't remember," she says.
Her hair falls in soft, dark ringlets and her clothes are fine underneath her traveller's cloak, more elegant than your own. There is something in the way she holds herself that makes you want to curtsy to her. Your heart clenches at the thought, and you're not sure why.
"What should we do?" she asks.
You turn and point towards the sunrise. She falls into step beside you, and as you walk, she takes your hand.
You walk over hills and through woodland together, your movements in rhythm with each other. You smile as the sun grows warm, and when she laughs and points towards an orchard full of trees bearing bright, rich fruit, you race down with sudden giddiness.
"Apples," you say, pleased beyond measure to be able to put a name to something.
You reach up and pluck one apple from where it rests on its branch, and you hold it out to her. She laughs, pleased, and her fingers brush along your wrist as she reaches out to take it. She pauses as her thumb finds the space between the hollow of your palm and the apple's red, red skin, then she brings your hand and the fruit up to her mouth all together, laying both hands over yours as she bites into the apple. You wonder if she can feel your heartbeat quickening in your veins.
She swallows, her eyes alight with pleasure. She presses her open mouth against your fingers, leaving fruit juice on your skin.
The apple falls to the ground, forgotten. Her hands are at your lips, your waist, and you wonder if you should remember this. There is nothing about this that is familiar, not the bark that scratches at your back, the lazy circles she traces against your hips, the way you fall undone as she works aside your clothes, the only markers of your identity you have left.
You cling to her all the same, hold her tight against you and tangle your fingers in her hair. She kisses you, and you gasp wordlessly where there should have been a name.
You gather fruit haphazardly, picking the best offerings from a dozen different trees. She wants to gather the apples in her cloak, but you insist it should be yours - her dress is thin and not made for the outdoors.
You hear someone coming, and you hide yourselves behind thick hedges like children, full of suppressed laughter. The farmer finds nothing amiss, and when he leaves, you wonder why neither of you asked him for help. Perhaps you're not quite ready to be found.
You find a stream and drink deeply from the clear water. She takes off her shoes and gathers up her skirts, sitting down on the bank and letting the stream pool around her calves. She leans over and peers into the water, as though seeing something in its depths, and something that is not quite a memory flickers in your mind. She looks up, and you wonder if she feels the same.
You travel onwards, and you rarely speak. The sun soars overhead then gradually falls behind you. When you settle for the night you sleep face to face, your legs and hands entwined and one cloak covering you both.
On the third day you hear horses. Before, you might have chosen to run, but there are at least a dozen men cresting the hill, and their horses gallop down towards you. Two figures outstrip the others, and as they draw close you feel unaccountably afraid. You have nothing but your instincts to guide you, so you listen to the feeling, slipping away from her and backing away into the trees, where you pray you will go unnoticed.
A fair-haired man leaps from his horse while his companion dismounts more steadily. They both rush to her, full of questions and concern.
She shakes her head at their enquiries. "I'm sorry, I don't remember who you are."
"Merlin," one man snaps, afraid. "You know something about medicine, can you tell what's wrong with her?"
The other one steps forward to her, looking at her with kind, strange eyes. He reaches one hand out slowly to touch her temple, the same place your fingers rested as she awoke this morning, smiling as brightly as the day.
"I'd like to take her back to Camelot first," Merlin says. "We'll need herbs, my books. This is magic, powerful at that. I'm sorry, Arthur, I'll do my best."
Arthur looks stricken, and he turns to her again. "Do you know how you came to be here?"
"No," she says. "We simply woke up and found ourselves--"
"We?" Arthur asks sharply, cutting her off.
She whirls around in a circle, looking for you. "Yes, she was just --"
Both men are moving to search the trees, and their army is drawing close behind them. They will find you at any moment.
You run far and fast, grateful for the trousers that let you weave between tree roots and vault over brooks unencumbered. You run until you can't hear anyone or anything, then you stop. You have to hold onto your knees to keep yourself upright against a wave of sudden, desperate exhaustion.
You pant until your breathing steadies, and then you remember.
You remember leaving Camelot, years ago, slipping away in the dead of night and not permitting yourself any goodbyes. You recall anew the people you've met since then, the things you've learned, what you've grown to understand. You remember the pangs of loneliness and the hot fierce rushes of satisfaction.
You remember Gwen finding you not seven days ago, the way she looked when she told you that she'd never stopped looking, never given up. You begged and raged and commanded but she didn't leave your side. The ache of how much you missed her was overwhelming, and you remember how you kissed her, magic bursting in you and out of control in a way you'd sworn it never would be again. You remember wanting nothing but to forget, to lose the heavy swathes of destiny that lay on your both, to stay in that moment of peace.
You remember waking up with the dawn three mornings ago, Gwen's sleeping form beside you, your wish granted and you didn't know. You remember that the time for such idle dreaming has passed, that Guinevere is the beating heart of Camelot and you are its counterbalance, out here in the wild.
You remember, and Gwen will remember too, that you are Morgana, that you were raised in a house of kings and born to challenge them all. In your mind's eye you see Gwen riding back to Camelot, her king and their magician at her side - the three of them, ruling together, the way that it should be.
You remember that you have seen the future, that you have seen your own path laid out in front of you, and that you know what must be done.
You right yourself again. You turn, and walk into the east; today, your heart is sorry for it.
art! - Illustration by ilthit.