Title: As Pleasures Are Wont
Word count: 673
Summary: Morgana's visions, like her desires, are tangled things.
A/N: Written for shantirosa
, because she's awesome.
Morgana’s dreams are not linear; they do not parade before her in neat lines and traceable pathways – they twist and writhe, treacherous and ever-shifting, one scene bleeding into another into another like a tangled thread of half-painted memories. It’s worse in some ways than seeing nothing at all: she may live in the present and dream in the future but she has no idea how to bridge the gap between the two, how to change what she sees or how to make it come to pass; dreams admit no room for cause and effect. She wakes each morning with cold sweat damp in her hair and uncertainty spiking like acid in her breast, and the frustration burns in her – she will not stand to be helpless but she cannot deny that she is. The knowledge seethes like a cancer under her skin; it is bitterly ironic but the future is out of her grasp, and the more she reaches for it the more it slips away.
Sometimes, though, it offers her a choice.
The first time Morgana dreams about herself is unsettling – she can see her own body stretched taut and naked across the crimson sheets, see Uther’s hand twisted in the thick, dark fall of her hair, all as though she’s someone else, a mere observer, but she can also feel his hand sliding up her thigh, warm and calloused, dragging against her skin. It lasts only a moment and then between one breath and the next everything is dropping away, swirling past her in a torrent of sensations that she can barely distinguish.
The kiss of leather lingers against her lips; Uther holds her hand in both of his, smiling, and the weight of a crown sits cool at her brow – people are clapping; iron shackles bite and chafe at her wrists in the gloom of a dungeon; she lifts a goblet to Uther’s mouth and he drinks, his eyes on hers, dark and unreadable; Camelot is spread out before her in a vista of blasted ruins; Uther’s tongue pushes into her mouth and he tastes of wine; a snatch of conversation: ‘-aid they her saw her leave this morning with enough supplies for a week on the road. Sire, she’s go-’; the wood of the chopping block is rough under her neck and the headsman’s axe whistles as it falls; she peels off the supple leather and sucks two of Uther’s fingers into her mouth, slow and deliberate, and his sharp intake of breath fires her blood; Uther’s blood soaks wet and heavy through the sheets and she dresses unhurriedly, a warm pulse of satisfaction low in her stomach.
There’s more, much more, but she can’t remember any of it. What she remembers most vividly is that first momentary tableau – the obscene curl of her body, one leg over Uther’s scarred hip as he presses her down, teeth set against the curve of her neck where her head is thrown back in wanton pleasure; she can still feel the solid weight of him between her thighs when she wakes.
The dream pursues her for days, coiling hotly in her abdomen and making her restless until finally Uther calls on her to dine with him as he sometimes does. She sits at one end of the long, smooth-grained table and he sits at the other, a careful partition of dishes lined up between them. They talk of inconsequential things and jest like old friends but very different thoughts flicker in Morgana’s mind – she takes a sip of her wine and reflects that it had tasted better in Uther’s mouth. She watches the curl of his lips as he speaks and wonders: if she were to pull him close and lick that wine-dark smudge from the corner of his mouth, if she were to touch him and taste him and offer herself up to him, which future it would bring?
She remembers blood and ruin, tangled sheets and shackles and a crown and wonders if it’s a choice she dares to make.