Title: Throw Down The Cards When Your Hand Is Forced
Rating: PG-13 for a little nudity
Word count: 798
Warnings: Angsty, future!fic.
Summary: Gwen has made her choice and now there will be consequences.
A/N: Written for the comment_fic
prompt (seriously guys, go play over there because it is FUN!) of 'Gwen/Morgana, married to another'.
The satin sheets whispered softly against Morgana’s skin, slipping away from her naked curves to pool on the bed as she rose. The night’s chill still lingered in the air, raising pebbles on her arms and hardening her nipples, shockingly cold against the soles of her bare feet as she padded across the room to retrieve her clothes from where they lay neatly folded on the dressing table.
She dressed quickly, arching her back and turning her head as she used the mirror to help her thread the laces of her corset, pulling until it pressed tight against her ribs, harsh and constricting and just as sweetly painful as she wanted. Her dress came next – her favourite, sea-green velvet, low-cut and embroidered in gold. Gwen had always said that it brought out the colour of her eyes and Morgana remembered the scene played out over countless mornings, Gwen’s touch warm and feather-light as she gathered Morgana’s hair into the day’s elaborate style, knuckles brushing against her cheek and her smile reflected bright and intimate in the mirror. Morgana’s mouth twisted thinly at the memory and she brushed her hair with long, careful strokes.
Behind her Gwen sighed quietly into her pillow, still asleep but floating close to wakefulness, a frown wrinkling her brow as one hand drifted out in search of Morgana’s absent warmth. Morgana turned, fingertips rubbing absently at the smooth wood of the table, and watched her. She tracked the questing curl of Gwen’s fingers and the rich darkness of her skin against the crisp white sheets, the careless drape of her body and the curve of her legs beneath the tangled covers.
A stony weight settled low in her stomach.
Gwen shifted and sighed again, louder this time, and Morgana forced herself into motion, sat down on the bed and caught Gwen’s hand in her own with reassuring squeeze.
‘Shh,’ she murmured, ‘it’s alright,’ and leaned down to gently push an unruly tangle of black curls away from Gwen’s forehead. Gwen turned her face into the caress and her arm reached up to wrap around Morgana instinctively, slipping down under the neckline of her dress and following the line of her spine, hand spread flat across her back to pull her in.
Morgana yielded, pressing a tender kiss to Gwen’s pliant lips and then her temple, burying her nose in Gwen’s thick hair and inhaling deeply.
‘Go back to sleep Gwen,’ she whispered. ‘You’ve made your choice, and made mine for me.’
Gwen’s frown smoothed out into an untroubled smile, lulled by Morgana’s voice though not awake enough to pay attention to the words. Her eyelashes fluttered once, twice and then stilled and her breathing evened out into the slow rhythm of sleep once more.
Morgana watched her for a moment longer, smoothing the wrinkled bedsheets with one hand. She waited until she was sure that Gwen wouldn’t wake and then stood and left without a second glance, the double doors to the queen’s apartments thudding swiftly shut in her wake. She returned to her own rooms only long enough to pull on a heavy cloak and retrieve the supplies from underneath her bed and then made for the stables, sheathed sword in hand and packed saddlebags slung over one shoulder.
No one questioned her – the corridors of the castle were almost completely empty and soundless in the grey pre-dawn gloom, disturbed only by the measured footsteps of the guards on patrol; if they were surprised to see Morgana awake and equipped for travel they wisely held their tongues as she swept past them, deterred by something in the steel-straightness of her back and the resolute tilt of her chin. Even the stableboy stood silently by, wide-eyed and nervous, as she saddled her dappled mare with brisk efficiency, long-fingered hands practised and familiar on the straps and buckles, hearing again her father’s voice in her ears and feeling his scarred hands on her own, guiding her through the motions just as when he’d taught her how to fit a saddle for the first time – she’d been just a little girl and eager to learn everything that there was, desperate to know what lay beyond the walls and fields of their estate, unaware of what blood-price it would take to send her out into the world.
This time, mounting up in the courtyard with easy grace, she well knew what blood would be paid if she left Camelot; the dreams had long since put an end to her ignorance but the ache in her breast smothered her cares.
As she rode out through the gates of Camelot she could still feel the metal of Gwen’s wedding ring against her skin, a corpse-cold brand between her shoulder blades.