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Title: A Mirror to Your Intentions
Author: kepp0xy
Characters/Pairings: Arthur/Gwen, Lancelot/Gwen, Gwen/Loneliness ;__;
Rating: G
Spoilers/Warning: All of episode 2.04 is fair game. And the angst is fairly heavy.
Summary: Introspective thoughts from three perspectives pertaining to the conclusion of episode 2.04, "Lancelot and Guinevere".

Author's Notes: I began this piece almost immediately after I watched the episode as an outlet for my angst, which means that it is suitably angst-ridden. I'm a little nervous to post this, in all honesty, because it's quite a bit more raw than anything I've done previously. All that said, I am jonesing hard to write some fluff after all this angst, so if anyone wants to leave fluffy prompts for me, I make no promises on writing them but I may love you for life. Comments are ♥ and concrit, as always, is appreciated.



He felt absolutely wretched. That much he knew was evident to everyone. Even days later he regretted his words by the fire, spoken from a place of hurt and dashed hopes, made worse by the way her face had fallen...

Arthur thought of himself as strong, in a general, broad sense of it. He knew that Guinevere was stronger. All brass will and morally based bravery, she never doubted who she was or where she stood.

Until he came along and mucked it up. He'd seen her - and by seen, he really meant had looked for her - around the castle grounds with her wistful expressions and lonely sighs when she thought no one was looking. He knew fully that she had ached, possibly just as he did, and that ultimately it was his fault.

Her tears over Lancelot, the way Merlin just stood there... It had ripped into him; she had not cried over him, after all. How could he blame her for her affections, though, when he had told her, clear as day, that they could never be? Yet Lancelot had left without any word to her, gone when they'd awoken. It wasn't right.

He'd have offered her everything if he could to ease the ache, but he could offer her nothing. That knowledge tasted as bitter as those damn berries he and Merlin had spread on their faces. Only in a more lasting way, permeating through the whole of him.

So it was best if he left her alone. A clean cut. No more looks (that saved him each day because she was his symbol of faith), no more occasional soft greetings or hopeless smiles. She needed to move on as much as he did, so that perhaps when Lancelot returned, manned up, and offered to look after her the way she should be looked after, Guinevere could say yes with a clear conscience.

It was for the best.

*


He should have known. He was no fool, he saw her initial reluctance. And he didn't blame her - he had been a lout in the armour she had fashioned for him. He had hated himself as much as he hated his employers.

But... she was Gwen. And as ever, her kind heart was worn on her sleeve and the stone around his own had fallen away to be freed once more. He had spoken rashly, given her no opportunity to tell him otherwise, ultimatums hidden in flowered declarations.

He knew the feelings from her were real; she had seen his soul and believed in him. She had seen his heart, and thought perhaps she could have loved him in return. One day.

His departure made him a coward, masked by chivalrous words. He had spoken truly to Merlin, some things can never be but that was because she would do more at Arthur's side than she could ever accomplish at his.

The kingdom needed her more than he did. She had given him all he needed now.

*


Gwen went through the motions. She turned down Morgana's bed, she cleaned dishes, wiped surfaces, fluffed pillows and beat Morgana's dresses for moths.

At night, she went home, cooked herself a meal, tidied her house (if she spent more time on certain parts while avoiding others, it had nothing to do with anyone else) until she was exhausted and collapsed into bed to begin again.

She took routes that avoided anywhere near where the prince may be, smiled tightly at Merlin when she saw him, and kept as close to Morgana's chambers as possible, taking solace in her mistress's company at any and all opportunities.

Gwen had never been one to hide, to crawl into her proverbial hole to ignore the world around her. It was just... she had known heartache before; her father's passing had left her chest in tatters for months. But there had been no way to bring her dad back from the grave. She had made her peace as best she could at his pauper's funeral and in the silent days that followed.

It was different, to be given the taste of companionship, with two entirely unexpected and equally surprising people, and have it snatched away. Twice. Of their own accord.

She could not take back her token, or the way she kissed Arthur when he kissed her. And she was not one prone to regret; those moments had been nothing short of astonishing. But they could never be; their potential romance belonged hidden behind walls no one ever ventured to (save herself, it seemed, as the walls resembled those in her home, echoing the ache of maybe back to her constantly). But no matter what their future held, she would have faith in him because he was better than he knew, and would shape a kingdom to be proud of.

Lancelot had been... She had thought there was possibility there. That they could have made one another happy. They were much the same, she and Lancelot. It would have been... nice, to be understood. He had no barriers for her to fight against, no lessons to learn; he spoke with his heart, and did just as he saw fit. He was, simply, good.

But she would never have left someone she cared about, with only a message, in the middle of the night. And she would never have lied about her reasons for going to someone's rescue, with only a friend and the sword on her hip, either.

And no longer could she tell what it was she truly desired, or who. Half the time, Gwen only felt angry, sort of bitter. No one had ever asked her what she wanted in all this. Lost to their recognitions of what she'd given to them, with renewed vigour for duty, and not thinking of what they could give to her. It wasn't that she was... selfish or greedy, but just she had always felt that in anything resembling love, shouldn't there be giving on both sides of it?

But her heart with its constant aching, her mind with its constant thinking; they both betrayed her. And she was left to rely on focusing on her hand's work to prevent it all from becoming too much.

It would pass, Gwen knew. The sun always rose on a new day. But for now, it hurt.

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you :] I just hope Gwen gets a moment of unadulterated happiness sometime soon. It's all I'm asking for, really.
(Deleted comment)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you :]! They'll get through and it'll be better for them, I think. In the long run.

This is what I tell myself.
heather
Oct. 11th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, Gwen. I want to hug her forever and take her home and make her soup and tell her she's worth fighting for, that her feelings matter.

I like how you describe her feelings for them both. Something new and scary and uncertain with Arthur, something simple and steady and possible with Lancelot. So confusing, especially when you factor in the fact that they've both turned away from her anyway.

And of course, because she's Gwen, there's nothing to do but move forward. Oh, my heart.

Edited at 2009-10-11 05:14 pm (UTC)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
So confusing, especially when you factor in the fact that they've both turned away from her anyway.

I almost wonder if this is the thing that guts Gwen the most; she can't stop herself thinking of it, but any thoughts will lead absolutely no where. And she wants to move on, because as you say, to her there is nothing to do but go forward. But she can't quite (yet) make herself do it.

Thank you for the lovely comment ♥
et_cetera55
Oct. 11th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Oh it's lovely. I particularly like how you've portrayed Gwen - it's so easy to see her as the bad guy(girl) for being fickle but I agree, neither of the boys are thinking about her. Just themselves. Boys! ;)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
It is easy to see her that way, but it's entirely unfair, so I'm pleased she came across as sympathetic here. Thanks for reading & commenting :]
jazzebelles
Oct. 11th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
GUH. THIS. OH GWEN! Now I just want to go smack Arthur and Lancelot around the head for being so ridiculous.

BUT OH, GWEN!
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Gwen needs a big hug and a cup of cocoa. The boys need a swift kick in the rear.

Thanks for reading & commenting :]!
starry_laa
Oct. 11th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Arthur's part was so heartbreaking. The acceptance he faced, the knowing that Gwen should be with lancelot, knowing how painful that might be (but for the best).

But no matter what their future held, she would have faith in him because he was better than he knew, and would shape a kingdom to be proud of.

That's such a lovely line.


But she would never have left someone she cared about, with only a message, in the middle of the night. And she would never have lied about her reasons for going to someone's rescue, with only a friend and the sword on her hip, either.


If only she knew Lancelot's real reason for leaving. And Arthur's was a defence mechanism, but that has to hurt...

No one had ever asked her what she wanted in all this.

Too true. I can't tell if my heart aches more for Gwen or Arthur.

Really good job!
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Gwen was definitely hurt by Arthur's lie, but I think it stung doubly because he didn't even have the decency to say something about how all members of his kingdom were important (which was the message she had been trying to get across all along in 2.02). It was a double slap in the face, I think.

Thank you for the kind comment, I'm so glad you enjoyed :]
(Anonymous)
Oct. 11th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I loved Gwen's part. I love that you brought up the fact that no one asked her what she wanted. Lancelot just made up his mind and left Merlin to say goodbye to her, which I thought was kind of mean. Her point of view rings very true, and it also makes me sad : ( Good job!
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the kind comment! I'm so glad this rang true for you, and that you enjoyed :]
shootingstars88
Oct. 11th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
This was brilliant. It actually made me understand where Gwen was coming from last night and when watching it I hadn't really known. Thank you for that :)
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Ah, your comment makes me so happy. I had hoped that this could shed some light on Gwen's perspectives for someone, and I'm so pleased that it did for you. Thank you for the lovely comment!
srin
Oct. 11th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
No one had ever asked her what she wanted in all this. Lost to their recognitions of what she'd given to them, with renewed vigour for duty, and not thinking of what they could give to her. It wasn't that she was... selfish or greedy, but just she had always felt that in anything resembling love, shouldn't there be giving on both sides of it?

This is so, so true, and perfectly encapsulates why I just want to smack both of the boys at the end of the episode. Poor Gwen. I just want to hug her and tell her she is loved and she deserves so much better than she's been getting.

Nicely done.
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Gwen deserves a lot better, and I hope the girl gets some laughter in her life soon :]
ruby_caspar
Oct. 11th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
This was fabulous - Gwen's one was especially brilliant. It just felt so true.
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad it rang true :]
whimsey
Oct. 11th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
Absolutely lovely.

It's really sad that both men think the other will do better for Gwen. I love that they are looking out for her even though Gwen is extremely hurt by the turns of events.
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
In all honesty, I would say it's arguable that both men are hiding behind the excuse that the other is better, rather than coming to terms with their feelings and facing the burden of sticking around. It's easier to keep her on an unattainable pedestal, than to reach up and see if she's as good as she appears, ya know?

Thank you so much for reading & commenting!
withviolets
Oct. 11th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
This is so achingly poignant. It's amazing. I feel so much for Gwen, I just want to tell her that she's worth it, that men are stupid *hmpf*.
You captured everyone's feelings very well! &hearts
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Gwen definitely needs a hug and a strong cup of cocoa.
archaeologist_d
Oct. 11th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
I liked this, especially Gwen's thoughts on the matter. Practical. Very good.
kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you :]
laurapetri
Oct. 11th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)


kepp0xy
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks :]!
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