Characters/Pairings: Gwen, Morgana; mentions of Arthur and Uther
Rating/Genre: G; angst
Spoilers/Warnings: mentions of events in 2.03.
Author's Note/Summary: written for the New Beginnings drabblefest at thefuturequeen. crazy_in_lost's prompt was: Gwen finds out Morgana is a witch. Edited slightly from its original posting.
There was Gwen, thirteen, and Morgana, sixteen, and a late evening of whispers and giggles after an older knight, twenty, made certain distasteful comments about Morgana's dress. Then there was Arthur, fourteen, "accidentally" tripping the knight into Uther's back, which caused the king to spill wine down his front and the offending knight to slink from the banquet in shame.
Gwen fell asleep beside Morgana - accidents happen, her father would say. At some point in the night, Gwen guessed around three, she awoke because beside her, Morgana was gasping. And whimpering. And then clutching at her sheets. Finally screaming so loudly Gwen clapped her hands over her ears.
In a panic, she grasped her lady's shoulders and shook her until she awoke. Almost from instinct, Gwen threw her arms around Morgana and held her close as she sobbed into Gwen's shoulder. Her mistress muttered brokenly about how sacrifices would be made and Arthur cast into doubt, and Gwen had no idea what Morgana meant.
Two weeks later, the knight who had behaved so abominably towards Morgana was killed in a skirmish on the western borders of Camelot, and Arthur was thought to have been the cause. It was a dark time in Camelot; the knights bond close to breaking as a very young prince struggled with his own morality and the raw ache of remaining stalwart against unjust claims; at the same time fighting to regain trust from knight and peasant alike.
But with her eyes on Morgana, suspicion created half-theories and deeply buried convictions in Gwen's mind.
Years passed; Morgana kept waking - screaming, sweaty, and shaking - and as Gwen held her mistress tightly, she would collect and piece together the broken phrases and sentences, watching without surprise as they unfolded into reality.
On a night like many others, before leaving Morgana's chambers to collect additional sheets for there was a chill in the air, Guinevere blew out a candle. She returned to discover the candle re-lit. She extinguished it once more, careful to watch her own breath do its duty, and moved the candle to sit near the window.
She recognised Morgana's fear the next morning, her wide-eyes and trembling limbs were nothing new. It was no stretch of Gwen's imagination to think that a woman capable of envisaging the future in her unconscious hours may also be capable of setting a wick alight in a moment of great distress.
Then with her return from the druids, Morgana's mask, normally so impeccable, was weak as she clasped her arms across Uther's back. Her mistress met her gaze. There was resigned knowledge in Morgana's glance, not the lingering fear of a woman held captive against her will.