Title: Of Loyalty Divided Rating: PG Warnings: Set post-S2 Notes: 300 words exactly.
“I’ve been watching you,” says Morgana, “The way my sister taught me. You’re a sorcerer.”
Beside him, Merlin hears Arthur gasp. The right words - he thinks they are the right words - come to him.
“I’m Arthur’s sorcerer,” he says.
He doesn’t dare to look at Arthur. They are both pinned flat to the forest floor with magic. Morgause holds them there with scarcely an effort, watching Morgana proudly.
“He didn’t know,” Morgana says, her beautiful lips tilted in gleeful malice. Her gaze flicks to Arthur.
So Merlin has to turn his head and meet Arthur’s blue eyes wide with shock. “Only for you,” he whispers. “Only for Camelot and you.”
Arthur turns his head away and Merlin’s heart breaks.
“Was it for him that you poisoned me?” Morgana asks. The curve of Arthur’s neck is rigid, inflexible against Merlin’s plea.
“Morgause tied the spell to you,” Merlin says, his heart clenching painfully. “You must have consented or it wouldn’t have worked.” Wrenching his gaze back to Morgana he lets the anger rise. “Did you stop to consider Gwen or Arthur at all when you did that? They love you.”
Morgana bites her lip, then raises her chin defiantly. “It had to be done.” Almost reluctantly she adds. “I didn’t know exactly what would happen.”
Morgause shifts a little, drawing their eyes. “Finish it, sister,” she coaxes. “You have the strength.”
Merlin can see the doubts behind Morgana’s eyes.
“Not Arthur,” he says. “Not Arthur who loves you as a sister.”
Morgana’s eyes glisten. Her red lips part, but Merlin cannot wait for her decision. Forcing his hand to move he seizes Arthur’s hand and shouts, “ham aberan!”
They reappear in Camelot’s Great Hall, Merlin half-fainting where he lies clasping Arthur’s hand.
He has absolutely no idea what Arthur will do.
Week Two Morgana/Gwen Dreams
Title: The Queen's Crown Rating: PG Warnings: Infidelity Notes: 180 words
It is mid-summer the first time Morgana dreams of Gwen wearing a crown. She laughs, glad that at least one of her dreams is of joy, rather than death and disaster.
The second time she sees the crown Gwen is laying it aside, her face a puzzle of sorrow and confusion. Morgana wishes she could reach out to smooth that furrow from her beloved brow, but Gwen's chin comes up and her face clears of all but love and desire as she turns to embrace the man behind her. The man is beautiful, but he is not Arthur.
In the morning Morgana looks at her maid with new eyes.
The third dream shows Arthur slumped against a wall that Morgana recognises, a wall just outside the Royal Chambers. At his feet is Gwen's crown, the delicate lacework crumpled beyond repair, and his fist is clenched tightly around a cloak, the cloak of a knight of Camelot. His face, taut with anger and grief, twists her heart with its utter despair.
Morgana wonders if she ever really knew Gwen at all.
Week Three Arthur and Uther Secrets
Title: Those who cannot see Rating: PG Warnings: none Notes: 283 words
Arthur bows to his father as Uther retires to his room. It will be warm in the Royal Chambers, Arthur knows. Ellis will have cleaned and tidied the room to perfection. The woodwork is polished to a beautiful shine every day and fruit, perfect and fragrant lies in a bowl by the window.
By every law known to man, Uther's room should be welcoming, but it is as impersonal and lifeless as a marble monument.
In Arthur's room his manservant waits, probably chewing an apple which should rightfully belong to Arthur. The floor is unswept since Tuesday, the woodwork hasn't seen polish since Morris was Arthur's manservant and the fire which is burning will blaze for a short time before collapsing into ash - Merlin has never quite got the hang of laying a fire so that it lasts. But as Arthur comes into his room Merlin will grin at him, wide and welcoming. His hands as they undress Arthur will be slapdash and eager, rather than respectful. He will not retire dutifully to his own room after his master is put to bed.
Arthur will never tell Uther the things that Merlin has taught him. Uther would not respect the knowledge that could be shared and some things - like the feel of Merlin's bones, sharp and dear under Arthur's sleepy palms - are too private for sharing at all.
It is Arthur's sorrow that his father will never know the secrets that he would so willingly share: Love is strength; the King is servant to his kingdom; nobles and peasants are alike under their tunics; magic is a tool - no more, no less.
These secrets wait upon a world that Uther will never see.