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 You're the reason, for Arthur // Sky
Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 3 2017, 01:26 AM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

Every inch of Guinevere aches. Her back against the hard wood of the chair she sat in, her hand that had required stitches, her head and her eyes from staying awake, but mostly her heart. It had shattered into a million pieces the moment she saw her husband lying there in a pool of his own blood. She can’t shake the image from her head. Arthur, her Arthur, with those deep gashes running down his arms and the blood that wouldn’t stop spilling from them. She keeps seeing how pale he was, the touch of blue in his lips. How his heartbeat had grown so faint that for a terrifying moment, she couldn’t find it. Gwen doesn’t sleep but still it replays in her mind like a living nightmare. She had almost lost him.

She hadn’t been able to take her eyes off of him. Even when they begged for sleep, even when she had finally let the physician stitch up the deep cut across her palm. Gwen’s eyes never left Arthur. Hours later, they still watched to make sure his chest moved up and down. The door opened and closed, people moved in and out occasionally. Voices begged Gwen to get some rest, to eat something, to change her clothes, to take a break. She refuses without ever looking at them.

Arthur’s hand in both of hers, that unwavering watch, it was the only way to keep her from falling back into that nightmare. If she could see him breathing, if she could feel the warmth of his hand, it was enough to remind her that the love of her life was here and safe and whole, and they had saved him. Mordred had saved him. He was only sleeping. It would be okay.

Gwen had sat by his side like this before. After great battles that he returned to her from bleeding. She remembers the anguish well. The uncertainty, the long night praying and hoping that the world would not be so cruel as to take him from her. She remembers how much he hated to see her worry when he woke. How he would apologize for scaring her and she would laugh the happy laugh of someone who knew the one they loved would be alright. He just needed to wake up now, open his eyes into hers, and promise her that the worst of it was over.

This night felt similar to those long ones after battles in many ways. She prayed now too, begged for him to be able to stay with her. But in more ways it was different. Today had been different. They had fought, Arthur with his secrets and Gwen with her anger born from intense fear. A fear of being alone in the face of what death would soon take from her. That fear had turned into a fire within her and she had said things she didn’t mean, and he had left. She had watched his back as he walked away and then sat in that hallway and let her tears put the fire out. The next time she saw him, he had been clinging to life.

Rushing through that doorway in the quiet part of the castle, seeing him like that, it had broken her. And she had one terrifying thought. He had done this to himself. This wasn’t like after battles where someone else had tried to take Arthur from her. No, he had almost killed himself. He had almost left her. Not yet knowing why, Gwen’s heart had assumed the worst.

Gwen reaches a hand up to run her fingers gently through his hair. It was early morning now. Her eyes still begged for sleep. All she can do is watch his face.

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 3 2017, 07:30 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
He lays dying. Entirely unaware of the world. He does not feel his heart speed then slow, does not feel the heat leave his skin. He is oblivious to the searing pain of his forearms, of the crippling pain of being torn in two by the magic now warring through his body; ripping a curse from his veins.

As the scene around him descends into distress, panic, frantic preparation and activity, the King of Camelot remains unconscious and undisturbed. Peaceful.

Almost.

The silhouettes no longer dance in his visions. Guinevere no longer bleeds. It is no longer time. There is no blood, there is no death. Of their son, of their son.

But they are still there in the corridor, over and over again. It doesn’t seem to end. “Arthur!” Again, like always, he turns to see his wife is not addressing him, but the small boy stumbling down the castle hallway. “Artie!” The Queen scoops up the boy. (Their little Prince.)

“Gwen?” And every time she cannot hear him, doesn’t see him. Stood there, right before her. Each time there is that undeniable tiredness in her eyes, that grief stuck in the corners that she won’t let out.

She stares right through him.

Then the boy breaks free of her hold and the scene dissolves about him.

He doesn't know he is bleeding, great rivers that flow from the gashes he carved himself. Scarlet which pooled beneath him; soaking into both stone and clothes. He doesn’t know that his son arrives, his only son, his only child. Nor his wife soon after. Nor the crowd that soon grows outside that door of this little room he thought no one would look in.

They are gone but he remains.

In a corridor lit up in red. As he turns towards it, that great gust of wind howls down these hallowed corridors, extinguishing every torch along their lengths. Plunging this great monument to Pendragon power into darkness.

But his eyes reach the window. Panes cracked and broken, shards of glass litter the blood red carpet.

The sky outside is bleeding too, a bloody crimson which stretched all across the earth. A ceiling to the fields running with scarlet. The world outside on fire.

Look down. Look down; and he is bleeding too.

The dagger, that dagger, drops from his hand like it had burned his flesh. It clattered to the stone floor but Arthur cannot seem to look away from it. It sat, taunting him almost, blade coated in his own blood. Blood sacrificed for his own flesh. Blood spilt for the son that could never be.

The last of the Pendragon line.

What would it cost their mighty house to birth another? What would it cost him to save the life of one so innocent? His life for another.

He can’t stop the blood.

Their King is a heavy weight to carry. Leaden, cold, a burden to bear as they lift his body onto a board and carry it down to the infirmary. There, already a panic fills the physicians, as they set to work, grim-faced. No questions are asked, no answers are given. They simply get on, silent but for words spoken of their work; removing his bloodied shirt, stemming the bleeding as best they could, stitching his self-inflicted wounds, cleaning off the blood, dressing his cuts.

His paled skin is still tinged red in patches, but they could wash him properly later. For now, they had done all that was needed. For now, their king needed rest.

They bear his weight again, taking their king to the royal bedchambers on his wife’s insistence.

No one, no one had the heart to deny her that much.

It poured in rivulets off the seat of his throne. Down his arms, down his fingers, splattering in red drops on the throne room floor. Such a small amount compared to the mess he had made of the very seat of Pendragon power.

She sits beside it, that same look in her eyes. He goes, stands just before her, stares her right in the eye and still, still she does not see him.

“Gwen?”

She sleeps alone, the prison of this hellish version of their chambers forming about him again. It was the same, and he dreaded it. Walking over like always, their bed holding such a great empty space. Arthur reaches a hand over, his left; the one bloodied and hurriedly bandaged. And she suddenly begins to scream; a sound that struck through to the very heart of him.

His name. She cried his name into the night. But he can provide no comfort. The bedchamber disintegrating about him, leaving him with this blackness. Always this blackness.

She clasped his hand tightly in the both of hers. His Queen. The one constant in the ever-revolving watch placed over their king; ensuring his chest still drew breath, that his heart still beat. Waiting, with their own breaths caught in their throats, for the moment their monarch would wake. Would speak and prove the worst at least was over.

The King of Camelot sleeps. Expression peaceful, no indication of how his mind was running wild inside this body that had so nearly failed on them all.

It had been hours. His heart beats more strongly, the warmth returns to his skin.

Head upon the pillows of their bed, his lips part just a little. She cried his name into the night. And a low groan left him; dulled and pained.

His fingers twitch in her hold.

That blackness. All at once too vast to comprehend and yet suffocatingly claustrophobic. It stretched too far and closed in too much.

The fire begins underneath his skin and fear floods like this black magic through his veins. Blood weeps from his open wounds, that dagger at his feet. Just out of reach. The agony he had felt in that brief moment returned full force and soon he cannot bear it any longer.

He is screaming, at the top of his lungs. Into this vast void that neither heard nor cared.

His own magic teared at him, warring with his sister’s, battling for precedence within his veins. In the blood of a Pendragon. Tears brim in his eyes, soon streaming down his face. Arthur closes his eyes to this void to find only another black eternity. He’d made his choice. The consequences were inescapable now.

“What happened to him? What happened to daddy?”

Had he wanted it if it came with this price? Such a heavy one to bear? He cannot stand it. The great King Arthur of Camelot, son of the great and terrible Uther, he falls to his knees beneath the weight of its agony. Destiny was such a crippling burden to bear.

They are there before him when he forces his eyes back open. Two children, a boy and a girl, they watch him, but they are not angry. No, only pitying.

He is still crying out and he doesn’t know how long this continues for. A pain he cannot stop. He wants to apologise to them, he wants to yell his sorry’s into the blackness but he cannot find the space between his screams.

His state flipped so suddenly.

Eyes still firmly closed, mind teetering between waking and sleeping, Arthur began to cry out in pain. Tossing now within the sheets tightly wrapped about him. Kicking out feebly with legs sapped of any true strength.

Unknowingly, his hand clenches, fingers tightening around hers.

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: Ughhhhh
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 3 2017, 11:22 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

Gwen sat at Arthur’s beside. Her thumb traced absent minded circles on the back on his hand, her eyes focused on the way his chest rose up and down as he breathed. Their bedroom seems too quiet now. It reminded her in a sad way of all the nights spent here without him. How badly she never wanted to spend another one that way.

The movement of curtains behind her in the mirror on the opposite wall catches Gwen’s attention. Her heart skips a beat before she realizes no one is there, but then there is a woman in her reflection that Gwen is almost surprised to see. A disheveled version of herself, with wild hair and dried blood on her arms, blood soaked into her dress. But it’s the look in her eyes that catches Gwen off guard. Her eyes are so tired, and there is a terror in them staring back at her. She is afraid that she will lose the love of her life tonight. Afraid that she will lose him and then lose the part of him that she had left, that little one growing inside her belly.

Gwen had known loss was coming. The loss of that little prince she loved so much but would never get to meet. A tiny person who was equal parts his mother and his father. Gwen would never rock them to sleep, or watch them take their first steps, never see them grow up. She had never had to contend with the loss of Arthur. She had never let herself think of a life without him, not even after he came home from battles with terrible wounds. But she had never seen him bleed that much. Never seen him so pale, his lips so blue. The physicians, for the first time, told her they couldn’t be sure. They would know more when he woke. She is, for the first time, facing the potential of a world without him. A world where she would walk around without her heart in her chest.

Never before had Gwen had to think of the horrifying possibility that their little prince could be all that she had left of Arthur only to have him inevitably snatched away from her too.

The quiet takes her mind to terrible places. It suggests things she cannot bear the weight of. It reminds her that she could stand to lose everything. Gwen is several hours past the point where she thinks she cannot take another second of the uncertainty and the fear when she feels it. Arthur’s hand, in hers, begins to move. A low moan escapes from his lips.

Gwen is standing up in an instant. Her hand doesn’t leave his. “Arthur?” Her trembling fingers run lightly through the hair against his forehead. “Can you hear me?” Arthur cries out, thrashing in the sheets as if he was having a nightmare. He sounds like he’s in pain, a noise that breaks her heart all over again. Gwen sits on the edge of the bed, pressed into his side. His hand is gripping hers tightly. She pulls it to her chest. “I’m here, you’re okay.” Tears well up in her eyes again. “I’m here, Arthur, it’s okay. It’s me, I’m here.”

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 6 2017, 10:26 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
There is a fire alight beneath his skin and it burns without mercy. Tearing through his insides without compassion. It has already won, it has already brought the mighty Pendragon to his knees. He is in tears and still yet the agony of it won’t let up. He can not be free.

He wants it to stop. He cries out. He just wants it to stop.

“Arthur?”

The voice does not come from any figure but it is one he can’t help but recognise instantly. Gwen. The woman with whom his entire world rested.

He forces his eyes open, tries to find her in the darkness that surrounds him.

But she isn’t there. He’s all alone now.

“I’m here, you’re okay.”

Her voice finally breaks him from within that terrible limbo, rousing him to the waking world. Awakens Arthur to face the consequences, the true life consequences, of the choice he’d made.

I’m here, Arthur, it’s okay. It’s me, I’m here.

The king abruptly stopped moving, halted his cries, no longer tossing beneath his sheets nor trying to escape their bounds in his sleep. His tired eyes struggle open, seeing only the blur which hid the far right wall of their chambers. They concede, they close again and he groaned once more. A sound again of pain and of distress.

He can feel it now. That agony, that burning agony, had finally released him...but in its wake lay this horrific ache. One which settled so deeply it sat in his bones. He felt leaden. Sank into this bed. He felt so cold. Too exhausted yet to shiver.

And there was the searing pain running the length of both forearms.

Arthur tried once more, forcing his eyelids open. Waiting, waiting until the room stopped spinning. Until his sight gained some kind of focus, just enough to pick out just where he was. Their bedchamber. And a weight, he realised, a warmth pressed closely up against his side. “Gwen?” The one word question, that one word guess, came in a voice so faint it was hardly there.

Was that his voice? Had he even spoken at all?

He managed to move his head so he could see her. The woman sat pressed up beside him, clutching onto his hand. The blood, dried blood. And the bandage on her hand. The bandage running the length of his lower arm. His other, still trapped beneath the bedsheets. Arthur notices suddenly just how tightly his hand was holding hers, his knuckles turned white against the already pale.

He relaxes his fist. “Gwen.” It was a little louder, barely stronger. Still an echo in his mind.

But her eyes, they were fixed on him. She could see him. She finally saw him.

One moment expressionless, the next his brow creased in confusion. “The burning. It was burning, Gwen, the fire...it was- I was-” His eyes don’t leave her; not as he speaks, not as he loses his entire train of thought. “I was burning...”

The blood red.

No, the blood.

It had been on fire.

No, it had been bleeding.

No, he’d been bleeding. No, burning.

His gaze trails slowly away from her face, his head rolling back to the side on the pillows. Had he been bleeding or burning? Why couldn’t he remember? What had done it? Why was he in this pain?

His expression grew panicked, his breathing grew laboured. His eyes fixed on one spot on the floor until his vision grew out of focus. “The dagger.” He breathed, like he was reaching some glorious revelation. “The dagger...it was on the floor. I couldn’t reach it. It was there.” His hurried whispers continue, almost too quick and too quiet to be at all coherent. “Where is it?”

That was it, he remembered now, he was bleeding. Great scarlet streams from both arms. He could see it, that dagger’s blade running across his skin, leaving a red trail in its wake. He could feel it, the pull of his flesh beneath its edge. How its best attempts at resistance were nothing against metal and his own will.

He’d bled. He was bleeding.

He is bleeding.

Arthur turned to find her again, his eyes searching her face. Her worn and tired and tear-stained face. Blood; it coated her dress, it stained the white fabric binding his arm. He is bleeding. Is she bleeding too? His brow furrowed in confusion again, trying to formulate the words needed to ask all that he wanted to ask.

But he doesn’t manage it. To ask about the blood or her tears. Or why he was here, why they were both here. Nor why she had that look on her face, why she hadn’t seen him before. To ask about the dagger or the water or the incantations. To find out what had happened.

“Gwen,” his voice breaks. His features crumple, tears brimming in his eyes.

“Gwen, it hurts.”

Instead, he says something so simple, but so fundamental. Instead, he gives a voice to the pain that refused to be ignored.

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: excuse him, Arthur needs a minute to get his thoughts together...
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 9 2017, 11:30 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

He’s awake.

Everything else is forgotten. The way her whole body ached, her tired eyes, the way she was sick to her stomach. None of that mattered. Arthur is waking up and that puts everything else aside. Her eyes, having dried out over the long night, are once again brimming with tears.

She hates seeing him hurting. The way he thrashes around, weakly fighting against the covers, that look on his face. It breaks her heart. If she could take it all on, feel his pain for him so he could rest easy, Gwen would do it in a heartbeat. He would do the same for her. She had seen it in his eyes before, when she lost the first baby. She remembers how he had sat up with her all night. She was restless, in pain, broken. He held her hand and stroked her hair and she curled up in his lap and cried for what felt like hours. But they couldn’t take on the other’s pain. They could only be there for each other.

He tosses and turns in the world between sleep and waking. She talks to him a soft voice, a voice strained with the emotion in it. I’m here, she says. You’re okay. Her fingers keep running through his hair, her hand keeps his close to her heart.

Arthur stops moving around. She watches as he tries to open his eyes. “It’s okay,” she whispers as he closes them again, tries once more to open them and get his bearings. “Gwen?” he says in such a tired little voice that it makes her cry even more. “It’s me, my love, I’m here.” He is holding onto her hand so tightly, like she was the anchor holding him to the world. She ignores how much the wound on her palm hurt in his grip. It didn’t matter. He is the only thing that matters.

He relaxes his hold, says her name again with a little more strength. Gwen moves her hand down from his forehead to rest against the side of his face, her thumb making tiny strokes along his cheekbone. Then he’s looking at her. She tries to smile at him but just cries instead. Gwen had been so scared she’d never hear him say her name again. She’s still scared, but he’s awake, and he’s looking at her, and he’s here.

His brow creases. “The burning. It was burning, Gwen, the fire...it was- I was-” There is a panic in his eyes. “I was burning...” Arthur trails off. “It’s over now,” she promises. “You’re here with me. You’re okay. It can’t hurt you.” He looks so confused, like he can’t quite remember what was after him. Like he doesn’t remember what he did. His gaze drifts off, but Gwen can still see his mind working. Trying to remember what had happened. Trying to piece it together.

Does he remember that he did this to himself? Does he know how much blood he lost, how horrific the gashes down his arms were? Does he know that for one terrifying moment his wife had thought the worst, had thought that he tried to die?

Suddenly he remembers something. “The dagger.” The one that had been in Mordred’s hands when she arrived. It had been covered in blood. Arthur’s blood. Soon it was covered in more when the sharp blade slid across Gwen’s palm. Arthur is furiously whispering, asking about the dagger. Where is it? “It’s still there.” she says. “You don’t need it any more.” We had to use it, she thinks but doesn’t say. We had to use it because whatever you did required yet more blood and it couldn’t be yours, you had no more left to give. It had to be mine.

Her husband’s eyes find her face again. They move over her tired eyes and the trails of tears. They find the blood covering her. They search for answers to questions they aren’t sure how to ask. His brow furrows again, his mouth opens but no questions come out. Only her name. His voice cracks. “Gwen, it hurts.”

“I know,” she says in a voice choked with tears. “I know it does. But I’m here, I’ve got you.” Her shaky hand holds his closer to her. “It’s going to be okay.”

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 11 2017, 07:49 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
Something.

There was something he’d forgotten, something he was missing. Something great, something important.

But for the life of him, Arthur couldn’t get a handle on what.

It is too late now, for he is waking. His eyes struggling to find focus, his mind dragged through the overwhelming reentry into the real world. It’s okay. He hears her soft voice reassure him. It was okay. It was all okay. But it isn’t. There was too much all at once, to much to wake up to. He was exhausted, pained, cold. And struggling to remember that something.

Then she is there in his line of sight and all else is forgotten, even if just for a moment. Forgotten instead for the way she looked at him, with those tired eyes crying great tears. That looked right at him, that saw him finally. That heard him finally as he spoke her name, in a voice a pale shadow of his usual one.

Then he notices her fingers, brushing gently, almost cautiously, against the hair across his forehead. And realises not only could she see him, but hear him and touch him also. She was here and so was he. Finally. Her fingers move to making gentle stroking motions across his cheekbone and Arthur’s eyes are drawn to the way they are holding each other’s hands. His clutching onto hers so strongly, so desperately.

He sees it, the slight twitch of her lips as she tries to smile. The one which is soon replaced by tears.

For a moment, before he remembers. And everything else vanishes in his mind around that memory of the burning. He tries to tell her, in scrambled words that even his own mind can’t make sense of. Words which trail off before they find their meaning. It’s over now, she tells him back. But he is scared, so scared that it isn’t. He can still remember it, still feel that pain hanging around his body. You’re here with me. You’re okay. It can’t hurt you. Arthur doesn’t respond, not even his features seem to answer her. He is too busy trying to piece it together.

It couldn’t hurt him. But what was it? And why couldn’t he remember why he was in pain?

Bleeding and burning. They were both red.

No, both agony.

The dagger. Yes, that blade which followed him everywhere. It was the cause. No, no. He was the cause. He was what was hurting himself.

Why had he done that?

His thoughts are cut off by her gentle voice, the one strained by the weight of so much. It’s still there. Where? On the floor by the broken glass? By his feet in that endless nothing? “By the window? In the space?” He doesn’t notice he’d begun voicing his thoughts, broken and fragmented questions that ran through a world of scenes that had never happened. “In my hand? Where is it?” His tone grew increasingly desperate, like this was something vitally important.

“You don’t need it anymore.” She tells him.
“It’s important.” He tells her.

And it was, for some reason he knew so, could feel so, but for all of heaven and earth couldn’t remember why it was.

As Arthur turned to watch her face again, a million questions hurtling about his mind at once. Forming half-coherent questions in his head before fading away against the one thing that always, always kept coming back. His mind for a moment gave up trying to scramble together the line between then and now, those visions and this reality, and said the main thing vying for his attention.

It hurts. Everything hurt so much.

And she reassures him with those words so full of tears. As her shaking hand pulled his even closer against her chest. He watched her lips as she said it; “it’s going to be okay.” Arthur wants to believe her but he can’t, not yet. Not whilst this gap loomed so heavy on his mind. He continues to watch her for a moment, soon enough silent tears breaking free from his own eyes. Ones he seemed to not notice at all.

“Gwen, I need help.” His mind was too busy at work on something else entirely to notice the tears tracing silver trails from his eyes.

Subconsciously, he went to wipe a hand across his forehead, a gesture he’d done since childhood when at all nervous or distressed, only to discover he couldn’t. His left hand, and the searing pain which enveloped it, was trapped beneath the bedsheets. And Arthur lacked both the strength and the concentration required to free it.

And his right? He wouldn’t, couldn’t, let go of his hold on Gwen.

It panicked him for a moment, the sudden realisation of just how weak this body had gotten. What had done that? Had he done that too? All of a moment before he’d continued anyway.

“I can’t remember- I wasn’t here before, Gwen.” He explained, or at least tried to. His thoughts getting scrambled somewhere between his mind and his mouth. Arthur let his eyes close a moment, hoping it would help him focus on just what it was he was asking for help with.

How did he get here? Why was he in bed? Why were his arms wrapped up? Why was she covered in blood?What had happened to her hand?

If only he could remember, fill that gap, put his mind to rest…

“What happened?” He whispered weakly. “I can’t remember what happened.”

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: Confused Arthur; Act 2
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 16 2017, 11:01 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

Shaky hands run through Arthur’s hair, fingertips run in tiny lines against his skin. Gwen just has to keep touching him. If she stops her brain might forget that she is awake and with him and throw her back into the nightmares she sees when she closes her eyes. The heat of his skin, the way his chest moves when he breathes, his tired voice- it all meant that he was alive. Her Arthur was alive.

He’s asking so many questions, not quite knowing what to ask about one thing before his brain moves onto the next incomplete thought. His eyes move over her, inspect the tears and the blood and the fear she knows is in her eyes still. But he doesn’t know what to ask. He doesn’t remember.

The King of Camelot wants to know about the dagger. Where is it? He goes through a list of locations. The dagger is at none of them. It’s still there, she’s told him. “It’s still in the room. It’s right where you left it.” He insists that it’s important. He needs to find it.

“It’s not important anymore. It’s done, Arthur. We finished it. It’s okay.” Her eyes move for a second down to the bandaged hand held within his. They had finished what he had started, that petrifying dive into the world of blood magic that tried to take him away. That magic of his mother’s that he should have never touched and would never touch again if his wife had any say it in.

“It hurts,” Arthur says. It’s going to be okay. I’m here, his wife promises, her thumb wiping away the tears that now run from the corners of his eyes and neglecting her own entirely. They run down her cheeks and off of her jawline. They drip into her lap, on the sheets. She makes no move to wipe them away, because that would mean letting go of Arthur and Gwen has no intention of doing that now or ever again, not even for a moment.

“Gwen, I need help.” he says, his eyes running wild trying to figure something out, trying to remember. “I know.” she responds. “I’m here. Just tell me what you need.” He can’t remember, he can’t remember what he’s done. Arthur’s brow furrows, he says he wasn’t here before. There is a panic in his eyes. His wife does her best to answer his questions. “No, you weren’t here before. You were in another room.” A room covered in his blood. “Then we found you. Then you were in the infirmary. Now you’re here, with me.”

“What happened?”

Her mind replays the moment she rounded the corner of that quiet hallway and saw into the doorway. The blood, there had been so much of it, and Arthur’s skin was so pale that for a terrifying minute (the longest minute of her life) she thought he was dead. She remembers how frantically her hands moved over him feeling for the pulse that meant the love of her life was still alive, how quickly those hands became dripping with blood.

A world without Arthur is not one Guinevere wants to live in or even imagine. He had always been something she knew she could not live without. That was something she had known for a long time. It wasn’t a sudden realization, it didn’t happen the first time she caught him looking at her with something much more in his eyes. It was gradual. It felt like a truth her heart had known her whole life. So seeing him like that, lying there in all the blood…

It had seemed like a scene from a nightmare. Nightmares she had frequently when he was in danger. Nightmares she’s had as long as she can remember, ones where she loses him. They started before he was anything more than her best friend (but he had always been more, he had always been everything) when Camelot faced four long years of war and fighting to become united and the young warrior King was off in the middle of it. He would come back, sometimes hurt but always alive, and Gwen could tell herself that her nightmares would never be something she had to face in real life.

Until she did. Her nightmares came to life and he was dead, wait no, alive but barely hanging on. That was the end of the world. An end she would do and give anything to prevent.

She would have done anything for her Arthur. Even trust the son whose existence meant she could have none of her own, who she feared was still under his mother’s control, even willingly let him use a blade against her. She would have been willing to die.

They were always doing that, Gwen and Arthur. Willing to go so far to protect the other. She doesn’t know when life had become so cruel that it was necessary.

He wants to know what happened. “I thought you were dead, Arthur.” her voice breaks. “You looked dead. You almost were. You almost died. I almost lost you. I-” Gwen breaks down under the heavy, terrifying truth of her words. Her sentences trail off, lost in the crying until she can’t say anything more. She can only sit there, sobbing but trying so hard not too, holding Arthur’s hand.

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 19 2017, 07:16 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
His thoughts come back scattered, not quite finished with one idea before latching onto another. His words coming in nonsensical fragments that seemed to make sense only to Arthur. His very thoughts are fragmented. Though awake, part of him was still dreaming, trapped within those burning and red and bleeding worlds he’d found himself in. But were they simply dreams? Some part of him instinctively knew there was far more truth in them than just the ideas of the subconscious.

The dagger, it seems he is soon fixated on the idea of it. Of knowing where it is. Of having it back in his possession. “It’s still in the room. It’s right where you left it.” She tells him calmly and her husband gives the smallest shake of the head. The greatest he could manage. “It’s been following me, Gwen.” He tells her, seeing far more than she had. Repeating scenes in his head; as he dropped it to the floor stained with his blood, as it appeared within the glass scattered at his feet as the world burned, as it hovered in that void space just below him, just out of reach.

Gwen tries to tell him; it’s not important, it’s finished, it’s done. There was no more need for him to fret over it. But for some reason, some inexplicable reason, the king cannot let it drop. Cannot allow himself to forget and ignore and lay to rest his weapon of choice for these self-inflicted wounds. The blade so ordinary beforehand which had become the ultimate vessel for his sacrifice, for the magic aged yet new which ran empowered now through his blood.

He almost misses it, the way her eyes glance down to their hands. He doesn’t. He sees it. But as of yet, he cannot make sense of it. The blood-stained bandage wrapped about her hand. He can barely yet make sense of the wrappings around his arms.

“I need it, Gwen.” He asks of her, the look in his eyes desperate now. “Please.”

The blade had taken so much from him already. He didn’t yet know it had taken from her too. And yet did its power still hunger for more?

The warm tears he cries, they sting his skin as they fall. Ones he hardly notices, not in the middle of the maelstrom of confusion that his mind was suffering from. And yet, her thumb finds its way there. Gently brushing them away, even as more follow to take their place. She neglects her own, he realises, far more concerned with the tears her husband cries.

Arthur watches her in silence for a moment that feels like an eternity. Reading the sadness, the unfelt grief, the terror that is written into her exhausted and tear-stained expression. It broke his heart to see her this way. And though he wished to return the favour, Arthur finds he can’t. One hand trapped by his side, the other in her gentle grip. One he wouldn’t break right now for the world.

“I know. I’m here. Just tell me what you need.”

There was so much, from all about his body and mind. But right now, it was answers that screamed to him far above everything else. The pain, the weakness, the cold in his bones. It was the truth he needed to work out first. How had he got here? How had he got like this? Arthur remembered in part, in separate parts. Ones that as of yet, weren’t knitting together, not into any sense he could understand. He couldn’t yet properly discern reality from vision; false memories too planting themselves into this order of events he was trying to figure out.

His eyes become panicked, lost in the confused state. Desperate now in light of the realisation that he couldn’t remember. Of that looming something Arthur couldn’t put his finger on.

And Gwen explains. “Another room...” Arthur echoes her words, his brow drawing together. Yes. Yes, of course, he knew where he’d been. That small room that had become the home of his experiments in recent weeks. “Yes. I remember.” He adds, for the briefest moment, a contentment flashing across his expression. A simple joy at having one thing at least figure out. But the rest, it was still a mystery. The infirmary. Arthur’s eyes drift from Gwen’s face again, down the length of his right arm, bandaged past his elbow. And then suddenly dart to the left, to the forearm he knew that would match the other but was still hidden from his sight beneath bedsheets. He makes a weak attempt to move it, to free it, but the pain, his lack of energy, is by far the greater victor against his addled mind.

He gives in.
Too distracted yet to panic.

The infirmary. His arms. Arthur could have asked her why he’d been there, he could have torn off these bandages if he still had the strength and see the reason for himself, but he didn’t need to. He already knew all too well what would lay beneath that white fabric. Already catching streaks of his blood, already protecting his flesh as it healed from what he’d done to it.

Two great gashes. One bloodied blade. What a mess he’d made.

What an awful price to save a life. One Arthur would pay over and over just so long as their little prince got his chance at life.

What happened? The husband asks of his wife, such an alarmingly simple question. One he waits for her to answer, as his eyes hurriedly search her face. If anyone knew, Gwen would know. It would be easier then, for her to explain it to him than for him to continue desperately trying to piece it together; to separate fact from fiction. Of a tale he’d been unconscious for such a long part of.

What happened? What happened, Gwen? What Arthur doesn’t expect, isn’t ready for, is her answer.

“I thought you were dead, Arthur.”

Dead. Looked dead. Almost died Almost lost you.

Dead…

In a collection of words, in one particular, harrowing word, it is like the penny dropped all at once. Rather more of a bombshell than a penny.

She is crying, weeping. Her words broken than altogether gone. Trailed off and abandoned under the grave weight of their meaning. Soon, she is sobbing under that weight, broken down before his eyes. On the edge of their bed, pressed up to his side, clutching his hand as close to her heart as she could. He can feel it. He can feel her heart racing.

No. He’d almost died. “No.”

Even in this state, he knows his protest is futile.

Arthur remembers now. And what he has no memory of, he suddenly can work out. Whatever fog, whatever confusion had been lying over his mind before is lifted just enough for him to make one horrible, horrible realisation. He’d nearly killed himself.

He’d performed the spell that evening, however long ago that was now, and he’d cut the length of both forearms to give both the sufficient blood and symbolism for his endeavour to succeed. He remembered it now; that agonising pain, that fire which ignited beneath his skin as his tongue finished that incantation in a sacred and ancient tongue. An agony which followed him into the unconsciousness to come. Arthur could clearly remember the sensation, he’d barely coped with a few minutes of that overwhelming pain when he collapsed beneath the sheer weight of it; the two warring magics which had begun a battle of precedence over his blood, over his body. His versus his sister’s.

He should have known, he knew the risk. He’d fallen unconscious under the weight of containing such magic, a power his body was not used to handling. It was not difficult now to put together the rest. Two extensive and untreated wounds on one unconscious man. He’d bled. He’d bled far more than this sacrifice had ever demanded of him.

Was that a price he minded paying? To give his life to save his unborn son.

That panic, that desperate panic is alight suddenly in his eyes again as he shakes his head hurriedly. He'd nearly died. “No. No, no, no, it wasn’t supposed be like that.” How had he meant it? To bear the agony he knew was coming but wasn’t prepared for. To finish the spell and run himself to the infirmary, answering questions then when he no longer cared for the full truth coming out. To ride out any sickness that followed as his magic and his sister’s magic went at each other’s throats in his bloodstream. “It wasn’t meant to go that far...”

But it had, in his desperate need for secrecy, not a soul had known of his whereabouts. He’d bled out alone and without anyone to watch over him in case of a situation just like this one; when this spell took an insidious turn on its caster.

I almost lost you. Her words come back to him. And their weight this time is undeniable. Arthur looks up at her, his wonderful wife who was sobbing over what might have been. The pain could imagine, thinking of just what he’d feel if she had nearly left him too. A pain he had put her through. He’d put her through so much. When would he finally stop?

There is still so much more he needs, so much more he wants to know, but all the king can focus on now is the sobbing form of his queen. And knowing he was the one to have done that to her. For now, he ignored all that still called to him and focuses only on trying to provide what comfort he could offer her. Some poor comfort in this state, but it was the least Gwen deserved. After this, after everything.

“Gwen,” he begins, in that voice still tired, still small and weak and soft. “It’s okay. I’m here.” He echoed her early words to him, his eyes lost of panic now and instead flooded with concern. “Shh, it’s okay.” He tightens his hold on their interlocked hands. Gently, feebly, bringing them away from her chest and down towards him. Resting hers against his chest, over his heart. Steadily beating behind his ribs and under the covers.

He offers her a smile.

“I’m here, you haven't lost me.”

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: (Less confused) Arthur trying to comfort Gwen. My heart. <3
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Jun 25 2017, 08:22 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

Through Arthur’s eyes his wife can see the fog that covers his mind. His sentences trail off and new ones start but he keeps coming back to the same thing. The dagger.

Gwen insists that it’s right where he left it. It hadn’t moved. No one had touched it, not after Mordred had dragged it across her skin. “It’s been following me, Gwen.” In that fog in his eyes she can tell that he had been seeing other things in his sleep. Nightmares had consumed him like the living one had consumed her. And in his nightmares, was that dagger.

Arthur repeats that he needs it. “Please.” He begs for the blade that had let the life seep out of his veins. “No.” his wife tells him. On this she will not budge. She would not hand him back the opportunity to hurt himself further, no matter what he thought it would accomplish. “Listen to me, Arthur. It’s finished now. We’ve finished it. It’s done. You don’t need it.”

She remembers how the blade stung as it ran across her palm. She had stretched out her fingers, exposing the tender skin there to the sharp point of the dagger. The blood had oozed out, little drops at first and then a steady flow if it. Soon it dripped into the puddle on the floor and it became impossible to tell the difference between her blood and Arthur’s. There was something more in that blade. Something more spilling from her veins. It frightened her.

They had finished what he had started. He didn’t ever need to go there again.

Gwen risks a glance down to the blood soaked bandages patching up the both of them, him much more so. It’s not a secret, what they did to save Arthur. But she knows that he will be worried about her. That he won’t be happy she sacrificed some of what he did.

She also knows that to save him she would have given much more.

The King of Camelot is crying now, hot tears that snake across his cheeks. His queen is there to wipe them away as they fall, her own tears falling untouched onto their bed. The two of them had shed too many tears, she thinks, but there is yet more to come. More loss to face.

He just looks at her for a moment. Arthur had always been able to read her like a book, so Gwen knows that what she is feeling is written clearly on her face for him to see. The fear. The grief. The exhaustion. She can only hold his hand closer to her chest.

Arthur needs help, he can’t remember the events of the evening. Was that really just last night? Gwen feels years older than yesterday. Just tell me what you need, she says, but his eyes show he is still too confused to answer her properly. He doesn’t know what he needs yet. That’s okay, she answers all the questions he asks about where he had been before. He remembers the room. That room covered in his blood. That room he almost died in. He wouldn’t remember the infirmary. He had been clinging onto life then. Almost dead. Unconscious.

She doesn’t miss his own glace to the bandages covering his arm when she tells him about it. His eyes dart between his arms. One he could see, the other was under the blankets. The look on his face lets his wife know that he remembers that they would match. Great, bleeding gashes held together by quick stitches. Two equally destructive cuts down the length of his forearms. He remembers that much.

“What happened?”

Recounting the tale hurt. Remembering hurt. Still, the scene plays itself over again like it had been doing all night inside her head. The blood, his pulse that had slowed so much she thought it had stopped, the feeling of her heart breaking inside her chest. In the face of this, Gwen breaks down. She tries to be brave, she tries. But the Queen of Camelot is tired, much too tired for brave faces.

Arthur wants to know what happened. She tries to tell him, about how he had looked dead. How she thought she had lost him. But the truth is too heavy and Gwen finds her words trailing off to make way for sobs that wrack her body. She sits there on the edge of the bed they had shared for all but one of eleven years now, she clutches her husband’s hand tightly over her broken heart and she cries about the way her life had almost ended last night. (He had been the one who almost died but she would have been the one to pay for it in the end. She would have been the one who had to go on without him).

“No.” she hears him whisper. He was learning now how close he had come to death. To leaving her, to leaving Camelot to the chaos his death would bring.

Her husband protests more against her tears. No, no, no. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, he insists, it wasn’t supposed to go that far.

What had he been trying to accomplish, then? He had almost died. What did Gwen spill more blood for? She takes ragged breaths, trying and failing to get the crying under control. She tries to speak through it instead. “I can’t stop seeing you like that. It’s there every time I close my eyes.” More tears, they ran down her face and the pain of it all settled in her chest. “You were so pale, Arthur, and there was blood everywhere. If you had seen the blood…” He hadn’t seen it, but his wife cannot stop seeing it.

Arthur is saying her name, in that same small, broken voice. “It’s okay. I’m here.” He repeats her own earlier attempts at comfort, he tries to quiet her cries. She feels his hand tighten in hers. He pulls their hands down towards his chest to rest above his heart instead but his wife can feel how weak he is, how much strength the great warrior king has lost and it makes her cry more.

She can feel his heart beating there, as he holds her hand against his chest. That makes her pause, just for a second. He smiles at her. “I’m here, you haven't lost me.” he reassures. Arthur was trying to comfort her, even in the face of all the pain he was in, of how tired and weak and confused he felt. That was another thing the two of them would always do for the other.

“The last thing I’d said to you was so horrible, I didn’t mean it. Then I thought you were gone and I would never get to say I was sorry.” Gwen is back to crying so hard that she is struggling to get her words out between the sobs. She just desperately wants to tell him everything on her mind after spending all night petrified that she would never have the chance. “I love you.” the queen tells her king. “I love you. I was so scared.”

She lets her biggest fear pass through her lips to hang heavy in the air. “I thought that I had lost you and then I would lose the baby too and then I’d be all alone.”

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Jul 4 2017, 07:18 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
“No.” Her voice is still soft, she is still being gentle with him. Yet despite the little that made sense to Arthur in that moment, he could recognise the tone of finality to that one word; her certainty. She refused him and she meant it. So now despite that inexplicable need to have that dagger back in his position, the urge to once again hold the instrument that had nearly been his undoing, Arthur was forced to drop it. There was nothing else he could do, afflicted with a strength barely enough to be able to lift his head up from these pillows.

His eyes desperately search his Queen’s face for a moment, as he struggled to work out what the right words to say now were. “Listen to me, Arthur. It’s finished now. We’ve finished it. It’s done. You don’t need it.” She tries to tell him and her King tries to believe her, despite this overwhelming sense that whatever this ‘it’ was, it would not be complete, that it would not be whole and done and over, until that blade was singing in his hand again.

Arthur’s gaze drifts again from his wife, lacking yet the concentration to focus in one place for very long, his eyes finding their bedchamber wall as his head turned to the side against the pillows once more. What were the right words?

“I’m sorry.”

It spilled from his lips in that small whisper that had become his voice now. Despite the fog which clouded his memories, the noise in his mind that was struggling so desperately to pin everything together, he’d always been able to read her like a book. Arthur could tell with one look the exhaustion and the grief sunk into her expression; the despair. And all this talk of daggers and blades, of burning and fire, he could tell it was not helping anything.

It did not bring a smile to his beloved’s lips but pulled tears from her eyes instead. Though he couldn’t remember quite yet what it was, he knew who it was; it was him. It was he who had done this to her. So the apology, one he didn’t fully yet understand how far it went, was uttered without hesitation.

His tears were shed almost without notice, his mind too addled, too far ran away with itself and this situation that bled between reality and dream and hallucination. It is only the soft brush of her fingers beneath his eyes that truly draws Arthur’s attention to the tears snaking trails down his face. Silent ones that he bears little heed. There was too much else to occupy his mind. Battling through this stubborn fog, looking up at the great tears of this woman he so dearly loved.

His soaked into her fingertips, hers fell unhindered onto their skin, onto their sheets. Ones shed for him, ones he lacked even the ability to wipe away, powerless to stop them falling.

What happened? He asks her the question tearing at his mind. What happened to me? It was a question with an answer that was clearly hard for Gwen to voice, to think about even. Her voice breaks trying to give her husband the truth, her words soon dissolving into loud sobs that wracked her chest and brought more warm tears to trail down her cheeks and spill onto the bedding.

Dead. She says and at first, a panic takes a hold of her King. To hear his near fate voiced by the one who would truly have been the one to pay for it. Time and the turmoil of their years together had taught them one very important thing; they could not live without each other. They could not be without the other. If he had nearly died...if he had died...she’d have been the one left behind in this world without him. The one forced to keep on living without a heart in her chest.

As Arthur voices his hurried and whispered protests, that same panic is obvious in his eyes. Sobs overwhelm Gwen as a fear does him. Faced now with the consequences of this action that it was apparent to him now he’d only just managed to avoid. He’d nearly died. He’d looked dead. He’d been clinging to life. Part of him begged to keep protesting what he knew he truly could no longer deny. Another part of him was calmer, had already accepted this set of events. He’d nearly died, yes, that made sense. It is then that the pieces finally all begin to fit together for the King of Camelot, and for those events he was not conscious for, his mind more than capable now of filling in the gaps left by his unconsciousness.

Those burning questions, those awful revelations, are forgotten for a moment as Gwen speaks again. Forcing her words through ragged breaths and the sobs which choked her, the ones which broke Arthur’s heart a little more each time-

A heart shattered by what his wife confesses to him next. “I can’t stop seeing you like that. It’s there every time I close my eyes.” His shared heartache shines in his eyes. Like that. Like what? Arthur almost wants to ask what she means...but he doesn’t. He doesn’t need to. He can only imagine…

He hadn’t told anyone where he was. He’d passed out just as the spell was finished, just as that war between magics was taking hold of his body, roaring through his veins. From the strength of such a battle in one so inexperienced or from the sheer pain of being torn in two by familial and warring magics; either way, he’d lost consciousness somewhere...early on, he remembers now.

And he’d been alone there, on that stone floor. Bleeding out with no one to come to his rescue. How long had he been there? Not long enough for his life to be lost, but so close his life had been hanging in the balance. To bleed that long...to bleed that much...Arthur could only imagine the sight when they’d found him. He could only imagine the image of him lying there in his own blood that hid now beneath his wife’s eyelids.

Her words remind him of another time, drag him back to those memories he’d rather forget. Of when he had forced them both so far apart in his attempt to protect Gwen from harm, to protect her from her own husband. And to relieve himself of just some of the guilt which crippled him. That guilt over what he had put her through, that pain and grief that he’d put her through again and again if they weren’t careful.

The guilt which had hid in his heart and attacked the very moment the King of Camelot laid eyes on his Queen. That brought back visions of her in that blood-soaked dress, of him cradling his broken wife as she sobbed against him due to something he’d caused. The guilt which made him remember just the pain he’d inflicted on the woman he had vowed to love every time he closed his eyes and he saw her broken before him again.

“You were so pale, Arthur, and there was blood everywhere. If you had seen the blood...”

“I’m sorry, Gwen, I’m so sorry you had to see me like that.” (And like this.) There it was again, that apology, something Arthur was ashamed at just how frequently he’d had to give to his wife recently. Arthur had promised himself there would be no more need for apology between them, no more need for lying and secrets, no more need for aching hearts and tears. This one last time, it seemed he’d broken all three of those vows. But that price was worth paying, wasn’t it?

“It wasn’t supposed to happen like that. You have to believe me, Gwen. I didn’t know I’d pass out.” His words are pleading with her again, her King desperate now for her to know that this hadn’t been his plan. Not for it to go this far, not for his own life to get so very caught up in the balance. He knew, of course he knew, that there was risk, a great deal of risk, going into performing such a dangerous spell...but Arthur had thought that he’d planned for that enough and, in his uncharacteristic rush into this, he had ignored such risk in the hope it would never come to anything.

He pauses for a moment, watching his wife, his wonderful wife, as she still struggled with the weight of this. Arthur could tell it was crushing her and he wished for nothing more now than to take her up into his arms, to hold her and prove that the worst was over.

But he couldn’t. Weakened by the large amount of blood he now knew he’d lost and the exhaustion that using so much magic had planted in him, Arthur was pinned to this bed. Their bed. Where they must have brought him after the infirmary. “How long was I there?” He suddenly adds, in an even smaller voice, scared almost to ask it. Missing out so many words he needed to say but couldn’t. How long was I in that room? How long was I bleeding for? How long until you found me? How long have I been asleep? Just as Arthur couldn’t find even a false sense of strength to force into his tone, neither could he find some to voice any more than that feeble and inadequate question.

Her king says her name in that weak voice, repeats her comforts from earlier. Returning her the favour for he could not bear to see her heart so broken and be so entirely helpless to ease her. The movement which brings their hands together to rest over his heart is slow and shaky, no doubt Gwen could feel the slight trembling of his arm at the effort of moving at all. In one gentle motion, he’d placed their hands on the skin of his chest, resting them where she could feel his heartbeat. One motion that equally went to show just how physically weak he’d become. How weak his actions had made himself.

Arthur watches her closely, offering a smile. His gaze no longer confused and drifting but focused on his Gwen and only her. By far the most important thing in this room. At first, it seems her tears grow heavier, but then as the moment draws on, as he continues to hold her hand gently against him, it appears that even if only briefly, Gwen finds a pause in the heartache that seemed never-ending for the both of them. To see that small difference, it only makes Arthur’s smile brighter despite everything else. Just so long as Gwen was alright.

But then his wife tries to speak again, tries to word her heart break and those loud sobs are wracking her chest again. The last thing I’d said to you was so horrible. Arthur’s smile falters and falls at its very mention.

He’d almost forgotten those words, caught up in the plan he had for that evening and chaos that ensued afterwards. It only occurred to him now that Gwen spelled it out for her King; that if he had died during all this, if he had paid the ultimate cost, those words would be the last thing to have ever have passed between them. Thanks to Arthur purposely avoiding bumping into his wife again before he carried this out, scared as he was, he didn’t wish to be stopped before he’d even tried.

“If you leave me to go through this alone again, I will never forgive you.”

It broke his heart now to remember that encounter. Their last before this one, and one that could have been their very last. Arthur closed his eyes to the memory of it, of how he lied to her, hid the truth from her, then ran and left her just as he vowed to Gwen so many times before that he wouldn’t. Together, they’d promised it would be so. That no matter how heart-wrenching it would be to lose another, a third, child before they’d even got a chance to know them, they would be able to get through it just so long as they had one another there for support. Just so long as they didn’t go through it alone.

But he’d pulled away in recent days, in recent weeks. Plunging into what he thought was his last viable option to save this child before the curse in his blood caught up with their unborn baby and ripped them from their mother’s womb. Arthur had pulled away just as he’d vowed he wouldn’t...but he’d had to, for both their sake, and most importantly for their child’s sake. For if Gwen had discovered just what her husband was getting himself into, she would have put an end to his experimenting immediately. Arthur had known full well that Gwen would never allow him to risk himself like that. Like this, he suddenly realises.

Yes. It seemed she would have been right all along.

He’d rushed into this, which was so very unlike him. He’d been reckless, but he hadn’t had the luxury of time to be at all cautious. And a secret it had to be, distance it required, because their child had deserved that chance.

(It doesn’t pass Arthur’s notice either, that this could have so easily gone the other way. It could have so easily been his body laid out in the very spot he lay now. He truly would have left her then, if that were the case. He would have left her all alone with no option of ever coming home to her again.

Would she ever have forgiven him then?)

Tears welled behind the lids of his closed eyes, ones which broke free the second Arthur opened them to the world again. His watery vision still finding Gwen instantly. He looks at her and realises there was so much to say still left unsaid. It was a crushing feeling, the weight of all of it, so much from one conversation. He remembered so vividly now the tears that had welled in her eyes, the biting edge of the fury lacing her tone. There was so much to say, so much that very nearly couldn’t have been said at all, and Arthur is at a loss as to where to even begin.

“Don’t apologise, that doesn’t matter now.” He settles on, his words the truth. A sincerity burning behind the tears in his eyes. Those words didn’t matter anymore, not in the face of all that had happened since. “I love you too. I love you so much.” Her king echoes her, his very expression reflecting those words.

I was so scared. She tells him and Arthur’s heart breaks all the more. Those silent tears he shed still did not have a chance to dry before more followed. “I know, I know you were. I’m so sorry, Gwen.” His thumb strokes gentle lines across her hand now. That and those woefully inadequate words were all he could think to do, to ease that heavy weight he knew sat in her chest.

He tries again, another small movement. Forcing his shaking hand to lift hers, trying to keep from disturbing his forearm too much as he did. Arthur pressed a lingering kiss against her knuckles. (He noticed it properly then for the first time, that sickly metallic taste that filled his mouth. From where he’d bitten down on the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming aloud.) He unlaced his fingers then from her own, releasing her hand finally from their hold, only to then stretch his arm out flat across their bed. (Looking across at his forearm then, Arthur felt a twinge of panic. That first inkling of fear to see what lay beneath those blood-soaked bandages. Filled with a terror to see just the mess he’d made of himself.)

Arthur turned his gaze back on Gwen again. Though he lacked to strength to sit up and hold her close to him like he so much desired to, he could offer this instead. Able to open his arm up to her. Wordlessly in that gesture, inviting her to lay beside him. To lay with him.

Together. They’d promised. Could it finally be a vow they could keep?

Gwen tells him them of another fear, her greatest terror. And Arthur’s expression falls so completely with her words. She had been terrified that she had lost him, that she would be alone to lose their child too. That she’d then be left alone so entirely.

That something nags at Arthur again, trying to make itself heard in his mind. Above the chaos of those visions, above the sound of his wife’s heartbreak. Just out of reach still. Something he couldn’t quite manage to put his finger on yet.

“I was trying to save him, Gwen.” Arthur confesses quietly, not entirely sure where the words come from but they seem to fall from his lips almost on instinct. Did she already know what he was doing? What if she didn’t? Oh god, what if she didn’t...What did she think he’d done to himself?

“This was for him.”

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: Welcome to the longest post in the history of ever, I'm sorry <3 the Arthur-ness tho.
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Sep 18 2017, 04:56 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

The dagger won’t leave Arthur alone. She can see it too, with it’s bloody blade and the way it felt like more than metal when it bit into her skin. Arthur is begging for it back, he needs it, and Gwen denies him every time. She would be content to never have to lay eyes on it again but has a feeling it will show up in her nightmares.

He’d nearly killed himself with it, why did he want it back so badly? She tells him no, her voice gentle but firm. She won’t concede on this. She tries to tell him that whatever he started, it was over now. She had bled for it too. Whatever it was, it couldn’t need anything more. Gwen wouldn’t let him give anything more, there was nothing left for him to give. She would rather bleed a hundred times over than let that blade touch his skin again. Arthur seems to know his begging on this matter will get him nowhere and she watches as he seems to give up, his head rolling back to the side, those confused eyes finding something across the room to focus on.

“I’m sorry.” he tells her. “It’s okay now that you’re here.” his wife answers quietly, holding his hand tight. Everything has always ended up okay when they faced it together, and whatever he faced alone in that room was over now. She was here. They would deal with whatever came next together. Together, like they were supposed to.

Gwen tries to smile at him but finds she cannot. She’s too exhausted to smile, too filled with grief over what almost happened, too full of questions her husband can’t answer yet. Instead, she can only cry. Tears spill from the corners of her eyes in never ending streams and before long Arthur is crying too. Her thumb wipes them away as they run down his cheeks and she forgets her own entirely.

She hardly notices when they land against the bedding, splash on their skin. Hers are so much easier to ignore.

She can’t remember how many times he had done this for her, how many times she had laid in this very bed with him and cried until she thought she could cry no more. He had always wiped them away no matter their reason and given her gentle reassurances that everything would be okay. That she was enough. Doing the same for him is easy, it’s second nature. His tears hold so much more weight for her than her own.

Arthur wants to know what happened. He can’t remember, he can’t remember doing this to himself. When his queen tries to tell him she falls apart entirely, only managing a few sentences before sobs take over and make it too hard to speak. I thought you were dead. Gwen says, and that is enough to open up the floodgates once again, to bring her back to last night when she was sure she had lost him.

He protests, no, he says, it wasn’t supposed to be like that. Gwen can see a panic in his eyes. He hadn’t meant to almost die, but then what was he doing?

Guinevere chokes on her words but still tries to force them out as great, ugly sobs come in wave after wave no matter how much she tries to stop them. She tells Arthur about her living nightmare, how she sees him that way every time she closes her eyes. With his pale skin and his blue lips and the way it looked as if there was more blood on the floor than left in his veins. The blood dyed her nightmares a deep scarlet red and the color of it won’t leave her alone.

Arthur is apologizing again. “I’m sorry, Gwen, I’m so sorry you had to see me like that.” All Gwen can do is repeat herself. “I almost lost you.” Losing him would have been the end of everything. Life was nothing without Arthur in it. They both knew that, had always known that. They were no good by themselves. Each one needed the other to be whole. If Arthur had died that would have been the end of Gwen also.

“But you’re here.” She reminds herself out loud. “You’re here.”

His voice is pleading, desperate for her to know that dying wasn’t his plan. She can only shake her head at this, because she didn’t know that. She didn’t know anything, all she knew was that they had brought him back from the brink of death and the whole time his wife had no idea how why he had put himself there.

There is a pause for a moment as Gwen struggles to calm her breathing and Arthur can only watch the grief of almost break her apart. He speaks again, in such a small voice. “How long was I there?” She shakes her head again. “I don’t know.” Gwen admits. “You weren’t at dinner, and so I left early and came back…” Deep, shuddering breaths. “I came back here to wait for you and I must have fallen asleep. I don’t know, I don’t know. Long enough.” Long enough to almost die.

The King of Camelot tries to comfort his Queen, he speaks her name in that soft voice and he tells her it’s going to be alright. He moves their hands from where they were pressed against her chest to rest against his and it only makes her cry more to feel just how much strength her warrior king had lost.

But there is a smile on his face and Gwen can feel his heartbeat and it’s getting so much stronger than it was last night, and that’s enough to calm her sobbing even if just for a moment.

Even if it’s just long enough for her to make herself cry again, by bringing up their last conversation before this one and the awful thing she had ended it on in her anger. Arthur’s smile, having grown bigger when her crying slowed fell right back off his face as he remembered it too. “I didn’t mean it.” She insists. She’d known that almost right afterwards. Gwen would have forgiven her Arthur anything.

He’s crying again, tears welling up in his eyes and spilling out and his mess of a wife is there to wipe them away still. It doesn’t matter now, he says. Don’t apologize. “But I am sorry. I was sorry right away.” She admits how terrified she was, he says he knows. He’s sorry. His thumb is tracing small lines against the back of her hand. “I can’t do this without you, you know that, don’t you? I couldn’t be without you.”

Then, using too much of what little strength the blood loss had left him with, he brings her bloodied and bandaged hand up to his lips and presses them against her knuckles. For the first time in what feels like forever, a small smile turns up the corners of her lips. Her heart, so heavy with the burden of what last night had almost taken from her, feels just a bit lighter. He was here. Her Arthur was here. He unlaces their fingers and gently puts his arm out to the side. Gwen knows what that means, that space that opens up under his arm is where she is meant to be.

Arthur puts his arm out and his wife takes his invitation without hesitation, putting herself in the space between his body and his arm, resting her head against his shoulder and being so careful as she did so. She presses herself into his side. This is Guinevere’s favorite place in the world. She has always felt most secure here, most content. Arthur’s arms around her meant that she could weather whatever storm was battering them.

She can’t help but think about how scared she had been all night that she would never get to do this again, never get to be this close to him again. How close she had truly gotten to losing him, to life being over. She wasn’t strong without him. She wouldn’t have made it without him.

Gwen lies a hand on his chest. His skin is skin red in patches, there is blood there that would take more scrubbing to get off, more than was necessary at the time when they were all just praying he would live. Under her palm, under the bandage it was wrapped in, is one of those patches. That red spot covering his chest wasn’t his blood, it was hers. She thinks about how Mordred had placed her open palm there, how the scarlett had oozed out over him. He was covered in her blood and she was covered in his.

Blood magic was messy business.

Then Arthur speaks. “I was trying to save him, Gwen.” It comes out so quietly that it takes a moment for the words to settle into Gwen’s brain and when they do her whole body freezes. Save him. Arthur had been trying to save him. “This was for him.” For their little prince, it was to save him. For a moment Gwen doesn’t know if she’s relieved or more terrified than before.

All night she had sat up waiting for answers to all the questions she had swimming around in her brain. All night she had waited to know why. Why had Arthur done what he’d done? Why would he almost leave her like that? They had promised each other. They had said together and then he had almost left her to face life alone. Didn’t he know what that would do to her, she had wondered. Didn’t he know? Did he think about how his wife would bury her heart if she had to bury him? Did he know how badly she would want to follow him?

But he hadn’t been trying to leave her at all. He had been trying to bring their family together. Selfless Arthur with his heart of gold, it was so clear now. He hadn’t been trying to leave Gwen but instead give her the most precious gift he could. The distance between them in the last week wasn’t born of a lack of love but rather an excess of it for their son they both wanted so badly to meet. Arthur knew that if Gwen had figured out what he was attempting to do she would have stopped him. She wouldn’t have let him risk himself like that, for fear of the very outcome they so narrowly avoided last night.

Arthur had been trying to save him. But there is a question burning in Gwen’s mind- did he succeed?

She doesn’t want to let herself imagine that it is true. She can’t, but her heart wants it so desperately that it does the stupidest thing. It begins to hope. The hope will hurt worst of all in the end. It might have been easier to know the whole time that her pregnancy would end in bloodshed without a drop of hope at all, but still it springs up in her heart in spite of that. Gwen has to know. She just has to ask, two simple words and then she’ll know. The words get stuck in her throat, stuck behind the tears that still flow down her face in little rivers. She feels as if she will choke on them trying to get them out.

“Did you?”

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Sep 19 2017, 10:25 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
He apologises, words which fell from his lips almost without thought. Feeling like the closest to the right thing to say; an apology Arthur didn’t yet truly fully understand. It's okay now that you’re here. She tells him and his eyes sink closed a moment as he takes in those words, ones he couldn’t wrap his mind around just yet. A head only just torn from its own vivid imaginings; a world so real and so detailed, it felt like a reality in itself.

But he was here now. Like Gwen said. And though Arthur couldn’t yet grasp what she meant by that, it brought an odd sense of ease to her King. Just knowing that wherever here was, Gwen was here too. She was here, right beside him, holding his hand and speaking to him in gentle words. She could hear him now, she saw him again. Which was such a blessed relief compared to whatever hell he’d just left.

It is an apology that soon comes right back, now he knows, knows and understands far more just the gravity of where he was. And where he’d just come back from the brink of. Death. Had he really come so close? The ache in every part of him, the feebleness of every muscle, there were hardly any clearer indications. It felt like hell, like all the energy had been drained from him. And it had, spilt across the floor of that room he had chosen for its privacy. Blood silently leaking from him, staining stone and leaving his body with increasingly less.

Such a feeble apology in the face of it all. As he lay, with barely the energy to move, out on their bed. Looking up into her face, into those eyes filled with grief and exhaustion, and Arthur knew they were words which would hardly suffice. No words would, not in the face of this, in all that was still to come.

I almost lost you. It was so painfully clear in the way she spoke, in that distress caught up in her voice. “You didn’t, you didn’t.” Arthur repeats in that weak whisper, repeating himself like she did herself. Searching Gwen’s face desperately, wishing and willing to do anything to calm the terror he knew must have been in her heart. Though he wished so much to take Gwen into his arms and prove it without a doubt. He was here. She didn’t lose him. To whisper to her more gentle promises that he never would again...he lacked any of the strength he needed to do so, hardly able to lift himself from his pillows. But he still had words, as small a voice as they were said in now, they would serve as proof.

But you’re here. You’re here. Her King dared a slight smile at her reminder.

It was fleeting, swallowed by his sudden confusion. His desperation to understand just what had happened, and explain it, to both himself and more importantly, to his wife. Arthur tries to tell her, that he had never meant for this, had never meant to do such damage, to go so far. To risk so much. He would never try to leave her, not like that. It had been an accident, a horrendous and reckless accident.

She shook her head at him and his brow creases in confusion and worry and pain. “Please,” he tries again. “I never meant for this, Gwen.” She hadn’t known. Of course, he’d never warned her of his plans. He hadn’t warned a soul. It was a miracle that they’d found him at all… His heart aches for her own, desperate to make this easier in any way but struggling to find how. The truth. Whilst it might not take any of this away, wouldn't bring that blood back into his body, nor let him walk from this bed right now, but perhaps it could ease her mind a little if nothing else.

Arthur watches, with a bleeding heart, as Gwen tried to calm the grief which was tearing her apart. A guilt sinking deep into him for having been the one to put her through such torment, even though it had never been his intent, it had been his fault. Entirely his own. In that small pause, he asked a question;. how long was I there? Seeing her shake her head immediately after. She didn’t know, she tells him, and no, she wouldn’t know. She had not been there when he started, nor when he’d offered up his sacrifice, nor when he had passed out from the effort of wielding such a ritual...she had only arrived later. When it had been almost too late.

Long enough. Arthur managed a slight nod. Yes, long enough, long enough to have almost left her here, in this world, alone. To have gone where she couldn’t reach.

“It was evening.” He isn’t fully sure where the answer comes from, but it spills from his lips like a realisation he’d only just made. “Before dinner.” His eyes search Gwen’s own. That’s when he’d began, after his meetings for the day had finished up, after he’d gathered all he would need, he’d escaped to that little room in the far depths of the castle-

Arthur suddenly tried to crane his neck against his pillows, to stretch his line of sight to see more of the room. How long had he been laying there? Laying here? Gwen didn’t know the first, but the answer to at least the second might be enough. Not to put his frantic mind at rest but to provide him just one more piece of this puzzle that still didn’t seem to be fitting together. The King took a few seconds, to recognise that the curtains were drawn, but no sunlight was trying to filter through the fabric. The room was lit still by the warm flicker of candlelight. It was night, or early morning. He couldn’t tell. It was as much as he could do alone.

His gaze shifts slowly back to Gwen’s. “What time is it?” He managed to find those few words, to form one more question nagging at him. One more which could make just a little more sense of this to a mind still reeling from blood loss and the vivid visions which had accompanied it.

Their hands resting over where his heart beat steadily and surely, that small smile which spoke volumes. Her King does all her can to comfort her, all that was still left in his power.

But she reminds them both of that encounter in the hallway and wipes that precarious smile from his lips with it. Gwen insisted that she hadn’t meant those words, that heavy promise. “I know you didn’t.” He promises her in a gentle tone, his eyes never leaving her.

He wants to assure her too that he’d known so from the beginning, which truly he had, that those words hadn’t hurt him the way they had but Arthur didn’t want to lie to her. Not now, not even for the sake of easing the pain of that moment in the corridor. Those words had eaten away at him, but even more so those angry tears which had filled her eyes. They had affected him, of course they had, it was those words and those tears which had told Arthur that it had been time. Regardless of whether or not he had been ready.

Instead, behind tears which stung his eyes again, Arthur told her she didn’t need to apologise to him. “It’s okay,” he continued, knowing he had forgiven her immediately. That there was no need for her to be sorry, he’d been sorry right away as well. “I deserved it.” It came in the weak whisper which had become his voice, through the tears which threatened to fall again. And Arthur believed it, he had done. He’d deserved her anger for all the promises he had been breaking, in order to fulfil the one promise he knew he couldn’t afford to break.

“You know the same, don’t you?” His thumb traced gentle motions against the back of her hand. “I could never survive without you.”

(It seemed odd now, to speak and know so with such a certainty, that neither could live without the other. When only weeks ago, a lifetime it seemed, they had almost torn their marriage apart with their own hands. Arthur nearly sending her way in some even more futile effort to protect her from all a life beside him entailed. To a life permanently apart in which both would live without their other halves. They could never have done it, never survived without one another. And Arthur had been so, so glad then to let themselves realise that, to have stopped pretending they could ever have lived a life apart.)

He pressed a kiss against her knuckles. Able to bear the pain of the movement, if only for that. If only to see that smile light up on her lips again.

A smile immediately matched on his own, the corners of his lips spreading wider as Gwen accepted his silent invitation to lie with him without any hint of hesitation. He opened an arm up for her and she came to lie down beside him, resting her head carefully on his shoulder and pressing up against his side. Arthur grins to only be so close to her again. To feel the warmth of her against him, not truly realising until then just how cold he was. Skin still pale, but warming with every minute he still breathed, with every time his heart still beat.

This is where he belonged, with his Gwen. No matter how the world was crashing and burning around them, they would always have each other. They would always have this closeness. This love which shone so brightly, even in silent glances, even in the smallest of gestures, even in the simple act of holding her in his arms.

It was not as sure as it usually was, purely for Arthur’s cautious treatment of the arms which bore those long cuts he’d inflicted himself. But his arm still came to wrap around her, resting lightly around her waist. Careful not to put too much pressure on the wounds which would be healing for a long time to come. Gwen rested a hand once more upon his chest and Arthur shared a smile at the small gesture; her fingertips resting against his skin, the hand bandaged. Matching the ones tied about his own hand. Both of them stained red with blood.

He did not know yet what she had done for him. Did not know that his skin was still stained red where they had rushed in washing him, eager to merely see him rested and alive rather than washed clean. He doesn’t realise the blood which had seeped from her, all over him. Coming to rest on his skin as his had on hers. The blood spilt, together, in unison, as always, to save their little prince. To keep Arthur alive. To finally allow their family to live.

Their little prince.

His mind finally catches up with all that had occurred the night before, the events and his decisions preceding them trickling through to finally form a picture of this near tragedy which made sense to the King of Camelot. As he holds his wife tenderly, Arthur confessed the ultimate truth, the one he realised would hopefully bring Gwen some relief. His reasons. He confessed his reasons.

Did you?

Arthur watches her for a moment, taking in just the implication of that small question, asked in that small voice. Choked on the tears which still flowed from her eyes. He fell silent.

Had it worked? How exactly did one even know? All this time and all this planning, Arthur Pendragon, and there was one inevitable oversight. How did one know when a curse was broken? When its effects were to kill every one of your children before they was born?

“I-” Arthur stuttered on his words. Words he didn’t have, that fell dead before even truly beginning. His eyes fall closed, his brow creasing in what was either pain or concentration. Or more likely both. His mind desperately scrambles, trying to make sense of those final pieces of this puzzle. That looming something that still evaded him. “It-” Those visions swim before his mind’s eye again. That confusing array of scenes painted red which seemed to be slowly making more sense with time. It was there. That something was there, he could sense it. But where? And what?

The King forced his eyes back open, staring now up at the ceiling as his broken voice sounds out again. Determined to give the explanation it now knew how to give. “I promised you, Gwen, that I’d find a way to fix this, do you remember? When I told you of this curse.” He very much doubted that Gwen would need such a reminder, he remembered all too painfully holding Gwen in his arms as they both cried, together. Over the deaths of all the children they would ever try to have, over the sheer unfairness of such a cruel curse to lay on them and all those innocent unborn children who’d never even been given a chance.

Arthur had sworn he would find a way to fix it, had promised Gwen then that no matter what came, this would not be forever. (He would bring relief to her heartache, he would give her a family. Even if it killed him.) “I looked, I did, but not properly, not until-” That sentence dies on his lips, the weight of what was to come choking his words. Arthur knew he wouldn’t have to fill in that blank for Gwen, she would realise well enough just what had given her husband this urgency. “I knew then I couldn’t afford to lose another child, not like that. I didn’t want you to have to go through that again.” He forced the words out even though his weak voice was breaking. Those hot tears stinging his eyes again as he remembers it, all of it. Just the pain and the burning guilt which had spurred him on to finally find some way to rid them both of this heartache, to let their children have the chance they deserved.

He remembers the research he’d completed between meetings and early in the morning, before the castle had properly woken. Delving into the world of magic which by right, by blood, was his. A magic which had sat dormant in his veins for so very long now, an insidious breed which ran back through his mother’s line for generations. The same kind which had forced this curse upon him would be the only option to force that curse from him again. A war of familial magics, of blood magic of sister and brother. It would work, in theory it was the most likely to. And it had to, for their child’s sake.

He remembers the ensuing scramble to practise. Distancing himself then from the wife he had vowed so many times he would never do that to again, all to hide this great and terrible secret. He remembers tripping over the pronunciation of ancient tongues some part of him found so familiar, of scarring his skin with that same dagger and flinching every time. Of collecting water and darting about his duties, attempting not to show that anything, anything at all was going on.

“I found the solution.”

He choked out, not able to look at her. Crying now, and not the silent tears from earlier he had barely noticed falling, but tears which came with great sobs. His chest heaving as the full weight of all which had led up to this moment and all which he had caused became clear to him.

He’d found his solution, his answer, the only one he had. The one which had brought him right to death’s door, which had sapped the strength from his body like that sacrifice had demanded its blood payment, crippling him with a pain he could never hope to endure and stealing his very life force as he bled out on the stone. The solution which had asked him to give up so very much of himself.

Arthur battled to right his breathing, turning to face away from her now as the tears showed no signs of calming. “I know I said we’d do this together but...I had to, I had to.” Break so many promises in order to keep only one. “...You would have stopped me.” It’s why he had been so scared to be close to her, in fear of Gwen finding out just what he was planning and stopping him from risking himself for such an uncertain outcome.

He came to look at her again, desperate now for the first time properly to free his other hand from within these bedsheets. It took all the energy he didn’t have, Arthur wincing as the arm he knew matched his right dragged along the bed, fought with the sheets so he could finally see it. Yes, just as he knew it would be; blood-stained cloth wrapped from his wrist up past his elbow, his hand sporting a newer bandage since he’d last seen it. Arthur lays it gingerly down on their bed again.

“I was trying to prepare properly. To practise. My hand, in the corridor, that’s what I was doing. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you then, but I couldn’t.” He shook his head slowly. I deserved it He’d deserved every bit of her anger. “I wanted to be ready but, I didn’t know. None of us knew how much time he had left. It could have happened at any time, any day now.” A truth neither of them needed reminding of.

He shakes his head, tears spilling down his cheeks, as his chest struggled against heavy sobs. Arthur forces that hand, the one he’d intentionally injured only the day before, to lift up off the bed. In his distress, he pressed the hurriedly bandaged hand to his forehead. Finally able to hide behind something.

“I couldn’t lose our child again.” He let the tears fall freely, in no state to stop them. “I needed to save him...Save you both.”

And he was both sorry for it and not. Confused and weak and in pain as he was, he cannot help thinking of the hell Gwen had gone through. Of the thought that he might have actually died in this, and left her to this kingdom without him. The thought terrifies him and Arthur lacks the sense to push those thoughts away. Instead, letting his breath battle with his tears, letting the sobs come now.

He shuts his eyes to it. And they are back, those spiralling visions in their scarlet tint. As he is crippled by a pain which he can only cry out at, screaming into a void that does not care. The empty throne. The dagger sat on broken glass, with the sky that burned outside the castle window. Their bedchamber and Gwen who could not sense him there, no matter how he called her name. And in the corridor, as Gwen calls his name-

Except it wasn’t his, it never had been. Every time she’d looked right through him.

He remembers it then, the sight of the child in her arms. And with it, comes that final piece, that something which lay just out of reach. That something which truly meant everything.

“It’s gone!” Arthur cried out suddenly in elation, his voice cracking with the strain of it. The smile on his face such a stark contrast to the still wet tears painting his skin. “It’s actually gone!” Those heavy sobs which had wracked his tired chest turn suddenly to soft laughter. A sound switched from despair to joyful disbelief.

He didn’t know quite what to feel or why he was feeling it but something made him so entirely sure. It was done. It was finally done

“And I saw him. Gwen, I saw him!”

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: Eheheh, I made the word count worse...in other news, *presents this emotional rollercoaster of a post*
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Oct 5 2017, 10:36 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

Guinevere can only shake her head as her husband frantically insists that he hadn’t meant for this to happen, this wasn’t his intention. He hadn’t wanted to die. “Please,” he says, pleading. “I didn’t know, Arthur, how was I supposed to know what you meant?” She doesn’t say aloud the thought that had popped into her head when she saw him there, lying in a pool of that dark crimson. Arthur’s wife had, for a moment, thought that he had been trying to die. He wouldn’t do that to her, no, just as she would never do that to him. But seeing him, the way the blood seeped out of those deep gashes… she still thought it. “It’s okay.” Gwen says again, seeing the concern on his face over her worry.

The King of Camelot asks his Queen a question she doesn’t have have the ability to answer. She didn’t know when he had started bleeding, all she knew was that it had been enough time that she had almost lost him. She had almost been too late.

Arthur remembers something, the fog in his mind just beginning to make way for details about the last night. In his eyes she can see the pieces of a puzzle in his head starting to put themselves together. “Before dinner.” Gwen’s heart sinks even further down into her stomach when she thinks about how long he had laid there, all alone, before she knew what had happened to him. How he had been bleeding out while his wife felt sorry for herself and upset with him, while she fell asleep in their bed without him.

He begins to look around the room, searching for more pieces to that puzzle. He looks back to his wife. Asks her another question, one that Gwen has to think before she can come up with an answer to. It feels like she’d been sitting by their bed for days, just watching his chest go up and down, just making sure her Arthur was still breathing and still here with her. Gwen too turns her head to look around the room, and also notices the lack of sunlight peeking through the drawn curtains. She squeezes her eyes shut for a moment as she tries to get a handle on how much time had truly past. “It must be almost morning.” She decides.

There are smiles for a moment before Gwen’s reminder wipes them off both faces, a reminder of what would have been her last words to the love of her life if he had left her alone tonight. She sobs, great heaving cries, says again that she didn’t mean it. She didn’t mean what she had said in that lonely hallway, when those angry tears burned in her eyes and her heart sunk down in her chest at his step away.

“I know you didn’t.”, Arthur’s soft voice comforts her. He comforted her but his wife had been the one to say those words- that statement with such finality that could never be. And truly it couldn’t, there wasn’t anything in the world that Gwen wouldn’t find a way to forgive to be with him, to be happy with him.

Their hands still laid together over his heart, tears still fell from his eyes and she knows without having to ask how much she had hurt him in the hallway then. She cries her apologies and he whispers back that he deserved it. “No,” Gwen insists. “No you didn’t, and I pushed you…” A glance down to the bandages wrapped gingerly around his arms. “I didn’t know what towards but I pushed you.”

She tells him that she couldn’t go on without him and he tells her that it’s just the same for him, she knows that, doesn’t she? Gwen nods. “Of course I know, I know now.” She used to know absolutely, and then came the year of doubt and tears and being alone, and she hadn’t known quite so certainly. Some days she didn’t think it to be true at all. But their coming back together had confirmed it, it showed more than ever. They had fallen apart to fall back together even more intertwined than before.

Arthur presses a shaky kiss against her knuckles and his wife can’t help but smile even through her tears. The corners of his lips turn up to match hers.

Gwen lies down against him and lets the sense of belonging, of being exactly where she is meant to be slow her tears. Arthur might not be able to hold her as close as they both would like, but his arm moves up to gently rest around her waist and it is more than enough. He’s alive, he’s here, and that will always be more than enough for Gwen. Arthur is everything and if she has him she doesn’t need anything else.

She is staring at her fingertips resting lightly against his skin, at the tinges of red from where her blood had spilt over him when her husband says something that changes everything. He had done all of this, nearly died, for their son. The little one who wasn’t ready to meet the outside world yet, the one who wouldn’t get a chance. The one Gwen would hold in her and protect until he was ripped from life, from them.

It was all to save him.

She asks a weighted question, but did you succeed? It hangs heavy in the air. There is a long pause. Gwen is frozen. She doesn’t move, it takes everything in her to choke out those two little words.

In Arthur’s silence and his stuttered words that follow Gwen thinks she hears the answer. It’s not the one she wants, but it’s the one she is expecting. He doesn’t say no right out, but he doesn’t say yes and to his wife that means everything. She squeezes her eyes shut but those silent tears force their way out anyway. She doesn’t make a noise, just listens to Arthur as he reminds her of the promise he made to her, the promise to fix this. The promise to break the curse.

“I remember.” Gwen whispers. How could she not remember? That was the night she had learned, after nearly a year of sleeping alone and hating herself, why her husband had pushed her so far away. Why he had stopped letting her know that he loved her. It wasn’t her, it was the curse. He did love her, he hadn’t stopped, he was sorry. And Gwen had forgiven the months and months of excuses and leaving her to cry alone and letting her think it was all her fault so that neither one of them would have to mourn their children alone. She forgave him just as he forgave her weeks later when it came to light what she had done towards the end of that awful year just to try and drown out the pain of it all.

She had stepped into his arms and he held her while she sobbed. While she cried over the children she would never get to have, over her dream of motherhood that would never be a reality. And he had promised her. He would find a way. Gwen had tried to push his words out of her mind, not believing them to be a possibility. Not willing to let herself hope that it could be.

Gwen keeps her eyes shut, tries to focus on breathing steady as Arthur continues. “I looked, I did, but not properly, not until-” He pauses, not needing to say aloud what had spurred his renewed sense of urgency. They both knew what little precious time the life growing in Gwen’s womb had left.

Arthur’s voice breaks. “I didn’t want you to have to go through that again.” His wife tilts her head up at this, to look at the tears welling up in his eyes. He had done this for their children but he had also done it for her, trying to save her from the suffering losing another baby would cause, the suffering that losing all their babies would cause. Her hand moves up to rest against his jawline.

He pauses again, and Gwen can see his mind working. She can’t do anything but keep looking up at him, waiting for an answer she is terrified of. She wants to comfort him but she doesn’t know what to say, so she just presses closer to his side.

When he speaks again, he says that he found a solution. He struggles to get the words out, unable to look his wife in the eye and she is waiting for a follow up to his statement that tells her that it didn’t work, but it doesn’t come. Instead of words there are great, heaving sobs. Gwen props herself up on her elbow, a hand still against his jawline and silent tears still weaving down her cheeks. “Oh, Arthur, it’s okay.”

Her King turns away from her then, saying he knew they had said together but he had to do this alone. “Hey, look at me,” Gwen says quietly. “...You would have stopped me.” he says. She nods. “I would have. I would rather go through that a hundred times than lose you.” The words fall out of her mouth without her thinking but she knows them to be true.

His eyes find her face again. His expression is pained for a moment as he frees his other arm from under the blankets. He explains that he had been trying to prepare, that’s why his hand was bleeding so in the hallway. When she had gotten so angry with him. When she had said things she didn’t mean. I’m sorry, Arthur says. He didn’t know how much time they had left. Neither of them had. “I know,” she whispers, her thumb moving again to wipe away tears before they fell.

Arthur brings a hand up to his forehead, an upset gesture she recognizes. “I couldn’t lose our child again.” “I know,” Gwen repeats. “Me either.” “I needed to save him...Save you both.” His queen he had saved many times over. He would always save her. But their son… Guinevere is still waiting for that absolute answer that says that her husband had tried but failed and their little prince was still in the same doomed state he was in yesterday.

“Shh, it’s okay, love, it’s okay.” she tries to say but Arthur only cries harder. He closes his eyes and she is studying his face, trying to find the words in her to tell him that it would be alright. They had made it through this before and they could do it again, as long as they were together. They could survive this.

Suddenly his expression changes from distraught tears to a joyful smile, and he is raising his voice saying that it’s gone, something is gone. Arthur laughs, a happy sound that seems out of place in the moment to his wife who is ready to mourn someone she’d never get to meet. “What’s gone?” Gwen asks. He couldn’t mean the- no, he couldn’t.

“And I saw him. Gwen, I saw him!” Arthur exclaims and he’s so happy but Gwen’s face crumples. It can’t be true, it can’t. “No,” she denies it out loud. “You can’t have. You can’t. What do you mean you’ve seen him?”

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King Arthur Pendragon
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 12:20 PM
Quote
  • Royalty (31)
  • Arthurian Legend
  • Camelot
  • “Gather the soldiers, the heir to enfold. Crown him and give him a sceptre to hold.”
Skylark


a vial of hope and a vial of pain
in the light they both looked the same
I didn’t know, she says and though he doesn’t show it, Arthur understands entirely. He already knew, of course he did, that she wouldn’t. These desperate pleas of his now more so a denial that Gwen, his dearest wife and greatest love, had ever had to think any differently than knowing that he hadn’t meant to injure himself so greatly. He had never intended to collapse, nor bleed out to near the brink of death, alone without anyone there to rescue him. It didn’t bear thinking of, what thoughts Gwen must have been plagued with then, upon meeting that scene. No, these words of his were more some desperate hope that she had somehow, instinctively, known that he would never leave her, not intentionally. Not without a fight.

He shook his head softly. Speechless for now. Silent still as she told him it was okay. His expression bled with worry and it didn’t fade, not even with those words. The same words which had brought him such comfort earlier, could not bring him the same now. For they both knew now, Arthur was aware enough of the situation now, that it wasn’t okay. Despite what Gwen said to assure him, those words paled in comparison to what had happened. And for a moment, that desperation in Arthur’s eyes shows so.

The time, something so simple as the time of day he was lost on. There was so much. So much still to know, so much left unsaid. That something which hovered just out of reach of his notice, of his conscious. From his restricted position, wrapped up in their bed, the king did his best to try to judge the answer himself...but he had been asleep for so long. How long, he didn’t know. Only those who had been forced to wait could tell him that.

His eyes fall back on his wife’s face, watching with curiosity now as her tired eyes fell shut for a moment. Like she too could only struggle with the answer to such a simple question as the time of day. Morning, she tells him, and Arthur nods wordlessly against their pillows. His eyes for a moment lost as his brow creases again in thought. He started this in the evening...had it really been so long? Had Gwen been waiting for him to wake all night? Her husband knew it was just what she would do for him, to not rest until she saw him awake and alive once more. Arthur knew with such certainty he’d do the same if their fates were reversed.

But he cannot find the words now to ask.

“I did deserve it.” He repeats, despite Gwen’s words pleading the opposite. Their hands lie over his heart now, he can feel its beat, just as he knows she can too. “I made you a promise. When you told me.” When she’d broke the news of the pregnancy, they both knew the time he spoke of...but it was a promise that stretched much further back than even that. That promise of together. When he had told her of the curse, his awful truth, the reasons behind pushing her away for so, achingly long, he’d promised to never do that to her again. When they’d made up again after she told him the truth of her affair with their best friend, they’d both said it over and over again. Together. Like a mantra, a promise so deep in itself. A togetherness which they knew they couldn’t survive without; a need which ran as deep as their love for one another.

“I broke that.” He whispered it, accepting the weight of what he’d done to her again, despite needing to for his own reasons that he couldn’t tell her back then, he had broken them. “I deserved all you could say.” Even back then, when Gwen had spoken those words, those final words, as he walked away from her just as she told him he would, trying to hold back tears, he’d known. He could never blame her for those words, for they’d been his own fault. How unfair would it have been to distance himself once more, like he swore he never would, with no explanation and expect her to sit and take that again? She knew now at least, or Arthur desperately hoped Gwen did, that he had reasons for doing so, that he would never do that ever again...not unless he had to.

No, not now. Not ever again. He swears that to himself now, in this bed. With her hand in his.

Another promise, Pendragon?
Will you manage to keep it this time?

She tells him that she pushed him, pushed him towards the reason those bandages were wrapped about his arms, even if she hadn’t known at the time just what that had been. He doesn’t know how to disagree, because she had done, unintentionally, in a way. “I would have done it regardless,” that was it, the one truth he could think of to take this blame back. “This isn’t any of your fault, Gwen.” He looked up into her eyes, his own begging with her not to blame herself for what had happened. Not in any way at all. He had done this. And yes, Gwen was part of his reason for doing it, but she hadn’t known...and this outcome, all that had almost happened, it was something neither of them could have predicted. Or perhaps one that he realised, but could never allow himself to accept.

They couldn’t survive a life apart, nor a life alone. It stung now, so much, to think about how close that had almost come to being a reality. Of course, there were dangers everywhere that could pull them apart, be it through war or disease, but they should have years, so many years to share with each other still. And he’d almost left her.

“Good,” he forces a weak smile on his lips as she tells him that she knows it’s the same for him. Ignoring the undeniable sting of the ‘I know now’, which reminded him of all he’d done before this to protect her again. To stop exactly the situation they were in now from ever happening. All that he’d done that he so desperately hoped he could turn back time now and make better. To not have turned and left her alone on that day she had needed him most. To not have let such a guilt fester, and instead found some great courage inside of his heart to tell her the truth of all his wrongs far earlier than he had.

A truth that it was he who was responsible for killing their children before they were even born, and not her. This whole time. This curse planted in his blood which would mean an end to the Pendragon line his half-sister so despised, that robbed every child of life, and took them from the safety of their mother’s womb.

A truth almost as hard to confess as it had been to solve. Curses were notoriously hard to shift, especially when they flowed in the blood, after so long, after being laid there by one as skilled as his sister was with just this kind of magic. Their mother’s magic. How could Arthur Pendragon and his untapped potential ever have hoped to stand a chance?

The weight of it all is crushing, the realisation of all which had come from this decision to do all that was in his power to save a life that should have never been at risk, it pressed down on the King of Camelot as he tried to explain. To give his wife at least the benefit of the truth of what had brought him here. It brought words choking in his throat and tears spilling down his cheeks once more.

In that moment when those thoughts in his head, which weighed so heavily on his heart, are too much for him to even go on, Gwen is there immediately. Her fingers resting along his jaw, keeping herself as close to him as she could, speaking words meant to console her husband. And though he cannot stop those tears, nor the words lost in his cries, it helps. Infinitely. Even if he couldn’t find the words in the middle of all this to tell Gwen so, just having her here with him meant the world. It always did.

He turned away from her, to hide the tears spilling from his eyes, his stumbling words. But the moment she calls on him, his eyes come to find hers again. As she says it. “I would have. I would rather go through that a hundred times than lose you.” He can see in her eyes and already knew in his heart just how much Gwen meant those words. She’d already promised him so, no matter the fact that she would always be cruelly childless with him, Gwen had not been swayed when he’d tried to persuade her to some ‘better’ life without him, by some other man’s side who would not force her to go through this every time they found a child on the way. Gwen had refused to leave him, and had shown them both in doing so that the alternative was a ridiculous notion, no matter how nobly Arthur had suggested it.

“I know you would,” he forces a whisper through tears, not able to look away from her now. The arm wrapped around her waist holds her closer to him. “I couldn’t even imagine-” He stopped to shake his head against the pillows. Momentarily simply in awe of her strength, for having lived through that twice, and having made the decision to live it as many times as she would have to to stay in a life by his side. “You’ve been so brave, Gwen. Stronger than you ever should have had to be.” Forcing a smile through the guilt he swallowed down, Arthur placed a kiss on her forehead.

He battled through this story, the one of all which had led him here, to this sickbed with his arms cut and bleeding. And even as he cries, Gwen was always there trying to console him. To whisper comforts to ease the heaviness in his heart.

That heaviness which flipped so suddenly. That struggling expression which suddenly found a smile once more. At that sudden realisation, that final piece of this picture he’d been trying to figure out since he woke up. That was what he had been missing, that feeling which had been nagging at him. Just out of reach-

It wasn’t there anymore.

As he laughed in joyful disbelief, she asks him the same questions anyone would. What on earth did he mean it was gone? And how the hell did he think he’d seen his unborn son?

“The curse, Gwen!” He exclaimed in that same joyous disbelief as soon as she asked. “It was there before, I could feel it.” It was as much as he could offer by way of explanation. It was as much as Arthur understood about it all anyway. He had never been trained in magic, not properly, not by someone who knew what on earth was going on. All this practise he’d been accomplishing himself, he was going on pure instinct. One clearly driven by this long dormant magic that even after thirty years sat in his veins still seemed to know exactly what it all meant.

With that practice, with that awakening, had come this ability to sense his own power. And hand-in-hand with his, its own shadowy sister magic which ran alongside in his veins. A presence which was no longer there. “Trust me, Gwen.” Because that was it, that was all the proof he had. All the proof he even knew how to have. He’d had no proof of this curse in the first place, now he thought about it, no evidence of the link to the miscarriages, but Gwen had trusted his word the moment he had told her the truth. A truth he’d learned from another’s lips, a mind far more knowledgeable in the arts of magic than the king.

Trust him? Could she do so again now? To offer the same blind faith as she had about the curse to its now absence? Were things so much easier to believe when they were going wrong instead of right?

I saw him! And though he is so suddenly and inexplicably happy, he can only watch as her face crumbles in the exact opposite to his. His wife denied it immediately, this notion that he had somehow seen a child not yet born. That notion far more unbelievable than the first he was trying to make her swallow so suddenly. She asked him, reasonably, for some explanation. “I- I-” And he stumbles at the first opportunity.

How did one even go about explaining this? When he could barely understand what he’d seen himself? How did he go about proving this certainty which he felt so strongly?

“When I was asleep-” He starts again, immediately realising how bad that already sounded. They weren’t dreams, they couldn’t be, they’d been so real. No dream could have the power to cause him so much pain... “I know what that sounds like but, please, it’s more than that. I saw him, and you.” Arthur valiantly pushed on, that smile returning to his face. “You were carrying him in your arms.” His tone sounded almost wistful now, awed by that small luxury of children which should have been theirs by right.

And she couldn’t hear him. No matter how many times he said her name, she couldn’t hear him. She looked right through him. With that exhaustion laid just behind her gaze.

“It was like I was in another place altogether.” Arthur continued, the words falling from his lips automatically. In some way that only seemed to make sense to him. “That place-” His brow suddenly creases in confusion, his eyes searching Gwen’s face as if he might find his answers in her expression.

“I was burning...” That remembered revelation came in the smallest of whispers, such a contrast to the joy he’d had only seconds ago. “I was burning and the sky was red.” The whispers kept coming, like he was speaking words now which weren’t his own. Memories which he’d never experienced. “There was so much blood-” Fractured memories he didn’t understand, ones he didn’t even know were real.

But how could they not have been real when they felt so much so? How could they have been dreams when he felt so present in them? When they repeated, the same scenes, in an endless loop? Ones he’d only escaped in waking.

For a moment, he’d been so overjoyed...but his next words are pained-

“It sounds crazy.” Arthur watched Gwen, searching her face for some kind of answer, some kind of certainty that he was lacking.

Maybe it was crazy? Maybe that was all they were, the frantic, fevered dreams of a man who’d suffered too much blood loss. The imaginings of a starved mind.

“I don’t know.” He whispered, finally admitting it. He squeezed his eyes shut.

“I don’t know.”

+Tag: @Kelly
+Notes: RIP me and my emotions
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Queen Guinevere Pendragon
 Posted: Dec 4 2017, 12:25 AM
Quote
  • Royalty (28)
  • Legend of King Arthur
  • Camelot
  • “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Kelly


Well hold on, my darling This mess was yours, Now your mess is mine

When Arthur is done with his desperate pleas, trying to let his wife know that he hadn’t meant this, it wasn’t on purpose, she tells him the truth. That she didn’t know, couldn’t have known what his intentions were. He hid that from her, putting that heart stopping distance between them again, and when everything happened he was dying there on the floor and she wasn’t able to ask him why.

Gwen can see that desperate denial in his expression then, so she softens the sharp edges of her pain. “It’s okay, Arthur, really.” She repeats, the corners of her lips turning up into a small smile designed to comfort him. It was okay. She thought all of those things and more, she thought for a moment that he had tried to leave her behind. But it was okay now. He was still here. They were still together. He didn’t need to worry himself with that too. But he saw right through that.

Two tired minds struggle to answer what should be such a simple question, and when Gwen squeezes her eyes shut for a moment to concentrate and comes up with the answer, it’s nearly morning, she realizes just how long she’d been sitting here in these blood soaked clothes. Just watching his chest move up and down. She had been sitting here all night, waiting, just waiting for him to wake up. But Gwen would have sat here by his side forever if she had to.

Arthur repeats that he did deserve her angry words from earlier. He reminds her of a promise he made to her when she told him. When she told him about the doomed child they had created. He’d promised her together, and she had repeated it breathlessly like it was the most beautiful word in the world. It always had been. Because together was where the two of them belonged. Together was how they survived. Together meant his arms around her, his lips against hers.

He reminds her that he broke that promise.

Gwen wants to keep telling him it’s okay. That it’s forgotten. But the truth is that she couldn’t forget it, no matter how much she wanted to. She couldn’t forget a whole year where he pushed her further and further away and didn’t tell her why, where he wasn’t there the moment she needed him the most. Where he let her think it was her fault, let her believe the whispers. She thought everything was her fault. Gwen had even thought Arthur didn’t love her. And that had broken her.

She couldn’t forget what that had done. That panic that had gripped her heart in the corridor this afternoon. The terror that had taken over her when he took one step away. The fear that bled into her voice as she begged him to stay, the fear that turned into an angry fire lashing out. That fire was still in her, embers now but still there hiding in the pit of her stomach. The way she felt today when he walked away and the way she felt all of last year would not easily be forgotten. Gwen would always be terrified of feeling that again. Always notice the smallest pull away, the shortest distance between them. And she didn’t think she would ever stop noticing.

But she had forgiven him for that. Just as he forgave her for the vows she had broken and the heartbreak she had caused him when that desperate need for an emotional connection drove her into the wrong arms. He had forgiven her. She had forgiven him. But that didn’t mean that either of them could forget.

“I forgave you for that already.” Gwen says in a voice so quiet it was just above a whisper. “You were only trying to protect me.”

Gwen voices fears that she had pushed him to do this and he tries to quiet them by saying he would have done it anyway. It wasn’t her fault. He’s right, she knows that. He would have done this anyway. Maybe not today, but soon. The guilt reminds her that if he had more time it might have gone better. He might have been more prepared.

She hadn’t quite realized the implication of the word now until it had left her lips, but it was out there now with no way to take it back. Gwen can see how it stung in the smile Arthur attempted back at her.

When the weight of all of this begins to be too much for Arthur and he cries, his wife is there, pressing closer into his side and trying to comfort him. She tells him the truth of all she would go through just to keep from losing him like she almost did tonight. Arthur tells he he knows she would in a choked up whisper. Says he couldn’t imagine- and then stops himself. He pulls her closer. “You’ve been so brave, Gwen.” He tells him, and then places a kiss on her forehead.

Gwen shakes her head. “I’m brave when I’m with you.” she offers. She remembers again how he held her when they lost the first baby. His arms tight around her, protecting her from the outside world with it’s harsh words and cruel glances. Her cheek pressed into the wet fabric of his shirt. The soothing sound of his voice. How he was the only thing that was right in the world. Then she remembers the second time. How cold she was, how vulnerable, without those arms around her. How she had crumbled to pieces.

Arthur gets through his story, his wife listening with held breath all the while, and then when he gets to the end there is that sudden burst of joy that seemed out of place. Out of nowhere he is so sure that he’s done it, that the curse is gone. “Trust me, Gwen.” he says.

She had trusted him absolutely when he told her about the curse in the first place. It was easy to believe in it because that meant there was a reason for all of her pain. Arthur still loved her. She wasn’t broken. There was another reason. It hadn’t been her fault. But believing that it was gone was another story. Because that required hope.

Her face crumples when her husband tells her something impossible, that their little prince would get to live and Arthur had seen him. She denies it, asks him how such a thing could be possible and when he opens his mouth to respond he has no answer for her. He stumbles over his words, saying it had been while he was sleeping and then backtracking to make it sound less like a dream. He had seen him, Arthur insists. He had seen Gwen too. “You were carrying him in your arms.”

Arthur’s voice is wistful as he remembers it but his words only make his wife cry more as she too pictures carrying a son in her arms. Something she would never get to do. Something she wants more than anything. “I want to believe you,” She cries. “I want to believe you so badly.”

He explains that somehow he was in another place all together, and then his words devolve into frightening whispers about burning and bleeding and a red sky. “Arthur.” The whispers keep going. They scared her in a way she couldn’t explain, in the way the feeling in the air in that room had. “Arthur, stop.” They stop abruptly. His eyes wander over her face. “It sounds crazy.”

Then Arthur admits something. He admits that he doesn’t know. And that little drop of hope that had been welling up inside Gwen in spite of herself is suddenly gone.

“I can’t hope for it if it’s not true, Arthur, I can’t.” Her voice choked up with tears and full of pain. “I can’t think that I’ll get to keep him because then when he’s taken away… You saw what that did to me the first time, and then the second time I-” Gwen had hoped far too much. She had hoped more than anything that losing the first child had been a tragedy, not the start of a pattern. That the years of wanting a baby so badly and never getting pregnant didn’t mean anything. She hoped that the little prince she had been carrying inside her was growing strong and before long he’d come out into the world a perfect representation of the love his parents shared. That hope had killed her.

“I can’t hope that like again. Please don’t do that to me.”

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