.

.

It may have been the dead of winter, but Gwen still had energy to burn.

Rugs protected her bare feet, ones with ivory for a ground shade. They, woven of blue and lustrous yarn with a coppery red, giving an iridescent effect even with the heavy colors. Morgana's chambers swelled with fire-heat, as she bent to her knees to stroke the hearth. Naked as the day of her birth, except for the umber-dark bear pelt grasped to her.

Gwen turned to her shoulder. She buried her nose into the softness of the fur, the musk of animal scent overpowered by dye and perfumes.

She had never known a life like this, so full of elegance and luxury. Painted chests and wardrobes in ebonized panel, holly and yellowed boxwood, oak trestle-tables with freshly scrubbed pewter trays overloaded with sweetmeats and apples and roasted nuts. Upright chairs of maple wood, legs ornately carved of scrolls, foliage and crowns.

Her tables at home were not topped with marble, but with weeks of grey dust and broken pieces of stranger's armour. Outside dirt lined the stone. Gwen's blankets were thin. She had, of course, a taperstick or two for lighting her way to other, open-air rooms, but not a finely-made candelabrum with melted, aged wax on its iron.

No scent bottles, no pendants, no chalices, no silver hairbrushes, no carving-knives of precious gem-mount handles.

They would have been nice things to own. To be born into.

Gwen didn't require them. She enjoyed the colors, green brighter than summer grass and vermilion and jet-black, satin dresses folded in her hands. She enjoyed them on Morgana. Brooches pinned to the long, alabaster curve of her neck, how Gwen's fingers expertly tightened the ribbons in place. Morgana's skin was softer than silk, or satin.

Morgana's throat would clench up, arching in obedience for brown fingers tracing, her eyes on Gwen's lovely smile.

That was the first time she kissed her (or perhaps Gwen let herself be kissed), moments before a feast—Morgana's throat clenching, and clenching, but her mouth hollowed. Their lips made an awkward slide to fit, nose bumping, requiring someone to tilt her head. Her mouth sloppy-wet and irresistible with heat, responsive to Gwen's urging, opening and closing separate, breathless kisses. Hands flitted nervously, unsure of where to touch—or to touch at all, shouldn't they… they shouldn't

Summoning her courage, Gwen took Morgana's hands kindly into hers, eyes peeking through dark lashes, placing them to Gwen's sides. They would both need courage in the days to come, sneaking off together, hiding too-admiring glances, clasped hands in private and kiss-bitten lips and fingers and ears.

At the beginning of the feast, jolly and noisy with cool, delicious wine, guests enthralled by the glittering beauty of the noble-bred women and festive mummers, she noticed Merlin staring across the dining hall. He grinned oddly, removing one of his hands from a jug and discretely tapping the left corner of his mouth. Gwen maneuvered away from the rest of the servants, using the same practiced discretion, and found a brilliant red colouring smeared to her mouth, Morgana's lip colour.

When Gwen looked for him again, Merlin had already vanished into the thick of Camelot's evening feast.

He never made mention of it to her. No servant either, whether curious or accusing… yes, it was fortunate how the gods were good.

She remembered the stiff horror of being caught, and then awe—of Morgana, always her, stunningly beautiful with lockets, clasps and rings of gold jewelry in her hair, like a filigree in black, soft curls. Gwen remembered how easy it was to be careless, and how she would never, never ever allow that dangerous risk again.

The bear pelt dropped off Gwen's shoulders, as her name was whispered in the bedchamber.

"Oh, Gwen, aren't you freezing," Morgana said in protest, a little louder this time. She sat up on an elbow, taking the heavy pelt and scowling faintly at the other woman as Gwen did approach her. "Come back to bed, dove. I won't have you catching a chill."

"That would be my own fault, I can assure you," she replied, but Gwen did as bid, shivering a little. Even with the swallowing warmth of the blankets and Morgana's breasts and legs against her. Ducking her head, Morgana gathered her brown hands together, puffing hot, lingering breathes, massaging Gwen's fingers back to life.

A pleasant feeling swooped up Gwen's belly, like her soul physically wishing to take wing from her body.

"Forgive me. The embers were low, milady. I needed to—" A pair of lips cut her off.

Morgana pressed a little harder to her, sighing against their mouths. The slow undulation of her hips warmed not just Gwen's cheeks, not just her nether-regions, but every part of her available to radiating sensation. Her blood sung to Morgana's heartbeat.

"There's more than enough heat for us now, don't you agree," came out mischievously. Gwen laughed quietly when Morgana's eyes narrowed in pride.

She reached down for that slippery opening between Morgana's legs widening for her, cupping it and gladdened by the low whine of need, in the comfortable, familiar breech where Gwen's fingers push in. Morgana had been softer down there. Beneath coarse hair, she was living and fluttering muscle that left Gwen's hand dripping.

Her own sex throbbed, ached sweetly in loneliness and welcomed the company of a slim thigh rubbing against it.

"Morgana… "

"It's not meant for a pathetic cock," Morgana murmured filthy truth to her, teeth scraping Gwen's earlobe, "or a suckling babe to heave out. You're the only one I want."

Her Lady's words sank in, twisting horror and awe.

Exhausted by her own struggles, Gwen squeezed her eyes shut, feeling arms draw round her. Morgana's hand to her hip, another to the nape of her neck. "I know," she said, muffling to a pale collarbone. "I know… Morgana, I want that more than anything…" Gwen's fingers went limp, sliding damp out of the other woman and resting to the bed.

"Then why do you sound upset?"

"It's different," Gwen explained, calmly. "You were born knowing you could be given anything you wanted."

Morgana's eyes focused on hers when dark brown reopened.

"You are not an object, Gwen—have I said something ill?" she asked, face tightened.

"No," Gwen tried to sound reassuring, shaking her head weighed to the pillow. "No, you haven't."

This didn't appear to soothe her. Morgana's frown took on disappointment and anger as Gwen lifted up.

"Well, I certainly don't expect you to give yourself over to me because of my station—"

"—Listen to me," Gwen said, pleadingly. She held Morgana's face gently as she could, Gwen's chest and what felt like her lungs in worried knots. "We were born knowing things the other didn't. You were born into beautiful gifts, and I needed to earn them. But you were born to certain responsibility when I wasn't, like marrying someone of your station."

Morgana's dark eyebrows lifted, and Gwen smoothed thumbs over Morgana's temples, witnessing anger fade as disappointed understanding overtook it.

"I can marry of my own heart one day, and it isn't expected of you… "

The sudden, unchaste grin on Morgana's nude lips surprised her.

"To hell with being the dutiful ward," she said in blunt honesty. Nudging Gwen's side with a playful knee. "As long as it is your heart, I intent to keep it and treat it no less than it deserves." Gwen let out a squawk of indignation when she fell on her back at the too-hard nudge, eyes rounding. Morgana laughed at her expression, helping her on her side.

"You told me you had to earn what you keep, is that it?"

She shifted Gwen's hand, their fingers tangled, over the space of her heart. Eyes impossibly bright and stubborn, and the nicest thing.

"I believe you already have, Gwen."

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BBC Merlin is not mine. FEMMESLASH FEBRUARY ISN'T OVER YET. IN FACT, IT IS FEMMESLASH 2014. EXPECT MORE FROM ME. I agreed to a writing challenge with that theme in mind, with a prompt by the very, very sweet animewiccan725: "Morgana/Gwen - something sweet and fluffy that devolves into pure smut (including them almost being caught by either Arthur or Merlin at any point)". I hope so much that I matched what you desired, and thank you for playing the challenge game with me! And readers, and you Morgwen fans, I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading the fluffy romance! Comments/questions are very beloved and encouraged, dearies!