Disclaimer: Not mine.
AN: After realizing how much I wished that Morgana had told Gwen instead of Merlin about her magic I realized that I actually wanted to write it. So I did. Be warned that this is a friendship fic… though it doesn't have anything to preclude it from being a romance (except like one sentence at the very end) so if you read it as such I really won't mind.
* a pebble that's dropped in a different pond *
She has magic.
It's the only thing running through her head. On repeat. Again and again that thought comes and she flinches under its unmerciful glare every time.
Merlin is staring at her. His eyes wide and that guileless expression clearly urging her to tell him what has brought her in the middle of the night running for Gaius' chambers in nothing but her nightgown.
"You can trust me, Morgana." Merlin says and she almost tells him, almost blurts it out. "You know you can."
Her mouth opens and that damning sentence is on the tip of her tongue 'I think I have magic'.
She does know. Merlin is a good man, yes, but so is Arthur and she's seen him lead dozens of sorcerers to their deaths. And she knows Merlin so much less well than she knows the boy she grew up besides.
It's true that Merlin helped her save the Druid child. She knows he doesn't hate magic in the same deep seeded way that the people of Camelot do. But there's a difference between protecting a child they'll never see again and lying to the king every day, lying to the crown prince every day.
She can't afford to trust Arthur's manservant that much. No matter that he's nearly a friend.
"Nothing. It's… nothing. I just had a bad dream, that's all." She smiles at him, trying to make it look genuine.
"Oh… alright." Merlin answers, though she sees that he clearly doesn't believe her. "Goodnight, my Lady."
"Goodnight Merlin." She says without the tremor that was in her voice minutes ago, her composure returning now that she's decided to pull it back over her shoulders with an ease that's years practiced. She turns around and starts walking back to her chambers, forcing herself not to run.
As soon as she turns a corner her politely pleasant expression breaks apart and she hurriedly wipes at her cheeks with her hand.
She can't tell Merlin but she doesn't know what else to do, Gaius' sleep potions do nothing, they're useless against the nightmares- against the visions. They did nothing to stop her window from exploding or her vase from shattering.
She has magic and she can't keep it contained. She doesn't know how. Any day now she'll find herself burning alive, whether it's inside her own rooms because she lost control again or under her chamber's windows in the palace square.
Her chest aches with new terror as her breathing grows shallow and her heart starts beating against her rib cage. But she's almost to her rooms now and so she forces herself to walk past the two guards stationed near the entrance after yesterday's events without falling apart. Leaving in the middle of the night to see Gauis after waking from a nightmare isn't unusual for Lady Morgana, having a panic attack in front of them would be, and she can't afford to be brought before Uther like this.
Her hands shake as she opens the door and slips inside, she hopes they take it for a shiver, the castle is cold at night and she forgot to pull a cloak over her shoulders when she left.
As soon as the door slides shut she falls against it and crosses her hands over her stomach, pressing against it, bends over trying to gasp down some air. It doesn't help.
She can't- can't breathe.
And she can't call for help, already she feels that same feeling starting to buzz in her veins, she's about to either fall unconscious or do something worse and she can't call for help.
There's no one, no one here she can trust. No one here she can tell this to. No one that can help her.
'Help me, please help me, someone please, please help me.'
And then she sees that Gwen's maidservant room has the door half open and remembers that there is someone. Gwen keeps it closed when she's not there, it's only open when Gwen spends the night here instead of at her home down in the village, so that she can hear if Morgana calls her. Gwen doesn't usually stay, but Morgana's 'nightmares' have gotten bad during the past few weeks and she knows that Gwen's been worried about her, had decided that it might be better if there was someone around to wake her if she started screaming in the middle of the night.
She stumbles back to her feet and, still hyperventilating, moves for the one person that she trusts to help without calling for half the castle first.
"Gwen." Morgana whispers, her voice choked and desperate. "Gwen!"
She pulls the door open all the way and calls her friend's name again.
In moments Gwen is awake and at Morgana's side. Eyes worried and hands warm and grasping Morgana's face.
"Breathe, my Lady." Gwen commands at once. "Slow, deep breaths. Morgana, breathe with me!"
But Morgana just shakes her head.
"In-" Gwen says putting Morgana's hand over her chest and urging her to follow her example "-and out."
"In-" Gwen repeats as Morgana gasps in a breath and tries to hold it, her chest burns, and the thing in her veins is rising to the surface as she tries to hold it back, but it's like oil in boiling water, stubbornly trying to rise to the top. She clenches her eyes closed. "-and out."
"In-" She breathes in and at the back of her mind chants it; 'In. In. Keep it in. Please stay in.' "-and out."
Every candle in Gwen's room lights up at once and Morgana freezes in place even as she exhales a shuddering breath. Her eyes open and connect with Gwen's and she sees her startle out of her worry.
"What-?" Gwen face twists in confusion and the beginning of fear, looking around for the source of the obvious magic.
Morgana sits frozen and helpless and tries to think, to say something, anything to stop Gwen from figuring it out, from realizing that her friend is just like the monster that got her father killed. Like the monsters that come to terrorize Camelot nearly every month it seems.
She could scream, could look over Gwen's shoulder and pretend to see something, could lie about an intruder that vanished before Gwen had a chance to turn around.
She could,- but…
But she has no more strength for a lie tonight. She's tired and scared and falling apart and Gwen is her best friend, she can trust her best friend, can't she?
She doesn't look away, she doesn't scream. She waits for a moment until Gwen is looking at her again and opens her mouth and- "I think I have magic."
She knows Gwen better than she knows Merlin, better than she knows Arthur. Gwen is the kindest person Morgana has ever met, she's sweet and brave and good, better than any royal she knows, certainly better than Morgana herself. And still she's never been so terrified in her life, and she doesn't know what scares her more; that Gwen will tell Uther, or that Gwen will look at her and see only a monster.
"I have magic." She says again as Gwen stares at her, face shocked and uncomprehending. "No one broke into my rooms yesterday, it was me, I broke the window. And my nightmares come true. And I can't make it stop. I want to make it stop. Gwen, how do I make it stop?"
And then she really does start crying, she pulls her knees to her chest and turns her face away from Gwen's and starts sobbing into her nightgown.
And then after a moment, a hesitant hand touches her shoulder and pulls her forward into an embrace, a hand starts running over the back of her head, slow and soothing.
"It's alright Morgana, We'll figure it out. I'll help." Gwen's voice is a fierce whisper and the relief that blooms inside Morgana's chest is so powerful she knows her knees would have buckled with it if she wasn't already on the floor. "I'll help."
Gwen doesn't know what to believe. Doesn't know if magic is evil or not, doesn't know where to even begin to look for those answers. She doesn't know where the Druids are hiding, doesn't know where to search for their help or if they would even give it to the Ward of Uther Pendragon.
But she knows this.
She knows that Morgana is not evil. She's known her since they were children, she knows the heart that beats inside her Lady's chest and knows there is no cruelty there.
She knows she's not going to risk her friend's execution. Knows she will break as many laws of Camelot as she needs to to keep Morgana safe from their King's hatred of magic.
Guinevere was raised by her father to do the right thing whatever that may be, and to recognize what's right whether the laws of their kingdom agreed or not.
She doesn't know if magic is evil; she knows it to be dangerous, knows it's power can be terrible - has seen it be terrible. But until she learned Morgana's secret she hadn't known that magic didn't need to be chosen, didn't know that you could be born with it or that someone might not have a choice in possessing it.
And she knows that no person is born evil.
So Gwen doesn't understand magic, she's not sure she ever will, but she doesn't have to trust it to trust Morgana. And she certainly doesn't have to trust it to help her friend find a way to trust herself with it.
The gold crown touches Queen Guinevere's head, sunlight shimmering against its surface. There is an immeasurable sort of strength to her shoulders, a regality to her bearing that Morgana has always seen in her but which is breathtaking to behold being realized.
The Kingdom of Camelot cheers for its Once and Future Queen and Morgana celebrates alongside it.
'Long live the Queen.' Morgana whispers into Gwen's mind with a joyful smile.