Title: Before I Lay Thee Down to Sleep
Author: Janine
Fandom: The BBC's Merlin
Rating: R
Pairing: Gwen/Morgana
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just borrowing them.

Summary: Gwen helps Morgana get ready for bed.

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Morgana lifted her hands in the air and stood still, allowing Gwen to grasp the material of her slip and pull it up and over her head. As always, Morgana was extremely conscious of her nudity around Gwen, and she felt herself shiver as the soft, silken material of the slip brushed across her body as Gwen pulled it off.

When the slip was removed, Gwen turned her back to Morgana, her hands moving quickly and assuredly, folding the expensive fabric that had been covering Morgana before she carefully placed it aside.

When Gwen turned back around to face her mistress, Morgana was standing in front of her, completely nude.

Gwen's eyes lowered to the floor. Anyone watching the scene from afar would have characterized the action as submissive, but if they had done so they would have been incorrect. As Gwen's eyes began to trail up Morgana's body, slowly taking in her shapely calves and firm thighs, it would have become clear to anyone watching that Gwen was not afraid of Morgana, nor was she truly in a position of subservience.

Morgana breathed in deeply, her body trembling slightly as Gwen's eyes continued further up her body. Gwen's gaze was a caress in and of itself, and Morgana felt a pleasant throbbing begin between her legs, and though she did not look down to confirm it, she was certain that her nipples were hardening as well.

"You had a busy day, milady," Gwen said softly, though her eyes held Morgana's steadily. "Would you like a quick wash before bed?"

Morgana's lips twitched minutely at the question, but she quickly got the expression under control.

"Yes, I think so," Morgana responded, her voice a little rougher than she would have liked but otherwise steady. "Thank you."

Gwen smiled, her lips curving up gently as her eyes shone brightly, and then she turned and walked over to the dressing screen. She disappeared from Morgana sight for a moment, and when she came back into view she was holding a large bowl of water and had a cloth draped over her forearm.

Morgana's heart beat picked up, and she couldn't stop a small smile from appearing on her face at the knowledge that Gwen had made preparations for their time that night.

Gwen set the bowl down on the ground in front of Morgana and then knelt down in front of her mistress herself. She removed the cloth from her forearm and dipped it in the bowl of water. She wetted it, wrung it free of access water, and then she moved the cloth over to Morgana's left calf and began to slowly move the cloth.

Morgana sighed softly, and tipped her head back. She closed her eyes, and gave herself over to the warm, pleasant feelings that Gwen's actions were producing in her.

Morgana was used to the feeling of Gwen's hand on her, and Gwen's touch soothed her but it also excited her.

Gwen moved the cloth to Morgana's thighs, and drew the damp fabric between her mistress's legs so that it was running gently over the soft, sensitive skin of her inner thigh. Gwen then began to inch the cloth up higher and higher before she finally stopped just before she reached the place Morgana longed for her the most. Morgana let out a soft, frustrated sigh. Her body was thrumming with desire, and she knew that the spot Gwen bypassed was far damper than the cloth being used to clean her.

Gwen cleaned her arms, and then moved the cloth to Morgana's stomach, dragging the damp material up the smooth taut skin until the cloth was pressed against Morgana's breasts, which she slowly caressed until Morgana's chest was heaving and her shockingly blue eyes were focused on Gwen's face, burning with intensity.

Morgana jumped slightly at the sound of the splash made by the cloth as it landed in the bowl, then she gasped as Gwen's hands replaced the cloth and covered her breasts.

"You shiver milady," Gwen whispered, her lips brushing against Morgana's cheek as she spoke. "I must get you to bed."

"My gown," Morgana protested lightly.

"Your skin is damp, your gown will get wet," Gwen responded, her hand sliding down Morgana's torso and then moving to the side to take her hand. "The blankets and my body will keep you warm."

"You are kind," Morgana breathed out. "I am blessed to have you by my side."

"We are both blessed," Gwen replied tenderly, squeezing Morgana's hand as she spoke, "to have each other."

Morgana smiled and reached out to touch Gwen for the first time that night. She brought her fingers to Gwen's cheek, and slowly drew the backs of them down, caressing the soft, smooth, mahogany skin lovingly.

"Take me to bed," Morgana said, her voice barely a whisper.

"Yes, milady," Gwen replied smiling tenderly. "Thank you, milady."

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Morgana closed her eyes contentedly, and stretched out her pleasantly aching limbs, a soft sigh escaping from her as she pointed her toe and arched her back. When she opened her eyes again, she found Gwen gazing at her with a soft smile on her lips and she felt herself returning the expression.

Gwen reached out, her eyes still holding Morgana's, and gently began to rub her hand over her mistress's stomach. Morgana sighed, and leaned into the touch, and Gwen smiled widely.

"Why, you're just a big cat," Gwen said playfully, scratching Morgana's stomach teasingly.

"I am," Morgana agreed, enjoying Gwen's touch even though the other woman was poking fun at her. "But I'm a lazy, indolent cat," she continued, leaning over Gwen's nude body to place her lips against her collarbone before she began to kiss her way up her neck. "Now that I've caught my prey," Morgana whispered, her lips brushing against Gwen's jaw as her arms wrapped around the dark woman's waist.

"There's no prey that's so happy to be caught as I am," Gwen breathed out softly as Morgana's hand began to run up and down the side of her torso restlessly.

"There are no hunters as incredibly fond of their prey as I am," Morgana returned, and then she pressed her lips tenderly against Gwen's, kissing her slowly and softly for a long moments. "Stay with me tonight?" Morgana requested softly as she pulled away from Gwen's lips.

The night wore on, and she knew that soon Gwen would announce that it was late and that she needed to head home before her father began to worry. Most nights Morgana was understanding –though she hated to have Gwen leave her bed – and would kiss Gwen softly before releasing her hold on her so that her lover could get dressed. On some nights however, the thought Gwen leaving, the reality of an empty bed was too much for her and she would ask Gwen to stay the night.

She tried not to do it too often. It kept Gwen away from her father, and she knew how close the two of them were. Not to mention, that if Gwen spent too many nights in her room people would notice and begin to talk – though Morgana doubted that most would be able to correctly guess why Gwen was there. But some nights, she simply had to, she just had to, sleep with Gwen in her arms.

"Milad…" Gwen began, the last syllable falling silent as Morgana shook her head from side to side. "Morgan," Gwen corrected, her lips twitching up in a smile as Morgana smiled at the use of her nickname.

"Please," Morgana said, pouting slightly before Gwen could say another word. "Please stay," she whispered, stroking Gwen's cheek tenderly.

Gwen's body tensed against Morgana's side, and for a moment Morgana was convinced that Gwen would not give into her pleas. But, after a moment of silence, Gwen sighed softly and relaxed against Morgana's side once more, turning her face into the pale fingers that were still stroking her cheek.

"You must speak to father," Gwen says with a touch of exasperation in her voice, though she allows Morgana to pick up her hand and kiss her fingers. "He doesn't believe you could possibly need so much assistance. I think he's beginning to suspect I'm seeing someone."

"You are," Morgana responded playfully, taking the tip of Gwen's index finger into her mouth.

"That's hardly the point," Gwen replied, trying for a peevish tone.

"I'll talk to him tomorrow," Morgana assured Gwen, lowering the other woman's hand from her lips so that she could then press her lips against Gwen's. "I'll say … I'll say you're … teaching me how to sew."

Gwen laughed at that. "You?" she asked incredulously. "Sew?"

"No," Morgana said slowly, drawing out the words as her fingers pinched playfully at Gwen's flesh. "Me. Lie," she went on, punctuating each word with a kiss to Gwen's lips. "So you stay," she finished softly, tangling her fingers with Gwen's.

Gwen squeezed Morgana's fingers, and then snuggled down into Morgana's soft bedding. Morgana's plan to speak with her father would work for the moment, and quite possibly many moments, but it wouldn't last forever. One day – even they managed to continue on as Lady and servant – they would be separated as lovers. Morgana was a powerful political tool. There were many powerful men from neighboring kingdoms who desired Morgana's hand in marriage, and when one made a lucrative enough offer, Uther would make the deal.

But, Gwen thought, it was no time to think about such things with Morgana's lips pressed against the back of her shoulders, and her mistresses arms wrapped around her waist. At that moment in time, she was in Morgana's arms and heart, and that was what she would focus on. It was up to each individual to make their happiness in life, and Gwen was going to be happy with Morgana for as long as she could.

The End