Written as a secret santa gift for a friend on LiveJournal under the title "Good Things". Before you ask - yes, this can be a tie in for To You, An Admirer as I planned it as the Christmas post (It lies between parts 10 and 11). But you don't have to if you don't want to. Revised and edited.
Arthur waited in the opening of a dark alcove for Gwen to walk past.
He knew that Gwen was no fool. She knew she wasn't the first person he had dragged into a dark alove just as much as she knew she wasn't the first person to tell him he was beautiful. There had been many women who in their girlish adoration of him had freely thrown themselves at him as they told him how elegantly masculine his features were. They would go to great lengths to describe how perfect he was and used elaborate terms and phrases to do so, as if using them would make it more meaningful. But it had meant nothing to him.
He knew that Gwen was different from them. It wasn't the way she said it that made it special. It was how she said it. She would look up at him, smile and it would just come naturally. The power came with the sincerity in her voice and in her eyes. It was filled with honesty. They burnt with a sense of love that words could not cover.
So when Arthur told her how beautiful she was, he just said it too. Then she would smile bashfully, or backtrack, or look away gawkily. It wasn't in disbelief or false modesty. It was just Gwen being Gwen.
Finally, he saw her coming.
He loved the way she giggled self-consciously when he reached out of the darkness of the alcove that candles did notreach, and pulled her towards him. She tried to ignore the spark of passion that had been awakened by merely the touch of his hand. She pretended to scold him when he pulled the sheets she was carrying out of her hands and dropped them on the floor.
"I'll have to wash those again now," she said, biting back a laugh for fear someone would hear them.
"Who were they for?" he whispered.
His breath tickled her face as he backed her against the dark wall. His face was an inch away from hers. Their noses touched delicately and their eyes were fixed on each other as they resisted the urge to kiss just a little while longer. "If it was someone I don't like then—"
"They're yours actually."
"Even better!" he said. He kicked the sheets to one side with his muddy boots.
Gwen gasped, "That's just wrong."
"No, it's practical" he replied, placing his hands on her hips. "It'll give me an excuse to get rid of Merlin. He'll have to do them again."
Gwen rolled her eyes but still shivered at their close contact. "That's really unfair!"
"Would you have me any other way?"
That was an interesting question. His behaviour was improving, but would Gwen have him any other way? Probably not. She didn't know what Arthur would be like if he didn't have some arrogance in him. He wouldn't be Arthur then.
He lowered his head to place a kiss on her neck. "You're terrible," she purred.
"I'm getting better," he murmured into the angle of her neck. "Thanks to you being such a moraliser."
Gwen pushed him back and smiled wickedly. "If you don't like it then maybe you should do your own laundry."
"There you go again!" he said with a grin. "At this rate you may make me a better person. I'll be considerate and everything!"
"I'm not making you that way," Gwen replied. She leant forward to place a loving, lingering kiss on his smile. "It's already inside you. I'm just… prying it out."
Arthur said nothing. He leant forward to resume the kiss she had begun, negotiating his tongue through her lips and carefully caressing the sides of her mouth. Gwen reciprocated by wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him closer. Breaking the kiss, she smiled. "Arthur…"
He pulled her gently to one side, further into the alcove so that they were completely out of view of any people passing. He sensually trailed kisses across her lips, face and neck, while tenderly bringing a hand up from her hips to her breast. She carefully traced her fingers down his spine, feeling a queer shiver of desire through him. Instinctively he pushed himself harder against her, and her harder against the wall.
Reluctantly, Gwen loosened herself from him. "I need to get back to work."
She's doing again, he thought. His eyes were fogged. As she turned to walk away he grabbed her from behind, wrapped both his arms around her waist and held his face against her cheek.
He laughed despite his itching state of arousal, "No, you don't."
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't!"
"Yes, I do!" she told him. He burried his face in her shoulder. She turned her head over to look at him, bringing their faces together, "We maybe lovers but I'm still a handmaiden."
The prince tightened his hold on her and placed another kiss on her neck. "I command you to stay."
She knew how to play him even in his childish taunts and her awkwardness. Gwen chuckled, "Do you command me as the prince or Arthur?"
"Would you listen to me if it was Arthur?"
She freed herself from his grasp and turned to face him. "Arthur knows that good things come to those who wait."
Arthur pulled a face, "No he doesn't. Arthur wants what he wants when he wants it."
"That's the prince in you talking," Gwen said, as stumbled back out towards the light of the corridor, lost more in her passion than the darkness. She sighed, "I need to get back to work now."
She stopped as Arthur took her hand and pulled her back towards him again. "Guinevere."
He led her back into the artificial darkness of the alcove. Even in the dark they could make out each other's faces. The passion, the desire, it was all still there, but it was controlled, and they finally had a moment to regard each other once again. Gwen reached up and stroked his cheek with the palm of her hand while Arthur rubbed strands of her hair through his fingers. It crackled like fire and smelt like flowers. She maybe a handmaiden, he thought. But she is every inch a queen to me.
"You have such a beautiful face," she let slip once again, her mind miles away somewhere deep in his eyes.
He smiled, bringing his head forward so their foreheads touched, so that they were nose-to-nose and eye-to-eye. "You have beautiful eyes."
Gwen smiled, and pulled him slowly towards her. They wrapped their arms around each other again; she around his neck again, he around her waist. They kissed again, beginning tenderly and ending forcefully. He backed her against the wall again, gently this time, aware of the limitations there were in what they could do in this private and yet very public place.
They broke the kiss. She laid her temple against his jawbone. They quivered and gasped for their breaths. They could feel their bodies aching, craving each other. Arthur brought his hand up to her hair, and lowered his head to bring his lips to her ear. "Come to me tonight," he said, almost pleadingly.
She nodded, "Tonight. The usual time?"
"A bit earlier," he said, taking a deep breath. "I don't want to wait any longer than I have to. You always show up late."
"Good things come to those who wait," she reminded him.
"If you make me wait any longer than I have to I won't have any energy left."
Gwen placed one last kiss on his lips before she managed to rip herself from him, her one consolation being that they would be together that night. As she walked out of the alcove she turned and said, "I'll be there no later than ten."
"I'll try and get rid of Merlin around half past nine."
"Don't worry," she told him with a knowing smile. "Something tells me he'll want to get away a bit before then."
He titled his head, "Why's that?"
"Because, for some reason, Morgana said I could leave at nine."
Arthur thought about it for two seconds before he broke into a smile. "Is that so? Well, in that case I'll be expecting you at half nine, because I intend to do one better and let Merlin go at half eight."
Gwen tilted her head, "There's your considerate side coming out."
"Not really," he admitted her giving her a wicked smile. "I'm only doing it to shorten my suffering."
He picked up the bed sheets that had been thrown to one side on the floor and tucked them under his arm. "I'll make sure Merlin gets these rewashed."
"Good," she replied. "You might not mind sleeping in dirty sheets but I do."
He smirked and watched her walk down the end of the corridor from the entrance of the alcove. Once she had disappeared around the corner he walked the same way towards his chambers. It wasn't until he got there and saw that Merlin wasn't present that he realised that had he waited for her there…
His mind straight away went to Gwen once again. It had been three days since she had last come to his room. What little time they managed to find was precious to them both. When she came all he wanted to do was listen to the boring tasks she had been up to, to tell her about the boring tasks he had been up to and then all he wanted to do was hold her, kiss her and make love to her.
My father will kill me if he find out, he thought.
He went over to the window and saw Merlin dawdling across the courtyard. He took off one of his boots, opened the window and hurled it at him. It narrowly missed hitting Merlin in the head, instead getting him in the shoulder. He stumbled and looked up.
"I have some washing I need you to do," the prince called with a smile.
Merlin scowled, "I only just went through it all…"
"Well, there you go. When you've done that I think we can have a little swords practise," he went on. "I'm feeling a little tense," he grinned an infuriating grin, "And from the looks of things you are too."
Merlin rolled his eyes, "Yes, sire."
Arthur laughed and Merlin trudged away, "Oh, don't be disheartened, Merlin. Finish all of that… and I'll let you go early tonight."
He laughed as Merlin rushed back into the castle to collect the washing, the promise of an early night clearly too great to resist. It was nice that both of them had something to look forward to that night.
"And don't forget my boot!" the prince added before he closed the window.