Title: Filial Piety
Series: Merlin
Character/Pairing: Gwen & Morgana friendship
Rating: PG? G?
A/N: comment_fic: Gwen/Morgana, father issues. / 6. wetting, wetting, wetting my sleeves. The Gauntlet


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Gwen had only been on the job for two days when she first found her lady crying. Lady Morgana sat at the edge of her bed, her face in her hands. Gwen stepped over like one would to a wild animal, in slow steps, soft steps, and stood at the side of the bed, and asked what was the matter.

She didn't know much of her lady, only that she was sad and that wasn't something she could abide. It wasn't so much that she had to, she could have simply apologized and left and most other servants probably would. Her father had told her many times in a gentle, but firm way that it was no use getting in the affairs of nobles. Get too tightly tied up with them and you'd become a liability. They'd toss you aside the first sign of trouble because ultimately, peasants were expendable.

But Gwen couldn't just do that. Lady Morgana was her charge, and so far had been nothing but kind to her, even if a bit distant. Gwen set aside the clothes and came closer, slowly, softly like one might do with a wild animal. She offered her coarse handkerchief which even had a bit of ashes rubbed in, now that she saw. It seemed almost a shame to let such a thing touch her lovely face, but Lady Morgana took it anyways.

"What's wrong, m'lady?"

Lady Morgana sniffled. Even tear streaked and red it did nothing to lessen her beauty.

"I miss my father," she said. "It's so far and lonely here..I don't know anyone at all."

Sympathy flooded her. Gwen always was a bleeding heart. Her father always said that she'd take home any injured animal if she had half the chance.

She couldn't sit on the bed without permission. She stood there, a bit awkward with a smear of ashes over her cheek, the barrier between their stations invisible, yet so evident. But through this, she took a chance and put her arms about Lady Morgana. She could be punished severely for it, but the girl so obviously needed a hug that Gwen knew she'd regret it forever if she didn't. Lady Morgana seemed surprised at first, but she seemed to accept the embrace as she didn't strive to push Gwen away, and relaxed a bit in her grip.

"I can't replace everyone, but I want you to know, m'lady that you can call me any time and I will be there."

"...will you be my friend, Gwen? I do so need a friend," Lady Morgana said.

"I would like nothing better, m'lady," Gwen replied.

And for the first time since she'd come there, Lady Morgana calmed.

.

Morgana was there the first night when her father took ill, repaying that first favor, and the time when her father's luck finally ran out and he had died. Gwen was incoherent with grief. She stood, a rag in hand, thinking to work but all that came to her was that she would never see her father again. He was nothing but a memory, her kind, wonderful father gone – he had done his best by her after her mother died. And now he was– he was–

Her hand shook, the rag falling to the floor. She crumbled down to the stones and pressed balled up fists to her eyes until she saw little dots but still the tears came. She looked up through her tears when the door opened and saw Lady Morgana who looked upon her solemnly.

"I heard the news. I'm so, so sorry, Gwen," Lady Morgana said. Lady Morgana sat right in the middle of that uncomfortable stone floor and put her arms around her. She whispered soft, comforting things to her against her hair. To this, Gwen screamed incoherently, sobbing harder than she thought it was possible to sob. She pressed Gwen's face to her breast and rocked her, as one would a child, not caring if her lovely dress got spoiled with tears. She even offered her a handkerchief, one smelling of roses and clean, a far cry from the ash stained cloth that Gwen had offered years ago.

"I cannot say anything to make this better. I didn't know him that well, but to have such a sweet and loyal girl as you must be a testament to him. I can't make this better Gwen, but I want you to know that I am here. Do not think of me as your lady now, but your friend."

Gwen blew her nose into the handkerchief. She held it out, not half as pretty as it was, all spoiled now.

"You keep it," Morgana said.

Gwen laughed a little then, but only a little. The pain was still there, but with Lady Morgana there, she felt like she could survive such a loss.