A/N One day, I had the lines "It's four oh three, And I can't sleep, Without you next to me I, Toss and turn like the sea," from the song "If You Only Knew" by Shinedown stuck in my head. So in an effort to get them out, I decided to write a fanfic based on them. This is what resulted. The rest of the song really has nothing to do with this fic, but that's what I listened to while writing it.
Summary: Gwen can't sleep, and she muses on her relationship with Arthur before deciding to take a walk. Arthur can's sleep, and he muses on his relationship with Gwen before deciding to wander the palace. Of course, they run into each other.
Disclaimer: I do not own any part whatsoever of Merlin or "If You Only Knew," and I am making no money from this story.
Gwen had fallen asleep quickly that night, but she slept restlessly. She woke up with a start to the clanging of a bell in the early hours of the morning. 'It's four am,' she thought. 'Early enough so that I can't justify getting up, but late enough so that by the time I go back to sleep, it won't be worth it.' So she simply lay there, uncharacteristically lacking the energy or will to move.
Usually Gwen was a light sleeper, but as of late she had been sleeping badly even by her standards. Wondering why, her thoughts drifted, passing through Merlin and what he might get up to today. Then went to wondering about maybe asking Gaius to give her a potion to help her sleep better, until they arrived, almost by accident, at Arthur.
Thinking of him made her antsy, and she sat up. Looking at the blankets strewn over her bed, she realized that she had been sleeping with her back pushed up against the wall, leaving enough room in her bed for another person. Gwen moved over, stretching and lying back down in the middle of the bed, but that felt wrong, as though she were stealing someone else's sleeping space. Which was silly, because the only person who lived here and slept in her bed was herself, but Gwen couldn't shake the feeling.
Gwen returned to her earlier thoughts, then realized something. 'It's Arthur,' Gwen thought. 'He's the reason I haven't been sleeping well, because I've been worrying about Arthur.' Not only Arthur specifically, but the two of them, together. Gwen had no idea what was going on between the two of them anymore. It was all so complicated. She sighed softly, her mind going back to the very beginning of their relationship.
At first she had taken notice of him because he was the prince, for heaven's sake, and everyone noticed him, just like they were supposed to. But then those feeling had started changing, deepening and intensifying beyond just a passing interest. Being the servant to Morgana, and the best friend of Merlin, Arthur's servant, allowed her to see the prince in ways and at moments which the rest of the kingdom didn't. And she had started noticing other things about him. His great courage in the face of all odds. The overwhelming need to do what was right for his kingdom, not just because it was his duty but because he truly cared. The strange, friend-like affection he had for Merlin, affection which he didn't realize, or didn't admit, could almost be called brotherhood. His fierce protectiveness of Merlin was what had started to show her that although he might be a prince, he was also a person, and a deep and complicated one at that. One that Gwen believed was exactly the person she was looking for.
The first kiss they had shared, when Arthur entered that tournament under the name of another knight and nearly died, was a mistake. Arthur never should have kissed her; she was a nobody. But he had, and she had kissed him back. But most incredibly, instead of pushing her, away, Arthur had pulled her closer, kissing her more deeply until she felt lightheaded and dizzy. Later on, he had told her that nothing could ever happen between them because his father would never allow it. She had spoken without thinking, desperate for some kind of proof that the kiss hadn't been merely a whim. She had told him, fiercely, that he could change that when he was king. He hadn't said yes, but he hadn't said no either, and she had seen the torment and the love in his eyes. And when Gwen looked over at the empty space in her bed, she knew that it very likely would remain empty unless it was one day filled by Arthur. Or, Gwen thought with nervousness, by Lancelot.
Lancelot had been her first kiss, filled with passion and intensity. Lancelot had made her feel young, and carefree, and had unleashed something in her that was fierce and wild, totally unlike her usual gentle demeanor. Gwen didn't know if she wanted that on a long-term basis. It was a change from how she normally felt, and one that she liked for a short time. But was that real love? When she was with Arthur, she felt complete, as though some part of her that had been missing was back in place, setting her to rights and making her safe and whole again. Her love for Arthur was a slow, smoldering burn which started softly, but quickly increased to fill her whole body and now scared her with its intensity. It was completely different from how she loved Lancelot. Gwen hadn't known it was possible to love anyone as much, and with as much intensity as she loved Arthur. Gwen's eyes burned and she blinked, hard and fast.
She flung the covers to the side and stood up. Sleeping after that was impossible, so Gwen dressed quickly and headed off to the palace, with no reason or destination in mind. She just needed to get out and clear her head.
Arthur, Crown Prince and Heir of Camelot, couldn't sleep. It was really annoying, because he was usually such a deep sleeper that nothing short of an explosion in his chamber, or Merlin, could wake him up. But as of late, he had been tossing and turning in his bed, trying to get comfortable, all to no avail.
This morning he was jolted out of a sweaty sleep by the clanging of the bell which kept the time. 'Four am,' Arthur thought, 'and I'm awake. This is all Gwen's fault.' He had been dreaming, a nightmare actually, when he had gone to Gwen's house and couldn't find her. He had been running all through the streets, calling for her, when the church bells started to ring, and that was when he woke up, gasping and sweating, to the sound of real bells pealing in his ears.
Arthur sat up, running his hands over his face and back through his hair. It was pointless to go back to sleep; someone – probably Merlin – would be coming in too soon for him to get any real sleep anyway. Besides, after that dream, he wouldn't be able to fall asleep at all. Instead, his thoughts turned irrepressibly, as they always seemed to do lately, to Guinevere.
It still amazed him how quickly he had fallen for Gwen. Unlike the other girls he had thought he loved, the ones who enchanted him into running away with them and who had then tried to kill him, Gwen was for real. But until they had kissed, during that tournament when he was pretending to be someone else so he could win for real and not because everyone let him, Arthur really had had no idea how much he loved her. But that kiss, and the feel of his arms around her and hers around him, had woken him up for sure and forever. He felt terrible about how he had hurt her with those other girls, even though it wasn't his fault (he had been enchanted!), and he desperately wanted to make it up to her, to prove to Gwen how much he really loved her.
Arthur had no idea how they were going to end up together, but he was absolutely sure that they would. He would have to work for it, and he didn't know how he would convince his father, but he did know that there was no one else for him but Gwen. She saw as him no one else, except maybe Merlin (although Arthur would never admit it to his servant's face), did – not as the floundering prince he was now, but as the king he would become. And the only person who was fit to guide him along that path, and the only one worthy of ruling (yes, ruling, not just sitting on a throne like a statue) by his side, was Gwen. Gwen was the perfect queen, she understood and loved the people just as much as he did and would be perfect to rule them with him.
Arthur had been in love before, of course, but those times hadn't felt like this. Gwen was the perfect complement to his personality, calm, cool, and collected, but with a fierce love of the kingdom and especially its people that a queen must have. Gwen made his world stop spinning and set it to rights. When he was with her, things didn't seem so complicated. She was his other half, and he loved her with his whole body and soul in a way that he couldn't yet comprehend fully.
Arthur swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He then realized that although he had been tossing and turning, it had mostly been confined to one side of the bed. He had taken to doing that of late, unconsciously leaving room for another body which wouldn't occupy its space for a long time like. Arthur smoothed the blankets on the bed, trying to make it seem as though he had been sleeping in the middle, but gave up the chore when he started feeling like Merlin. Without bothering to change out of nightclothes (who would be up at four in the morning, anyway?) he left his room to go on a walk.
For awhile he just wandered, without an aim or purpose, which made him feel uncomfortable. Arthur was a man who had to always have a destination. He turned around to go back to his room to do something productive and nearly knocked over Gwen, who had come up behind him without his realizing. She smiled shyly and curtsied. "Hello, sire."
"Gwen! Hi." Arthur was painfully aware of his undressed, disheveled state and thought hard for something to say. "I didn't know you started work this early," he came up with lamely.
"I don't," said Gwen, looking faintly amused. "I couldn't sleep, so I decided to go for a walk."
"That's funny, so did I," said Arthur. He laughed too loudly and then attempted a smile. This was incredibly awkward. Gwen laughed a little as well, very quietly, then looked down. There was silence for a minute, and Arthur was about to think up an excuse and escape when Gwen suddenly snapped her head up, locking her eyes with his and taking hold of his arm. Arthur tried not to think about how her touch made him feel very hot, and concentrated on her words instead.
"Arthur, how do you feel about me?" Gwen asked him, eyes searching his face intently. "I have to know."
That wasn't exactly what he had been expecting. "Well, er, um…" Arthur didn't know what to say. "How do I feel about you, what?"
Gwen released his arm. Arthur found he missed the warmth of her hand and had to work not to grasp it between his. "I understand our… relationship… has some obstacles. But personally, I believe that if we both want it enough, we can overcome them. I know how I feel, Arthur. But I'm not sure about you. Do you love me, or do you not?" she asked simply.
The prince swallowed hard. He wasn't expecting to have to say what he felt so soon, and without any warning whatsoever. Arthur thought the words would be hard to say. It was an opening of weakness, to speak words which might hurt him so deeply. But instead of being difficult to say, the words came easily. They were right and true, and Arthur found a sort of joy in speaking them aloud, although that was something he would never admit in a million years. "I love you," he answered, and looked at her, waiting anxiously.
Gwen's eyes widened, and she released a long breath. A smile crept over her face. "I love you, too," she said softly. The words made Arthur smile in relief, and without thinking about it or planning it or anything, he reached out, pulled her against him, and pressed his lips to hers as gently as he could. The kiss was pure sweetness that made their hearts sing.
After a minute they broke apart. Gwen's eyes were shining with happiness. Arthur, too, looked more peaceful than she had seen him in a long time. "It's not going to be easy," she reminded him.
Arthur shook his head. "No, but it's worth it," he said assertively. His confidence gave Gwen hope that maybe, things really would work out for the two of them in the end.
A/N This is my first fic, so I would really appreciate it if you reviewed! Thanks a lot! FL7