Contains very minor spoilers for S3.
The lavender dress had always been Arthur's favourite.
He loved to see Guinevere in it. He damn-well adored her in it. There was no denying it was his favourite, always had been and it always would be.
The turquoise dress was sophisticated but the bodice was rather heavy and thick. It was beautifully made (In fact better made than the lavender dress) but he didn't like when he held her that he couldn't feel her curves through it. It covered up her figure rather than enhanced it whereas the lavender brought out her pretty form and complimented her skin tone perfectly.
Arthur found Gwen attractive regardless of what she wore (or didn't wear) but he had great appreciation for that lavender dress. In his mind he thought it would live forever, not realising that the dress of any servant girl would wear over time especially when they wore it as frequently as Gwen wore the lavender dress.
So, imagine the irony he felt when it was because of his greater love for another look of Gwen's that the lavender dress was 'slaughtered' at his hands? That look was complete nakedness.
It had been over a week since he had seen Gwen when it happened. He had been away with the knights, so when he finally returned to Camelot the first thing he wanted to do was see her and 'catch up'.
Their kisses were fierce and hungry. They clasped at each other's arms, shoulders and necks. A moan escaped Arthur's mouth as Gwen rubbed her body against him, smiling through their kiss as she did so. His response was to shove her harder against the table.
His hardness was pushed up against her knee. She smiled again and sat up to undo his trousers and let him loose. She managed to untie them with a little more control than he was with her bodice. While Gwen teasingly unlaced the front of him Arthur tore at the laces at the front of her.
Arthur tugged the wrong part and ended up tightening the knot. He desperately pulled at the strings, becoming all the more frantic as Gwen released him from his flies. She started out with slow movements, mischievously running her finger along his length. It was driving him mad and made his attempts to 'release' her all the more frantic.
Eventually she realised he couldn't concentrate and briefly stopped caressing him to undo the bodice herself. The knot was very tight; trying to tweeze it open made her feel hot and bothered too.
"What the hell have you done to this?" she muttered jokily.
Thankfully, Gwen was able to undo the knot. The moment it was loose he pushed her hands away and tore the string completely from the bodice. He then quickly slipped her arms out of it before she even realised.
They resumed kissing.
As Arthur's hands smoothed up her thighs and pushed the dress back. Gwen moved to pull her skirts up. He stopped her. He had made love to her clothed in the lavender dress before but that didn't feel enough after a long absence.
"I want you completely naked," he growled huskily.
Delight shivered down Gwen's spine. Gone were the days of modesty and shyness, now she felt exhilarated by Arthur's raw desire to see her completely nude. It made her feel attractive in a way that no dress or jewellery could do.
Before she could see to her own fastening she was crushed by another powerful kiss as Arthur tackled the tricky, tiny hooks at the back of her dress. They were easy enough for her to get on and off, and usually easy for Arthur to remove even with his large, clumsy fingers.
But he was plagued by need, which controlled his willingness to take his time and keep calm. His blood was boiling. He undid one hook and felt about for the other one...
"Maybe I should-?" Gwen gasped as they briefly broke the kiss for breath. But she was crushed beneath another kiss before she could finish.
Arthur lost patience. He grasped both sides of the fastening at the back in an attempt to undo all the little hooks. Unfortunately he pull it the wrong was too quickly and-
There was a ripping sound, followed by the sound of little metal hooks bouncing off the table and onto the ground.
Arthur and Gwen broke the kiss, realising what had happened. He had broken the dress. Gwen could feel the back of her dress hanging off her shoulders where he had torn it. The dress was dead and he had killed it!
They breathed heavily from shock and want. After five seconds of contemplation they resumed kissing. Gwen could feel herself grow wetter between the legs and Arthur's arousal was wedged right between them. They were too far along to cry over a broken fastening.
So they practically ripped their clothes off each other. Arthur's trousers fell to the floor beside Gwen's bodice as she tore his red shirt from his torso. It was revenge for what he did to her dress. She just grabbed to parts of it at the top, pulled hard and the shredding sound filled the room. Their last act was to pull the ruined lavender smock over Gwen's head to completely unveil her.
Finally, having achieved their goal, Arthur hoisted himself up onto the table and they made love there and then. They were too engrossed to even walk, run or carry each other the short distance to the bed...
Merlin noticed the door to Arthur's chambers was locked. Knowing what that meant he grinned and slowly snuck off down the corridor.
Suddenly the door opened and Arthur stuck his head out. He had heard his manservant at the door and didn't want to miss an opportunity.
"Merlin!" he hissed to him.
The servant turned around and came back. Only Arthur's head was visible; the rest of his body was hidden behind a door. His bare shoulder indicated to Merlin that he was naked, or at the very least had just a bed sheet to protect his modesty.
"I thought you were-" Merlin began, and tried to peak into the room behind Arthur. The prince blocked his sight. "Is Gwen in there with you?"
Arthur didn't reply but instead gave his order. "Merlin, I want you to go to Gwen's house and bring her turquoise dress here."
Merlin pulled a face. "Why?"
"Just do it," the prince snapped. "Hurry up - get back here as quickly as possible."
The servant didn't question him. He didn't especially want to question him anymore. Arthur and Gwen treated Merlin like a naive child. He knew they were sleeping together. When he first found out he found it very difficult not to pry as more like a protective parent than a green boy he wondered if they were taking the right... precautions.
They probably were, for the most part.
Either way he certainly didn't want to know what Arthur and Gwen had been doing to warrant her needing a fresh dress.
He turned to walk away.
"Oh!" Arthur said quickly, opening the door again. Merlin turned back only to have what looked like a rough piece of red cloth thrown in his face. "Throw that away."
Without another word the prince closed the door in his manservant's face.
Merlin's mouth opened and closed like a fish.
As he turned around to carry out Arthur's orders he unfolded the piece of red cloth to get a better look at it. He nearly burst out laughing: it was Arthur's old red shirt practically torn in two down the neckline.
Merlin smirked; I never knew you had it in you, Gwen!
Suddenly the fate of Gwen's dress seemed clear to his mind. The he really did laugh and pick up the pace, knowing that she was trapped in Arthur's bedroom until he could bring her fresh clothes.
Not that he thought Gwen would mind too much.
Arthur closed the door and put the lock on again.
He looked over his shoulder to watch Gwen as she sat (still bare) and analysed the damage done to her beloved lavender dress. The laces and hooks had not only been torn off but the material itself had been frayed almost all the way down to the waistline. Arthur remembered ripping it a little more after Gwen had torn his shirt from his body.
They had been lost in the moment.
Arthur hopped onto the table next to Gwen.
She laughed, "It's ruined!"
He took it from her to survey the damage himself.
"You really can't fix it?"
"Nope," Gwen sighed, allowing him to take it. She threw a chunk of hair over her shoulder and sighed, "It took me nearly two years to finish this dress."
Arthur's eyes widened. "I'm assuming you spent most of your time on the bodice?"
She smiled. "Of course but the actual dress wasn't easy. At the time it was the best dress I'd ever made. I didn't want to wear it for fear I'd ruin it."
"I remember the first time I saw you in it," Arthur mused with a grin. He remembered how alluring she had looked as she walked in the opposite direction to him across the courtyard. She had curtsied politely and he had nearly tripped over his feet. "I remembered thinking then how pretty your..." he stopped, swallowed and finally said, "stitch work was."
Gwen rolled her eyes, knowing full well what he had thought was pretty. She remembered him giving her a similar look after she had saved him from the gargoyle; his eyes had definitely been pointed southward.
She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.
Arthur was fiddling with one hook that had stayed attached to the purple material. He then turned it over to look at the neckline and traced his finger across it. Although Gwen was no mind reader she knew he was thinking about her breasts and how smugly they had fit into the lavender dress beneath (or rather supported by) her bodice.
She smiled attractively as she brushed her hair back again, one stray curl escaping her hands movements to rest across her shoulder.
"You liked the stitch work, did you?"
He looked in her direction again and stared. Her hands were slowly making their way down from her shoulders, along her collarbone, and across her breasts. He swallowed hard as she delicately circled the tip of her finger around her nipple.
"Yes," Arthur finally said, smiling faintly. "I loved the stitching."
"Would you say it was the best stitching you'd ever seen?"
Gwen also moved closer; crossing her leg over Arthur's thigh so she was practically sat right on top of him. He responded to her actions with more control than he had shown half an hour ago, and reached out to touch the loose curl lying against her neck. She smiled as he wrapped it around his index finger.
"The best ever," he muttered in reply, eyes firmly fixed on her lips.
Their lips brushed soft against each other. It caused a small yet satisfactory glow in their stomach, making them both smile before they opened their mouths and kissed each other properly. Arthur's fingers that had played with Gwen's tendril moved burying themselves into her hair. As they continued to kiss Gwen could feel Arthur's arousal start to grow against her thigh.
Gwen broke the kiss and grinned. "Do want to do it again?"
"Yeah just... give me a minute."
He smiled and kissed her again and again to resume their former delights. Gwen happily reciprocated. As they continued to kiss she thought whether they should move to the bed or not. The table was all very passionate but they weren't ripping clothes off each other now. Besides he had already torn about her delicious lavender dress he claimed to love so much. There was no denying now that he preferred her out of it than in it.
She broke the kiss again.
"Bed," she said simply.
Merlin had decided to take his time while going to Gwen house and back with the dress.
He threw away Arthur's torn red shirt, easily guessing the activities his two friends had been engaging in that bedroom that afternoon. Whatever had happened Gwen had ripped it so hard it was practically in two separate pieces. It was only a loose fitted shirt but still. They much have been gagging for it.
He got a few odd looks as he walked along with a dress hooked over his arm. It was especially ironic since Arthur and Gwen probably both believed he was a cross-dresser. "It's not mine!" he snapped to a group of guards walking in the opposite direction. "I'm just doing an errand for a friend."
Finally he reached Arthur's chamber door again.
The door was still locked. Merlin knocked and waited for a reply.
Merlin could hear quiet noises from inside the room. There were creaks, thuds and other sounds that indicated movement and surprise. Finally Arthur called out, "Who is it?"
"It's me," Merlin called back.
There was a short pause before the reply came, this time from Gwen: "I'll be there in a minute."
"Take your time," her friend called back, and waited.
There was a moment's pause as Gwen slipped off the bed, wrapped one of the sheets around her body and quickly rushed to the door. When it opened Merlin was confronted with Gwen for the first time since he had returned with Arthur from the war. Her forehead was glistened and her cheeks were glowing from activity...
No need to speculate what you've been up to, Merlin thought cheekily.
He handed her the dress.
"I couldn't find the turquoise dress but I did find this one," he explained, and handed Gwen a pink coloured dress. "I've never seen you in this one before, is it alright?"
Gwen nodded absentmindedly; very aware of the fact that she was naked and still breathless from what she was doing just moments before. "It's fine, thank you!"
She took the dress and smiled.
"Thank you, Merlin."
He nodded. "Alright, 'enjoy' your afternoon."
Gwen rolled her eyes and closed the door. She put the lock firmly on so that there was no chance of someone bursting into the room unexpected. It seemed that unless someone knew something was going on in someone's bedroom, they would just knock and open the door without waiting to be summoned.
She placed the folded garment on the table and looked over to the bed where Arthur lay propped up on his shoulder looking at her.
"That's not your turquoise dress," he observed.
"Correct, my lord" Gwen said with a smile.
She picked up the tattered lavender smock before slipping back onto the mattress beside Arthur. He nudged across and wrapped his arm around her to give her space but keep her close. His free hand reached over to observe the destroyed piece of clothing again. There was a part of him that felt like he had killed the lavender dress. It would never have the honour of clinging to Guinevere's shape ever again that was for sure.
"What are you going to do with it?" he asked.
Gwen shrugged. "Throw it away probably."
"No!" he said, disappointedly. "There is really nothing you can do for it?"
She laughed. "I told you. It's ruined!"
The disappointment in his eyes was very amusing and she didn't know just how serious he was in his sorrow over ruining her favourite dress. She suspected he was mainly joking, but a small part of him was seriously.
"I can try and make another smock," she suggested. "But I need to find the right colour material, and that might take a while because I don't have access to as many colours as before."
Gwen has once been Morgana's handmaiden. When the cloth merchants came into Camelot on market day they always came to the highest ranking women first, and when they picked their expensive clothes their servants would be able to get what they wanted to make their own dresses. Now that Morgana was gone and Gwen was just a lowly servant girl again, she was one of the last people to get to the cloth merchants now.
Arthur sighed. "Only if you want to; I'll happily help you find the right material and pay for it too. I'm the one that broke it after all. I'd even have it done for you, if I knew where..."
"You don't know where your clothes come from?"
"Mine come from the royal fitters" Arthur replied with a chuckle. "It's not really a man's game to sit around and stitch together shirts and trousers, you know."
Gwen laughed, tickling the crook of his neck with her breath. "That's sweet but I prefer wearing my own clothes anyway. It makes me feel good when people say how pretty I look in them, how well made they are—"
"How beautiful the stitching is," Arthur finished, teasingly.
"Exactly" Gwen said, and looked over to where her bodice had been carelessly thrown in their haste to undress each other earlier. "I could probably re-use the bodice somehow."
"Please do," Arthur swallowed. She lifted her head to look at him, curious by his swift agreement that she shouldn't lose or throw out the bodice. He looked up at her. "That bodice... highlights your beauty."
She chuckled again and leaned down to sweetly kiss him.
Outside the window the bell tower rang out the fourteenth hour.
Arthur groaned in disappointment as Gwen immediately broke the kiss, swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up the quickly get dressed. He took a moment to get going, instead watching as she unfolded the peach-coloured dress to slip it on.
"I hate the fourteenth hour," he said sulkily, throwing his head against the pillows and looking up at his canopy. "You always have to leave even after I've been away for a week and haven't been able to see you."
"These days you're lucky to see me at all," Gwen replied as she righted her undergarments. "Since I was demoted I'm only in court for special occasions. If you didn't request me to 'bring' things to you, I'd probably never get to see you at all."
Arthur sighed sadly; it was all true.
"I'll go mad if this goes on much longer..." he grumbled on.
"We just have to put up with it for now," Gwen said softly, preparing to pull the dress over her head. "That's all we can do."
Arthur turned his head to look at her.
She was lacing up the dark peach-bodice. It was all very well made and beautiful, although not quite as 'Sunday Best' as her turquoise dress. Nonetheless Arthur felt himself be hit with a sudden clasp of attraction again. The bodice fitted her figure perfectly just like the lavender dress had, but it had a train on the back and the neckline was low-fitted.
It was just as he liked it.
"I've never seen that dress before," he announced after watching her for a minute or so. "It's nice."
"I've never worn it before," Gwen told him, brushing the skirt down. "I was going to save it for a special occasion but it's either this, wearing a torn up dress, or walking around naked."
"Would the latter be so terrible?" he quipped.
"I know how much you enjoy keeping me hostage here but I have to help out in the kitchens, then I have to step up the tables and then I'm serving drinks all night..."
"So I will get to see you tonight?" he asked quickly.
"Yes, it's a special occasion" she said. "You're back."
Arthur knew he should get dressed too. He had only just got back but he had to catch up with training too. That would be the best place to work off the excess energy he was experiencing having now discovered 'Guinevere-in-Peach'. Now that she had to go back to work he certainly wasn't going to work it off with her, and after two very hurried tumbles he wasn't sure he could... not that that would have stopped him trying.
He sat on the edge of the bed and watched as Gwen fixed her hair. He cleared his throat to get her attention. She turned around and Arthur opened his arms expectably. "Come here."
Gwen smiled. She obeyed; slipped onto his lap and kissed him again, knowing this is what his open arms had been asking for. Arthur kissed her slowly back and wondered just how many times they had kissed that afternoon. He was losing count.
"I have to go to work," she mumbled against his lips.
"Alright," Arthur whispered back.
He kissed her again, and she responded briefly before she decided enough was enough. She broke the kiss and tried to pry herself from his embrace. "I mean it, Arthur! I need to go..." she protested. "I'll get in trouble if I'm late; I have a lot to do and there is no way you are tearing two of my dresses!"
Arthur sighed and finally let her go.
Gwen jumped up and turned around to look at him. There was a glimmer of entitlement in her eyes. He had nearly forgotten that he was still naked in his excitement over the new peach dress.
"You should get dressed" she suggested, and finally turned to leave. "I'll see you tonight. I'll be back for the bodice later."
He watched reluctantly as she turned to leave via the small door to the side of the room. As she past the bed she picked the ruins of the lavender dress up.
"Wait!" Arthur said quickly. "Can you... leave it here?"
She looked down on it. "I was going to throw it away."
"I know" he quietly. "I'd just like to... keep it."
Gwen didn't question his reasons as she was already running late. She smiled and threw it back to him. He caught it in his hands.
She tilted her head, "As a memento?"
Arthur shrugged. "I just don't want to see it thrown away, even if it is 'dead'."
Gwen chuckled and opened the door to leave.
"Will you come to me tonight?" he asked expectantly.
"Do you want me to?"
"Will you wear that dress," Arthur asked.
He indicated the peach dress.
"Would it make any difference?"
"Not really," he admitted before grinning wickedly. "It's just I have something in mind if you do wear it."
Gwen bit her lip. "Yes I will."
"Yes, you will come tonight or yes, you will wear the dress?"
Arthur tilted his head. "Good."
Finally Gwen was allowed to leave.
It took another minute of contemplation before Arthur found the motivation to get up and get dressed. As he did he thought about the new pinkie-peach dress and the plans he had for it. It seemed odd to consider them 'plans' but there was no other way to describe them. He wouldn't tear it like dearly beloved lavender. The game he had in mind involved her keeping it on.
Arthur picked up the remains of the lavender dress and lifted it to his face, taking in its scent. Carefully, he folded it up and put it in his cupboard.
Just as Gwen had said, it was a memento; for the death of lavender and the birth of peach.