A/N: I love Arwen (!), but I haven't written anything like this for them yet - I've just written humour fics. Reviews would be much appreciated - I'd like to know if people are interested in this kind of thing from me, or if they'd like me to stick to writing the odd, sarcastic stories where our favourite Merlin characters get stuck in scary slash fanfiction and have to try and escape... :)
Gwen stood in the courtyard, absentmindedly running thin, worked fingers over a crumbling wall, enjoying the sandy feeling as little pieces of the pompous castle fell away onto her palm. For the tiniest fraction of a second, the building did not feel so imposing, so condescending, as it had always done. And then the tiny fraction of a second passed, and she suddenly felt as insignificant as she always had once again.
A slight sigh squeezed through a gap between her tightly pressed together lips and she felt the gentle swish of lavender cotton trapped in dancing breezes around her ankles as she stepped back.
She tapped a sore, blistered toe on the ground and turned her back on Camelot rather swiftly; it was time to go home.
The constant clicking of her heels on the courtyard's flat stones kept her mind snapping back to the present, instead of wandering off to thoughts of other things. It didn't stop her mind from trying, though. It seemed to want to think about one thing in particular rather a lot.
No, Gwen reprimanded herself softly, trying to direct her thoughts toward anything else. Supper. Chicken. Cutlery. Washing up.
Cleaning. Sewing. Oh! That dress of Lady Elaine's needs fixing…
Laundry. Laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry, laundry…
Be quiet! She hissed inwardly at the irritating little part of her brain that seemed determined to make her behave like a lovesick moron. Huffing, puffing, and rolling her eyes at herself, she readjusted the large basket of linens she had been gripping tightly under her left arm, moving it to under her right…
Will you be quiet?
Gwen's inner turmoil was rather apparent in her walk; instead of strolling purposefully along in a line so straight one suspected it had been marked on the floor just for her as usual, she was sashaying out randomly to left and right, sending the citizens of Camelot flying in a rush to escape a collision with her. She didn't appear to take any notice whatsoever of the numerous peculiar looks she received upon treading on the toes of an entire patrol of guards simultaneously; or the concerned murmurs that rebounded around as her shoulders smacked into passing farmers; or even the tutting and sighing as she walked straight past five young admirers who were clearly trying to catch her attention - that was actually not uncommon.
She didn't even notice the large rake that had been positioned directly in front of her until it was too late.
Gwen's squeak of pain hung uncomfortably in the air, causing the heads of everyone around to snap towards the source of the sound, curiosity painted on their faces.
The first thing Gwen saw when she eventually dared to open her eyes again was a rather large male silhouette, with wonderfully soft golden hair and dazzlingly blue eyes brimming with worry.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, by now thoroughly fed up of even the thought of Prince Arthur. "Go away!"
With that she slammed her eyes shut again; a warning to her brain to please make the thoughts of Arthur stop… She needed to focus on getting up.
But apparently her brain had other ideas, because the image of Arthur's concerned face, still imprinted on her eyelids, was quickly followed by his voice.
"Gaius? Is she alright?"
Gwen's eyes slowly slid open, and were met by the sight of two faces blocking her vision: Arthur's and Gaius'.
"Gaius…" she managed to mumble, trying - and failing - to sit up.
"Hmm…" Gaius made no effort to talk to Gwen, and simply talked over her, in that infuriating way that only doctors can. "She seems to have a mild concussion… I think I should examine her head a little better… We ought to take her back to my chambers…"
There was, however, no 'we' in what happened next. The iron arms that wrapped themselves around her waist were definitely not Gaius'; the chest smelling vaguely of expensive soap (which Gwen had leant Merlin to clean his master's shirts with only a week ago) was certainly not Gaius'; the chin that rested itself, without first asking permission, on top of her curly head was absolutely not Gaius'.
Under ordinary circumstances, Gwen would have reprimanded Arthur for making a fuss. She would have insisted that he put her down immediately, because she wasn't some precious little china doll who needed carting about from place to place by handsome princes, thank you very much: she could walk to wherever they were going on her own.
They both knew that, ordinarily, they would be having that very argument right now: and Gwen would be winning.
They also both knew that, just this once, there was no way Gwen would be able to make a case for her being able to get to the physician's chambers by herself. She could not walk. She could scarcely even form coherent sentences.
So they didn't have the argument, because it was obvious who was right and who was wrong.
This made one of them very pleased and one of them rather uncomfortable.
Arthur, who was rarely afforded the opportunity to flaunt his affections quite this publicly, was enjoying the proceedings (he held her especially tight when they passed a certain Sir Lancelot: he even felt it necessary to offer her a light kiss on the crown on her head). Gwen, who did not approve of either Arthur's protectiveness or his possessiveness, was trying to squirm in his grip.
Her attempts at squirming were so pathetic; that they almost went unnoticed by the Prince they were directed at. Almost.
"Guinevere," he began, his tone amused. "Why do I get the impression that you are not delighted to be being carried through Camelot by your own personal knight in shining armour?"
Gwen grumbled a little bit. "Arthur…"
"When you awoke, you told me to go away. I was prepared to put that down to a pained head, but I am beginning to believe that you derive no pleasure whatsoever from time spent with me…" As Arthur spoke, his grip tightened, and he seemed to feel the need to whirl her around ever so slightly when they reached the courtyard, just so that it could escape nobody's notice that he was holding her.
"Guinevere…" he told her, ceasing to spin, and whipping inside, forcing the door to Gaius' chambers open with such urgency that, in spite of his teasing, she knew he was concerned for her.
"When you are better…" here he reluctantly laid her down on the table. "You shall have much explaining to do…"