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Welcome Home, My Love

Dusk had long since settled on Camelot and the moon surveyed the citadel with a glittering ray. Shadows echoed every corner and the night was quiet.

However, that was no concern for Arthur and Gwen.

After several days in the bitter cold of the Northern Plains, the king was more than pleased to return to his warm bed and delicious meals. More important that any of that, he just wanted to get home to his wife.

In a mere absence, she had gone from the quiet queen who wouldn't hurt a fly to one who kept sentenced her servant girl to 'death,' just as a ruse to capture a more dangerous, a more important criminal. He was proud, albeit slightly confused...

"Come and lie with me."

Gwen looked up from the dress she was folding, surprised at his tone. Smiling back with perfect innocence, he opened his arms wide open.

"I need to put these dresses away, seeing as I do not have a maidservant to do it for me anymore. When I became queen, I thought I would have enough time to do all of the menial tasks, but I am so busy!"

"By the time you argued with me, you could have finished your task," Arthur replied with a grin.

Gwen shot him a death glare as she placed her regal red gown back in the wardrobe before going back for her soft purple outfit. Her husband stared at her intently as she did so, captivated by her beauty. Ignoring the protests of distraction, he continued surveying her with his hawk-like blue orbs.

"Done," she shut the door with a flourish, a happy expression crossing her face immediately.

"Good," Arthur plopped himself back onto the pillow, "Now we can sit and talk."

"Talking? You want to talk?" Gwen raised her eyebrows.

"Yes, Guinevere, talking- the production of spoken words."

"I am aware of the concept, Arthur. But why on Earth would you want to talk?"

"Hey, Merlin was my only company for the majority of the journey. And you know how boring he is- not the most fascinating bloke. He's like listening to paint drying."

Gwen frowned and Arthur blushed slightly- he knew that she did not like it when he insulted his manservant and best friend. Shaking his head, he decided to go back to annoying his love with his cockiness.

"If I apologise, will you FINALLY sit down?"

She sighed and placed her hands on her hips.

"Well?" she stated after several seconds, "Something you have to say?"

"Okay, I apologise for Merlin being a clotpole!"

Gwen glared at him.

"Alright, alright. Guinevere, I am sorry for insulting Merlin. Is all well?"

Gwen was too tired to argue. Instead of replying, she sauntered forward and collapsed onto the Camelot red quilts. Arthur beamed as he pulled her closer, his hands clasped possessively around her waist. He nuzzled her hair, breathing in the scent of lavender.

"What are you doing?"

"I love your smell- lavender. So beautiful and calming, just like you."

"Your flattery is as charming as you."

Smirking at his own wit, he held her as close as possible. Craning his head slightly so that she was still in the corner of his eye, he looked into the night sky. It was neither warm nor cold and it was perfectly clear- anything could be seen.

"What a beautiful twilight," Arthur observed.

"It is," Gwen agreed before sighing.

"Is there something the matter, Guinevere?" his voice was soft, yet concerned at the same time.

"Everything thing is going to change now?"

"What do you mean?" Arthur propped himself up onto his elbows.

"Well, Morgana is back and she will not rest until she gets what she wants. If she wanted to kill me when we were only just courting, then what will she do now that I am queen? In her 'rightful position?' She will want to get to those close to me- Merlin, the knights, Sarah, Molly etc. But what if she hurts you? You have been close to death at her hand many times."

"You," Arthur pecked her head, "Are adorable when you are scared."

"This is not an amusing factor, Arthur Pendragon."

He sighed and turned to her. Staring into her eyes, he waited a second before responding.

"Listen to me Guinevere, and do not interrupt until I am finished. Nothing is going to happen to either of us. We will find her and we will not stop until she is destroyed. You are the one with the crown on your head, not her. She may be in my blood, but you are in my heart. We will grow old together as rulers of this land, watching our children play before us. A son who looks like me who waves a wooden sword and a pretty little girl who is her mother's daughter. As for the people we love- they will be fine. Merlin will find some lass in the village and settle down. Or maybe not. Leon and Molly are married and happy, as are Percival and Sarah. Elyan still has not said anything about Anna, but his time will come. Gwaine has his drink...life is good. Are you better now?"

Gwen nodded, pulling a smile, "You always know how to put me in a better mood."

Arthur was content with the fact she was happy but did not say a word.

"The people missed you. You are their hero."

"Whatever I do is for the good of the people and you know that. The citizens of Camelot need to know that I am not their hero, that I am simply their king."

Gwen pushed to change the subject.

"Mordred seems like a promising young knight. He was so kind- humble in fact. Thankful for what you had done for him- he has a life now. No longer a hopeless drifter, a lost soul."

"You really need to stop stroking my ego," he drifted his hands across her dark curls, "You are the amazing one whom I fell in love with."

"I am just being kind and generally truthful."

"You are always trying to make me feel better, instead of building yourself up. When was the last time you pumped yourself up, hm?"

"You do better when you have confidence Arthur," Gwen placed a palm on his chest, "I am just making sure that you are performing to the best of your abilities."

"See, that is one of the countless reasons I fell in love with you, Guinevere."

She looked at him with curiosity.

"And why is that?"

"You are so selfless- you put others above yourself all of the time. You care about other people's happiness more than your own yet you are not one to be eager-to-please."

Gwen blushed.

"I am not sure about that," she answered modestly.

"Nonsense, Guinevere."

"Why do you insist on calling be by my full forename?"

"That is for another night," Arthur replied with a grin, "Speaking of other nights, I think it is time we went to slumber."

"I agree," Gwen yawned, covering it with her soft hands.

Her husband nodded before turning to the door. Opening his mouth, he yelled in his loudest, most command like voice:

"MERLIN!"

"Why on Earth do you need your manservant now?"

As if on cue, the dark-locked young man burst into the room, before slowing his pace to annoy his master. Arthur threw a pillow at him, but the warlock ducked. He was used to harder objects, but could fly away from them at the speed of light. Many secretly marvelled his speed and reflexes.

"What is it you require, my lord?"

"Blow out the beside candles."

Merlin stared at him, eyes bugged-out, "Why could you not do it yourself? They are right next to you."

Arthur glared at him, reminiscent of his wife, "I do not want to move as I am in a comfortable position. Hop to it, I am paying your wages- you must do as I say."

Annoyed, Merlin walked straight over to the flame and pursed his lips, letting the air dampen out the yellow and orange.

"Is that all?" he simpered mockingly.

Even through the darkness, he could see Arthur's expression.

"That would be all," he affirmed, "Now off you go."

"Goodnight Merlin," Gwen called through the pitch-black.

"Goodnight, Gwen. My clotpole."

"Your WHAT?!"

"My lord," he corrected automatically before rushing out of the room, letting the door clatter to a close behind him."

"You are so mean to him," Gwen protested.

"He deserves it," Arthur replied, "Anyway, at the end of the day, I am not upsetting you and that is fine."

Gwen rolled her eyes as she burrowed herself into his chest, Smiling, he held her close with an enormous amount of passion.

"Sweet dreams, my love."

"Goodnight, Arthur."

As she held herself in his embrace, she thought over the past few weeks.

'Welcome home, my love," she thought to herself as slumber took over.